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)

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Mrs. Lee & Mrs. Gray by Dorothy Love

Mrs. Lee and Mrs. Gray
ISBN: 9780718042448
Publisher's Synopsis:
Born in bondage at Arlington, Selina Norris Gray learns to read and write in the schoolroom Mary and her mother keep for the slave children and eventually becomes Mary’s housekeeper and confidante. As Mary’s health declines, Selina becomes her personal maid, strengthening a bond that lasts until death parts them.

Forced to flee Arlington at the start of the Civil War, Mary entrusts the keys to her beloved home to no one but Selina. When Union troops begin looting the house, it is Selina who confronts their commander and saves many of its historic treasures.

In a story spanning crude slave quarters, sunny schoolrooms, stately wedding parlors, and cramped birthing rooms, novelist Dorothy Love amplifies the astonishing true-life account of an extraordinary alliance and casts fresh light on the tumultuous years leading up to and through the wrenching battle for a nation’s soul.

"Slavery is a terrible legacy.

But the problem is one that can be resolved only gradually,
and with God's help."

MrsK's Review:
In 1873, "there was a time when Arlington was a magical place." A place in which Mary Anna Custis Lee knew thousands of rolling green hills, working in her mother's gardens, and the joy of teaching the children how to read, write, and do their sums. Her days were endless, her upbringing was comfortable and her determination to help in the efforts of the American Colonization Society was her cause. As the only surviving child of George Washington's grandson she valued the history and personal belongings of America's first president. Her heritage and her Arlington home were part of a legacy that would touch many lives. Yet, her love of her husband Robert E Lee would prove to be her most treasured blessing.

For Selina Norris Gray her training as a seamstress for the main house didn't go as planned. Her first worry was about her learning once Miss Mary married. She knew that one day freedom would come, she knew she had to learn a skill that could take her beyond Arlington. Years later, she would pick up the guardianship role for Arlington and Mrs. Lee. Her devotion to Mrs. Lee would become the saving grace of Washington's Arlington, as well as the most valued friendship of two extraordinary women.

"How much of life is by one simple moment decided."
The seamless weaving of these women's lives is profound. There is so much more to the story of Mrs. Robert E Lee. So much more to the story of a slave girl waiting for her freedom. So much more of an insight as to the character of General Robert E Lee. As these lives unfold, as a reader, you will be encouraged with their loyalty, their love and their determination. Historical facts that were not made known until a trunk was discovered in 2007, will open your eyes into the depths of what it means to be an American; one who is focused on others and making choices that are sound and just.

"True friendship is a plant of slow growth and must
undergo and withstand
the shocks of adversity before it is entitled to the appellation."
George Washington
Meet the Author:
Dorothy Love
Before returning to her writing roots in historical fiction, Dorothy Love published twelve novels for young adults. Her work has garnered numerous honors from the American Library Association, the Friends of American Writers, the International Reading Association, the New York Public Library, and many others.
"I received this book for free from the Fiction Guild for this review."
Thomas Nelson

The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey

The 5th Wave (The 5th Wave, #1)
ISBN: 9780142425831
Publisher's Synopsis:
After the 1st wave, only darkness remains. After the 2nd, only the lucky escape. And after the 3rd, only the unlucky survive. After the 4th wave, only one rule applies: trust no one.

Now, it's the dawn of the 5th wave, and on a lonely stretch of highway, Cassie runs from Them. The beings who only look human, who roam the countryside killing anyone they see. Who have scattered Earth's last survivors. To stay alone is to stay alive, Cassie believes, until she meets Evan Walker. Beguiling and mysterious, Evan Walker may be Cassie's only hope for rescuing her brother-or even saving herself. But Cassie must choose: between trust and despair, between defiance and surrender, between life and death. To give up or to get up.

"I don't cry for myself.
I cry for the Cassie that's gone."
MrsK's Review:
An intrusion in 1995 leads to a plan that will change every one's life. Cassie never had a chance to live out the "normal" teen years. The 4th wave happened. For now, she is trying to survive in the woods and the nights are getting colder. To build a campfire is too risky. The drones are everywhere.

The top steps of the bus were almost too high for little Sammy's legs. Cassie can't believe that her father allowed them to be separated. Once Sammy gave her his bear, he made her a promise that she would meet him at Camp Haven. A promise that will mean death for many.

"Do you know how to tell who the enemy is, Cassie?"
Evan Walker doesn't like what he has become. As a finisher, he is the one to track down and exterminate those who are hiding. It all started once the 4th wave crept into his little sister's body. Tracking this girl who "slept with a teddy bear in one hand and a rifle in the other," wasn't easy. Why couldn't he finisher her?

At the camp, Private Zombie is given charge over the littlest recruit. For now, his charge will need a lot of comfort, extreme training, and the transformation that begins in getting rid of those memories and hopes of his sister's arrival. Following orders means you live. That is until the removal of the tracker brings reality crashing in around you and experience the 5th wave.

With characters that you root for and some you want to see fail, you will be in a mode of survival. Angst will become your adrenalin rush as you as turn these pages. Do you think you have the grit to make it to the end?

"The eye will take care of her."

Amazing read
Added to GMT library shelves!  

 The Infinite Sea (The 5th Wave, #2)   The Last Star (The 5th Wave, #3)
                 The Infinite Sea #2                    The Last Star #3                    
Meet the Author:
 Rick Yancey  Rick is a native Floridian and a graduate of Roosevelt University in Chicago. He earned a B.A. in English which he put to use as a field officer for the Internal Revenue Service. Inspired and encouraged by his wife, he decided his degree might also be useful in writing books and in 2004 he began writing full-time.

Since then he has launched two critically acclaimed series: The Extraordinary Adventures of Alfred Kropp, for young readers, and The Highly Effective Detective, for adults. Both books are set in Knoxville, Tennessee, where Rick lived for ten years before returning to Florida.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

The Things We Knew by Catherine West

The Things We Knew
ISBN: 9780718078102
Publisher's Synopsis:
After her mother's death twelve years ago, Lynette Carlisle watched her close-knit family unravel. One by one, her four older siblings left their Nantucket home and never returned. All seem to harbor animosity toward their father, silently blaming him for their mother's death. Nobody will talk about that dreadful day, and Lynette can't remember a bit of it.

But when next-door neighbor Nicholas Cooper returns to Nantucket, he brings the past with him. Once her brother's best friend and Lynette's first crush, Nick seems to hiding things from her. Lynette wonders what he knows about the day her mother died and hopes he might help her remember the things she can't.
"Sometimes in the dead of night..."
MrsK's Review:
Lynette Carlisle is the youngest in her family. A family in which the Nantucket life style once was the most favored amongst the rich and famous. For Lynette, her Nantucket home is her tether in a storm. It's been 12 years since her mother's death. Her siblings have chosen lives away from Nantucket and now her father's memory is failing. For Lynette, the third floor art studio is her sanctuary where she can escape the pressures of her daily responsibilities. Her father taught her to "let the painting speak for itself," yet now some of her paintings are eerily shadowing her horrifying dreams. Lynette is in need of her family, they must come home! Besides, when did Coop return? Where has he been these last five years?

"Dad, stop! You're confused. Let's go home."
Nick Cooper isn't sure why Drake Carlisle is out front yelling for his dad, it's 4:00 am and his dad isn't even home. Nick becomes concerned not only about Drake, but also about Lynette. As long as he can remember, the Carlisles have always been his family. Once Gray and him began playing on their own, well every memory of his childhood is centered around the Carlisles and Wyldewood.

"Are you going to be ok?"
"That's the one question she didn't have an answer for."
Lynette loved her part time job at the day care and her paintings were just beginning to sell, but it wasn't enough to take care of her father or Wyldewood. So, Lynette must decide if she is going to sell Wyldewood or turn it into a B&B. Her mother's will stated that all siblings had to come home if anyone was considering selling Wyldewood, but would any of them return or even listen to her ideas about renovating  vs. selling? Maybe a second job would help while she waited for everyone to come home. Even though she is grateful for Nick's return, he had is own life to take care of. Right...

When life is threatening to squeeze away your breath... When family is suppose to be your foundation... When your nightmares and fears are creating a darkness... What will save you?

This story is not a typical romance, There is a story line with interesting twists, a few red-herrings, and a family with realistic dysfunctions. Yet, the common thread will be their faith.

Recovery relies on your level of faith and grit!  

Meet the Author:
 View image on Twitter  Catherine West is an award-winning author who writes stories of hope and healing from her island home in Bermuda. Her first novel, Yesterday’s Tomorrow, released in 2011 and won the INSPY for Romance, a Silver Medal in the Reader’s Favorite Awards, and was a finalist in the Grace Awards. Catherine’s second novel, Hidden in the Heart, released in September 2012, was long listed in the 2012 INSPY’s and was a finalist in the 2013 Grace Awards. Catherine’s latest novel, Bridge of Faith, is now available on Amazon.
When she’s not at the computer working on her next story, you can find her taking her Border Collie for long walks or tending to her roses and orchids. She and her husband have two grown children. Catherine’s next novel, The Things We Knew, releases July 2016, through Harper Collins Christian Publishing. Catherine loves to connect with her readers and can be reached at 
Catherine West
click on the picture above to read Catherine's blog

"I received this book for free from the Fiction Guild for this review."
Thomas Nelson

The Witness by Robertf Whitlow

The Witnesses
ISBN: 9781401688905
Publisher's Synopsis:
Parker House’s secret inheritance is either his greatest blessing . . . or his deadliest curse. The fresh-faced North Carolina attorney shares his German grandfather’s uncanny ability to see future events in his mind’s eye—a gift that has haunted 82-year-old Frank House through decades of trying to erase a murderous wartime past.

While Parker navigates the intrigue and politics of small-town courtroom law, Frank is forced to face his darkest regrets. Then, a big career break for Parker collides with a new love he longs to nurture and the nightmares his grandfather can no longer escape. Sudden peril threatens to shatter not only Parker’s legal prospects but also his life and the lives of those dearest to him.

"I have set watchman upon thy walls, O Jerusalem."
Isaiah 62:6
MrsK's Review:
At the Germany-Belgium border in 1939 Franz Haus begins his discovery that his talent is leading him in to a horrifying truth about his service to his country. Misinterpretations have happened, and yet, the last thing he wanted was a conscience with "blood" on it. Having access to the top commanders within the infantry divisions seemed safer, yet all of that changes with a mission trip and the treatment of resistance fighters. His decision in 1944 will bring him to a crossroad in which he seems caught "between the past and the future."

In New Bern, NC, Parker House is just beginning his career as an associate attorney for Branham and Camp. While waiting for the jury selection to begin, Parker checks his fantasy football team picks and marvels at the technology of 2003. During the selection on juror seemed to stand out. Even though she was a photographer, Parker's ability to "foresee" a strength in her proves beneficial for their client.

Layla Donovan is a photographer serving on a jury. The case is straightforward, so why would the associate attorney be interested in her? At first Layla naturally assumes that Parker just wants to know why the jury had its verdict so quickly. Her reasoning should have ended their evening. And yet, there seems to be something else at work in their lives. 

On the day that Conrad Mueller shows up at Parker's work, many new opportunities and secrets begin coming to light. It's as if some form of justice must be served. How all of these threads are woven together will lead everyone to the truth.

Thomas Blocker is a cunning trial lawyer who is brought in as co-counsel for Parker's newest case. Parker knows the benefits of "seeing" how Blocker prepares, presents, and tries a case will be more than what his firm bargains for, what he doesn't "foresee" are the changes that will usher in dramatic changes in his life... especially in his personal life with Layla. 

Expertly woven, this suspenseful mystery gathers together a list of characters that seem completely disassociated. The story's premise about a soldier's critical decision years ago and its future impact leading to a future climax becomes a stunning moral. How does truth open a doorway to peace?

Definitely a page turner...

"I've asked God to forgive my sins,
even those I'm not sure I committed.
When the old guilty thoughts dance around the edges of my mind,
I tell them to beat it.
Ultimately, the power of life and death isn't in my hands anyway; it's in his."

Positively a "read it forward" book!
A story with such a punch that every book club should enjoy.
Meet the Author:
Image result for robert whitlow Robert Whitlow is the best-selling author of legal novels set in the South and winner of the prestigious Christy Award for Contemporary Fiction. A Furman University graduate, Whitlow received his J.D. with honors from the University of Georgia School of Law where he served on the staff of the Georgia Law Review. A practicing attorney, Whitlow and his wife, Kathy, have four children. They make their home in North Carolina.
"I received this book for free from the Fiction Guild for this review."
Thomas Nelson

Sunday, November 6, 2016

The Spectacular World of Waldorf by Barbara Terry

The Spectacular World of Waldorf Series
Barbara Terry, Beth Ann Stifflemire, Vladimir Kirichenko

The Spectacular World of Waldorf allows children to discover new places in the USA & Worldwide through humorous and intriguing travels for the picture book age reader. Bright-detailed illustrations combined with the attention savvy stories allow parents, educators and more to introduce the world to small children in a format while grabbing their attention. This comical Labrador draws children into his whimsical adventures in search of his lost reading spectacles. The poor pup has a habit of misplacing them but children will be enticed into his many travels to help silly Mr. Waldorf locate them as he discovers new friends and places in a format that small children will easily recollect and adore.

The Spectacular World of Waldorf: Mr. Waldorf Travels to the Great State of Texas
ISBN: 9781943276356
Publisher's Synopsis:

On this adventure, Mr. Waldorf discovers the Great State of Texas. The curious canine encounters fun new friends and places while exploring the vast state visiting the Alamo, riding a bull for 8 seconds, making new friends in Dallas, exploring Austin and more. Silly Mr. Waldorf has a tendency to misplace his favorite reading spectacles and can't seem to find them while traveling Texas. Will you help him find them and learn all about the lone star state?

MrsK's Review:Being an avid reader is why Mr. Waldorf travels to Texas. His golden spectacles are missing, how do read without your reading spectacles? As Mr. Waldorf travels the state of Texas, he asks everyone he meets if they have seen his spectacles.

Mr. Waldorf Travels to the Wild State of Alaska (The Spectacular World of Waldorf)
ISBN: 9781943276677
Publisher's Synopsis:

On this adventure, Mr. Waldorf discovers the Wild State of Alaska. The curious canine encounters fun new friends and places while fishing for salmon, discovering glaciers, panning for gold and visiting Eskimos. Silly Mr. Waldorf has a tendency to misplace his favorite reading spectacles and can't seem to find them while discovering The Last Frontier. Mr. Waldorf will learn all about Alaska, while seeking his missing spectacles. Will you help him find them and learn all about this amazing state?

MrsK's Review:
As Mr. Waldorf flies into Alaska, the first thing you notice is he isn't wearing his gold spectacles. Maybe he doesn't need them as a pilot. Unfortunately, as he is looking over the edge of a glacier his precious reading spectacles fall out of his pocket. Could this mean that Mr. Waldorf will not be able to read as explores Alaska?

Mr. Waldorf Travels to the Mysterious China (The Spectacular World of Waldorf)
ISBN: 9781943277636
Publisher's Synopsis:
On this adventure, Mr. Waldorf discovers the mysterious China. The curious canine encounters fun new friends and places while visiting Beijing, discovering the Great Wall of China, climbing Mount Everest and traveling the Yangtze River. Silly Mr. Waldorf has a tendency to misplace his favorite reading spectacles and can't seem to find them while discovering The Peoples Republic of China. Mr. Waldorf will learn all about China, while seeking his missing spectacles. Will you help him find them and learn all about the ancient and beautiful country?

MrsK's Review:Mr. Waldorf is so excited to visit the ancient sites of China. Being in a foreign country is like walking into a postcard. So many new sounds, interesting history, and adventurous new foods. Yet, as soon as Mr. Waldorf arrives in China an unfriendly monkey grabs his spectacles and swings up into the canopy of a tree. Now what will Mr. Waldorf do? You know he reads every night!

The Spectacular World of Waldorf: Mr. Waldorf Travels to the Huge Russia  
ISBN: 9781943274420
Publisher's Synopsis:
On this adventure, Mr. Waldorf discovers the huge Russia. The curious canine encounters fun new friends and places while visiting Saint Petersburg, the Ural Mountains, Lake Baikai, Russian State Library & more. Silly Mr. Waldorf has a tendency to misplace his favorite reading spectacles and can't seem to find them while discovering the largest country in the world. Mr. Waldorf will learn all about Russia, while seeking his missing spectacles. Will you help him find them and learn all about this historical and enormous country?

MrsK's Review:Did you know that Russia is the largest countries in the world? Can you imagine all of the great sites there are to see? One of the first Russian experiences Mr. Waldorf wants to see his the Russian Ballet. Of course, as he looks over the balcony his spectacles fall into the seats below him. How will he ever find them?

If you can snuggle up with a young reader, do it! These simplified "travel" stories will bring you much joy. Beginning readers will have such fun looking at the colorful illustrations, and they will want you to read them "again."

"Whoofishly fun adventures!"

"I received these books for free for my review."
Check out these 2016's titles!
Waldorf Publishing

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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