What We Read Today

We read a lot and love to share books that we enjoyed. Check back often since this page is updated often! Affiliate links are included.

Grade level recommendations are provided, but please use these as general guidelines. Many younger kids are ready to have more sophisticated texts, and (maybe more importantly) most older kids still enjoy a story written for younger children.

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Dear Yeti by James Kwan
Grades: K-2
Rating: ♦♦♦♦
This was a fun book told through a series of short letters about two young hikers who set off in search of yeti. When they run into some trouble someone surprising comes to their rescue.

We received a review copy of this book from the publisher.


 

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Anything But Ordinary Addie: The True Story of Adelaide Herrmann, Queen of Magic by Mara Rockliff and Iacopo Bruno
Grades: 2-4
Rating: ♦♦♦♦
We enjoyed this interesting story of Addie, a woman who defied gender stereotypes and became a world famous magician. The illustrations are stunning.

We received a review copy of this book from the publisher.


 

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The Kid From Diamond Street: The Extraordinary Story of Baseball Legend Edith Houghton by Audrey Vernick and Steven Salerno
Grades: 2-4
Rating: ♦♦♦♦
We really enjoyed this book about a strong-willed and talented kid who not only got to play in a professional women’s team but also traveled to Japan to play in games throughout the country. We had some great conversations about gender roles throughout history and cultural differences between the US and Japan.

We received a review copy of this book from the publisher.


 

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Wolf Hollow by Lauren Wolk
Grades: 5+
Rating: ♦♦♦♦♦
One of the best books I have read in quite some time, Wolf Hollow is a beautifully written and gripping story set in the shadow of WWII. When a bully moves to town events are set in motion that put Annabelle’s loyalty and sense of what is right to the test. Reminiscent of To Kill a Mockingbird, this suspenseful tale is a must read.


 

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The Enemy Above by Michael P. Spradlin
Grades: 5-7
Rating: ♦♦♦♦
Quite a few excellent middle-grade books have been written about WWII recently and this one did not disappoint. When Anton’s family is forced to flee their Ukrainian hometown, they hide in a network of underground caves. The fast-paced story unfolds through the narration of Anton and the German officer determined to make the country Judenfrei.
We received a review copy of this book from the publisher.


 

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No, No, Gnome! by Ashlyn Anstee
Grades: PreK-2
Rating: ♦♦♦♦
Gnome can’t contain his enthusiasm which gets him into some tricky situations. His big heart helps him make it up to his friends in the end. We really enjoyed this funny and endearing tale.
We received a review copy of this book from the publisher.


 

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A Big Surprise for Little Card by Charise Mericle Harper and Anna Raff
Grades: PreK-2
Rating: ♦♦♦♦
We loved this delightful little book full of twists, turns, and an adorable little card who doesn’t let disappointments get him down.
We received a review copy of this book from the publisher.


 

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Who Done It? by Olivier Tallec
Grades: PreK-2
Rating: ♦♦♦♦♦
We love this entertaining book. Each page asks the reader to find a character who did something specific such as Who is in disguise? Our boys had so much fun examining each character and laughing at the expressions and body language that they didn’t realize all of the inferencing work they were doing.

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Henry Wants More by Linda Ashman and BrookeBoynton Hughes
Grades: PreK-1
Rating: ♦♦♦♦
We all enjoyed this rollicking rhyming tale about an energetic toddler who can’t get enough play time. Henry reminded us of own Matt and his boundless enthusiasm for life and we loved that a bi-racial family was depicted in the illustrations.
We received a review copy of this book from the publisher.


 

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Becoming Babe Ruth by Matt Tavares
Grades: 3-5
Rating: ♦♦♦♦
Jake, like many kids, loves the Who Was series of biographies, but he often needs many explanations along the way. Reading Becoming Babe Ruth was a nice change of pace. Filled with beautiful illustrations and text that conveys the important and interesting details from Babe Ruth’s life without going into too much depth, this biography is a great addition to any sports lover’s collection.
We received a review copy of this book from the publisher.


 

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Mother Bruce by Ryan T. Higgins
Grades: PreK+
Rating: ♦♦♦♦♦
I’m not sure what is more fun: reading this book or watching other people’s reactions while reading this book. It is laugh-out-loud funny but also witty and touching. Definitely don’t miss this fun read about an egg-loving bear who finds himself the accidental mother to a gaggle of goslings.
We received a review copy of this book from the publisher.


 

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The Red Hat by David Teague and Antoinette Portis
Grades: PreK and up
Rating: ♦♦♦♦
We loved this delightful tale about a lonely boy living at the top of a skyscraper who goes to great lengths to meet the girl living in the tower recently built next door. The story is whimsical–reminiscent of a Disney short–and beautifully illustrated by one of our favorite artists.
We received a review copy of this book from the publisher.


 

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Slipper and Flipper in the Quest for the Golden Sun by Susan Reagan
Grades: 1-3
Rating: ♦♦♦♦
This delightful tale of adventure and discovery follows penguin twins, Slipper and Flipper, on their quest to find the great penguin explorer Don Pinguino. Susan Reagan’s use of maps, photographs, and illustration adds a unique twist which brings to life places of interest around the globe. “Slipper and Flipper” is sure to be in heavy circulation in our household for our little geography lover!
We received a review copy of this book from the publisher.


 

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Just Like Me by Nancy J. Cavanaugh
Grades: 4-6
Rating: ♦♦♦
This cute story set at a sleep-away camp follows a young girl grappling with her identity as the adopted Chinese daughter to Irish and Italian parents. Through a mix of traditional narrative and letters, Just Like Me delves into friendships, competition, and learning that there is more to people than what they present on the surface.


 

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Frankie Liked to Sing by John Seven and Jana Christy
Grades 1+
Rating: ♦♦♦♦
We loved this biography of Frank Sinatra. The boys were fascinated by his life and the perseverance Frankie showed in following his dreams. After reading the book, we listened to some of Sinatra’s music and officially have a whole new generation of fans.


 

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The Magical Animal Adoption Agency: The Enchanted Egg by Kallie George and Alexandra Boiger
Grades: 4-6
Rating: ♦♦♦♦
We just loved this whimsical and delightful chapter book. In everything she does, Clover’s kind heart and compassion shine through. In this, the second installment of the series, Clover is left in charge of the Magical Animal Adoption Agency while Mr. Jams heads off for a few days. While his is gone, chaos breaks out yet Clover handles each situation with grace. This is a great choice for animal lovers.


 

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Frederick’s Journey: The Life of Frederick Douglass by Doreen Rappaport and London Ladd
Grades: 4+
Rating: ♦♦♦♦
Beautiful in both illustration and prose, this picture book biography of Frederick Douglass is both fascinating and touching.
We received a review copy of this book from the publisher.


 

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The Dino Files: A Mysterious Egg by Stacy McAnulty and Mike Boldt
Grades: 3-4
Rating: ♦♦♦♦
We really enjoyed this funny and entertaining chapter book. The main character, Frank, is full of spunk and funny one-liners. While spending the summer with is paleontologist grandparents, Frank is amazed when his grandmother discovers a rare fossilized dinosaur egg. Then the egg hatches and chaos ensues.


 

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Belle, the Last Mule at Gee’s Bend by Calvin Alexander Ramsey, Bettye Stroud, and John Holyfield

I am so glad that Candlewick Press has released this wonderful civil rights story in paperback so that renewed interest will be brought to a deserving tale. Bringing to light a little-known moment in history, this thoughtful and beautifully told civil rights story will give kids tons to talk about.
We received a review copy of this book from the publisher.


 

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A Boy and a Jaguar by Alan Rabinowitz
Grades 2-4
Rating: ♦♦♦♦
This powerful autobiography explores Alan Rabinowitz’s experience growing up as a stutterer–except when he talked to animals. After going  on to travel to the jungles of Belize to study and eventually speaks with the prime minister about the plight of the jaguars.


 

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Bad Girls by Jane Yolen and Heidi E. Y. Stemple
Grades: 5+
Rating: ♦♦♦♦
Through a series of 2-6 page profiles, this fascinating book examines the lives of 26 of the most notorious criminals, murderers, and bad girls. I had a hard time putting this one down.
We received a review copy of this book from the publisher.


 

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Lenny and Lucy by Philip and Erin Stead
Grades: PreK-3
Rating: ♦♦♦♦♦
This book has been on our radar for quite a while but for one reason or another, we didn’t get around to reading it until tonight. It was worth the wait–this was one of the best books we’ve read in a while. The boys were completely enthralled by the story and had a ton to say about Peter, his new house, and the unfriendly woods beyond. They loved Lenny, Guardian of the Bridge, and his new friend Lucy. This story presents tons of fodder for discussion about emotions, fears, new experiences, and much more!


 

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What James Said by Liz Rosenberg and Matt Myers
Grades 1-3
Rating: ♦♦♦♦
What James Said, a delightful book about perseverance through a trying time in a friendship, sparked a lot of conversation with our boys tonight. The story is relatable and we loved the fact that a multicultural boy/girl best friend duo were featured.


 

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The World in a Second by Isabel Minhós Martins and Bernardo Carvalho
Grades: 2-4
Rating: ♦♦♦♦
Jake is obsessed with geography these days and this book completely blew his mind. Each page shows a what people are doing in different places all over the globe at the exact same moment. We had lots of fun guessing where each page took place based on the setting and time of day, then checking the map at the back of the book to see how close our guess was.


 

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Emmanuel’s Dream: The True Story of Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah by Laurie Ann Thompson and Sean Qualls
Grades 2-4
Rating: ♦♦♦♦
A powerful story about perseverance in the face of adversity, Emmanuel’s Dream tells the story of a West African boy growing up with one deformed leg. Emmanuel defied expectations throughout his life and eventually inspired his nation by riding four hundred across Ghana spreading his message that disability does not mean inability.


 

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Poppy’s Best Paper by Susan Eaddy and Rosalinde Bonnet
Grades: K-2
Rating: ♦♦♦♦
Poppy’s Best paper is an entertaining and beautifully illustrated book about the importance of putting forth a good effort. Poppy wants to be a famous writer but learns that wishful thinking and minimal effort won’t suffice. Our boys enjoyed this book and had lots to say about Poppy and the value of hard work.


 

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Growing Up Pedro by Matt Tavares
Grades 3-6
Rating ♦♦♦♦
This biography of Pedro Martinez is as much a story of brotherly love as it is a tale of Pedro’s journey to the major leagues. Through beautiful illustrations and thoughtful prose, Matt Tavares tells the striking coming of age story of a legendary baseball player.


 

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Clothesline Clues to Sports People Play by Kathryn Heling, Deborah Hembrook, and Andy Robert
Grades: PreK-1
Rating: ♦♦♦♦
We had a lot of fun with this rhyming book. Clues are presented in the form of uniforms and equipment for a variety of sports including a few that our boys weren’t familiar with. Clothesline Clues is a fun option for little ones.


 

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Where Does Kitty Go in the Rain? by Harriet Ziefert and Brigette Barrager
Grades: PreK-2
Rating: ♦♦♦♦
We are always on the hunt for short poems that the boys will enjoy and this collection certainly delivered. Each entertaining and informative poem explores what different animals do when it rains.


 

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Madame Martine by Sarah S. Brannen
Grades: 1-3
Rating: ♦♦♦♦
We just adored this story about friendship and the reward in trying new things. Madame Martine and her dog, Max, are delightful.


 

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A Tower of Giraffes by Anna Wright
Grades: 2-4
Rating: ♦♦♦♦♦
Our family has been fascinated by animal group names for quite some time. Our favorites were a flamboyance of flamingos and a tower of giraffes, but after reading this beautifully illustrated and informative book we have some new contenders for the top spots. Each page presents a different animal set along with some information about the animals and their group behavior.


 

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In a Village by the Sea by Muon Van and April Chu
Grades: PreK-2
Rating: ♦♦♦♦
This lovely book generated a ton of conversation in our household. The boys were fascinated by the cultural differences represented in the illustrations and the way the story took them deeper and deeper into the family’s house. When they met the brown cricket living below the family kitchen, their little minds were blown by the beautiful artwork the cricket created and the story presented in his artwork. This is a story we will return to to study the detailed illustrations and lyrical text.


 

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Beyond the Pond by Joseph Kuefler
Grades: PreK-2
Rating: ♦♦♦♦♦
Our boys were fascinated by Beyond the Pond, and we were captivated by the beautiful language and sense of whimsy Kuefler evoked in his illustrations. When Ernest D. decides to leave his boring home to explore the depths of a nearby pond, he is in for a wonderful surprise. This is sure to become a bedtime regular in our household.


 

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YOU WILL BE MY FRIEND by Peter Brown
Grades: K-2
Rating: ♦♦♦♦
We couldn’t help but love Lucy and her boundless enthusiasm in this charming book about making friend and learning social cues.


 

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Interstellar Cinderella by Deborah Underwood and Meg Hunt
Grades: K-3
Rating: ♦♦♦♦
Cooper has asked for this book every night this week. To be honest, it didn’t grab me initially, but the more we have read it, the more I have come to appreciate it. Told in rhyme, this fractured fairy tale reimagines Cinderella as an empowered young woman who fixes the prince’s spaceship then surprises the reader (in a good way) with a twist at the end.


 

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Monster Needs Your Vote by Paul Czajak and Wendy Grieb
Grades: 1-3
Rating: ♦♦♦♦
Jake has been fascinated by presidents for the last few months, but it has been difficult to find age-appropriate books on the election process until now. Monster Needs Your Vote is a very accessible, fun, and engaging introduction to the topic. Told in verse, this well written rhyming book doesn’t shy away from more sophisticated vocabulary. While this required some explanation it also sparked several interesting conversations. We loved the illustrations and appreciated the diversity represented.

We received a free copy of this book from the publisher. We were not required to write a review and the opinions expressed are our own. 


 

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The Thing About Jellyfish by Ali Benjamin
Grades: 5+
Rating: ♦♦♦♦
This beautifully written chapter book brings the reader into the complex world of Suzy, a girl in middle school whose one-time best friend recently drowned. Ali Benjamin deftly weaves several story and time lines to expose Suzy’s social awkwardness,  the backstory behind Suzy and Franny’s relationship, and Suzy’s obsession with proving her theory that a jellyfish sting must have been the cause of Franny’s death. We definitely recommend this one for strong middle-grade readers.


 

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Finding Winnie: The True Story of the World’s Most Famous Bear
Grades: 1-3
Rating: ♦♦♦♦♦
We were enthralled by this fascinating and well-told story of the real Winnie-the-Pooh. Lindsay Mattick did a wonderful job of explaining concepts and vocabulary that may be difficult for younger children and Sophie Blackall beautifully captured the feel of the WWI era in which this story is set.

Another take on the same story was also published this year.
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Winnie: The True Story of the Bear Who Inspired Winnie-the-Pooh by Sally M. Walker and Jonathan D. Voss
Grades: 3-5
Rating: ♦♦♦♦♦
We also greatly enjoyed Winnie although our boys were on the young side for this version. We read this one first, but if we had it to do over again we would reverse the order since Finding Winnie is more explicit in explaining concepts for which children may not have background knowledge.


 

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Red by Jan De Kinder
Grades: 1-5
Rating: ♦♦♦♦
This story of bullying told from the point of view of one of the bystanders sparked quite a bit of healthy conversation in our household. We would definitely recommend this as an addition to text sets on bullying.


 

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Thank You and Good Night by Patrick McDonnell
Grades: PreK-1
Rating: ♦♦♦♦♦
We just adore this charming little book about a first sleepover. Clement, Jean, Alan Alexander, and Maggie exemplify the meaning of friendship and remind us to be grateful for the simple things in life. Patrick McDonnell’s illustrations are enchanting as always. It’s no wonder that Cooper has asked us to read him this story every night this week.


 

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Supertruck by Stephen Savage
Grades: PreK-1
Rating: ♦♦♦♦
We loved this twist on the traditional superhero tale. When a snowstorm hits the city, a mysterious truck saves the day. Who is he and where does he go after the storm? Our boys loved being in on the secret.


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Information Graphics: Space by Jennifer Daniel
Grades: 5+
Rating: ♦♦♦♦
We may have a certain bias towards this book since Mike and I are fascinated by the vastness of outer space, but we both loved this visually appealing text and spent time flipping through it long after the boys were asleep. Information is presented with clear and concise text paired with colorful infographics that help explain complex concepts. Chapters are color coded and tabbed for easy reference. We are looking forward to checking out the other two books in this series.


 

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Wait by Antoinette Portis
Grades: PreK-1
Rating: ♦♦♦♦♦
We absolutely loved this simple book with a deep message. It sparked a ton of conversation in our household and some healthy debate between the boys. In the story, the mother is in a rush to make a train. On every other page, she tells her son to hurry. The little boy, on the other hand, keeps telling her to wait as he appreciates the simple things he notices. The last page elicited an audible gasp from Jake and Cooper. We highly recommend this book that serves as a great reminder to slow down and live in the moment.


 

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The Night World by Mordicai Gerstein
Grades: PreK-2
Rating: ♦♦♦♦
There is something magical about sunrise and Mordicai Gerstein manages to capture that feeling perfectly in this beautifully written and illustrated work.


 

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The Story of Diva and Flea by Mo Willems and Tony DiTerlizzi
Grades: 3-5
Rating: ♦♦♦♦♦
In a drastic departure from his Elephant and Piggie, Pigeon, and Knuffle Bunny books, Mo Willems takes us to Paris where we meet Diva, a small guard dog, and Flea, a  flâneur: “someone (or somecat) who wanders the streets…of the city just to see what there is to see.” This unlikely duo explore Paris and the meaning of friendship in this beautifully written and illustrated tale.


 

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Separate is Never Equal by Duncan Tonatiuh
Grades: 4 and up
Rating: ♦♦♦♦
Well before Brown vs. Board of Education, the Mendez family brought a lawsuit to the Supreme Court and paved the way for school desegregation in California. Tonatiuh’s unique style beautifully illustrate this important story.


 

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Prickly Jenny by Sibylle Delacroix
Grades: PreK-1
Rating: ♦♦♦♦
We couldn’t help but love grumpy little Jenny. After all, despite her grumbles she really just wants to be loved. This one would make a great addition to a character study unit.


 

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Boom Snot Twitty This Way That Way by Doreen Cronin and Renata Liwska
Grades: PreK-1
Rating: ♦♦♦♦
This cute story about three friends trying to find the perfect spot is beautifully illustrated. Boom wants the ocean, Twitty wants the mountains, and Snot wants the snacks.


 

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The Skunk by Mac Barnett and Patrick McDonnell
Grades: 2-4
Rating: ♦♦♦
We were alternately entertained and weirded out by this one. When a skunk begins stalking a man in a tuxedo, the man becomes increasingly paranoid even going so far as to purchase a new home. Then he starts to miss the skunk…


 

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One Day, The End by Rebecca Kai Dotlich and Fred Koehler
Grades: PreK-2
Rating: ♦♦♦♦♦
The more we read this book, the more we love it. Each vignette is short on words (One day… I ran away. I came home) but rich in detail when you take time to read the multiple story lines featured in the illustrations.


 

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The Marvels by Brian Selznick
Grades: 4-6
Rating: ♦♦♦♦
Another winner from Brian Selznick! Two story lines, one told in pictures the other in words, intersect in a surprising twist.


 

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The Little Yellow Leaf by Carin Berger
Grades PreK-2
Rating: ♦♦♦♦
As autumn unfolds and winter approaches, the little yellow leaf hangs tight. Other leaves swirl by, apples grow musky, and flocks of geese fly south, but the little yellow leaf can’t face letting go. We really enjoyed this tale of building courage to face the unknown.


 

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Nurse, Soldier, Spy by Marissa Moss and John Hendrix
Grades: 4-5
Rating: ♦♦♦♦
There are many Revolutionary War heroes but Sarah Edmonds stands out as a woman who dressed as a man and served in the Union army as a soldier, nurse, and spy. This fascinating biography is a great addition to the traditional list of historical figures kids are typically asked to study.


 

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The Nonsense Show by Eric Carle
Grades: PreK-1
Rating: ♦♦♦
The title says it all; this is one nonsensical book. From a mouse walking a cat on a leash to a kangaroo with a human child in its pouch. The boys thought it was at times hilarious and at times confusing.


 

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Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone: The Illustrated Edition by J.K. Rowling and  Jim Kay
Grades: 5+
Rating: ♦♦♦♦♦
We had been anxiously awaiting the release of this illustrated version of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone and were not disappointed! More than 100 of Jim Kay’s beautifully detailed illustrations bring this classic to life. We are even more excited than ever to share Harry Potter with the boys when they are old enough to appreciate the stories.


 

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The Right Word: Roget and His Thesaurus by Jen Bryant and Melissa Sweet
Grade 3-6
Rating: ♦♦♦♦
A wonderful addition to any teacher or logophile’s collection, this biography of Peter Mark Roget, creator of the first thesaurus, is beautifully written and intricately illustrated.


 

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The 50 States by Gabrielle Balkan and Sol Linero
Grades: 1-6
Rating: ♦♦♦♦♦
Since getting this book last weekend, Jake and Cooper have spent hours pouring over it. The illustrations are beautiful, detailed, and jam packed with information. We love the mix of facts represented including a varied, multicultural selection of famous people from each state.


 

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Cinderella: An Interactive Fairy Tale Adventure by Jessica Gunderson and Ayesha Rubio
Grades: 4-6
Rating: ♦♦♦♦
When Jake came home with this book from his school book fair, Mike’s reaction was, “Choose Your Own Adventure? No way! Those are the best.” And it’s true. Who doesn’t love making different choices as your read to see how your decisions affect the outcome?
Cinderella: An Interactive Fairy Tale is one of several titles in the new set of fractured fairy tales in the You Choose Books series. We particularly enjoyed the fact that one of the initial choices lets the reader explore being a young man in a medieval fairy tale: Cinderfella who hopes to meet Princess Charming. Other options include being a modern day girl living in the city or a girl in a futuristic space society.


 

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Leo: A Ghost Story by Mac Barnett and Christian Robinson
Grades: K-2
Rating: ♦♦♦♦
We really enjoyed delightful young Leo. After years of living alone as a house ghost, a family moves into his home and don’t take kindly to his efforts to welcome them. He hits the road, eventually befriending Jane, a girl who not only can see him but can accept him for who he is. And so their adventures begin.


 

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How to Swallow a Pig by Steve Jenkins and Robin Page
Grades 2-4
Rating: ♦♦♦♦
We loved the fact that this new work of nonfiction from one of our favorite authors was presented in a how-to format. The writing is both informative and entertaining.


 

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You Are (Not) Small by Anna Kang and Christopher Weyant
Grades PreK-2
Rating: ♦♦♦♦
A pair of bearlike creatures argue about who is bigger until a new twosome arrive on the scene and put things in perspective. Readers explore big vs. small, but can also delve into themes of bullying, racism, and point of view in this entertaining story told with just a few words on each page.


 


Summer Wheels by Eve Bunting
Grade 3-6
Rating: ♦♦♦♦♦
One of my favorite fifth graders asked me to post about this oldie but goodie. How could I say no, especially since it’s one of my all time favorites?
Best friends, Lawrence and Brady, are having the time of their lives spending their summer days riding bikes and showing off their stunts. That is until a rough-looking boy comes on the scene.
This important story addresses poverty and mentorship with subtlety and nuance.


 

21469109Finding Serendipity by Angelica Banks
Grades 5-8
Rating: ♦♦♦♦
We loved Tuesday McGillycuddy and her dog Baxterr in this delightful and charming fantasy. When Tuesday’s mother, Serendipity Smith–author of the beloved Vivienne Small series–goes missing Tuesday and Baxterr set off to find her. They end up in an enchanted land where stories come to life and encounter many adventures on their journey to The End.


 

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Boats for Papa by Jessixa Bagley
Grade K-3
Rating ♦♦♦♦♦
Who knew that just a few hundred words could rip my heart completely out of my chest? I struggled to get through this one without shedding a tear. With carefully chosen prose and beautiful illustrations, Jessixa Bagley weaves a subtle tale of grappling with loss. While this story is accessible for young children, the underlying message may get lost until kids are a bit older (2nd or 3rd grade).


 

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The Case for Loving by Selina Alko and Sean Qualls
Grades 2-4
Rating: ♦♦♦♦
Based on the true story of Richard and Mildred Loving, an interracial couple who wed legally in Washington D.C., but were arrested after returning home to Virginia. The couple took their case all the way to the Supreme Court and won.


 

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Look Both Ways in the Barrio Blanco by Judith Robbins Rose
Grades 5-8
Rating: ♦♦♦♦♦
The notion of mirror and window books has been one that we have been thinking about frequently as we choose books to share with our boys. Look Both Ways in the Barrio Blanco was a window book for us but may be a mirror book for many. Either way, this powerful read brings us into Jacinta’s world as the American-born daughter of illegal immigrants. Exploring themes of poverty, trust/distrust, and self-discovery, we highly recommend it for middle-grade readers.


 

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Hug Machine by Scott Campbell
Pre-K-2
Rating: ♦♦♦♦♦
Our family has a certain bias for this book. Both Jake and Cooper checked Hug Machine out of the library when they first got their library cards and it has been a frequent visitor to our house ever since. We love this goofy story about a little boy who is on a mission to cheer up the world, one hug at a time.


 

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Boris on the Move by Andrew Joyner
PreK-Grade 1
Rating: ♦♦♦♦
The Branches collection from Scholastic is a big hit in our home. The books are well written and entertaining, but accessible to kids at a wide variety of reading levels. The Boris series is about an endearing hedgehog whose parents have decided to park the RV they have been driving around the country for years so that they can put down some roots. With fun graphic touches like labels and speech bubbles as well as relatable story lines, this series is a winner for the primary grade set.


 

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Before After by Matthias Aregui and Anne-Margot Ramstein
PreK-Grade 6+
Rating: ♦♦♦♦♦
This beautifully illustrated wordless picture book is one of my favorites for so many reasons. It appeals to children and adults of all ages, invites discussion, and encourages close attention to detail. Each two-page spread shows a before and after picture. Some of my favorite pairings include high tide/low tide, gas lamp/electric lamp, octopus/bottle of ink, and cacao pod/chocolate bar. Definitely check this one out!


 

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Ballet Cat and the Totally Secret Secret by Bob Shea
PreK-Grade 1
Rating: ♦♦♦♦♦
One of our favorites of the year! While accessible to early readers, the theme of this book has much broader appeal. Ballet Cat and Sparkles the Pony are best friends trying to figure out what to play one day but can’t agree. Crafts? No, leaping and scissors don’t mix. Checkers? Nope. Dance kicks might knock over the checkerboard. Sparkles reluctantly agrees to play ballet again today, just like every other day. After going through the motions for a while, he finally admits a “secret secret”even though he is worried it will ruin their friendship–sometimes he doesn’t want to play ballet. Turns out Ballet Cat also has a secret–she loves Sparkles even more than she loves ballet.


 

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Stone Angel by Jane Yolen and Katie May Green
Grades 3-5
Rating: ♦♦♦♦
This story of a Jewish family fleeing Paris during WWII is beautifully written and illustrated. After the Nazis arrive, the family flees to the woods where they hide with a group of resistance fighters. They then climb several mountains to reach the sea where they meet a boat to take them to the English countryside. It is a great book for introducing children to the plight of Jewish people in Europe during WWII and would make a great addition to upper grade WWII text sets.


 

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Welcome Home, Bear 
by Il Sung Na
PreK-Grade 1
Rating: ♦♦♦
Bear is tired of “the same green forest under the same blue sky” so he decides to find a new home. He visits the homes of many friends, but none of them are right for him. It’s too stuffy underground with Mole, Goat’s cliff is too steep, and the sand in Camel’s desert is too hot. Turns out, Bear’s home is the perfect place after all. With limited text on each page and beautiful illustrations, this one captivated all of our boys.


 


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Wolfie the Bunny by Ame Dyckman and Zachariah OHora
PreK to Grade 2
Rating: ♦♦♦♦
After a baby wolf shows up on the Bunny family’s doorstep, Dot bunny is not thrilled to learn that her parents plan to adopt the baby. Serious sibling trouble ensues until a trip to the carrot patch where Dot has to choose between getting rid of Wolfie once and for all or saving him from a big bad bear. This book is funny and thoughtful. It was a hit with the whole family.


 


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Waiting by Kevin Henkes
PreK to Grade 2
Rating: ♦♦♦♦♦
Simple and complex all at the same time. There are many layers to this story yet it remains accessible and enjoyable for extremely young children. All three boys (including the toddler) have been asking for this one nightly for over a week. Highly recommended!


 


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Who Would Win? by Jerry Pallotta and Rob Bolster
Grades 2-3
Rating: ♦♦♦♦
“What would happen if a killer whale met up with a great white shark? What if they had a fight? Who do you think would win?” Each highly engaging and informative book in this series presents a series of facts about each animal in the match up and leaves it up to the reader to decide who would win before pitting them against each other in a final battle.

Keep an eye out for these books in your Scholastic book order–a great way to purchase discounted books and support your child’s classroom!



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Galaxy Zack by Ray O’Ryan and Colin Jack
Grades 2-3
Rating: ♦♦♦♦
Our boys can’t get enough of this series (we’re enjoying it too!) When Zack’s dad accepts a job transfer to his company’s office on the planet Nebulon, Zack must adjust to life in another galaxy. While Zack’s experiences–making new friends, dealing with a bully–are relatable to kids, the futuristic setting gives this series a fun twist.

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