A Fourth Grade Wednesday Read

If you're looking for a good Wednesday read this week, our very own 4th grader, Mira, has a recommendation for you!

Here is her review of The Wednesday Witch by Ruth Chew:

I would recommend the book, The Wednesday Witch to anyone who likes creative and funny books about mischief.  The story is about a girl, Mary Jane, who meets a witch.  The reason the book is called The Wednesday Witch is because the witch comes out of her cave to do her magic only on Wednesdays.  One day, Mary Jane's mother has to go to the supermarket.  She tells Mary Jane not to open the door to any strangers while she is out.  Mary Jane disobeys her and opens her door to Hilda the witch.  My favorite part is when the witch cuts her cat, Cinder's, hair with magic shrinking scissors.  The cat shrinks and Mary Jane finds her living in her doll house.  Mary Jane and the witch also use a vacuum and roller skates to fly around.  This was a really fun book to read!


Mike Lupica - MVP

When you find the right author and s/he has written several books or you hone in on a genre that really captures you, it can be a little slice of heaven.  Daniel (incoming 4th grader) has hit the jackpot with Mike Lupica and the sports genre.

Here's what Daniel has to say about Shoot Out.

How would you like to be the star player of your travel soccer team, but that team is horrible and always loses by four or more points?  This is Jake Stuart's problem as the star player.  Also, Coach Lord assigns Jake to help a miserable, stubborn, left out kid named Kevin with a hidden soccer talent.  The problem is, Kevin hates being coached and doesn't want to show his talent at all.  Shoot Out left me turning the pages, wanting to find out what happens.  This is another great sports book written by Mike Lupica.  I hope you like it!


Flora & Ulysses Reviewed

Thank you guest blogger Sofia (incoming 2nd grader) for the review that follows about an entertaining little read (and 2014 Newbery Winner), Flora & Ulysses by Kate DiCamillo:

I would like to introduce to you the book Flora and Ulysees.

I highly recommend this book to you. It is filled with excitement, adventure, love and humor.

The main characters are a girl named Flora and a squirrel named Ulysses. Flora saves the squirrel from getting sucked up by a vacuum cleaner. The squirrel gets superhero powers from the vacuum cleaner incident. He gets the power to write poems and fight cats.

My favorite part is when Ulysses the squirrel jumps into the waiter's hair at the donut shop. It was hilarious.
This book has good illustrations and is full of many funny moments. The author also uses many large words that helped expand my vocabulary.


LP Readers Recommend...

More summer reading reviews are coming in from LP's busy summer readers!  This week we have recommendations from an incoming second grader and two incoming fourth graders.  Thank you Jack, Daniel, and Anna for sharing your recommendations with the LP summer reading community.  

If you are wondering what to read next, be sure to check out these three books -- and also be sure to send your book reviews or book trailers to dustie @ spiffychicks . com to earn an extra chance to win the Kindle at the end of summer!

Jack M. (second grade) recommends:

He says, "I read The Dark by Lemony Snicket, a legendary author.  I thought this book was amazing! This book was amazing because it has great details.  The main character is a little boy named Lazlo.  In the story Lazlo tells you where the dark can hide.  My favorite part was when the dark visited Lazlo’s room.  This book helped me not be afraid of the dark.  If you are afraid of the dark try this book!"

Anna M. (fourth grade) recommends: 

She says, "I read Nurse, Soldier, Spy by Marissa Moss and John Hendrix.  This book is a true story about a girl named Sarah Edmonds who is running away from a marriage arranged by her parents.  She disguises herself as a boy and names herself Frank Thompson, then runs away to the United States. My favorite part of this book was when the chaplain asked Frank if she wanted to be a spy and Frank did not hesitate and she said “I’M YOUR MAN!!!”  I also liked when she spilled water on the spy for the South.  I recommended this book to all ages under 6th grade.  Boys and girls will like this book because it has a lot of action in it." 

Daniel B. (fourth grade) recommends:

Daniel says, "If you like sports and suspense, you will love this book. What happens in this book can really happen in real life. It teaches you lessons that are great to learn in life, like don’t get ahead of yourself and don’t get too proud and full of yourself. The character, Drew (True) Robinson, is a basketball star who is getting too much respect and attention. So then he gets way too full of himself. He meets someone who learned the hard way that getting too full of himself has its consequences. What happens? Read the book! I think you will like True Legend and always remember the advice this book gives you!"


ALSC Grade Level Summer Reading Suggestions

The Association for Library Service for Children (a wing of the American Library Association) in conjunction with a whole lot of young inspired readers hope that your children read A LOT this summer.  To keep readers engaged and entertained, they have put together three suggested reading lists for the summer of 2014.  The lists are relatively short, but packed with oldie but goodies, crowd-pleasers, and must reads.  Check them out!

ALSC K-2nd Grade Summer Reading Recommendations

ALSC 3-5th Grade Summer Reading Recommendations

ALSC 6-8th Grade Summer Reading Recommendations


Graphic Novels - Resistance Be Gone!

Sometimes graphic novels are just the ticket for reluctant readers.  Their bite size text chunks and visually action packed pages can often pull readers in -- whereas full pages of pictureless text can send them running for the hills.

The good folks in the Children's Department at the Hudson Library & Historical Society (AKA, the super dreamy gigantic modern library in Hudson, Ohio) suggest that you  give these books a try:

Odd Duck by Cecil Castellucci.

Zinc Alloy: the Invincible Boy-Bot by Donald Lemke

The Big Wet Balloon by Liniers

The Secret of the Stone Frog by David Nytra


First Summer Guest Blogger: Upper Grade Recommendation

Looking for an adventure book with suspense and an underlying theme about the importance of teamwork?  Well our first guest blogger for the summer (and first LP reader with not one, but TWO chances to win the LP Reads Summer Reading Kindle), says you should look no further than Colossus Rises by Peter Lerangis.

Here's some of what he had to say to LP Reads about this first book in the Seven Wonders series:

"I read a lot of series books with action in them.  So far, this series ranks in my top three.  I like action and suspense, so I would give this book a four out of five stars.  Percy Jackson is still my favorite series because it has so much action in it, but I like this book because the characters are descendants of Atlantis and it takes place in Greece.  The characters are really likable - athletic, innovative, good at computer programming and making things (like an alarm clock that launches a bird across a room to wake people up), and smart.  If you like fantasy and suspense, you will like Colossus Rises."


Librarian and Bookworm Love

The only problem I see with reading is that there is NEVER enough time to do as much as I'd like.  So thank goodness for the community of readers out there who work and volunteer in libraries -- and who share all of their recommendations online!  When I'm not green with envy that they've knocked down handfuls of books each week AND written about them, I find myself super thankful that I can open up a browser for an insider's view on what is new or up and coming in the world of children's literature.

Three of my go to experts are John Schu, Jen Robinson, and MaryAnn Scheuer.  Mr. Schu is a passionate K-5 librarian in Illinois, Jen Robinson is a San Jose gal who harkens from an interesting background in Industrial Engineering, and MaryAnn Scheuer is a K-5 librarian just through the tunnel in Berkeley.

 If you're looking for a little reading inspiration for your readers this summer, stop by Mr. Schu's blogsign up for Robinson's newsletter or pop in to Scheuer's Great Kid Books Site.  Mr. Schu's site is a great place to visit with your children.  They can even watch book trailers in preparation for creating their own trailers to submit to the LP Reads blog -- hint, hint!  (Don't forget, kids earn extra entries in to the Kindle drawing for every book review/trailer etc. they submit to dustie @ spiffychicks.com). Scheuer has just finished a nice series of book recommendations by grade level and has posted recommended reading lists for each grade level as well.  If you have tiny tots in your house, Robinson's adventures include her Kindergarten through Young Adult recommendations as well as her running list of books she is reading with her Baby Bookworm. Perfect for the tiny tots in your house - because it is never too early to get the reading bug!


Summer is HERE! What to Read Next?

Summer is in full swing and hopefully so is your child's reading for the LP Summer Reading Program!

One of the great things about summer is of course travel...and with travel, comes the opportunity to explore independent bookstores in new locations.  Yes, LP Reads really tries to make this part of every trip and often it is such a highlight!  Last summer, we found ourselves in Santa Cruz in the midst of some serious June gloom.  The Boardwalk was only good for so long before we had to beat feet to Bookshop Santa Cruz (and the homemade cookie store just down the street).

Turns out, as with most independent bookstores, the folks at Bookshop really love books - and they hope to share that love with kids through their summer reading program.  Each summer, they make recommendations based on grade level.  Kids read six books and earn various rewards.  While we weren't able to really participate in their official program, their handy dandy bookmarks for the program offered some good ideas about what to read next.  Check out last year's recommendations here.

This year, we have returned again to their website to see what Bookshop's book lovers think would make great summer reads for 2014 and we thought we would pass along those recommendations.  Here are a few starters for you.

For the K-2 set:  Miss Rumphius by Barbara Cooney

For the 3-4th grader set: Tuesdays at the Castle by Jessica Day George and Earwig and Witch by Diana Wynne Jones and Paul Zelinsky.

And lastly, for the 5-6th grade readers: Extreme Scientists: Exploring Nature's Mysteries from Perilous Places by Donna M. Jackson and The True Blue Scouts of Sugar Man Swamp by Kathi Appelt.


Pssst ... Can You Feel It?

Summer reading is almost here!  With the temperatures spiking this week, it is hard not to think about the leisurely days of summer and the accompanying opportunity for free time to read, read, and read. The Storyteller in Lafayette will kick off their summer reading program on June 2nd and details about LP's summer reading program will be out in the coming weeks as well.  Til then, give this article a read about the value of reading aloud to your children -- even the older ones.  Happy almost summer reading everyone!


Drop Everything and Read!

In case you are looking for an excuse to shun productivity for the day -- here it is!  Today is the official Drop Everything and Read Day (D.E.A.R.)!  In honor of Beverly Cleary's birthday, kids and parents alike are encouraged to set aside all of the other madness and just lose themselves in a book -- or two, or three. Cleary popularized the idea of D.E.A.R. in Ramon Quimby, Age 8 and since that time, the entire month of April has been D.E.A.R. month nationwide.  So be sure to put down the baseball bats, dance shoes, laundry, and handyman tools and settle yourselves and your kids in for a good read today!


2014 Newbery's Are Out - See What Horn Thinks

Kate DiCamillo captured the Newbery award this year for her latest creation, "Fora & Ulysses: the Illuminated Adventures," and today, The Horn Book has reviewed the award winner along with four of the Honor winners.  While "Fora & Ulysses" didn't really capture my heart like some of DiCamillo's other works, my first grader thought it was a delicious little tale and it earned me some extra cuddly snuggles at bedtime.

Check out what The Horn Book has to say about it and the other deserving books, one of which, "The Year of Billy Miller" by Kevin Henkes, is earning high praise from my self declared, I-don't-like-books reader.

  Horn also gives you a glimpse of these titles:


RIP Nelson

In the face of a life so profound, any blog post could only be trite.

Nelson Mandela's life and love should be shared broadly and often.

Two books for children, one out this year by Nelson Kadir, "Nelson Mandela," and the earlier autobiography "Nelson Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom" by Chris Van Wyk, help to tell his story.

RIP Nelson.


Top Hannukah Books via The Nerdy Book Club

Thank you Nerdy Book Club and Stacey Shubitz for your recent post about the Top 10 Hannukah Books.

The holiday season is certainly upon us!

Happy reading Panthers.


eBooks Galore for Young Readers

It is always fun to "meet" new Tweeps. Today, I happened upon Matt B. Gomez, a passionate kindergarten teacher from Texas.  Poking around a bit, I discovered his passion for digital citizenship, global collaboration, virtual field trips, and of course reading!

Check out his recent post, "170 eBooks for Young Readers" for a little eBook inspiration.  And, lest you be a little skittish about eBooks for youngsters, stop over at Slow Family's recent post, "How to Raise Readers in the Digital Age," where she points out that despite the fear that "the expansion of digital technology into our children's lives will result in them reading less than kids of previous generations," children are in fact, "reading more than ever, in both digital and print forms" (Her source: Scholastic Kids and Family Reading Report).

As LP students continue to incorporate "listen to reading" into their language arts time via the Daily Cafe, I hope these resources will be helpful to teachers and parents alike.  Thanks Matt!