Tag Archives: Book Talks

Grade 4 – Book Bingo

During library class last week, each fourth grade class looked at four genres and identified their preferred and least preferred genres.  The results are in order from least to most preferred genre: realistic fiction, mystery, fantasy and adventure.

Are you still looking for a NEW book or series in your preferred genre or are you trying to find the perfect book to hook you and get you interested in a new genre?

Realistic Fiction

Shelter Pet SquadI can’t seem to get enough of Cynthia Lord.  Cynthia Lord, author of Rules and 2015 Sakura Nominee, Half a Chance has a new series that will appeal to anyone who has ever wanted a pet.  Suzannah lives in an apartment where no pets are allowed and what she wants more than anything is a pet.  After volunteering at a local pet shelter, Suzannah finds herself looking for the perfect home for a guinea pig named Jelly Bean. Will Suzannah find a home for Jelly Bean?  Will she ever get the pet she so desires? If you are an animal lover, I think this book will appeal to fans of realistic fiction and reluctant readers of realistic fiction alike.


The Ride that Was Really Haunted

Still looking for the perfect mystery/detective series to get you hooked on this genre?  Look no further.  Imagine getting trapped inside of the Haunted House ride at your favorite amusement park.  Imagine that this ride is rumored to be haunted by a ghost.  You will be on the edge of your seat and flipping through the pages of this book to find out how Samantha and her friends find out the truth behind the Haunted House ride.


Beasts of Olympus

What I like about this new Greek myth series is the humor and page length.  Plus, this new series gives readers an entirely NEW perspective on classic Greek myths.  Test out the series with Book #1 – Beast Keeper.


POlar Meltdown

I have been recommending this series for three years and it has been well received by students in Grades 3-4. Polar Meltdown is one of our newest additions to the Wild Rescue series.  In this adventure, Ben and Zoe, WILD’s top operatives, are sent to investigate the death of a polar bear and rescue two infant cubs.  Hopefully, you’re dying to get your hands on this book to see what happens to those adorable infant polar bear cubs.  Read more books in the series to see what other environmental problems Ben and Zoe encounter.  Warning: This is a highly addictive series.

Are you a fan of the popular Who Was…biography series? If so, I think you’re going to love the new What Was…series.

What Was Pompeii

Read of the Day


I adored this book, in fact, I have adored everything I have ever read by Pam Munoz Ryan. She is one of my all-time favorite children’s authors.   If you are a fan of Pam Munoz Ryan’s previous books, this book does not disappoint, in fact, it is right up there with my all-time favorite, Riding Freedom.  Like most of her fiction, this book also has a historical fiction element, but unlike her previous books, this book begins as a traditional fantasy story. This book is thick, it is over 500 pages in length, but it is really,  four stories in one. Every story is a page-turner.  I couldn’t wait to get to the end to see how the fantasy and the three separate tales of three children living in three different places and time periods would be woven together.  I am rooting for this book to receive a Newbery Medal this year.  Read it and see if you think it is worthy of a Newbery Medal!

Gr. 4 Book Bingo

Realistic Fiction Rules by Cynthia Lord

Rules is the story of a twelve-year-old girl named Catherine, who is torn between caring for her autistic brother David and doing what she really wants to do during summer break.

MysterySwindle by Gordon Korman

If you like books about kids taking matters into their own hands, you’ll enjoy this fast-paced mystery.  After being “swindled”, Griffin Bing and his team will do just about anything to get back his Babe Ruth baseball card.

Adventure –  Magic Pickle and the Planet of the Grapes by Scott Morse
A lunchtime accident in the lab creates the Magic Pickle, the perfect superhero, ready to save the world from all sorts of bad guys and fight for truth and justice!

Fantasy – I Freddy:  Book One in the Golden Hamster Saga by Dietlof Reiche

I, Freddy Freddy is not an ordinary hamster.  Freddy is a thinking, talking, reading, writing hamster.  In order to get out of the pet store, Freddy must come up with a plan.  What will Freddy do to get out of the cage that is holding him back?  If you have never picked up the first book in this series, give it a try if you like Fantasy and Humor.

Grade 5 – Buddy Books #2


Historical Fiction – Set in 12th century Korea

“If a man is keeping an idea to himself, and that idea is taken by stealth or trickery-I say it is stealing. But once a man has revealed his idea to others, it is no longer his alone. It belongs to the world.”

Tree-ear, a Korean orphan, lives beneath a bridge with his crippled, old friend, Crane-man. When Tree-ear breaks an expensive piece of pottery created by an artist named Min, he works off his debt and becomes Min’s assistant. Though Tree-ear dreams of making his own pots, Min uses him only for menial tasks. When a royal buyer wants to see Min’s work, Tree-ear offers to make the treacherous journey to the palace with the vases.

Joey Pigza swallowed the key

Realistic Fiction 

“They say I’m wired bad, or wired sad, but there’s no doubt about it – I’m wired.”

Joey Pigza’s got heart, he’s got a mom who loves him, and he’s got “dud meds,” which is what he calls the Ritalin pills that are supposed to even out his wild mood swings. Sometimes Joey makes bad choices. He learns the hard way that he shouldn’t stick his finger in the pencil sharpener, or swallow his house key, or run with scissors.  Joey knows, if he keeps making bad choices, he could just fall between the cracks for good. But he is determined not to let that happen.

Million Dollar Kick

Setting:  Oklahoma City, Oklahoma in 1998

“If you believe it, you can achieve it.”

The main character in The Million Dollar Kick is a thirteen year-old girl named Whisper Nelson. She is an 8th grade girl who doesn’t like sports; in fact she hates them.  While getting doughnuts Briana, her younger sister,  happens to enter them into a contest that gives the winner a chance to win a million by kicking against Carmen Applegate, one of the best professional soccer goalies around. Surprisingly, Whisper wins! Whisper’s journey to become a better soccer player is also inspiring. It’s not easy for her to do, but it helps her with much more than just her soccer playing.


Setting:  Leamington, Ontario

A humorous, quick read!

Keegan and Alex are the only kids in Leamington who haven’t volunteered to help out with the town’s annual tomato festival. In an attempt to teach them a sense of responsibility, their fathers put them in charge of the tomato toss.  The boys decide it’s their responsibility to add a little excitement to the event.  They exchange the traditional wooden targets for human targets and, before they know it, they are running the most popular event at the fair.  The excitement may be too much for the sleepy town and soon the tomato toss is taken to the street.

Grade 5 – Buddy Books #1

If you like friendship stories…READ Every Soul a Star 


 Setting:  Moon Shadow Campground

In alternating chapters, Ali, Bree and Jack tell their stories.

Ally likes the simple things in life-labyrinths, star-gazing, and comet-hunting.

Popular, gorgeous (everybody says so), a future homecoming queen for sure.

Overweight and awkward, Jack is used to spending a lot of time alone. But when opportunity knocks, he finds himself in situations he never would have imagined.

If you like fast-moving plots…READ A Small White Scar 

small_scar_img_catcopy (1)

Setting:  Colorado – 1940’s

Since his mother’s death, Will’s job has been to look after his twin brother, Denny, who has Down syndrome.  The story picks up speed when Will sets out to ride to La Junta to compete in a rodeo.  He leaves hoping to break away from the responsibility of looking after Denny, but when he leaves, Denny follows.

Part family tale, part adventure, part journey narrative, this coming-of-age story has an emotional core that will touch even readers who never dreamed of competing in a rodeo.

If you like a page turner with lots of plot twists….READ Skullduggery Pleasant


Twelve-year-old Stephanie inherits her weird uncle’s estate,  and must join forces with Skulduggery Pleasant, a skeleton mage (magician), to save the world from the Faceless Ones.

Stephanie and Skulduggery Pleasant must defeat an all-consuming ancient evil.

The end of the world?

Over their dead bodies…

If you like Diary of a Wimpy Kid, but want something a little different….READ The Last Invisible Boy

the last invisible boy

Told in short journal chapters and marvelous drawings…this is the story of 12-year-old Finn and his life-changing summer.1.  It’s about an invisible boy.

I don’t want to give anything away, so I’ll tell you what you could probably guess from looking at the cover and flipping through the book.

1. It’s about an invisible boy.

2. There are a bunch of drawings.

3. There are some really funny, really happy moments.  (Just so you know, there are also some sad moments too.)

4K Book Talks – November 7, 2014

parrots over puerto rico

Parrots Over Puerto Rico

by Susan L. Roth & Cindy Rumbore

Winner of 11 Awards 2013-14

If there is one nonfiction book that you can’t pass up, it is this book!  Learn about human impact nearly caused one of the most beautiful birds to become extinct.  This is a story about one species struggle to survive and the scientists never gave up in their pursuit to save this exquisite bird.  Did you know parrots thrived in Puerto Rico long before the first human settlers arrived some 5,000 years ago?  But by 1975, only 13 of the birds were still living in the wild.

You might also like:  

wild horsesLooking for Miza

how-to-clean-a-hippoHow To Clean a Hippopotamus:  A Look at Unusual Animal Partnerships

by Steve Jenkins  & Robin Page

You’ll learn all about the scientific concept of symbiosis. Jenkins and Page describe the unusual relationships between various animals in the wild.  Find out why a mongoose comes running when a warthog lies down, how a crab and an iguana help each other out why ravens follow wolves, and more.

You might also like:

how many ways can you catch a fly  

Cougar a cat with many namesCougar: A Cat with Many Names

by Stephen Person

A three time award-winning book and the only contender for the 2014 Children’s Choice Awards!

An investigation into what happens when humans invade an animal’s natural habitat

Early one evening in October 2011, Gail Loveman heard a strange noise coming from outside her house in Boulder, Colorado. She looked through the glass door leading to her backyard and was shocked by what she saw. There, standing on her porch, was a cougar! Because cougars are solitary animals that avoid contact with humans, it’s rare to see a cougar in the wild, and very unusual to see one near a house. In Cougar: A Cat With Many Names, kids will go on a real-life adventure with wildlife biologists as they investigate changes in the range of cougars as humans settle in the animals’ territories.

microscopic scary creatures

Microscopic Scary Creatures by Ian Graham

Miniscule monsters?  Terrifying ticks?  Blood-sucking insects?

Discover the real truth…

Can tiny bests live under your skin?  What do these creatures feed on?  How do such small creatures survive?

Summary Source:  Follett Books

4S – Book Talks November 4, 2014

Punished by David Lubar

punished lubar

Logan knows he shouldn’t have been playing tag in the library reference stacks and he’s sorry that he crashed into Professor Wordsworth.  Logan’s punishment is an unusual curse: everything he tries to say comes out as a pun.  The cure, according to the elderly spell caster, involves more wordplay: Logan must hunt down examples of oxymorons, anagrams, and palindromes. (19 copies of this book available)


A bicycle can’t stand alone because it is two-tired.

Winning candy as a prize is always a sweet victory.

If you leave alphabet soup on the stove and go out, it could spell disaster.

You might also like:

my rotten life

Nathan Abercrombie Series: Book #1

Accidental Zombie by David Lubar

Tired of continually having his feelings hurt by popular students and bullies, fifth-grader Nathan agrees to try an experimental formula, Hurt-Be-Gone, and becomes a half-dead zombie, a condition which, he soon discovers, has some real advantages.

Maggie Brooklyn Series by Leslie Margolis

GIrl's Best Friend      vanishing acts     Secrets-At-The-Chocolate-Mansion-300-dpi

Maggie is a clever, lovable new hero.  In Book #1 dogs are disappearing in her neighborhood, and Maggie Brooklyn Sinclair knows all about it. After all, she is an amateur dog-walker. Maggie hates to see a pup in trouble, so she’s even willing to help her ex-best friend Ivy recover her rescue-dog, Kermit. Kermit’s being held for ransom, and Maggie has noticed some suspicious behavior lately.

the lost kingdom

The Lost Kingdom by Matthew J Kirby

Steampunk at its best!  This is an extraordinary adventure story, intrigue and courage.  Billy Bartram, his father, and a secret society venture into the American wilderness in search of the lost people of the Welsh Prince Madoc. Traveling in a flying airship, the members of the expedition find their lives frequently endangered in the untamed American West by terrifying creatures, a party of French soldiers hot on their trail, and the constant threat of traitors and spies. Billy will face hazards greater than he can ever imagine as, together with his father, he gets caught up in the fight for the biggest prize of all: America.

Secrets sof the BookSecrets of the Book by Erin Fry

You don’t chose the book, the book choses you.

Sixth-grader Spencer Lemon has no idea why he was chosen to protect “Pandora’s Book,” a book that contains famous dead people who can be brought back to life. Soon he discovers there are other people interested in the book, people who may have evil intentions, and it’s up to Spencer and his friends to protect the book and save the world.

4T Book Talks – October 28, 2014


Puss in Boots translated by Malcolm Arthur and illustrated by Fred Marcellino

A retelling of the French fairy tale in which a clever cat wins his master a fortune and the hand of a princess.




OPQ GrandfathersJourney1
Grandfather’s Journey written and illustrated by Allen Say

A Japanese American man recounts his grandfather’s journey to America which he later also undertakes, and the feelings of being torn by a love for two different countries.



RST lon po po
Lon Po Po : a Red-Riding Hood Story from China translated and illustrated by Ed Young

Three sisters staying home alone are endangered by a hungry wolf who is disguised as their grandmother.






LMN my father's dragon

My Father’s Dragon by Ruth Gannett

A young boy determines to rescue a poor baby dragon who is being used by a group of lazy wild animals to ferry them accross the river on Wild Island. (Note: This is the first book in a series of three.

       elemer and the dragon                 the dragon's of blueland


OPQ the year of billy miller

The Year of Billy Miller by Kevin Henkes

Billy Miller starts second grade with a bump on his head and a lot of worries, but by the end of the year he has developed good relationships with his teacher, his little sister, and his parents and learned many important lessons.



whipping boy

The Whipping Boy by Sid Fleischman

A bratty prince and his whipping boy have many adventures when they inadvertently trade places after becoming involved with dangerous outlaws.