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Different Styles, Different Children

None of us look just the same and we each have our own special interests. That's true of how we learn, too. Everyone has their own style and things that they do particularly well. As children prepare to go to school, it's a good time to remember there are various ways of learning, that achievements are wide-ranging, and that learning takes place at different rates. On the pages of these books, meet memorable characters with special ways of learning and dealing with school.

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

Clementine

By: Sara Pennypacker
Illustrated by: Marla Frazee
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Clementine, a high energy 3rd grader, finds it difficult to concentrate as her teacher would have her do, often getting Clementine into trouble. Clementine's narration exudes her originality, spirit, and vivacity — echoed in expressive black & white line drawings.

If You're So Smart, How Come You Can't Spell Mississippi?

By: Barbara Esham
Illustrated by: Mike and Carl Gordon
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Katie is keen observer and a curious third grader. So when her dad explains why he finds spelling difficult, Katie wants to investigate. She learns that her very intelligent dad, a lawyer, has dyslexia — probably like a couple of Katie's classmates. Expressive line and wash illustrations enhance the engaging, illuminating story. Part of The Adventures of Everyday Geniuses series.

Last to Finish: A Story About the Smartest Boy in Math Class

By: Barbara Esham
Illustrated by: Mike and Carl Gordon
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Max's hopes of becoming an engineer seem unattainable as Max's brain freezes every time he takes a timed math fact test and is teased by the other children. That is until it's discovered that Max understands how math works but just has trouble with memorization. A satisfying resolution does not involve a timer! Part of The Adventures of Everyday Geniuses series.

Marvin One Too Many

By: Katherine Paterson
Illustrated by: Jane Clark Brown
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Marvin's excitement about first grade quickly dwindles when his name doesn't appear on the list and the class is short one desk. Add to that the fact that he struggles to read, well, it's clear that he's just "one too many." Things improve when Marvin's parents find out what is going on and his father shares his difficulty learning to read.

Mrs. Gorski, I Think I Have the Wiggle Fidgets

By: Barbara Esham
Illustrated by: Mike and Carl Gordon
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

David's teacher asks for a parent conference when David's behavior distracts the rest of the class. David, however, comes up with his own wiggle fidget cures that he shares at the meeting, combining creativity and practicality that just may help others with the wiggle fidgets. Part of The Adventures of Everyday Geniuses series.

Ms. McCaw Learns to Draw

By: Kaethe Zemach
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

Even though Dudley Ellington has trouble focusing on school work, his teacher is the very patient Mrs. McCaw. But the talented Mrs. McCaw cannot draw a face in profile — that is until Dudley patiently shows her (and his class) how to do so. Lighthearted, cartoon-like illustrations are used to enhance the straightforward text.

My Travelin' Eye

By: Jenny Sue Kostecki-Shaw
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

Her "travelin' eye" doesn't bother the narrator at all but it does mean that she has trouble focusing in school. The patch and eyeglasses prescribed by the ophthalmologist give her classmates something to tease her about — until she makes them her own fashion statement. Naïve illustrations are eye-catching and capture the child's world, what she sees, and how she sees it.

Ruby Lu, Empress of Everything

By: Lenore Look
Illustrated by: Anne Wilsdorf
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Ruby Lu is an exuberant second grader who takes her responsibility to help her cousin transition from China to his new school in America. Unfortunately, it lands both children in summer school where Ruby remains daunted by a long book. The humor lies in the ordinary of a likeable, effusive child who just happens to be Chinese American.

Stacey Coolidge's Fancy-Smancy Cursive Handwriting

By: Barbara Esham
Illustrated by: Mike and Carl Gordon
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Try as she might, second grader Carolyn struggles with cursive. A wise teacher, however, helps the child recognize that her imagination and creative writing are her strengths, just like some other famous writers. Real problems and frustrations are presented with a light touch in this engaging book. Part of The Adventures of Everyday Geniuses series.

Susan Laughs

By: Jeanne Willis, Tony Ross
Illustrated by: Tony Ross
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

What Susan does everyday is revealed in a simple, rhyming text and light-lined, colored pencil illustrations. What Susan does and how she behaves is what all children do but she does it using a wheelchair, revealed — without sentimentality — in the final spread.

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Maria Salvadore
Maria Salvadore
July 10, 2014
June 24, 2014
Start with a Book: Read. Talk. Explore.

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