During the last week of school, my daughter came home bearing a backpack weighing a ton. She was schlepping home all the school work she had done throughout the year. On the last day, of course, came the report card, summer activity calendars, and a reading log. Your children can read whatever they want and participate in the summer reading program at the school and the library. But if you want some grade-level recommendations of award winning books, you can find them at the Connecticut State Department of Education.
This week, although I haven’t actually read many of these books, I will review some I have read, and also highlight ones I think look interesting.
Grades K-2: I haven’t read any of the books in the K-2 list. They all look good. But here are a few that catch my eye:
“Daisy Comes Home”
Jan Brett is a prolific author and illustrator whose books are always very well received.
“Vergie Goes to School with Us Boys”
Elizabeth Fitzgerald Howard
Children can learn what life was like for African Americans after the Civil War.
“Ballerina Dreams: A True Story”
Five Little girls with cerebral palsy aspire to be ballerinas. What could be more inspiring?
“Mighty Jackie: The Strike-Out Queen
You may recall that I previously reviewed this book about Jackie Mitchell . Jackie Mitchell struck out Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig when she was just 17 at an exhibition game.
Grades 3 & 4: I just happened to have read a few of these books for a children’s literature class I took last year.
“Rocks in His Head”
Carol Otis Hurst
Hardcover: 32 pages
Publisher: Greenwillow Books; 1st edition (May 8, 2001)
All his life, Carol Otis Hurst’s father loved collecting rocks. He talked about rocks constantly, so people said he had “rocks in his head.” His rock collection attracted the attention of the director of a local science museum, where he eventually became curator.
“How I Learned Geography”
A boy (the author) and his family, refugees in Kazakhstan during World War II, are cold, poor and hungry. His father goes out to buy bread, but returns with a large map of the world instead. He didn’t have enough money to get them more than a tiny bit of bread. So he gave them the gift of imagination and hope instead. The map is hung on the wall, where the boy spends hours staring at the different countries; imagining what they are like and hoping to one day travel to them.
“Tale of Despereaux”
While I haven’t read this book, Kate DeCamillo is the author of the wonderful book “Because of Winn Dixie.”
Grades 5 and 6
“Anything But Typical”
Nora Raleigh Baskin
Chances are, your child has encountered someone with autism or Asperger’s syndrome. Since it is extremely difficult for these individuals to communicate, a book written from the point of view of someone with autism could help children understand people with this condition.
"The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate"
This one is already on my list of books I want to read. It takes place in Texas in 1899. Calpurnia wants to be a naturalist, but is hindered by the fact she is female and the general narrow-mindedness of many who don’t believe in Darwin’s theory of evolution.
Grades 7 and 8
"The Great Death"
A thirteen year old deaf boy is introduced to a chimp that can speak sign language.
A true story, Phineas Gage had a most unfortunate accident, resulting in his brain getting pierced by an iron rod. He miraculously survived, and scientists were able to study how the brain functions because of him.
Happy reading everyone!