Kevin Henkes has again given us a wonderful new character to love with his new book The Year of Billy Miller. Billy is a second grade student who wonders if he will be smart enough for the new school year. He has a slightly annoying little sister and a new teacher who wears chopsticks in her hair! I will be recommending Billy Miller to my elementary students.
Our local librarian recently recommended The One and Only Ivan to my 9 year old son telling him that it was a great book even if it was a little sad. Upon hearing that I waited to see if he would return the book, but he trusted her opinion and checked it out of the library. After several chapters and many utterances of “this book really is good”, I asked if I could listen in. So before bed, we took turns reading the very short (sometimes 1 page chapters) to each other. After 3 days, I became the sole reader as my listener curled under the covers peeking at the artwork when necessary.
Katherine Applegate through her choice of short chapters and simple titles captured my son’s love of bite sized reading. Furthermore, allowing Ivan to tell his own story of friendship and survival meshed perfectly with children’s wonder in the world. I loved this story and was so happy to hear that it was based on a true story in the author’s note. I would recommend The One and Only Ivan to upper elementary to middle school readers.
Harry Potter fans unite! John Stephens first of three books is a nail biting adventure for siblings Kate, Michael, and Emma. It seems that there are plenty of orphaned children stories, but this one cleverly uses time travel. A huge fan of fantasy, I am always eager to find the magic that I had discovered with Harry Potter. While it is too early to tell, I will most definitely be reading the next books.
If you liked the good v. evil of Harry Potter’s world, then you will find more of that here. The Queen and her “animals” certainly are not kitty cats and there is no shortage of bad creatures. The children are not unstoppable and each face challenges that they don’t always win. I have posted the book trailer below, but must say that it is not my favorite. My hope is that some of my students will be motivated to create one themselves!
If you like this book as I did, there are 3 more books in the series. including the newest book, The Extraordinary Education of Nicholas Benedict. Visit The Mysterious Benedict Society website for more information.
Escape to a world of sorrow and magic in Liesl & Po by Lauren Oliver. Young Liesl shares the fate of Cinderella as she is banished to the attic of her step mothers Victorian home. In her time of darkness, she befriends an unlikely friend, Po, and his companion. Previously, I have been a fan of Lauren Oliver’s Young Adult novels, Delirium and Before I Fall and was curious if I would enjoy her first novel for ages 8 and older. After 2 days of reading feverishly any chance I found, I can say that this book did not let me down. There is a nice blend of darkness and drama balanced by the hopefulness that children can provide.
Liesl and Po trailer