Written by Angie Karcher
Illustrated by Dana Karcher
Grade Level: 3 – 4
Can you imagine growing up with a 35-foot town Santa who disappears one day? You didn’t notice him fading away, but somebody did, and they sent Santa off to the junkyard. Fortunately someone else noticed and started a program to ‘Stand Santa Back Up.”
Santa’s gift is written in verse so it’s a fun read aloud, but my favorite part is that it’s a great example of how working together can solve problems.
Written by Susan Edwards Richmond
Illustrated by Stephanie Fizer Coleman
Age Level: 4 - 8
Grade Level: K – 2
Have you heard of a Christmas Bird Count? I hadn’t, but the Audubon Society does one every year, and author Susan Richmond has been counting birds for 14 of them. She is the perfect person to tell the story of Ava, bird lover and girl citizen scientist.
The Christmas Bird Count has 3 rules: 1. Count every bird you hear or see. 2. At least 2 people must see or hear each bird. 3. The hardest – you can only count a bird once. If you think you’ve seen or heard it before, you can’t count it again.
Want to learn more about the Christmas Bird Count, read the back matter. It’ll tell you more about each bird and how to join the count.
Rhino? What Rhino?
Written by Caryl Hart
Illustrated by Sarah Horne
Age Level: 3 - 5
Grade Level: Preschool – Kindergarten
This was one of the first books I read when I started keeping a journal of the new children’s books I was reading. I guess it’s been awhile! Rhino was published back in 2012, but my notes reminded me what I loved about it.
The story is told in verse, and it’s good to the last rhyme!The plot? Rhino escapes from the zoo and hides out on a farm. There are no zookeepers so Rhino takes whatever he wants. His life is perfect, but it’s not so great for the other farm animals. They get blamed for every single thing Rhino takes. They decide to teach Rhino a lesson, and a few manners. This story is pure fun! I hope you check it out!
The Best Seat in Kindergarten
Written by Katherine Kenah
Illustrated by Abby Carter
Age Level: 4 - 8
Grade Level: P – 3
This would be a great first day of school book, but it’s also something more. It’s about the power of friendship, of helping others. The first day of school finally arrives, and his teacher takes the class outside for a nature walk. The assignment – find something and bring it back for show-and-tell. Guess who finds the best thing of all? Sorry, you’ll have to read to find out what Sam found.
PS – this is a sequel to Katherine’s 2006 book, The Best Seat in Second Grade.
The Girl Who Could Not Dream
Written by Sarah Beth Durst
Age Level: 10 - 12
Grade Level: 5 – 7
Dreams are a powerful force! That’s probably why this twisted title caught my eye, and the plot didn’t disappoint. Imagine a teen ager who doesn’t fit in and can’t dream. Add in parents who have a book store that’s a front for their real business, selling dreams and nightmares. Sophie notices a couple girls who look beyond tired. She raids her parents’ store to get them dream catchers. Sophie trades the used nightmare-catchers for fresh ones, and she starts to fit in, until Mr. Nightmare walks into the shop and threatens everyone. Only Sophie, the nondreamer, can save them. This is a great story for middle school kids with its mix of fantasy, dreams, and accepting yourself. Bonus points go to Sophie’s clever sidekick, her pet Monster, who’s a cat with tentacles instead of legs.