Nourishing the Seed

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).

Planting the Seed

Here is a brief list of book recommendations for early readers (PreK-2nd Grade). Stay tuned for more recommendations and more age groups!

Matilda by Roald Dahl

A cult classic for many, Matilda might be daunting for your littles to read on their own, but it makes a GREAT read-aloud! Trunchbull is a bit intense for some, however, so teacher/parent discretion is advised. Rewards for finishing the book can include chocolate cake and watching the equally classic movie adaptation.

Enemy Pie by Derek Munson

This book is a perfect way to teach kindness and friendship. After Jeremy Ross (or “#1 Enemy”, as he is known to the young narrator), moves in down the street, our narrator turns to his dad for help. The father has just the solution! A recipe for a pie that gets rid of enemies. But as it turns out, this secret recipe is much more effective at turning a best enemy into a best friend.

Who Wet My Pants? by Bob Shea

While it might sound like a potty-training story, Who Wet My Pants? is actually a story about how embarrassment can lead to anger, accidents can (and will) happen, and kindness is the best response.

The Book With No Pictures by B.J. Novak

This book is required to be read aloud. No, really. The book starts off with, “Everything the words say, the person reading the book has to say. Side effects of reading this book can include uncontrollable giggles, choruses of, “Again, again!” from the kids, and not being able to take yourself seriously.

What books resonate well with your early readers? How do you encourage them to be excited about reading?

Books Celebrating The Women of the Revolution

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? 

Importance Of Reading 20 Minutes A Day

supporting teachers

Many, many schools push 20 minutes of reading a day. And while using reading charts or similar methods may not be beneficial in the long run, sitting down to read for 20 minutes a day is. Especially if it’s done in an authentic way. Here are some statistics of reading 20 minutes a day: 

Children who read 20 minutes a day are exposed to 1.8 million words in one school year.

They are also more likely to score in the 90th percentile on standardized testing. 

There was also a study done on children reading 15 minutes a day that showed academic achievement and gains in regards to reading, but not as high as the students that read 20 minutes a day. 

Students reading 5 minutes or less a day were more likely to fall behind their peers academically and needed intervention methods to bring them to grade level (statistics from kidskonnect.com).

Beyond just statistics and test scores, what are the other benefits of reading? 

A widened imagination and higher levels of creativity. 

Reading can help foster empathy. 

It exposes children to multiple cultures, ideas, and worlds. 

Reading improves writing skills. 

It expands vocabulary. 

Taking 20 minutes to read every day can boost mental health. 

Improves critical-thinking skills. 

Can encourage them to ask more questions when they don’t understand concepts in the book, such as why some cultures eat, drink, or act in the ways they do. 

Have I convinced you yet?! Encouraging 20 minutes of reading a day can do wonders for children’s education. There are amazing benefits to it! Stay tuned for a blog post in the future on how you can foster a love of reading in your students as well. 

A Picture Book List For Diwali

This is part of a series on writing booklists about holidays beyond Christmas. To read more about it, you can see it here.

Welcome to our list of favorite Diwali books! This holiday was a favorite of mine to research because of the colors involved with Diwali, making the illustrations in every book so fun! Here are my top four:

Festival of Colors by Kabir and Surishtha Sehgal

I love how this book is simple and on a child’s level, while still incorporating the Diwali jargon and vocabulary. It is also very inclusive of multiple races, showing that Diwali can be enjoyed by many! 

Lots of LIghts: A Story About Diwali by Kavita Sahai

This one is fun because elephants are the main characters that walk kids through what Diwali is, again, on their level. 

Rani Saves Diwali by Anita Badhwar

A princess saving Diwali! Such a fun book with cute illustrations. 

Binny’s Diwali by Thrity Umrigar

Binny is trying to tell her class about her favorite holiday, Diwali. And her peers love it!


What other Diwali books do you love reading to your class? How do you observe Diwali in your classroom or school?

The Christmas Book List Of 2020

Christmas books! I’m giddy about putting together this post! The Christmas season is my favorite time of the year, and books are one of my favorite subjects. Let’s put the two together! 

Pick A Pine Tree: We don’t own this one yet, but I’m looking forward to the day we do! 

Dasher: Doesn’t the moody cover of the book just invite you in while you sit under a cozy blanket with a cup of hot cocoa?

Red & Lulu: The same author as Dasher. The magic of New York during the Christmas season is captured in this holiday book. 

The Crayons’ Christmas: A holiday twist on The Day The Crayons Quit

What books would you add to this list? Need some good book ideas for the holiday season that aren’t Christmas themed? Stay tuned for next week! 

Featured photo: pexels.com

High School Read Alouds: Books For Fun!

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. 

I Am Malala

What books do you like to read aloud to your high school students?