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Books as Gifts

Holiday Buying Guide 2015

 

Penguins graphic

In December, why not share a new story, pick up a book, or listen to an old favorite each day? You might meet a new friend, discover something new about an old one, or even uncover fresh ideas or information.

Celebrate this season of sharing, with books and reading!

Happy Holidays from Reading Rockets!

 

Holiday Buying Guide 2015: For 0-3 year olds

Baa, Baa, Black Sheep

By: Jane Cabrera
Age Level: 0-3
Reading Level: Pre-Reader

Child-friendly illustrations bring the additional verses to the familiar rhyme to life in this lively recasting.

Bear Can Dance!

By: Suzanne Bloom
Age Level: 0-3
Reading Level: Pre-Reader

Music can be magical as Bear discovers when music inspires him to dance – to glide across the wintery landscape. (Part of the Goose and Bear series)

Edible Numbers

By: Jennifer Vogel Bass
Age Level: 0-3
Reading Level: Pre-Reader

Count colorful fruits and veggies from one to 12 as one examines the appealing photographs. This is a fine companion to the author’s Edible Colors (2014).

I Get Dressed

By: David McPhail
Age Level: 0-3
Reading Level: Pre-Reader

Various animals don clothing from gloves to hats. Each is presented on the page with a single word.

I Play

By: David McPhail
Age Level: 0-3
Reading Level: Pre-Reader

Single verbs accompany charming illustrations on each open page of this sturdy book to describe a bear cub at play. Pastel backgrounds allow the strong lines to stand out.

Jack Wants a Snack

By: Pat Schories
Age Level: 0-3
Reading Level: Pre-Reader

Jack wants to join the child’s tea party but so does a chipmunk. The adventure unfolds wordlessly in soft illustrations.

Playful Pigs from A to Z

By: Anita Lobel
Age Level: 0-3
Reading Level: Pre-Reader

Whimsy abounds in the gentle colors and playful pigs from A to Z. Alliterative sentences describe the activities and suggest other things that begin with the letter.

Rhymoceros

By: Janik Coat
Age Level: 0-3
Reading Level: Pre-Reader

Simple shapes and few words are used in this sturdy and sophisticated board book that focuses on rhyming words. The author’s Hippopposites (2012) is equally appealing (and sophisticated).

Holiday Buying Guide 2015: For 3-6 year olds

A Bear’s Year

By: Kathy Duval
Illustrated by: Gerry Turley
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

A mother bear teaches her cubs what they’ll need to know as they grow. Lyrical language and gentle illustrations follow the bears over a year.

Bear Ate Your Sandwich

By: Julia Sarcone-Roach
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

A bear finds his way to the city where a sandwich is left unattended. Does the bear eat it before returning to the forest – or could it be someone else? Careful examination of the illustrations makes one wonder in this charming narration with slyly humorous and elucidating illustrations.

Bear’s Surprise

By: Benjamin Chaud
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

Baby bear sets off to find his father, jaunting through intricate illustrations on large pages. The oversized format is sure to engage young readers time and time again as they seek and find more and more details.

Big Bear, Little Chair

By: Lizi Boyd
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

The tall format holds surprises for readers in this sophisticated, engaging book of opposites. Indeed there is a big bear and a small chair but there is also a big penguin and a little iceberg and other even less likely juxtapositions. Illustrations use limited but strong color and bold lines with a unique result.

Counting Lions: Portraits from the Wild

By: Katie Cotton
Illustrated by: Stephan Walton
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

Highly realistic portraits for familiar animals from one to 10 are presented with a tidbit of information about where and how they live. But this is more than a simple (and gorgeous) counting book. Each animal is either endangered or threatened; additional information at the end brings readers up to date with each animal’s status.

Goodnight Songs

By: Margaret Wise Brown
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

A dozen original lullabies by the author of Good Night Moon are presented here for the first time. Each sweet piece has been newly illustrated by a well-known illustrator in distinctive styles, ranging from Melissa Sweet to Sean Qualls. A CD is included. 

Jumping Off Library Shelves

By: Lee Bennett Hopkins
Illustrated by: Jane Manning
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

What do books and libraries mean to readers young or old? Fifteen poems pay tribute to just that. Poets included are generally well known and are accompanied by jaunty, playful illustrations which together are sure to please.

Last Stop on Market Street

By: Matt de la Peña
Illustrated by: Christian Robinson
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

A slightly grumpy CJ asks his grandma why they have to take a bus across town every Sunday after church. Her answers are playful, wise, and effective; CJ admits he's glad they came to see their friends at the soup kitchen where they serve. Bright, stylized illustrations and rich, well-paced language presents a warm relationship and a diverse urban locale. (2016 Newbery Medal Winner)

Look and Be Grateful

By: Tomie dePaola
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

Every day holds something for which children and adults can be grateful. This becomes clear in this small book which features dePaola’s signature illustrations in a light colors combined with straightforward, simple language.

Lost. Found.

By: Marsha Diane Arnold
Illustrated by: Matthew Cordell
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

An economy of words and animated line drawings with a dash of red combines to tell the story of a bear that loses a scarf but finds companionship. Two words describe the satisfying action on each page: Lost. Found

Mango, Abuela, and Me

By: Meg Medina
Illustrated by: Angela Domínguez
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

Mia must share her room with Abuela but she and her grandmother can’t even speak the same language! How they grow comfortable with each other and learn to communicate – even without language – is affectionately conveyed through Mia’s narration and gentle, warm illustrations.

Mousetropolis

By: R. Gregory Christie
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

Two mice visit each other: the country dweller visits his urban cousin followed by the urban mouse going country after which each decides their own home is best. Handsome illustrations and contemporary language distinguish this retelling of a traditional fable. 

My Dog, Bob

By: Richard Torrey
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

Bob is a very talented pup who lives with the young narrator and his family. Bob, however, is not a showoff, demonstrating his talent for his family only. The understated, easy-to-read text and lightly colored cartoon line drawings emphasize the humor of Bob’s humility and his family’s affection for him.

Over in the Wetlands: A Hurricane-on-the-Bayou Story

By: Caroline Starr Rose
Illustrated by: Rob Dunlavey
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

As a hurricane approaches, animals and their behavior before a storm are described using the cadence of the familiar rhyme, “Over in the Meadow,” Handsome, realistic illustration evoke the mood of the weather and its impact.

R Is for Rocket: An ABC Book

By: Tad Hills
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

The charming black and white pup, Rocket, and other familiar characters from the author are back for an alliterative excursion through the alphabet. Each letter gets its own double page spread on which the letter is highlighted.

Red: A Crayon's Story

By: Michael Hall
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

Red is misunderstood. He's a red crayon with a label that says blue so he can't draw a strawberry or even a stoplight. But when Red learns that he's really blue, well, he regains his self-confidence. Child-like drawings combine with precise collages for a memorable and humorous take on expectations, labels, and self-confidence.

Sea Bones

By: Bob Banner
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

Some creatures that live in oceans have skeletons, others don't. Meet a colorful variety of them in this exploration of sea animals from jellies to clown fish in this playful but informative introduction. A chart of "sea facts" concludes this book that can be read with or without the extra information presented in a different typeface on each double-page spread.

Sewing Stories: Harriet Powers’ Journey from Slavery to Artist

By: Barbara Herkert
Illustrated by: Vanessa Brantley-Newton
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

Harriet Powers was born into slavery but learned a great deal about fabric and quilting which she used when freed after the Civil War. Her story unfolds in upbeat illustrations and informative text. An author’s note provides additional insight into the artist and her quilts.

Special Delivery

By: Philip Stead
Illustrated by: Matthew Cordell
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

How young Sadie manages to deliver the elephant to her Great-Aunt Josephine makes for a laugh inducing romp. The silly story is told through comic illustration and an unassuming text with lots of sound effects.

The Bus Ride

By: Marianne Dubuc
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

A girl takes the bus alone for the first time to visit her grandmother though she’s really not traveling along. A cast of animals accompany her on the journey presented in the girl’s narration and expressive illustrations presented in a long format reminiscent of the shape of a bus.

The House That’s Your Home

By: Sally Lloyd-Jones
Illustrated by: Jane Dyer
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

It is a family that makes a house a home described here in rhythmic language and depicted in idealized, soft illustrations.

The Queen’s Hat

By: Steve Antony
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

Visit some of London’s landmarks as the palace guards chase down the queen’s hat that the wind blew off her head. Royal head and hat are reunited after the jaunt shared on open pages that use strong line and dashes of color for a regal read.

Tower of Giraffes: Animals in Groups

By: Anna Wright
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

Many animals, like people, live in groups. Many of these groups have special words to describe them – from a colony of koalas, to a scurry of squirrels, and even a flamboyance of flamingos. Stunning collage and line illustration of each group march across each double page spread. A bit of information about the animals’ behavior is included in this memorable book.

Toys Meet Snow

By: Emily Jenkins
Illustrated by: Paul O. Zelinsky
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

Two plush toys, Stingray and a buffalo named Lumphy, and Plastic, a red ball, want to play in the snow. And so they do! Lush illustrations and rich language come together in the toys’ first picture book adventure. (The characters were first introduced in longer novels; all are ideal as read-alouds for younger children.)

Waiting

By: Kevin Henkes
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

“There were five of them. And they were waiting…” Though seasons change, each waiting toy is ultimately satisfied and all are surprised by the latest addition. Gentle illustrations and text capture the difficulty of waiting and the pleasure when it is over.

Where's the Pair? A Spotting Book

By: Britta Teckentrup
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

A rhyming text describes the animals to be found on highly detailed, densely illustrated pages. It takes patience and persistence to identify the creatures but the satisfaction gleaned from this playful book is worth it!

¡Vámonos! Lets Go!

By: René Colato Laínez
Illustrated by: Joe Cepeda
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

The familiar “Wheels on the Bus” has been augmented (e.g., a fire truck goes “woo-oo”), adapted and presented here in Spanish and English. The accompanying illustrations are cheery, adding humor and verve.

Holiday Buying Guide 2015: For 6-9 year olds

28 Days: Moments in Black History that Changed the World

By: Charles Smith
Illustrated by: Shane Evans
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

History is made up of moments. Twenty-eight moments revealed in poetry, well-known quotes, and more and rich, swirling illustration are presented – one for each of the days in Black History Month. This creative presentation, however, amply demonstrates that African American history is worth sharing all year.

Finding the Music/En pos de la musica

By: Jennifer Torres
Illustrated by: Renato Alarcao
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Reyna accidently breaks her abuelo’s vihuela and tries to fix it before her family finds out. Told in both Spanish and English, young readers will recognize the girl’s predicament and revel in the resolution in this realistically illustrated tale.

Finding Winnie: The True Story of the World’s Most Famous Bear

By: Lindsay Maltick
Illustrated by: Sophie Blackall
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

A mother tells her child the story of the real Winne, the true story of how a young veterinarian left his native Canada to fight during the First World War. The bear cub he found became a part of his military before finding a more permanent home and inspired a childhood classic. Gentle illustrations depict the fondness between the man and bear and that shared by mother and child pictured in spot illustrations. Factual information about Harry Colebourn is included as an album. Another book about how Winnie-the-Pooh came to life is presented by Sally Walker in Winnie: The True Story of the Bear Who Inspired Winnie-the-Pooh with gentle watercolor illustrations. (2016 Caldecott Medal Winner)

Francine Poulet Meets the Ghost Raccoon

By: Kate DiCamillo
Illustrated by: Chris Van Dusen
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Animal control officer Francine Poulet has a crisis of confidence when the animal comes out on top after Francine’s first encounter with the screaming “ghost” raccoon. Humor abounds in both the story and illustrations in this rollicking and very satisfying saga.

Growing Up Pedro: How the Martinez Brothers Made It from the Dominican Republic All the Way to the Major Leagues

By: Matt Tavares
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Pedro Martinez grew up in the Dominican Republic but became a star in baseball’s major leagues. His life is presented in luminous illustrations and readable text all presented in a large and appealing format.

Home

By: Carson Ellis
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Where is home? What makes a home? People throughout history, around the world, and in all cultures have made their homes in different structures to suit different needs which are explored here in highly detailed, often playful illustrations and limited text.

I Don’t Like Snakes

By: Nicola Davies
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

A girl lives in a family of snake-lovers who dispel the myths that make her dislike the often misunderstood reptile. Factual information combines with lively story illustrated in distinctly different styles to highlight the differences between them. 

Little Robot

By: Ben Hatke
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

A little girl activates a robot and finds a friend but now must save her friend from fierce, nasty robots. This nearly wordless adventure is presented in comic book form and is sure to delight young readers.

Lulu and the Hamster in the Night

By: Hilary McKay
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

While at a sleepover at Nan’s house, Lulu must keep her hamster safe from Nan’s cats – and a secret from rodent-fearing Nan. Lulu’s latest adventure can stand alone and is as gently humorous and graciously illustrated as others in the series.

Mummy Cat

By: Marcus Ewert
Illustrated by: Lisa Brown
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

A cat, now a mummy, explores the pyramid in search of his much-loved owner, they young queen, Hatshepsut. Stylized illustrations effectively present ancient Egypt, its hieroglyphics, and the affection between a pet and its owner. Back matter introduces mummies as well as to the period and place in which they were used.

My Pen

By: Christopher Myers
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

A boy in a fedora uses his pen to travel, grow, “make giants of old men/who have seen better days” (an homage to his late father, Walter Dean Myers), and visit places real and imagined. Black and white line drawings and sophisticated, poetic language effectively convey the power of art and imagination and are sure to spark conversation.

Poems in the Attic

By: Nikki Grimes
Illustrated by: Elizabeth Zunon
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

A girl discovers her family's history, sharing some of her mother's childhood experiences by reading what her mother wrote as a child. A series of short poems and handsome illustrations juxtapose past to present: "Memories can be like sandcastles/the waves wash away./My mama glued her memories with words so they would last forever." As the family history unfolds, the connection between generations becomes clear in this engaging and very timely book.

Queen of the Diamond

By: Emily Arnold McCully
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Baseball was very popular in 1900 but it was played mostly by boys.  In a small state in a small town in New England, however, a girl named Lizzie was going to change that. Lizzie’s natural skill at the sport was evident early on and she (with the support of her family) stuck with it to become the Queen of Baseball. Buoyant illustrations and readable text combine to present an upbeat story of this early female athlete.

Raindrops Roll

By: April Pulley Sayre
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Stunning photographs accompanied by lyrical text describe rain and its effects in a rainforest and on people. This handsome book can be read as poetry, examined for its photography, and/or used as an introduction to the water cycle and weather.

Scritch Scratch Scraww Plop

By: Kitty Crowther
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

A young frog has trouble sleeping as there are strange noises all around. His father hears them, too, and so they seek out the source of the noises before finally sleeping. The recognizable story is gently told accompanied by illustrations that evoke the nighttime pond.

Sharks Have Six Senses

By: John F. Waters
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Sharks have not five but six senses – all used to help them survive and even thrive. “Electroreception” is the sixth sense that allows sharks to detect electric fields emitted by other animals. This introduction to sharks is effectively illustrated with collage and will likely inform as well as dispel shark myths.

Sona and the Wedding Game

By: Kashmira Sheth
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Sona’s grandparents travel to America from India for the wedding of Sona’s sister. The Hindu wedding traditions are followed including the game in which the younger sibling hides the groom’s shoes. Richly hued illustrations depict the activities and the fun of a family celebration. 

The 50 States: Explore the U.S.A. with 50 Fact-filled Maps!

By: Gabrielle Balkan
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Open the large formatted book and explore the United States. Each state (and the District of Columbia) is presented handsome, colorful, and highly informative maps to create a memorable journey.

Tree of Wonder: The Many Marvelous Lives of a Rainforest Tree

By: Kate Messner
Illustrated by: Simona Mulazzani
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

What and how many creatures make their home in one almendro tree? Count the animals and insects that reside in one single Latin American rainforest tree in lush illustrations and straightforward text.

Trombone Shorty

By: Trou “Trombone Shorty” Andrews
Illustrated by: Bryan Collier
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Troy Andrews grew up in a New Orleans family of musicians so it’s not surprising that he, too, grew up playing the trombone and singing. His lively narration is rhythmic, sprinkled with colloquialism and enhanced by collage and paint illustrations. 

Water Is Water

By: Miranda Paul
Illustrated by: Jason Chin
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

Lyrical language and handsome, realistic watercolors present water in its many forms, from liquid to snow. Water is also in things like mud and even apples. Additional information about the processes seen and further readings concludes this striking and informative look at water.

Whale Trails: Before and Now

By: Lesa Cline-Ransome
Illustrated by: G. Brian Karas
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

A girl explains how her family once hunted whales but now use their family-owned boat to take tourists out to whale watch. Illustrations in color show the contemporary narrator and boat, while sepia-toned images depict the history. Interesting bits of African American history are embedded in this engaging, educational, and accessible story.

Where’s the Baboon?

By: Michael Escoffier
Illustrated by: Kris Di Giacomo
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Playing with words is fun in this spirited combination of word and image as both hold the answer to the questions asked. For example, the double page spread on which “Who bought the apple?” is asked, the arm of an ape can be seen. The letters in the answer are in a different color as well for the more text-oriented in this fresh and fun book.

Who Done It?

By: Olivier Tallec
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Only one in a large, good-humored cast of cartoon human and animal characters enacts the answers to questions posed such as “Who didn’t get enough sleep?” and ”Who ate all the jam?” Careful examination is needed but sure to result in chuckles and lots of re-readings

Holiday Buying Guide 2015: For 9-12 year olds

Astounding Broccoli Boy

By: Frank Cottrell Boyce
Age Level: 9-12
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Strange and humorous adventures begin when Rory and his nemesis, Tommy-Lee, are placed in a secret isolation ward when they turn bright green from a strange ailment. Rory’s understated narration reveals likeable, quirky characters in unlikely but engaging circumstances.

Book Scavenger

By: Jennifer Chambliss Bertman
Age Level: 9-12
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Emily doesn’t mind her family’s annual move because San Francisco is home to Garrison Griswold, book publisher. But there’s a nefarious plot against Griswold, creator of Book Scavenger. How will Emily and her new friend, James, solve the mystery? Find out in this fast-paced, often funny, sometimes tense mystery-adventure.

Confessions of an Imaginary Friend: A Memoir

By: Michelle Cuevas
Age Level: 9-12
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Eight year old Jacque Papier wonders why he is ignored by everyone; is it because they dislike him? However, he learns that he isn’t quite real. Does an imaginary friend exist if no one imagines him? Readers will certainly find Jacque, his imaginary associates as well as the more tangible characters authentic in this gentle and wise “memoir."

Fish in a Tree

By: Lynda Mullaly Hunt
Age Level: 9-12
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Even though she’s a math whiz, Ally struggles to make sense of words on a page – that is until she meets Mr. Daniels. This teacher is studying for a degree in helping children learn to read using different techniques – which open Ally’s world in many ways. Based on the author’s own experiences, Ally’s voice is successfully used to create a realistic and touching novel.

Frank Einstein and the Brain Turbo

By: Jon Scieszka
Illustrated by: Brian Biggs
Age Level: 9-12
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Boy genius, Frank Einstein, and friends explore energy and other science topics as they relate to their everyday interests. The latest in the series is filled will wordplay, science ideas and additional silliness to engage even the most reluctant readers. The heavily illustrated book will not disappoint Frank Einstein fans.

Gone Crazy in Alabama

By: Rita Williams-Garcia
Age Level: 9-12
Reading Level: Independent Reader

The Gaither sisters, Delphine, Vonetta, and Fern, first introduced in One Crazy Summer (2010) and P.S. Be Eleven (2013) are back and each with her own distinct personality. While visiting their grandmother, great grandmother and other relatives, they are reminded that Alabama in 1969 is not like their home in Brooklyn. Humor and tension make this last story about the Gaither girls plausible and memorable.

Hiawatha and the Peacemaker

By: Robbie Robertson
Illustrated by: David Shannon
Age Level: 9-12
Reading Level: Independent Reader

The author retells the saga of Hiawatha who with the Peacemaker was instrumental in creating the federation of tribes, known as the Great Iroquois Nation. Dramatic illustrations evoke mystery and drama to complement the straightforward narration. An author’s note concludes this sophisticated, unique and handsome book.

Jump Back, Paul: The Life and Poems of Paul Laurence Dunbar

By: Sally Derby
Illustrated by: Sean Qualls
Age Level: 9-12
Reading Level: Independent Reader

The informal narrative detailing the life of 19th century African American poet, Paul Laurence Dunbar, is interspersed with his poetry. Both dialectic and formal poetry is presented to illuminate the writer, his work and the times in which he lived. Back matter includes a timeline, booklist, and sources used.  Line drawings further enhance the presentation. 

Kid Athletes: True Tales of Childhood of Sports Legends

By: David Stabler
Illustrated by: Doogie Horner
Age Level: 9-12
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Glimpse stories from the childhoods of well-known athletes from a variety of sports. People range from Babe Ruth to Yao Ming, Julie Krone to Tiger Woods with lots in between. Cartoon illustrations are sprinkled throughout for an inviting package that ends with a bibliography and an index.

Mesmerized: How Ben Franklin Solved a Mystery that Baffled All of France

By: Mara Rockliff
Illustrated by: Iacopo Bruno
Age Level: 9-12
Reading Level: Independent Reader

This episode details the time when Benjamin Franklin was in France and how he explained the mysterious cures proffered by Dr. Franz Mesmer. The light touch in a format reminiscent of a graphic novel makes the snippet of history accessible and appealing. Source notes complete the book.

Mission: Wolf Rescue

By: Kitson Janynka, Daniel Raven-Ellison
Age Level: 9-12
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Join National Geographic Explorer, Daniel Raven-Ellison, as he takes a comprehensive look at wolves and what individuals can do to help their survival in the wild. Handsome full color photographs are interspersed with text for an appealing format in this informative and empowering presentation.

Rhythm Ride: A Road Trip Through the Motown Sound

By: Andrea Pinkney
Age Level: 9-12
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Listen to the “groove” as readers make their way through the history of Motown, the people who made and performed it, and the times in which it was performed. The history of Motown is inextricably tied to the history of African Americans in the U.S. and is presented here in vivacious narrative and extended by images of the time. Source notes and other back matter complete the riveting portrait.

Spidermania: Friends on the Web

By: Alexandra Siy, Dennis Kunkle
Age Level: 9-12
Reading Level: Independent Reader

In order "To know a spider you must first look into its eyes" – literally! Readers can do so in this fascinating look at a variety of spiders through a series of close up, full color photographs and lucid text to describe the characteristics of spiders. Even those with arachnophobia will appreciate the unusual but thorough approach to these creatures.

Terrible Typhoid Mary: A True Story of the Deadliest Cook in America

By: Susan Campbell Bartoletti
Age Level: 9-12
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Poor Mary Mallon did not realize that she carried a disease that might (and sometimes did) kill the families for whom she cooked. How the early 20th century medical mystery was solved is presented in a well-researched, spellbinding narrative. In addition, Gail Jarrow’s Fatal Fever: Typhoid Mary (Calkins Creek) focuses on those responsible for tracing Mary.

The Curious World of Calpurnia Tate

By: Jacqueline Kelly
Age Level: 9-12
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Even though Calpurnia (aka Callie Vee) is in a new century, things for the spunky, bright, and science-loving 13-year old haven’t changed. It seems that only her younger brother Travis who brings home stray animals and Granddaddy support Callie’s interests in spite of the period and place in which they live. The characters first introduced in The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate (2009) are just as engaging in this stand-alone sequel.

The Death of the Hat: A Brief History of Poetry in 50 Objects

By: Paul Janeczko
Illustrated by: Chris Raschka
Age Level: 9-12
Reading Level: Independent Reader

An introduction presents an overview of the collection's unique perspective: poetry from different historical periods connected by poems about objects. A range of poets and places are presented, each illustrated by loose watercolor illustrations. An opening poem by Eloise Greenfield entitled "Things" provides a lively start to this appealing collection.

The Doldrums

By: Nicolas Cannon
Age Level: 9-12
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Since his grandparents disappeared on an iceberg, Archer’s mother won’t let the well-mannered boy out of the museum-like house. Still, he finds unique adventures and companionship in this fast-paced, charming, witty and well written novel presented in a handsomely illustrated format.

The Imaginary

By: A.F. Harrold
Age Level: 9-12
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Rudger, Amanda’s imaginary friend, and Amanda, a human girl share adventure (and alternate telling the story) of their everyday adventures – and how they thwart an evil plot to rid the world of all imaginaries. Tension builds in this well-paced, inventive novel enhanced by evocative black/white illustrations.

The Inker’s Shadow

By: Allen Say
Age Level: 9-12
Reading Level: Independent Reader

The author/illustrator’s look back at his early years started in Drawing from Memory (2011) continues here. Allen doesn’t really fit in at his father’s friend’s Southern California military academy.  Leaving it was the start of a journey toward finding the artist within. Told through a variety of artistic pieces and styles and a highly person narration, readers will empathize and ache with this Caldecott winning artist. 

Why’d They Wear That? Fashion as the Mirror of History

By: Sarah Albee
Age Level: 9-12
Reading Level: Independent Reader

How the times in which people live is reflected in what they wear is presented in a crisp text and loads of illustration. Readers travel through time beginning with fashions seen in hieroglyphics to the space age. Well organized and engaging, this is sure to inform as well as intrigue – and perhaps inspire further exploration of history or fashion.

Holiday Buying Guide 2015: Audiobooks to share

H.O.R.S.E.: A Game of Imagination and Basketball

By: Christopher Myers
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

The fun of friends playing a game of basketball comes to life.

Hiawatha and the Peacemaker

By: Robbie Robertson
Age Level: 9-12
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Sophisticated listeners will appreciate the reading of the story of Hiawatha who with the Peacemaker brings the Iroquois nations together. Be sure to listen with the handsomely illustrated book as one reading is with page turn signals.

Josephine: The Dazzling Life of Josephine Baker

By: Patricia Hruby Powell
Age Level: 9-12
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Josephine Baker’s life and struggles of this performer and activist comes to life.

Revolution (The Sixties Trilogy)

By: Deborah Wiles
Age Level: 9-12
Reading Level: Independent Reader

A full cast voices this production which brings to life the summer of 1964 and the changes that were taking place in Greenwood, Mississippi.

The Penderwicks in Spring

By: Jeanne Birdsall
Age Level: 9-12
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Spring holds many surprises for each of the Penderwicks in this latest adventure.

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