I Survived The Eruption of Mount St. Helens, 1980
Written by Lauren Tarshis
Ages: 7 - 10
Grade level: 2 – 5
I love this series, but this book is extra special because of the story behind it. Lauren wrote the I Survived series for her three boys who disliked reading. She wanted stories for boys, with boy heroes. She succeeded so well that girls started asking for heroes too. In book 14 Lauren came through with Jess, but she didn’t forget boys. Jess and a pair of twin boys visit Mount. St. Helens eight weeks before the eruption. They’re trying to track down the truth about Skeleton Woman, but the mountain’s already changing. An earthquake and Sulphur gas send the kids home, but without Jess’ camera, her dead father’s most valuable possession. Jess can’t return for it until the day of the eruption. Read how our three heroes survive the horrors of a volcanic eruption. And for me, the best part is when Jess’s mom reveals that most valuable possession. It’s not a surprise, but it’s oh so sweet!
PS- You’ll also learn the truth about Skeleton Woman.
I Want a Dog: My Opinion Essay
Written by Darcy Pattison
Illustrated by Ewa ONeal
Ages: 6 – 12
Grade level: K – 6
Darcy pulled this up on her tablet at her weekend retreat, and I knew I’d found My Reads this week. I wish I were still teaching…I would SO buy this book! It’s the perfect tool to teach opinion essays. It models the process for young writers, and, through a real story. Cousins Dennis and Mellie get to choose the dog breed that’s fits each family. Dennis discovers he has to write an opinion essay using criteria as evidence. He picks dogs. The two kids email back and forth, and Dennis finds the details he needs. The book finishes with Dennis’ essay, and the results, an A! Plus…both kids get the dog they wanted. What could be better! Teachers, kids, and parents will love this book, especially if you’re picking out your own perfect dog!
Amazon says these are the high notes of Darcy’s book:
- A family story about cousins
- Information on dog breeds
- Responsible dog ownership
- Mentor-text for teaching writing
- Model opinion essay for elementary students
- Models the writing process, especially the importance of pre-writing or planning before you write
- Completes the writing process by showing the results of Dennis’s essay
Plus, if you like this book, read on! Darcy has two more!
To the Stars! The First American Woman to Walk in Space
Written by Carmella Van Fleet and Kathy Sullivan
Illustrated by Nicole Wong
Ages: 5 – 8
Grade level: K – 3
I liked this book, a lot! I read it to a preschool audience right after this week’s other book, Eight Days Gone. It was so different, more words, longer sentences. It felt like a book for older kids, but the age/grade ranges were the same. Preschoolers liked details they identified with, that belong in their world, like Kathy loved traveling and maps. She wanted to go everywhere, and she did!
The authors/illustrators went on to show related facts with Kathy as a kid, then as an adult. Kathy did cannonballs in a pool as a kid. As an adult she’s still underwater doing astronaut training. As a teenager Kathy learned to use a dashboard to pilot a plane. As an astronaut she learned to control the buttons on a spaceship to fly to the stars.
Growing up Kathy heard things like “Girls don’t like those jobs” or “Girls are supposed to be teachers or nurses or moms.” Kathy ignored the nay-sayers and lived her dreams. I’m glad she shared her story in this book. She’s a great role model for today’s girls and boys who have big dreams.
Eight Days Gone
Written by Linda McReynolds
Illustrated by Ryan O’Rourke
Ages: 5 – 8
Grade level: K – 2
This book may be 5 years old, but it is so good! It’s written as a poem. It’s short, but yet tells the story of the first moon landing so well. Just look what she did with the first and last page.
Here’s the first page: Hundreds gather Last page: Lunar mission
Hot July Reached new heights.
Spaceships ready Paved the way
Set to fly. For future flights.
As a writer, I was so amazed and impressed by how Linda could tell this story in few words. This book is perfect for young readers who love space!
Whenever I read or write, I find a comfy chair with a great view. I get my favorite drink, stretch out, and let the words take me away.