We’re starting a new feature on the blog called Reader: Impossible. This column was inspired by conversations with moms, looking for books for their kids. YOU are an important part of this feature; if you accept this mission of helping kids connect with books, chime in with your suggestions for Reader: Impossible or write in about your own reader! This post will self-destruct in five…four…okay, not really.
Dear Reader: Impossible,
My first grader is leaving easy readers behind, but she’s not quite reader for full-blown middle-grade books. I know there’s the Magic Treehouse series, but what other books are out there?
Moving On Up
First, let’s congratulate your first grader for moving on to chapter books. It’s such an exciting time, and we definitely want to keep up the enthusiasm with great, just-the-right-length stories. Luckily, there are some really fantastic choices out there!
We are HUGE Ivy and Bean fans in this house. Author Annie Barrows manages to hit the 6-8 year-old sensibility right on the head, with big ideas (do we look like ants to somebody else?) and great humor. Fans of humor will also flock to Dan Gutman’s MY WEIRD SCHOOL series (look for an interview with Dan next month!).
Fans of quieter books will enjoy the Lighthouse Family series by Cynthia Rylant. Pandora is a lonely lighthouse keeper cat until Seabold the dog washes up on her shores, and she nurses him back to health. They have many adventures together, and the beautiful illustrations will keep readers engaged.
There are also some great graphic novels out there for the younger set. My kids love Sardine in Outer Space and Ariol, both by Emmanuel Guibert. Frankie Pickle by Eric Wright features, a pint-sized protagonist with an outsized imagination. There are also some great hybrid novels, which combine traditional text and graphic storytelling. The Zapato Series by Jacqueline Jules fills the bill with readers following the adventures of Freddie Ramos and his amazing shoes. This book won the CYBILS award in the short chapter books category.
There are also some wonderful non-fiction books for young readers. Pivotal moments in history come to life in graphic novel form in The Prison-Ship Adventure of James Forten, Revolutionary War Captive and The Prairie Adventure of Sarah and Annie, Blizzard Survivors, both by Marty Rhodes Figley. Cooking can also be a fun way to encourage reading comprehension and motivation! There are some wonderfully illustrated cookbooks that will engage a young reader, such as Kids’ Fun and Healthy Cookbook by Nicola Graimes.
Good luck! And please, readers, add your suggestions below.