All posts in Reading Lists: Easy Chapter Books

10 Books for Kids with Supportive Families & 10 Book GIVEAWAY!

10 Books for Kids with Supportive Families & 10 Signed Book GIVEAWAY!

Please welcome Judy Newman today. She’s the President of Scholastic Book Clubs and is sharing her list of 10 Books for Kids with Supportive Families. We are also giving away 10 signed copies of Bobs and Tweets: Perfecto Pet Show. I’m giving away 5 copies on my Instagram (@PragmaticMom), and 5 copies here. Feel free to enter both giveaways to increase your chance of winning. Please fill out the Rafflecopter below to enter.

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Family Matters by Judy Newman

There is so much I want to tell you about the Bobs and Tweets and I am so grateful to Mia for this opportunity to speak to her wonderful community—you!—people who care passionately about getting a wide range of diverse books into the hands of all children.

Bobs and Tweets: Perfecto Pet Show by Pepper Springfield, illustrated by Kristy Caldwell

This is an interesting concept: a rhyming early chapter book! In this story, the Bobs and Tweets, two very different kinds of kids, help each other out in order to get to their school pet show on time. Differences can be helpful, the Bobs and Tweets learn, when it comes to fixing a disaster. [early chapter book, ages 5 and up]

That’s been my day job too. My career, as President of Scholastic Book Clubs, has been devoted to making sure all children have easy access to top quality, affordable books in which they can see themselves and others—and help them make sense of the world around them.  And…have fun, be entertained, and learn to love to read! It’s a tall order, but great children’s books are uniquely able to do all that hard work.

In the Bobs and Tweets series, Kristy Caldwell, the illustrator, and I are creating a big world on Bonefish Street (where our characters live) and populating the community with interesting, imperfect, relatable characters—all kinds of kids and families—from many diverse backgrounds with different world views.Read more…

8 BIG Adventure Book Series & GIVEAWAY

8 BIG Adventure Book Series & GIVEAWAY

Please welcome Dustin Hansen who has a book list of his favorite dinosaur books! We are also giving away his two newest books! Please fill out the Rafflecopter at the bottom to enter.

MICROSAURS: Follow That Tiny-Dactyl! by Dustin Hansen

“Hansen mixes fantasy, science fiction, and realistic fiction to create a fast-paced read for elementary readers.” —Booklist

Danny and Lin are up for anything—but even they weren’t prepared for a secret laboratory filled with amazing inventions and astonishing discoveries. Who knew that tracking one tiny pterodactyl would open up such a giant world of adventure with the Microsaurs?

With punchy illustrations, neat spy gadgets, and informative backmatter with facts about the real-life dinosaurs on which the Microsaurs are based, here is a new chapter book series sure to appeal to dinosaur fans, daredevils, and young scientists alike! [early chapter book, ages 7 and up]

MICROSAURS: Tiny-Raptor Pack Attack! by Dustin Hansen

When Danny and Lin receive a mysterious package filled with toothy, scratchy Microsaurs hungry enough to chew through walls, along with a very large Microsaur egg, even the bravest adventurers might find themselves in over their heads! [early chapter book series, ages 7 and up]

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New Early Chapter Books to Get Kids Reading GIVEAWAY

New Early Chapter Books to Get Kids Reading GIVEAWAY

Have you ever tried a “book tasting?” It’s a fun way to get kids reading. You simply get a pile of books and have kids flip through the books, just to sample each one. Chances are that no one will leave empty handed.

Like baby clothes, Early Chapter Books tend to have a girl or boy appeal. Some like Magic Tree House, A to Z Mysteries, and Bailey School Kids appeal to both just like there are yellow, white and green infant clothes. I mean, they exist, but there’s just not a ton of them. But I try to judge the audience of the book, as open minded kids might not care if the character reflects themselves. I put the order of the books in this list by reading level, with the lower level first.

I did a book tasting with a pile of new early chapter books, and these are my favorites. How about you? What early chapter books are you or your kids enjoying?

I’m giving away 9 early chapter books to 9 winners. Please fill out the Rafflecopter at the bottom to enter.

New Early Chapter Books to Get Kids Reading

Charlie & Mouse by Laurel Snyder, illustrated by Emily Hughes

This reminds me of the Frog and Toad series by Arnold Lobel but instead of amphibians, it’s about two brothers. It has that same kind style of conversation and the same kind of gentle adventures but set during modern times. This feels like an instant classic. I’m a huge fan of Frog and Toad and I love this book! Everything about it appeals to me. [early chapter book, ages 4 and up]

Pigsticks and Harold and the Tuptown Thief by Alex Milway

I read and loved a Pigsticks and Harold book when I judged the Cybils but I asked for the book to be recategorized from Easy Reader to Early Chapter Book. Here’s the thing: it falls in between. That’s not really an issue for the reader. Pigsticks and Harold books are funny mystery adventures that appeal to kids. Try it with kids ready to leave Easy Readers and make the leap to chapter books. This is the perfect transition series. [early chapter book series, ages 5 and up]

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My 2017 Newbery Predictions

My 2017 Newbery Predictions

The Newbery Medal was named for eighteenth-century British bookseller John Newbery. It is awarded annually by the Association for Library Service to Children, a division of the American Library Association, to the author of the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children.

Balderdash!: John Newbery and the Boisterous Birth of Children’s Books by Michelle Markel, illustrated by Nancy Carpenter

This is the true story of how children’s books came to be, the brainchild of John Newbery, considered the father of children’s literature. In 1726, there were no children’s books at all. His first book, A Little Pretty Pocket-Book, was marketed as a book and a toy! It was a hit! For kids who appreciate Newbery books, have them read this engaging picture book biography, about the man whose name is a book award, but his own story largely unknown. [picture book, ages 4 and up]

I’ve been trying to pick Newbery winners for some time now, analyzing what pundits have picked and noting what books seem to be getting buzz all year. Sometimes this is a good predictor; sometimes not.

I have a few theories about what I think makes a good Newbery pick, but, of course, the actual Newbery committee pays no mind to what I think and has their own criteria which may or may not change slightly from year to year. Who knows?

A Newbery Book Should Have Broad Age Appeal

There’s nothing worse, in my mind, with a Newbery winner that is too high such that only the most advanced elementary school readers can attempt it. The Westing Game is a good example of that for me. It won in 1978.

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Civil Rights Movement Book Giveaways! #BlackLivesMatter

Civil Rights Movement Book Giveaways! #BlackLivesMatter

I’ve been seeing tweets about the Tuskegee Airmen that have been passing away. NPR has an article on Roscoe Brown: Remembering Tuskegee Airman Roscoe Brown, Educator And Civil Rights Trailblazer. He recently passed away in July at age 94.

Remembering Tuskegee Airman Roscoe Brown, Educator And Civil Rights Trailblazer

I wouldn’t have noticed the tweets, had I not been fortunate to read Carole Boston Weatherford’s excellent novel in verse You Can Fly, about the role the Tuskegee Airmen played in the Civil Rights Movement. I consider them the Jackie Robinson(s) of aviation.

I wouldn’t have read You Can Fly, had I not been fortunate to meet Carole at a book event for Voice of Freedom: Fannie Lou Hamer; The Spirit of the Civil Rights Movement.

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Great New Early Chapter Books

Great New Early Chapter Books

I was a first round judge for The Cybils Easy Readers and Early Chapter Books this past fall which meant that I read about 50 Easy Readers and 80+ Early Chapter Books that were nominated by the general public. Our group then came up with the short list, and then round two judges picked a winner in each category.

To keep track of each book, I kept notes on each book, rating it on a 5 point scale. I share my notes below of the books I liked the most (4.5 or 5/5). Our group then held online discussions via email on books that we liked, culminating in an online discussion to pick the short list. It’s interesting that  that strong reactions to books could go either way. A good example is The Case of the Missing Carrot Cake by Robin Newman … I loved the film noir detective story but not everyone agreed with me.  Charlie Bumpers vs. The Perfect Little Turkey is another book that I loved especially for its boy appeal — our list felt girl audience heavy — but our group tried to be gender neutral.


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Katie Woo and Pedro Early Chapter Book GIVEAWAY!

Katie Woo and Pedro Early Chapter Book HUGE GIVEAWAY!

PickyKidPix loves Katie Woo even though she discovered this series in 5th grade while messing around in her school library. She encouraged me to continue with the Katie Woo book giveaways because she wants to spread the love, and copies come my way that land in her room. I told her that a spinoff series about Pedro was coming out. She approved.

In celebration of the new Katie Woo spinoff series, Pedro, I’m doing a huge giveaway!

EIGHT Winners for Katie Woo or Pedro Early Chapter Book Giveaway

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Hamsters & Guinea Pigs in Early Chapter Books

Hamsters & Guinea Pigs in Early Chapter Books

I’m not sure what children’s publishing rule of thumb seems to dictate that hamsters sell Early Chapter Books but when I judged the first round Cybils, there were a surprising amount of hamster themed books in this category. This, of course, let me to search out more Early/Easy Chapter Books with hamsters as characters as well as picture books.

Why do you think Early Chapter Books and hamsters go so well together? Is this publishing gold or a knee-jerk “copy what’s working” strategy to find an escaped hamster? Are hamsters really the Houdinis of rodents or are we short-changing rats, moles, mice and other furry creatures?

My search for hamster books was prompted by this video below. It turns out that hamsters have flexible hips that allow them to take sharp turns easily, even doing a complete U-turn in a tight space. And let’s not discount their ability to stuff food into their cheek pouches. The pouches, which secrete no saliva, extend down to their hips! Read more…

Fond Memories of Katie Woo & 3 Book #giveaway

Fond Memories of Katie Woo & 3 Book #giveaway

When PickyKidPix was in 5th grade, she fell in love with the Katie Woo series but it’s not what you think. She and her friend Griffin liked to hang out in the Early Chapter Book corner of the library during library time. I would imagine that they were screwing around, as they tend to do. Their friend Avi found them there, and low and behold, were the Katie Woo books.

At first, instead of looking for a book to check out, they would read the Katie Woo books and act out the parts. You’d think that my daughter, being the only female AND Asian-American would be Katie Woo! No, “that’s racist, Mom,” says my daughter. She was the narrator because that part has the most lines.

part of the Katie Woo Club

My daughter is in the center and Griffin is to the right. Two members of the Katie Woo Club.

Griffin, who is bi-racial (and proud of it) African-American, was Katie Woo. Avi played all other characters. This library time diversion morphed into the Katie Woo Club, an exclusive club that my daughter assures me everyone wanted to join. Membership was exclusive to the three original founding members though, something that reminded me of Katie Woo, except that she would be nicer and would relent to let in new members. Read more…