Please welcome author L. R. W. Lee, author of the Andy Smithson fantasy adventure chapter book series. Her second book, Andy Smithson: Venom of the Serpent’s Cunning launches today! To celebrate, I’m interviewing the author with a 5 question Q and A interview and giving away some books!
All posts in Reading Lists: Middle School
Live cast of the awards is here! Here are the winners and honor books!
Caldecott Medal and Honor Books 2014
The Caldecott Medal was named in honor of nineteenth-century English illustrator Randolph Caldecott. It honors the artist of the most distinguished American picture book for children.
2014 Caldecott Winner
Locomotive by Brian Floca
2014 Caldecott Honor Books
Journey by Aaron Becker
Flora and the Flamingo by Molly Idle
Mr. Wuffles! by David Wiesner
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]
Rising 3rd Grade Summer Reading List
The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate by Jacqueline Kelly
My son’s close friend is a 4th grader, Connor, and he hates Percy Jackson (gasp!) but loves this book. That intrigued me, especially as the lead character is an 11-year-old girl during in 1899. I bought it a few years ago when it won a Newbery honor — frankly it was the cover that drew me in but it’s the gorgeous writing that has kept us reading. Me mostly to him.
Like a truffle, this book is to be savored in small quantities. We read about 1 or 2 chapters each night so it’s taken us quite some time to finish this chapter book. But it’s so worth it. The evolution is a young girl (perhaps author/attorney/doctor Jacqueline Kelly herself) reimagined at the turn of the 20th century, in a small town outside of Austin, Texas (where Kelly lives now) as she realized that she can be more than a housewife.
We finally finished this book and it was well worth the journey! [chapter book, ages 9 and up]
I should title this post: Books I Am Forced to Buy But That’s OK Because It Will Be My Kids’ Summer Reading
I used these great sources to search for books that might win awards next year but also that I think my kids would like.
- My son, a rising 3rd grader like humor, math-y and science-y stories, and well written stores.
- PickyKidPix, a rising 6th grader likes Newbery quality realistic fiction. Extra points for special needs characters. She also prefers a strong girl character.
- Grasshopper and Sensei will be entering 8th grade. She like action adventure, realistic fiction and YA that revolves around teen relationships.
Newbery 2104 Predictions
The Center of Everything by Linda Urban
For Ruby Pepperdine, the “center of everything” is on the rooftop of Pepperdine Motors in her donut-obsessed town of Bunning, New Hampshire, stargazing from the circle of her grandmother Gigi’s hug. That’s how everything is supposed to be—until Ruby messes up and things spin out of control. But she has one last hope. It all depends on what happens on Bunning Day, when the entire town will hear Ruby read her winning essay. And it depends on her twelfth birthday wish—unless she messes that up too. Can Ruby’s wish set everything straight in her topsy-turvy world?
This seems to be a frontrunner for the 2014 Newbery and it sounds perfect for PickyKidPix. I love the cover too.
To accompany our field trip on the Boston Freedom Trail, I’ve found 10 great American Revolution chapter books for different ages and, more importantly, from different perspectives including silversmith apprentice, Tory loyalist, runaway slave, Native American and even King George.
History is written by the victor. Can you imagine what life must have been like during this tumultous period of the birth of the United States? If you read all ten books, you might feel like you were there! These books support the 5th grade Common Core Curriculum unit for the American Revolution.
What are your favorite American Revolution books for kids? Please share! Let’s build this list together!
American Revolution Chapter Books From Different Perspectives
10. Johnny Tremain by Ester Forbes
I don’t know if kids read this chapter book anymore but it was one of my favorite books as a child. Johnny Tremain is fourteen and apprenticed to a silversmith and I always pictured that this is what it must have been like to work for Paul Revere. Johnny has a terrible accident and his hand is horribly burned by molten silver destroying his dreams of becoming a master silversmith.
A depressed Johnny finds work as a dispatch rider for the Committee of Public Safety, a job that brings him in touch with Boston patriots—and the excitement that will lead to the Tea Party and the Battle of Lexington. [chapter book, ages 9 and up]
9. My Brother Sam is Dead by James Lincoln Collier
A family divided by war. Tim Meeker has always looked up to his brother Sam, who has now joined the American Revolution. His parents support King George. Tim will have to make a choice — between the Revolutionaries and the Redcoats . . . and between his brother and his father. [young adult, ages 12 and up]
8. Moon of Two Dark Horses by Sally M. Keehn
The Revolutionary War from the Native Indian perspective:
Coshmoo and Daniel have been best friends as long as the Delaware Indians and white settlers have lived peacefully along the Susquehanna River. But now the river is red with blood as people from both sides are killed in the Revolutionary War. The British king wants Coshmoo’s people to fight on his side, and holds out the promise that their land, which has been taken by the settlers, will be returned to them. As the tension grows, Coshmoo and Daniel vow-as they have so many times-to remain loyal friends, no matter what happens. Then, one day, their friendship comes up against the ultimate test. [chapter book, ages 10 and up]
This great summer reading list is the result of a fruitful collaboration between the Newton Public School Library Teachers & the Newton Free Children’s Librarians. I’ve discovered a secret: don’t use your school’s summer reading list, use MINE instead. Why? Your list of books will never be on your library bookshelves because your entire town is trying to check them out. Ditto for my list in my town.
I’ll be posting the rest of the summer reading lists during the next two weeks: Rising Kindergarten, Rising First Grade, Rising Second Grade, Rising Third Grade and Rising Fourth Grade.
Let’s swap lists instead! My rising 5th Grader, PickyKidPix, has her own list of 5th grade chapter books. Many of the books she recommends are on this list below.
See you at the library! Please share what you are reading this summer with your kids!
Other lists here:
Rising 5th grade Summer Reading List
Eva of the Farm by Dia Calhoun
Twelve-year-old Eva writes beautiful poems on the farm in Washington State that her family has owned for generations, but when money runs out and then her baby brother gets sick, the family faces foreclosure and the way of life she loves is threatened.
Poison Most Vial by Benedict Carey
When a famous forensic scientist turns up dead and Ruby’s father becomes the prime suspect, Ruby must marshal everyone she can to help solve the mystery and prove her father didn’t poison his boss.
A Black Hole Is Not a Hole by Carolyn Cinai DeCristofano
Introduces black holes, describing their physical features, how they were discovered, what causes them, and where they exist in space.
We might be in the same shoes. My son just finished all the Rick Riordan books which kept us happily reading for the better part of the school year. But now we are adrift, desperately seeking more books like Percy Jackson. Riordan’s books are so exciting, we often stay up past my son’s bedtime for “just one more page.” We more of those type of books.
We also like the special powers conferred by lineage to gods. Deep down, my son and I both feel that we are Half Bloods and/or godlings just waiting to discover our latent powers. It hasn’t happened yet but we’re not discouraged.
Learning about ancient Mythology from any civilization is a welcome bonus. I like it because we feel smarter for knowing about gods and heroes and the learning is so pleasant that it doesn’t feel like work.
I think any age is the perfect age to read about mythology. I’ve gathered up our favorite Riordan-like Percy Jackson books as well as mythology picture books and easy chapter books. I also have a collection of Mythology Books for Kids on Pinterest.
Mythology Picture Books for Kids
Young Zeus by G. Brian Karas
Karas has carefully researched mythology on Zeus’ youth to create this wonderful picture book that stays true to its classic origins. Young kids will love the story and older kids will still get something out of it. It’s a picture book that manages to bridge a wide span of ages. [picture book, ages 4 and up]
Alexandra of familymobileapps.com left me a comment that said, “I love your specific lists! So, I wonder if Poland themed books for kids is too big or too little a challange for you? ”
So I thought, “No problem. I’ll research.”
But what I found was a striking lack of diversity in Polish themed books for kids: folk tales and Holocaust and that’s about it! I think this is possibly worse than Japanese American books for kids which seem to singularly focus on WWII internment.
Can you please help me identify more books? As for my list, here are my folk tales and Holocaust books about Poland for kids.
10 Books About Poland for Children
10. Seedfolks by Paul Fleishman and illustrated by Judy Petersen is an exception. I just happened to be reading this after PickyKidPix recommended it and checked it out at the library. Set in inner-city Cleveland, a rough neighborhood is transformed after a little girl dares to clear a patch in a garbage strewn vacant lot to plant a handful of lima bean seeds. Her neighborhood had undergone waves of transformation as new immigrants settled in and then moved out if they could afford to. Once full of Polish immigrants, only a few Caucasians remained but this particular elderly Polish lady plays a pivotal role in getting the lot transformed. An oblique reference to Poland, to be sure, but I wish there were more books with Polish American characters.