Books as Gifts
2006 Buying Guide
Books for 8-9 Year Olds
We've selected 10 great books for kids in second to third grades to read on their own. You'll also find 7 additional recommended books that a parent, grandparent, aunt, uncle, babysitter, or friend can read with 8-9 year olds to pique their interest, expose them to more advanced vocabulary, encourage discussion, or simply to share quality time with a caring adult. Download the guide for 8-9 year olds (263K PDF)* as a one-page handout you can easily take to the library or store.
Books to read on their own
Blackbeard the Pirate King
Blackbeards story is a tale to billow a pirates sail! Told here in a series of poems, including brief bits of factual information and dramatic images, this is a book that will capture the imagination of any pirate enthusiast. An authors note provides additional information, a timeline and sources for what we know about this fierce pirate.
The early life of Mexican muralist Diego Rivera is presented in simple, yet revealing language in both Spanish and English. Accompanied by richly colored illustrations, this book is reminiscent of the folk art and themes in Rivera's work.
Horns and Wrinkles
Folks who live near the Mississippi River know that its magic. When mysterious things begin to happen in the riverside town of Blue Wing, Claire and her nasty cousin, Duke, set off on an adventure to find answers. The clever plot blends fantastical elements and unique characters, as unexpected as the turns in the river, in this rich novel for accomplished readers.
Experience the explosion of color and movement of jazz as you pulsate with its beat in a vibrant series of poems and paintings. This father-and-son team explores a variety of jazz forms in an unforgettable book.
In 2008, the first Odyssey Award for distinguished children's/young adult audiobook was presented to this read-along title. This package brings together the illustrations of the book with the featured Jazz music.
Koko was an extraordinary real-life great ape who learned hand signs to communicate with her teacher (and the author of this book). For her birthday, Koko wanted a cat. Full-color photographs emphasize not only the size difference between Koko and her kitten, but the affection and trust they shared. This sensitive and revealing glimpse at animal communication is sure to win over animal lovers of all ages.
Ruby Lu, Empress of Everything
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.
The Earth Dragon Awakes
Henry and Chin both live in San Francisco, both are about eight years old, both adore penny dreadfuls, and both survive the 1906 earthquake. Chapters alternate between Henry and Chins narrations to provide a look at what happened in very different parts of the city on that fateful day. The story of destruction and survival is told from the perspective of two young boys.
The Secret Science Project that Almost Ate the School
The laughs begin even before a third graders science project – Super Slime – gets out, and things quickly get out of hand! Goopy, frumpy, and slightly gross illustrations accompany the rhyming text, and is sure to cause laughter as the school is almost consumed.
The White Elephant
Run Run is a young elephant handler – a mahout – who lives in old Siam with his beloved elephant, Walking Mountain. When the boy and his elephant accidentally insult a spiteful prince, Run Run turns the prince's "gift that is a curse" — a sacred white elephant — into a blessing. Their riveting story is told by a Newbery Medal-winning author.
Why did the Chicken Cross the Road?
Why did the chicken cross the road? He could be running from approaching zombie chickens or just joining a bunch of buddies for a picnic. Different illustrators use various techniques to provide a (mostly) visual answer to the time-worn question with lots of laughs along the way!
Books to read with you
Emeril's There's A Chef in My World: Recipes That Take You Places
People the world over have one thing in common: from England to China, from Greece to Brazil and all places in-between, everyone eats! Starting with kitchen basics, the well-known chef guides a world culinary tour. Adults and kids are bound to enjoy making and eating these tempting recipes.
Escape: The Story of the Great Houdini
How did a poor boy named Ehrich Weiss became the famous escape artist, Harry Houdini? The author, best known for his original tall tales and novels, demonstrates his ability to tell a spellbinding true story and shares his appreciation for the mystery of magic.
Ever wonder why some peoples eyes look red in a photograph or why egg whites can literally be whipped into shape? The Exploratorium has the answers! This hands-on museum is in San Francisco, California, but its discoveries are now available in the form of a book. With some curiosity, a bit of experimentation, and some insight from museum folk, you can explore this museum from your own home. This intriguing book can inspire curious minds of all ages.
Lugalbanda: The Boy Who Got Caught Up in a War
In ancient times there lived a prince named Lugalbanda, the youngest and weakest of seven sons. He never expected to achieve greatness, but he discovers his true strength when he is called upon to save his brothers and bring peace to his land. Jewel-toned illustrations make the ancient epic accessible and appealing to modern readers.
Molly wants to return to Russia, but her mother reminds her that the Cossacks have burned the synagogues. There is no going back. The endless teasing of her classmates makes home feel even farther away. But when Mollys mother makes a pilgrim for Thanksgiving, Molly recognizes the similarities to her own journey and gains acceptance and admiration from her classmates. This story is based on an experience from the authors family.
Moses: When Harriet Tubman Led Her People to Freedom
Dramatic full color illustrations (which won a Caldecott Honor) and splendid, poetic language depict the bravery of Harriet Tubman, who escaped slavery on a Maryland plantation only to return again and again to help other slaves escape. Deeply religious, Harriet became known as the Moses of her people and a conductor on the Underground Railroad.
Porch Lies: Tales of Slicksters, Tricksters & Other Wily Characters
Inspired by stories she heard as a child, the author presents original tales steeped in oral tradition and imbued with the African American experience. Rich language and memorable characters create a collection to be shared aloud time and time again on front porches or anywhere else.
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