All posts in Reading Lists: Grades 3-5

Top 10 Fantasy Adventures for Kids & 3 Signed Book GIVEAWAY

Top 10 Fantasy Adventures for Kids & 3 Signed Book GIVEAWAY

Please welcome author G. A. Morgan with her list of Top 10 Favorite Fantasy Adventures. The final book of her own fantasy adventure series, The Five Stones Trilogy, releases today called The Kinfolk!

I’m thrilled to be giving away 3 SIGNED copies of The Kinfolk to 3 winners. Please see Rafflecopter at the bottom to enter. If you follow me on Instagram, I’m doing more book giveaways there as well.——————

Greetings readers of Pragmatic Mom! Thank you for encouraging your kids to read fantasy. The great news about fantasy-adventure books is that kids tend to devour them. The best ones, in my opinion, tell a riveting story with relatable characters, but offer—at the core—some irrevocable, universal truths.

With technology ever-present and Hollywood bringing to screen many of our favorite stories, it’s more important then ever to have reading choices that are broad and deep; that offer exciting narratives but are also thought-provoking and linger in the imagination long after childhood is over. They also should appeal to both girls and boys.

That’s what I tried to accomplish in The Five Stones Trilogy, and these are the qualities I looked for when creating this list. By and large, the books in this list are appropriate for ages 8-14 (and beyond!), depending on reading ability, and my list gets “older” as we move down it. Read more…

164 Chapter Books for Difficult Situations: #MGGetsReal

166 Chapter Books for Difficult Situations: #MGGetsReal

Please welcome my guest blogger today, Kerry Cerra. She’s the author of Just a Drop of Water (9/11 and Religious Intolerance), but she’s here today with author friends –Shannon Wiersbitzky of What Flowers Remember (Alzheimer’s),Kathleen Burkinshaw of The Last Cherry Blossom (Hiroshima), Joyce Moyer Hostetter of Comfort (War Trauma), and Shannon Hitchcock of Ruby Lee & Me (School Integration) — to create a comprehensive list of realistic fiction for middle grade (ages 9 and up).

This list of 165 chapter books covers a plethora of topics. Let me know if you need a category that isn’t listed. I hope you find this list as useful and I do!

  • Chapter Books with Abandonment
  • Chapter Books with Verbal or Physical Abuse
  • Chapter Books with ADD/ADHD
  • Chapter Books with Adoption/Foster Care
  • Chapter Books with Substance Abuse
  • Chapter Books with Alzheimer’s/Dementia
  • Chapter Books Covering Anxiety
  • Chapter Books with Autism/Asperger’s
  • Chapter Books with Blended Families
  • Chapter Books with Body Image Issues
  • Chapter Books with Bullying
  • Chapter Books with Civil Rights/Integration
  • Books for Tweens with Deaf/Hearing Loss
  • Chapter Books with Death of a Parent/Grandparent
  • Chapter Books with Death of a Sibling
  • Chapter Books with Depression and Mental Illness
  • Chapter Books with Discrimination & Prejudices (religious, ethnic, etc.)
  • Chapter Books with Divorce
  • Chapter Books with Dyslexia
  • Diverse Chapter Books
  • Chapter Books with Eyesight/Blindness
  • Feeling like You’re a Bad Friend Chapter Books
  • Chapter Books About Following Your Dreams Despite Odds
  • Chapter Books with Gifted Characters
  • Chapter Books on Homelessness
  • Chapter Books Dealing with Illness
  • Chapter Books on Immigration
  • Books with LGBTQ
  • Chapter Books with Physical Disability/Disfiguration
  • Chapter Books with Self-Doubt
  • Chapter Books with Stepfamilies
  • Chapter Books with Suicide
  • Chapter Books with Survivor’s Guilt
  • Chapter Books About Wanting to Fit In
  • Chapter Books with War Trauma

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Hands down my favorite thing about visiting schools as an author is the ability to recommend books to readers. Of course I speak about my own novel, but I always bring others with me. Lots of them. Why? Because I wholeheartedly believe it’s important for kids to be able see themselves in a story, and I know my book may not be that book for everyone. So I’m thrilled to be part of an exciting campaign, #MGGetsReal, with four other awesome authors. Our goal is simple: to highlight books which kids can relate to on a personal level—so they don’t feel so alone, afraid, or different.

All most of us have to do is remember back to our pre-teen years to know that kids long to feel one with the masses. To be accepted. To fit in. The recent video of a young girl, Emma, from Texas who wears a prosthetic leg is proof of this. With videotape rolling, Emma’s excitement is palpable as she realizes she’s getting an amazing gift, an American Girl doll. And lucky for myself and the millions (yes, millions) of viewers who have now seen the footage, we witness Emma’s genuine happy-shock reaction when she opens the box to discover that the doll is actually sporting a prosthetic leg just like her own. Seriously? Can you imagine anything better for this girl? Go ahead and view it here, but be careful, for Emma’s tears are infectious!

My own middle-grade novel, Just a Drop of Water, is the story of two thirteen-year-old boys—one Christian, one Muslim—and how their friendship is tested in the wake of September 11, 2001. It has strong themes of friendship, loyalty, bullying, and peace. Every so often at a school visit, I’ll encounter a Muslim student who pulls me aside to say how much the book, particularly the character of Sam, resonates with them and to thank me for writing it.

A handful of times, I’ve had kids tell me they are like the main character Jake. They too only see the world in black and white. With no gray. What’s right is right and what’s wrong is wrong. They are Jake! And like Jake, they sometimes get in trouble for it. I feel like the luckiest author in the world when I get to have these important discussions with them about how it’s okay to stand up for what you believe in, but to do so peacefully. And to know that sometimes my book is one that a kid connects to in such a personal way, well, it’s singlehandedly the reason why I write!

Read more…

5th Grade Book Recommendations from My 5th Grader

5th Grade Book Recommendations from My 5th Grader

My son has picked up the pace reading books this year in 5th grade. His book lists are now in three parts.

5th Grade Books from a 5th Grade Boy has books that he read as a rising 5th grader as well as book he read in the early part of the school year. You’ll notice his reluctance to read by all the graphic novels he read. This was also the turning point for novels in verse for him when he discovered The Crossover which lead to more novels in verse.

Best 5th Grade Books from My 5th Grade Son is part 2 of 3. You’ll notice that he likes FUNNY and ACTION ADVENTURE, preferably combined á la Rick Riordan. His 5th grade teacher has him reading historical fiction for the first time which he’s really enjoying. This set us up for more historical fiction and even historical fiction as a novel in verse!

How about you? What do you think he should add to his reading list? I am planning on having him read at least five books this summer.

5th Grade Chapter Books from a 5th Grade Boy

Brooklyn Bat Boy: the Story of the 1947 Season That Changed Baseball Forever by Geoff Griffin

I really liked learning about Jackie Robinson through the perspective of a Irish American bat boy.

Jackie Robinson’s first season with the Brooklyn Dodgers told from the point of view of the new batboy. My son and I loved this historical fiction early chapter book, complete with authentic slang. Pair it with a biography on Jackie Robinson if you  want to learn about this extraordinary man. [early chapter book, ages 8 and up]

Read more…

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.
Read more…

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!

Read more…

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…