Tag Archives: recommended

Recommended Sakura Books – Grade 2

The Blue Whale by Jenni Desmondthe-blue-whale

This beautifully written and illustrated narrative nonfiction book by Jenni Desmond is full of interesting facts about this beloved mammal.  Includes facts that help to make the size and habits of the blue whale interesting and easily understandable.

Anything But Ordinary Addie by Mara Rockliff


This biography tells the true story of one fearless magician’s rise to glory.  After Addie’s husband, Herrmann the Great dies, she is determined to perform their magic show all by herself. Magic lovers beware…this book also includes instructions for performing one of Addie‘s original tricks.

Red A Crayon’s Story by Michael Hall

This is a funny book about a serious topic and you are going to enjoy reading  it again and again.  A blue crayon is mistakenly labeled as “red” suffers AND suffers AND suffers an identity crisis. Michael Hall reminds us of the importance of being true to our inner selves and following our own paths, even when obstacles are put in our way.

Recommended Sakura Books – Grade 1

Stick and Stone by Beth Ferry


Tom Lichtenheld’s illustrations make Beth Ferry’s characters come alive. This is a simple rhyming text that includes an anti-bullying message.  This book is sure to please fans of Elephant and Piggie, Frog and Toad, and George and Martha.  Teachers, counselors and parents will find this book helpful anytime the issue of bullying arises.

How to Read A Story by Kate Messner


Thunder Boy Jr. by Sherman Alexie


This book is for anyone who has ever wanted to change their name.  If you like Chrysanthemum by Kevin Henkes, you will thoroughly enjoy Sherman Alexie and Caldecott winner Yuyi Morales new book.  This picture book has already started winning 2016 book awards.  Will this book get your vote for the Sakura Medal this year?

Recommended Sakura Books – Grade 5

Stella by Starlight by Sharon Draper


When a burning cross set by the Klan causes panic and fear in 1932 Bumblebee, North Carolina, fifth-grader Stella must face prejudice and find the strength to demand change in her segregated town.

The Jumbies by Tracey Baptiste


Masterminds by Gordon Korman


A group of kids discovers they were cloned from the DNA of some of the greatest criminal masterminds in history for a sociological experiment.

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Recommended Sakura Reads – Grade 4

Diamonds and Daggers by Elen Caldecott


Hollywood star Betty Massino has come to town Piotr and his friends Andrew and Minnie couldn’t be more excited! But when the famous actress’s hugely expensive diamond necklace goes missing, Piotr’s dad is a prime suspect.  With the help of Sylvie and her twin sister Flora, can Piotr, Andrew and Minnie solve the crime or will Piotr and his family have to move back to Poland?

Wild Robot by Peter Brown


Roz, the robot, discovers that she is alone on a remote, wild island with no memory of where she is from or why she is there. Her only hope of survival is to try to learn about her new environment and the animals that live there. This is picture book writer, Peter Brown’s first book for middle grade readers.

Paper Wishes by Lois Sepahban


Near the start of World War II, young Manami, her parents, and Grandfather are evacuated from their home in Washington state and sent to Manzanar, an ugly, dreary internment camp in the desert for Japanese-American citizens.  This is a very readable historical fiction book about a dark time in American history.

For more Sakura Book Trailers  (click here).

Don’t Judge A Book By Its Cover


Stone Fox by John Reynolds Gardiner

This book, originally published in 1980 has become a modern classic and favorite read aloud for many teachers and families. I have read this book many times over the years, but never an edition with this cover art.  Don’t Judge A Book by Its Cover!  This book is one book that every elementary student should read or have read aloud at least once.

This book is based on a Rocky Mountain legend.  Little Willie hopes to pay the $500 in taxes on his grandfather’s farm that are due with the winnings from a dog sled race he enters.  Stone Fox has his most daunting opponent has never lost a race. Will a young boy and his dog, Searchlight, outperform the best sled racers in the country and save the family farm? This story, like its hero, little Willy, has all the ingredients of a winner…right down to the unforeseen drama at the finish line.

After recommending this book to one ASIJ family this week, they emailed me after finishing the book.  Here is a bit of the email I received:

“I think your choice was perfect. This book helps my child’s emotional development and also gave us a great experiment as a family.”

Read of the Week-Check It Out!

There’s A Giraffe In My Soup – Ross Burach

What if you found a giraffe in your soup, an alligator in your entree, an elephant on the table, or even an ostrich in your dish?  If you are a fan of Jon Klassen and Oliver Jeffers, you’ll enjoy this picture book. This laugh-out-loud picture book works well for making predictions and partner talk.

A Nearer Moon by Melanie Crowder

Often times good fantasy books are several hundred pages long.  A Nearer Moon by Melanie Crowder is a modern fairy tale rich with detail and description. It is a relatively quick read at only 150 pages.

The chapters alternate between the voices of a human child named Luna and a water sprite named Perdita (Perdy).  Both of these characters want to save their respective sisters, Willow and Pelagia (Gia).   Their two worlds collide when Willow falls sick after drinking some swamp water and Pelagia is left behind when the other water sprites go through the door to the world beyond.The fates of the two sets of sisters are more closely entwined than any of them would expect. Will a charmed locket made by Pelagia be the key to reuniting the water sprites and saving Willow’s life? This is a story of love, perseverance and hope.

Read of the Week-Check It Out!


This book had me hooked at the prologue.  This futuristic action/adventure has a unique setting…the earth is covered in a deadly fog and living in the sky is the new reality. Humanity clings to its highest peaks, called the Rooftop, where the wealthy Five Families rule over the lower slopes and floating junkyards. Will Chess, the tetherboy, and his friends Hazel, Bea and Swedish face the dark plans of Lord Kodoc and save their beloved Mrs. E? This is a perfect dystopian novel for Grades 3-6. Fans of Rick Riordan and Brandon Mull are sure to love this new series.


Book #2 is on order and will arrive later this month!!!

Wordless Picture Books

Some incredible wordless picture books have been published in the past few years. These books can be used to support literacy in a variety of ways.  KG students have been using wordless picture books to develop story lines both in whole group and partner storytelling activities.

Check out this a preview of Hank Finds An Egg!

KGL used this book during library class to practice add-on storytelling as a whole group and along the way did  some problem-solving, predicting and inferring.

Here are a few of my favorites that the KG students used to practice partner skills and add-on storytelling during library classes:

Read of the Week-Check It Out!


I have been looking for a series that could become as popular and long-lived as The Magic Tree House series and The D.A.T.A. Set is it!  Join Gabe, Laura and Cesar as they go on various adventures with the mad scientist, Dr. Gustav Bunsen.  We currently have the first three books in the series available for checkout with new installments coming in October.


If you liked the courageous, strong and silent Maxwell in Arree Chung’s first book, Ninja, then you’re going to love the second book in this series.

For more more books starring ninjas, click on the links below:

Ninja Picture Book List

Ninja Chapter Book List

Ninja Nonfiction

Ninja Graphic Novels