All posts in Reading Lists: Grades 3-5

Who Dream of Flying

10 Books for Children Who Dream of Flying

Please welcome my guest blogger today, author Carole Boston Weatherford! Her novel in verse just came out, a stunning perspective of the accomplishments of the Tuskegee Airmen during Jim Crow WWII America. This is a family endeavor, the dramatic scratch board illustrations are by her son, Jeffrey Boston Weatherford.

You Can Fly: The Tuskegee Airmen by Carole Boston Weatherford, illustrated by Jeffrey Boston Weatherford

… before 1940, African Americans could not become pilots in the U.S. military.

Carole Boston Weatherford’s novel in verse tells the story of the Tuskegee Airman, the pioneering African-American pilots of World War II and of life for blacks during this time. Jim Crow laws permeated the military during this time; the SS Mariposa actually had a rope to separate black soldiers from white. But it also curtailed training and leadership opportunities for African Americans, both male and female. Top brass claimed that blacks for not fit to fly.

Of the more than 400,000 pilots trained by the Civilian Pilot Training Program, only 2,000 were black; less than half of a percent. With tremendous pressure to prove their worthiness,The Tuskegee Airmen earned 900 plus medals including Distinguished Crossed, Bronze Stars and Purple Hearts. Their accomplishments paved the way for full integration of the U.S. military. [novel in verse, ages 9 and up]

She created a list of books for children who dream of taking to the skies … not unlike the pioneering aviators of the Tuskegee Institute. Need more books about flying? I have a list of female aviators: Fabulous Flying Females. What books about flying did we leave out? Thanks for sharing! Read more…

More 5th Grade Books from a 5th Grade Boy (my son)

More 5th Grade Books from a 5th Grade Boy (my son)

I’m pleased that since our last update of books my 5th grade son read through the end of November, he’s (well… we’ve) managed to read another dozen. The key is that:

  1. He has to read at school.
  2. His teacher has a read aloud book.
  3. He’s assigned 30 minutes reading homework 5 days a week.
  4. We try to read 20 minutes at night on the nights he’s not assigned reading homework.
  5. I am picking new, fun books mixed up with books in series that he’s enjoyed.
  6. I read out loud to him 15 to 20 minutes a night as part of his 30 minute reading homework.
  7. His school does a March Madness reading competition which gets him reading.

I’m also trying to find similar books to what my son likes which include action adventure fantasy like Percy Jackson, funny notebook novels like Timmy Failure, and gaming contests like Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Read more…

Top 10 Best Historical Fiction Books for Kids

Top 10 Best Historical Fiction Books for Kids & GIVEAWAY!

Please welcome author Deborah Hopkinton who is guest posting with her favorite historical fiction books for kids. She also has a new book out, A Bandit’s Tale, and we’re doing a giveaway too below!

Top 10 Best Historical Fiction Books for Kids, Deborah Hopkinton

My new book, A Bandit’s Tale, is historical fiction, a genre I’ve loved since childhood. I like being transported into a different time and place and seeing how other writers play with history.

Read more…

Diversity Mystery Books for Kids

Diversity Mystery Books for Kids

It was a lot harder than you’d think to find mystery books for kids with characters of color. I want to thank my Instagram followers for their help in putting this list together:

West Meadows Detectives: The Case of the Snack Snatcher series by Liam O’Donnell

Myron is on the autism spectrum which makes him a great detective because his observations are based on fact and logic rather than emotion. When snacks go missing from his school cafeteria, it would seem that Sarah “Smasher” McGintley might be the culprit, but Myron and his classmates (which include children of color) from Resource Room 15 search for evidence in unlikely places until they find out what really is going on.

Liam O’Donnell communicates a subtle message to readers that kids with special needs also have special talents in this series for newly independent readers. [early chapter book, ages 6 and up]
Read more…

Top 10: Best Quirky Schools in Children's Books

Top 10: Best Quirky Schools in Children’s Books

Are there any schools that you wished you could have attended? How about any of these schools in children’s books? From quirky schools to ones that specialize in something unusual, here’s a list of schools to consider.

How about you? What are your favorite schools (quirky or otherwise) in children’s books? Please share!

 

10. School of Fear by Gitty Daneshvari

This is the kind of school you’d send your kids if they had debilitating phobias to conquer. Even if my kids weren’t terrified of something, I’d have them read this very funny series. [chapter book, ages 10 and up]

If you are afraid of the dark, I have a list of picture books you might relate to.

9. Yoko and Friends series by Rosemary Wells

I’d do a lot to get my kids into Mrs. Jenkins’ class at Hilltop School. She embodies the perfect teacher for any kind of child. The class itself seems like a typical group of kids: girl bullies, mean kids, messy kids, smart kids, shy kids, body image conscious kids and even a kid that brings sushi for lunch. This picture book series also feels like “every school” because I get a deja vu feeling when I read it. [picture book, ages 4 and up]

If you are starting school and want multicultural picture books to feel more comfortable, here’s my list: Multicultural Starting School Picture Books.

Read more…

New Josefina Mystery American Girl Doll

Fan Girling Over Valarie Tripp and Her American Girl Books

Our American Girl doll collection was passed onto another family

Our American Girl collection was passed onto another family with younger girls and you can tell that they are deeply loved!

My girls were never really into dolls including Polly Pocket or Barbie but they loved American Girl Dolls and requested them for Christmas. They especially loved the accessories that were designed around the doll sets but I loved the books.

And, in fact, it was the book sets that held our attention long after the excitement of a new doll wore off. As the years progressed, my oldest, Grasshopper and Sensei, solely requested American Girl Doll books. We read about Kit during the Great Depression, Josefina and the challenges of life on a rancho, Kaya on the plains, Addy’s life as a slave, and Felicity during the American Revolution. We read the contemporary books too, with Julie and Ivy. After she finished them all, she moved onto the American Girl Doll mysteries which she loved.


Read more…

Willy Wonka-Like Chapter Books & Kid Lit Blog Hop

Willy Wonka-Like Chapter Books & Kid Lit Blog Hop

How am I defining a Willy Wonka-Like chapter book? You probably don’t need an explanation but here I go anyway:

  • A wacky figure-head behind this adventure
  • A competition between kids (though adults can be involved) OR
  • A mystery that has to be solved through riddles and puzzles

Yep. That’s I came up with this list. What am I missing? Please help me out! Thank you!

 

Book Scavenger by Jennifer Chambliss Bertman

12-year-old Emily’s move to San Francisco is softened by the fact that Garrison Griswold, publisher of an online sensation called Book Scavenger, lives there. This hunt combines books and puzzle solving into a competitive scavenger race. It’s all for fun and bragging rights, but then Emily finds an odd book with her new friend James that just might be a clue to how Griswold wound up in a coma. Is this the end of the Book Scavenger game?

Readers can solve the puzzles in the book OR go on a book scavenger of their own. Yes, it’s a real thing! [chapter book, ages 8 and up]

Read more…

10 Perfect Read Aloud Books for 3rd Grade

Countdown: My #1 Most Popular Post of 2015

10 Perfect Read Aloud Books for 3rd Grade

10 Perfect Read Aloud Books for 3rd Grade is my top post for 2015! It all happened when I went to Anne Ursu’s The Real Boy dinner hosted by publisher Charlesbridge and met Colby Sharp, a co-founder of the Nerdy Book Club blog. I was already a huge fan of this group blog.

Colby had just switched from teaching 4th grade to 3rd grade and we talked about our favorite read alouds for 3rd grade. It turns out our top three were identical and in the same order. My son was in 3rd grade at the time and his teacher coordinated her read alouds with the other two teachers in that grade. She too, had a made a grade switch that year like Colby, but from 5th to 3rd.

I tracked the read alouds all year and it was year of wonderful books. I then built lists for all elementary school grades, making sure not to repeat books from list to list.

There you have it! My Top 5 Post Countdown for 2015! Happy New Year’s Eve! Thank you all so much for reading my blog. I wish you a joyous New Year and hope to see you in 2016!



11 New DIVERSITY Early Chapter Books

15 New DIVERSITY Early Chapter Books

I’m excited to be judging first round Cybils this year in the categories of Easy Readers and Early Chapter Books. There were over 50 entrants for Early Chapter Books this year and we just finished picking the short list. Now, round 2 judges will take over to pick the final winners — 1 in each category!

There were some standout Early Chapter Books that had diversity in the mix and I wanted to highlight the best Early Chapter Books I’ve read so far. How about you? What Early Chapter Books are you loving? Please share!

New Great Early Chapter Books with Diversity Characters

I’m not sure why but Early Chapter Book are like newborn clothes; they are either GIRL or BOY.  What happened to gender neutral? My favorite book out of all these Early Chapter Book is Lulu and the Hamster in the Night but I can’t imagine a boy picking up this book and reading it. This genre of books felt a little girl audience heavy as well. I’m not sure if this is a new trend or just a fluke.
Lulu and the Hamster in the Night by Hilary McKay
It’s interesting that there were quite a few animal adoption themed Early Chapter Books this year but this is exactly the kind of Easy Chapter book that I wish there were more of. Lulu and Mellie just happen to be girls of color but that’s not the point. Their adventure as rescue pet adopters is perfectly pitched. I’m really impressed with this series — last year, another Lulu book made the short list.

The plot is a classic sit-com; the girls stay at their grandmother’s house but with their rescue hamster but as she doesn’t allow furry animals, they have to hide the hamster during their weekend stay. The hamster, of course, gets out and has to be rescued. What makes this book sing is the pacing of this very sweet story that is wonderfully descriptive without ever dragging the plot down. I hope this one gets a win this year! [easy chapter book, ages 6 and up]

Read more…