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New Month, New Friends, and New School Year!

It’s fun and it’s intimidating. It’s the end and it’s the beginning. It’s time to greet another season and say goodbye to summer. A new school year is starting — a time to discover new books, new friends, new ideas and more. You’ll meet people in these books as they share good days and not so good, as they celebrate books and words, and as they enjoy meeting new friends!

All Are Welcome

By: Alexandra Penfold
Illustrated by: Suzanne Kaufman
Genre: Fiction
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

A lively neighborhood school (inspired by the one attended by illustrator’s daughter) welcomes its diverse students at the start of a school year, proclaiming that all are welcome! Joy-filled, colorful, engaging paintings combine with brief, rhyming text to celebrate children and families coming together to learn and share.

Benji, the Bad Day and Me

By: Sally J. Pla
Illustrated by: Ken Min
Genre: Fiction
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Like the narrator, everyone sometimes has a bad day. Samuel’s started at school and didn’t improve at home. But his little brother Benji helps Samuel feel better as Benji has been made to feel better: by becoming a burrito! Samuel knows that he and Benji will both be “okay, That’s because the two of us are brothers.” Warm and empathetic, the story is based on the author’s sons, one who is autistic.

Bookjoy Wordjoy

By: Pat Mora
Illustrated by: Raul Colón
Genre: Poetry
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

This handsomely illustrated collection of accessible poems invites young and old alike to, “read, let’s write, let’s explore galore!”  Whether enjoying the magic in a library or an imaginary canyon, a variety of poems celebrate the sheer pleasure of words and writing to create “bookjoy, wordjoy”!

Good Rosie

By: Kate DiCamillo
Illustrated by: Harry Bliss
Genre: Fiction
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Making new friends can be scary, even for a small brown and white dog named Rosie. But Rosie and her human, George, find adventure and friendship at the dog park. Understated text is complemented by expressive, unassuming illustrations presented in comic format. Readers of all ages will empathize with Rosie, her shyness, and in her newfound friendships.

Goodbye Brings Hello

By: Dianne White
Illustrated by: Daniel Wiseman
Genre: Fiction
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

New things can be intimidating. Learning to tie shoe laces means giving up Velcro; writing letters may mean giving up chunky crayons. Starting a new school can be especially scary but “with each goodbye, a new hello.” Flat forms in bold, colorful shapes and staccato language effectively present the rights of passage of growing up and accepting new things.

Quiet Please, Owen McPhee!

By: Trudy Ludwig
Illustrated by: Patrice Barton
Genre: Fiction
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Some people talk more than they listen, like young Owen. But only until he gets laryngitis! Owen not only learns that others have good ideas but also gains the ability to listen more (though he’s still talkative). Children and teachers alike will recognize Owen and his classmates in both lighthearted (nonstop) conversation bubbles and gentle illustrations.

The Day You Begin

By: Jacqueline Woodson
Illustrated by: Rafael López
Genre: Fiction
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

“There will be times when you walk into a room and no one will be quite like you.” But slowly you’ll find a bit of you in others along with your own wonderful uniqueness. Poetic language is complemented by expressive translucent illustrations presenting recognizable situations as the diverse students gradually develop friendships.

The Dinosaur Expert

By: Margaret McNamara
Illustrated by: G. Brian Karas
Genre: Fiction
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Kimmy, a budding paleontologist, is thrilled that Mr. Tiffin is taking her class on a field trip to the natural history museum. Her confidence is shaken, however, when Jake asserts that girls can’t be scientists. However, wise Mr. Tiffin makes a point to show her the discovery made by a woman scientist. KImmy notes her favorite (and very real) female paleontologists at the conclusion of this engaging book.

Turning Pages: My Life Story

By: Sonia Sotomayor
Illustrated by: Lulu Delacre
Genre: Biography
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Books and reading can be “magic potions that could fuel [young people] with the bravery of superheroes” and oh! so much more. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor shares her story revealing the power of books throughout. Illustrations echo the rich language and emotions, supported by endpages with period photographs of Sotomayor, her life and career.

Yes I Can! A Girl and Her Wheelchair

By: Kendra Barrett
Illustrated by: Violet Lemay
Genre: Fiction
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Carolyn is a regular girl who likes regular things. The only difference is that she uses a wheelchair. Yes, Carolyn can do whatever other kids can but sometimes not in the same way. The upbeat cartoon-like illustrations depict typical classroom activities and discussion starters for adults to use with children.

Proceeds from the sale of books purchased at Amazon.com help support the Reading Rockets project. Thank you!

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