General Fiction

Rating

Difficulty

Chester [INFER & VISUALIZE]

by Watt, Melanie

General Fiction

Difficulty: Easy Reading

INFER & VISUALIZE

“Chester is more than a picture book. It is a story told, and retold, by dueling author-illustrators. Melanie Watt starts out with the story of a mouse in a house. Then Melanie’s cat, Chester, sends the mouse packing and proceeds to cover the pages with rewrites from his red marker, and the gloves are off. Melanie and her mouse won’t take Chester’s antics lying down. And Chester is obviously a creative powerhouse with confidence to spare. Where will this war of the picture-book makers lead? Is it a one-way ticket to Chesterville, or will Melanie get her mouse production off the ground?”

Age Range: 4 – 8

Recommended by Joan Kindig, Ed.D

Easy Reading
Chester

Chicken Feathers [ASK QUESTIONS]

by Cowley, Joy

General Fiction

Difficulty: Challenging

ASK QUESTIONS

“A talking chicken! Josh knows it sounds ridiculous, but that’s just what Semolina is. And she’s not just a talking chicken . . . she’s a spirited, sarcastic, sassy-talking chicken. And with Josh’s mom in the hospital about to give birth to his sister, Josh needs Semolina more than ever, even if she will only talk in front of him. But when Semolina tells him that a fox is sneaking into the hen house at night, can Josh get his dad to believe in Semolina before it’s too late?”

Age Range: 8 – 11

Lexile 177

Recommended by Joan Kindig, Ed.E.

Challenging
Chicken Feathers

Dovey Coe [ASK QUESTIONS]

by Dowell, Frances O’Roark

General Fiction

Difficulty: Challenging

ASK QUESTIONS

When accused of murder in her North Carolina mountain town in 1928, Dovey Coe, a strong-willed twelve-year-old girl, comes to a new understanding of others, including her deaf brother. She attempts to set the record straight about the death of her sister’s suitor.

Age Range: 9 – 12

Challenging
Dovey Coe

Ducky [ACTIVATE & CONNECT]

by Bunting, Eve

General Fiction

Difficulty: Average

ACTIVATE & CONNECT

“As the author’s note explains, a true story inspired this plucky survival tale: in 1992, a crate of 29,000 bath toys washed overboard from a Hong Kong cargo ship, and hundreds of the toys have since turned up on beaches, primarily in Alaska. Here one of those toys gives his account. “I am a yellow plastic duck and I am in great danger,” begins Ducky. Bunting (Smoky Night) uses simple declarative sentences that emphasize the plump duck’s fear and isolation. He is nearly eaten by a shark and his brightly colored toy friends inadvertently abandon him. Finally buffeted onto a beach where many of his shipwrecked pals are likewise drifting ashore, Ducky is picked up by a friendly boy who takes him home to the bathtub, his destiny.”

Age Range: 4 – 8

Lexile: 0440L

Recommended by Joan Kindig, Ed.D.

Average
Ducky

He Came with the Couch [INFER & VISUALIZE]

by Slonim, David

General Fiction

Difficulty: Easy Reading

INFER & VISUALIZE

“Nothing says comfy like a couch. But what if the family sofa comes with a wacky-looking blue creature instead of a decorative pillow? Such is the dilemma faced by a family in this quirky picture book. When young Sophie’s overzealous pup, Roscoe, chomps up the old couch, the search is on for a replacement. Dad finds the perfect model at the rummage yard even though a blue Muppet-like fellow seems permanently attached to it. Back at home, Sophie’s family can’t get any response from the guy-who, doctors say, suffers from extreme “upholsterosis,” the ultimate couch-potato state-until an urgent situation arises and the family’s new blue buddy saves Sophie from harm.”

Age Range: 3 – 8

Recommended by Joan Kindig, Ed.D.

Easy Reading
He Came with the Couch

I’m the Biggest Thing in the Ocean [INFER & VISUALIZE]

by Sherry, Kevin

General Fiction

Difficulty: Easy Reading

INFER & VISUALIZE

“Sherry’s illustrations are refreshingly uncluttered, with colorful shapes rendered in watercolor, cut paper and ink, making it easy for young children to follow the story. Clever composition amplifies the squid’s size: he’s too big to fit in his own book. He even dwarfs a gatefold spread, which extends to reveal a parade of fish that are all, of course, smaller than he is! Sherry’s story is a simple, infectious delight, with wonderful comic timing and repetition that will encourage children to chant along.”

Ages: 3 – 8

Recommended by Joan Kindig, Ed.D.

Easy Reading
I'm the Biggest Thing in the Ocean

Invention of Hugo Cabret [INFER & VISUALIZE]

by Selznick, Brian

General Fiction

Difficulty: Challenging

INFER & VISUALIZE

“Orphan, clock keeper, and thief, Hugo lives in the walls of a busy Paris train station, where his survival depends on secrets and anonymity. But when his world suddenly interlocks with an eccentric, bookish girl and a bitter old man who runs a toy booth in the station, Hugo’s undercover life and his most precious secret are put in jeopardy. A cryptic drawing, a treasured notebook, a stolen key, a mechanical man, and a hidden message from Hugo’s dead father form the backbone of this intricate, tender, and spellbinding mystery.”

More than 500 pages, but “makes for quick reading because Selznick’s amazing drawings take up most of the book.”

– Winner of the 2008 Caldecott Medal

Age Range: 8 – 11

Recommended by Joan Kindig, Ed.D.

Challenging
Invention of Hugo Cabret

Meerkat Mail [INFER & VISUALIZE]

by Gravett, Emily

General Fiction

Difficulty: Easy Reading

INFER & VISUALIZE

“Sunny Meerkat lives in the Kalahari desert with his family. Under the hot sun, Sunny and his brothers and sisters work together, play together, eat together, learn together, and sleep together. Sunny needs a break, so he decides to take a trip to visit some relatives. Through a series of postcards – that actually flip open for children to read – Sunny documents his journey for his family. But as he travels from the barnyard through the forest to the city, Sunny realizes there’s no place like home.”

Age Range: 4 – 8

Recommended by Joan, Kindig, Ed.D.

Easy Reading
Meerkat Mail

Not a Box [INFER & VISUALIZE]

by Portis, Antionette

General Fiction

Difficulty: Easy Reading

INFER & VISUALIZE

“A box is just a box . . . unless it’s not a box. From mountain to rocket ship, a small rabbit shows that a box will go as far as the imagination allows.

Inspired by a memory of sitting in a box on her driveway with her sister, Antoinette Portis captures the thrill when pretend feels so real that it actually becomes real – when the imagination takes over and inside a cardboard box, a child is transported to a world where anything is possible.”

Age Range: 3 – 7

Recommended by Joan Kindig, Ed.D.

Easy Reading
Not a Box

Pigs Make Me Sneeze! [ACTIVATE & CONNECT]

by Willems, Mo

General Fiction

Difficulty: Easy Reading

ACTIVATE & CONNECT

“Elephant and Piggie are back, in their tenth mini-drama. In this episode, Elephant’s sneezing convinces him that he is allergic to pigs and therefore must be apart from his friend – forever! Doctor Cat diagnoses the sneezes as a cold rather than an allergy. Excitedly, Elephant rushes to tell Piggie the news, and we see in the last frame and the endpapers that Piggie now shares her friend’s illness. Like a popular TV situation comedy, the combination of the familiar (the expressive comic-book art, the limited vocabulary of only 71 unique words) with the new (a fresh dilemma with the friendship at the core) will please current fans and draw in new ones.”

Age Range: 4 – 8 Lexile: AD40L

Recommended by Joan Kindig, Ed.D.

Easy Reading
Pigs Make Me Sneeze!

T4 [ASK QUESTIONS]

by LeZotte, Ann Clare

General Fiction

Difficulty: Challenging

ASK QUESTIONS

“Thirteen year-old Paula Becker is deaf, a death sentence in Germany in 1939, because the Nazi regime orders the killing of anyone who is disabled or mentally ill. With the help of their priest, Paula’s parents send her into hiding, first to live with a retired schoolteacher, and then to a homeless shelter, where she meets “Poor Kurt.” Paula and Poor Kurt become friends, enduring hardship and loss over the course their stay at the shelter. After the war, Paula returns home and brings Poor Kurt with her. She learns his real name is Walthar, that he had disguised himself as an old beggar, but is really a young man. He gets work on a nearby farm and a few years later, he and Paula marry. Though they are happy, their guilt over surviving while so many perished, persists. Written in graceful free verse in Paula’s voice, this is a riveting account of yet another horror of the Holocaust.”

Age Range: 12 and up

Recommended by Joan Kindig, Ed.D.

Challenging
T4

Waiting for Normal [DETERMINE IMPORTANCE]

by O’Connor, Leslie

General Fiction

Difficulty: Challenging

DETERMINE IMPORTANCE

Funny but sophisticated book.

“Connor treats the subject of child neglect with honesty and grace in this poignant story. Addie’s stepfather, Dwight, has always been the responsible one in the family. But after he and her mother divorce, and he gets custody of Addie’s two younger half-sisters, it’s up to Addie, a sixth-grader, to keep order in the tiny trailer that Dwight has found for Addie and her mother. While her mother disappears for days at a time with her new boyfriend, Addie cultivates friendships with people she meets at a neighboring convenience store, but the affection she receives from others doesn’t compensate for the absence of love in her home. Addie works hard to fill the void her volatile mother creates, and Addie’s attempts to make things “normal” result in some of the most moving scenes: she keeps the cabinets full by putting empty boxes of food on the shelf “for show.” In such moments Connor shows both the extent to which Addie has been abandoned and just how resilient and resourceful she is.”

Age Range: 12 and up

Recommended by Joan Kindig, Ed.D.

Challenging
Waiting for Normal