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 26, 2014

The Pursuit of Tamsen Littlejohn

The Pursuit of Tamsen Littlejohn: A Novel
"Forsaking security and an arranged marriage, Tamsen enlists frontiersman Jesse Bird to guide her to the Watauga settlement in western North Carolina....."

In September of 1787 Tamsen's journey begins when her mother informs her, "You must marry, Tamsen and soon. Resign yourself to it being a man of Mr. Parrish's choosing. Whatever burdens it may entail your stepfather means to give you a comfortable life."

Tamsen agrees to dine with Mr. Kincaid.  Looking stunning in her newly crafted dress, she arrives at the tavern with fear gripping her heart.  Once she steps in to the establishment Tamsen's "internal screaming ceases," Not an ogre, after all."  That is until their evening meal is interrupted by one of Mr. Kincaid's slave.  During those brief moments of conversation, Tamsen realizes that she can't go on pretending any longer. Out of concern for Mr. Kincaid's slave, Tamsen voices disapproval.  Mr. Kincaid points out to her that the conversation was not of her concern, "Yet I am--and you should be... The people whose lives and bodies you own, those whose burden it is to see to your every need, they are your responsibility to protect.."

And with that, Tamsen leaves the tavern and so begins her attempts for freedom.  Given a failed attempt in the stable, Tamsen finds herself looking up at Ambrose Kincaid... "Well, now. I've faced down charging bears and starving wolves and murdering Chickamaugas. Reckon the pique of a pretty miss ain't like to daunt me."  What would it take to get away?

Tamsen never thought that it would be her mother that opens the path to freedom.  And yet, when Mr. Parrish shouts, "You are mine, and you will do as you are bid...." Tamsen's world collides with fear and death.  As her mother lays sprawled on the hearth, with her blood spilling out of her, Tamsen is told to get herself decent for another meeting with Mr. Kincaid.  "Tamsen... get the box...."  

Running for help from Sim out in the stable, her fear materializes in a tall form coming at her.... "Easy there."  Jesse Bird helps her to check on her mother, helps her find a place to hide and provides the escape needed.  Their journey is not an easy overland experience.  When Jesse meets up with Cade he learns that there is a search party for Tamsen, that Mr. Parrish claimed that his wife was murdered by someone who abducted his daughter, and that Jesse Bird would be the one to hang.

 With so much to loose, with no one to support the truth, they agree to the decision that, "for better or for worse" they would head for Jonesborough to get married.  Yet, as they pull into the town they had no idea that an uprising was about to take place right before their vows would be completed.  On the run again Tamsen and Jesse discover that wedding vows are not something to take lightly...   

Tasmen and Jesse's peace and joy grows stronger with each day, and yet it remains shadowed by the every increasing threat from Mr. Parrish and Mr. Kincaid.  Beautiful images of their overland journey allows the seasons to unfold as Tasmen is faced with leaps of faith, learning to rely on scripture for strength, and allowing Jesse's strength in God provide safety for her and those she has begun to love and cherish.

"He wasn't easy about the latest turn the hunt for Miss Littlejohn had taken or that Kincaid knew nothing about it...."  When two or more are in agreement, there is a promise of hope.  With joy, the story unfolds with determined vows, "Till death do us part, according to God's holy ordinance. He'd been unable to stem the tears, seeing his joy reflected in her weary, happy eyes. And thereto I plight thee my troth."  Vows that would lead them to a renewal, a retreat for the winter within the safety of a Cherokee village.  That blessing of a moment in time to be strengthened and free would prove to be the seed of strength for the final moments leading to the end of Tasmen's pursuit.  "Whatever name Jesse chose, he was hers, and she his, and what God had joined together, no man---kin or otherwise---would ever put asunder."
Really Liked it

Lori Benton, Author
Lori Benton was raised east of the Appalachian Mountains, surrounded by early American and family history going back three hundred years. Her novels transport readers to the 18th century, where she brings to life the Colonial and early Federal periods of American history, creating a melting pot of characters drawn from both sides of a turbulent and shifting frontier, brought together in the bonds of God's transforming grace. When she isn’t writing, Lori enjoys exploring beautiful Oregon with her husband. For more information about Lori Benton: Author Bio

"I received this book for free from Blogging for Books for this review."

Monday, April 21, 2014

39 Clues

The Maze of Bones (The 39 Clues Series #1)
Rick Riordan #1
Our Green Mt. Book Club just fininshed reading, The Maze of Bones.  It was such a great "fun" read that many of us are reading the series before the end of the school year.
When Amy (14) and Dan (12) arrive at Cahill Manor for their grandmother's funeral, they had no clue that they would become international sleuths on a quest.... especially not up against other relatives.
Dan and Amy had no way of knowing that their grandmother had changed her will five minutes before she died. They wouldn't know that she was depending on them to succeed. Their grandmother told her lawyer,
"They are our only chance.....five hundred years of work would have been for nothing... everything collaspses...
The family, the world... all of it."
Once the family had attended the funeral for Grace Cahill, certain family members were invited to the reading of her will. Mr. McIntyre cleared his throat and read, "You have been chosen as the most likely to succeed in the greatest, most perilous undertaking of all time - a quest of vital importance to the Cahill family and the world at large." With that, Mr. McIntyre turned on the pre-recorded video of Grace's instructions. "If you accept, you shall be given the first of 39 clues. These clues will lead you to a secret.... which will make you the most powerful, influential human beings on the plantet...." The only catch was that they had to give up their portion of the inheriatance in order to participate.
Everyone who returned their checks,  worth one million dollars, was given the first clue....
The fine print ot guess,
Seek out Richard S....
Dan and Amy begin their journey under the mansion.  Their discovery of a tattered book, Poor Richard's Almanac, leads them to the discovery of a family descendant and a fire!  I did not enjoy this part, no old mansion or old library should ever be burned....
Escaping the fire is the first of their life-threatening adventures.  They must get to Washington DC before anyone else...
Dan and Amy are quite the siblings, they fight... they get mad... they can only succeed if they are willing to cooperate.  Their sleuthing will lead you to France and more insights into historical facts about Richard S.
Really Liked it  

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Cryptid Hunters series

Thunder Cave
  Thunder Cave became my first adventure with the author Roland Smith.  This book has been my favorite novel exploration for every classroom since I began teaching.  The setting is in Africa and is so visible within the reader's mind that you hear and feel every aspect of the region.  The adventure that awaits Jacob is not only a "page-turning-must read on" journey, it is one in which Jacob's life is always a heart-beat away from ending.  This book has all the presentation bells and whistles: characters that you remember; great voice; imagery and word choice that entices every sense; hooks and cliff hangers; and most of all a desire to learn more about saving endangered animals...especially the elephants.
Cryptid Hunters

So when it came time to read Cryptid Hunters, I knew I could trust reading this book aloud as a cold read with my class.  Not only is this book about an always intriguing topic (cryptid creatures believed to be extinct), but it deals with an Uncle who is an anthropologist living on an island.  The 13 year old twins, Grace and Marty, are sent to their "unknown" uncle and a journey that never ends.  Of course there are emotions, hair-raising adventures, frustrated bad-bad men, and unknown danger.  From the falling out of the sky, or the cutting your way through the Congo, or the stillness of the pond, or the frustrating anger with the environmentalist and his thirst for all creatures to own and display in his version of Noah's Ark.... you will begin a series that will not disappoint you.  Can they survive until Wolfe comes to rescue them?  Will they be able to keep the egg safe or will Blackwood find them or kill them for the egg?  What is up with Blackwood's statement... aren't they twins?   You have to begin this journey..... Grace and Marty need you..... because the journey does continue....
Tentacles  Tentacles continues for Marty, Grace, and Marty's best friend Luther.  All of the characters are woven in and out of this newest adventure.  The twins are still protecting the dinosaur's egg.  Yet now their journey takes an unexpected twist and they will be joining the crew aboard a refitted freighter.  With Blackwood still seeking what the twins are protecting, all of the ruthless and murdering sabotaging chaos continues. Consider being in an undersea "nuclear" submarine, or maybe you might like get some of the newest gadgets for tracking and communicating your location, or just maybe it might be that Bo (chimpanzee) and PD (pocket-size poodle) and Winkin, Blinkin, and Nod (dolphins) will keep you entertained.  Which ever aspect of this series keeps you hooked.... you know you must continue... you have to finish with Marty and Grace.... you just gotta... because  Grace is in for big, big trouble and it will take everyone to keep from..... 
Chupacabra!  So I will not give the cliff-hanger away... but let me tell you Grace is not happy.  Blackwood has kidnapped her.  She has to find a way out of his beyond secured Noah's Ark (animal museum in Seattle, WA).  She doesn't have much time because Blackwood is up to more than "no good," he is planning on releasing an engineered chupacabra into society.  It will take everything from everyone to save Grace....  The chupacabra is on the run, it devours everyone in its way.... Blackwood is at his best in hurting, hunting, and being evil..... Just when the series appears to be at its end... now is the time to prepare... for the Mutation is about to begin.....

Amazing read
Added all these titles to my shelf
And the adventure continues..... Are you ready?

Dragon in the Sock Drawer Series

The Dragon in the Sock Drawer (Dragon Keepers Series #1)
Our Green Mt. Bears book club began a journey into "There Be Dragons," and what an amazing quest we were on!  The Dragon in the Sock Drawer has been a favorite read aloud and so picking up the journey of Emmy proved to be just as delightful. 
Meeting Jesse and his cousin Daisy becomes a relationship with new characters that will be everlasting.  In spite of the reason for Jesse's trip to his cousin's house, he gets an unexpected adventure when he discovers a thunder egg.  No one is expecting the thunder egg to hatch, and yet it does and a baby dragon becomes their quest.  Not only do they need to learn about being dragon keepers, but how does someone hide a baby dragon who is growing and always hungry. How can you keep a baby dragon from wanting to explore?  With the help of  their Librarian they discover a dragon keeper's guide which leads them to the internet site of Professor LB Andersson, Doctor of Draconology. There is so much fun, many adventures, and the best of all.... a little dragon that takes your heart.
This is a perfect read aloud for all 3rd graders.  Excellent word choice and outstanding characters.
The journey continued with The Dragon in the Library.  By now the baby dragon is growing, growing, and such a reader.  Not only does Emmy have to be incognito as a very large sheep dog, but Emmy gets to help pick out books in the public library.  Can you imagine the potential for chaos?  Well, that library invites its younger readers to an overnight with their pets and that's when you meet the library's Self-Elves.  They are fabulous care-takers of all books (dragons).  During this journey the cousins must save the Professor from Saint George's Princess.  That's right, the legendary St. George and the Dragon becomes real for Jesse, Daisy, and Emmy.
 The Dragon in the Library (Dragon Keepers Series #3)
 This series is a perfect "any time" read for 3rd graders, family and classroom read aloud enjoyment!

Amazing read
Added to my shelf

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


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