Saturday, December 11, 2010

Some popular picks at our library. . .

I get lots of requests for book/series recommendations--from kids and adults. Makes sense--after all, I am a K-5 librarian. That said, I struggle with my answer. Book choice can be very personal and one child's "best book ever!" may easily be another child's "what's the big deal?". That said, there are some books and series that are consistently popular with the kids at my school. With this in mind, I thought I'd put together a list of these with links to websites that give more information about each. Grade levels mentioned are merely suggestions based on observations--know your readers.

For 3rd through 5th graders:

Jeff Kinney's Diary of a Wimpy Kid series
Erin Hunter's Warrior series
Rick Riordan's Percy Jackson series
Jeff Smith's Bone graphic novels
Dav Pilkey's Captain Underpants series
Shel Silverstein's Where the Sidewalk Ends and other poetry

On a daily basis, I get numerous requests for books, any books,on specific topics--often more requests than I have books. These popular topics include: how-to-draw, origami, world records (especially the Guinness World record books), the Titanic, I Spy, dinosaurs, and jokes & riddles.

For Kindergarten through 2nd graders:

Nick Bruel's Bad Kitty and Poor Puppy
Alyssa Capucilli's Biscuit books
Dav Pilkey's Kat Kong and Dogzilla
Mary Pope Osborne's Magic Tree House series. An added benefit for this series is the availability of the non-fiction research guides to match the various topics.
Barbara Park's Junie B. Jones series

Monday, September 06, 2010

Found---The Missing: Book 1

When 13-year-old Jonah receives a mysterious note telling him "You are one of the missing" he has little idea how much these 6 small words will change his life. Who are "The Missing"? What happened at that airport 13 years ago? Why is the FBI involved? Who can we trust? These are just a few of the questions that Jonah, his sister Katherine and his new friend, Chip, are trying to answer in this suspense-filled mystery--a mystery that has them hiding from FBI agents, debating the existence of ghosts, and calling perfect strangers in an effort to find out the truth. School Library Journal recommends the book for Grades 4-8, but I know a few adults who are waiting anxiously for each new book in this series. :D

Saturday, May 08, 2010

Earth Mother by Ellen Jackson, illustrated by Leo & Diane Dillon

In this beautifully illustrated story, Earth Mother walks through the times of the day and through the seasons, her flowing robes reflecting each. Man thanks for her frog, which fills his belly, but wonders why she sent mosquito to torment him. Frog thanks her for sending tasty mosquito to give him life, but wonders why she sent man to catch him. Mosquito thanks her for man, but wonders why she sent frog who has already eaten most of his sisters. Each says that the world would be perfect if only she got rid of one of the others. At the end, as Earth Mother says good night to all her children, she goes to sleep knowing that "the world, in its own way, was perfect."

This year, I used this story for Earth Day, after my unit on folk tales. Before reading the story, I asked my students (Grades 2-5) to think about why I might choose to share this one for Earth Day. In some classes, when I get to Frog telling Earth Mother that man is "Bad, bad, bad", after having just heard man say the same about Mosquito, they start to chuckle as they recognize the pattern. Some classes "get it" right away--some take a little prompting with: "Have you heard the terms "Food Chain", "Food Web" or "Life Cycle"?

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Flurry's Frozen Tundra by Virginia Kroll, illustrated by Michael Maydak

Flurry is an arctic fox who has woken up hungry, but he has a problem: the long, dark arctic winter hasn't loosened its hold on the tundra and food is scarce. When Flurry decides to try and steal a meal from Mighty One (the polar bear), his friends Oomingmak, the musk ox, and Snowy, the snowy owl, try to talk sense into him. While Flurry learns a lesson about patience and safety, students can learn some useful facts about this harsh habitat and these animals.
I used this as a read aloud with my 2nd & 3rd graders and was tickled to find them hanging on every word as they wondered what might happen to Flurry. I paired this with a non-fiction title called Arctic Foxes and showed them actual photographs of the tundra and arctic foxes and polar bears. Two for one--tie-in to their classroom lessons on habitats AND reinforcement of concepts of fiction/non-fiction. Yay! This book is part of the "My Home" series by Kroll and Maydak about animals and their habitats, including Kingston's Flowering Forest and Bluffy's Mighty Mountain.