Annotated recommended book list for children and adolescent literature


Annotated book list of recommended readings for children and adolescent literature. Books, which are familiar with experienced elementary and middle level teachers and media experts. Some are quality literature and all are books children and adolescents have read, and liked. Liked, if they are interested in the book's topics or genre. They are categorized as fantasy, realistic fiction, historical fiction, nonfiction, picture books, anthologies, and series. Within these categories they are not in any order.


Animal fantasy

  • Charlottes Web cover Charlotte's Web by E. B. White. 1952. One of the greatest children's story ever written. Hopefully every child either reads it or has it read aloud to him or her. It is truly a masterpiece of character and plot development that enthralls it readers and listeners. See story elements
    • Stuart Little by E. B. White. 1945, 1973. A classic adventure of a mouse (Stuart) born to a family of humans - his parents, brother - George , and cat - Snowball who all live in New York City. Stuart is shy and reserved, but likes a good adventure. His first adventure away from home finds him plenty of adventure, but will he make it back home?
  • Emmaline and the Bunny While the book is a picture book about bunnies and Emmaline. It isn’t your usual young children’s picture book about bunnies. Emmaline is a very special young girl who wants a bunny very much. The story is told in verse with rhymes, alliteration, invented words, figurative language, and abstractions - “If I went to away.” Emmaline isn’t neat and likes to romp out side. Which is prohibited in Neatasapin by Mayor Orson Oliphant. Emmaline hears of a place which is very untidy and goes to visit a bunny and the Old One who tells her she must invite a bunny if she wants one to live with her. She returns home where she convinces her parents to stand up to Mayor Orson Oliphant and they create an invitation yard.
  • Winnie-the-Pooh by A. A. Miln. 1926. classic age 8 years - third grade topics friends make believe fantasy global
  • The Tale of Despereaux by Katie Di Camillo. 2003. Happily ever after. Can the smallest mouse and the beautiful Princess Pea live happily ever after? A tale of light and dark, good and evil. Creative use of story elements and word usage.Well written very engaging fantasy adventure to read aloud in primary grades. The author plays with the reader by using the word reader . Makes comments about the meaning of some word (perfidy). And uses a generally delightful tone - With a rope made of mice whiskers, He went up to see the light and ended in the Queen s soup... As he was running away he looked back and saw... the Princess's look that broke his heart...
  • Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of Nimh by Robert C. O'Brien. 1971. NIMH has developed super rats capable of human qualities. The struggle of these superior endowed rats to find their way in the world to create their civilization is a classic animal tale with a science fiction flare.

Fairy tales, folk tales, fables, myths, legends, tall tales see also in picture books

Fairy tales

  • The Story of Grandmother by Paul Delarue. 1885. Early Little Red Riding Hood tale. A version told by Louis and François Briffault in 1885. Published by Paul Delarue in Les Contes merveilleux de Perrault et la tradition populaire. In 1951 it is translated into English by Maria Tatar in, The Classic Fairy Tales. age 11 years sixth grade topics fairy tale little red riding hood wolf Online copy
  • Grimm's Fairy Tales by Brothers Grimm
  • Fairy Tales From Vietnam by Dorothy Lewis Robertson

Myth, legend, & tall tale

  • Adventures of the Greek Heroes by Mollie McLean & Anne Wiseman. myths
  • Aboriginal Myths: Tales of the Dreamtime by A W. Reed. myth
  • The White Stag by Kate Seredy. 1937 & republished 1965. A 94 page illustrated epic told in the best traditions of Greek and Roman mythologies. The story unfolds the origins of a prophecy with all the trappings of gods and mortals, mystical creatures and fantastic animals all positioning to gain favor for their kind to so they might have a better life. The quest for this better life for the Huns and Magyars leads to the rise of Atilla who leads them in a migration from Asia to Europe and into their promised land. See myth & legend unit
  • The Legend of the Bluebonnet by Tomei DePaola. 1983. Whne a terrible drought threatens the existence of the tribe, a Comanche girl sacrifices her most beloved possession. The Great Spirit provides rain and a gift in return. picture book
  • The Legend of the Indian Paintbrush by Tomei DePaola. 1988. Story of how the flower got its name. picture book
  • Pecos Bill by Steven Kellogg. tall tale
  • Mike Fink by Steven Kellogg. tall tale
  • Johnny Appleseed by Steven Kellogg. tale tale


  • Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People's Ears by Verna Aardema. 1975.
  • Aesop’s Fable by Aesop?
  • Aesop's Fables by Ann McGovern. 1963.
  • Aesop's Fables by Arnold Lobel. 1989.
  • Fables by Arnold Lobel.
  • Why The Sun And The Moon Live In The Sky by Elphinstone Dayrell

Nursery rhymes, poetry, anthologies, collections, & series

Science fiction

  • A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle. 1962. Classic science fiction that predates or is the dawn of children and adolescent science fiction the quality of which has seldom been exceeded. The story explores the strength of family, friends, time travel, supernatural beings, among a balance of good and evil, coming of age, making decisions, individuals' place in society, inter and intra personal relations, interstellar travel, and being different.
    • A Wind in the Door by Madeleine L'Engle.
    • A Swiftly Tilting Planet by Madeleine L'Engle.
    • Many Waters by Madeleine L'Engle.
    • Camilla by Madeleine L'Engle.
  • 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne. 1869. When a monster threatens shipping Pierre Aronnax and his assistant Conseil join the US Navy expedition to get rid of the menace. After months searching, they find their prize, but Pierre, Conseil, and Ned Land end up overboard and disccover the monster is actually the Nautilus, commanded by Captain Nemo. Once onboard their adventure begins.
    • Journey to the Center of the Earth by Jules Verne. 1864.
    • The Mysterious Island by Jules Verne. 1865.
    • Around the World in Eighty Days by Jules Verne. 1873.
  • George's Secret Key to the Universe, by Lucy and Stephen Hawking. 2007. Great adventure story about Annie and George who meet, fine they have a mutual love of science, and adventure through the solar system with the assistance of a super-computer. Their educational adventures soon take a turn to life and death situations for their father as an old rival - Dr. Reeper takes control. Will George and Annie be able to save her father? Will George win the science contest? Will George every have his computer? The story coauthored by Stephen Hawking, some claim to be the best physicist since Einstein, incorporates accurate information within the story for readers to learn about planets, the solar system, time, the universe, and other astronomical mysteries. A great read or read aloud to motivate science discussion in middle school and a pretty darn good adventure story at that. topics science fiction fantasy space universe solar system black holes See also George's Cosmic Treasure Hunt
  • George’s Cosmic Treasure Hunt, by Lucy and Stephen Hawking. 2009. George and Annie have been grounded since the last adventure when Cosmos exploded from the sheer effort of mounting their rescue. They have been involved in more Earthly pursuits such as going to their father’s come as your favorite space object party. Where guests come as dark matter, black holes, red shift, exploding star, and microwaves. However, the party ends on a downer when George discovers that his best friend and her father will be packing up and moving to the Global Space Agency in the United States. Grandma comes through and agrees to go with Cosmos so he can join forces with Annie and help to solve the problem with the errant Mars Rover. Of course the adventures Annie and George take aren’t that simple so before long they are on a Cosmic Treasure Hunt. Action packed suspense to move the reader along and of course plenty of accurate space information to boot. See also George's Secret Key to the Universe topics Up space universe solar system black holes
  • The Secret Under My Skin, by Janet Elizabeth Mc Naughton. 2006. A futuristic story that takes place as the earth is recovering from a global ecological disaster. The main character, a teenager, orphaned at age six as a result of a power struggle for government control. As she grows her curiosity and love of reading open doors of opportunities. However, she is concerned and confused by her perceived obligations to others and her obligation to herself. The author sets her struggle against the struggle of another major character. The contrast of the way these two girls work differently ignoring each sometimes and working together makes an interesting story of intellectual and emotional development about adolescent girls. topics future 2368 science work camps education environmental degradation orphans forced child labor. Questions to Analyze the Pedagogy in the Book and reflect on pedagogy in general.
  • Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card. 1985. The Earth has been attacked twice by buggers resulting in great human lose and suffering. If each attack had not been repelled, it would have meant the extinction of the human species. Fearful a third attack will be successful the military has been breeding and experimenting to create and train a commander and army that will not fail to defeat the buggers. Running out of time and successes Ender Wiggin may be the best hope as we discover in the opening sentences. I ve watched through his eyes. I ve listened through his ears, and I tell you he s the one. Or at least as close as we re going to get. For what we are not sure. Uncovered in this story is not only a children s adventure story about competitive laser tag or video games, but several other powerful subplots and themes. The story was written for an adult audience with children characters. However, it has been adopted by adolescent and younger readers. It is a fast paced action filled story driven by the game competition that we learn has significant military consequences for the survival of the human species. However, the book is no light weight. We learn how these characters discover their actions can have social consequences and move to make significant world differences. Differences for Ender s family, the military, politics, the world order and its affect on the world population and humanity of all intergalactic species. age 12 years - seventh grade topics video games war adolescence military breeding
  • The House of Scorpions by Nancy Farmer. 2002. Incredibly well written science fiction. Future world of a drug lord and possible dilemmas faced as a consequence of cloning and future societies. An action adventure with a drug king, El Patron, and Matt, a young adolescent, who has known, as long as he can remember, that he has a mysterious relationship to El Patron. Sometimes it is great and others it is worse than being an animal on the ranch. When Matt finally discovers El Patron's true intentions he acts to thwart his plans. However, circumstances put Matt s life in danger and he has no choice but to run. Where does one run and hide from a drug lord? Is it possible that Matt can escape with his life? And if he does how long can he live before be is discovered and returned to El Patron?
  • The Host by Stephenie Meyer. 2008. Parasitic aliens, Souls, take over the majority of Earth’s population and launch an all out war against the human race. However, Melanie Stryder, rebels against her host, befriends human rebels fighting the Souls, and seeks a resolution through love. science fiction upper middle levels. Also Movie, The Host. 2011.
  • The Forgotten Door by Alexander key. Synopsis
  • The White Mountains by John Cristopher.
    • The City of Lead and Gold by John Cristopher.
    • The Pool of Fire by John Cristopher.
    • The Lotus Caves by John Cristopher.
  • The Roar by Emma Clayton.
    • The Whisper by Emma Clayton.

Modern fantasy

    When You Reach Me cover
  • When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead. 2009. Losing your friend since birth, being a latchkey kid, why does the man on the corner sleep with his head under the mailbox and yell at the sky? Why does mom need a boy friend? Why would someone punch someone for no reason at all? Why would I talk to a person that punched Sal? Why do people do what they do? How can a person know what is going to happen? Why is A Wrinkle in Time her favorite book? This is growing up story. Miranda (12) struggles to gain the confidence in understanding herself and others so she can safely be what she believes she should be. The author uses a subtle style of writing with a steady stream of emotionally connected ideas, phrases, and words in the narrative to create a very powerful experience for the reader. age 11 years sixth grade topics friends Wrinkle in Time time travel
  • Inkheart by Cornelia Funke. 2003. Meggie's father reads aloud from the book, Inkheart, and something evil escapes the boundaries of fiction and Meggie becomes part of the plot of this misadventure. How will she change the plot of the story in her favor?
    • Inkspell
    • The Thief Lord, by Cornelia Funke. see 2000. A story about two teenage runaways in Venice, Italy. The story takes several twists and turns as the characters come together in mysterious ways and plot and scheme to make a better life. Will they be rewarded in the end with monetary riches or with greater inner understanding of themselves and their places in the world?
  • Gifts by Ursula K. Le Guin. 2004. Ursula K. Le Guin tells a tale of contrasts between worlds and people. Set in a fantasy world where families compete to create unions for security to pass their gifts through generations. By telling tales within tales she helps the reader understand how the characters are caught in their feudal history and the lineage of the parents. The story of Orrec, the main character, is of a boy coming of age and his struggle to find his place within his family and his responsibilities. Only Le Guin could create such an intriate thought provoking tale set in fantasy with themes recognized through all time and all worlds within 274 pages, powerful.
    • The Wizard of Earthsea. Trilogy by Ursula K. Le Guin.
    • Catwings by Ursula K. Le Guin.
    • Gifts by Ursula K. Le Guin.
  • Zorgamazoo, by Robert Paul Weston. 2008. 281 pages In rhymed verse with a sing song rhythm. Creative use of fonts and lettering size and orientation throughout as well as a smattering of ink drawings of the zany characters. It is an engagingly enchanting story of Katrina Katrell and her zany romp with Mortimer Yorgle a zorgle and their zany and suspense filled adventure. age 9 years - fourth grade
  • 11 Birthdays cover11 Birthday, by Wendy Mass. 2008. Amanda and Leo, unbeknownst to them, have been linked at birth by an ancient spell that has been around unsuspectingly for years. An unknown protector has arranged for them to spend their birthday s together since birth to protect them from being enchanted by the spell. Unaware of the dangers that could be fall them if they don t celebrate together they independently celebrate apart. Entranced or bewitched Amanda continues to wake up to a Sponge Bob balloon and has to relive her present and worst ever birthday - her eleventh birthday. A ... Really clever way to see the consequences of ones actions and how one s actions sometimes work the way we expect and other times don t. Groundhogs Day for young readers. age 11 years - sixth grade birthday time friendship interpersonal relationships See plot chart
  • The Giver by Lois Lowry. 1993. A novel that draws readers into it with determination to explain what is happening and to use all available means to discover along with Jonas the workings of the community. What is going on? Does Jonas have special powers? Are they gifts or not? Can he change or is change impossible? What must he do to have his freedom? Must he escape or adapt? What are possibilities of a better future depending on the choices he makes? Prequel to
    • Gathering Blue by Lois Lowry Companion to The Giver. Kira, a unique, creative, convincing, and ethically driven young girl befriends and collaborates to uncover the mysteries and truths of her world and what exists beyond it.
    • Messanger by Lois Lowry. 2004.
  • The Angel Factory, Terence Blacker, a story about good and evil and the perfect life. Thomas discovers that he is adopted and that his parents are part of a worldly scheme. What is the good life and how should choose? A story equal to Lois Lowry's The Giver.
  • Coraline by Neil Gaiman. 2002. Shortly before school starts Coraline is in search of something to do. She meets her neighbors Miss April Spink and Miss Miriam Forcible who tell Coraline her future by reading tea leaves and finding she is in danger. Miss April Spink gives Coraline a stone with a hole in it and suggests it will protect her. An adventure indeed awaits her in a world as inside out as the Wonderland that Alice visited. Coraline discovers a door with a brick wall or door way. She goes through and meets her other parents, singing rats, and a talking black cat in a parallel disturbing world of people with black button eyes. Let the games begin. Scarry movies, supernatural adventure, witch craft, romps through a dungeon, missing parents, mystery and suspense; masterfully written this story will enthrall all readers.
  • Green Angel, Alice Hoffman. 2003. Green, a fifteen year old girl haunted by grief from her past and losing her family in a devastating disaster, retreats into her ruined garden. She struggles to survive emotionally and physically on her own. It is a novel written in a poetic style, that uses strong images to tell her story. Imagery from 9-11 or the journey through adolescence and the struggle to finding yourself as an adult. Creative, thought provoking, and incredibly profound vivid and emotional imagery.
  • Dragon Sword and Wind Child, Noriko Ogiwara, Noriko, as she grew up, read many western fantasies. Inspired by them she used the legends and mythology of her ancient country of Japan to write a story about people of darkness and light. However, this conflict is not simply good versus evil and the young women, Saya, has been chosen to overcome the past if there is to be a future for her land and people she loves.
  • Sword of the Rightful King by Jane Yolen, a very different tale of Kind Arthur. Jane has taken author's license and turned events around and upside down in her retelling of this famous legend. Her changes make the characters more realistic as events in her tale go as far as having Excaliber being pulled from the stone by another instead of King Arthur.
  • City of Beasts by Isabel Allende. 2002. Isabel starts her story of a boy, Alexander, with him being informed that he will be going to stay with his eccentric grandmother in the Amazon Jungle while his father goes with his mother for chemotherapy. While there he befriends a young girl and the two of them discover mysterious beasts and their link with the natives. Desiring to save the natives, the beasts, and his mother provides a suspenseful story of a boy coming of age.
    • Kingdom of the Golden Dragon by Isabella Allende. 2003.
    • Forest of the Pygmies by Isabel Allende. 2004.
  • The Ancient One, T. A. Barran, This story takes place in the Northwest United States where a young girl and a group of lumberjacks are at odds about the value of old trees as lumber and jobs or conserving them. The story becomes fantasy as the girl is drawn into the tree and begins an adventure that helps her to gain deeper respect for the relationships of living organisms and the power of interrelationships.
  • The Sea of Trolls by Nancy Farmer. 2004. Is the first in a trilogy (The Sea of Trolls, The Land of The Silver Apples, and The Islands of the Blessed) The Sea of Trolls is a very good story involving magic, legends, Vikings, trolls, dragons, bards, adventure, quest, duty to family. Themes of life and death, being able to choose your destiny or having it decided, what is a life for? Very good adventure story with some great language and timeless questions of existence. Ties in to myths and legends particular Norse and English.
    • The Land of The Silver Apples 2007. Sequel to The Sea of Trolls
      Includes bibliographical references in appendix age adolescent adult topic mythology druids bards goblins elves Saxon - available audio
    • The Islands of the Blessed 2009. Sequel to The Sea of Trolls and The Land of Silver Apples
      Life seems normal in Jack's Saxon village. Until the ringing of a magic bell draws an evil creature sending Jack and Thorgil on a quest that will quell this restless spirit and right the wrong Father Severus did a long time ago.
      A story with adventure, humor and thought-provoking juxtapositions of the uglier aspects of the Nordic mythology with the severe penitence Father Severus demands of his fellow Christians and the ceaseless battle that is part of Valhalla, the Northman paradise. As servants of the life force, Jack and Thorgil must put aside their pasts and prejudices discover how to heal the wounds committed in the names of these deities. age adolescent adult topics mythology druids bards goblins elves Saxon - available audio
  • The Dream Bearer by Walter Dean Myers. 2003. A story about a family that centers on a father son relationship and finding ones place in the world that balances family and cultural histories with the realities that a young adolescent faces in his present world to create his own life. Intriguing three stories within the story told the dream bearer and how they relate to David’s life and suggest directions he might choose. Includes great imagery... “It was as if sadness had just come in and was living with our family.” (36) and ... When I dream of him sometimes I think I see him peering through his darkness looking for something he ain’t never seen. And it makes me laugh, and sometimes I think I see it and it fills my cup with tears.
  • Odd and the Frost Giant by Neil Gaiman. 2009. Odd, 12 year old Norwegian lad, has been very unlucky the last few years. Losing his father, handicapped from a tree falling on and crushing his leg, and his new stepfather, Fat Elfred, miss treats him. Escaping into the woods he is about to go on an adventure that will change his life and save the city of the gods - Asgard. This book is small, but it is no light weight. Gaiman brings Odd into a tale with and for the gods - Thor, Odin, Loki, and Freya. As Odd wanders through the woods he befriends a Bear, Eagle, and Fox. They join forces to rescue Asgard from the Frost Giants, return it to the gods themselves, and bring spring to the Earth. The style is a true Norse epic with Thor's hammer, Mirim's well, and other intrigue between and among gods, frost giants, and humans. However, the ending isn't of typical Norse mythology ending, with a swing of Thor's hammer or a battle like the ride of the valkyrja. Instead Odd uses insight and intelligence to recognize the traits of the different gods and frost giants to initiate a peaceful solution that is a win win for all. age 9 years fourth grade topics heroes Loki Norse deity Thor Odin Giants mythology
  • The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaimen. 2008. Expect strange when the author is Neil Gaiman and this book doesn’t let you down. Nobody Owens - Bod parents are killed when Bod is born and he is raised by a couple in the graveyard. Yes they have been dead for several years. The spirits of the graveyard take care of him and provide for his education. Eventually he desires for more than what can be provide by the graveyard and is sent to school. having been warned not to draw attention to himself he can’t but do so when he feels a need to act against injustice. His forays beyond his protected boundaries result in the forces of dark being able to detect his presence and act to destroy him. He is reunited with a girl of his childhood and together they attempt to resolve the situation once and for all. A thrilling action filled novel. age 11 years sixthgrade topics supernatural adventure excitement dead cemeteries
  • Dragons Keep, by Janet Lee Carey. 2007. No one must know her terrible secret. Her mother, the queen has forced her to wear gloves to hide her shame until a cure can be found. Rosalind, a princess who is destined to become queen and fulfill Merlin s six hundred year old prophecy that will restore the royal family to its rightful throne.
    So what does this have to do with dragons? Rosalind s curse is entwined with the fate of the bloodthirsty dragons that have been the bane of the kingdom for years. Rosalind discovers the bond between her and the dragons and through her actions discovers how her terrible secret has bound her to the dragons. How she discovers herself and is able to change her point of view for her kingdoms advantage is an outstanding fantasy adventure and story of compassion and change. The story presents opportunities to reflect on differences and how people choose to accept or not accept them and how those decisions can affect their lives.
  • The King's Equal by Katherine Paterson. 1992. A twist in the stereotypical fairy tale where the princess is rescued by the handsome prince and they marry and live happily ever after. This Princess is truly the King s Equal.
  • Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine. 1997. An interesting twist on the Cinderella story. Bewitched at birth by the fairy Lucinda whose spell makes her do exactly what she is told. Her mother dies and her indifferent father relies on her stepmother and two stepsisters to care for her. Ella is clever and full of desire to track down Lucinda and seek her freedom so she might discover who she really is. There are ogres, elves, a prince, and of course a fairy godmother. However, Levine twists the usual fairy tale female stereotypes and provides Ella enough moxie to take the usual stereotypical female role and twist and turn it to empower Ella and create relationships of mutual respect.
  • The Princess Bride by William Goldman, 1973. It is every bit as good as the movie. A classic.
  • Ranger's Apprentice Books - see notes in series
  • Stardust by Neil Gaiman. 1999. Every bit as good as the movie or is the movie every bit as good as the book?
  • Half Upon a Time by James Riley. 2010. Modern fairly tale 9 years - fourth
  • The Grimm Legacy by Polly Shulman . 2010. Modern fairly tale adventure magic friends good vs. evil 10 years - fifth grade
  • The Strange Case of Origami Yoda by Tom Angleberger. 2010. origami friends peers boy girl relationships
  • The Pull of the Ocean by Jean-Claude Mourlevat. 2006. brings Charles Perrault s character Tom Thumb and seven brothers into modern day France. Tom, the youngest, convinces his brothers to flea their parents and head for the Ocean. The story is told by the accounts of the different characters as they experienced the boys. A very creative story for children who enjoy self-reliant and industrious characters in an adventure. age 10 - fifth grade Loosely based on Charles. Perrault's "Tom Thumb; seven brothers in modern day France flee their poor parents farm, led by the youngest who, although mute and exceptionally small, is exceptionally wise.
  • Demonkeeper by Royce Buckingham. 2007. The beast moved to the feeding chute. With a new Keeper there might be an opportunity to get out into Seattle and the world of humans. Where there would be plenty of lost children to eat. Nat and his minions who just recently acquired sole care for a house full of strange entities the demon being the worst of the lot. Seeking information from an ancient book he travels to the library and meets Sandy who turn out to be more help than he can imagine at the time. Mean while two street teens, and the Thin Man converge on his home with foul intentions of their own. However, the beast itself has intentions of its own and plans on not letting anyone else get in his way. Unless they are taste young children. Will things ever be the same for Nat? Will the beast escape its chamber and have a tasty meal? Once it escapes will it ever be returned to the basement ? And what is the deal about this Thin Man? Slapstick humor, fast action high spirited romp of an unlikely hero in true misadventure -fast paced action worthy of any teen movie. age 11 years - sixth grade topics demonology supernatural
  • The Dreadful Revenge of Ernest Gallen by James Lincoln Collier. 2008. When Eugene starts to hear voices inside his head telling him to do awful things, it leads him to look into his small town s past during the early 1900's. He and Sonny discover long-hidden secrets about his neighbors and his town. age 11 years sixth grade topics horror story depressions.
  • Jennifer Murdley's Toad by Bruce Coville. 1992. Jennifer Murdley had no idea what she was getting into the day she bought the big toad from the strange man who ran Elives' Magic Shop. The thing didn't even start talking to her until she had it out of the shop. Jennifer and her toad, that has friends go on many adventures. age 9 fifth grade topics toads siblings peer relationships bully bullying beauty ugly
  • Wishworks Inc. by Stephanie S. Tolan. 2009. Max is a dreamer and proud of it. He looks forward to a quiet place where he can fantasize about life with a big red dog, King, that he wishes he could have in real life. He lives with his mom and younger sister, having been relocated in a new town after his mom's divorce. He feels pressure from his dad as phrases like, Only losers and wimps give in to bullies and their henchmen, echo in his head while three third grade classmates steal his lunch. During Adventureland, Max finds Wishworks, Inc. where wishes are guaranteed. The only problem: as the proprietor warns Max is, you need to be very careful about a wish. As you imagine, Max wishes for a dog and ends up with Ratty. Not exactly the dog of his dreams. He wishes for a dog like King, but as you can imagine it isn't that easy. As with most children's stories Max will discover much about himself, his family, friends, caring for dogs and life in general. Great read for third grade and above. age 8 years third grade topics imagination dogs friendship bully divorce wishes giving
  • The Magician's Elephant by Kate Di Camillo. 2009. Peter is sent to the market to buy fish and bread. However, he spends the money to have his fortune told. Who tells him his sister lives and to find her he must follow the elephant. Meanwhile a magician who intended to conjure a bouquet of lilies, instead conjured an elephant that fell on Madam Betine LaVaughn who was to receive the bouquet and crippled her. The author, intertwines the lives of Peter, his guardian, a local policeman, the magician, Madam Betine, a beggar, his dog, a sculpture, a nun, and Peter's sister to tell an imaginary timeless tale about the deeper needs of all these people and how they are intertwined. How positive empowering actions can change situations for the better if we are to reach out and believe. The illustrations match the rhythmic imagery narrative and the stories tone of a hazy mysterious timeless era where the compassion of the human spirit pulls people together to care for one another. age 9 years fourth grade topics orphans missing parents elephants brothers and sisters
  • Abarat by Clive Barker. 2002. Candy lives in Chickentown USA,: boring, until a giant wavesweeps her to ... Abarat? A vast archipelago where every island is a different hour of the day with a different culture. However, she learns the island of Midnight is ruled by Christopher Carrion. And she has been brought there to help save this dystopian world from the dark evil forces in Carrion's heart. First of three.
    • Abarat: Days of Magic Nights of War by Clive Barker. 2004. Candy Quackenbush's strange adventurecontinues. Why did the Lord of Midnight send his henchman after her? Why has she started speaking magic? Why is this world becoming more familiar? Will she figure what she needs to Absolute Midnight descends upon the islands and total destruction?
    • Abarat: Absolute Midnight by Clive Barker. 2011.
  • The Gift-Giver by Joyce Hansen. 1980. Doris (fifth grade) meets Amir in the Bronx who helps her and others grow. empathy, friendship, family, bonding, maturing, coming of age
  • The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster. 1961. Milo has an adventure in the Lands of Beyond. fantasy logic reason mathematics figurative language
  • The Chronicles of Narnia by C. L. Lewis.
    1. The Magician's Nephew. 1955
    2. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. 1950
    3. The Horse and his Boy. 1954
    4. Prince Caspian. 1951
    5. The Voyage of the Dawn Treader., 1952
    6. The Silver Chair. 1953
    7. The Last Battle. 1956
  • The Marrow of the World by Ruth Nichols.
  • David and the Phoenix by Edward Ormondroyd. 1957. The mythical Phoenix befriends David and educates him, as a scientist tries to capture the phoenix to prove its existence to the world.
  • Lizard Music by D. Manus Pinkwater. see 1976. Alien invasion of the Earth?
  • Moon Eyes by Josephine Poole. see 1967
  • Dragon Slayer by Rosemary Sutcliff
  • The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien. 1937.
  • Sword of the Rightful King - A novel of King Arthur by Jane Yolen. 2003. King Arthur is crowned. However, he is not sure on how to rule and others would like to take his place. So Merlin decides he will use his magic to insert a sword into a rock and proclaim, whomever pulls the sword from the rock, is the rightful King of all England. After several tries, Arthur he will have Arthur draw the blade and Arthur will believe he is the rightful King and the people will accept him. Problem is someone else pulls the sword out first. . . . fantasy King England King Arthur Merlin
  • The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. 2008. A future nation of Panem, controls its 12 districts with a yearly televised Hunger Game fight to the death. Two contestants, one male and one female, are selected by lotter to compete. Katniss Everdeen, steps forward to take her sister's place in the games. Her struggle to survive begins with her questions about her existance, humanity, love, and extends into politics and fight to who controls government across the trilogy. distopican society science fiction trilogy
  • The Angel Experiment by James Patterson. 2006. Maximum Ride #1

 Realistic Fiction List

  • The Swiss Family Robinson by Johann David Wyss. 1813. The Robinsons leave Switzerland to settle on the other side of the world. Sole survivors of a shipwreck, they make it ashore and the adventure begins. An adventure that tests their courage, cleverness, endurance, and faith as they struggle to survive and create their own on a tropical pardise. fiction adventure classic
  • The Higher Power of Lucky by Susan Patron. 2006. Lucky (10) lives with her mother until she is electrocuted by a power line downed in a storm. Her father, who doesn't want to care for her, arranges for Brigitte, his ex-wife, to leave France and take residence in Hard Pan California to care for the child. Hard Pan (pop. 42) is in the middle of the California desert. Lucky's choice of activities and friends is very limited to say the least. She likes to listen to addicts tell their stories of addiction, has an unusual friend who is a genius for tying intricate knots, and often looks after an attention starved little boy. She is worried that Brigitte will up and leave, but has been able to keep her fears in check with the creation of a survival kit backpack and searching for her Higher Power. The colorful characters, language, and impending plot move the reader forward with a desire to understand Lucky and know how various conflicts in her life will be resolved.
  • The Hundred Penny Box by Sharon Bell Mathis. 1975. Michael loves his great great aunt Dew and the stories she tells of her life as she reminisces with her old box of pennies. The survival of the box comes into question when Michael's mother questions its value. Timeless story about family relationships.
  • Stargirl, by Jerry Spinelli 2000. A story about a girl that was home schooled and decides it is time for public school. To say that she cares about people and isn't bashful in her expressions and actions is an understatement. Creative, giving - Stargirl is accepted and rejected and loved by Leo who can't deal with rejection. The adolescent struggle with friendship, love, acceptance and all the pressures they bring. A story that every adult can relate to and every adolescent needs to know.
    What affect will she have on Leo, the main character of the story? What affect will she have on the town? Is it possible that the friendliest person in a school could have no friends? Activity.
    "I liked the feeling the moonlight gave me, as if it wasn't the opposite of day, but its underside, its private side, when the fabulous purred on my snow-white sheet like some dark cat come in from the desert. It was during one of these night moon times that it came to me that Hillari Kimble was wrong. Stargirl was real."
    • Maniac Magee by Jerry Spinelli. 1990. Maniac Magee is a folk tale about Jeffrey Lionel - a very special kid. According to the author he ... is one part fact, two parts legend, and three parts snowball. His desire to bring people together by finding a way to bridge differences between race and find a place without racism.
    • There's a Girl in My Hammerlock by Jerry Spinelli
  • Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson. 1977. Story where Jess (10) learns about possibilities beyond his own backyard when he meets Leslie. A true story about friendship, dreaming, creativity, and how we can become what we experience.
  • The Great Gilly Hopkinsby Katherine Paterson.
  • Flipflop Girl, Katherine Paterson What does it feel like to loose your best friends? What is it like to have to move to another city and school? Can a teacher and classmates make a difference or will loneliness, fear, and apprehension cause the main character to flip flop and change her life in a negative way forever?
  • Jacob Have I Loved by Katherine Paterson. 1980. Story about a girl that grows up on Rass Island in the Chesapeake Bay during the 1940 s. where families earn a living on the water is fading with each passing year. The story is told in the first person by Wheeze from the time she is 13. It is an incredibly powerful soul baring narrative of her feelings about herself, her sister, her mom, her dad, her grandmother, and several close inhabitants of the Island. As she grows up, ever the romantic, it seems she always wants what she can t have and the story captures her frustration and pain as she matures through adolescents and begins to realize she has more choices for what she chooses if she is willing to accept responsibility. An interesting story about human nature and a way of life that has faded away.
  • Walk Two Moons, Sharon Creech A story within a story of a girl, her mother, her heritage, and a quest for deeper understanding.
    • The Wanderer
  • Bronx Masquerade, Nikki Grimes, Nikki combines poetry and prose with a story about inner city youth, a teacher, and the idea of open mike day. A compelling look into the life of inner city life.
  • When Zachery Beaver Came to Town, Kimberly Willis Holt Sorry didn't have time to get this one yet.
  • The Dream Bearer, Walter Dean Myers Is a story about a boy in Harlem that tries to combine the wisdom of an old man the knowledge of his mother, the oral traditions of dream bearers to help his understand and come to terms with his unstable father.
  • What Happened to Lani Garver, by Carol Plum-Ucci. 2002. Claire unable to face her fears about a recurrence of her leukemia, her eating disorder, her need to hang with the crowd on Hackett Island, and her mother's alcoholism; is helped by Lani Garver who risks his life to save her. Is this person male or female? Gay or straight? The main character in the story is torn between being popular and hanging out with the "right" crowd and developing a kinship with the new person, Lani. The author's story is compelling enough to sustain you to the end with desire to know how Claire, the main character, changes or not; as well as torments you with the possibility of Lani as a walking angel or just an extraordinary mortal.
  • Stoner and Spaz, by Ron Koertge. 2002. A compelling story about Benjamin, a troubled youth with CP, who struggles toward self-acceptance with the help of a drug-addicted young women. This story has everything that reality TV on MTV and VH1 has, and maybe more detail.
  • Ida B...and Her Plans to Maximize Fun, Avoid Disaster, and (Possibly) Save the World, by Katherine Hannigan. 2004. It was one of those days that start right and just keep heading toward perfect until you go to sleep. My insides started itching and my feet started hopin, one then the other, because they were ten minutes past ready to go. So I decided to speed things up a bit.
    These are quotes from Ida B. The book is filled with interesting descriptive language as well as a great story about Ida B and her struggle to accept change and how people that believe in children can make a difference by believing in goodness will prevail. Also very supportive of reading and writing. Great story particularly for teachers.
  • Down the Rabbit Hole: An Echo Falls Mystery, by Peter Abrahams. 2005. Ingrid, an eighth student, is challenged from a variety of directions. Her algebra teacher, soccer coaches, brother, parents, friends, desire to be an actress, are making life more complicated everyday. How can she deal with all of them when an even greater concern is what the sheriff might know about her and her shoes being at a murder scene. Will she be able to save herself with the use of her intellect, as her idol Sherlock Holmes did?
    This is the best children's murder mystery I've ever read. If you like adventure movies like the Goonies, Ferris Bueller's Day Off, and Home Alone (without the slapstick) you ll find this story compelling.
  • The Road to Paris, by Nikki Grimes. 2006. The struggles of a biracial girl in a predominantly white town. Her mother has left her often enough that she and her brother are part of the system. Changing from home to foster care back and forth, but at least she has always had her brother, David, However, this time was going to be different. The system was separating them. A story told with the intensity and feelings that is becoming associated with the writing of Nikki Grimes. 153 page story about the struggle, growth, and empowerment that Paris attains when conditions finally provide her the support necessary for her to be able to take risks and seek positive change.
  • The Pack, by Elisa Carbone. 2003. Wolves, growing up with wolves, bullying, violence, school violence, friendship, guns, bombs, invisible students, belonging, and not belonging. The author created a powerful story relevant for today s middle school students and above. It has to be read to see how such a compact book could be authored that brings together these ideas in a compelling powerfully important story for these times. Here is a sample from the beginning. "When AKHIL VYAS showed up at school in early October, I thought he was, without a doubt, the weirdest person on earth. But on that cold December day, by the time the last police car left and the last ambulance pulled out of the school parking lot with tires screeching and siren wailing, I had begun to believe that he was the first truly sane person I'd ever known."
  • An Abundance of Katherines, by John Green. 2006. Colin Singleton is not your ordinary high school prodigy and he is not going to become one or even become ordinary anytime soon. Far from it. He and his high school friend, Hassan, embark on a road trip that becomes one soul searching and eye popping adventure. The reader discovers how 19 different Katherines have edged Colin to obsess about having a Kathrine in his life. However, that doesn t mean there isn t action in this story. Plenty of action from wild boar attacks, to alcohol, tobacco, characters frolicking in the woods naked, mysteries about who is buried where, and what is grandma up to anyway? This is probably not a book to read aloud in school and it might even have trouble making some reading lists, but for those that like adventure, sex, and hoping for the days that the nerds dominate, this is a read for you. I really want to know what others think about it. Anyone read it, let me know ...
  • Rules, by Cynthia Lord. 2006. Catherine and her autistic brother David have a Frog and Toad relationship. Any brother would be proud to have a sister as insightful as Catherine. She sees the depth in most situations, which isn t always helpful in making decisions. I m torn between all losing choices. David will scream if I make him go inside now. Mom ll think I m selfish if I beg her to take him with her. Then there is Ryan. I cross my arms and pick the one maybe choice. Maybe Ryan doesn t want to look bad in front of Kristi any more than I do. Lord tells a story that not only captures the special bonds between brother and sister and how Catherine has learned to cope with his special problems, but additionally Lord opens new doors for Catherine with the introduction of adolescence and coping with peer pressures as she becomes entwined in Jason s life. Jason is about 14-15, wheelchair bound, and communicates with a speech book. Catherine uses her experiences, her insight, and her creativity to cope with her adolescent peers and create winning situations. A compelling story about a really remarkable girl as well as giving a genuine glimpse into special populations: autism, paraplegic, brothers sisters disabilities, and their families.
  • Vive La Paris, by Esme Rai Codell. 2006. Esme is a master of the story. She has done it again. A story about a young girl Paris, whose father is a drummer, and wants all of his children to be able to play an instrument, sends her off to piano lessons with one of her brothers. While Paris s relationship with her piano teacher is central to the story so too is her family with five brothers and a few classmates of hers and her brothers. These characters are intertwined in a powerful story about abuse, bullying, dreams, being Jewish in World War II and concentration camps. Out of which comes an inheritance accompanied by a deeper understanding of human nature that enables Paris to make decisions that all people make to help one another. Powerful use of language to create a beautiful story.
  • Bird Lake Moon, by Kevin Henkes - This is two compelling stories with plots intersecting when Mitch Sinclair (12) and Spencer Stone (10) meet. Mitch is suffering from the recent announcement of his parent s divorce. Afraid of the unknown it causes him to act out in ways he never would have. Spencer along with Lolly, his younger sister, and both of their parents are attempting to recover from the lose of Matty who drowned in Bird Lake. Suspense, characterization, and altering point of view by chapter from Mitch s perspective to Spencer s perspective makes this an outstanding novel.
    Lolly creative antics of talking in different dialects and deciding to give each voice a name.
    Language such as - yesterday you were soaked in sunshine . Today - rain. - His mind was an aquarium , and his thoughts were darting around, this way and that, like little fish. -
    ... all its lines, angles, and corners were softened like the edges on a well-used bar of soap.
  • How to Get Suspended and Influence People, by Adam Selzer. 2006. Gifted eighth grader, Leon Harris, becomes an overnight phenomena when his class project is declared too risqué and censored by the school power brokers. The dialogue and conversation of the characters is humorous and right on with feelings that 13 year olds can experience in junior high or middle school. Selzer has written a very creative and imaginative novel.
  • Letters from Rapunzel, by Sara Lewis Holmes - Thirteen year old Cadence Rae Brogan (Rapunzel) is trapped in her own tower as her father's world turns black, her mother's world becomes overwhelmed, and Cadence's world is collapsing at a most difficult time of of life - Junior High! Sara Holmes has created a character that you can't help wanting to know what and when things are going to Additionally Holmes use of fairy tales and fairly tale characters is delightfully creative. Of course any adolescent tale must include strong references to school; Homes story does not exclude that rule. Share what you think about this book. What is most compelling for you? How did you relate to Rapunzel? How do you believe middle school students would respond to this story?
  • 13: A Novel, by Jason Robert Brown & Dan Elish. 2008. Evan Goldman, almost thirteen, learns what it means to be a man when his parents separate and he and his mother move from New York City to Appleton, Indiana, right before his bar mitzvah. Knowing no one he mysteriously is befriended by two people: Patrice and Bret. Bret the superstar of the school and Patrice not part of of the cool crowd. I am sure you are beginning to connect a pretty transparent plot where the main character is conflicted by his desires to have a big in crowd at his party and also not wanting to be part of a crowd that ostracize, Patrice, someone whom you care about. Normally a plot this transparent might cause me to rate such a story much lower. However, the dialogue the author has Evan use is creative, humorous, and entrances you to keep reading to see in what interesting manner Evan is going to tell his story. A very good read for students in middle school interested in peer relations. Isn t that about all of them? age 11 years - sixth gradevtopics interpersonal relations peer pressure Bar Mitzcvah Indiana divorce school 13 moving, popularity friendship fitting in growing up family
  • Summer of the Swans by Betsy Byars. see 1969. Sara Godfrey is going through the worst summer of her life. She thinks everything is all wrong with her, her big feet, her orange tennis shoes, and the responsibility of looking after her brother. A powerful story about strained relationships with family and peers and an added responsibility of a special brother. As if adolescence isn t troubling enough without having an added concern and responsibility for Charlie. While this novel was written and set in the sixty s the issues are timeless and it represents a classic that has had enormous popularity over the years. A quick, easy, and heart touching read.
    • Trouble River by Betsy Byars
  • It's Like This, Cat by Emily Cheney Neville. 1963. This is a story of a boy, Dav, 14 who is growing up in New York City. The setting transports the reader through various places that would be familiar to adolescents that grew up in NY City in the 60's. His love of a stray tomcat, complications he has with a 19 year old troubled boy, his adolescent beginning relationship with a girl, and the insight he develops for his father as a person as well as his father. While the setting may be dated the themes are universal and timeless.
  • Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O'Dell. 1961. Survival adventure set in the Pacific. Based on a true story about Juana Maria, a Nicoleño Native American left alone for 18 years on San Nicolas Island during the 19th century. She survives through the seasons until she is rescued. It is more than a survival adventure as she develops her personal understanding of her plight.
    • My Name Is Not Angelica by Scott O'dell
    • Sing Down the Moon by Scott O'dell
    • Black Star, Bright Dawn by Scott O'dell
  • The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin. 1978. A mystery with a puzzle for the serious problem solver.
  • From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E. L. Konigsburg. see 1967
    • The Outcasts of 19 Schuyler Place by E. L. Konigsburg. 2004. Margaret Rose Kane is sent to summer Camp Talequa by her parents as they head off to Peru. Margret would rather have stayed with her Uncles Alex and Morris Rose. Unknow to her, there reason to seemingly reject her, was their concern for her as they didn't want her present as their towers were being demolished. Great story of family, free will, persistence in maintaining one's values, creative expression, use of words, particularly clever play on words, and social activism. Other people's response from this book agree it's - fantastic Konigsburg knows how to write a story.
  • Chasing Vermeer by Blue Balliett. 2004. Fantastic story of intrigue, art theft, and problem solving to recover a master piece. Calder, sixth grade girl mysteriously finds a book. Suddenly this book seems to be getting more involved in her life than any ordinary lost item should. Class assignments, people she meets, and other happenings seem to be related somehow to this book. Trying to understand unusual people, hidden messages in pictures with frogs and codes to decipher messages, and solve the mystery becomes her obsession. WIthin the story the reader is introduced to pentominoes, different views of art, and the University of Chicago as the setting. Great mystery and use of problem solving. Other people that I have talked to that have read this book agree.
  • The Danger Box by Blue Balliett Zoomy, an old notebook, Lorrol, mystery, death, thievery, mystery, adventure, 11 years - sixth
  • Sahara Special by Esme Raji Codell. 2004. Another nonstop read by Esme. Every page is more compelling than the one before. no question you will turn these pages to the end. A must read for teachers. Particularly in grade 4-6. Sahara a fifth grade girl struggles with the loss of her father while maturing emotionally and intellectually in a Chicago neighborhood. language use is incredible. I felt like I was floating on the ceiling, like smoke from something burning. It s like they're walking on ice, and the ice is made of other people s opinions. The only reason a girl your age should wear makeup is if she s a rock star or a hooker, and the minute you start showing promise in either of those areas we ll hop on down to Target and stock you up with everything you need, she promised. Don't tell auntie I said that, now. Loving children is what teachers do for extra credit. It s not the main assignment.
  • Gooney Bird and the Room Mother by Lois Lowry. 2005. It was early November in Mrs. Pidgeon s seconod grade with students hard at work on their Pilgrim mural and of course - Gooney Bird Green who likes to be in the middle of it all, is indefatigable, and feels ennui when she wears matching socks. An entertaining story about class life that incorporates vocabulary, dictionary skills, a unique way to introduce foreshadowing, predicting, and reasoning with Gooney s stories and second grade students literal interpretations. Gooney seems to be a model student and class leader. But, will Gooney solve the problem of finding a room mother so she can be rewarded with the role she want for the Thanksgiving Pageant?
  • Firegirl by Tony Abbott. 2006. A middle school boy's life is changed when a new girl Jessica, a girl disfigured by burns, starts attending his Catholic school while receiving treatment at a local hospital. This is a powerful book about friendship and personal relationships easily among Ida B, Bridge to Terrabithia, ...
  • The Fourth Stall by Chris Rylander. 2001. Must read school genre 9 years - fourth grade school bully bullies and friendship
  • Confessions from the Principal's Chair by Anna Myers. 2006. After Bird ( 14 year old Robin) participates in a cruel prank, her mother moves them to Oklahoma, where fourteen-year-old Robin wants to teach her mother a lesson which leads to helping the middle school students as a result of her being mistaken for the substitute principal. While it is realistic fiction their are parts that require a bit of readership willingness to go along with the story. If they are, they will get to see a new perspective on bullying. age 10 years - fifth grade topics Bullying school friendship mothers daughters Oklahoma classroom management
  • Letters from Rapunzel by Sara Lewis Holmes. 2007. Thirteen year old Cadence Rae Brogan (Rapunzel) is trapped in her own tower as her father s world turns black, her mother s world becomes overwhelmed, and Cadence s world is collapsing at a most difficult time of of life - Junior High! Sara Holmes has created a character that you can t help wanting to know what and when things are going to Additionally Holmes use of fairy tales and fairly tale characters is delightfully creative. Of course any adolescent tale must include strong references to school; Homes story does not exclude that rule. Share what you think about this book. What is most compelling for you? How did you relate to Rapunzel? How do you believe middle school students would respond to this story? Winner of the Ursula Nordstrom First Fiction Contest. age adolescent topics parents depression school gifted fairy tales
  • There's A Boy in the Girl's Bathroom by Louis Sacher. 1987. Bradley (fifth grade) is a special student that no one in his class likes. Even the reader can agree that he is a bully, is angry, and not the kid to hang with. Small triumphs arise as a new school counselor and a new boy at school provide new opportunities. The book is well written and audiences of fourth grade students seem to relate to the situations which are serious, but Sacher has established a style and tone that mixes humor into the seriousness that encourages students to not only relate to the story, but wanting to talk about it and even to go so far as change their own personal behaviors. Which can be advantageous within an environment that adults who are aware and capable of supporting and sustaining lasting change. age 10 fourth grade topics special education self control caring friendships classroom management acceptance
    This story should be read aloud to every fourth grader in the world. It is a story about a boy that can't figure out how to get along in school or with other kids. I have had teachers report to me that they noticed a distinct positive difference in their classes and how students interacted with each other after they read this story aloud to the class.
  • Miracles on Maple Hill by Virginia Sorensen. 1956. Marley's father returns home from World War II a broken man physically and spiritually, mother decides the family needs to leave Pittsburgh for Grandma's house near Somerset, PA. A place where miracles can happen. The story of young Marley gaining confidence as she grows, father slowly regaining his strength and the family coming back together as a family. The year is filled with struggles and miracles as the author vividly describes the characters and the natural landscapes through the year. As the family regains its health the beloved neighbor, Mr. Chris, who has been the stabilizing element encounters problems of his own which brings the story to a climax and an inevitable resolution of final miracles. Intermediate Adolescent topics adult war trauma Pennsylvania year of nature Newbery Winner
  • Jake Drake - Bully Buster by Andrew Clements. 2001. A creative story of Jake (fourth grade) who has made it his life ambition to study the bully and the bully bait to help both to learn how to coexist. Well it isn t quite that simple. It takes a little under a hundred pages for him to discover it. Language, character development, and plot is strong enough to keep readers reading to the end. age 8 years - third grade topics bully classroom management self help skills
  • Bird Lake Moon by Kevin Henkes. 2008. This is two compelling stories with plots intersecting when Mitch Sinclair (12) and Spencer Stone (10) meet. Mitch is suffering from the recent announcement of his parent's divorce. Afraid of the unknown it causes him to act out in ways he never would have. Spencer along with Lolly, his younger sister, and both of their parents are attempting to recover from the lose of Matty who drowned in Bird Lake. Suspense, characterization, and altering point of view by chapter from Mitch's perspective to Spencer's perspective makes this an outstanding novel. Lolly creative antics of talking in different dialects and deciding to give each voice a name. Language such as - yesterday you were soaked in sunshine . Today - rain. - His mind was an aquarium , and his thoughts were darting around, this way and that, like little fish. - ... all its lines, angles, and corners were softened like the edges on a well-used bar of soap. age 11 years - sixth grade topics divorce friends family death grief Wisconsin
  • The Mailbox by Audrey Shafer. 2006. Twelve year old Gabe is down on his luck. Can't be any one more down. His mother and father are gone and he is living with his Uncle who is in the process of changing his life because of Gabe. One day when Gabe comes home he finds his uncle dead. Aftraid he will be sent away he hides his uncle's death from the local authorities, he is not prepared for what happens when this secret is discovered. An excellent story about how a friend of his Uncle, a Vietnam veteran and other characters work together to try to do what's best for Gabe. A scared young boy who needs to find himself and how others that help each him end up helping themselves in return. A frustrating, but real story that gets below the surface of the different troubles, the more significant characters in the book have, and how more people work to help them, instead of so many being jerks as is usually portrayed in many television programs. age 11 years - sixth grade topics foster care home Vietnam veterans
  • Fudge by Judy Blume
    • Double Fudge by Judy Blume
    • Superfudge by Judy Blume
    • Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing by Judy Blume
    • It's Not the End of the World by Judy Blume
    • Are You There God, It's Me Margaret by Judy Blume
    • Tiger Eyes by Judy Blume
  • On My Honor by Marion Dane Bauer. 1986 Joel's best friend Tony drowns while they are swimming in the forbidden, treacherous Vermilion River. Joel is terrified at having to tell of his disobedience and overwhelmed by his feelings of guilt. realistic fiction death of a friend Newbery Honor
  • The Nitty Gritty by Frank Bonham. see 1968
  • Hot Rod by Henry G. Felsen 1950
  • Thunder Road by William C. Gault. 1952 Story of race car driving with speed, courage, treachery, about Pete Elliot and his antagonist, Rocky Revere.
  • Across Five Aprils by Irene Hunt. 1964 Jethro Creighton comes of age during the Civil War. theme bravery
  • The Boggart by Susan Cooper see 1993 Also The Boggart and the Monster #2. 2004
  • Monkey Island by Paula Fox see 1991
  • Onion John by Joeph Krumgold see 1959
  • Arthur, for the Very First Time. by Patricia Maclachlan 1980 theme real and not
  • Shadow of a Bull by Maia Wojciechowska. 1964
  • Yellow Eyes by Rutherford Montgomery see 1937
  • Hog Wild by Julia Brown Ridle. see 1961
  • Lisa, Bright and Dark by John Neufeld see 1969
  • It's Like This Cat by E. Nevill. see 1963
  • A Day No Pigs Would Die by Robert Newton Peck. 1972 Story about a boy born of plain people living in the Shaker way becomes a man.becomes a man.
  • The Body of Christopher Creed by Carol Plum-Ucci 2000. When Christopher Creed, the class freak and whipping boy, disappears without a trace, everyone speculates on what might have. Soon lives are gravely changed forever.
  • To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. 1960.

Historical Fiction

  • The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare. 1958. Kit was raised in Barbados by her grandfather after her parents died when she was 3. His liberal ideas afforded her an education, encouraged her to be a free thinker, and allowed her to explore her environment which included the beaches where she learned how to swim. On her grandfathers death she was left without a home and headed north to New England where her Aunt lived in a very Puritanical community. Kits life is dramatically changed from one of leisure to having to learn how to endure a way of life that is demanding physically and mentally with structured thinking that she rebels against. Among those she befriends is Widow Tuper who is an eccentric lady that lives by herself. Anyone familiar with the history of New England and the witch trials can foresee a conflict in the making. The author writes about this historical time period with eloquent detail of the environment, the artifacts, and the religious and philosophical differences that people capable of questioning and taking risks surely were wondering about if they weren t capable to speaking up. Fortunately Kit is willing to take action and she is able to find cohorts of similar mind willing to risk action for positive change.
    • The Bronze Bow by Elizabeth George Speare. 1961. Holy lands Jerusalem Christian
  • Journey to Jo'burg by Bweverly Naidoo. 1986 Naledi (13) and her younger brother, Tiro, are home with their baby sister who becomes sick. Mma lives and works in Johannesburg, who they believe is th only person who can save her. They set off to find Mma. Along the way they discover the struggle for freedom and dignity that is taking place.
  • The Invention of Hugo Cabret, by Brian Selznick. 2007. Brian created a novel that reads as if you are experiencing it from a front row seat of an early Parisian movie theater. Words and pictures combine to create a unique experience for the viewer/reader that tell the story of two orphans, The story is one of survival and discovery for Hugo and other characters in the book. Action packed mystery and story of Hugo s survival and desire to understand his life and have some control on his future. As he seeks answers to this he discovers that his past is entangled with Isabelle and Papa Georges. A great story about fictional characters while simultaneously providing a historical view of Paris and the birth of motion pictures.
  • Anahita s Woven Riddle by Meghan Nuttall Sayers. 2006. Set in Northern Iran in the 1880's Anahita is informed that at this time next year she will be old enough to wed. She doesn t want to be married to someone that doesn t match what she is. From her love of riddles she decides that it must be someone the enjoys riddles and if they do, then they would be able to solve the riddle that she would weave into her rug. However, not everyone thinks her idea is a very good one. The story is set during a year of controversy between her family, tribe members, and even herself as she struggles with her decision set in the 1880's of Northern Iran. Suggestion while reading. As the characters are introduced in the book take notes on what the character traits are for each character: what they value, and what they believe. Use the notes about the character to predict what their interpretation of the riddle might be. How do your ideas compare with the answer to the riddle that each gives in the book? How does each character s personality match their interpretation of the riddle?
  • Julie of the Wolves Miyax or Julie? by Jean Craighead George. 1972. Thirteen - orphaned and unhappily married she runs away. Hoping to become a modern teenager she is instead cast the fate of being lost on the harsh Alaska Tundra where she must remember a rely on the Eskimo ways to survive. However, the bleak landscape isn t enough to insure her survival without her reliance on a pack of wolves. This and later novel - Julie 1994 explore a struggle between modern and traditional Eskimo lives.
  • The Slave Dancer, Paula Fox. 1973. During the the 1840 s in New Orleans Jessie Bollier is playing his flute in the market. Afterward he is kidnapped and smuggled out to sea. Later he discovers his reason for being targeted is so he can play while the human cargo of slaves exercise on the ships return trip from Africa. Fox uses Jessie s experience to write about the atrocities that befell slaves on board such ships as they are transported to America. Not only does she write about the conditions of the slaves, but about the thoughts and feelings of the sailors who were willing or unwilling participants in this passage. While the story is realistic fiction and very plausible up to the ending. It is a children s book which usually requires a positive ending, however there are situations toward the end that move from plausible toward maybe possible. Still an easy read for middle school, a history everyone should know, and a story with a compelling plot and well developed characters where their struggle with their circumstances provide important insight into human nature.
  • The Sign of the Beaver, E. G. Speare 1983. see notes
  • Number the Stars, by Lois Lowry, 1989. Story of how Annemarie Johannese (10) and her family harbors her best friend Ellen Rosen in Denmark as the Danish resistance and population smuggle Jews from Nazi occupation to Sweden. Action packed adventure that captures the intensity and seriousness of what the characters were attempting and the Danes actions during World War II. about 140 pages.
  • NightJohn, 1993. by Gary Paulsen. Other books by Gary include:
    • Dogsong, 1985
    • The Crossing, 1987
    • Hatchet, 1988
    • The Monument, 1991
    • The Tent, 1995 - Steven's father, devises a money making scheme, and hits the road as a traveling preacher. Along the way Steven discovers his intentions may not be a pious way to fame and fortune.
  • War Comes to Willy Freeman, Hames and Christopher Collier
  • Arthur for the Very FirstTime, Patricia Maclachlan
  • Hold Fast to Dreams by Andrea Davis Pinkney. 1995. Andrea tells a powerful story about good and bad relationships between people and particularly this family of four. The setting is a Connecticut town and the plot is about a black family that moves into this town of Wexford where everyone is white. Pinkney tells their struggle to belong by describing the characters experiences and feelings as they go about their daily lives at school, work, and in the community. The tone and style that is totally realistic and believable, without succumbing to the use of sensationalism, yet compels you to read and leaves you with an emotional transaction and understanding of the character’s feelings as they struggle to find a place.
  • Elijah of Buxton, by Christopher Paul Curtis. 2007. Elijah of Buxton is the first freeborn child of Buxton a settlement on Lake Erie in Canada created by escaped slaves in the mid 1800 s. Elijah tells the story of his ordinary life who his momma is continually telling him that he is too frag - ile. However, as we travel with him as he does his chores, does odd jobs in the settlement, interacts with the characters that have become central in his life, and of course going to school we find that Elijah is not an ordinary boy at all. He has a gift of story telling and creative exaggeration with explanations that achieve and surpass the best metaphors and similes penned by even the classic tall tale authors of all times. While the literary style and tone is expertly done with subtle events and happenings being wove together for a powerful climax the plot is agonizingly slow moving. The first chapters are more like short stories tied together with the passing of time and Elijah s struggle for recognition as an adult as his values and character is discovered by the reader. It might be a good read aloud, but I wonder how many young readers will maintain enough interest to read through most of the book. It isn t until the reader is closing in on the end that the plot finally unfolds a multi chapter event with enough excitement to propel the reader to a compelling ending. An ending that can only be achieved by a character who has gained enough insight into the complicated decisions of an adult world and a reader that has gained insight into the complications of slavery in the United States in the 1860's. age 11 years sixth grade topics race African American slave male
  • Sunrise over Fallujah, by Walter Dean Myers. 2008. Robin Perry felt compelled to enlist as a result of his experiences of 9-11 joins the service and is sent from Harlem to Iraq in 2003 as a member of the Civil Affairs Battalion. Robin nicknamed Birdy by his comrades - Marla: a tough talking wisecracking blonde gunner and Jonesy, a guitar-player who just wants to open a blues club become comrades in arms. This trio struggles to find meaning in their service to secure, stabilize and win the hearts and minds of the Iraqi people. Robin s time there profoundly changes him as his innocence and intentions of good will are overcome by a need to survive and question why he is there. An important book that offers insight to the intense relationships and profound implications that result during a war and more specific for today s youth - Iraq. age 11 years sixth grade topics Irag war 2003 African Americans human cost of war
  • Lizzie Bright and The Buckminster Boy, by Gary D. Schmidt. 2004. Story about race relations and injustice resulting from prejudice in a 20th century small Maine town. The main character struggles to deal with several conflicts beyond the obvious prejudicial ones as he grows to manhood. Black and white relations, minister's son, trying to fit into an adolescent culture, male and female, family responsibilities and personal desires, good and bad. The author's use of language makes a powerful story even more powerful with numerous insightful descriptions:
    ...seemed about as surprised at each other as new hope drying a last tear. - Books can be fire. Books can ignite fires in your mind, because they carry ideas for kindling, and art for matches. - Should a minister's son be reading this? Who better.
    ... everything in the world rejoices in the touch, and everything in the world laments in the losing. And with his hand still on the whale he...
  • The Green Sea, by Ellen Klages - It's 1943 and Dewey is on a train in New Mexico to live with her father. The destination is the secret town, Los Alamos. Her father works developing “the Gadget” - first atomic bomb. Dewey, a girl who likes science and mechanical things experiences struggles relating to children her age, 11. However, she is at home in a world of mathematicians and scientists that are interested in her thoughts and ideas and willing to support her thinking and helping with her creations. She befriends a young budding artist, Suze and together they help each other through the ensuing years. A very interesting story about struggles of being different as well as a realistic and well documented view of life and the culture of 1943 . Including a low key look, comparatively speaking, at the development of the weapon that changed the world.
  • White Sands, Red Menace by Ellen Klages. 2008. It s 1946 and the author picks up shortly after where she left Dewey and Suze in her first award winning book: The Green Sea. The story continues in the same accurate historical style that depicts the countries cultural and political climate of the day. Set in the southwest state of New Mexico Suze s father has been offered his opportunity of a life time to work on the development of unmanned rocket ships. The story of this unconventional family begins in May of 1946 as they arrive in White Sands. The story unfolds throughout the next year ending in May of 1947. Dewey's and Suze's relationship as unofficial sisters strains during the year but never breaks as it blossoms into a brother relationship with a creation of a mechanical and artistic wonder labeled in their words as the Wall. The author historically recreates the plausible lives of these two adolescent eighth grade girls. An interesting story and slice of life of the times. Masterfully touching on intercultural, racial, gender, and political themes of the time as well as the characters love of art, things mechanical, a mother that is not happy being stuck away from her career all intertwined within relationships that grow toward a climax with the return of Dewey s birth mom. age 12 years - seventh grade topics atomic bombs radiation slave labor world war 2 cold war rocket ships space vehicles adoption teen pregnancy unwanted pregnancy mathematics mechanical art
  • Summer of Discovery, by Melody Herr - Very interesting story set in Bridgeport, Nebraska during the summer of 1939. Ben and Dave are intrigued with the discovery of an arrowhead and manage to tag along with Mr. Daley and archaeologist from Lincoln, NE museum of history. The adventure to discover the story behind the giant arrowhead reveals much about the history and geography of Nebraska and neighboring states. From dust, to tornado, to wild fires, ash hollow cave, ice age hunters, first people, cowboys, first horse, Fort Robinson, and much more. An interesting story that could spark readers to search for what is true and what might have been created by the author for a better story.
  • Highway Robbery by Kate Thompson - In England in the 1700’s there was Dick Turpin. Who was a house-breaker, torturer, murderer, horse-stealer and all-round real nasty piece of work who was fictionalize as Dick Turpin, Highwayman and Knight of the Road. However this story isn’t about the character of Dick, but of the unidentified main character who tells the story in first person whose character was asked,by Dick Turpin, to hold Black Bess until he returned. This main character is undeniably ethical as we discover in the story that begins with the following dialogue:
    “The rider sprang off as light as a cat and pulled the reins over the horse's head. Then he marched straight over to me and put them into my hand. ... Hold the mare for me, lad. And when I come back, I'll give you a golden guinea."
    The style of this chapter book includes pen-and-ink drawings by Duddle and Dress, large font and line spacing for easy reading, fast-paced action, dry humor and an ending that begs to be talked about. In fact it would be a great read aloud with its flamboyant narrative and those detailed comical illustrations to accompany it. The plot is suspenseful, precise and with twists to make it richer.
  • Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt, 1975, Is a classic story about immortality. Winnie (11) is mysteriously introduced to the Tuck family. Who have discovered a spring that can impart immortality. She is befriended by a male family member - Jesse (17). The story is a philosophic expedition of the struggles of making choices and balancing emotions, spontaneity, common sense, desires, fear of the unknown, and everlasting life. The imagery with which the story is written is powerful enough to make this story a classic that deeply peruses the eternal subject of life and death and what choices we might make if we were able to choose.
  • The Cay by Theodore Taylors. 1969. Adventure story of Phillip (11) who lives on an Island with his mother during World War II. His mother decides to move back to the safety of Virginia and he is separated from her during when the ship they are on is sunk. He sustains a head injury that results in his lose of sight and wakes to find himself on a raft with a black man - a member of the ship s crew and a big tomcat. Days on the raft and months on a deserted island have Philip loosing his prejudice and learning to deal with his sightlessness. A great adventure story and story about overcoming fears.
  • Moon Over Manifest by Clare Vanderpool. Abilene Tucker (12) spends summer of 1936 in Manifest, Kansas where she hopes to learn something about her father who grew up there.
  • Forge by Laurie Halse Anderson. 2010. Sequel to Chains Story continues with Curzon, 15, separated from Isabel and happenstance has him enlist to serve as a free man in the Massachusetts Regiment of the Continental Army. Assigned to guard the river, until General Burgoyne surrendered, then they were sent to Valley Forge for the winter. Arriving to a muddy field they were ordered to build a cabin and had to survive with very meager provisions. Another unlikely encounter brings him face to face with his previous master, Bellingham, and of course, Isabel, where both are reunited as slaves. Their strained friendship is rebuild with urgency on the discovery of the eminent sale of Isabel. With the assistance of his fellow soldiers a new plot to escape put into motion as the Continental Army marches out of Valley Forge. Interesting style with the use of historical snippets of information taken from personal letters, newspaper articles, and other historical documents inserted at the top of pages where they fit chronologically with the fictional story. Adds historical credibility to the tone of the story. Sequel continues with Ashes ages 11 years - sixth grade topics Valley Forge American Revolution Pennsylvania multicultural slavery.
  • Heart of a Samurai by Margi Preus. 2010. Manjiro and four friends find themselves stranded on an island. They are told it is impossible for them to return to their homes in Japan. Japan has closed its borders to foreigners and to its citizens who have strayed. He joins a whaling vessel where he travels the seas for ten years learning about foreign lands and different cultures. He sustains himself with a dream of returning home and becoming a samurai. Based on the true story of Nakahama Manjiro. Age 11 years - sixth grade topic 1880 Japan United states multicultural relations Nakahama Manjiro.
  • The Incredible Journey by Sheila Burnford. 1960. A very well told story about three animals, two dogs and a cat, that travel thousands of miles to be reunited with their owners. The author s tone and style describes the animals and their journey without resorting to trivializing their existence as animals by having them assume human personas. Instead Burnford relies on her vivid description of the Canadian wilderness and the animal s actions as they negotiated one obstacle after another and out maneuvered wild animals and humans to successfully complete their journey. Intermediate Adolescentcent
  • Highway Robbery by Kate Thompson. 2008. In England in the 1700's there was Dick Turpin. Who was a house-breaker, torturer, murderer, horse-stealer and all-round real nasty piece of work who was fictionalize as Dick Turpin, Highwayman and Knight of the Road. However, this story isn't about the character of Dick, but of the unidentified main character who tells the story in first person whose character was asked, by Dick Turpin, to hold Black Bess, until he returned. This main character is undeniably ethical as we discover in the story that begins with the following dialogue:
    The rider sprang off as light as a cat and pulled the reins over the horse's head. Then he marched straight over to me and put them into my hand. ... Hold the mare for me, lad. And when I come back, I'll give you a golden guinea.
    The style of this chapter book includes pen-and-ink drawings by Duddle and Dress, large font and line spacing for easy reading, fast-paced action, dry humor and an ending that begs to be talked about. In fact it would be a great read aloud with its flamboyant narrative and those detailed comical illustrations to accompany it. The plot is suspenseful, precise and with twists to make it richer. age 9 years fourth grade topics robbery adventure horses Richard Turpin Great Britain eighteenth century
  • Sarah, Plain and Tall by Patricia MacLachlan. 1985 First book in a series about the Witting family. Set in the late 1800's. First person, young Anna tells the story of how Sarah Elisabeth Wheaton comes from Maine to the prairie in answer to her papa's ad for a wife and mother. Classic for younger readers who like Laura Ingalls Wilder's Little House on the Prairie books themes of abandonment, loss and love. Newbery winner
  • My Brother Sam is Dead by James Lincoln Collier & Christopher Collier. 1974. Set in the Merican revolutionary war and a conflict between father & sons.
    • Jump Ship to Freedom by James Lincoln Collier & Christopher Collier. slavery freedom see 1981
    • War Comes to Willy Freeman by James Lincoln Collier & Christopher Collier. see 1987. Slavery Willy - female, searches for her mother
    • Who Is Carrie? by James Lincoln Collier & Christopher Collier. 1984. Book three of three about the Arabus family. Carrie learns the truth about her family when she eavesdrops on Thomas Jefferson, Alexander Hamilton, and President Washington. Slavery
  • The Door in the Wall by Marguerite de Angeli. historical fiction medieval England renaissance and culture fear of failure patience self sufficiency see 1949.
  • Hitty: Her First 100 Years. by Rachel M. Field. 1929. Story of a doll Hitty or Mehitable and her adventures.
  • Summer of My German Soldier by Bette Greene.
  • Out of Dust by Karen Heese.
  • Latham, J. L. Carry on Mr. Bowditch (sometimes classified as nonfiction)
  • Lenski, Lois The Strawberry Girl by Lois Lowry
  • Mick Harte Was Here by Park, Barbara Park.
  • Nightjohn by Gary Paulsen. see 1993.
  • The Upstairs Room by Johanna Reiss. see 1972.
  • A Taste of Blackberries by Doris Buchanan Smith. see 1973.
  • Roll of Thunder Hear My Cry by Mildred Taylor. see 1976. The series:
    • 1. The Land by Mildred Taylor. 2001.
    • 2. The Well by Mildred Taylor. 1995)
    • 3. Song of the Trees by Mildred Taylor. 1975)
    • 4. Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildred Taylor. 1976)
    • 4.5 Mississippi Bridge by Mildred Taylor. 1990)
    • 5. Let the Circle Be Unbroken by Mildred Taylor. 1981)
    • 5.5 The Friendship by Mildred Taylor. 1987)
    • 6. The Road to Memphis by Mildred Taylor. 1990)
    • 7. The Gold Cadillac by Mildred Taylor. 1987)
    • 8. All the Days Past, All the Days to Come by Mildred Taylor. 2020)
  • Adam of the Road by Elizabeth Vining. see 1942
  • The Long Winter by Laura Ingalls Wilder. see 1940
    • The First Four Years by Laura Ingalls Wilder. see 1971.
    • On the Way Home by Laura Ingalls Wilder. 1962.
    • By the Shores of Silver Lake by Laura Ingalls Wilder. 1939.
    • Farmer Boy by Laura Ingalls Wilder. 1933.
  • Masada by Yigael Yaden & Gerald Gottlieb. see 1969. (sometimes classified as nonfiction)

Picture books


  • I Never Knew Your Name by Sherry Garland. 1994. Realistic fiction written in verse where a younger boy tells his view of the story of an adolescent boy who committed suicide who he knew, but never knew his name. Sheldon Greenberg illustrated it with oil paints and capture the moods of the story in style and color. A powerful story of the inhumanity that going about our lives everyday can create. Realistic fiction
  • The Call of the Wolves by Jim Murphy 1989 A dramatic narrative filled with spectacular, lifelike illustrations, of a small pack of endangered Arctic wolves. Realistic or nonfiction
  • Meet Danitra Brown by Nikki Grimes. illustrated by Floyd Cooper. 1994. Two bubbly vivacious young girls are the center piece of this marvelous collection of poems that fit together within this volume. It is beautifully illustrated in warm dreamy oils that stir feelings of hope and goodness the two girls have about being black, female, and confident, as well as family, friendship, art, and education. poems collection and Realistic fiction
  • Anna Banana and Me by Lenore Blegvad. 1985. Story of a how young girl teaches a boy how to dream and live above your fears. A friend once told me this was a Bridge to Terabithia for young readers. Realistic fiction
  • The Extraordinary Adventures of Ordinary Basil by Wiley Miller. 2006. A really creative, interesting, adventure, for primary students that like good guys versus bad guy stories. In addition to the marvelous pictures on every page. Realistic fiction
  • Annie and the Old One by Patricia Miles Martin. illustrated by Peter Parnall. 1972. Annie becomes deeply concerned when her grandmother tells that she will return to the Earth when she finishes the rug that is presently on the loom. Annie takes all kinds of measures to postpone the inevitable until she learns to accept her grandmother's beliefs and wishes and move forward in time. Realistic fiction
  • The Sandwich Swap by Kelly DiPucchio. 2010. two girls trade sandwiches at lunch and start a school event. 6 years - first grade topics friendship multicultural Realistic fiction
  • John Jeremy Colton by Bryab J. Leech. 1994. A great story told in verse about John Jeremy Colton who is an eccentric that the children of Bolten learn to love and enjoy. However, because of his being different some parents begin to fear his relationship with their children and demand their children not go to his house. John becomes depressed until the people realize the error of their ways and Bolten becomes a very different place. Delightful story that is illustrated in the most strange and unusual manner. The text meanders around the pages in all sorts of ways and makes it nearly impossible to to follow the story at times. However, the determined reader will find it worth the struggle. Realistic fiction picture book
  • Mama One, Mama Two. by Patricia Maclachlan 1982 A young child lives with a foster family until her mother gets well. Realistic fiction
  • Ruby the Copycat by Peggy Rathmann. 2006. Story about a new girl, Ruby, who seems to copy another girl in her class. A very tolerant teacher is very patient in letting Ruby do her thing until it begins to trouble her classmates. Then the teacher steps in to help Ruby be herself. Realistic fiction
  • Down the Road by Alice Schertle. 2000. Picture story about a young girl who begs her parents to let her go to the store on her own. When she does instead of coming home with eggs she ends up with apples. A very touching story where the parents deal with a problem in a most creative and appropriate way to foster growth. Realistic fiction
  • Go Away, Dog by Joan L. Nodset. 1963. Characterization and style make this a convincing piece of literature to tell a story about a boy, who doesn't like dogs and a persistent dog that the boy learns to like. The author has selected a style and tone that creates powerful images of this interaction. The use of a controlled beginning reading vocabulary, short sentences and a simple grammar structure is used to construct an accurate interaction of a boy with a dog. age 6 years first grade topics animals dog
  • Alice by Whoopi Goldberg
  • The Dot by Peter H. Reynolds. 2004. The mood and message of this book inspires the reader to do as the main character and rise above their inhibitions and begin to draw. With the first dot put to the page there is an excitement and realization that propels her to continue drawing and encourage others to draw. Realistic fiction how to book
  • The Brand New Kid by Stephan Cosgrove, Ira Worthy, & Katie Couric Realistic fiction
  • Nana Upstairs and Nana Downstairs by Tomie DePaola Realistic fiction
    • Now One Foot, Now the Other by Tomie DePaola Realistic fiction
    • Pancakes for Breakfast by Tomie DePaola Realistic fiction
    • Flicks by Tomie DePaola Realistic fiction
    • The Popcorn Book by Tomie DePaola Realistic fiction
  • Eve and Smithy by Michelle Edwards an elderly couple that teach a young neighbor about art. Realistic fiction
  • Amazing Grace by Mary Hoffman Realistic fiction
  • The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats Realistic fiction
  • The Patchwork Quilt by Valerie Flournoy. Realistic fiction
  • A Game of Catch by Richard Wilbur Realistic fiction
  • A Chair For My Mother Vera Williams. Realistic fiction
  • Owl Moon by Jane Yolen Realistic fiction
  • Knots on a Counting Rope by Bill Martin Jr. and Ted Archambault. Realistic fiction
  • The Tenth Good Thing About Barney by Judith Viorst
    • Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst
    • Alexander Who Used to Be Rich Last Sunday by Judith Viorst
    • Alexander, Who's Not (do you hear me? I mean it!) Going to Move by Judith Viorst
    • Earrings by Judith Viorst
  • The Day I Swapped My Dad for Two Goldfish by Neil Gaiman. 1997. A boy (not named in the story) can't seem to find anything Nathan will accept as a trade for his two goldfish. Until he offers his dad. Against his younger sister's warnings he makes the trade and enjoys the goldfish. As his sister predicted his mother gets home, discovers the deal, and orders him to take the goldfish to Nathan and don't come back without your dad. The exchange turns out to be more complicated as Nathan has traded dad for an electric guitar. One trade leads to another as the two siblings wind their way around town undoing trade after trade in order to take dad home. Wonderful plot told with a humorous tone. Pictures are stylized sketches colored in mostly oranges and browns of the objects they traded and the characters in stop action poises that express character emotions for the actions. Great for circular plot and the use of illustration and writing to create stye and tone. age 6 years topic first family humor sequence fiction realistic?
  • The Secret Birthday Message by Eric Carle. 1972. On the night before Tim's birthday he found a strange envelope under his pillow. Inside was a secret message! And this is what it said: A map with 8 clues on how to find his birthday present. The usual characteristic cut paper art of Carle, but the use of shapes and different shaped pages worked into the book and story give this book a unique style. topics birthday map treasure hunt
  • Jack and the Box by Art Spiegelman. 2008. Jack gets a new toy, a - Zack in the Box. The humor is a little advanced for real young children. As the first time Zach comes out of the box Jack ends up in his mother's arms. Through the book Jack is frightened, frustrated, mad, bewildered, and amused. The genre is a cross between a comic book and picture book. It is creative and as zany as the Cat in the Hat. A simple way to explore how to include surprise as a style element. age 8 years third grade topics jack in the box dark humor surprise as style element.

Modern fantasy

  • The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams. 1922. Story of a stuffed toy rabbit. see online at Gutenberg
  • Room on the Broom by Julia Donaldson. 2001. A tale told in verse about a witch flying around on a broom. As she goes she looses possessions and regains them along with additional passengers until the broom stick breaks in half. Causing the passengers to fall into a bog and the witch to fly into a cloud where she encounters a dragon. Fleeing the dragon, who has intentions of feasting on witch and french fries, she lands in the bog where they both encounter a horrible beast from the bog. A clever climax followed by a resolution where the witch takes gifts given by her passengers, brews a better broom, and flies off with her passengers. This is definitely a quality story. Outstanding use of words and story elements that can be shared and talked about with children to encourage their journey toward literacy. age 6 first grade topics witch broom dragon animals cat dog frog green bird Modern fantasy
  • Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg. A tale of believing told with stunning realistic illustrations that only Chris Van Allsburg brings to all his picture books. modern fantasy
  • The 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins by Dr. Seuss
  • The Widow's Broom by Chris VanAllsburg
  • Jumanji by Chris VanAllsburg
  • The Wretched Stone by Chris VanAllsburg

Historical fiction

  • The Arrival by Shaun Tan. 2006. Picture book or a graphic novel that includes images so the viewer feels both an apprehensiveness and strangeness as well as a sense of adventure and wonder that flip-flops through the viewers mind as scenes of family, family goodbyes, standing alone, reflecting, longing, waiting, anticipating, among crowds of immigrants as they travel, arrive, and begin a new life in an unfamiliar, strange, and hopeful place. Tan’s pictures both urge the viewer on and ask them to linger and interpret the story in this wordless book. topic picture book historical fiction graphic novel immigration wordless books cartoons poetic Historical fiction
  • Ron's Big Mission by Rose Blue. 2009. Ron (9) walks through his South Carolina town to the library with the purpose of checking out his favorite book on airplanes, however, the segregation laws prohibit African Americans from borrowing books. A white lady, hoping to resolve an impossible situation offers to check out his books on her library card. However, Ron is insistent that he be given his own card and allowed to check out the books himself. While the librarian ignores him he climbs onto the counter and refuses to leave until his books are check on his card. Even after his mother and the police arrive he is steadfast. The head librarian finally relents and creates a library card for him and he proudly checks out the books on his card. Illustrations have brightly contrasting earthy tones with soft subtle backgrounds, scenes, and settings. Characters are illustrated with the same soft textures and colors with enlarged heads that emphasize Ron's other character's determination, kindness, frustrations of injustice, and anxieties. An author's note describes this is a fictionalized account of a real incident from the childhood of astronaut Ron McNair, who died in the 1986 Challenger explosion. Historical fiction based on interviews of Ron's mother and a South Carolinian librarian. 7 years - second grade, topics include astronaut civil disobedience discrimination Ron McNair 1986 Challenger
  • The Real McCoy, Wendy Towle. 1993. Elijah McCoy, son of a fugitive slaves who settles in Ontario, Canada, where Elijah is born in 1844. Elijah love to take things apart and put them back together led him to Scotland where he becomes an engineer. He goes to the United States, where the only job he can get is as a fireman with a train company. The story continues with his life, inventions, community involvement. nonfiction history Black American science engineer
  • More than Anything Else by Marie Bradby. 1995. Fictionalized story about young Booker T. Washington.
  • Prairie Vision see in nonfiction
  • Coming Home: From the Life of Langston Hughes by Floyd Cooper
  • The Keeping Quilt by Patricia Polacco
  • Aunt Harriet's Underground Railroad in the Sky by Faith Ringold
  • The Drinking Gourd by Jeanette Winter
  • Dragonwings by Laurence Yep
  • The Star Fisher by Laurence Yep
  • Dreamcatcher by Ed Young

Folk tales, fables, myths, legends, tall tales, & fairy tales see also animal fantasy

  • Mufaro s Beautiful Daughters by John Steptoe. 1987. Mufaro has two beautiful daughters. Manyara with a bad temper and selfish when Mufaro isn't present. Nyasha kind and considerate to people and animals. The King requests all worthy and beautiful women appear before him so he might choose a wife. Mufaro decides both his daughters should go. Manyara, believing herself more worthy and beautiful than her sister, sets out first so she will be presented to the king before her sister. When she enters the King s chambers she runs out crying that there is a monster in the room who said he was very displeased with her. When Nyasha arrives and bravely enters the room, she sees her friend, a small snake from her garden. Where upon he transforms before her and tells her he knows of her kindness and is pleased with her. So she becomes queen and Manyara a servant for the queen. A traditional folk tale characterization and plot. Illustrations are richly textured and very colorful in the medium of ink and watercolors depicting expressive people and events with their costumes, artifacts, flora, and fauna that enhance the story and show the reader the traditional culture of Zimbabwe, Africa. 7 years - second 1987 Cinderella African folk tale multiculture romantic justice revenge Zimbabwe
  • Tops and Bottoms by Janet Stevens. 1995 Hare tricks a rich lazy Bear in this humerous trickster story of using one’s wits to solve a problem. The book opens top to bottom instead of sideways and has large bold colorful illustrations, making it great for a read aloud.
  • Golem by Davis Wisniewski
  • The Three Pigs by David Wiesner
  • Tikki Tikki Tembo by Arlene Mosel. 1968. Tikki tikki tembo-no sa rembo-chari bari ruchi-pip peri pembo, the boy with a long name fell down a well. Chinese folktale
  • The Tale of the Mandarin Ducks by Katherine Paterson. 1990. Yasuko and Shozo release the Mandarin duck to return to its mate. They are sentenced to death. How will they be saved? Chinese folktale
  • Iktomi and the Boulder by Paul Gobel
  • The Girl Who Loved Wild Horses by Paul Gobel
  • Adopted by the Eagles by Paul Gobel
  • The True Story of the Three Little Pigs by A. Wolf by Jon Scieszka
  • Follow The Drinking Gourd by Jeanette Winter
  • Sleeping Ugly by Jane Yolen
  • Lon Po Po by Ed Young
  • Dreamcatcher by Ed Young
  • The Diane Goode Book of American Folktales and Songs by Diane Goode
  • Bird Blackfeet Indian Stories George Grinnell
  • Anpao by Jamake Highwater.
  • Miss Rumphius by Barbara Cooney
  • Strega Nona by Tomei DePaola
  • The Knight and the Dragon by Tomei DePaola
  • The StoryTelling Stone by Susan Feldman
  • One Fine Day by Nonny Hogrogian
  • Chicken Little by Steven Kellogg
  • Children of the Earth and Sky by Stephen Krensky
  • The Seven Chinese Brothers by Margaret Mahy
  • Goldilocks and the Three Bears by James Marshall
  • An Egg and Seven Socks by Judith Mathews
  • Anasti the Spider by Mc Dermott
  • Annie and the Old One by Miska Miles
  • The King's Equal by Katherine Paterson
  • Tar Beach by R Faith Ringgold

Animal fantasy

  • Millions of Cats by Wanda Gág. 1929 Picture book with verse: Hundreds of cats, thousands of cats, millions and billions and trillions of cats. More
  • Tacky the Penguin by Helen Lester. 1979. Classic children s picture book of Tacky the penguin that is different than all the other penguins. Who just can t tolerate his differences. Until one day a series of events unfold that could be the end of their existence. However, Tacky's bizare behjaviors saves the day. Animal fantasy
  • The Little Mouse, The Red Ripe Strawberry, and The Big Hungry Bear by Don and Audrey Wood. 1984. Mouse is told that a big hungry bear will come and eat the big red strawberry. Who is telling the story? The mouse? The author? Where is the Bear? Who is talking? And why? See activity plan animal fantasy
  • The True Story of The 3 Little Pigs by Jon Scieszka. 1989. The delightful picture story that started an avalanche of retellings of fairy tales. Just think of those pigs lying there as a juicy hamburger, what would you do? Animal fantasy
  • Trouble with Trolls by Jan Brett
  • The Mitten by Jan Brett
  • Mouse Paint by Ellen Stoll Walsh. 1989. A whimsical picture book of three creative mice that get into three open containers of paint and pitter-patter through the story. Created as a paper collage and red, blue, and yellow that is supposedly made from the mice s haphazard and creative interactions with the paint. A delightful story with interesting results that children can explore on their own if the are fortunate enough to have an adult provide them with their own personal paint mixing experiences. 5 years - kindergarten animal fantasy
  • Lon Po Po: A Red-Riding Hood Story from China by Ed Youing. 1989. A delightful water color picture book that depicts and tells the story of a big bad wolf disguised as the three sisters grandmother. A three panel Chinese layout along with light and dark colors is used to depict realistic and imaginary frames of this fairy tale displayed across a two page layout. The fate of this wolf is sealed when the three girls coax him into a basket to raise him into the tree in which they are hiding with the promise of ginkgo nuts to eat. Not likely as the sisters let the poor wolf in grandma clothing fall to her death. fairy tale
  • Doctor De Soto by William Steig. 1982. Doctor De Soto, respected mouse-dentist, and his able assistant, Mrs. De Soto, are friendly and professional toward their patients, from chipmunks to donkeys to cows. The exceptions printed clearly over their office door - "cats and other dangerous animals." However, being tender hearted rodents, when a sore mouthed fox arrives seeking treatment, they agree to let him in for a visit. Fox has "a rotten bicuspid and unusually bad breath," and manages to behave himself while tiny Doctor De Soto stands between molars inside his gaping jaws. When the wily fox returns the next day to get his replacement gold tooth, he has a mouse-flavored snack on his mind. Luckily, Doctor De Soto and his wife anticipated the sly despicable Vulpes intentions, and outfox the ungrateful Vulpes by gluing his teeth together. Not much snack munching there. Age 6 years - first grade topic mouse dentist trickster fox warning trickster folk tale animal fantasy
  • The Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter. 1902. classic age 6 years - first grade animal fantasy
  • Tico and the Golden Wings by Leo Leonni. 1964. There once was a bird that was born without wings. The other birds treat him kindly, but he can not be with them in the air so he wishes he had wings. His wish is granted he he is given golden wings which everyone admired. His friends now treat him differently because they think he thinks he is so much better. One day he was touched by the need of a child and gave up one golden feather to help the child... Later the same act of kindness is repeated and as each feather is given a black feather takes its place until the all his feathers are black. Now the birds feel he is like them, but he feels he isn't because he is different inside. This book predates the Rainbow Fish book. age 7 years - second grade topics giving sharing birds feathers gold caring beauty generosity folk tale fable animal fantasy
  • Amos and Boris by William Steig. 1971. Story of a mouse who goes out to sea in his boat, which sinks. Meaning, he obviously is in need help. Which arrives in the form of a whale. Together they become friends and travel until one day mouse decides to be let off on land. He thanks whale and says if whale ever needs help, he will... Yeah right... Later mouse learns that whale is beached so he gGets elephants to help and they continue to be friends for ever.age 7 years - second grade topics talking animals friends big and small whale mouse fable animal fantasy
  • The Three Little Wolves and the Big Bad Pig by Eugene Trivas. 1993. Ingenious spin of the classic tale The Three Little Pigs. Hilarious from the start with an illustration of the mother wolf lounging in bed, hair in curlers, toenails freshly polished, and three fuzzy offspring gathered round. The wolf siblings, amply warned about the big bad pig, construct their first house of sturdy brick, an abode capable of resisting a pig's huffing and puffing, but not his sledgehammer. Each abode becomes more fortress-like causing the pig to resort to more destructive measures. When the wolves decide a totally different strategy is needed - a house of flowers. The fragrance tames the pig so he can move in with the wolves and live together happily ever after. The text is humorous and clever with a variety of animals donating a variety of building materials to protect against the pig's escalation of power. Helen Oxenbury's watercolors capture the story's humor and add a variety of detail that expands the characterization of the wolves and pig along with their outlandish behaviors. age 8 years - third grade animal fantasy fairy tale
  • The Three Pigs by David Wiesner. 2001. David's story starts as the usual Three Little Pigs story, but a fortunate huff and puff blows the first little pig out of the story book. The story book says ... and ate the pig up. However, the first pig has found a life outside the pages of the book and coaxes the second little pig into this world. So it is on to the next little pig. And further exploits beyond the pages. A chance meeting with the Cat and the Fiddle, and a Dragon, soon to be slayed. How will our new three snout faced friends choose to arrange the rest of their story? Super creative exploration of the possibilities when the figurative and literal interpretations are intertwined. Age primary to adult topics three pigs animal fantasy fairy tale
  • The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle. 1963
    • Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? Bill Martin Jr & Eric Carle 1964.
    • The Mixed-Up Chameleon by Eric Carle
    • Slowly, Slowly, Slowly, said the Sloth by Eric Carle. 2002. Eric Carle celebrates the slowness and peacefulnees. age 5 years - kindergarten topics jungle animals sloth art slow peaceful Animal fantasy
    • Baby Bear, Baby Bear, What Do You See? Bill Martin Jr Eric Carle 2007.
  • Skippyjon Jones by Judy Schachner. 2003. A delightfully creative picture book with the main character - a Siamese cat who is scolded for going to the birds. So in his room a quick look in the mirror and ... a Chihuahua!! Well not just any Chihuahua. Skippito Friskito a masked mouse ridder with a sword by his side off to join a band of Chihuahuas for a little sword play with El Blimpo Bumblebeeto Bandito. Pop - beans everywhere. Nice play on word age six first grade topics Siamese cat kitten Spanish Chihuahua animal fantasy
  • The Mitten: A Ukrainian Folktale by Jan Brett. 1989. Classis children's picture book with repeating pattern. age 6 first grade. topics folk tale Ukraine animals size large small animal fantasy
  • We re Going on a Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen. 1989. Follows the lyrics of the song with a family of five and their dog going on a bear hunt. Starts with a black and white double page spread followed by colored double page spread. This alternative pattern continues till they meet a bear where the colored spread is continued till the end. topics bears hunting sequence plot repetative lyrical
  • The Gruffalo by Julia Donaldson. 1999. This creative story has a there and back again plot as a mouse strolls through the woods and meets a fox, owl, snake, and of course the Gruffalo. The first few lines illustrate the author's style...
    A mouse took a stroll through the deep dark wood. A fox saw the mouse and the mouse looked good. Where are you going to, little brown mouse? Come and have lunch in my underground house. It's terribly kind of you, Fox, but no- I m going to have lunch with a gruffalo.
    It is easy to infer the intentions of the fox, however, the mouse is every bit up to the task of saving himself from the fox, owl, snake, and even the Gruffalo. The bold little mouse has enough moxie to convince the Gruffalo that he is the scariest creature in the woods by strolling with the Gruffalo back past the snake, owl, and fox. Where upon returning home mentions his tummy is rumbling and his favorite food is Gruffalo crumble. topics mouse animals repetition there and back again plot. Animal fantasy
  • Chrysanthemum by Kevin Henkes. 1991. Chrysanthemum (mouse) thinks her name is absolutely perfect. However, on the first day of school she is teased by her class mates. teasing, self-esteem, and acceptance Animal fantasy
  • Emmaline and the Bunny by Katherine Hannigan. 2009. While the book is a picture book about bunnies and Emmaline. It isn't your usual young children's picture book about bunnies. Emmaline is a very special young girl who wants a bunny very much. The story is told in verse with rhymes, alliteration, invented words, figurative language, and abstractions like, If I went to away.
    Emmaline isn't neat and likes to romp out side. Which is prohibited in Neatasapin by Mayor Orson Oliphant. Emmaline hears of a place which is very untidy and goes to visit a bunny and the Old One who tells her she must invite a bunny if she wants one to live with her. She returns home where she convinces her parents to stand up to Mayor Orson Oliphant and they create an invitation yard. age 8 years third grade topics bunny clean neat and tidy. Animal fantasy
  • Little Mouse Gets Ready Jeff Smith. 2009. Great book. Well illustrated and the tory tells the procedure of getting dressed with great detail and accuracy. While Mamma and other family members patiently wait for him to finish. What mice don't wear clothes. age 5 years - kindergarten topics mice mouse little getting dressed humor. Animal fantasy
  • Frederick by Leo Lionni Animal fantasy
    • Inch by Inch by Leo Lionni Animal fantasy
  • The Eleventh Hour: A Curious Mystery by Graeme Base. 1989. Delicately illustrated story of Horace the Elephant's eleventh birthday party. While the main mystery is who stole the birthday cake there are puzzles on each page and throughout the story. There is a sealed solution section at the back, but knowing that once opened the fun and curiosity ends, who would want to break the seal? Modern fantasy
    • Animalia by Graeme Base 1986
    • The Water Hole by Graeme Base 2001
    • Little Elephants by Graeme Base 2012
  • Leo the Late Bloomer by Robert Kraus. 1971. Leo (tiger) isn't reading, writing, drawing, or even speaking. His father is concerned, but his mother knows her son will do all those things, and more, when he's ready.
  • Bill and Pete by Tomie dePaola
  • The School Mouse by Dick King-Smith
  • Grandfather Twilight by Barbara Berger
  • The Last Basselope by Berkeley Breathed
    • Red Ranger Came Calling by Berkeley Breathed
    • Goodnight Opus by Berkeley Breathed
  • Carl Goes Shopping by Alexandra Day
  • Tacky the Penguin by Helen Lester
  • If You Give a Mouse a Cookie by Laura Joffe Numeroff
  • Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak
  • Mouse Paint by Ellen Walsh Stoll
  • Pigs by Robert Munsch
    • A Promise is a Promise by Robert Munsch
    • 50 Below Zero by Robert Munsch
    • Show and Tell by Robert Munsch
    • Moira's Birthday by Robert Munsch
    • Mud Puddle by Robert Munsch
    • Thomas' Snowsuit by Robert Munsch
  • There's a Nightmare in My Closet by Mercer Mayer. 1968. Humorous fantasy about childhood fear of the dark and an exaggerated imagination.
    • Oops! by Mercer Mayer. 1980.
    • A Boy a Dog and a Frog by Mercer Mayer. 1967. A boy and his dog go walking in the swamp and see a frog. Do they catch him?
      • Frog Where Are You? by Mercer Mayer. 1969. Book two in A Boy a Dog and a Frog series
      • One Frog Too Many Frog by Mercer Mayer. 1977. Book three in the series
      • Frog on His Own by Mercer Mayer. 1973. Book four
      • Frog Goes to Dinner by Mercer Mayer. 1974. Book five Wordless picture book
    • Bubble Bubble Ac-hoo! Hiccup! by Mercer Mayer
    • Just Go to Bed by Mercer Mayer
    • Just My Friend and Me by Mercer Mayer
    • Just a Nap by Mercer Mayer
    • Just Me and My Cousin by Mercer Mayer
    • Just a Thunderstorm by Mercer Mayer
  • The Black Snowman Phil Mendez
  • Harvey Potter's Balloon Farm by Jerdine Noel
  • A Big Fat Enormouse Lie by Marjorie W. Sharmat

Concept books

  • Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin, Jr. & John Archambault, illustrated by Lois Ehlert. 1989. Classic Alphabet book in rhyme and rhythm that children enjoy over and over again. Poem
  • One Gorilla: A Counting Book by Atsuko Morozumi. 1993. Beautifully illustrated highly colorful counting book where young children are mildly challenged to find the different numbers of animals within their realistic habits. That is for all the animals depicted except for the gorilla that meanders through the entire story encouraging the children to count the the other animals. Counting book
  • Anno's Journey by Mitsumasa Anno. 1977. A visual journey through the countryside, farmsteads, and towns of northern Europe with familiar storybook characters, visual jokes, puzzles, tricks of perspective, and other creative surprises. Concept book visual ...
  • The Jolly Postman or Other People's Letters Janet & Allan Ahlberg. 1986. Join the Jolly Postman as he goes on his rounds via bicycle, delivering mail to Goldilocks, Cinderella, Jack's Giant, and other fairy-tale characters. This creative picture book includes enclosed envelopes with letters inside them addressed to fairy tale characters that were supposedly along the postman's route. Children enjoy opening the envelops and reading the letters, which are fairly humorous. A ground breaking piece of literature. Concept book
  • Zathura by Chris VanAllsburg

Science fiction

  • Willy Whyner, Cloud Designer by Michael & Esther Lustig. 1994. Great story about Willy and how he designs clouds and the consequences when they are marketed.
  • Free Fall by David Wiesner. 1991. A young boy dreams about adventure with dragons and castles in a faraway land. Illustrations take the viewer along.
  • Asi
  • Weslandia by Paul Fleischman
  • Just a Dream by Chris VanAllsburg


  • Nonfiction quality book list
  • The Chimpanzees I Love: Saving their World and Ours by Ann Goodall. 2001. Introduces the reader to the chimpanzees she documented and how she uses ethnographic scientific inquiry method to teach the world about chimpanzees. Big word, but basically means she had the curiosity and desire to wake up early one morning, sneak out of the house and into the chicken coop to sit patiently and discover where eggs came from. nonfiction
  • Michelangelo by Diane Stanley. 2000. Great story about Michelangelo. Enough detail to bring him to life and respect him as an artist and person. picture book
  • Grandfather's Journey, Allen Say nonfiction
  • She's Wearing a Dead Bird on Her Head! by Kathryn Lasky. 1995. Nonfiction story set in the 1890's about the Audubon Society.
  • The Day The Women Got The Vote: A Photo History of the Women's Rights Movement by George Sullivan. 1994. This book is five stars for the photos that it includes. The text may not be five star, but the topics are so important and there are so few books that deal with the subject adequately for the young reader that this book is important as a jumping off point and a big gap filler of American History and specifically for women. nonfiction
  • Letting Swift River Go by Jane Yolen. 1992. A story based on the creation of the Quabbin Reservoir from the Swift River for water demand in the town of Boston. A story where the main character grows up in a town on the river and has to relocate because of the flooding of her town. She later returns in a boat to view her past under water and realizes the past is gone and its time to move on. A thought provoking book on how to reconcile past to present and the needs of different groups of people. nonfiction
  • Shoes, Shoes, Shoes 28 Illustrations of shoes from around world. by Ann Morris. 1995. nonfiction
  • The Man Who Walked Between the Towers by Mordicai Gerstein. 2003. Picture book with wonderful illustrations about the story of Philippe Peiit and his 1974 tightrope walk from atop one World Trade Center to the other World Trade Center. Excellent perspective illustrations. Gives you the feeling that you are actually on top of the World Trade Centers with him. nonfiction

Poetry, anthologies, & collection books

Poem & Nursery rhymes

  • Father Gander Nursery Rhymes by Father Gander
  • Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein. 1974. The most loved children s anthology of poems ever written. Copies have literally been worn out by children reading.
  • The Cat On the Mat Is Flat by Andy Griffiths. 2006. Collection of stories for beginning readers. Illustrated with pencil sketches. Outragous read! Simple pencil drawings to inspire young artists! age 6 years - first grade topics sketching poems humor Sample read aloud of The Cat the Rat & the Bat.


Anthology is a collection of literature with a common theme like: poems, stories, videos, holidays ...

The Family Read-Aloud Holiday Treasury. Selected by Alice Low and illustrated by Marc Brown. 1991. A collection of short stories that are arranged around the calendar. A story of two for each significant date of the year. Delightful stories from key authors and illustrated with recognized child illustrators. A great book to have available for all those holidays.

Stories include: - Me, New Year's Day, Martin Luther King's Day, Valentine's Day, Lincoln, Washington, St.Patrick's Day, April Fool's Day, Passover, Easter, Earth/ Arbor Day, Mother's Day, Memorial Day, Happy Birthday, Father's Day, Summer Vacation, Canada Day, Independence Day, Friendship Day, Labor Day, First Day of School, Grandparent's Day, Rosh-Shanah Eve, Columbus Day, Halloween, Veterans Day, Book Week, Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas, End of Year.

The Famiy Read Aloud Holiday Treasure cover

The Big Book for Peace Edited by Ann Durell and Marilyn Sachs Designed by Jane Byers Bierhorst. An anthology of stories for the purpose to contribute to the celebration of peace. While there have been numerous books and stories that celebrate war and acts of violence there have been less that celebrate ideas and actions that contribute to the maintenance of peace and a peaceful state. This book is an initial start to initiate a change in this condition with stories that one after another powerfully tell a story of discoveries of peace.

Stories include: The Dream by Steven Kellogg, The Two Brothers by Lloyd Alexander, There is an Island by Jean Fritz, The Game by Myra Cohn Livingston, The Tree House by Lois Lowery, They That Take the Sword by Milton Meltzer, Law of Great Peace, adapted by John Bierhorst, The Bus for Deadhorse by Natalie Babbitt, Letter from a Concentration Camp by Yoshiko Uchida, Enemies by Charlotte Zolotow, The Bird's Peace by Jean Craighead George, The Silent Lobby by Mildred Pitts Walter, A Wil Safe Place by Maurice Sendak, One MOre Time by Nancy Willard, I was There by Marilyn Sachs, A Midnight Clear by Katherine Paterson, A Ruckus by Thacher Hurd.

  • The Van Gogh Cafe by Cynthia Rylant. 2006. A collection of short stories centered on a Cafe in Kansas. Each story seems to be more creative and profound that the previous. A must read for middle school or junior high if you can find it.
  • More to Life Than Mr. Right Rosemary Stones. 1985. Collection of short stories to empower the adolescent female reader.
  • The Great Vitamin Mystery by Marvin Martin. 1974. Short stories about discoveries of vitamins over the years. A pretty good read aloud that has good nutritional value as well as a perspective of science and its historical aspects. See online
  • The Stories of Hans Christian Andersen Hans Christian Andersen translated by Dianna Crone Frank and Jeffrey Frank. 2003. Classic literature needs to be read to all children as it was written by the author. This translation captures the richness of language and imagery of Andersen. One delighful example is Andersen's story of The Little Mermaid totally different than the Disney version or A Fish Called Wanda with Tom Hanks ... and probably all the others you've ever read, unless of course you've read Andersen or have had someone read it to you.
  • Red Ridin in the Hood: and Other Cuentos by Patricia Santos Marcantonio. 2005. A creative collection of modern fairy tales told from a Hispanic perspective. Fantastic read aloud or read alone for that matter.


The Boxcar Children cover

The Boxcar Children by Gertrude Chandler Warner. 1942.

Series is about a family of four children: Henry, Jessie, Violet, and Benny. Who are recently orphaned. Wrongly believing their grandfather is a cruel old man, they run away, discover an abandoned box car in a forest, make it home, and have adventures based on their new lives.

Later they discover their beliefs about their grandfather are false. And they end up living with him and he moves the boxcar to his backyard.

Gertrude wrote 19 books in the series, however there are now over 100 in the series.

Days with Frog and Toad by Arnold Lobel. 1979. Five stories are grouped in this book (Tomorrow, Kite, Shivers, The Hat, and Alone). They all have a twist of some sort in them that probably makes for an unpredictable ending which should encourage students to want to read more and discover that a good plot isn t always so predictable. age 7 years - second grade topics animals friends surprising twists in plot frog toad

Frog and Toad are Friends by Arnold Lobel Classic children's short story picture book for young readers.

Owl at Home by Arnold Lobel. 1975. This book has five stories that were truly written for young children. They are egocentric pieces that young children relate to and can use as springboards to understand literature and literary elements: personification, naïvety exaggeration, surprise, and introductory ideas for fables and myths. age 6 years - first grade topics personification owl winter

Amelia Rules - Review of several of these graphic novels

Shadow Children by Margaret Peterson Haddix.

Seven set series: The plot is about children who are the third born, in a world where it is illegal to have more than two children, run from the population police to keep from being killed. Science fiction, adventure, modern fantasy

  • Among the Hidden, 1998
  • Among the Imposter, 2001
  • Among the Betrayed, 2002
  • Among the Barons, 2003
  • Among the Brave, 2004
  • Among the Enemy, 2005
  • Among the Free, 2006

The Magic Tree House by Mary Pope Osborne.

Series of 38 books published from 1992 -2023 and counting.

Main charaters are Jack and Annie:

Jack is the older brother who is known for his love of books and learning with a tendency to be cautious in his actions.

Annie is the younger sister and is known for her bravery, impulsive decisions, and her care for the people and animals around her.

See Wikipedia for a full listing of the series.

Ranger's Apprentice by John Flanagan

Twelve books and a companion of The Lost Stories

  • Book one: The Ruins of Gorlan. 2005. Book one is an excellent high fantasy tale with the main character, Will, coming of age, being selected apprentice for the mysterious and feared Ranger Corp against his desire for apprenticeship as a knight. The story describes Will's struggles as his boyhood friendships develop to life long friendships. As he discovers who he is. As he accepts his abilities and desires for what he would become rather than what he believes others would want him to be. And how he discovers the uses of force for good and evil as well as the limits of force when people use it to control or attempt to control other people. Set in a fictional northern country. The main character, Will, is coming of age, being selected apprentice for the mysterious and feared Ranger Corp, against his desire for apprenticeship as a knight. The story describes Will's struggles as his boyhood friendships develop to life long friendships, as he discovers who he is. He accepts his abilities and desires for what he would become rather than what he believes others would want him to be. And discovers how force can be used for good and evil as well as the limits of force when people use it to control or attempt to control other people. Adolescent

The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart and Carson Ellis. 2007.

  • Imagine being gifted, creative, and an orphan with no one to relate to. Then one day an invitation to enter a contest arrives. Riddles and puzzles await many, but only four survive and become the Mysterious Benedict Society. How ever intriguing, interesting, and exciting the contest was these four soon discover that they have been selected to save the world’s population from being brought under the control of one ambitious person. Soon there are more puzzles and mind games that need to be solved for higher stakes than winning a contest. A scheme is about to be initiated with a new stronger formula and a more powerful secret device that will make it impossible for anyone to resist. Making it too late to save the world from this evil fate. The puzzles and problems are interesting and Stewart make them more interesting by having multiple creative solutions. Very mysterious futuristic reading.
  • The Mysterious Benedict Society: Prisoner's Dilema,
  • The Mysterious Benedict Society:The Perilous Journey

The Sisters Grimm: The Fairy Tale Detectives by Michael Buckley

All the character from fairy tales and magic set in the modern day world. Series of eight books and counting. Ages 8 years - third grade & up.

  • The Usual Suspects, 2005 (2) bigotry family good evil
  • The Problem Child (3),
  • Once Upon a Crime (4),
  • Magic and Other Misdemeanors (5),
  • Tales from the Hood (6),
  • The Everafter Wars (7),
  • The Inside Story (8)

His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman a fantasy trilogy

  • The Golden Compass, 1995 - hear an audio excerpt
  • The Subtle Knife, 1997
  • The Amber Spyglass, 2000

He has also written two companion pieces to the trilogy, Lyra's Oxford and Once Upon a Time in the North.

A related trilogy, The Book of Dust, includes characters and events from the His Dark Materials.

  • La Belle Sauvage, 2017
  • The Secret Commonwealth, 2019
  • Untitled as of 2022

Serpentine - an illuminating story of Lyra & Pan from the world of his Dark Materials and The Book of Dust.

Serpentine cover

The Missing by Margaret Peterson Haddix science fiction

  • The Missing: Found 2008 notes
  • Sent 2009 notes
  • Sabotaged 2010 notes
  • Torn 2011
  • Caught 2012
  • Risked 2013
  • Revealed 2014 notes
  • Redeemed - 2015 conclusion

Skeleton Creek by Patrick Carman. 2009.

The story opens with Ryan (15/16) being house bound with a broken leg and full cast caused by a falling accident in a dredge on Skeleton Creek. Ryan and Sarah (16) have been forbidden to contact one another. However, urged on by evidence seen with their own eyes and a video recording documentation of that encounter with a phantom, the pair are drawn back together with a desire to seek answers to their questions and possibility to solve a mystery. Ryan's record of events in his journal, this book, and Sarah s collection of video evidence, viewed online at her web site, and accessed with passwords in Ryan's journal. A combination of media is used to tell this story. Ryan (15/16) and Sarah (16) are still forbidden to contact one another. However, with time running out and urged on by additional information the two continue to conspire to solve the mystery of the ghost and the Skeleton Creek Dredge. A
Ghost in the Machine, again is a multimedia event. Where as the first journal is a bit clunky, that may be excused as it is the means to the second journal. The author does a very good job of bringing together an intricate twisting plot with surprises that involve multiple characters with differing and essential purposes for the story that drags the reader to an unexpected and enthralling climax. The video is essential for the climax and not just a nice accompaniment making a very good wedding of the two medias. Well Done. age 11 years - sixth grade topics multimedia web casts mystery detective best friends parents ghosts supernatural See sample pages & more.

Skeleton Creek book covers

Books from the world of Percy Jackson, Rick Riordan.

Age 11 sixth grade. Modern fantasy series of five. Mythological quests meet today’s street kids. Also a movie by 20th Century Fox.

Percy Jackson and the Olympians,

The Demigod Diaries

Demigods & Magicians

Percy Jackson's Greek Gods

Percy Jackson's Greek Heroes

Camp Half-Blood Confidential: Your Real Guide to the Demigod Training Camp

The Heroes of Olympus

  • Book One: The Lost Hero
  • Book Two: The Son of Neptune
  • Book Three: The Mark of Athena
  • Book Four: The House of Hades
  • Book Five: The Blood of Olympus

The trial of Apollo

  • Book One: The Hidden Oracle
  • Book Two: The Dark Prophecy
  • Book Three: Tbe Burning Maze
  • Book Four: The Tyrant's Tomb
  • Book Five: The Tower of Nero

Camp Jupiter Classified: A Probatio's Journal

The Sun and the Star: A Nico di Angelo Adventure (with Mark Oshiro)

Percy Jackson and the Olympians

The Bartimaeus Trilogy by Jonathan Stroud. 2006.

Great modern fantasy adventure. Fast moving exciting page turner. age 11 adolescent topics djinni geni magic London England adventure equals slave master human

  • The Ring of Solomon
  • The Golem's Eye
  • Ptolemy's Gate

Artemis Fowl: The Graphic Novel by Eoin Colfer & Andrew Donkin. 2007. This creatively designed graphic novel tells the complete first story of Artemis Fowl in a way that was not possible in the mere novel. The authors, Colfer and Donkin, collaborated with the illustrators, Rigano and Lamanna to combine text and illustrations in a format that includes detailed character information in illustrations, text, and in character files physically embedded in the graphic novel. The combination of these three elements create a style and tone for the story that may provide more detail and a richer experience than the original novel. age intermediate - adolescent topics child prodigy adventure graphic novel

Tunnels (6 book series) by Roderick Gordon & Brian Williams. Will Burrows, 14, discovers a secret entrance to an underground world, as a result of his father's mysterious disappearance. A world with a secret subterranean society ruled by a cultlike overclass, the Styx. Will is taken prisoner and the adventure begins?

  • Tunnels, Deeper, Freefall, Closer, Spiral, TerminalTunnels series covers
  • Deeper, Book two. Will Burrows and his friend Chester team up with Cal, the brother Chester didn't know he had. The story of Will's relationship to his birth mother Sarah unfolds in the beginning of the book as the chapters alternate between topside and underneath as Will continues his quest to find his archaeologist father, who inexplicably disappeared in the labyrinthine world underneath London. The deeper the boys go the more intense the story's sinister inhabitants and evil intentions toward human's is revealed with their use of drugs, torture, intense violence, and death to gain control of not only the deep, but desiring to initiate plans to over take the topside, by annihilating the humans on the surface. The authors have created a sub terranium world inhabited by repressed humans seeking escape from humans on the surface, but a unique Stix ruling culture who's origin is a mystery. There are times when the plot or certain characteristics seem a bit implausible, but its unique setting, action packed story, plot twists, and tangled relationships between its characters are good enough to keep the reader involved. age adolescent early teen topics archeology adventure England London Brian James Williams underground

Keys to the Kingdom by Garth Nix. 2003 - 2010.

  • Mister Monday, Grim Tuesday, Drowned Wednesday, Sir Thursday, Lady Friday, Superior Saturday, & Lord SundayKeys to the Kingdom series covers

Leviathan series by Scott Westerfeld

  • An around the world, steampunk trilogy of: Leviathan, Behemoth, & Goliath. Set historically between World War I & II. Main characters Aleksander, an Austrian prince, and Deryn. Alek runs away from the palace after the death of his parents. Not in line to the throne. Deryn Sharp, a Scottish girl pretends to be a boy, Dylan, in order to join the British Air Service. She is blown of course and picked up by the Leviathan, the biggest airship made by the Darwinists, who altered DNA to creae a living airship. Hence, Leviathan. Alek and Deryn’s stories combine in an unlikely way, and the adventure begins. A battle between Clankers, German and Austria-Hungarian steam machines, v. the Darwinists, fabricated beasts. Young infer by the titles there will be an evolution ... Leviathan trilogy

Harry Potter by J. K. Rowling

  • Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
  • Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
  • Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
  • Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
  • Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
  • Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows


The Last Apprentice / Wardstone Chronicles by Joseph Delaney 2004 - 2022

  1. Revenge of the Witch. 2004.
  2. Curse of the Bane. 2005.
  3. Night of the Soul Stealer. 2007.
  4. Attack of the Fiend. 2007.
  5. The Spook's Mistake. 2008.
  6. The Spook's Sacrifice. 2008.
  7. Rise of the Huntress. 2010.
  8. Rage of the Fallen. 2011.
  9. I am Grimalkin. 2011.
  10. The Spook's Blood. 2012.
  11. Slither. 2012.
  12. I Am Alice. 2013.
  13. The Spook's Revenge. 2013.


The Darkness trilogy

  1. A New Darkness. 2014
  2. The Dark Army. 2016
  3. The Dark Assassin. 2017

After thoughts & analysis for Darkness Trilogy

Joseph Delaney Darkness series books

Brother Wulf trilogy

  1. Brother Wulf
  2. Wulf's Bane
  3. Brother Wulf The Last Spook

Brother Wulf series books

Supplemental books

  1. A Coven of Witches
  2. The Spook's Tales and other Horrors

Books of Ember by Jeanne DuPrau 2004 - 2012

The City of Ember series

A modern fantasy, science fiction set in a post-apocalyptic Earth.

Dr. Robert Sweetland's notes
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