Books as Gifts
2009 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 10 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.
Books to read on their own
Alvin Ho: Allergic to Camping, Hiking, & Other Natural Disasters
The timid 2nd grader is back, this time fearful of an upcoming camping trip with his father. Alvin's siblings try to help him but actually create a different sort of disaster. Readers will enjoy laughing along with these memorable characters.
Bad News for Outlaws: The Remarkable Life of Bass Reeves, Deputy US Marshall
Formerly enslaved in the 19th century, Bass Reeves escaped Texas and lived with Indians. It was in Indian Territory that he gained the skills he most needed when he became a lawman, known for his talent and integrity. Lively language and stylized illustrations provide a memorable portrait of this real western hero.
Friend or Fiend? With the Pain & the Great One
Jake (aka the Pain) and his older sister Abigail (the Great One) are back, each sharing one of their experiences, alternating perspectives and voices from one chapter to the next. Each vignette is plausible, recognizable, and often humorous. Cartoon-like illustrations enhance the characterization and their wit.
How Oliver Olson Changed the World
When his teacher assigns a science project, 3rd grader Oliver is enthusiastic about doing it independently. His rather overprotective parents, however, have different ideas. How Oliver and his newfound friend and classmate overcome the obstacles makes for engaging reading with lots of laughs.
Little House on the Prairie: 75th Anniversary Edition
In the second installment of the classic series, Laura and her family travel in a covered wagon to settle in Kansas. Additional background materials are included in this 75th anniversary edition including letters from Laura, information about the book's first printing and a bit about the play. Garth Williams' black and white illustrations have been gently colored for a fresh new look.
Moonshot: The Flight of Apollo 11
Relive the journey of the Apollo 11 where the first people stepped on the moon's surface and saw Earth from a very different perspective. Eloquent language and illustrations combine to present this historical event in a unique, unforgettable way.
Nubs: The True Story of a Mutt, a Marine & a Miracle
Nubs was the leader of a pack of wild dogs in Iraq but became part of a human pack when he met Marine Major Brian Dennis. The story of this amazing friendship is all the more remarkable as it happened in a war zone. It is documented in photographs and a lucid text that comes to a very satisfying conclusion.
Rich: A Dyamonde Daniel Book
Dyamonde, a bright, articulate and confident 3rd grader, is entering the library's poetry contest to win the prize money. Then Dyamonde and her friend, Free, learn that their new friend, Damaris, who is also the best poet in their class, lives in a homeless shelter. The duo of friends turns into a trio — who take a different look at what wealth really means.
The Daring Miss Quimby
She was the first woman to gain a pilot's license and to cross the English Channel in an airplane alone. The life and accomplishments that this remarkable woman achieved in her short career are energetically conveyed in a readable, informative text and lively images.
Winter's Tail: How One Little Dolphin Learned to Swim Again
A young, injured, Atlantic bottlenose dolphin was rescued and taken to the Clearwater (FL) Marine Aquarium. There the dolphin was treated, named Winter, and was given a prosthetic tail to allow her to swim properly. Full color photographs, an informal text, and additional sources for more information complete this inspiring tale.
You Never Heard of Sandy Koufax?
Sandy Koufax's early career with the Brooklyn Dodgers was not terribly memorable. But by 1961, the team had moved to Los Angeles and Koufax had perfected his pitch. His amazing story his told through the voice of an unnamed teammate and illustrated with stylized, stunning illustrations.
Books to read with you
Arlington: The Story of Our Nation's Cemetery
The history of Arlington National Cemetery is presented in a detailed text and watercolor illustrations, concluding with a timeline and several period photographs. The picture book format introduces a place, its history, and traditions in an understandable, accessible way.
Based in the author's experiences of her father's return from a war, this sophisticated, evocative story still resonates. Lizzie goes out with her dad to call crows, the pests that eat the family’s crops. Call them Lizzie does but her father decides not to shoot them. Atmospheric illustrations further distinguish this timeless story.
Django: World's Greatest Jazz Guitarist
Born into a poor Roma family, Django Reinhardt's musical talent takes him to perform on European stages for appreciative audiences. Here, the basics of his life are presented in vibrant, expressive paintings and a poetic text. An author's note encourages finding out more about this little known musician.
Falling Down the Page: A Book of List Poems
Schools and students create many lists. This collection is filled with poetry made up of lists, generally suggesting the pattern of a school year. A range of contemporary poets offer accessible and appealing work in a delicately illustrated, long list-like format.
Ever wonder what pencils and pens do when you fall asleep? Well, Tony's tools try to help him out by writing his story for school. Humorous illustrations animate writing instruments in this retro-looking fantasy.
The lesser known animals in this book have something in common: they are all marsupials with particular habitats, habits, and traits. The amazing animals are presented in crisp, full color illustrations and a highly readable narration from this award-winning photographer and science writer.
Mission to the Moon
The encyclopedic presentation in an oversized format support about 200 photographs from NASA as well as other illustrations to chronicle the history of space flight. Rockets and the moon landing are also included. A DVD with historical footage from the moon landing completes this attractive package, sure to be enjoyed by a range of readers.
Paulie Pastrami Achieves World Peace
Paulie Pastrami is just a kid, and a kid who even has trouble getting his socks to match. But Paulie has big plans. In order to achieve his plan of world peace, Paulie begins with small kindnesses which are sure to grow. Bold, comic illustrations complement this recognizable, winning, and empowering story.
Poets have always looked to the sky for inspiration. A range of contemporary and older poets and their exploration of the stars, sky, moon — and more — are presented, illustrated with lush, evocative paintings.
Ten year old Allie Sherman resists her family's move until she learns that they will live on Strawberry Hill. It is on this intriguing sounding street that Allie finds a friend, confronts racism, and comes to appreciate her family. Set during the Great Depression, this nostalgic novel continues to ring true.
Testing the Ice
Baseball great, Jackie Robinson, never joined his children at the lake near their Connecticut home until the winter he made sure its ice was safe for skating. His daughter recognizes that courage is shown in many ways — from testing ice to breaking the baseball color barrier. Rich illustrations extend this well-told family story.
The Wonderful O
What would life be like without benefit of the vowel 'O'? That's just what the people of Ooroo must cope with when despotic, O-hating pirates take over their island. Wordplay makes the humorous, original tale even funnier in this classic tale by James Thurber.
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