Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Winter break 2011 reading list

Without further ado, here are a few gems to explore over winter break! Also view my profile on GoodReads for more recommendations!

Picture Books for All Ages

I Want My Hat Back by Jon Klassen – A deceptively simple, quite ingenious book. Ponder the clues in the illustrations and see if you get the joke at the end!

The Selkie Girl by Susan Cooper – Dreamy illustrations perfectly match this haunting and magical Scottish folktale of love and longing.

The Three Golden Oranges by Alma Flor Ada – This is a beautifully illustrated retelling of a well-known Spanish folktale.

White is for Blueberry by George Shannon – “White is for blueberry… when the berry is still too young to pick.” This clever book will encourage you to look more deeply, see the world differently and ponder the surprising connections between everyday objects.

Elementary Fiction

A Bear Called Paddington by Michael Bond – First published over 50 years ago, this class is not as widely read today as it deserves to be! When the Brown family takes in a homeless young bear, they have no idea what adventures will ensue!

Billy and the Rebel: Based on a True Civil War Story by Deborah Hopkinson – Who says beginning readers have to be boring? This story captures the tension of the original, real life encounter between a runaway Confederate boy soldier and the kind Union family who shelter him.

Calvin Coconut: Trouble Magnet by Graham Salisbury – The first in a fun series about Calvin, a little boy who lives in Hawaii. Perfect for fans of Ramona, Stink, Fudge and other humorous realistic fiction books.

Houndsley and Catina and the Quiet Time by James Howe – This beginning chapter book is perfect for a peaceful, snowy winter’s day. Snuggle up inside and share this one together!

Elementary & Middle School Fiction

Bird in a Box by Andrea Davis Pinkney – Boxing legend Joe Louis is at the center of this heartwarming story about the lives of several African American families, each dealing with different kinds of troubles during the Great Depression.

Boom! by Mark Haddon – Did you ever suspect some of your teachers might really be aliens? Find out what happens when two curious boys stumble into the adventure of their lives!

The Friendship Doll by Kirby Larson – Inspired by 58 dolls sent from Japan to the US in 1927 as a gesture of friendship between the countries, this sweet chapter book follows one doll as she changes hands over the years and is loved by girls leading very different lives.

The Truth about Truman School by Dori Hillestad Butler – Can you write anything you want online just because it’s true? Where is the line between honesty and cruelty? A group of students find their lives deeply affected by anonymous comments on their online school newspaper.

Middle & High School Fiction

Hero by Mike Lupica – There is non-stop action and adventure in this exciting mystery investigating the death of his father, an undercover government agent!

Page by Paige by Laura Lee Gulledge – A truly creative and inspirational graphic novel about high school students coming into their own and learning to express themselves through art.

The Running Dream by Wendelin Van Draanen – How would you cope if one day you discovered you couldn’t pursue your passion? Track star Jessica has to find the answer to this question after a tragic accident leaves her with only one leg.

The Summer I Learned to Fly by Dana Reinhardt – One of my favorite books of the year, this is a lovely story about a girl’s summer of personal exploration, a boy’s quest for the miracle that will reunite his family, and their budding friendship.


The Book of Pirates by Jamaica Rose and Captain Michael MacLeod – A very entertaining combination of history, activities to try at home, recipes, humor and trivia – all relating to pirates, of course!

The Good, the Bad and the Barbie: A Doll’s History and Her Impact on Us by Tanya Lee Stone – A fascinating exploration of the cultural and commercial impact of this legendary doll. Love her or hate her, Barbie has influenced our society over the last half century – read this and find out more!

Life on Earth: The Story of Evolution by Steve Jenkins – Art and science combine in this incomparable introduction to a complex topic. Don’t be fooled by the beautiful collages and picture book format – this book is packed with science made clear and accessible!

Passage to Freedom: The Sugihara Story by Ken Mochizuki – Seattle author Mochizuki tells the incredible tale of a courageous man, Japanese diplomat Chiune Sugihara, who defied his government and single-handedly saved the lives of thousands of Jews during World War II in this picture book biography.

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