Tag Archives: Adam Rubin

Top 10 Tuesday – Favorite Middle Grade Chapter and Graphic Novels Part 2 2022

A few weeks ago, I posted Part 1 of my list of favorite middle grade chapter and graphic novels with a focus on upper middle grades (mature grade 6 – 8) You can read that post HERE. I intended to post Part 2 last week, but 7 workshops and webinars in 5 days got in the way! So here is Part 2 – which features books I would recommend for lower middle grades (grades 4-6). And once again, I had trouble counting to ten!!

Abby In Between: Ready or Not – Megan Ebryant

Very excited about this first book in a young middle-grade series about nine-year-old Abby as she navigates all the chaos that can come from growing up. I loved Judy Blume books when I was growing up and this one certainly had a modern Judy Blume vibe! It’s a great book to introduce the topic of puberty as I feel it offers a realistic portrayal of the emotions, experiences, and feelings of a young girl. I appreciated the understanding doctor and the un-embarrassed mother.

Growing Pangs – Kathryn Ormsbee

Another coming of age theme in this cute graphic novel that includes topics like homeschooling, theater, friendship, summer camp, OCD, and anxiety. They say “books are mirrors” and I really like that there are so many authors this year writing “connect” books for middle graders who are trying to find their place in the world and be proud of who they are.

Surely Surely Marisol Rainey – Erin Entrada Kelly

This is the second “Marisol” book in a new series (I haven’t read the first one) featuring the quirky, unathletic Marisol Rainey. Marisol Rainey’s two least-favorite things are radishes and gym class. Well, I made so many connections to this book! I was the kid in elementary school who was terrified of gym class and picked last for every class sport. Basically: I was Marisol. Turns out Marisol has more spunk and grit than she thinks! Humorous and heartfelt story of friendship, family and fitting in for fans of Clementine, Judy Moody, Billy Miller,  and Ramona the Pest.

Step – Deborah Ellis

Canadian icon Deborah Ellis has written a collection of short stories featuring children who are all about to turn 11-years old — and how that event changes them. The series of stories are about children from all over the world and feature magical and mysterious themes. I LOVED this book and thought of so many wonderful ways you could use it in a classroom! A perfect book for an interactive read aloud to model questioning, connecting and transforming!

Odder – Katherine Applegate

Sea Otters + Katherine Applegate + a novel in verse = middle grade gold! How can you NOT fall in love with this adorable sea otter? Like her other books, beloved author Katherine Applegate knows how to weave important issues into her books with such respect and grace wrapped up in gorgeous writing and endearing characters. This book could stand alone as an amazing read aloud. But I could see it being the anchor to a class inquiry unit around endangered species, conservation, climate change, ecosystems, animal surrogates – the list goes on! Great information included in the back notes. This book will be released on Sept. 22nd.

Oh, Sal – Kevin Henkes

I love Kevin Henkes books so was excited to see this continuation of his Billy Miller series, told from Billy’s younger sister Sal’s voice. Henkes, once again, writes from the voice right of a nervous child worrying about trivial things that are very important to her. The whole story takes place over the course of a single day but with lots of space to explore Sal’s many emotions. The book is illustrated in black and white and a great choice for fans of Ramona, Ivy + Bean, and Dory Fantasmagory. A strong grade 2 reader would enjoy this story, up to beginning grade 4.

Max & The Midknights: The Tower of Time – Lincoln Peirce

A funny new graphic novel series (this is #3) about Max – a Knight in Training by the author of Nate the Great. This book is jam packed with action and adventure, pictures and personality, fantasy and fun!!! In this continuation of Max’s story, she meets her twin Mary, and the two journey (along with the other Midknights) to learn what happened to their parents. We also learn how Max got her name!

Nat Enough – Maria Scrivan

Nat Enough is a coming of age graphic novel (first in a series) about a young girl finding her place in middle school. Her best friend from elementary school is hanging out with the ‘cool kids’ now, and Natalie feels like she is “not enough”- not pretty enough, not talented enough, not cool enough. Certainly a lot of connections will be made with this one!

The Ice Cream Machine – Adam Rubin

Such a clever and original idea! This book is a collection of six short stories in a variety of genres and settings, all featuring ice cream! I enjoyed how each of the stories were a different genre, great for introducing genres to your class and great anchors for writing! Kids will make lots of connections to the book. I appreciated the author’s notes at the beginning and end of the book so don’t forget to share those if you are reading this story aloud.

The Bird & Squirrel On The Run – James Burk

I so enjoyed this colorful graphic novel featuring two unlikely friends – a nervous squirrel and a carefree bird, who join together to escape the menacing cat that wants to eat them.  Kids will enjoy the silly humour and colorful illustrations. LOTS of fun!

Mr. Wolf’s Class – Aron Nels Steinke

Another fun graphic novel – this one is about the first day of grade four and everyone is nervous — even Mr. Wolf! Despite the characters being colorful cartoon animals, the book had a realistic feel to it. All the student animals are unique and have their own challenges, hopes, goals. I think kids will really enjoy this first book in a new series.

PAWS: Gabby Gets It Together – Michelle Assarasakorn & Nathan Fairbarirn

This new graphic novel series is about best friends, cute dogs, and all the fun (and trouble) that comes with them. Funny and heartwarming – think Baby-Sitters Club for pets!

Omar Rising – Aisha Saeed

I enjoyed this book by the author of Amal Unbound. In this book about injustice in education, young Omar gets accepted to a private school on scholarship but is expected to work for free, cannot play in extracurricular events, and must maintain an A plus average. Most scholarship boys do not make past their first year so Omar decides to challenge this unfair system. An uplifting story about working together to make a change; the story is hopeful and empowering.

Outside Nowhere – Adam Borba

Surprised by how much I enjoyed this book! It’s about a funny, slacker kid who gets himself fired from his summer job at the pool and then gets sent to a farm in the middle of nowhere. But before long, magical things start happening at the farm. It’s weird, wonderful and whimsical! Would make a wonderful read-aloud.

The Trouble At Turtle Pond – Diana Renn

This is a eco-mystery is about making friends and saving endangered turtles – perfect for animal lovers everywhere! Strange that a mystery can also be heart-warming – but this story was. I think because of Miles, the loveable main character, who I was cheering for after the first page. A great mystery with important environmental lessons and a great characters.

Thanks for stopping by! Hope you found one or two new books to add to your classroom or school library! Happy reading, everyone!

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Filed under 2022 releases, Activism, Coming of Age story, environment, Friendship, graphic novel, making connections, Middle Grade Novels, New Books, Novels, Top 10 Tuesday

It’s Monday, What Are You Reading? Animals, Friends, a few darn Squirrels and a remarkable Bird

IMWAYR

It’s Monday and I’m happy to be participating in a weekly event with a community of bloggers who post reviews of books that they have read the previous week.  Check out more IMWAYR posts here: Teach Mentor Texts and Unleashing Readers.

This week I discovered some new books that I’m very excited about!  Here we go…

What's Your Favorite Animal?

What’s Your Favorite Animal? – Eric Carle and Friends

All of my favorite authors and illustrators in one book!  What could be better?  This book is a delightful anthology of well-loved children’s authors/illustrators describing their favorite animal and why they love them, accompanied by his or her own signature style illustrations.  I did SO enjoy looking through to discover what everyone’s favorite animal was and why.  I can see how this would be a great anchor book for students to write about their favorite animal with an accompanying illustration.    I was also thinking my students could go around the school asking the teachers what their favorite animals are!  Authors included in this fabulous book are: Eric Carle, Nick Bruel, Luc Cousins, Susan Jeffers, Steven Kellogg, Jon Klassen, Tom Lichtenheld, Peter McCarty, Chris Raschka, Peter Sis, Lane Smith, Rosemary Wells and Mo Willems.   I am hugging this book.

Friends – Eric Carle

I am always on the lookout for new books about friendship as they lend themselves so well for having children practice making connections.  This story is about a young boy whose best friend moves away.  He then embarks on a journey over mountains and across rivers to find her.  This book is apparently based on Eric’s own journey to find his wife, whom he moved away from as a child and then searched to find her again.  This would be a great book to read to K’s and 1’s and I can see them acting out the movements of the boy’s journey – “climbing”, “swimming”, etc.   I loved the messages of determination and the importance of friendship.

Friends  – Miles Van Hout

I LOVED Miles Van Hout’s wordless book Happy and used it many times in many classrooms to help students infer feelings.  In Happy, Van Hout’s  uncanny ability to capture emotion through the  faces of fish was remarkable!  In her latest wordless book Friends,  she takes us one step further by showing emotional interactions.  Her vibrant chalk fish have been replaced with monster type creatures and she has illustrated them depicting different situations – cuddling, fighting, teasing, laughing and playing.  Another perfect wordless book for helping younger children practice inferring from illustrations.  Hugging this book too!

A Friend – Anette Bley

Sticking with the “friendship” theme, I saw this book in our local library on display and was drawn to the illustrations.  This book, published in 2009, (I have never seen it before)  is a perfect book for primary teachers who are looking for a great book about friendship.  The story begins with the simple question: What is a friend?  and goes on to illustrate many different examples of what friendship looks like and feels like.  The illustrations are charming and the text is simple and meaningful.  A perfect “connect” book.  (Note:  A few places I searched said it was out of print but I was able to order one on Amazon)

Those Darn Squirrels – Adam Rubin

This book is the perfect choice if you are looking for a or a great read-aloud/laugh-aloud story for  grades 2-4.  It tells the tale of  grumpy Old Man Fookwire who dislikes most things – except his wild birds.  So he builds a bird feeder and fills it with berries so his wild birds will stay with him through the winter.  Unfortunately,” those darn squirrels” raid the feeder and eat all the berries.  Apparently there are two more “Darn Squirrel” books in the collection.  (Warning – I stumbled over the name “Mr. Fookwire” a few times – so just be careful because when it comes out wrong – it comes out VERY wrong!)

Paper Dolls – Julia Donaldson

I loved paper dolls growing up.  My sisters and I would play for hours, folding the little flaps of clothing onto those cardboard dolls.  This book is whimsical, beautiful, playful, nostalgic, simple.  A little girl plays with her five paper dolls.  There are not many words, but the rhyming and repetition lend itself well to a read-aloud.  I love the mother/daughter play time highlighted in this book and I think it would be a great invitation to have students create their own paper doll and use alliteration and rhyme to name it.  A lovely book!

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Stand in My Shoes – Bob Sornson

Teachers frequently request books on social responsibility themes so I’m always on the lookout for new titles.  This book, produced by the Love and Logic Institute, focuses on empathy and clearly illustrates to younger children what empathy is and how easy it is to demonstrate this important social skill.  This book would also be great to include on a book list for parents.

Drac And The Gremlin

Drac and the Gremlin – Allan Baillie

One of the rewarding things about my work is visiting schools and meeting teachers who have been using some of the ideas from my books.  I especially love when they share new book titles with me!    This past Friday, I was in Calgary at Huntington Hills elementary and met a teacher who had been working on Visualizing with her students.  She took me into her classroom and shared this great book with me and showed me some of the visual images her students drew when she read this story to them.  Of course, she DID NOT share the illustrations with them until they had listened and visualized.  The great thing about this book is that the descriptions are very misleading – you think the author is describing some imaginative sci-fi creatures.  As it turns out, it is only two children and their pets as they play in their backyard.  A wonderful book for visualizing!

Bird – Crystal Chan

Wow.  Wow.  Wow.   This book left me breathless and speechless – and that is no easy feat for me.   Not since Wonder and No Fault in the Stars have I been so moved and so deeply touched by a book.  My soul is still aching.   I was fortunate enough to receive an ARC and I could not put it down.

The book begins:    Grandpa stopped speaking the day he killed my brother, John.

From the first line, you will be drawn in by the exquisite writing and heart-wrenching story of Jewel – a girl who lives in the shadow of her younger brother – who died the day she was born.  Her grandfather, blamed for the tragedy by Jewel’s parents, has not spoken since.  This is a story of love, of loss, of family and friendship – of a broken family who had to fall apart before they could put themselves back together.  This is a remarkable debut novel – and I KNOW one that will top many “best of 2014” lists.   “Book linger”  is my reference to books that stay with you and actually become part of you.  Bird is the ultimate in book linger.  I want EVERYONE to read this book!

Well, it was a great week of reading for me.  And just in case you didn’t follow the book award announcements this past week – here is the complete list from CNN:

http://www.cnn.com/2014/01/27/living/newbery-caldecott-awards-2014-kate-dicamillo-books/

What have you been reading this week?

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Filed under Connect, Friendship, Infer, It's Monday, What Are You Reading?, Lesson Ideas, New Books, Picture Book, Social Responsibility