Eleanor Estes, Louis Slobodkin (Paperback)
Genre: Fiction - Realistic Fiction; Book Themes: Friendship, School life
"The Hundred Dresses" by Eleanor Estes and Louis Slobodkin is a Newbery Honor award winner and a classic children's book in the genre of realistic fiction. The story's main character Wanda Petronski, a Polish-American girl from a poor family, is teased by classmates at school for being different and for saying she has one hundred dresses at home while she is wearing the same faded dress to school every day. Only after Wanda's absence from school do Maddie and Peggy find out the true story about the one hundred dresses and try to make amends. "The Hundred Dresses", one of the best chapter books of the 20th century, appeals to kids in second grade through sixth grade.
Madeleine L'Engle (Paperback)
Genres: Fiction - Fantasy Books, Science Fiction
"A Wrinkle in Time" by Madeleine L'Engle is a truly great classic children's book and one of the best chapter books of the 20th century. Its literature awards include Newbery medal. The main characters of the story are three children: Meg Murray, her brilliant younger brother Charles Wallace, and her friend Calvin. They travel through time and space to rescue Meg's father, who is held prisoner by dark forces on the planet of Camazotz. "A Wrinkle in Time" is a good read aloud book. Children in 4th grade through 7th grade can learn about the battle between good and evil and the power of love from this science fiction and fantasy book.
Kate DiCamillo (Paperback)
Genre: Fiction - Realistic Fiction; Book Themes: Animals, Friendship
"Because of Winn-Dixie" by Kate DiCamillo, a 2001 Newbery Honor book, tells a heartwarming story about love, friendship and tolerance. Main characters of the realistic fiction book are Opal Buloni, a 10-year-old girl, and Winn-Dixie, the dog she has found in the town grocery store. Opal has just moved to Naomi, Florida with her preacher father. Her mother left them seven years ago. Because of Winn-Dixie, Opal makes new friends. Among them are Gloria Dump, a kind old lady called a witch by children, Miss Franny Block, a librarian who loves to tell stories, and Otis, a pet shop worker who plays music to animals. These quirky characters are part of the charm of the chapter book. "Because of Winn-Dixie" appeals to children in 4th grade through 7th grade.
Patricia MacLachlan (Paperback)
Genre: Fiction - Historical Fiction; Book Themes: Family, Frontier and Pioneer Life
In "Sarah, Plain and Tall", author Patricia MacLachlan tells a moving story about the creation of a family. In simple language, a little girl named Anna talks about how Sarah from Maine comes to the prairie to live with her, her brother, and her widowed father. This historic fiction has won many awards, including Newbery Award, Christopher Award, Scott O'Dell Award for Historical Fiction for Children, Golden Kite Award for Fiction and Notable Children's Book. "Sarah, Plain and Tall" is one of the best children's books. Kids in second grade through sixth grade will enjoy this classic chapter book.
Sharon Creech (Paperback)
Genre: Fiction - Realistic Fiction; Book Themes: Family, Emotions and Feelings
"Walk Two Moons" by Sharon Creech is a moving realistic fiction story for young adults. Sharon Creech's Newbery Medal award winner tells a story within a story that deals with themes of love, loss and family. The main character, 13-year-old Salamanca Tree Hiddle, travels from Euclid, Ohio to Lewiston, Idaho with her eccentric grandparents to visit her missing mother. Along the way, Sal tells them the story of her friend, Phoebe Winterbottom. Phoebe is a girl of wild imagination. She finds mysterious messages such as "Don't judge a man until you've walked two moons in his moccasins" on her family's doorsteps. Phoebe's mother leaves her family unexpectedly but eventually returns; Sal has to deal with painful life changes and come to terms with her own loss. The characters in "Walk Two Moons" are interesting and well developed, from the protagonist with her complex emotions and feelings to the wacky and loving grandparents. "Walk Two Moons" is a good book for teens in 8th grade and up.
Carl Hiaasen (Paperback)
Genre: Fiction - Realistic Fiction; Book Themes: Animals, Environmental Protection, School life
"Hoot" by Carl Hiaasen is a Newbery Honor award-winning realistic fiction book for young adults. The main character of "Hoot" is Roy Eberhardt, a middle school student who has just moved to Florida from Montana. Being a new kid on the block, Roy becomes a victim of a school bully named Dana Matherson. While riding on the school bus, Roy spots a kid running barefoot and carrying no books. Later on, Roy makes friends with the homeless boy nicknamed Mullet Fingers, who is on an ecological mission to protect rare and endangered burrowing owls at the future construction site of Mother Paula's All-American Pancake House. With the aid of Mullet Fingers' stepsister Beatrice, Roy outwits the bully, helps the boy save the owls and warms up to life in Florida. Also featured in Hoot are a few adult characters, such as the construction foreman Leroy "Curly" Branitt and the ambitious police officer Delinko, who are both up in arms against the pranks. While sending a message about environmental protection, "Hoot" is an interesting and entertaining story to read. "Hoot" is a good book for teens in 7th grade and up.
Genre: Fiction - Adventure Books
The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle by Avi tells a suspenseful adventure story with a riveting plot. The main character of this Newbery Honor award-winning book is 13-year-old Charlotte Doyle, who grows and changes over the course of her eventful voyage on the high seas in 1832. The only passenger and the only female on a ship called Seahawk, Charlotte gets caught between a cruel captain and his vengeful crew. Charlotte first sides with the seemingly charming Captain Jaggery while befriending a cook named Zachariah. After realizing the captain's true nature, Charlotte Doyle works hard to win over the crew by becoming one of the seamen. When the captain charges her with a murder she didn't commit, Charlotte is tried and found guilty. But Charlotte manages to survive and win in her struggle with the captain and to arrive at her destination safely. The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle is a good book for teens in 8th grade and up.
Lois Lowry (Mass Market Paperback)
Genre: Fiction - Science Fiction
"The Giver" by Lois Lowry is a thought-provoking young adult science fiction novel. The protagonist of this powerful story is a 12-year-old boy named Jonas, who lives in a highly ordered community. The Elders assign jobs, spouses and families. Pain, poverty and war are non-existent. At the coming-of-age Ceremony of Twelve, Jonas was selected to become the new Receiver of Memory. As the giver transfers memories of the past to him, a whole new world opens up for the boy. After he discovers the terrible truth about his community, Jonas goes on a dangerous journey to escape. "The Giver" has received many awards, including 1994 Newbery Medal, Boston Globe-Horn Book Award Honor Book, ALA Best Book for Young Adults and ALA Notable Children's Book. With original plot and believable characters, "The Giver" appeals to teens in 8th grade and up.
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