Books as Gifts
2012 Buying Guide
Books for 8-9 year olds
We've selected 10 great books for kids in second and third grade to read on their own. You'll also find nine additional books that a parent, other family member, 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
A Place for Bats
The benefits of human actions to help bat survival are introduced in this readable, realistically illustrated and well-sourced introduction. A variety of bats are included with their range identified on clear maps.
Dinosaurs Before Dark (Magic Tree House #1)
Time-traveling siblings, Jack and Annie, are celebrating their 20th anniversary in print. Join them on their first fantastic adventure to the time of dinosaurs. The occasion is celebrated with new illustrations, updated dino-info, and a letter from the author.
Halfway to Perfect
Dyamonde Daniel is confident, perceptive and willing to figure out what is really bothering her friend Damaris. Lively language captures the angst and joys of 3rd grade, friendships, even and the feelings of a plausible character with juvenile diabetes.
Make Your Mark: The Drawing Book for Children
"Making a mark is easy, just do it!" literally. Beginning with tools of the trade (paper, pens, etc.), children are encouraged to explore the language and techniques of drawing. From basic to sophisticated, the brief text and black/white illustration are sure to engage while they inform.
Meat-Eating Plants: Toothless Wonders
Stunning full-color photographs and crisp text introduce plants that gain nutrients by capturing unsuspecting insects and small animals. Locations where they grow are placed on maps, brief experiments, and additional resources conclude this engaging look at hungry plants.
Ringtale: Miner's Cat
Who was the uninvited guest found munching in a California office? It was a ringtail! Though sometimes called a cat, the small, winsome mammal is related to the raccoon. Meet David Hyatt as he studies ringtail habits and habitat, all presented in affable text and striking color photos.
Snakes are presented through up-close and personal image and text for and engaging, informative look at a host of colorful and handsome reptiles. The photographer, also a biologist, concludes with insight into his experiences photographing the sometimes uncooperative subjects.
The Boy Who Cried Alien
Larry, like the boy who cried wolf, is known for his prevarication. He winds up a hero, however, when he tells the truth about space aliens. Illustrations in comic book format and jazzy rhyming text and coded alien-speak are sure to tickle funny bones.
The Hero of Little Street
A red-shirted boy is pursued by boys angered when their soccer ball winds up in a fountain. He takes refuge in an art museum which begins a fantastical adventure involving paintings-come-to-life, a wicked butcher, a dog, and lasting friendship — all through expressive, comic illustrations.
The Legend of Diamond Lil: A J.J. Tully Mystery
J.J. Tully, retired search-&-rescue dog, continues to protect a flock of chickens. But trouble is afoot! Is there a connection between the attractive new canine next door and the villain who is after the chicks? Will J.J. figure it out in time? Readers will laugh as they solve the mystery.
Books to read with you
A Strange Place to Call Home
Textured collage and paint illustration and various poetic forms are used to introduce creatures that live in difficult, dangerous places. Ice worms in "Frozen Solid," for example, "
If lurking in the deepest seas,/Why not between the glacial ice,/helped by their own antifreeze?"
Hide & Seek
Complex engineered paper constructions create a series of worlds in which viewers are encouraged to locate various objects. In one, "Five black spots, four blossoms blue" and more are hidden in a lush garden that emerges from a red page. Each spread deserves many examinations.
I Have a Dream
Perhaps one of the best known speeches of the 20th century, Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream" has been combined with lush paintings in a large format for a new generation. Included in this stunning book is a CD of Dr. King's original speech.
Moby Dick: Chasing the Great White Whale
Herman Melville's classic tale of the great white whale and the sea captain who sought him has been recast and simplified. The rhyming ballad is reminiscent of a sea chantey, capturing essential plot elements. Lush illustrations lighten the tone for young, contemporary readers.
Return to the Willows
Toad, Mole, Rat and Badger are back in this sequel to Kenneth Grahame's 1908 Wind in the Willows. Though several new characters are introduced, the lush language evokes the original saga and may lead readers to revisit the original.
Starry River of the Sky
Rendi, a self-centered, unhappy boy runs away from home and winds up in a sad town. Storytelling, however, instigated by a mysterious newcomer allows Rendi to mature and help the villagers. The rich narrative incorporates tales inspired by Chinese tales in this worthy companion to Where the Mountain meets the Moon.
The Arrow Finds Its Mark: A Book of Found Poems
Words are everywhere and so, too, are poems; that is, if you know how to look. Those included in this small, illustrated anthology have been compiled from words in likely and unlikely locations to present a range of topics, sure to inspire young readers to find poems of their own.
The One and Only Ivan
Ivan lives in a "domain" at the Exit 8 Big Top Mall. In evocative language and gentle illustrations Ivan's story unfolds through his touching, taut, yet hopeful narration. It's a chronicle of friendship, loyalty, and the power of art.
Tilly's Moonlight Garden
A fox lives near the old house where Tilly and her parents have moved far from friends and the familiar. She follows the fox one night into a secret, moonlit garden where she finds friendship. Rich language, a calm pace, and a suggestion of magic create a memorable story.
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