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Books, Books, and More Books!

Jenn, our children's librarian

I haven’t written about books in a while so I thought I’d share some of my favorite books that have come out this year. I read quite a wide variety of books, but this year I’m trying to focus on reading more middle grade fiction (written for children in 3rd-5th grade) with a few teen titles thrown in there. The grade recommendations are my own and are based on interest level (whether a child that age would enjoy the story and content) versus reading level. For more information on reading levels and how mixed up they can be and how bad it can be to force a child to only read books on a certain level read this article from Brightly (one of my favorite sites) and read the Psychology Today article for more insight.

Books I’ve read and enjoyed this year, with short notes about them.

Hippopotamister by John Patrick Green

Graphic novel, 2nd-3rd graders would enjoy, Hippo and red panda leave the zoo to get jobs and hilarity ensues.


Vietnam: A History of the War by Russell Freedman

An accessible, nonbiased look at the whole war. 5th-8th grade


The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill

Newbery Winner!!!! A fairy tale, about a town who sacrifices babies, the witch who saves them and two of the babies who change the town’s history forever. 3rd-8th grade


Flying Lessons and Other Stories

A wonderful collection of modern short stories, perfect for kids who don’t like to read long books and for nighttime read alouds. 3rd-6th grade


The Warden’s Daughter Jerry Spineeli

Cammie is daughter of the warden, cared for by an inmate trustee. She lost her mother as infant and is struggling to fill that void. My note included the word; heartbreaking. 4th-8th grade


Tales of Sahsa series by Alexa Pearl

Stories about a Pegasus raised by horses, who had no idea she could fly. 1st-3rd grade


Mark of the Thief trilogy by Jennifer Nielson

Just ask all the kids in 4th and 5th grade I’ve talked to, I love this author!!!! 3rd-6th grade


The Harlem Charade by Natasha Tarpley

Three kids meet in their neighborhood of Harlem and solve a mystery involving a grandfather, paintings, and their neighborhood. Reminds me of very traditional kids mysteries. For 3rd-6th grade.


Me and Marvin Garden by Any Sarig King (Pennsylvania author!!)

Obe finds a new type of animal in the stream behind his house that only eats plastic. Great story on many levels. For  3rd-6th grade.


The Goldfish Boy by Lisa Thompson

Matthew has developed OCD, his symtptoms have gotten worse when a neighbor boy goes missing. Despite not wanting to leave his room for fear of germs can Matthew help solve the mystery. For 3rd-5th grade.


The Pants Project by Cat Clarke

Liv has to attend a new school with a uniform policy. Can she get her moms to understand why she doesn’t want to wear a skirt and how can she change the policy. For 3rd-5th grade.


The Matchstick Castle by Keir Graff

Brian is sent to Boring for the summer to stay with his aunt, uncle, and cousin. He discovers a cool house and its residents in the woods behind the house. Brian and his cousin are in for an adventure when they decide to help the residents of The Matchstick Castle. For 3rd-5th grade.


Check one, or more, of them out and let me know what you think. Are you reading a book that you think I would like? Is there a book or series that you think we should own? Let me know jsivers@mclinc.org.


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