I’m excited to be judging first round Cybils this year in the categories of Easy Readers and Early Chapter Books. There were over 50 entrants for Early Chapter Books this year and we just finished picking the short list. Now, round 2 judges will take over to pick the final winners — 1 in each category!
There were some standout Early Chapter Books that had diversity in the mix and I wanted to highlight the best Early Chapter Books I’ve read so far. How about you? What Early Chapter Books are you loving? Please share!
New Great Early Chapter Books with Diversity Characters
I’m not sure why but Early Chapter Book are like newborn clothes; they are either GIRL or BOY. What happened to gender neutral? My favorite book out of all these Early Chapter Book is Lulu and the Hamster in the Night but I can’t imagine a boy picking up this book and reading it. This genre of books felt a little girl audience heavy as well. I’m not sure if this is a new trend or just a fluke.
Lulu and the Hamster in the Night by Hilary McKay
It’s interesting that there were quite a few animal adoption themed Early Chapter Books this year but this is exactly the kind of Easy Chapter book that I wish there were more of. Lulu and Mellie just happen to be girls of color but that’s not the point. Their adventure as rescue pet adopters is perfectly pitched. I’m really impressed with this series — last year, another Lulu book made the short list.
The plot is a classic sit-com; the girls stay at their grandmother’s house but with their rescue hamster but as she doesn’t allow furry animals, they have to hide the hamster during their weekend stay. The hamster, of course, gets out and has to be rescued. What makes this book sing is the pacing of this very sweet story that is wonderfully descriptive without ever dragging the plot down. I hope this one gets a win this year! [easy chapter book, ages 6 and up]
I’m really excited about this new series of early chapter book from Scholastic called Scholastic Branches.
The Branches line is solely made up of series. They want young readers to return to their favorite characters again and again—because that is how they build reading stamina and confidence!
There is a Branches book for every kid! According the Kids and Parents Reading Report™: Fifth Edition 73% of kids believe that they would read more if they could find more books that they like. With 14 different series and counting Branches delivers on providing kids with plenty of choices, so every reader can find the perfect book for them.
Does your kid love to laugh? Perfect! There is the zany and hilarious Kung Pow Chicken.
Does your reader love a fantastical adventure? Dragon Masters has it all: Dragons, a Dragon Stone, a king, a wizard, and magic!
How about a spooky story? Eerie Elementary will have your young readers on the edge of their seats!
4 Early Chapter Book Giveaway!
I’m giving away four early chapter books from Scholastic Branches to one lucky winner! Please fill out the Rafflecopter below to enter.
My husband had it all figured out. The Women’s World Cup was going to be held in Canada and if we got really lucky, we would be able to watch USA Women’s National Team if they made the quarter finals. We watched all their games with excitement! The scores were tight but we were going to see them in Ottawa!
We had never been to Ottawa but had visited Montreal five times and Toronto once. Ottawa is Canada’s capital and famous for a fried dough treat called a Beavertail. It comes topped with an assortment of sweets including Nutella and candy. My kids were delighted to sample it!
The drive up took 10 hours due to an accident involving a semi truck transporting gas that shut down the highway such that everyone shut off their cars for nearly an hour.
We also stopped midway in Burlington, Vermont which is a lovely stop for foodies! Farm to table was invented here I think!
It wasn’t easy finding great multicultural easy readers! My town library has about 49 cubic feet of easy readers — an entire wall — but about half have animal characters and most of the remaining books do NOT have characters of color. From my search that day, I’d say that about 2% of the square footage were multicultural books. I culled through all of these plus ran through the Geisel award-winning books and came up with my ten favorites.
Some of favorite Easy Readers include Little Bear, Mr. Putter and Tabby, Henry and Mudge, anything by Arnold Lobel, Fly Guy, Elephant and Piggie, Biscuit, and Dr. Seuss, but sadly, none of these books have diversity characters. I can understand that the animal based Easy Readers can not, but Mr. Putty could have a friend who isn’t white, right?! And Henry with his big dog Mudge could too. It doesn’t have to be a big deal; the friend just happens to be of color (and sometimes I prefer it that way). So just a thought to plant out there…let’s hope in 2016, Henry and Mr. Putter make new friends of color. Read more…
I am thrilled to be judging the Cybils in the category of Easy Readers and Early Chapter Books but mum’s the word on my opionion of the short list until the winners are announced on February 14th (also International Book Giving Day!).
All I can say is that this is a great list for emerging readers and newly independent readers. I’ve read the entire list there is something great about every single book! Feel free to find at your local library!
Cybils 2015 Best Easy Readers
MaryAnne of MamaSmiles and I are counting down our top 5 posts of 2014 together. Why? It’s fun to see what jives on different-yet-similar blogs. The year end is also a time of celebration and rejuvenation for another year of blogging. And I would argue that a blogging year should be counted like dog years!
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
I wanted to do a boy version of the 20 Gentle Books for a Young Girl at the request of a reader. I tried not to duplicate books but there are many on the girls’ list of 20 Gentle Books that would also be great for boys.
In making this list, I tend towards more old fashioned books but gentle books for boys can also be modern. What are your favorite gentle chapter books for a young boy? Please share! Thank you!
20 Gentle Chapter Books for a Young Boy
10. Frindle by Andrew Clements
A delightful early chapter book that every boy in 3rd grade seems to love at my elementary school. Nicholas Allen invents the word “frindle” to replace the word “pen.” For him, it not really an act of rebellion, it’s more an outlet to explore the power of ideas. Frindle catches on much to the consternation of his Language Arts teacher, but is she really upset? [ages 7-10]
My reader Natalie has a young daughter who has been reading enthusiastically at a young age:
My daughter read first books of Penderwicks and Half Magic, but I should look into their sequels to return her to a more gentle universe 🙂
My daughter is probably a little unusual since she is reading since she was 3, and it’s truly her favorite thing to do. We still read theme-based picture books (we really loved several of the kite books you recommended, by the way), but she is reading a lot of long books on her own.
She is a big fan of myths and legends as long as they don’t involve mummies and zombies – these are two things she is terrified of. She went crazy this summer about Percy Jackson and the Olympians – each book took her about 3 days to read, and then she reread all of them several times. Now she is reading through Famous Five by Enid Blyton. Last summer she read through Secrets of Droon, and, of course, she read all Magic Tree House and Magic School Bus chapter books.
I’ve arranged this list in the order of easier to more difficult books. So the 10th book is where I’d start your daughter and then I’d work down to the first book.
Readers, what other gentle chapter books for a young girl would you recommend? Thanks for sharing!
Old Fashioned Chapter Books for a Young Reader
10. My Father’s Dragon series by Ruth Stiles
My kids usually get this as a read aloud in first or second grade. Teachers love this old fashioned fantasy easy chapter book series. [easy chapter book, ages 6 and up]