Arnold Lobel (Paperback)
Genre: Fiction - Picture Story Books; Book Themes: Animals, Friendship
"Frog and Toad Are Friends" by Arnold Lobel is a great book for beginning readers. The friendship between Frog and Toad is depicted vividly in five short chapter stories that are funny, engaging and easy to read. "Frog and Toad Are Friends", a Caldecott Award winner, is one of the best classic picture story books.
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.
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.
Kevin Henkes (Hardcover)
Genre: Fiction - Picture Story Books; Book Theme: School life
"Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse" by Kevin Henkes is one of the best children's books of the 20th century. Lilly the mouse loves school and her teacher Mr. Slinger. But one day Lilly brings a brand new purple plastic purse to school and shows off the purse at an inappropriate time. When her teacher has to take the plastic purse away, Lilly becomes angry. At the end of the school day, Lilly gets her purse back along with a thoughtful note from her teacher. In the end, Lilly retains her good feelings for school life and her teacher. This picture book appeals to kindergartners and first graders. "Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse" is a good real-aloud book for both home and classroom. Apart from fun reading, the book can also be used to teach appropriate classroom behavior.
Cynthia Kadohata (Hardcover)
Genre: Fiction; Book Themes: Family, Multicultural
"Kira-Kira" by Cynthia Kadohata is a beautifully written fiction novel for young adults. The 2005 Newbery Medal winner tells a moving story from the point of view of Katie, a Japanese American girl, whose family moves to Georgia in the late 1950s. Kira-Kira means glittering in Japanese. Katie loves her elder sister, Lynn. It is Lynn who teaches her to appreciate "Kira-Kira" in daily life. When Lynn falls ill with lymphoma, the family has to struggle like never before. Their parents work extremely long hours in bad working conditions to pay for Lynn's medical bills and their house. But the love and bond between the family members help them through it all. "Kira-Kira" appeals to teens in 8th grade and up. Girls will especially empathize with the main characters of this award-winning book.
Elizabeth George Speare (Paperback)
Genre: Fiction - Historical Fiction; Book Themes: Friendship, Frontier and Pioneer Life, Native American, Survival Stories
"The Sign of the Beaver" by Elizabeth George Speare is one of the best children's books in the genre of historic fiction. Left alone to guard his family's home in the 18th century Maine, 12-year old Matt learns wilderness survival skills from a proud Native American boy Attean and teaches Attean to read. The two boys found friendship in spite of themselves. "The Sign of the Beaver" has won many awards, including the Newbery Award, ALA Notable Children's Book, Christopher Award and Scott O'Dell Award for Historical Fiction. Children grade 4 and up will enjoy this wilderness survival story and learn about Native American culture as well as frontier and pioneer life.
Lucy Maud Montgomery (Hardcover)
Genre: Fiction - Realistic Fiction; Book Themes: Family, Friendship
"Anne of Green Gables" is a beloved children's classic book by Canadian author Lucy Maud Montgomery, also known as L.M. Montgomery. Main character Anne of Green Gables is a spirited red-haired girl with boundless imagination and love of life. Matthew and Marilla Cuthbert, a brother and sister, own a Prince Edward Island farm house called Green Gables. Orphan girl Anne Shirley is sent to them by mistake, but Anne goes on to win the heart and love of her adopted family. The friendship between Anne and her best friend Diana Barry is also charmingly portrayed. "Anne of Green Gables" is one of the best children's books ever written. Children in 5th grade through 10th grade will enjoy this moving story and sympathize with the ups and downs in Anne's life.
Gary D. Schmidt (Hardcover)
Genre: Fiction - Historical Fiction; Book Themes: Friendship, Race Relations and Racism
"Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy" by Gary D. Schmidt is a Newbery Honor award-winning book and well-written historical fiction for young adults. In 1912, Turner Buckminster and his parents have just moved to Phippsburg, Maine. Reverend Buckminster has been appointed the pastor of the First Congregational Church. Life is stifling and unbearable until the boy meets Lizzie Bright Griffin, a smart African-American girl from nearby Malaga Island. They form a close friendship in spite of disapproval by Reverend Buckminster and the townspeople. After the town elders decide to remove the people from the island for the sake of a prospective tourist trade, tragedies follow one after another. "Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy" depicts a disturbing picture of racism during early 20th century, a sad chapter of race relations in the US. The main characters of the story are well developed, especially Turner Buckminster, who grows up and matures right in front of reader's eyes.
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