Summer reading is coming to an end as everyone gets ready for back to school. In this week’s book recommendations there are books for kids in any elementary grades. Two are funny and one is both thought provoking and touching.
The Best Seat in Second Grade (I Can Read Book 2) by Katharine Kenah is for kids in grades K through 2. “Sam considers that he has the best seat in second grade–right next to the cage of George Washington, the class hamster. When the students embark on a field trip to the local science museum, Sam takes along a little “something extra,” George. Inevitable disaster strikes when the hamster jumps from Sam’s pocket into the museum’s Hamster Habitat. Luckily, Sam knows his furry friend well enough to pick him out of the sea of the museum’s busy rodents. Kenah has created an appealing cast of characters whose actions ring true. Sam is properly contrite after George’s close call with danger, and his teacher, Mr. Hopper, metes out a punishment that is both firm and fair. Carter’s watercolor illustrations add to the story’s appeal and will make this entry in the I Can Read! series a popular choice for emerging readers. Kay Weisman Copyright © American Library Association.” Review from Amazon.
The Fabled Fourth Graders of Aesop Elementary School by Candace Fleming is for kids in grades 2 and up. “The fourth graders at Aesop Elementary are, well, unusual. There’s Calvin Tallywong, who wants to go back to kindergarten. But when he actually gets the chance, he’s forced to do the squirrel dance and wear a yellow-school-bus name tag. The moral of his story? Be careful what you wish for. Then there’s Amisha Spelwadi, who can spell wildebeest, no problem. She’s sure she’ll get 100 percent on her spelling test. But when the teacher, Mr. Jupiter, asks the class to spell cat, all Amisha can come up with is kat. The moral this time? Don’t count your chickens before they hatch.
Here’s a collection of contemporary fables about a hilariously rambunctious group of kids and their amazing teacher that is sure to delight students and teachers alike!” Review from Amazon.
Inside Out and Back Again by Thanhha Lai is for kids in grades 4-8. “After her father has been missing in action for nine years during the Vietnam War, 10-year-old Hà flees with her mother and three older brothers. Traveling first by boat, the family reaches a tent city in Guam, moves on to Florida, and is finally connected with sponsors in Alabama, where Hà finds refuge but also cruel rejection, especially from mean classmates. Based on Lai’s personal experience, this first novel captures a child-refugee’s struggle with rare honesty. Written in accessible, short free-verse poems, Hà’s immediate narrative describes her mistakes—both humorous and heartbreaking—with grammar, customs, and dress (she wears a flannel nightgown to school, for example); and readers will be moved by Hà’s sorrow as they recognize the anguish of being the outcast who spends lunchtime hiding in the bathroom. Eventually, Hà does get back at the sneering kids who bully her at school, and she finds help adjusting to her new life from a kind teacher who lost a son in Vietnam. The elemental details of Hà’s struggle dramatize a foreigner’s experience of alienation. And even as she begins to shape a new life, there is no easy comfort: her father is still gone.” Review from Amazon.