Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Winter Break 2010 Reading Guide

Also view my profile on GoodReads and my SWIFT and Sharepoint pages for more book recommendations! On this blog, look at the “labels” menu on the lower left for categories such as “reading lists” and “awards.”

In honor of our upcoming Multicultural Event which focuses on Africa, several of the suggested titles below are about that richly diverse continent!

Happy holidays & happy reading!
Ms. Simeon

Picture books for all ages

Elizabeti's School by Stephanie Stuve-Bodeen (A sweet first day of school book by a former Peace Corps volunteer who lived in Tanzania. Look for the other Elizabeti books while you're at it!)

I Lost My Tooth in Africa by Penda Diakité (Based on the young author’s actual experiences as an 8 year old from Oregon who was visiting relatives in Mali. You know about the tooth fairy, but what happens if you lose a tooth in West Africa?)

The Nightingale by Jerry Pinkney (Legendary African American author and artist Pinkney takes Hans Christian Andersen’s classic tale and moves it to Morocco adding lush illustrations and cultural details.)

Pretty Salma: A Little Red Riding Hood Story from Africa by Niki Daly (Daly, a South African writer, set this fractured fairy tale in the West African country of Ghana! A delightful variation on a beloved classic.)

The Silver Charm by Robert D. San Souci (A charmingly illustrated folktale about a little boy and an ogre from the Ainu ethnic minority of Japan.)

Chapter books - elementary

Akimbo and the Elephants by Alexander McCall Smith (The first in a series about a Kenyan boy growing up on a wildlife reserve, written for young readers by a British author born in Zimbabwe.)

My Dad's a Birdman by David Almond (Both whimsical and emotionally compelling, this lovely book brings to mind Roald Dahl.)

No Flying in the House by Betty Brock (A sweet classic about Annabel Tippens, half fairy, and her little talking dog!)

Seaglass Summer by Anjali Banerjee (Animal lovers will enjoy this touching story of a girl, her veterinarian Uncle Sanjay, and a host of furry critters set in the Pacific Northwest - a little taste of summer in the middle of our cold, wet winter.)

Chapter books - elementary/middle school

The Butterfly Lion by Michael Morpurgo (A heartwarming tale from the former British Children’s Laureate about a South African boy and the lion he loved.)

The Danger Box by Blue Balliett (A mysterious box containing an unknown treasure goes missing – and that results in the single most exciting summer vacation Zoomy has ever known.)

Dog Lost by Ingrid Lee (Dog fighting and the pit bull controversy are sensitively handled in this Canadian book about the tender bonds that can form between compassionate humans and the dogs in their lives.)

Feathers by Jacqueline Woodson (Taking its title from the Emily Dickinson poem which begins, “Hope is the thing with feathers / that perches in the soul,” this is a quiet and thoughtful story of figuring out family, friends and faith.)

A Friendship for Today by Patricia C. McKissack (What if your school were going to close and you and your friends would be scattered around, having to start all over? Throw in parents who are arguing and a serious disagreement with your best friend and you’ll have a lot to figure out in 6th grade! See how Rosemary triumphs over all these obstacles in this heartwarming book.)

Listening for Lions by Gloria Whelan (Set during the colonial days of what is now Kenya, this is the dramatic tale of an orphaned English girl caught in the midst of scheming and intrigue.)

Chapter books - middle/high school

The Ear, the Eye and the Arm by Nancy Farmer (An exciting science fiction detective story set in 22nd century Zimbabwe!)

The Juvie Three by Gordon Korman (Three boys in juvenile detention get one last chance at freedom in a halfway house… but can they be good students and stay out of trouble when they are left living along after their social worker ends up hospitalized with amnesia?)

Rose Sees Red by Cecil Castellucci (A freshman at a performing arts high school, Rose wears all black, desperately wants to be cool, is trying to figure out her best friend’s betrayal and wonders about the mysterious Russian teenager living next door. Realistic fiction at its best!)

What My Mother Doesn't Know by Sonya Sones (Ninth grade Sophie and her two best friends navigate the world of high school, from the masked mystery boy at the Halloween dance to the perils of cyber-romance.)


Do You Remember the Color Blue: The Questions Children Ask about Blindness by Sally Hobart Alexander (A woman who lost her sight as an adult answers questions young people commonly ask about living as a blind person.)

My Painted House, My Friendly Chicken, and Me by Maya Angelou (A colorful tour through an Ndebele village in South Africa as seen through the eyes of a little girl.)

Ox, House, Stick: The History of Our Alphabet by Don Robb (Fascinating introduction to the origins of our alphabet.)

Planting the Trees of Kenya: The Story of Wangari Maathai by Claire A. Nivola (Inspirational short biography of this remarkable Nobel Peace Prize winner!)

The Race to Save the Lord God Bird by Phillip M. Hoose (A real-life environmental tragedy and mystery, this compelling book outlines the fate of the majestic ivory-billed woodpecker which fell victim to the march of American economic development.)

What Stinks? by Marilyn Singer (A funny and entertaining guide to your sense of smell!)

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