MrsK's K-8 Books Worth Reading

my best-reads-for-k-8 shelf:
MrsK Books's book recommendations, liked quotes, book clubs, book trivia, book lists (best-reads-for-k-8 shelf)

Saturday, April 22, 2023

Spring into a Egg-citing New Title: K-12

Bountiful New Explorations
ISBN: 9781419751585
Publisher's Synopsis:
My woodland’s full of animals,
of every different kind.
So shall we stay here for a while
and see what we can find?
Experience the everyday wonder of nature in this first book of poetry, exploring a magical woodland year. With poems by acclaimed writer Rachel Piercey, join Bear on his journey from spring to winter with lots of friends to meet, places to explore, and things to spot along the way.

MrsK's Review: Seek & Find Read Aloud
If you go down to the woods today... you might find... playful critters; flowers and trees; changing seasons; and of course delightfully woven poems. This is a wonderful experience for the entire family or for an early morning "Look & Find" discovery. 

*Homeschooling parents, there are so many avenues for your learners at any age. Animal research projects, creative writing pieces, extended outdoor "walk-abouts," as well as sketching to label journaling experiences. Nature explorations is a must "beyond the covers" activity,

Meet the Author:
 Rachel Piercey is a London-based poet, editor and tutor who also writes for children. She studied English Literature at St Hugh’s College, Oxford, where she was President of the Oxford University Poetry Society and won the Newdigate Prize in 2008. She also has an MA in Creative Writing from Royal Holloway.
MrsK's Spring Walk-About Resources:

ISBN: 9781338652390
Publisher's Synopsis:
In the Clandoms, everyone is born with wings, with tight-knit communities formed around bird types: Jay, Falcon, Crow.

Ellie Meadows dreams of growing up to join the Goldwings -- the famed knights who defend all the people of the Clandoms. It was a Goldwing, after all, who saved her life on that terrible day her parents were killed. There’s just one problem: Ellie is a Sparrow, and the Goldwings are almost invariably picked from the higher clans like Eagles and Ospreys. This rigid hierarchy means that Ellie is destined to become a farmer.

Determined to honor her parents' memories and prove herself worthy of the Goldwings, Ellie sets out on her own for the capital. But her journey will be dangerous. Foul creatures called gargoyles lurk behind every cloud, ready to slay anyone unlucky enough to be caught outside in a storm -- just as Ellie's family was.

Soon her path intertwines with a colorful band of fellow outcasts, each with their own aspirations... and their own secrets. Ellie's new friends offer not just roadside companionship. They'll challenge her ideas of right, wrong, and what truly makes a hero.

"Was it just the lightning that had woken him?
Or had some inner sense detected danger?"
MrsK's Review: Grades 3+ Fantasy
Nox is an outcast in the Forest of Bluebriar. He and his fellow outcasts have a mission, one in which they will be compensated for theft, as well as the one true quest that Nox must see through to completion.

Ellie is a sparrow who has spent all of her flying moments preparing to join the knighted Goldwings. Becoming a Goldwing has never been an accomplished feat for the Sparrow clan, yet, Ellie is determined to win the yearly competition. She knows that her calling is to defend all life from the dreaded gargoyles behind the clouds. What begins as the first leg of the competition, becomes an "off-coursed" journey with Nox and his group of outcasts.

Fantasy is a wonderous adventure, especially when it is woven with self-discoveries... Delightfully detailed characters... Foes that you don't want to be foes... and an honored quest that is as old as time.
Once you enter the covers of Clandoms, you will be experiencing an adventure that will lead you to the sequel.

Such a delightful tale of adventure... a must-read to share experience for all fantasy or Robin Hood fans. A perfect read-aloud for a family storytime!
Meet the Author:

Jessica Khoury
wrote her first book at age 4, a fan fic sequel to Syd Hoff's Danny and the Dinosaur, which she scribbled on notebook paper, stapled together, and placed on the bookshelf of her preschool classroom. Since that day, she's dreamed of being an author.
When not writing, Jess enjoys spending time with family, playing video games, and oil and watercolor painting. She is also a professional mapmaker and spends far too much time scribbling tiny trees and mountains for fictional worlds. Jess currently lives in Greenville, South Carolina. She is the author of the Corpus trilogy, The Forbidden Wish, Last of Her Name, and The Mystwick School of Musicraft.

ISBN: 9780062230201
Publisher's Synopsis:
Treasure Island meets Battlestar Galactical in book one of the swashbuckling sci-fi adventure series SLJ called space opera in the classic style in a starred review, from New York Times bestselling author Jason Fry.

The relationship between Tycho Hashoone, his twin sister, Yana, and their older brother, Carlo, isn't your average sibling rivalry. They might be crew members together aboard the Shadow Comet, but only one of them can be the next ship captain. So when the Hashoones find themselves in the midst of a dangerous conspiracy--one that will pit them against space pirates, Earth diplomats, and even treachery from within the family--each sibling is desperate to prove his or her worth. The only trouble is, if they don't work together, none of them may make it out alive.

Perfect for fans of fantasy adventures like Ranger's Apprentice and such space-age epics as Star Wars, The Jupiter Pirates: Hunt for the Hydra is a wholly original saga about a galaxy on the brink of war and one unforgettable family caught in the crossfire.

"Outside the viewports, lays deep space, 
filled with stars like spilled jewels."
MrsK's Review: Grades 4-6 Science Fiction
Welcome to the intergalactic world of the Jupiter Pirates. Where various space cultures are having disputes that might lead to a galactic war.

Meet the Hashoones, for generations, their spacecraft, Shadow Comet, has been known as an entrepreneur business among many. Whether they are considered space pirates or space privateers, their goal is to be guardians of the cargo for the sake of their homeland. Enemies of their Grandfather want them destroyed. Enemies of their Father and Mother wanted them to abide by the galactical rulings (codes). The newest generation, well this saga is all about their training, learning, and deciphering what their mission might be. 

Tyco has been in training as the Comet's newest navigator. With a few of those intercepts, he has learned that it's not just the cargo... before boarding, it's all about answering the ultimate question, "What is the ship's allegiance?"

Carlo is the older brother, at sixteen he is the ship's piloting controller. His training is exceptional, trustworthy, and crucial when preparing to board other spacecraft.

Yana is Tyco's twin sister. her training has been in monitoring the ship's sensors and engineering systems. 

Their allegiance is with the Jovian Union and its struggle with Earth. Yet, sometimes when the threat of war begins, allegiances might need renegotiation.

Enjoy this quick-pacing galactical series where the "moons of the outer solar system have formed the Jovian Union against Earth's government...
"Laws don't come floatin' out of deep space...
they look like the folks what made 'em."
Meet the Author:
In addition to Jupiter Pirates, I've written or co-written more than 30 novels and short stories set in the Star Wars galaxy, including The Essential Atlas, The Essential Guide to Warfare, The Weapon of a Jedi, and the Servants of the Empire quartet.

I spent more than 12 years at The Wall Street Journal Online, where I wrote or co-wrote the Real-Time and Daily Fix columns. My non-fiction work has appeared on, Yahoo! Sports,, Deadspin, and Baseball Prospectus. I blog about the New York Mets at Faith and Fear in Flushing and live in Brooklyn with my wife and son.
ISBN: 9780316452403
Publisher's Synopsis:
Wildlife expert and YouTube phenomenon, Coyote Peterson, is back with the sequel to the bestselling Brave Adventures: Wild Animals in a Wild World. Once again, Coyote and his crew voyage to new environments and encounter an even more eclectic ensemble of the planets' animals. From a slimy octopus to elusive tree climbing lizards to nomadic wolverines--this book promises to be another fast-paced, wild experience. Coyote will take readers for a hike through a snake infested island, kayak the ocean to discover a migrating pod of killer whales, and track a pride of lions across the South African savanna! You don't want to miss these never-before-told brave adventures, guaranteed to be a hit with Coyote's 13 million fans as well as animal lovers around the world! Includes over one hundred hand-drawn, black-and-white illustrations throughout.

 MrsK's Review: Grades 6-8 Animal NF/Reality Fiction
Have you ever gazed up at the clouds to locate imaginary animals? Have you ever wanted to know more about a real lion, panda, whale or lizard? Have you heard of famous wildlife explorers like Jacques Cousteau, Steve Irwin, or Jane Goodall? Even if you can't answer yes to these "I Wonders," this is a must experience book!

Meet Coyote Peterson, a wildlife explorer for all ages. As a young boy he had amazing "back yard" adventures that lead to hours of discovery at the library and with Zoo books. Today, he is bringing his wildlife adventures into your hand with thrilling animal quests. Some of the animals are ones he has "longed" to meet, some are newly discovered, all are uniquely created in environments around the world.

Journey with Coyote to Snake Island, tide pools, and Orcas Island. Jump upon the back of a dangerous Caiman reptile. Dive into the Great Barrier Reef for a moment with a Eastern Pacific green sea turtle. Head "outback" in search of the King of the Savannas. Or head to Alaska to meet the phantom of the wilderness, the fearless wolverine.

Grab your explorer journal, a pencil... for when you enter the covers of this book you will want to note the animal facts... sketch your own version of the animal... and maybe begin your discoveries of the amazing animals beyond your own backyard.
Meet the Author:

Since early childhood, animals have played a significant role in Coyote Peterson’s life. As he passed through high school and into college, Coyote discovered his second passion in his love for film and television. While a student at The Ohio State University, he studied video production, writing, and directing. His deep admiration for wildlife and video production inspired him to combine the two mediums.
Today, Coyote is proud to be an Emmy Award-winning host on YouTube’s “Brave Wilderness” channel. With an adventurous nature and a joyful curiosity for wildlife, Coyote’s personality creates a friendly and inviting space while getting up close with animals to uncover the true stories behind some of our planet’s most misunderstood creatures. Known for his trademark leather cowboy hat, backpack, and bandanna, many of our youngest fans are driven to emulate him as he educates viewers about the world of animals and fosters a future that conserves environments and their species. Forever dedicated to the joys of storytelling, Coyote is constantly honing his craft to ensure audiences of all ages can partake in his animal adventures. Coyote’s vision for the future of the Brave Wilderness brand is vast. Whether he is diving into the water to catch a giant turtle or putting himself up against the sting of a bullet ant, he aspires to educate and entertain above all else!

ISBN:  9781338789942
Publisher's Synopsis:
Sam Sakamoto doesn't have space in her life for dreams. With the recent death of her mother, Sam's focus is the farm, which her family will lose if they can't make one last payment. There's no time for her secret and unrealistic hope of becoming a photographer, no matter how skilled she's become. But Sam doesn't know that an even bigger threat looms on the horizon.

On December 7, 1941, Japanese airplanes attack the US naval base at Pearl Harbor. Fury towards Japanese Americans ignites across the country. In Sam's community in Washington State, the attack gives those who already harbor prejudice an excuse to hate.

As Sam's family wrestles with intensifying discrimination and even violence, Sam forges a new and unexpected friendship with her neighbor Hiro Tanaka. When he offers Sam a way to resume her photography, she realizes she can document the bigotry around her -- if she’s willing to take the risk. When the United States announces that those of Japanese descent will be forced into "relocation camps," Sam knows she must act or lose her voice forever. She engages in one last battle to leave with her identity -- and her family -- intact.

MrsK's Review: Grades: YA Historical Fiction
Sam is facing the goodness of being an American. She is gifted with the talent of "seeing" the world through the lens of a camera. Yet as a young Japanese American, the crucial day of December 7, 1941, will stretch Sam's world into a life that wasn't of her making. When all she has been raised to value as an American becomes fear, hate, and ugly, Sam will be torn from her truth... We are Americans.

This book is excellently woven with the horrendous truth of what fear does to neighbors, friends, and communities, as well as how the power of "humanity" can "shine" through the ugliness of fearful deceptions. Educating through history is the "key" to raising up the next generation. Empathy is the hope of understanding. Yet, in today's society, the truth gets derailed and lost. Read and discuss the weaknesses of humankind, as well as the strengths of those who stand for individuals that are being "irrationally" persecuted.

Meet the Author:
Emily writes historical fiction for children and teens. She holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Lesley University and is a former teacher. During World War II, Emily’s family was evacuated from their homes and farms in California and Washington State. Her grandparents, Charles and Bessie, met and married in Wyoming’s Heart Mountain Internment Camp. Her father was born in the camp hospital. When the war ended, the family was sent to Utah, where they started over and where Emily still lives, now with her husband, Robert, and their four children. Besides books, Emily’s passions include education, the arts, the outdoors, and her family.

Friday, February 17, 2023

Seasoned Reading: Brimming with Spring Hope

Blooming Love; Hopefully Romantic; Inspired Endings

ISBN: 9780316370950
Publisher's Synopsis:
To inherit billions, all Avery Kylie Grambs has to do is survive a few more weeks living in Hawthorne House. The paparazzi are dogging her every step. Financial pressures are building. The danger is a fact of life. And the only thing getting Avery through it all is the Hawthorne brothers. Her life is intertwined with theirs. She knows their secrets, and they know her.

But as the clock ticks down to the moment when Avery will become the richest teenager on the planet, trouble arrives in the form of a visitor who needs her help—and whose presence in Hawthorne House could change everything. It soon becomes clear that there is one last puzzle to solve, and Avery and the Hawthorne brothers are drawn into a dangerous game against an unknown and powerful player.

Secrets upon secrets. Riddles upon riddles. In this game, there are hearts and lives at stake—and there is nothing more Hawthorne than winning.

There are forty-six billion reasons...
MrsK's Review: YA+ Book3
As Avery is approaching her 18th birthday, there are so many reasons why the Hawthorne legacy has found a home in her heart. Whether it's Xander's friendship or Nash's stability. It could be Grayson's attractive need or perhaps it's Jameson's excitement when faced with the thrill of a puzzle to solve.

What we have learned so far... is that with every puzzle, every new clue, every twist and turn within the Hawthorne estate... danger is close at hand for Avery. "I ALWAYS WIN IN THE END." Will they?

Will Avery follow her latest clue: Don't Trust Anyone.

Have you ever... ever had to wait for the author to finish creating the next book in a promised series? For many readers... like me... that can be agonizing! When this third book was delivered, my granddaughter had to read it first. That's because this is one of her series. In previous posts... you would know that it has been on my TBR list. 

And so... the game continues! Will Avery make the Hawthorne deadline of one year at Hawthorne House? Will she be given the complete inheritance of the estate? Will she ever see Toby again? Will she remain falling in love with one of the Hawthorne sons? Will she finally solve the last puzzle challenge?

The game starts... right now!
"An incomplete riddle... A story... and we're at the mercy of the storyteller."
Meet the Author:
 Jennifer Lynn Barnes (who mostly goes by Jen) was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma. She has been, in turn, a competitive cheerleader, a volleyball player, a dancer, a debutante, a primate cognition researcher, a teen model, a comic book geek, and a lemur aficionado. She's been writing for as long as she can remember, finished her first full book (which she now refers to as a "practice book" and which none of you will ever see) when she was still in high school, and then wrote Golden the summer after her freshman year in college when she was nineteen.
Jen graduated high school in 2002, and from Yale University with a degree in cognitive science (the study of the brain and thought) in May of 2006. She'll be spending the 2006-2007 school year abroad, doing autism research at the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom.

Elizabeth Peters
ISBN: 9780380731169
Publisher's Synopsis:
The annual Historical Romance Writers of the World convention in New York City is calling to Jacqueline Kirby, a Nebraska librarian who desperately desires some excitement. But all is not love and kisses at this august gathering of starry-eyed eccentrics and sentimental scribes. As far as Jacqueline is concerned, the sudden "natural" death of a gossip columnist seems anything but. And when she's approached by a popular genre star who fears for her own life, the resourceful Ms. Kirby quickly goes back to a sleuth. Because there's a sinister scenario being penned at this purple prose congregation. And when jealousy and passion are given free rein beyond the boundaries of the printed page, the result can be murder.

MrsK's Review:
Jacqueline hasn't read many Romance novels. Only a few could she remember such as Gone With the Wind, The Prisoner of Zenda, and Forever Amber. She is a BA.MA. scholarly assistant head librarian of a college. she has the perfect opportunity to attend various book (genre) conferences. For this deductible trip, she will be attending The Historical Romance Writer's convention. It didn't matter that she wasn't a writer/reader of romance, even the IRS would make the right connections. 

Professor James Whittier is the head of the English Department, who happens to be co-authoring a book with Jacqueline, as well as her "companion." There are times in which, Jacqueline can be a bit of a literary snob, so her decision to attend this convention is a bit humorous. Yet, being the true friend that he is, he chooses a variety of Historical Romances for Jacqueline to read on her flight to the convention.

The conference is full of surprises, she recognizes a dear acquaintance, who happens to be a writer. Then she meets the authors of the most "financially prosperous" historical romance sellers. Given the women's rights protests outside of the convention center, she sees a former college friend. Plus, there's this little distraction of a murder. How, when, where, why, and who is killing at this romance convention? Jacqueline is the perfect resource investigator.

Elizabeth Peters has been my favorite historical mystery author. I've spent delightful years reading her archaeology suspense series of Amelia Peabody. As a young adult, I knew her Victorian supernatural mystery series as Barbara Michaels. Check out The Worlds of Barbara Mertz's website. You will never be without a well-written book or experience another hour of wondering what to read next!

Meet the Author:

Elizabeth Peters is the pen name of Barbara Mertz. She also wrote as Barbara Michaels as well as her own name. Born and brought up in Illinois, she earned her Ph.D. in Egyptology from the University of Chicago. Mertz was named Grand Master at the inaugural Anthony Awards in 1986 and Grand Master by the Mystery Writers of America at the Edgar Awards in 1998. She lived in a historic farmhouse in Frederick, western Maryland until her death.

ISBN: 9781250619693
Publisher's Synopsis:
After fifteen years away, Kate Hamilton never expected to end up back in her hometown of Asheboro, Maryland full time. And she definitely didn’t expect to be leading the charge of recreating the town as a Victorian village and tourist attraction. But as unexpected as the circumstances are, Kate is ready to tackle them.

The town, on the other hand, is going to take some convincing. Ever since Henry Barton’s shovel factory closed down, it’s started to seem like there are more tumbleweeds than tourists rolling down Main Street. Kate’s ideas are good, but ambitious—and her friends and neighbors are worried that finding the money for them would push the town even further into debt.

Luckily, Kate and the handsome historian Joshua Wainwright are two very determined people who may have come up with a solution. The Barton mansion, meant to be the centerpiece of the Victorian village, has proven to be a veritable goldmine of documents about the town’s nineteenth-century history, and Kate is convinced the papers hide something of value. When a dead body turns up in the town library—mere hours before the documents were meant to arrive there themselves—Kate begins to worry that the papers spell danger instead of dollars. It seems that someone doesn’t want these forgotten secrets coming to light, and they’ll do whatever it takes to keep Kate quiet…

MrsK's Review:
Kate has returned to her home town of Asheboro, Maryland. Thanks to her best friend's invite, Kate is looking into a town restoration possibility. So many have left... so many are in need of hope. She knows the original Victorian designs are underneath the newer facades. Yet, this renovation/restoration project will require the town's "buy in." Given the importance of Clara Barton's letters indicating a personal connection to their town, this could be the "golden ticket" for historical funding.

Lizbeth contacted Kate. No one else would be able to come to the town's rescue.

Josh is a respected History professor of nineteenth-century industrialization at John Hopkins. He is also the one who is helping Kate pick up the pieces from a broken relationship and a career detour. His expertise will provide a better understanding about the Barton connection in the town's shovel industry and with the Mid-Atlantic power company's history.

Carroll has agreed to come sort and authenticate the Barton letters. She will be looking out for the preservation of the letters, as well as following the leads about the Barton shovel industry in the town. How did the town's most successful industry get started? Could making shovel's really create the wealth of Henry Barton?

The challenge are the murders... they keep piling up! What did the stranger know? Why was he in Asheboro? 

Any mystery that is woven around a Victorian mansion is always a promising read! With twists and turns... realistic characters just going about their every day discoveries... and a wonderful reminder of small town merchants... as a reader, this journey has been a refreshing respite,

Meet the Author:

Sheila Connolly taught art history, structured and marketed municipal bonds for major cities, worked as a staff member on two statewide political campaigns and served as a fundraiser for several non-profit organizations. She also managed her own consulting company providing genealogical research services.

She was a member of Sisters in Crime-New England (president 2011), the national Sisters in Crime, and the fabulous on-line SinC chapter, the Guppies. She also belonged to Romance Writers of America and Mystery Writers of America.

Sheila was the Regent of her local DAR chapter and a member of the Society of Mayflower Descendants. She was also the grandchild of Irish immigrants. In addition to genealogy, Sheila loved restoring old houses, visiting cemeteries, and traveling.

Friday, January 27, 2023

MrsK's Feb-beary books with heart: K-12


Which books would you choose?

ISBN: 9781338809275
Publisher's Synopsis:
Penned by the very first Crayon Activist, Bellen Woodard, this picture book will tug at readers' heartstrings and inspire them to make a difference!

When Bellen Woodard’s classmates referred to "the skin-color” crayon, in a school and classroom she had always loved, she knew just how important it was that everyone understood that “skin can be any number of beautiful colors.” This stunning picture book spreads Bellen’s message of inclusivity, empowerment, and the importance of inspiring the next generation of leaders. Bellen created the More Than Peach Project and crayons with every single kid in mind to transform the crayon industry and grow the way we see our world. And Bellen has done just that!

MrsK's Review: Read Aloud K-5
Wow... how often have you been frustrated trying to use the white or peach color when creating your images of children or family members? This is such a sweet book about a young girl who decided to do something about crayons that didn't fit the assigned self-image assignment.

This book will create "thought-provoking" discussions about taking an idea, checking resources, and designing an innovative answer for the good of everyone.

Meet the Author:

 Bellen Woodard
, 9, is a “crayon activist.” She saw there were no crayons to match some of the skin tones in her classroom. So she began to “change the language” about skin-colored crayons. She used her own money to make packets of crayons ifordiverse skin tones. She gave them to other kids. Bellen now has her own brand of multicultural crayons. It’s called Bellen’s More than Peach.

Patricia MacLachlan
ISBN: 9780060279714
Publisher's Synopsis:

Every school day feels the same for fourth graders Lucy and Henry and Evie and Russell and May. Then Ms. Mirabel comes to their class—bringing magical words and a whole new way of seeing and understanding.

From beloved author Patricia MacLachlan comes an honest, inspiring story about what is real and what is unreal, and about the ways that writing can change our lives and connect us to our own stories—word after word after word.

"I write entirely to find out what I'm thinking,
what I'm looking at,
what I see and what it means.
What I want and what I fear.
Joan Didion
MrsK's Review: Family Read-Aloud
"On the fourth day, of the fourth month, of fourth grade..." Mrs. Mirabel comes to the class to teach them how writers write. They will learn that once an outline is written... there's no reason to write the story! Writers write to find out what is going to happen. Of course, this is not what the students have learned during creative writing. What does this writer mean?

Did you know that some writers write to make their life turn out as they want? Many write to make money. Others will write to understand what they think. Some write to find answers, seek understanding, and work through their fears.

For the soon-to-be writers in the classroom (Lucy, Henry, Evie, Russel, and May), inspiration will begin to flow from within and onto their pages of thought. They will discover the power of words. They will recognize and/or learn about new stories that they want to read for themselves. They will learn about a moment, a time, a place, a character, an emotion, as well as the power of special memories.

Any reader who has experienced Patricia MacLachlan's crafting of words into stories will recognize the power of this book. This is a well-crafted story, and it is an empowering tool for providing "writeable" thoughts for all learners. Age is never a reason to keep a story unread. Use this book as a "saged" book of writer wisdom... grab a journal... read this to your family/classroom... stop... and jot down your experienced thoughts... share... then continue the next phase... soon you will have pages unfolding in a collection of the stories in their minds, hearts, and spirits.
"You have a story... a character,
a place, a poem, a moment in time.
When you find it, you will write it.
Word after word after word after word!
Meet the Author:

Patricia MacLachlan
was born on the prairie, and always carried a small bag of prairie dirt with her wherever she went to remind her of what she knew first. She was the author of many well-loved novels and picture books, including Sarah, Plain and Tall, winner of the Newbery Medal; its sequels, Skylark and Caleb's Story; and Three Names, illustrated by Mike Wimmer. She lived in western Massachusetts.

Jahnna N Malcolm
MrsK's Review: Gr. 1-2
The Midnight Ride (Book 1): Jake and Mandy Strange live with their parents in an old mansion that is now open for public tours. The Strange Museum houses unique antiquities. The bottom two floors are filled with lost and found objects from around the world. They live on the top floor. Would you enjoy living above an odd collection of objects? Would you dare to go into the museum after hours? Would it make a difference if your parents remind you to never go into the museum after hours, and never touch any of the objects? Would your insides do "flip-flops?"

Even though Jake and Mandy had their favorite rooms, there was this one item that "called" to them. They knew that they were not allowed to touch the 1775 map. They just wanted a closer look at the corner of the map, or where the corner of the map should be. Once they opened the lid of the case where the map is housed... Jake notices a handprint at the corner, a handprint that was made over 200 years ago. All of a sudden..." the room began to spin... lights flashed..."
"Listen, my children, and you shall hear
Of the midnight ride of Paul Revere..."
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Pirate's Revenge (Book 2): Mandy has always had a fear of being in the darkness, it's been a secret all of her life. On the night of a storm without power, Jake and Mandy find that they need to go down into the basement, into her father's office to locate Mandy's history book and a lantern so she could finish her homework. Down into the museum... in the dark..!

Carefully they made their way to the basement. Odd how there is a light coming out of their dad's office. Once inside, Mandy discovers that her history book has been moved beside the oil lantern. Wow, dad would never leave an old oil light unattended. What if it was knocked over and started a fire? Deciding that the lantern would help them find their way back to their rooms, as she reaches for the lantern... the room began to spin!
"If I didn't shoot one or two now and then, they'd forget who I was."
Edward Teach 1680-1718

These stories of historical objects, fascinating names from long ago, and sci-fi travels will ignite a desire "to know more." To read more... be aware... that's where reading leads!

Meet the Authors:

Jahnna N. Malcolm is the pen name for husband-and-wife team Jahnna Beecham and Malcolm Hillgartner. Together they've written four musicals, two movies, three CD-ROM games, and nearly one hundred books, including the popular series The Jewel Kingdom. They met in the theater and were married on the stage using Marlowe's famous love letter from "The Passionate Shepherd to His Love" as their wedding vows.

Publisher's Synopsis:
The wild and wonderful island home of Flynn and Paddy holds an incredible secret - dragons live there!
But when the evil boss The Pitbull finds out, he sends his men to kill one, and bring back a dragon's egg, so that he can hatch it in his private zoo. Flynn and Paddy's job is to stop them and protect the island's dragons.

The Dragon Defenders is the first in a middle-grade novel series (7-12-year-old readers), which follows on from the Dragon Brothers Trilogy of picture books, also by author James Russell.
This book comes alive! The Dragon Defenders features extra digital content, accessed by using a device or smartphone.

MrsK's Review: Gr.3-5
Are you a fantasy "dragon" reader? How much do you know about dragons? Have you considered that real... honest... to goodness... dragons might exist on islands somewhere in our world? Flynn and Paddy know that dragons are real, in fact, they have been warned never to explore close to Mt. Monstrous.

Flynn is an outstanding marksman with a slingshot. Paddy is an outstanding marksman with a bow and arrow. Together they will be defending their island home, dragon eggs, and many huntsman skills that they never had to put into practice before the thieves came to their island.

Be forewarned, hearing the magnificent "whoosh" of a dragon overhead is not for the faint of heart. These mighty and powerful creatures have personalities that can befriend or strike you with talons so sharp... well you get the picture! 

Most of us have some information or experience with thieves. Usually, thieves are cunning and dangerous. The thieves that Pitbull sends to the island, appear to be seriously dangerous, that is until they get discovered by the brothers. Will they get the dragon egg for their boss? Will they get close enough to kill a dragon for the Pitbull's infamous museum?

That's up to you... you have to open the covers of this book to discover the test of the quest!

Meet the Author:
I am the author of the best-selling Dragon Brothers Trilogy of children's books (The Dragon Hunters, The Dragon Tamers, and The Dragon Riders) and the best-selling, middle-grade novel series The Dragon Defenders (The Dragon Defenders, The Dragon Defenders – Book Two: The Pitbull Returns, The Dragon Defenders - Book Three: An Unfamiliar Place, The Dragon Defenders - Book Four: All Is Lost and The Dragon Defenders - Book Five: The Grand Opening.
I launch my first book for adults, entitled 'Mine - A Surfing Odyssey on North Sentinel Island' on June 1, 2021. I live in Auckland with my wife and two young sons.

ISBN: 9780439793346
Publisher's Synopsis:
She doesn't know when her birthday is or who her father is. In fact, everything about Heidi and her mentally disabled mother's past is a mystery. When a strange word in her mother's vocabulary begins to haunt her, Heidi sets out on a cross-country journey in search of the secrets of her past.

Far away from home, pieces of her puzzling history come together. But it isn't until she learns to accept not knowing that Heidi truly arrives.

"If the truth was a crayon and it was up to me to put
a wrapper around it and name its color..."
MrsK's Review: Gr. 5-8
Heidi has a life behind closed doors. She rarely leaves the apartment or her mother. The summer before she turns thirteen, she finds out that "not knowing something doesn't mean you're stupid." All Heidi knows is the life she has with her Mama and the neighbor Bernadette (Bernie/Dette). Her Mama has areas that aren't right, areas inside that are mysterious and not working. So Heidi and Bernie take care of Mama and each other. What Heidi does have is the ability to know things, she doesn't know how she knows... she just does. Memory games, guessing how many candies are in a jar, knowing the numbers for the slots... Heide calls her gift "Luck" because she guesses and then it is true.

Before Heidi turned thirteen, she earned money babysitting the twins upstairs. She had only left the apartment a few times. She had one friend,  . If she left the apartment, Bernie always reminded her to "Listen to the eyes." Her safety relied on this truth since she didn't know life beyond the apartment. She had to know how to trust strangers.

As most teens know, there comes a time when you desperately need to understand where you came from, who your parent/parents were, what's your connection to the world. Well that day came for Heidi. There was only a few clearly spoken words that her mother could say, so when Heidi asks her mother what her name is... it sounded like she said So B. It.

When an old camera falls to the ground, Heidi discovers a roll of film. From that moment on, she begins a plan of action. She needed to find out who is in the picture with her Mama at the Hilltop Home, in Liberty, NY.

Learning how to live beyond the apartment is a major turning point. She must get to the Hilltop Home, she doesn't know why, she only knows she must go! So many new experiences... so many challenges un-learned... many strangers... it doesn't matter... she must go!

This is a story that shouldn't be missed... give Heidi a chance... walk with her as she ventures beyond the safety of her apartment building,
"Believe me, Heidi, there are some things in life a person just can't know."
Meet the Author:

Sarah Weeks has been writing children’s books and songs for the past twenty years. She is a graduate of Hampshire College and NYU and recently became an adjunct faculty member in the prestigious Writing Program at the New School University, in New York City.

Her first YA novel, So B. It, which appeared on the LA Times bestseller list was chosen as an ALA Best Book for Young Adults and received the 2004 Parent’s Choice Gold Award. In addition to being an author, Sarah is an accomplished singer/songwriter. She has written for television, stage and screen and a number of her picture books include songs which she both writes and sings for the accompanying CD’s. Sarah's titles have sold well over a million copies, including several foreign editions.

Jennifer Lynn Barnes
ISBN: 9781423168317
Publisher's Synopsis:
Seventeen-year-old Cassie is a natural at reading people. Piecing together the tiniest details, she can tell you who you are and what you want. But it’s not a skill that she’s ever taken seriously. That is, until the FBI come knocking: they’ve begun a classified program that uses exceptional teenagers to crack infamous cold cases, and they need Cassie.

What Cassie doesn’t realize is that there’s more at risk than a few unsolved homicides—especially when she’s sent to live with a group of teens whose gifts are as unusual as her own. Sarcastic, privileged Michael has a knack for reading emotions, which he uses to get inside Cassie’s head—and under her skin. Brooding Dean shares Cassie’s gift for profiling, but keeps her at arm’s length.

Soon, it becomes clear that no one in the Naturals program is what they seem. And when a new killer strikes, danger looms closer than Cassie could ever have imagined. Caught in a lethal game of cat and mouse with a killer, the Naturals are going to have to use all of their gifts just to survive.

"Teenager, presumed troubled..."
MrsK's Review: YA
Cassie might be a troubled teen, with a father living halfway around the world and a mother missing she is content with her part-time job. Until she has an unusual young man seated at one of her tables. Cassie has always known that she had exceptional skills for "profiling" her customers. Her mother taught her the BPE's in discerning people (behaviors, personality, environment). The ability to "know" what people were thinking was natural, the ability to control it was still a work in progress.

As soon as Michael had seated himself at one of her tables, Cassie knew he would not be a regular customer. Why was he watching her? Why would he tell her to guess his lunch request? How would he know her ability to "profile and analyze" people? Why has he left her a calling card for Special Agent Tanner Briggs at the FBI?

You... is an unknown character. Who is waiting for the right girl at the right time. Meanwhile, this sleeping girl will do even though she is not the one you are waiting for. She will awaken... she will scream... she will beg... she has yet to discover that she will be more beautiful when you are done.

Once Cassie decides to contact the FBI's special agent, she will be given a once-in-a-lifetime choice. Nonna will not be supportive, and neither will the rest of her family. Yet, Cassie knows that being with others who have natural skills like herself... the opportunity to work cold cases... and the drive to discover the truth about her mother... is what she must do!

With frightening details... extraordinary plot twists... this is an "all-consuming," page-turning novel,

Meet the Author:

Jennifer Lynn Barnes (who mostly goes by Jen) was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma. She has been, in turn, a competitive cheerleader, a volleyball player, a dancer, a debutante, a primate cognition researcher, a teen model, a comic book geek, and a lemur aficionado. She's been writing for as long as she can remember, finished her first full book (which she now refers to as a "practice book" and which none of you will ever see) when she was still in high school, and then wrote Golden the summer after her freshman year in college, when she was nineteen. Jen graduated high school in 2002, and from Yale University with a degree in cognitive science (the study of the brain and thought) in May of 2006. She'll be spending the 2006-2007 school year abroad, doing autism research at the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom.

Happy Feb-beary Reading!

Monday, January 9, 2023

MrsK's New Year's Explorations for K-12

There is no better time of the year for snuggling in with a good book.
The weather says... to stay inside,
The chill reminds you that you need a warm cup of cocoa,
A story is always a welcoming adventure!
Family Read Aloud:
Peter H. Reynolds
ISBN: 9781338572322
Publisher's Synopsis:
Celebrated, bestselling creator Peter H. Reynolds brings his signature touch of love and kindness to this special, timely picture book, as families now, more than ever, are rediscovering and reevaluating what means the most: time together with one another.

Violet longs for the time when her family was connected: before life, distractions, and technology pulled them all away from each other. They used to gather at the table, with food and love, to make memories, share their lives, and revel in time spent together. But now her family has been drifting apart, and with nobody to gather around it, the table grows smaller and smaller.

Can Violet remind her family of the warmth of time spent together, and gather around the table once more?

MrsK's Review:
What should you do when your family is too busy to be family? In this family fable, Violet is concerned that her family is so connected to their devices that she began daydreaming about a time when they could be together in one room at their table. As with every good fable... the unthinkable happens. The table begins to shrink!

How will Violet get her family to reconnect? That's a tale that will need readers to discuss and enjoy. A perfect family read-aloud filled with a tale of woe, characters that must work together, and hope for a better tomorrow.

Meet the Author:

Peter Hamilton Reynolds is an author and illustrator of children's books and is the co-founder and CEO of the educational media company FableVision.
Patricia MacLachlan
ISBN: 9780063116016
Publisher's Synopsis:
Jacob is nine years old when his life changes. He wants a litter of puppies. But instead, his parents have a different surprise. Jacob will be an older brother soon. And there won’t be only one new baby. There will be three! When the triplets are born, Jacob thinks puppies are cuter. The babies look identical to him and he gives them a name: “the Trips.”

For a school science project, Jacob decides to study the Trips. It feels like magic as they begin to smile, talk, and grow. Slowly, he gets to know each of them. They call his mother “Mama” and his father “Da.” But what will they call him One day, one of the Trips calls him “Jay.”

As each of the triplets become unique and more special with each day, Jacob starts to wonder if “the Trips” is still a good name for them. They aren’t puppies, or a bunch of bananas, and they aren’t just “the Trips” anymore. What should he call them that will show what they mean to him Can he figure out their “forever name” And will he ever get a puppy?

MrsK's Review: Grades 1-3
Do you believe in the sweetness of discovering a story so "good" you must share it with others? Can you remember an author from your youth? Have you tried to pass on that type of a story to a new generation? Whether you answer a yes or even a no... this is a story that must be shared!

Jacob was rather disappointed when he was told that he wouldn't be getting a puppy. Who wouldn't be feeling sad, cheated, or even a little bit mad? Why would he want a new baby instead? Well, it won't be a new baby... it is going to be three new siblings!

Given a school assignment, Jacob decides to "study" the Trips. What he learns is just how unique his sisters are, as well as how much he has grown beyond his wants. 

Once again, Patricia has crafted a story that will become a classic in classrooms, in homes, and in the hearts of readers. This is her final story... yet, it is just as touching as Sarah, Plain and Tall. Don't miss this story of family, love, growing up, and learning the value of being unique.

Meet the Author:
    Patricia MacLachlan was born on the prairie, and always carried a small bag of prairie dirt with her wherever she went to remind her of what she knew first. She was the author of many well-loved novels and picture books, including Sarah, Plain and Tall, winner of the Newbery Medal; its sequels, Skylark and Caleb's Story; and Three Names, illustrated by Mike Wimmer. She lived in western Massachusetts. March 03, 1938 - Died March 31, 2022

 MrsK's Review: Just for fun Gr.3+
Who doesn't find some reading enjoyment in browsing a book for a good joke! These are the best and silliest joke books. I once heard that a joke a day kept the doctors away! What reader wouldn't want to help their friends, family, and teachers to have better health? Brighten your reading choices and learn how to engage others beyond their phones......!

Rodman Philbrick
ISBN: 9781338736298
Publisher's Synopsis:
Davy and Jo Michaud have been recently orphaned. Taken in by a distant relative—a famous aviator—they are now working with a group of stunt pilots who spend their time wing walking, leaping from plane to plane, and flying through fireworks! But though the stunts are dangerous, the real threat is building behind the scenes.

The KKK is on the rise in Maine that summer, inspired by the racial fears promoted in Birth of a Nation. They spew hatred of immigrants, Blacks, Jews, and French Catholics—that last, a rage that will be directed at Davy and Jo. When Davy and Jo cross paths with the Klan, they get tangled up in a terrible revenge plan, and held as hostages. Can they escape with their lives?

MrsK's Review: Grades 5+
At the graveside service for their mother, Davy and Jo learn that they have a relative that will offer them an amazing adventure. An adventure that is better than being orphans working at a cotton mill in 1924.

While they are working for the Ruthie Reynard's Flying Circus, they will have a place to live... meals... and a paying job. Davy will begin as a popcorn maker and Jo will begin as the ticket/cashier for the air show. With the sense of adventure their lives will take a path that neither of them are prepared for.

They will meet professional aviators, death-defying feats stunts, motorized races with speeds exceeding 100mph, and the unfortunate bigotry and hatred of the KKK.

Have you heard about the wing walkers? Have you ever wondered what it would be like to a daring bi-plane walker? Don't miss this historical novel about what life as a wing walker might have been! The characters are uniquely defined. The historical accuracy of the settings and the trials of life is crafted with a mixture of wonder, spunk, and an ability to be intellectually flexible!

Historical fiction isn't always a "review-mirrored" glance of perfection, it can be a "snapshot" into the life of those who lived before us. Yet, it is an opportunity to learn about that which needed to change. To learn what courage, determination, and "grit" looks like. To live outside the box and to create a better life out of hardships. An inspiring novel for a read-aloud in grades 3-6 (so many discussion points + research opportunities = a literary must).

Meet the Author:

Rodman Philbrick grew up on the New England coast, where he worked as a longshoreman and boat builder. For many years he wrote mysteries and detective novels. The Private Eye Writers of America nominated two of his T.D.Stash series as best detective novel and then selected Philbrick's 'Brothers & Sinners' as Best Novel in 1993. Writing under the pen name 'William R. Dantz' he has explored the near-future worlds of genetic engineering and hi-tech brain control in books like 'Hunger', 'Pulse', 'The Seventh Sleeper'. And 'Nine Levels Down'.

Inspired by the life of a boy who lived a few blocks away, he wrote 'Freak The Mighty', the award-winning young-adult novel, which has been translated into numerous languages and is now read in schools throughout the world. The book was adapted to the screen in 1998 as 'The Mighty', starring Sharon Stone, Gillian Anderson, James Gandolfini, Kieran Culkin, and Elden Henson.

Philbrick, a screenwriter as well as a novelist, is the author of a number of novels for young readers, including 'The Fire Pony', 'Max the Mighty', 'REM World', 'The Last Book In The Universe', 'The Journal of Douglas Allen Deeds' and 'The Young Man And The Sea'. His recent novels for adults include 'Dark Matter', 'Coffins', and 'Taken'. He and his wife divide their time between Maine and the Florida Keys.

ISBN: 9781338180633
Publisher's Synopsis:
A mysterious voice has been speaking to Louise in her dreams. She and her brother Merwin are Sycamore seeds, who hope to one day set down roots and become big trees. But when a fire forces them to leave their mama tree prematurely, they find themselves catapulted into the unknown, far from home. Alone and unprepared, they must use their wits and imagination to navigate a dangerous world—filled with dinosaurs, meteors, and volcanoes!—and the fear of never finding a safe place to grow up. As the mysterious voice gets louder, Louise comes to realize their mission in life may be much bigger than either of them ever could have imagined!

"What does the old one tell you?"
MrsK's Review: Grades 4+
Meet the sibling seeds, Louise and Merwin. They are young seeds changing, developing, and unfortunately set free during a fire evacuation. With words of wisdom from their mother Sycamore, these two will journey in and out of environmental habitats trying to find the perfect soil conditions that their loving mother had taught them to find.

Within the seedball, Louise longed to see the sights outside. Yet, inside she believed she heard the stars calling to her. To Merwin, the world seemed to be "nothing but danger." They must head to the Beautiful Mountain, that's what their mother had told him.

Who knew Sycamore seeds could have discussions? Only the author Brian Selznick could weave an entertaining and poignant story about sibling seeds! Will the sibling seeds get the Beautiful Mountain? Will they find the perfect soil conditions to settle into? 

Once upon a time...
Enjoy, MrsK

Meet the Author:

Hello there. My name is Brian Selznick and I’m the author and illustrator of The Invention of Hugo Cabret. I was born in 1966 in New Jersey. I have a sister who is a teacher, a brother who is a brain surgeon, and five nephews and one niece. I studied at The Rhode Island School of Design and after I graduated from college I worked at Eeyore’s Books for Children in New York City. I learned all about children’s books from my boss Steve Geck who is now an editor of children’s books at Greenwillow. While I was at Eeyore’s I also painted the windows for holidays and book events.
My first book, The Houdini Box, which I both wrote and illustrated, was published in 1991 while I was still working at the bookstore. Since then, I have illustrated many books for children, including Frindle by Andrew Clements, The Doll People by Ann Martin and Laura Godwin, Amelia and Eleanor Go for a Ride by Pam Muñoz Ryan and The Dinosaurs of Waterhouse Hawkins by Barbara Kerley, which received a 2001 Caldecott Honor. I have also written a few other books myself, including The Boy of a Thousand Faces, but The Invention of Hugo Cabret is by far the longest and most involved book I’ve ever worked on.

"You know me, Maxine. I always land on my feet."
ISBN: 9780759555402
Publisher's Synopsis:
Avery Grambs has a plan for a better future: survive high school, win a scholarship, and get out. But her fortunes change in an instant when billionaire Tobias Hawthorne dies and leaves Avery virtually his entire fortune. The catch? Avery has no idea why -- or even who Tobias Hawthorne is.

To receive her inheritance, Avery must move into a sprawling, secret passage-filled Hawthorne House, where every room bears the old man's touch -- and his love of puzzles, riddles, and codes. Unfortunately for Avery, Hawthorne House is also occupied by the family that Tobias Hawthorne just dispossessed. This includes the four Hawthorne grandsons: dangerous, magnetic, brilliant boys who grew up with every expectation that one day, they would inherit billions. Heir apparent Grayson Hawthorne is convinced that Avery must be a con-woman, and he's determined to take her down. His brother, Jameson, views her as their grandfather's last hurrah: a twisted riddle, a puzzle to be solved. Caught in a world of wealth and privilege, with danger around every turn, Avery will have to play the game herself just to survive.

MrsK's Review: YA

Meet Avery, a teen that has been living in her car. Her mother raised her to "play" games that would sharpen her intellect and promote an "out-of-the-box" creativity. One of the few stabilities in her life began the day her mother's secret took her life. Her one and only best friend, Max, is the only one she can confide in... the only one who knows she left her step-sister's house and is now living in a car.

Avery knows the value of her education, especially when her finances will depend on her grade point average for a university that will give her a degree in statistical risk assessment. Life might have seen her into college, if it wasn't for her step-sister Libby

The morning before her life changed forever... or so it seemed, Avery had been in the park playing a game of chess with a homeless man named Harry. People play chess for various reasons, Avery played the game with Harry because it was the only way she could make sure he would have a meal every day.

Maxine, Max, moved during their 8th grade. Their phone connection kept their friendship strong. Avery had just informed Max that Libby's boyfriend had moved in again and that she is staying in her car. Will her last words to Max be her strength in the year ahead?

The next morning, during her English class, an office aide came to escort her to the Principal's office. Avery quickly learns that she was not summoned because of her test scores, she was summoned by Grayson Hawthorne. A young man who was claiming that he had been sent there by his Grandfather's lawyers to bring her to the reading of will. Libby had been brought to the school, because she was Avery's guardian. What is this about? Who is Tobias Hawthorne? How could someone be taking her and her step-sister off to Texas! What was this all about?

And so the inheritance games begin... What would be going through your mind as a junior in high school? What are these Hawthorne's playing at? Why would a multi-billionaire request her to be present at the reading of his will?

Mysterious rooms in a mansion; four grandsons who should be sharing an estate from their grandfather; and a body guard placed in charge of Avery. Be prepared to be turning pages until some of the game has begun! Excellent read...
Meet the Author:
  Jennifer Lynn Barnes (who mostly goes by Jen) was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma. She has been, in turn, a competitive cheerleader, a volleyball player, a dancer, a debutante, a primate cognition researcher, a teen model, a comic book geek, and a lemur aficionado. She's been writing for as long as she can remember, finished her first full book (which she now refers to as a "practice book" and which none of you will ever see) when she was still in high school, and then wrote Golden the summer after her freshman year in college when she was nineteen.
Jen graduated high school in 2002, and from Yale University with a degree in cognitive science (the study of the brain and thought) in May of 2006. She'll be spending the 2006-2007 school year abroad, doing autism research at the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom.

ISBN: 9781567314427
Publisher's Synopsis:
The man who commissioned the Mona Lisa refused it. Three of the first five U.S. Presidents died on July 4th. The company name Atari was chosen so consumers would think the Northern California-based company was Japanese. These and other eye-opening revelations await the reader of Who Knew? Part pop culture, part pop quiz, this quirky compilation of little-known facts and figures will amaze and amuse readers of all ages. Who Knew? collects tidbits and trivia about well-known personalities and products that we are all familiar with—or at least think we're familiar with. From Twinkies to Tupperware to toys and television, these offbeat informational nuggets are guaranteed to entertain and enthrall.

MrsK's Review: Young Adults
Do you know why peanut butter sticks to the roof of your mouth? How many ridges are there on a dime? Why did they call the book of maps an Atlas? Do you know what key a housefly hums in? Did you know that there is one "soothing" smell from childhood that could lower your blood pressure?

This is a book that is truly a hidden treasure! Every page has a quick fact that you probably never knew and most importantly probably will begin sharing with others more than once,

Meet the Author:

The author of seventeen books about popular culture, ranging from Kid Stuff (which takes a look at classic toys) to Doofus and Darling's Manners for the Modern Man, The Sand Bucket List (366 Things To Do With Your Kids Before They Grow Up) and Little-Known Facts About Well-Known Places (a travel series covering the world’s most popular destinations), Hoffman has also turned his titles into brands. From Pigging Out, he assembled a $2.5 million licensing campaign that included greeting cards, calendars, plush, t-shirts, mugs, and magnets as well as a line of kitchen textiles; he not only sold Kid Stuff as source material for two television documentaries, but for (and with) the Berkshire Museum in Pittsfield, MA, he co-created and curated a 4500-square foot interactive traveling exhibition based on the book that toured internationally for 12 years; and as the author of two novelty cookbooks (The Easy-Bake Oven Gourmet and The Breakfast Cereal Gourmet), he has served as a media spokesperson for publicity campaigns for Quaker Oats, White Castle and Hasbro.

MrsK's Reading Bio

Reading is important! No questions asked, not even a blink of the eye from any student I grew up with. On the first day of the First grade, we were given our first books. Day two we all read aloud, round robin of course. Day three we were place in our first basal, now known as a lit circle group. Books were so important, publishers designed new curriculum so that every student was reading by the end of the first week. These early readers had images that looked like what we could see in the classroom, beyond the classroom, even on the big screen. Reading is important, throughout history every generation has believed that “Reading” opens up the world for endless possibilities.

I adore the 1950’s Dick and Jane books. Actually, most reading specialists and experienced (45+) educators believe that every student learned to read with Dick and Jane. Since these books are being re-issued, I have heard many parents, grandparents, and students claim that Dick and Jane stories of repetition does teach students to read.

Early influences from my mother influenced my desire to read. I would watch her read and we would go on “secret” excursions to the library. The library became my playground. I owned every book I could carry home, of course they needed to be taken back to their home after visiting with me for a week or two. My first book that I could pull off of the library shelf and read was, Father Bear Comes Home. I only saw my dad on Sundays for a few hours. I would pull this beginning reader off of the library shelf every week. Every week I would try to read the first chapter. Every week I got further in the story. My mom would let me check it out, only if I could read it myself (She didn’t like the illustrations therefore she didn’t want to take time to read it to me). One day, I pulled the book from the shelf and when mom came to get me from the children’s corner, I realized that I had read the whole story. I ran to the check out desk and the Librarian KERCHUNKED the checkout card. My mother, brother and neighbors read. My teachers read. We all read aloud all day long in school. The Priest read aloud every day at mass, even in Latin. Everybody in the Doctor’s office read. People on the bus read. Dad’s waiting in their cars as the Mom’s and children grocery shopped, read. In fact, once you could read and write, Sunset Magazine considered you a reader and sent you mail every day.

Reading is important; I’ve spent my life reading. I’ve traveled around the world and into space through books. My favorite genre is whichever book I have open at the time. Children’s Literature is my passion. Book clubbing is one of the best past times, especially if food is involved. In fact my friends of old are in a book club and we are about to embark on a beach trip to “read” and discuss our newest selection.

My “home-run” book story has helped every student find his or her own “home-run” reads. Every year, I have shared my, Father Bear Comes Home, and every year my students have brought in their “home-run” books. That’s the “diving board” into our Lit. Studies.

In “Growing Up Digital,” Tapscott’s insights into the new generations enthusiasm for the Net reminded me of my generation’s enthusiasm for reading, movies, TV, parties and our driving permits. The Net-Generation, as Tapscott describes, “are learning, playing, communicating, working, creating communities, and enforcing a social transformation.”
N-Geners are interactive “techies” who are always looking for a way to “work it” verses the TV Generation of “Baby Boomers” who started out looking for “how it works.” Reading development is tougher today, society moves too fast to invest their “non-working” free time into a book or even “home work.” Since I stepped into my own classroom, I have seen students being told to read, being forced to read, and threatened into reading. Homework is not any longer the vehicle for students to gain their future lifestyles or careers with. Yet, the Internet does create an enthusiasm for learning. Since I have been enrolled in these courses, I have used the computers in every subject. My students are using the newest technology in the classroom because I am giving them investigative sites to use as they learn from each other and books. I agree with Tapscott, in order to bridge the gap with this up and coming generation we must “live and learn with them.”

FTC Required Disclaimer: I receive these books from the publishers. I did not receive monetary compensation for these reviews. These reviews have been posted in compliance with the FTC requirements set forth in the Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising (available at


Traits of Writing: Inking Thoughts

Booked 4 Success: Inspired Learning