Archive for May, 2012

With the popularity of the Hunger Games series, are your students crazy about reading more Science Fiction/Fantasy books?
If you’re not familiar with this genre of books, Booklist has posted the list of the Top 10 Science Fiction/Fantasy Books for Youth 2012.

Lists from past years:
Top 10 Science Fiction/Fantasy Books for Youth 2011

Top 10 Science Fiction/Fantasy Books for Youth 2010

Top 10 Science Fiction/Fantasy Books for Youth 2009

So what about this year so far? These are the titles I like the best for middle and high school students.

After the Snow by S. D. Crockett
Fifteen-year-old Willo Blake, born after the 2059 snows created a new ice age, searches for his family, who mysteriously disappeared from their frozen mountain home, and encounters outlaws, halfmen, and an abandoned girl along the way.

Bitterblue by Kristin Cashore
Eighteen-year-old Bitterblue, queen of Monsea, realizes her heavy responsibility and the futility of relying on advisors who surround her with lies as she tries to help her people to heal from the thirty-five-year spell cast by her father, a violent psychopath with mind-altering abilities.

Black Heart by Holly Black
Cassel Sharpe, a powerful transformation worker, is torn between his decision to work for the federal government and his love for Lila, who has joined her father’s criminal organization.

BZRK by Michael Grant
In the near future, the conjoined Armstrong twins, under the guise of the Armstrong Fancy Gifts Corporation, plot to create their own version of utopia using nanobots, while a guerilla group known as BZRK develops a DNA-based biot that can stop bots, but at risk of the host’s brain.

Cinder by Marissa Meyer
Cinder, a gifted mechanic and a cyborg with a mysterious past, is blamed by her stepmother for her stepsister’s illness while a deadly plague decimates the population of New Beijing, but when Cinder’s life gets intertwined with Prince Kai’s, she finds herself at the center of an intergalactic struggle.

A Confusion of Princes
Battling aliens, space pirates, and competitors, Prince Khemri meets a young woman, named Raine, and learns more than he expected about the hidden workings of a vast, intergalactic Empire, and about himself.

Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver
After falling in love, Lena and Alex flee their oppressive society where love is outlawed and everyone must receive “the cure”–an operation that makes them immune to the delirium of love–but Lena alone manages to find her way to a community of resistance fighters, and although she is bereft without the boy she loves, her struggles seem to be leading her toward a new love.

All Amazon links are affiliate links for Linda’s Links to Literature.
Books annotations are from The Library of Congress or created by Linda’s Links to Literature.


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This is the last post related to the best books for younger students so far this year.
Be sure to check out the previous two posts.
I hope you use the book-related resources I’ve listed for some of the books.
Check out our website for more resources.

And which book is my favorite? It happens to be the last book on today’s post. I love Z Is for Moose by Kelly Bingham and illustrated by Paul O. Zelinsky.

Penny and Her Song by Kevin Henkes
Greenwillow Books
Penny comes home from school eager to share her very own song, but must wait until the time is right to teach it to her parents and the babies.
Discussion Guide HarperCollins

Question Boy Meets Little Miss Know-It-All by Peter Catalanotto
A curious boy with non-stop questions meets a girl who seems to know all the answers.

Secrets of the Garden by Kathleen Weidner Zoehfeld
Illustrated by Priscilla Lamont
Depicts a family of four who make their garden their summer home as they prepare the soil, plant seeds, water the garden, and watch for a harvest of vegetables.

Surfer Chick by Kristy Dempsey
Illustrated by Henry Cole
Abrams Books
The story of a little chick and her dad who take to the beach where he teaches her how to surf.

Virginia Wolf by Kyo Maclear
Illustrated by Isabelle Arsenault
Kids Can Press
Vanessa’s sister Virginia is in a “wolfish” mood–growling, howling and acting very strange. Vanessa tries everything she can think of to cheer her up, but nothing seems to work. Loosely based on the relationship between author Virginia Woolf and her sister, painter Vanessa Bell.
Video Book Trailer YouTube

We March by Shane Evans
Roaring Brook Press
Illustrations and brief text portray the events of the 1963 march in Washington, D.C., where the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. delivered a historic speech.

Z Is for Moose by Kelly Bingham
Illustrated by Paul O. Zelinsky
Moose is terribly eager to play his part in Zebra’s alphabet book, but when his letter passes him by, Moose behaves rather badly until Zebra finds a spot for him.
Browse inside the book HarperCollins

All Amazon links are affiliate links for Linda’s Links to Literature.
Books annotations are from The Library of Congress or created by Linda’s Links to Literature.

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Today I’m continuing my list of the best books for PreSchool to Grade 3 for your summer enjoyment.
The last part of the list will be posted in the next few days.

The Hero of Little Street by Gregory Rogers
Roaring Brook Press
When a boy being chased through present-day London seeks refuge in the National Gallery, a dog escapes from the painting of one Dutch master and together they leap into the painting of another, where their adventures in seventeenth-century Delft are a prelude to returning to London and continuing the chase.
Teacher’s Guide Allen & Unwin

Heroes of the Surf by Elisa Carbone
Illustrated by Nancy Carpenter
When the huge steamship on which they are traveling runs aground off the New Jersey coast in 1882, two boys and their families are among the passengers dramatically rescued by members of the U.S. Life Saving Service.

Hide & Seek by Il Sung Na
As Elephant counts from one to ten, all the animals find special places to hide.

A Home for Bird by Philip C. Stead
Roaring Brook Press
Vernon the toad takes the silent Bird on a journey in hopes of finding Bird’s home.
Video Book Trailer YouTube

Homer by Elisha Cooper
Home isn’t just where the heart is. Home is often where the dog is. And for this loyal dog-who you will recognize if you have ever loved a dog-home is where you are.

I’ll Save You Bobo! by Eileen Rosenthal
Illustrated by Marc Rosenthal
Willy is writing a story starring Bobo, but when Earl continues to ruin the story by stealing Bobo, Willy feels the urge to get revenge.

Jimmy the Greatest! by Jairo Buitrago
Illustrated by Rafael Yockteng
Groundwood Books
Don Apolinar urges Jimmy, who lives in a small Caribbean town where there is not much to do, to start training at the boxing gym and to read about Muhammad Ali. Jimmy begins to realize that he is a good boxer and finds that he would be happy running the gym and improving his hometown.

Just Ducks! by Nicola Davies
Illustrated by Salvatore Rubbino
Candlewick Press
A young girl shares her observations about the mallard ducks that live down on the river.

Kali’s Song by Jeanette Winter
Schwartz & Wade
Thousands and thousands of years ago, a young boy gets his first hunting bow and learns to shoot, but he prefers to use the bow to make music.

Laundry Day by Maurie J. Manning
Clarion Books
A boy travels throughout his lively neighborhood, searching for the owner of a red cloth he has found.

Listen to My Trumpet! by Mo Willems
When Piggie plays her new trumpet for Gerald, the elephant decides he must be honest in his response.

Little Bird by Germano Zullo
Illustrated by Albertine
When a man releases a bunch of birds into the wild, one bird stays behind and he must convince it to fly.

Magritte’s Marvelous Hat by D. B. Johnson
Houghton Mifflin
When painter Magritte buys a playful–and magical–hat, his painting enjoys a burst of creativity. Inspired by the art of French surrealist painter Rene Magritte.
Video Book Trailer Vimeo

Meet Me at the Moon by Gianna Marino
During a dry time, Mama leaves Little One alone while she climbs the highest mountain to ask the skies for rain, but she promises that her love will remain all around.

Mooshka: A Quilt Story by Julie Paschkis
Karla’s quilt Mooshka tells her stories about the pieces of fabric that Mooshka is made from, but when Karla’s baby sister is born, Mooshka falls silent until Karla overcomes her jealousy and shares Mooshka with the baby.

No Go Sleep! by Kate Feiffer
Illustrated by Jules Feiffer
Simon & Schuster
A baby does not want to go to sleep, even as everything else around her wishes her a good night.

Ocean Sunlight: How Tiny Plants Feed the Seas by Molly Bang and Penny Chisholm
Blue Sky Press
Introduces the oceanic world from the tiniest aquatic plants to the biggest animals and fish.

One Cool Friend by Toni Buzzeo
Illustrated by David Small
Dial Books
Elliot, a very proper young man, feels a kinship with the penguins at the aquarium and wants to take one home with him.
Reader’s Theater Toni Buzzeo

All Amazon links are affiliate links for Linda’s Links to Literature.
Books annotations are from The Library of Congress or created by Linda’s Links to Literature.

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Summer’s almost here. What should you read? If you teach preschool to grade 3 children, you might want to read some of  this year’s best books to get ready for the next school year.
Or if you have young ones at home, this is a great time to introduce some new books.

These are the books that I love the most. There are quite a few, so I’ll list them in several different blog posts so you won’t be overwhelmed.

I’ve also added a few book-related teaching resource links for some of the titles.

And Then It’s Spring by Julie Fogliano
Roaring Brook Press
Reveals the anticipation of a boy who, having planted seeds while everything around is brown, fears that something has gone wrong until, at last, the world turns green.
Activity Guide

Animal Masquerade by Marianne Dubuc
Kids Can Press
All the animals ready their costumes for a masquerade party, and while the lion plans to dress like an elephant, the elephant is planning a parrot costume, the parrot is dressing like the turtle, and other surprises await the party guests.

Another Brother by Matthew Cordell
Feiwel & Friends
Davy the sheep wishes he had time alone with his parents, as he did before his twelve brothers came along and started imitating his every move, but when his wish comes true Davy misses playing with the youngsters.
Video Book Trailer YouTube

Ballerina Swan by Allegra Kent
Illustrated by Emily Arnold McCully
Holiday House
Sophie the swan joins a ballet class and works hard to earn a part in the end-of-year performance of Swan Lake.

Beach Feet by Kiyomi Konagaya
Illustrated by Masamitsu Saito
Enchanted Lion Books
The story of a boy’s visit to the beach.

Boy + Bot by Ame Dyckman
Illustrated by Dan Yaccarino
A boy and a robot strike up a friendship despite their differences.
Video Book Trailer YouTube

A Boy Called Dickens by Deborah Hopkinson
Illustrated by John Hendrix
Schwartz & Wade
Narrates the tale of twelve-year-old Charles Dickens who, despite poverty and long hours of factory work, still has time to discover and share the stories of other residents of 1824 London. Includes author’s note about Dickens’ life and some of the books he wrote.

Chloe by Peter McCarty
Balzer + Bray
Chloe Bunny lives with her big family of ten older brothers and sisters and ten younger brothers and sisters, but it is only Chloe who is able to compete with the new television set that Dad brings home one evening.
Video Book Trailer YouTube

Dog in Charge by K. L. Going
Illustrated by Dan Santat
When his human family goes to the store, Dog is left in charge of five wily cats.

The Duckling Gets a Cookie!? by Mo Willems
Hyperion Books
Pigeon is very angry when the duckling gets a cookie just by asking politely.
Activity Kit Mo Willems

Extra Yarn by Mac Barnett
Illustrated by Jon Klassen
Balzer & Bray
With a supply of yarn that never runs out, Annabelle knits for everyone and everything in town until an evil archduke decides he wants the yarn for himself.
Browse Inside the Book HarperCollins

Gem by Holly Hobbie
Little, Brown
Through her watercolor paintings, the author depicts the journey of a toad in its natural habitat, from early springtime mud to the lily pads of summer, in this nearly wordless book about survival and renewal.
Activities Hachette Books

Green by Laura Vaccaro Seeger
Roaring Brook Press
Explores the many shades of the color green.
Video Book Trailer YouTube

All Amazon links are affiliate links for Linda’s Links to Literature.
Books annotations are from The Library of Congress or created by Linda’s Links to Literature.

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The end of the school is approaching fast.

Here’s a few books to read to your class.

  •  The Last Day of School by Louise Borden
    Matthew Perez, the official timekeeper of Mrs. Mallory’s third-grade class, has a special good-bye gift for her on the last day of school.
  • Last Day Blues by Julie Danneberg
    During the last week of school, the students in Mrs. Hartwell’s class try to come up with the perfect present for their teacher.
  • Last Day, Hooray! by Nancy Poydar
    On the last day of school, Ivy, her classmates, and teachers dream of summer as they clean and prepare for the last party of the school year.
  • The Last Day of Kindergarten by Nancy Loewen
    As she prepares for her graduation ceremony, a first grader-to-be remembers her enjoyable year in kindergarten.

All Amazon links are affiliate links for Linda’s Links to Literature.
Books annotations are from The Library of Congress

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Are your students required at some time during the year to read the genre of historical fiction? Using this genre in the classroom can help students make connections and see parallels between past historical events and events of today. Historical fiction can be a mystery, or set during the American Revolution, or a significant historical event.

Need some reading suggestions?

ALA has posted their list of the Top 10 Historical Fiction for Youth for 2011. Or try the titles awarded the Scott O’Dell Award for Historical Fiction for young readers.

More Reading Suggestions from ALA:

These are our recommendations for the best historical fiction for children and teens written so far during 2012.

  • A Boy Called Dickens by Deborah Hopkinson
    Narrates the tale of twelve-year-old Charles Dickens who, despite poverty and long hours of factory work, still has time to discover and share the stories of other residents of 1824 London.  Gr. 3-5
  • Crow by Barbara Wright (Teaching Resource)
    Moses Thomas’s summer vacation in 1898 does not go as planned, and while he deals with family problems and fickle friends, Moses comes to be more aware of the escalating tension between the African American and white communities of Wilmington, North Carolina.  Gr. 6-12
  • A Diamond in the Desert by Kathryn Fitzmaurice (Teaching Resource)
    After the bombing of Pearl Harbor, thirteen-year-old Tetsu and his family are sent to the Gila River Relocation Center in Arizona where a fellow prisoner starts a baseball team, but when Tetsu’s sister becomes ill and he feels responsible, he stops playing.  Gr. 5-8
  • The Gathering Storm by Robin Bridges
    In St. Petersburg, Russia, in 1888, royal debutante Katerina Alexandrovna, Duchess of Oldenburg, tries to hide a dark secret–that she has the ability to raise the dead–but when she uses her special skill to protect a member of the Imperial Family, she finds herself caught in a web of intrigue.  Gr. 7-12
  • Jump into the Sky by Shelley Pearsall
    In 1945, thirteen-year-old Levi is sent to find the father he has not seen in three years, going from Chicago, to segregated North Carolina, and finally to Pendleton, Oregon, where he learns that his father’s unit, the all-Black 555th paratrooper battalion, will never see combat but finally has a mission.  Gr. 5-9
  • May B. by Caroline Starr Rose (Teaching Resource)
    When a failed wheat crop nearly bankrupts the Betterly family, twelve-year-old May’s father pulls her from school and hires her out to a couple new to the Kansas frontier.  Gr. 3-7
  • The Mighty Miss Malone by Christopher Paul Curtis (Teaching Resource)
    Deza Malone, the smartest girl in her class in Gary, Indiana, accompanies her mother and older brother on a trip to find her father, an African American man who left to find work after the Great Depression hit. They end up in a Hooverville outside of Flint, Michigan, and her brother attempts to be a performer while Deza and her mother search for a home.  Gr. 4-7
  • My Family for the War by Anne C. Voorhoeve
    Ten-year-old Franziska Mangold escapes Nazi Germany on the kindertransport she boards in Berlin, and when she arrives in London, she takes on the name Frances and struggles with her identity as she pieces together a new life without her family.  Gr. 7-12

More Teaching Resources

Books annotations are from The Library of Congress or created by Linda’s Links to Literature.

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