These wonderful titles have something for just about everyone: wit, mystery, inspiration, heart.
The Art of Miss Chew. Patricia Polacco. G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 2012.
This is another Polacco autobiographical story about two teachers who understood her learning disabilities and her artistic talent. They helped her use knowledge of one to overcome the other. Well told, touching and inspiring. Picture Book.
Read-aloud 3-5th grade
Castle of Shadows. Ellen Renner. Houghton Mifflin, 2012.
Her mother has been missing for 5 years, so when resourceful, plucky, eleven-year-old Princess Charlie discovers a letter written by the missing queen, she sets out on a quest to solve the mystery. Tobias, the gardener’s son, helps her whether she wants him to or not. Well-written, fast paced with plenty of surprises. FYI: Tobias uses the ‘d’ word several times.
Read-aloud 4th-6th grades
Cheesie Mack is Not a Genius at Anything. Steve Cotler. Yearling, 2012.
Ronald (Cheesie) Mack shares his memories and thoughts surrounding 5th grade graduation. It begins at the end with Chapter 0: The Story is Over!
Full of kid-pleasing wit and humor.
Read-aloud 4th-6th grade
The Five Lives of Our Cat Zook. Joanne Rocklin. Amulet, 2012.
Oona and her brother are adjusting to life without their father. When Zook, their cat, becomes sick they plan to break him out of the vet’s office because they are convinced the vet is Zook’s previous owner, who abused the him. Oona is a great storyteller who makes up stories about the cat’s first 5 lives which for her brother. These stories reveal much about their family’s life. Heartwarming, well-developed characters readers will care about.
Read-aloud 3rd-6th grade
The Moon Over High Street. Natalie Babbitt. Scholastic, 2012.
Joe’s parents died when he was a baby. He is lovingly raised by his grandmother and has a total fascination with the moon. A wealthy business owner meets Joe and becomes obsessed with the idea of adopting him and teaching him to run the business.
Joe has to decide whether to choose this life of privilege or stay with family who loves him, but has limited resources. A quiet, but thoughtful story.
Read-aloud 3rd-5th grade
Summer of the Gypsy Moths. Sara Pennypacker. Balzar + Bray, 2012.
Abandoned by her parents, 11 year old Stella lives with her great- aunt who runs vacation cottages in Cape Cod. Summer brings many changes. Aunt Louise brings in a foster child, Angel, who has no interest in forming a friendship with Stella. When Aunt Louise dies suddenly, the girls form an alliance to cover up her death and continue to run the cottages, so they won’t be forced to live elsewhere. At times you have to suspend belief, but the gem here is the deep connection the girls form. Well written and never dull.
Read-aloud 4th-6th grade
Wonder. R.J. Palacio. Knopf, 2012.
Auggie is a smart and plucky 10 year old who was born with a misshapen head and disfigured face. His parents decide that it is time for him to stop being home schooled and enroll him in 5th grade at a private school in Manhattan. Each chapter is told from the viewpoint of one of the characters and all of the characters grow as the story progresses. The story is well written and told realistically with much to discuss.
Read-aloud 4th-7th grade