Sunday, December 13, 2009

Higher Level Books for Younger Readers

This list is not for a specific reading level or age, nor is it comprehensive in scope—it is merely a compilation of series/titles/authors that could work well for younger students who are reading at high levels. (Thanks to my colleagues at LM_Net for helping to build this list.)

Keep in mind that, just because a child can sound out or read the words, it does not mean that they comprehend what they are reading. These children need help learning to pick “just right books” for themselves—books that might be a little challenging, but not so challenging as to frustrate them out of reading. Remember too that, just because a child can read a book does not mean that they are emotionally/socially mature enough to understand some of the situations that arise in some stories or some of the interactions that occur on a deeper level. If you have a younger reader who reads at a higher level, read with your child so that you can discuss things that may be of concern to you or to them. Not only does it help their understanding, it offers a wonderful chance to help you understand them just a little better. Ask questions. Share your views. Let them share theirs.

Some wonderful resources for helping students with developing their book selection skills include: the 2Sisters website, and Jackie Mims Hopkins' picture book, Goldie Socks and the Three Libearians.

Series (title and author):

American Girl-multiple authors
Animal Ark-Baglio
Araminta Spooke-Angie Sage
Beany and the Meany –Wojciechowski
Black Stallion-Farley
Captain Underpants-Pilkey
Carol Marsh Mysteries-
Charlie Bone- Nimmo
Chasing Vermeer (series by Balliet)
Children of Greenview-Knowles
Chronicles of Narnia -Lewis
Dear America Series-
Dragon Slayers Academy-
Emma -Warner
Enchanted Forest Chronicles-Wrede
Flat Stanley -Brown
Geronimo Stilton-
Guardians of Ga'Hoole -Lasky
Gooney Bird Green -Lowrey
Gregor the Overlander-Collins
Hank the Cowdog-John R. Erickson and Gerald L. Holmes
Hardy Boys (graphic novels and regular)

Judy Moody-McDonald
Little House-Wilder
Magic School Bus-
Mercy Watson -DiCamillo
Misty of Chincoteague -Henry
Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle -MacDonald
My America-
My Father’s Dragon -Gannett
Nancy Drew (graphic novels and regular)-
Pippi Longstocking -Lindgren
Pony Pals-
Poppy –Avi
Ramona Quimby -Cleary
Redwall -Jacques
Saddle Club-
Sandy Lane –Usborne
Septimus Heap series-Angie Sage
Mouse and the Motorcycle and other books by her-Cleary
Time Warp Trio -Scieszka
Wizard of Oz -Baum

Specific Titles:

A Bear Called Paddington -Bond
Abel's Island-Steig
Babe, the Gallant Pig and others by this author-King-Smith
Because of Winn-Dixie-DiCamillo
Ben and Me -Lawson
Big Idea, Ben Franklin?-Jean Fritz
Chalk Box Kid -Bulla
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory -Dahl
Charlotte’s Web-White
Doll People
Dr. DoLittle-
Dragon Rider-Funke
Freedom Rider-Ryan
Frindle -Clements
Half Magic -Eager
James and the Giant Peach -Dahl
Mary Poppins-Travers
Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane-DiCamillo
Mr. Popper's Penguins-Atwater
My Dog, My Hero -Byars
Peter and the Starcatchers
Rabbit Hill -Lawson
Secret of Platform 13-Ibbotson
Seven Wonders of Sassafras Springs-Birney
Star of Kazan-Ibbotson
Stuart Little -White
The BFG -Dahl
The Cricket in Times Square -Selden
The Gadget War -Duffey
The Hundred Dresses -Estes
The Meanest Doll in the World-
The Penderwicks -Birdsall
The Shrinking of Treehorn -Heide
The Stories Julian Tells -Cameron
When Santa fell to Earth-Funke
Where Do You Think You’re Going, Christopher Columbus?-Jean Fritz
Where Was Patrick Henry on the 29th of May?-Jean Fritz
Who’s That Stepping on Plymouth Rock-Jean Fritz
Why Don’t You Get a Horse, Sam Adams?-Jean Fritz
Will You Sign Here, John Hancock?-Jean Fritz
Wilma Unlimited; How Wilma Rudolph Became the World’s Fastest Woman -Krull
Wind in the Willows -Graham
Winnie the Pooh -Milne
Wonderful Flight to the Mushroom Planet -Cameron
You Want Women to Vote, Lizzie Stanton?-Jean Fritz

Beast Feast, Insectlopedia, Mammalabilia and others -Florian
Flicker Flash-Graham
New Kid on the Block -Prelutsky
Where the Sidewalk Ends, and others -Silverstein

Ride on the Red Mare’s Back -LeGuin
Saint George and the Dragon -Hodges
Sally Ann Thunder Ann Whirlwind Crockett: A Tall Tale -Kellogg
Swamp Angel -Issacs
The King’s Equal -Paterson
The Woman Who Flummoxed the Fairies -Forest
Young Guinevere -SanSouci

A Picture Book About… (series includes a wide variety of biographies in picture book format)
A Story of John James Audubon -Davies
Alvin Ailey -Pinkney
And Then What Happened, Paul Revere?-Jean Fritz
Bard of Avon: the Story of William Shakespeare-Diane Stanley
Beatrix Potter -Wallner
Brendan the Navigator: A History Mystery about the Discovery of America-Jean Fritz Can’t You Make Them Behave, King George-Jean Fritz
Cleopatra-Diane Stanley
Dare to Dream: Coretta Scott King and the Civil Rights Movement -Medearis
Dear Benjamin Banneker -Pinkney
El Chino -Say
Getting to Know the World’s Greatest Artists series-Venezia
Good Queen Bess; the Story of Queen Elizabeth I of England-Diane Stanley
How Ben Franklin Stole Lightning -Schanzer
Joan of Arc-Diane Stanley
Leonardo da Vinci-Diane Stanley
Leonardo’s Horse-Jean Fritz
Michaelangelo-Diane Stanley
Saladin: A Noble Prince of Islam-Diane Stanley
Shh! We’re Writing the Constitution-Jean Fritz
Teammates -Golenbock
The Boy Who Drew Birds;
The Lost Colony of Roanoke-Jean Fritz
The Secret Soldier: The Story of Deborah Sampson -McGovern
The Story of Ruby Bridges -Cole

Bats-Gail Gibbons
Beacons of Light: Lighthouses-Gail Gibbons
Chicks and Chickens-Gail Gibbons
Deserts-Gail Gibbons
Giant Pandas-Gail Gibbons
Grizzly Bears-Gail Gibbons
Horses-Gail Gibbons
Rabbits, Rabbits and More Rabbits-Gail Gibbons
Spiders-Gail Gibbons
The Berry Book -Gail Gibbons
The Honey Makers-Gail Gibbons
The Milk Makers-Gail Gibbons
The Monarch Butterfly-Gail Gibbons
The Pumpkin Book-Gail Gibbons
Whales-Gail Gibbons
Wolves-Gail Gibbons
Nature-Related Books by Jean George

Friday, December 11, 2009

Just Ella by Margaret Peterson Haddix

Margaret Peterson Haddix has woven a wonderful story from the stuff of fairytale legend--but with a "what if" twist that brings the story of Cinderella into the real world. What if there was no fairy godmother? What if Cinderella was a girl who took her destiny into her own hands and made her own fairytale ending? What if "happily ever after" is buried in lies, politics, and etiquette lessons, and Prince Charming isn't? Just a short time after the famous "glass slipper" incident, Ella is finding herself to be less than happy and is beginning to wonder if the royal life is really what she wants.
If you enjoy fairy tales with a twist, have always wondered about what happened next in the Cinderella story, and don't want to depend on a fairy godmother for your own happy ending? Read Just Ella.
As a note--some of the reviews suggest that this story might work well as a read-aloud for "younger readers". If you choose to use this story with "younger readers", be sure to read it for yourself first. There are some more mature elements to this more realistic Cinderella story.