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.
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.
Judy Blume (Paperback)
Genres: Fiction - Humorous Stories, Realistic Fiction; Book Themes: Family, Friendship
Superfudge by Judy Blume is a humorous story about families and sibling rivalry and friendship. In this sequel to "Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing", life is changing for 12-year-old Peter and 4-year-old Fudge. They are moving from New York City to Princeton, NJ, and the Hatcher family is having a new baby. Peter is upset that he has to leave his best friend Jimmy Fargo behind. Fudge is still full of antics; Peter doesn't want another sibling like Fudge. After moving to Princeton, Peter makes friends with Alex Santo, a boy who lives across the street. Just as life is looking up, Peter enters sixth grade in the same school Fudge starts kindergarten. Smart, lively and mischievous Fudge attends kindergarten a year early. This chapter book in the genre of realistic fiction is fast-paced, very funny, and has characters that kids can easily relate to. "Superfudge" appeals to children in 4th grade through 7th grade.
E. L. Konigsburg (Paperback)
Genre: Fiction - Realistic Fiction; Book Themes: Friendship, School life
"The View from Saturday" written by E.L. Konigsburg is a Newbery Award-winning book in the genre of realistic fiction. E.L. Konigsburg depicts four sixth graders and their middle school teacher on their journey to win an Academic Bowl. Each of the six graders tells stories from his or her point of view. The four children become close friends despite their different personalities. "The View from Saturday" is a good book for kids in middle school.
Lois Lenski (Paperback)
Genre: Fiction - Historical Fiction; Book Themes: Family, Farm Life, Frontier and Pioneer Life
"Strawberry Girl" is a classic children's book by Lois Lenski. In this award-winning historic fiction, a little girl named Birdie helps her family raise strawberries on a frontier farm and earns the title of "Strawberry Girl". Along the way, they have to cope with drought, roaming animals, grass fires and unfriendly neighbors. The chapter book depicts vividly what life was like in the lake region of Florida in the early 1900's. "Strawberry Girl" is a Newbery Medal and ALA Notable Children's Books award winner.
Linda Williams, Megan Lloyd (Paperback)
Genre: Fiction - Children's Picture Books; Book Themes: Emotions and Feelings, Halloween
"The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything" by Linda Williams is a great Halloween story although it doesn't have the word Halloween anywhere in the texts. A brave old lady walks home through a dark forest. She comes across two big shoes, a pair of pants, a shirt, two gloves and a hat. Each time, the little old lady tells them she is not afraid of anything. Then after a scary orange pumpkin head appears, the old lady runs all way home. Once at home, she overcomes her fear and finds a happy solution. The items that have tried to scare her become a scarecrow in the little old lady's garden. The picture book makes good use of attention-grabbing sound words, such as "clomp clomp", "shake, shake" and "clap, clap". Megan Lloyd's lively and detailed illustrations show the old lady's emotions and complement the story well. It is a good picture book for read aloud to children in preschool, kindergarten and first grade.
Barbara Cohen, Daniel Mark Duffy (Paperback)
Genre: Fiction - Historical Fiction; Book Themes: Immigrant Story, Multicultural, School life, Thanksgiving Stories
"Molly's Pilgrim" by Barbara Cohen is a touching multicultural historical fiction story. The main character of the chapter book is Molly, a Russian immigrant girl. Molly doesn't feel thankful as the Thanksgiving holiday comes near. Her third grade classmates tease her for her accents and looks. Molly hates going to school. She wants her family to move back to Russia or New York City, where there are more Jewish families. Miss Stickley, Molly's teacher, asks her to make a pilgrim doll out of a clothespin for the Thanksgiving class display. Molly has never heard about Thanksgiving before. When Molly gets home, her mother offers to make the pilgrim doll for her. To Molly's embarrassment, the pilgrim doll doesn't look like a pilgrim; it looks like her mother, a Russian immigrant. Molly's mother explains that she immigrated to the US for freedom of religion, just like pilgrims. "Molly's Pilgrim" appeals to children in second grade and third grade.
E. B. White, Garth Williams (Paperback)
Genre: Fiction - Animal Fantasy; Book Themes: Animals, Insects and Spiders, Friendship, Farm Life
"Charlotte's Web" by beloved author E. B. White, with illustrations by Garth Williams, is one of the best children's books ever written. In this Newbery award-winning chapter book, a pig named Wilbur forms a strong friendship with a spider named Charlotte, who also lives on the farm. Charlotte saves the pig's life by spinning words on her web. E. B. White creates a very memorable character in Charlotte. Children in second grade through seventh grade will enjoy this fascinating story and great classic children's book. "Charlotte's Web" is also a good animal fantasy book to read aloud to children.
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