A Big Mooncake for Little Star
Written by Grace Lin
Age Level: 4 - 7
Grade Level: P – 3
This is a cute story for young readers, but it offers the phases of the moon for older ones. It’s also a pourquoi story that explains why the moon waxes and wanes. Each month Little Star and her mom bake a mooncake. Each month Little Star promises faithfully not to eat it, but every night hunger changes her mind. What will happen when Mom discovers what Little Star has been up to? You’ll have to read to find out.
What inspired Grace Lin to write this story? The mid-autumn moon festival! It includes eating mooncakes, telling stories, and passing these customs down to the next daughter.
Miss Ellicott's School for the Magically Minded
Written by Sage Blackwood
Age Level: 8 - 12
Grade Level: 3 – 7
This story had me at the first line. It reminds me of Harry Potter, but with girl power. Chantel goes to magic school in the kingdom of Lightning Pass. Outside marauders are fighting to get inside. Seven sorceresses maintain the walls using magical buttons, but the balance of power shifts when the Head Teacher/ Sorceress Miss Ellicott is kidnapped. Chantel and her familiar (a snake) must save Miss Ellicott, and the Kingdom. They summon the spirit of Queen Haywith who says Chantel is thinking too small. Find out if she can go BIG ENOUGH to save the sorceresses, and the kingdom of Lightning Pass.
The Artist and the King
Written and illustrated by Julie Fortenberry
Age Level: 4 - 8
Grade Level: K – 1
This is a cute story for little ones. Daphne draws a picture of the king, and he HATES it! Her punishment – wearing a dunce cap. The next problem – Daphne makes them fashionable, and soon everyone is wearing them, even the princess. When the king sees ALL those hats, he sends everyone to the woods. Somehow Daphne is picked to convince him to let his people back in the palace. Find out how Daphne gives this tale a happy ending for the king, the princess, and for the artist herself!
Julie’s book won two awards, but it only has one review. I was amazed! The problem with one review – when I typed the title, I couldn’t find the book. I found 20 others. When I added in the author’s name, it popped right up.
I have 13 reviews. When I type my title, my book comes up. But when I type just Neil Armstrong, 52 titles appear before mine. 50 reviews is the magic number to get my book seen. 37 more reviews will help future readers find Neil’s book. If you’ve read it, please consider writing a review to help us be seen!
The Darkest Dark
Written by Chris Hadfield
Contributions by Kate Fillion
Illustrated by The Fan Brothers
Age Level: 5 - 6
Grade Level: P – 4
OH MY GOSH! Did you know that Neil Armstrong helped a future astronaut from millions of miles away? The story is told beautifully by Chris, Kate, and the Fan Brothers. A young Chris Hadfield was afraid of the dark until . . . he saw Neil Armstrong land on the moon. He watched Neil lope across the dark lunar surface. That July night in 1969 Chris saw darkness as beautiful for the very first time, and he realized that his dreams of becoming a rocket-man could come true.
I understand the disparity between the age and grade levels. If you read this as a story about fear of the dark, it’s perfect for 5 and 6 year olds. But, if you read it as a story about that first moon landing, you can extend the age range up to 9 and 10 year olds. It is so well written, so well illustrated that everyone will find something wonderful in this book, including a retired teacher like me.
Note: I just discovered when I went to Amazon that I’d already reviewed this book. There were some things that were the same, but there were a few differences. Last time I wrote 3 paragraphs, this time 2. Also this time I noticed the age and grade level difference. Interesting! Here’s the link for the earlier review if you’d like to compare/contrast like I did 😊 Link: http://www.rindabeach.com/my-reads/review-of-the-darkest-dark
To Burp or Not to Burp: A Guide to Your Body in Space
Written by Dr. Dave Williams and Loredana Cunti
Illustrated by Theo Krynauw
Age Level: 7 – 10
Grade Level: 1 – 5
If you’ve ever wanted to travel into space, this is the book for you! It gives you the good, the bad, and the ugly about how your body behaves in zero gravity.
When I was subbing in 4th grade, I read this book aloud to them. I watched their faces –the kids couldn’t decide whether they were grossed out or fascinated. Probably a little of both!
These are my favorite questions and answers – how to go to the bathroom in space, why you’ll be taller when you return, and why burping is a risky business. YUCK I thought, but then I turned the page!
I think kids will love this book, and so will their parents and teachers! You get the scoop on life in zero gravity from an astronaut who flew on two different shuttles.
Written by Patricia MacLachlan
Age Level: 7 and up
Grade Level: 2 – 4
This is a lovely story, quiet and beautiful, about the power of a good teacher. Sylvia Bloom just finished 4th grade with the best year ever, but now summer stretches ahead, with no teacher to guide her writing. Even worse, she’ll have to get used to a new one next year.
Everything changes when her teacher’s husband, the local sheriff, offers her a summer job writing short pieces for the town newspaper. Along the way Sophie finds the answer to the question that’s haunted her – why her mother would leave behind fame, fortune, and travel as an opera singer for a Wyoming farmer who sings Willie Nelson and does the Texas two-step. Read, and maybe Sylvia’s answer can help you too!
Eeny, Meeny, Miney, Mo, and Flo
Written and illustrated by Lauren Molk
Age Level: 3 –5
Grade Level: P – K
Oh My Gosh – Cute! Remember the rhyme with the tiger who gets caught by the toe? Lauren made Eeny, Meeny, Miney, and Mo into mice. Then she added in Flo who’s everything ornery and always this side of trouble. The story is about four brothers and one tenacious little sister. They’re still trying to catch that tiger by the toe. Flo and the illustrations are the stars of this book! Kids will LOVE them!
One Word from Sophia
Written by Jim Averbeck
Illustrated by Yasmeen Ismail
Age Level: 4 –8
Grade Level: P – 3
Poor Sophia! She just wants a giraffe, but no one understands so she targets her argument to each of her relatives. A legal one for Mom the judge. A graph for businessman Dad. She even tries a survey on her uncle. Nothing works . . . until her Grandmama refuses to listen. That’s when she tells Sophie to get to the point. Sophie sharpens her argument to ONE word. You’ll have to read to find out what it is, but be careful! Your child might learn Sophie’s lesson too well and apply it to you. Good luck!
Some Writer! The Story of E.B. White
Written and Illustrated by Melissa Sweet
Age Level: 7 –10
Grade Level: 2 – 5
I LOVED THIS BOOK! I’ve been a fan of Charlotte’s Web and Stuart Little since I discovered them in the 60’s.
I can also recommend it as a retired teacher and as a writer. As a teacher, this is great material for a book report. Melissa Sweet included her own illustrations AND E.B.’s. She has photos of him, plus photocopies of real letters he wrote. As a fan girl, I loved every page, and it was good to the last one. The end pages include a timeline, Melissa’s sources, a bibliography of E.B.’s books, a thank you from Melissa, and an index to help you search out important facts. The book ends with an afterward from EB’s granddaughter. This is SOME book!
And now as a writer, I appreciate the wisdom Melissa found and shared. Here are my four favorite writer facts:
Written and Illustrated by J. R. Krause
Age Level: 3 –7
Grade Level: P – 2
I loved this book! It’s about handling fear, with a little help from your friends, AND it’s fun! George is a boy who’s afraid of the ‘night,’ but one evening a dragon comes out of his book, ST. GEORGE AND THE DRAGON. Would you believe Dragon is scared of the ‘knight’ too? They go flying together and conquer those fears. How? Sorry, that would be telling! You’ll have to read for yourself to find out how these two friends help each other, AND they even write their own storybook.
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.