Rhino? What Rhino?
Written by Caryl Hart
Illustrated by Sarah Horne
Age Level: 3 - 5
Grade Level: Preschool – Kindergarten
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. 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.
Owl Diaries #6: Baxter is Missing
Written and Illustrated by Rebecca Elliot
Age Level: 5 - 7
Grade Level: K – 2
This is a great series for young readers who want to get into chapter books. Eva has two problems to solve. Her pet bat Baxter is missing. It’s all she can think about even though she’d love to win a writing contest. It’s impossible! !How can Eva write a story when Baxter might be in danger? Don’t be afraid! Eva finds a happy ending for both her problems!
The Seven Tales of Trinket
Written by Shelley Moore Thomas
Age Level: 8 - 12
Grade Level: 4 – 6
This was one of the first books I read when I started journaling about my reading. I remember loving this story back in 2012. I still do!
Trinket is an orphan. Her mother died, and her father disappeared. There’s only one thing to do – to become a storyteller like her father. She sets off on a quest to become a bard. She must find seven tales of her own, and that isn’t easy. Each story becomes more difficult to find, to tell. Along the way Trinket learns what happened to her father, and it changes her life forever. Curious? You’ll have to read all seven tales for yourself.
The Wizards of Once
Written by Cressida Cowell
Age Level: 9 - 12
Grade Level: 3 – 7
Xar is a Wizard boy without a trace of magic, but he’ll do anything to get it.
Wish is a Warrior girl who owns something forbidden, something magical, and she’ll do anything to conceal it.
Xar and Wish thought they were on a regular adventure, searching for something they needed, something to keep secret from their parents. But along the way they meet and find themselves in the middle of a perilous quest. Something that’s been sleeping for centuries is calling them. There’s danger ahead and an unexpected ending.
Curious? Check out this book. It’s the first of a trilogy. I can’t wait to read the next two to find out what happens to Xar and Wish.
Written by Raman Prinja
Illustrated by Chris Wormell
Age Level: 8 – 12
Grade Level: 3 – 7
Welcome to the Museum, to the Planetarium! This is a Big Book, almost 15 inches tall, and every inch of it is beautiful. Confession – I didn’t read the whole book, but I looked at every single page at least once. I read the pages I was interested in. This book would make a great resource for a school or classroom library. It would also make a great present for someone who loves space. It was so well written, and best of all it wasn’t so technical I couldn’t understand it.
The left side of each page has 3-4 paragraphs of text. The right side has an illustration with a key that’s either numbered or lettered to guide you through what you’re seeing.
Did you know space begins 62 miles above the earth? Take a stroll through the 6 galleries of the Planetarium:
Poet: The Remarkable Story of George Moses Horton
Written and Illustrated by Don Tate
Age Level: 6 – 10
Grade Level: Preschool – 3
How does a little boy born into slavery in North Carolina become a poet? Read this quiet story to find out how. When George grew up, slaves weren’t allowed to learn to read. George knew his ABC’s and he taught himself to read using an old spelling book. This is a great story to teach, not preach, the value of literacy. Read on to see how he made his first sale. It’s a great story! George did well enough that he tried to buy his freedom, but his master refused. I’m so glad he didn’t pay the man a dime. He got his freedom after the Civil War.
I was also fascinated with the author’s note. It tells Don’s story as an African-American, how he left shame behind by telling George’s story, and found pride in what slaves endured and accomplished. Don tells you about life in North Carolina in the mid1800’s, and why George succeeded. Don’s last page gives credits to those who helped him put this story together. He told about his journey from inspiration to research, to editing and the critique partners who assisted him in writing and illustrating. If you’re fascinated like I am with what it takes to publish a book, you wil love this part of the story.
Even Monsters Need to Sleep
Written by Lisa Wheeler
Illustrated by Chris Van Dusen
Age Level: 4 - 8
Grade Level: P – 3
Learn More: While his Holiness the Dalai Lama is the spiritual leader of Tibet, his home is in India. This one’s gonna get political: When Tibet was invaded by China in 1950, the 14th Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso, assumed political power and tried to rectify the situation with Beijing. He even traveled to the capital to meet with Mao Zedong in 1954, but by 1959, Chinese troops aggressively suppressed the Tibetan uprising, and the Dalai Lama was forced into exile. This is why he now calls Dharamsala, India, home.
Bonaparte Falls Apart
Written by Margery Cuyler
Illustrated by Will Terry
Age Level: 3 - 7
Grade Level: P – 2
This is a great read, even after Halloween. Poor Bonaparte! His bones are falling apart. His best friends, Franky Stein, Black Widow, and Mummicula, they try to help, but their ideas are just boneheaded. This story has the best ending. Hint – Think bones, then read it for yourself. I don’t need a crystal ball to predict you’ll love it!
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.