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, May 1, 2021

Inspired Reading for Grades 4+


Getting ready for Summer...

One of the greatest expectations of summer has always been the moments in which I could begin checking out books at our local library for my lazy summer adventures. Back in the day, we would visit the library during Memorial Day weekend and have the delightful opportunity to browse book shelves for our "out of school" summer kick-off. There was no reading incentives, nor any summer reading logs. It was a time of simplistic "joy" to leave the library with a stack of books that promised "grand" adventures!

So... for your reading enjoyment... here are a few book explorations...

Grades 4-6

Dragonspell by Donita K Paul

Once a slave, Kale is given the unexpected opportunity to become a servant to Paladin. Yet this young girl has much to learn about the difference between slavery and service.

A Desperate Search Begins…

A small band of Paladin’s servants rescue Kale from danger but turn her from her destination: The Hall, where she was to be trained. Feeling afraid and unprepared, Kale embarks on a perilous quest to find the meech dragon egg stolen by the foul Wizard Risto. First, she and her comrades must find Wizard Fenworth. But their journey is threatened when a key member of the party is captured, leaving the remaining companions to find Fenworth, attempt an impossible rescue, and recover the egg whose true value they have not begun to suspect…

MrsK's Review:
Can you imagine entering through a narrow passage... danger is everywhere... your breathing is shallow and quick... the urge to turn back is screaming within your mind? Then all thoughts of escape flee the moment you enter the cavern! Dragon eggs! Eight to be exact... Only one "thrums" to her, enchantment beckons Kale. 

This is such a "charming" dragon tale. The plot entices you to step into Kale's adventure. The dragon's are cunning, dangerous, unpredictable... and yet... protective if you have been called. The settings, well, how would you run away from cliffs with crashing waves, damp caverns, and forests with the unknown?
Join Kale on this quest...
MrsK                                                                     golden,star,christmas,favourite,bookmark

Pages and Co. The Book Wanderers by Anna James

Eleven year-old Tilly has lived above her grandparents' bookshop ever since her mother disappeared shortly after she was born. Like the rest of her family, Tilly loves nothing more than to escape into the pages of her favorite stories.

One day Tilly realizes that classic children's characters are appearing in the shop through the magic of `book wandering' - crossing over from the page into real life.

With the help of Anne of Green Gables and Alice in Wonderland. Tilly is determined to solve the mystery of what happened to her mother all those years ago, so she bravely steps into the unknown, unsure of what adventure lies ahead and what dangers she may face.

MrsK's Review:
From the beginning hook, your adventure with Matilda (Tilly) as she "pushes open" the door to her grandparents book store will bring delight to your day. Be ware that this book (series) will cause some discomfort if you have to do anything else during the day! 

Tilly is a curious reader. There is always so much to experience from a great story. Revisiting her favorites never ceases to bring her many hours of explorations. Reading isn't just a past time, in fact Tilly can loose herself within the covers of a book as if she had been written into the story. In fact, while she is reading her mother's favorite story... that is exactly what happens!

Tilly's teacher has encouraged her students to reconnect with their favorite characters over the break. As well as, read a book that they have never read before. At first that seems impossible given the reality of living at her grandparent's book store. Yet, there must be a book somewhere with in all of the nooks and crannies that would "call" to her. What Tilly never expects is meeting a girl with red braids sitting in her favorite reading corner. Plus, she discovers a mysterious box of books that had been her mother's when she was young. From that point on... well let's just say that Tilly will never be far from an adventure, unraveling a mystery, or being unnerved by an evil character.  

Is there any fantasy better than some of the classics? If you have not experienced a book in which you are lead into an adventure with other book characters... this is the one to begin your summer explorations!
MrsK                                                                      golden,star,christmas,favourite,bookmark

 New Kid by Jerry Craft
Seventh grader Jordan Banks loves nothing more than drawing cartoons about his life. But instead of sending him to the art school of his dreams, his parents enroll him in a prestigious private school known for its academics, where Jordan is one of the few kids of color in his entire grade.

As he makes the daily trip from his Washington Heights apartment to the upscale Riverdale Academy Day School, Jordan soon finds himself torn between two worlds—and not really fitting into either one. Can Jordan learn to navigate his new school culture while keeping his neighborhood friends and staying true to himself?

MrsK's Review:
Middle School... a time when nothing seems "normal," fair, or safe. Jordan is an artist, actually a cartoonist who works out his thoughts and feelings with his creative designs. Have you ever felt like you were in a free fall without a parachute? That's exactly how Jordan feels... every day. This year, Jordan is being sent to a private school. A school across town. A school that will stretch his ability to remain comfortable with all that he has known. What were his parents thinking?

Life isn't always safe. Life isn't a promise that one never has to change. Life isn't meant to remain the same. Seasons come and go. Life is a series of choices, acceptance, discoveries, and understanding. How do you fit in? What do you say when others want to force you to accept their ways? How do you view adult actions when it "feels" so wrong? Is it right to think someone is a bully without knowing their story? Middle school life... how do you survive?

Sometimes there is a good read that brings a surprise... the type of a self-discovery that causes a reader to "rethink" what it would be like. This graphic novel is that type of read. The beginning of a school year is always filled with excitement, doubt, and that forever feeling of self-awareness. This is a story that every reader has experienced, especially going into middle school. This is a graphic novel with so much personality it's bound to be a story that is passed along to friends!
MrsK                                                                    golden,star,christmas,favourite,bookmark
Grades 8+

Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel
Kirsten Raymonde will never forget the night Arthur Leander, the famous Hollywood actor, had a heart attack on stage during a production of King Lear. That was the night when a devastating flu pandemic arrived in the city, and within weeks, civilization as we know it came to an end.

Twenty years later, Kirsten moves between the settlements of the altered world with a small troupe of actors and musicians. They call themselves The Traveling Symphony, and they have dedicated themselves to keeping the remnants of art and humanity alive. But when they arrive in St. Deborah by the Water, they encounter a violent prophet who will threaten the tiny band’s existence. And as the story takes off, moving back and forth in time, and vividly depicting life before and after the pandemic, the strange twist of fate that connects them all will be revealed.

MrsK's Review:
Kirsten must find a way to survive. There is no one that will make her path easier, nor was there anyone who could prepare her for what the world would become. One moment she is on stage, in a play with a famous actor... and the next she's forgotten amidst adults who are rushing head on into chaos.

Violence... how do you live in a culture in which no one feels safe, life is forever in a survival mode, and there is no place to call home? Having a heart to do something good is a favorable choice, yet how Kirsten deals with a past connection brings her full circle with that one moment in time that changed her world.

There was no way of knowing that this book would be published and placed into my reading pile prior to Covid 19. As we experienced our altered reality, Kirsten's character settled the panic of those days. Strength in a wisdom about who you are and what you value is something that we should never give away...

This is a journey of loneliness, angst with strangers, hope in our humanity, and wisdom in knowing that we all have a desire to make small moments valuable.


I Am Still Alive by Kate Alice Marshall

Jess hadn’t seen her survivalist, off-the-grid dad in over a decade. But after a car crash killed her mother and left her injured, she was forced to move to his cabin in the remote Canadian wilderness. Just as Jess was beginning to get to know him, a secret from his past paid them a visit, leaving her father dead and Jess stranded.

With only her father’s dog for company, Jess must forage and hunt for food, build shelter, and keep herself warm. Some days it feels like the wild is out to destroy her, but she’s stronger than she ever imagined.

MrsK's Review:
"There are two beginnings to this story..."
With in her notebook, Jess leads us into her story of survival. So often, life as we knew it is changed by circumstances beyond our control. Jess has been recovering from a fatal car wreck. Her life with her mother is packed safely away for her future and she is flying into the Canadian wilderness to a new life with a father she knows very little about. Learning about survival in her father's world will be brief. Her survival in the wilderness will determine the outcome for her future. Sure, surviving the physical and emotional pain of the wreck took every ounce of grit and determination. Yet, survival on your own... that's an unfolding series of events that determines your next breath. Especially when someone could return to check in on you... or kill you!

Are you ready for a YA survival adventure that will be like no other? Jess is one of those characters that will remain in your literary repertoire for years to come. Survival adventures have a way of helping us to move forward when life seems unbelievably unbearable. Great novels flicker through your mind when you least expect it. Survivors in the wilderness... in wrecks... in family crisis... in self-doubt... so many avenues become "presented" as reminders that life remains worth living. This is a book to keep and shelf next to some of the best survival adventures every penned!

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