All posts in Reading Lists: Grades 3-5

The Inside Scoop on Jackie Robinson and His Teammates

The Inside Scoop on Jackie Robinson and His Teammates

Please welcome my guest author today, Geoff Griffin, who wrote a Jackie Robinson story that my son and I really connected to, Brooklyn Bat Boy. Told from the point of view of a fictional bat boy, it’s the story of Jackie Robinson’s first season with the Brooklyn Dodgers.

Brooklyn Bat Boy

What struck me was the reaction of his teammates reflected the world around him during this time of segregation and Jim Crow laws. Eddie Stansky did not being on an integrated team, but when a rival team harassed Jackie, he was the first to stick up for him. Pee Wee Reese, on the other hand, harbored no such racism. His support may have been the difference between success and failure of this social experiment? Who knows?  Please read on for Geoff’s post …

Jackie Robinson

The Inside Scoop on Jackie Robinson and His Teammates

While doing research for my book Brooklyn Bat Boy, the fictional story of the bat boy for the Dodgers during Jackie Robinson’s 1947 rookie season, one thing that struck me was how much the attitudes of Robinson’s teammates changed as spring turned to fall that season.
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Science Fiction for Ages 8 and Up

Riveting Science Fiction for 3rd-7th Grade Boys AND Girls

Science fiction: fiction based on imagined future scientific or technological advances and major social or environmental changes, frequently portraying space or time travel and life on other planets.

A reader asked me for Science Fiction books for 5th grade. I have a 5th grade son which gives me pause to give him Sci Fi that is too scary or too high for him. But there is also some confusion as to what is included in Sci Fi in my head. How does Dystopian fit in? Is it a sub-genre of Sci Fi or a different genre? Is there overlap?

The best answer I found says:

Dystopian novels are those set in a world that’s basically the opposite of a utopia. A world that’s bad, often with a tyrannical or otherwise oppressive government.

Works of science fiction involve scientific technology that’s most often invented for the work or imagined to have evolved from existing stuff, but based on real principles. They’re usually futuristic and often involve space – travel, other planets, etc.

What about time travel? Is time travel science fiction? What if it’s set in our current realistic world?

Simply, Time Travel Science Fiction are stories in which traveling to the past or future is possible. Time travel is a natural complement to space travel and so it is a frequent occurrence in Sci Fi stories. from Best Science Fiction Books

In sorting out lists that I researched, I tried to focus on books that I would hand my 5th grader that fall firmly in Science Fiction territory. The book most likely to win him over to Sci Fi? The True Meaning of Smekday by Adam Rex. This is a hilarious and wildly creative take on alien abduction and invasion as told by our heroine, 11-year-old Tip.

What other great Sci Fi books for kids am I missing? Thanks for your suggestions!

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Top 10: Baseball Chapter Books for Kids

Top 10: Baseball Books for Kids & GIVEAWAY

In the spirit of teamwork, Frank Nappi and I came up with our favorite Top 10 Baseball Books for Kids. We are also giving away his book, The Legend of Mickey Tussler.

It’s baseball season in Boston and that can only mean the Red Sox and checking the schedule to see when the home games are because traffic is brutal in the Fenway on game days.

My kids chuckle to see adults pouring off the subway decked out in Red Sox gear, happy and giddy as kids on their way to a game. But that’s the beauty of baseball games. It makes everyone young again.

Win, lose or draw, you can aways count on the food at Fenway Park, Sweet Caroline at the seventh inning stretch, and the history of the stadium to seep in to give you an experience that says a perfect Boston day!

How about you? Who are you rooting for?

p.s. Red Sox fans might like photographs by my friend Sharon Schindler. Her Fenway Park photos are extremely popular around these parts.

Sharon Schindler Photography Red Sox Fenway Park art Read more…

KRISTEN KITTSCHER, Wonderful Diversity Mysteries for Ages 8-18

Wonderful Diversity Mysteries for Ages 8-18

Please welcome my guest blogger today, author Kristen Kittcher! We both came up with our favorite diversity mysteries for kids and I’m surprised how there is very little overlap!

I have a feeling that there are more great mysteries written of authors of color or with protagonists of color or with special needs. Can you help us out with your great suggestions? Thanks so much!

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There’s little I love more than reading books about smart, curious, and creative kids—especially if those adventures involve solving high-stakes mysteries that elude adults. So, it’s no surprise that I also love writing about them. My seventh grade best friends and wannabe super-sleuths Sophie Young & Grace Yang certainly go on some wild adventures in my own mysteries for young readers, The Wig in the Window and The Tiara on the Terrace.

But what’s even more wonderful than following the adventures of clever sleuths? When those novels’ heroes truly reflect the diverse spectrum of backgrounds and experiences of the real world! Read more…

New Rick Riordan Book, The Trials of Apollo, the Hidden

Win New Riordan Book #TrialsofApollo #giveaway

This post is brought to you in partnership with Disney-Hyperion. Disney-Hyperion sent me this title, and is also providing a prize pack for one winner from my site.

THE TRIALS OF APOLLO: THE HIDDEN ORACLE

Are you ready for a new Rick Riordan book? I know that my son is! He’s read every single children’s book that Rick Riordan ever wrote. We are ready for a new Riordan!!! What’s this new book about? I’m glad you asked … Read more…

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.

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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]
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