My kids are one-quarter Japanese and my mother’s side is from the Daimyo class, which is to say that they were feudal landowners located one hour from Hiroshima but this system changed starting in 1868 with Meiji restoration. I personally like reading about this ancient time in Japan but Grasshopper and Sensei and PickyKidPix have never shown any interest in that or anything ninja. My Japanese side has no real connection to ninja, a mercenary, than perhaps to have used them but my son loves all things ninja and we’ve progressed from ninja picture books, to ninja early chapter books, to now this action adventure chapter book:
Moonshadow: Rise of the Ninja by Simon Higgins
Set in Japan during the time of the Shogun rule, Moonshadow is an orphan adopted into the Grey Light Order, a secret ninja group loyal to the Shogun. He must stop a hungry Daimyo (warlord) from developing a powerful new weapon from the west that would threaten the fragile peace finally established in Japan. [chapter book, ages 8 and up]
Fourth grade at my elementary school marks a really interesting immigration unit that introduced my kids to their first group project experience. They learned, the hard way, about freeloaders but the end result was a “Wax Museum” where each child played a wax statue that, when prompted by dropping in a fake coin in a bucket, recited a speech about life as a new immigrant. Each group chose a different country to emigrate from that included Poland, Ireland, Italy, China, Japan and more. They also created a Wax Museum display bulletin board that talked about the immigrant experience from their country. What was most noticeable was how every, single group talked about the racism and prejudice they faced upon coming to America.
It seems that in fourth grade, kids are starting to really develop empathy skills so historical fiction about immigration or the mistreatment of dogs moves them deeply. I’ve included the books that my kids remember reading as part of a classroom assignment or as a read aloud in 4th grade and added a few of my favorites. My son just started 4th grade this year, so I will keep track of his classroom read alouds and will add them to this list all year.
Please share your ideas for 4th grade read alouds. Thank you! Read more…
PickyKidPix just started 7th grade this year and this book seems right up her alley. Now that she is assigned to read 40 books this school year from her English teacher, we will be seeking out high interest books like this one! Jessica Darling #2 hits shelves TODAY and I have author Megan McCafferty stopping by with advice for middle school kids.
How is your school year going? I hope you are off to a good start!
I wanted to highlight some great picture books and chapter books with diversity themes that have come my way. What multicultural books are you and your kids enjoying? Please share! Read more…
Edgar Award Winners for Best Juvenile Mystery
The “Edgars” as they are known are officially The Edgar Allan Poe Awards, named after Edgar Allan Poe, and presented every year by the Mystery Writers of America. The awards cut across many genres including mystery fiction, non-fiction, television, film, and theater.
I’ve listed the winners from the Juvenile category. Within the Juvenile category, there are wide span of ages, with the exception of picture books. If you want a picture book mystery, my recommedation is find the books by Doug Cushman.
My son is reading 5 books for summer homework assigned by his upcoming 4th grade teachers. He is supposed to read a variety of genres but I forgot about mysteries, hence this list! How about you? Are your kids reading and enjoying mysteries? What is their favorite? Thanks for sharing!
The E.B. White Read-Aloud Awards recognize books that reflect the playful, well-paced language, the engaging themes, and the universal appeal to a wide range of ages embodied by E.B. White’s collection of beloved books.
E.B. White Read-Aloud Awards Middle Reader
2014: Flora and Ulysses by Kate DiCamillo, illustrated by K.G. Campbell
2013: Wonder by R. J. Palacio
I discovered the first Noah Zarc chapter book a few years ago and I loved it! It has the same action adventure as a Percy Jackson chapter book but with time travel! I also like that Noah just so happens to have special needs — he’s in a wheelchair — but it doesn’t impede his ability to be a hero and it’s presented as “no big deal.”
In this first book, humans a thousand years in the future time travel back in time to capture pairs of animals now extinct so that they may be eventually be returned to future earth for repopulation after Cataclysm. It seems that humans have destroyed the earth and killed off every last species of animals in our not so distance future during a bad time called Cataclysm but can easily be imagined as nuclear disaster. Only Noah’s family is allowed to time travel back for the animal rescue mission but it’s a dangerous job, more so because of Haon, the bad guy, who wants this repopulation of earth’s animals plan to fail.
A Noah’s Arc story, of sorts, but action packed!