Vacation reads for 3rd graders
by: Cece Bell - (Harry N. Abrams, 2014) 248 pages.
Cece Bell lost her hearing at age 4. Now, she wears a hearing aid. The device is big and awkward and it makes fitting in at school difficult. But once she discovers that it lets her hear things others can’t, such as the teacher talking in the next room, she finds a way to fit in with her classmates: by becoming El Deafo, a Listener for All! This sweet and funny memoir, drawn comic-book style and based on the author’s life, is a story about being different and about turning challenges into superpowers.
Perfect for: Helping kids see the silver lining.
Find El Deafo at your local library.
Unusual Chickens for the Exceptional Poultry Farmer
by: Kelly Jones, illustrated by: Katie Kath Yearling - (Dgs edition, 2016) 224 pages.
When Sophie Brown’s family moves from Los Angeles to a small rural town where hers is the only Latino family, she finds herself the caretaker of some very odd chickens. This funny, warm story about family and fitting in is told through Sophie’s letters to her recently deceased Abuelita and great uncle, along with quizzes, newspaper stories, and lists of facts about chickens.
Perfect for: Kids who like realistic fiction with magical chickens.
Find Unusual Chickens for the Exceptional Poultry Farmer at your local library.
The Stories Julian Tells
by: Ann Cameron - (Random House, 1981) 80 pages.
Julian loves to make up tall tales and make his little brother, Huey, believe them. Each chapter in this wonderful early-reader’s chapter book is an individual story and makes for a great introduction to the concept of short stories in general. The tales are imaginative, fun and a great depiction of a loving family in everyday situations. The bite-size length of the chapters keeps the book from feeling overwhelming for a young reader.
Perfect for: Kids who like classics.
Find The Stories Julian Tells at your local library.
Secrets at Sea
by: Richard Peck, illustrated by: Kelly Murphy - (Puffin Books, 2012) 272 pages.
Mice siblings Helena, Louise, Beatrice, and Lamont live in the Cranston house. Though the human Cranstons technically own the house, the mice’s relatives have lived there much, much longer. Helena, who is the oldest, has strict rules for steering clear of the Cranstons Upstairs — and her siblings mostly follow them. But when the Cranstons decide to travel to Europe to marry off daughter Olive, Helena and her siblings decide to make the brave trip (mice don’t like water) across the Atlantic with them.
Perfect for: Animal lovers and future Downton Abbey watchers.
Find Secrets at Sea at your local library.
Milo Speck, Accidental Agent
by: Linda Urban - (HMH Books for Young Readers, 2017) 272 pages.
When a mysterious yellow sock appears in Milo’s laundry basket, he is whisked through the dryer to Ogregon. In this magical land, Milo learns that ogres are kidnapping kids — and that his father isn’t on a business trip after all. Playful talk of bone-crushing and boy-eating may frighten younger or more sensitive readers.
Perfect for: Kids who are thrilled by Roald Dahl.
Find Milo Speck, Accidental Agent at your local library.
by: Emily Jenkins, illustrated by: Harry Bliss - (Balzer + Bray, 2012) 176 pages.
Hank’s new friend, Inkling, is a fuzzy, mischievous bandapat who happens to be invisible. Hank worries about keeping Inkling out of trouble in their New York apartment and at his parents’ ice cream shop. Hank is rewarded when Inkling helps him solve a bully problem at school. Despite the fanciful subject matter, this book has a believable realism that will have you reaching into corners in hopes of discovering an invisible furry friend.
Perfect for: City kids and fanciful thinkers.
Find Invisible Inkling at your local library.
Fall of the Beasts series
by: Eliot Schrefer - (Scholastic, 2015) 192 pages.
The world of Erdas is facing a great evil. Four children must stop it with the help of their spirit animals, legendary beasts who have been reborn to fight the darkness that threatens to take over their world.
Perfect for: New fans of fantasy.
Frankie Pickle and the Closet of Doom
by: Eric Wight - (Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2010) 96 pages.
Frankie’s room is an atrocious mess — and that’s just how he likes it. When his mom tells him he never has to clean it again, the mess grows so big that navigating it becomes a wild adventure, culminating in a trip inside a closet so messy it threatens to overcome him. The first book in a series, this graphic novel is funny and appealing for reluctant readers.
Perfect for: Kids who loved Captain Underpants.
Find Frankie Pickle and the Closet of Doom at your local library.
The Fourteenth Goldfish
by: Jennifer L. Holm - (Random House Books for Young Readers, 2014) 208 pages.
Ellie, a sixth grader, is adjusting to middle school when she meets an unusual boy who turns out to be her grandfather Melvin, a scientist who has figured out how to reverse aging so that he can continue his research. In this sweet family story about believing in the impossible, Ellie falls in love with science and gets to know a new side of her grandfather.
Perfect for: Kids who like stories about families.
Find The Fourteenth Goldfish at your local library.
The 13-Story Treehouse
by: Andy Griffiths, illustrated by: Terry Denton - (Square Fish, 2015) 272 pages.
Imagine your dream treehouse. It probably has a bowling alley, a swimming pool, a game room — and a movie theater, of course. And don’t forget the lemonade fountain and marshmallow machine. Andy and Terry’s treehouse has all of this and more!
The two write books about life in their fantastical treehouse and their slapstick encounters with flying cats, giant bananas, and more. Cartoon-style line drawings and speech bubbles make it a breezy read.
Perfect for: Kids who crack up over goofy humor.
Find The 13-Story Treehouse at your local library.
Secret Coders series
by: Gene Luen Yang, illustrated by: Mike Holmes - (First Second, 2015) 96 pages.
There’s a mystery at Stately Academy and three friends use their coding skills to puzzle it out. This graphic novel, the first in a series, is an entertaining read and a beginner’s guide to programming all in one. The author is the National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature and a MacArthur Fellow, as well as a high school computer programming teacher.
Perfect for: Graphic novel lovers and aspiring programmers.