A trip to the zoo is such a joyous occasion, isn’t it? Our urban zoo in Boston is a little sad, so we typically go to the Roger Williams Zoo in Providence, Rhode Island, about an hour away. It reminds me, on a smaller scale, of the great San Diego Zoo which is about 2 1/2 hours from where I grew up and is the zoo by which I measure all zoos against.
This zoo children’s book list — zoo picture book and chapter books — is inspired by the Newbery award winner, The One and Only Ivan. Is there a favorite zoo children’s book you’d like to add to the list? Please help me out and I’ll add it to the list. Thank you!
10. A Sick Day for Amos McGee by Philip C. Stead, illustrated by Erin Stead
In a perfect world, zoo animals and zoo keepers would be best friends, just like zoo keeper Amos McGee. When he gets sick and misses a day at work, the animals come by to his house to check on him and help him get better. The artwork by Erin Stead, the author’s wife, is stunning. She uses carefully rendered pencil drawings with what I think is monotype prints. The results are visually arresting. [Caldecott picture book, ages 2 and up]
I wanted to do a boy version of the 20 Gentle Books for a Young Girl at the request of a reader. I tried not to duplicate books but there are many on the girls’ list of 20 Gentle Books that would also be great for boys.
In making this list, I tend towards more old fashioned books but gentle books for boys can also be modern. What are your favorite gentle chapter books for a young boy? Please share! Thank you!
20 Gentle Chapter Books for a Young Boy
10. Frindle by Andrew Clements
A delightful early chapter book that every boy in 3rd grade seems to love at my elementary school. Nicholas Allen invents the word “frindle” to replace the word “pen.” For him, it not really an act of rebellion, it’s more an outlet to explore the power of ideas. Frindle catches on much to the consternation of his Language Arts teacher, but is she really upset? [ages 7-10]
My son is just 9-years-old and in third grade and I’m trying to keep track of the books that he’s read as a third grader. This is his list so far, as of November 2013. I’ve included his rising 3rd grade summer reading as well.
During my parent teacher conference, his teacher told me that my son was reading well and had a good vocabulary. I had a confession for her. (This is a little embarrassing!.) Every night, my son insists on bedtime reading and it works like this: I read aloud to him while he plays on his DSi or a (non educational) video game on the iPad.
I do find this irritating, so periodically I ask him what a word means as I come across it in the story or ask him what has just happened in the chapter book. If he can’t give me a reasonable answer, I shut down his game. If he answers my question reasonably well, he keeps on playing. Perhaps this is giving him multi-tasking skills? I’m not sure. We do take turns reading though I do the bulk of the reading at home. He gets reading time at school and takes his book back and forth each day which helps us move through the book.
We’ve made our way through every word that Rick Riordan has ever written in this manner. Now, we are working through Harry Potter and after that, we’ll finish the last four books of the Half Magic series. I hope we will read some Roald Dahl this year as well.
Here’s my son’s book list with his reviews. He highly recommends all of these books!
Graphic Novels and Graphic Novel Hybrids for 3rd Grade Boys
Timmy Failure: Mistakes Were Made by Stephan Pastis
I think it’s very funny and it’s a very good book because he kept failing at life and being a detective but he thought he was the greatest detective in the world.
I just got the lastest Red Knit Cap Girl picture book, a sequel with an environmental message and this inpired me to create this list. I had hoped the first one would win a Caldecott but alas no. It did win a New Times Best Illustrated Book award but here’s hoping that Red Knit Cap Girl To the Rescue gets a Caldecott nod this year!
What are your favorite chapter books, picture books, folk tales, graphic novels or non-fiction books about the moon? Please share!
5 Multicultral Moon Themed Books for Kids
5. Red Knit Cap Girl To the Rescue by Naoko Stoop
Red Knit Cap Girl is back and when she finds a young polar bear cup, she asks the moon how to get it home. She and White Bunny go on a charming adventure that speaks to our fragile eco-system. Stoop uses found materials to illustrate using both paint and collage work which supports the eco message in subtle and beautiful way. [picture book, ages 2 and up]
I’m pleased to be on the blog tour for a fun spy chapter book called Double Vision: Code Name 711 by F. T. Bradley. She wrote it with reluctant boy readers in mind, but I had trouble putting it down! Her sense of pacing is perfect. It’s a real page turner with characters you can relate to (kind of like the Percy Jackson gang).
This is the second book of a trilogy. I’m giving the first two books away along with spy gadgets! Please enter below! What is your (or your child’s) favorite spy chapter book? Anyone’s kid into spy gadgets? Please share!
Double Vision: Code Name 711 by F. T. Bradley
I’ve been reading a small pile of spy chapter books geared for boys, I think, but this one nailed it for me. It’s fast paced, packed with U. S. history, and it’s funny too! F. T. Bradley says it’s a MG spy thriller for reluctant readers but I think it will draw in readers of all kinds, reluctant or otherwise. [chapter book, ages 8 and up]
My reader Natalie has a young daughter who has been reading enthusiastically at a young age:
My daughter read first books of Penderwicks and Half Magic, but I should look into their sequels to return her to a more gentle universe
My daughter is probably a little unusual since she is reading since she was 3, and it’s truly her favorite thing to do. We still read theme-based picture books (we really loved several of the kite books you recommended, by the way), but she is reading a lot of long books on her own.
She is a big fan of myths and legends as long as they don’t involve mummies and zombies – these are two things she is terrified of. She went crazy this summer about Percy Jackson and the Olympians – each book took her about 3 days to read, and then she reread all of them several times. Now she is reading through Famous Five by Enid Blyton. Last summer she read through Secrets of Droon, and, of course, she read all Magic Tree House and Magic School Bus chapter books.
I’ve arranged this list in the order of easier to more difficult books. So the 10th book is where I’d start your daughter and then I’d work down to the first book.
Readers, what other gentle chapter books for a young girl would you recommend? Thanks for sharing!
Old Fashioned Chapter Books for a Young Reader
10. My Father’s Dragon series by Ruth Stiles
My kids usually get this as a read aloud in first or second grade. Teachers love this old fashioned fantasy easy chapter book series. [easy chapter book, ages 6 and up]
The divorce rate in America peaked at around 50 percent in the 1980s and slowly has been trending downward. It is now slightly more than 40 percent. With so many divorced families, why are there more children’s books depicting single parents? Fruit & Veggie Mom (@Eatfruitnveggie3h) asked me on Twitter, “My question is – what about books for single moms? Everything is mommy and daddy!”
This list is for her! Can you please help me out by adding your favorite children’s books with single parents? Thanks so much!
Single Parent in Children’s Books
10. A Chair for My Mother by Vera Williams
I love this picture book about an African American multigenerational family who save up and then search for a special chair after a fire destroys their home. Though it is never explicitly stated, the family is depicted as a grandmother, a mother and her daughter. [picture book, ages 4 and up]
Grasshopper and Sensei and PickyKidPix both discovered Roald Dahl in third grade. I think it was the first chapter book author they really fell in love with. Now that my youngest is in third grade, I hope that the magic of Roald Dahl happens again for him and his class.
In honor of Roald Dahl day today, I’m revisiting posts that I’ve done in previous years.
These were PickyKidPix’s favorite Roald Dahl books. If you asked her now, she would say that her favorite was:
George’s Marvelous Medicine
George’s Marvelous Medicine is also highly recommended by the kids in her class. She and I thought it was very, very funny too! Afterwards it inspired her to make a big messy mix up of potions and lotions. Fun stuff! It would make for a very fun children’s book club! Read more…
We are lucky to have farms in our suburban town as well as nearby but these local farms have morphed into U Pick or teaching centers. I guess I’ve always fantasized about life on a farm. Self-sufficiency and all that. I only know one person who grew up on a farm. His friends say that he’s the go to for any kind of fix it jobs. If you live on farm, you learn to do everything and anything!
My own garden plot in my tiny backyard is too shady and small to grow anything except hardy herbs like mint and oregano. I have to farm vicariously these days though books so I’ve rounded up my favorite old fashioned children’s books set on a farm. I hope you enjoy this trip down memory lane!
What are your favorite picture books and chapter books set on a old-fashioned back in time farm? Thanks so much for sharing!
Best Old Fashioned Children’s Books Set on a Farm
10. The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate by Jacqueline Kelly
Set in 1899 in Fentress, Texas near Austin, 11-year-old Calpurnia Tate lives on a bustling farming enterprise set up by her forward thinking and scientific minded grandfather along with her 6 brothers and parents. While this Newbery Honor chapter book focuses on Calpurnia’s evolution into a scientist — one hopes that she will be the first female to attend the University in Austin — I also loved the vivid descriptions of growing up on a Southern gentleman’s farm. Her grandfather owns the cotton gin mill as well as vast acres of pecans and cotton and the relationships between servants, locals and her family are also colorfully depicted in this strict social ladder of etiquette and status. [chapter book, ages 9 and up]