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Making a Difference

Meet Charlotte, Soo, Horton, and the other characters in this booklist recommended for kids ages 0-9. Whether they care about someone, have the courage it takes to act, or stand up for what they believe in, the characters in these books all have something in common — they've made a difference.
Quotable Quotes: The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more you learn, the more places you'll go. -- Dr. Seuss

Charlotte's Web

By: E.B. White
Illustrated by: E.B. White
Age Level: 9-12
Reading Level: Independent Reader

An affectionate, sometimes bashful pig named Wilbur befriends a spider named Charlotte, who lives in the rafters above his pen. In this story of friendship, hardship, and the passing of time, E.B. White reminds us to open our eyes to the wonder and miracle found in the simplest of things.

Henry and Mudge and the Great Grandpas

By: Cynthia Rylant
Illustrated by: Sucie Stevenson
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Henry and Mudge visit Henry's Great Grandpa Bill in his home with all the other old grandpas, bringing slobbery kisses, great joy, and lots of energy. Together, the Great Grandpas along with Henry and his dad go swimming and lean on Mudge — literally — when they get tired proving that even a big, wet dog can make a difference!

Horton Hears a Who

By: Dr. Seuss
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

No one believes poor Horton the elephant when he tells them that he hears someone on the speck of dust. Despite ridicule and difficulties, Horton perseveres and saves the all of Whoville confirming that one can make a difference. This classic tale told in rhyme and heavy lined, expressive illustrations, with broad humor.

Miss Rumphius

By: Barbara Cooney
Illustrated by: Barbara Cooney
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

Deciding in childhood that she would seek adventure in faraway places, Miss Rumphius fulfills her dream and then has one more thing to do – something to make the world more beautiful.

My Freedom Trip

By: Ginger Park, Frances Park
Illustrated by: Leonard Jenkins
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

To escape the coming conflict, young Soo leaves North Korea without her mother. Though her mother plans to join Soo and her father, the Korean War begins and Soo has only memories of her mother’s bravery. Darkly hued illustrations combine with the lyrical narrative in this story based on the authors’ own family.

Owen & Mzee: The True Story of a Remarkable Friendship

By: Isabella Hatkoff, Craig Hatkoff, Paula Kahumbu
Illustrated by: Peter Greste
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

When a tsunami orphans a young hippopotamus, a group of concerned Malidi (on the east coast of Kenya) villagers figure out how to capture the 600 pound baby thus beginning his new life in an animal sanctuary with a new and unlikely companion — a 130 year old tortoise named Mzee. Full color photographs and straightforward text are used in this inspiring, appealing and true story told first by a young girl and her father.

Rafi and Rosi: Carnival!

By: Lulu Delacre
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

It's time for Carnival! Three short stories in this Easy Reader present the adventures shared by Rafi and Rosi, charming and mischievous young tree frogs who are brother and sister, and live in Puerto Rico. The stories include young Rosi dressing up in "Queen for a Day," as well as Rafi's "magical" periscope, used to watch the Carnival parade. Children and adults alike will enjoy the amusing experiences of these two siblings, as well as the cheerful and colorful illustrations. Spanish version also available.

Rhymes for Annie Rose

By: Shirley Hughes
Age Level: 0-3
Reading Level: Pre-Reader

In rhymes that are meant to be shared aloud, Annie and her brother, Alfie, share the everyday pleasures of childhood presented in playful language and true-to-life illustrations. The siblings joyfully make a huge difference to each other and their family in everyday activities.

Something Beautiful

By: Sharon Wyeth, Chris K. Soentpiet
Illustrated by: Chris K. Soentpiet
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

A young girl learns to find beauty in her sometimes gritty urban neighborhood, showing how the way one sees makes a difference that affects others. Luminous watercolors detail the child, her neighborhood, and suggest what she sees around her.

The Story of Johnny Appleseed

By: Aliki
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Once, long ago, a young man named John Chapman traveled the United States. Not only did he like being with his own thoughts, he liked apples and so helped plant apple trees wherever he traveled gaining a nickname and planting seeds for an orchard of stories. Johnny Appleseed comes alive in simple but expressive illustrations showing how one person can change the look of a country.

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Maria Salvadore
Maria Salvadore
August 1, 2014
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"You know you’ve read a good book when you turn the last page and feel a little as if you have lost a friend." — Paul Sweeney