In keeping with Kwame Alexander’s recommendation that poetry can often draw young people into enjoying books, our volunteers have compiled some favorites:
Tree: a Peek-Through Picture Book by Britta Teckentrup
“A book with peek-through holes that let a child view the changes in a tree throughout the four seasons”
Bear’s Big Day by Salina Yoon
Bear, feeling very grown-up, says goodbye to his stuffed rabbit, Floppy, and starts his first day of school, but soon he is missing Floppy and worrying that he is not ready to be a big bear, after all.
An Elephant in the Garden by Michael Morpurgo
Author Morpurgo was inspired by several true events to weave this tale of a family escaping the Dresden bombing with…… an elephant! The tale is recounted to a young boy when he visits a nursing home and befriends one of the residents. This is an engrossing story of a family’s perseverance during WWII.
Recommended by Mary Kay Bond.
The Pout Pout Fish by Deborah Diesen
A rollicking read aloud sure to delight toddlers with a “join in” refrain. Additionally, the book provides children with exposure to a rich, descriptive vocabulary.
Recommended by Mary Kay Bond.
Kindergarten to Second Grade
Green Pants by Kenneth Kraegel
Jameson refuses to wear pants that are not green, until he has to choose between wearing his green pants and wearing a tuxedo with black pants so that he can be in his cousin’s wedding.
Sophie’s Squash Goes to School by Pat Zietlow Miller & Anne Wilsdorf
On her very first day of school, Sophie is reluctant to make friends with the other children, preferring to play with two squash she grew in her garden — but when a particularly persistent boy named Steven gives her a packet of seeds as an apology for accidentally ripping her picture, she realizes that it just takes time to grow a friend.
Third to Fourth Grade
Ada Byron Lovelace and the Thinking Machine by Laurie Wallmark
This book offers an illustrated telling of the story of Ada Byron Lovelace, from her early creative fascination with mathematics and science and her devastating bout with measles, to the ground-breaking algorithm she wrote for Charles Babbage’s analytical engine.
Sojo: Memoirs of a Reluctant Sled Dog by Pam Flowers
A sled dog on an Alaskan dog team relates her exciting adventures, including a trek across the Arctic with explorer Pam Flowers
Nancy Clancy Late-Breaking News! by Jane O’Connor
When she decides that the articles in the latest issue of the Third Grade Gazette are not interesting enough, Nancy sets out to find some news worth reporting on.
Fifth to Sixth Grade
Because of Mr. Terupt by Rob Buyea
“Please let my teacher be okay.” In a harrowing split second, the lives of Anna (the shy one), her Snow Hill School classmates, and their inventive, perceptive, and enigmatic new teacher are forever altered. Yet, even in his absence, Mr. Terupt continues to teach his class the importance of looking beyond stereotypes, and the value of forgiveness. Rob Buyea’s debut novel won an E.B. White Read Aloud Award and has spawned two popular sequels.
Recommended by Bob Fleenor, Berkeley County board member and RAWV volunteer reader.
Crenshaw by Katherine Applegate
Jackson and his family have fallen on hard times. There’s no more money for rent, and not much for food, either. His parents, his little sister, and their dog may have to live in their minivan. Again. Crenshaw is a cat. He’s large, he’s outspoken, and he’s imaginary. He’s been gone for four years, but has come back into Jackson’s life to help him. Can an imaginary friend be enough to save this family from losing everything?
I Dissent: Ruth Bader Ginsburg Makes Her Mark by Debbie Levy
Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has spent a lifetime disagreeing: disagreeing with inequality, arguing against unfair treatment, and standing up for what’s right for people everywhere. This biographical picture book about the Notorious RBG tells the justice’s story through the lens of her many famous dissents, or disagreements.
Towers Falling by Jewell Parker Rhodes
While learning about September 11th, fifth grader Dèja (born after the attacks) realizes how much the events still color her world.
Unless otherwise noted, recommendations are by Terry McDougal, Kanawha County Public Library’s Head of Children’s Services. See more about these books and others on our website.