Here is a brief list of book recommendations for middle grade readers (3rd-6th Grade).Stay tuned for more recommendations and more age groups!
Hooky by Miriam Bonastre Tur
One scoop of graphic novel, one dash of fantastical adventure, and two heaping tablespoons of witch makes this book the perfect recipe (or spell!) for the hesitant reader in your life. With beautiful illustrations and an engaging storyline, this is the perfect way to introduce middle-grade readers to novels without making them feel like they are reading a novel.
“When Dani and Dorian missed the bus to magic school, they never thought they’d wind up declared traitors to their own kind! Now, thanks to a series of mishaps, they are being chased by powerful magic families seeking the prophesied King of Witches and royals searching for missing princes.” -HaperCollins Publishers
Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus by Dusti Bowling
“Aven Green loves to tell people that she lost her arms in an alligator wrestling match, or a wildfire in Tanzania, but the truth is she was born without them. And when her parents take a job running Stagecoach Pass, a rundown western theme park in Arizona… she bonds with Connor, a classmate who also feels isolated because of his own disability, and they discover a room at Stagecoach Pass that holds bigger secrets than Aven ever could have imagined.” -GoodReads
This book is the perfect reminder of the importance of friendship, courage, and acceptance (of yourself and others).
The Mystery of Black Hollow Lane by Julia Nobel
Nothing captivates a reader like the suspenseful twists and turns of a good mystery, and this book is no exception! Read aloud or read alone, you’ll find your readers on the edge of their seat.
“With a dad who disappeared years ago and a mother who’s a bit too busy to parent, Emmy is shipped off to Wellsworth, a prestigious boarding school in England, where she’s sure she won’t fit in. But then she finds a box of mysterious medallions in the attic of her home with a note reading: These belonged to your father. When she arrives at school, she finds the strange symbols from the medallions etched into walls and books, which leads Emmy and her new friends, Jack and Lola, to Wellsworth’s secret society: The Order of Black Hollow Lane. Emmy can’t help but think that the society had something to do with her dad’s disappearance, and that there may be more than just dark secrets in the halls of Wellsworth…” -Sourcebooks
Fablehaven by Brandon Mull
Alright, this recommendation might come from a place of self-indulgence as this was a series that I absolutely LOVED as a kid. But I’ve also reread them as an adult, and they still hold up.
“For centuries, mystical creatures of all description were gathered to a hidden refuge called Fablehaven to prevent their extinction. The sanctuary is one of the last strongholds of true magic. Enchanting? Absolutely. Exciting? You bet. Safe? Well, actually, quite the opposite . . . Kendra and her brother, Seth, have no idea their grandfather is the current caretaker of Fablehaven. Inside the gated woods, ancient laws keep order among greedy trolls, mischievous satyrs, plotting witches, spiteful imps, and jealous fairies. However, when the rules get broken, powerful forces of evil are unleashed, forcing Kendra and Seth to face the greatest challenge of their lives, to save their family, Fablehaven, and perhaps even the world.” -Shadow Mountain
Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney
“Boys don’t keep diaries—or do they? It’s a new school year, and Greg Heffley finds himself thrust into middle school, where undersized weaklings share the hallways with kids who are taller, meaner, and already shaving. The hazards of growing up before you’re ready are uniquely revealed through words and drawings as Greg records them in his diary.” -ABRAMS Publishing
Anyone who has been a kid, is a kid, has kids, or has even looked at a kid has heard of Diary of a Wimpy Kid. This series is another resource to encourage disinterested readers. I mean, Jeff Kinney wouldn’t be able to write a 17-book series because kids aren’t reading his books, so he clearly knows a thing or two about getting kids excited about reading.
Sideways Stories from Wayside School by Louis Sachar
“Accidentally built sideways and standing thirty stories high (the builder said he was very sorry for the mistake), Wayside School has some of the wackiest classes in town, especially on the thirtieth floor. That’s where you’ll meet Bebe, the fastest draw in art class; John, who only reads upside down; Myron, the best class president ever; and Sammy, the new kid—he’s a real rat.” -HarperCollins Publishing
Comedic, clever, and kooky; this book has it all! With chapters that read like short stories, it is ideal for reading out loud. These far-fetched stories will fetch a laugh or two (or 89).
Happy 4th of July weekend! What a great weekend to talk with students about the Revolutionary War and our Founding Fathers. While it’s important to learn about these, there is also a lack of educational information about our Founding Mothers and the women of the revolution. Here are some of the kids’ books that bring out the stories of these women.
Founding Mother’s: Remembering the Ladies
They Called Her Molly Pitcher
Who Was Betsy Ross?
Who Was Abigail Adams?
From A Small Seed- The Story of Eliza Hamilton
Anna Strong: A Spy During the American Revolution
This Land Is Your Land– Not a book about the women of the revolution, but still a moving book worth the read!
How do you teach about the founding mothers and fathers of our country in your classroom?
Between Mary and I writing blog posts over the last few years, I think we’ve put together somewhere around 100 book lists. What can we say?! We are both book lovers! You can see Mary’s book round-up here. And I’ll be working on one in the coming months!
But maybe we need to step back and focus on the why. Why books in the classroom? Why have Mary and I written endless lists and posts about reading and books? Here are a few reasons.
Especially in those early years, having the example of being read books can help curate a love for reading in children.
TO LEARN HOW TO VISUALIZE
Reading books with pictures leads to reading chapter books and seeing the pictures in your mind.
TO TAKE A BREAK
What better way to switch up the mood of the classroom than to pull out a picture book and get lost in a new world for a time?
TO LEARN A LESSON
Sometimes a good solution to learn a needed lesson is to let a beloved book character do the teaching.
Here’s what Mary has to say on the subject:
“[Picture books] make for outstanding anchor texts for students to learn small, targeted skills, both for writing and for social/emotional learning. Everyone should check out Jill Heise’s #classroombookaday for more on daily picture books! And regular fifth grade books for grade level texts to build up and transfer reading skills.”
What is your reason for reading picture books in your classroom?
If you search book lists on our blog you’ll find multiple posts full of lists and lists of good read alouds, books for certain subjects, etc, etc. This blog is chucked full of book lists! What it’s missing is a list of read alouds for high school. I’m not talking books approved for English class to read and pick apart, but just a fun book to read to your students, no matter what subject you are teaching. Here’s my favorite list of chapter books you can read to your high school students.
Snow is falling! Winter is here! I know for many this is discouraging and sad, but I am one to adore winter and the falling snow. So to excite everyone about the upcoming winter season, let’s come up with a great book list to get us ready for the snowy season.
The Snowy Day: A Caldecott award book, and the first picture book to have a Black child as the protagonist. What a great conversation to have with students!
Owl Moon: I can’t explain it, but you can HEAR the silence the snow brings in this book. It’s mesmerizing.
Wolf In The Snow: This book with no words pulls at your heartstrings when you realize the sense of family and community both humans and animals have, and how we aren’t as different as we may think.
The Wish Tree: I haven’t read this one yet, but it’s on my list to get at the library next time we go.
The Polar Express: Okay, okay. I know, it’s a Christmas book. But the wintery feel of the train and the page of the book with the wolves standing in the snow looking at the train? It just lights up something in me that excites me for that fresh snow smell!
Are you team snow or team no snow? Do you think reading fun books about winter and snow help change your attitude about winter?
The election is *almost* over. I don’t think any of us were ready for election week instead of election day, but it’s 2020, what else can you expect?
Have you been talking to your students about the election? Explain electoral votes? Show them the red and blue maps across the country? Talk about what policies are and what each candidate is promising?
What better way to teach about a big, historical event with some picture books! Here are a few of my favorite.