Hoot by Carl Hiaasen won an insane amout of awards including A Newbery Honor Award and it’s not hard to see why once you read it. It’s a mystery and an adventure with multiple happy endings including the school bully getting what he deserves.
We saw the The Lightening Thief movie and it has sparked a renewed interest in mythology in my 4th grader so I wanted to suggest two other great books on mythology by THE classicist, Edith Hamilton.
This series is about Sam Gribley living unhappily in New York City who runs away to some forgotten family land in the Catskill Mountains. He learns to live off the land with the help of a kindly librarian, a falcon baby, a flint and steele, penknife, and a ball of cord. He is joined by his sister in book two, and book three chronicles Frightful’s migration journal south.
This is a great book to teach children how to relate to their classmates with special needs. In this picture book, MacKenzie Macabee meets Dylan, the new boy at school who seems a little different. When he has trouble fitting in, she puts the pieces of the puzzle together of why and learns about autism, but, even more importantly, she learns how to connect with him.
Everything on a Waffle by Polly Horvath is Pippi Longstocking meets Anne of Green Gables combined with a Newbery Honor Award. For grades 3-5.
In the Year of the Boar and Jackie Robinson by Bette Bao Lord is the story of Shirley Temple Wong as she immigrates to America at age 8 and discovers that American is the land of opportunity by learning about baseball, the Brooklyn Dodgers and the great Jackie Robinson. Four other immigrant stories are listed and all books are approrpriate for grades 3-5.
Rosemary Well’s Mary on Horseback is historical fiction about Mary Breckenridge, founder of Frontier Nursing Services in mountains of Appalacia after WWI. I also recommend The Year of Miss Agnes by Kirkpatrick Hill.
If you want a great old-fashioned fairy book and tire of those repetitive Rainbow Fairies, try No Flying in the House by Betty Brock.
Grace Lin is the Amy Tan of Children’s Literature. Her latest book, Where the Mountain Meets the Moon, is her best yet. Perfect for 2nd-5th graders or even older. She weaves Chinese folk tales into a tapestry of stories where the whole is much greater than the sum of its parts.