Centerburg Tales by Robert McCloskey. Viking, 1979, 191 pages. Reading Level: Middle Grades, 8-10 Maturity Level: 2 (ages 4-8) and up Centerburg Tales is set in the same, small Midwestern town as Homer Price and uses many of the same characters. While Homer Price, though fiction, has a down-home, realistic feel of a boy’s experience, […]
I Can Read! Made by God series, edited by Mary Hassinger. Zonderkidz, 2010-2011, 32 pages. Reading Level: Easy/Leveled Readers, Ages 4-8 Maturity Level: Level 2 (Ages 4-8) Each volume in this God-honoring nonfiction series describes four fascinating creatures with plenty of interesting details and colorful photos. The wisdom and goodness of God in his […]
Zane and the Hurricane: a Story of Katrina, by Rodman Philbrick. Scholastic, 2014, 181 pages. Reading Level: Middle Grades, ages 11-12 Maturity Level: 4 Zane does not want to spend a couple of weeks in New Orleans—Smellyville, he dubs it—but his mom has just discovered an almost-relative of his late father there and insists he […]
Almost Super, by Marion Jensen. Harper, 2014, 251 pages. Reading Level: Middle Grades, Ages 8-12 Maturity Level: 3 (ages 8-10) Every four years, on February 29, the Baileys of Split Rock gather for the adolescent members (12 and older) to receive their specials powers. It always happens at 4:23 p.m.: a flash of light, and […]
Curiosity, by Gary Blackwood. Dutton, 2014, 310 pages. Reading Level: Middle Grades, Ages 11-12, Young Adult, ages 12-14 Maturity Level: 5 (Ages 12-14) Philadelphia, 1836: Rufus Goodspeed has led a sheltered life as the only child of his sheltered father, a Methodist minister. Partially crippled from birth (which birth also took his mother), Rufus feels […]
How do you use the label “anti-war?” As in, “Saving Private Ryan is the best anti-war movie ever made, or “All Quiet on the Western Front ranks at the top of anti-war literature.” In 1969, Edwin Starr’s Motown song “War” became a huge hit. Its theme was simplicity itself: WAR! What is it good for? […]
The Warden and the Wolf King, by Andrew Peterson. Rabbit Room Press, 2014, 519 pages. Reading Level: Young Adult, ages 12-14 Maturity Level: 3 and up (from age 10) Janner, Kalmar, and Leeli are the children of Nia and Esben Wingfeather, though they never knew their father. Esben was once the High King of Anniera, […]
The Great Greene Heist, by Varian Johnson. Scholastic, 2014, 226 pages. Age/interest level: 9-13. Everybody loves a con man, as long as they’re not the ones getting conned. Jackson Greene already has this reputation at Maplewood Middle School. If any elaborate pranks have been played, he was “allegedly” behind it. He comes by his talents […]
While we’re gearing up for our summer reading challenge (still time to sign up!) the kids may be looking around for something to read. Fiction comes to mind—what a great time to catch up with Percy Jackson or Greg Heffley! Or not. Though lighthearted fantasy or humor seems right for summer, don’t neglect nonfiction. Kids […]
The Shakespeare Stealer (1998), Shakespeare’s Scribe (2000), and Shakespeare’s Spy (2003), by Gary Blackwood. Penguin Group; Puffin Books. Age/interest level: 12-16. True story: in 1998 I was shopping around a manuscript about a 14-year-old boy in 16th-century London who through a series of happy misfortunes becomes an actor in William Shakespeare’s theater company. Before starting […]
When I was a child I read large numbers of mysteries and was always somewhat irritated when I had to go to math class. I did just fine in math class, but all that specificity got in the way of my more verbal and creative side. If you have children that sound like this–or, believe it […]
Subscribe / Connect
- Summer Reading Challenge Finale & Prizes July 28, 2014
- Reviewing School Book Lists, Part One August 6, 2014
- Interview with J. B. Cheaney & Giveaway! September 9, 2014
- Thoughts on The Giver August 2, 2014
- The Giver: Radio Review & Resource Round Up August 14, 2014
- Janie: Sweet!...
- Shawna Morrow: I teach 6th grade language arts at a Christian ele...
- Steph M: My daughter is SO into birds right now and is curi...
- Kara: Thank you for this review! Since I was a classics ...
- Betsy: Great comparison, Steph! I thought of Andy Griffit...