June 15, 2012

Introducing Fiction Fridays: A Celebration of Children's Literature


  
How many of y'all use the summer months to get caught up on reading?

From the trashy beach reads (um..yes... Fifty Shades of Grey) to the professional resources (CAFE)... I always have a book or my Kindle in hand.  BUT...I also try to use the summer months to stay current on children's literature so I can guide my students with book choices in the fall.

However, it's IM-possible to keep up with ALL the books out there. So, let's all pull together and share some the books we have read, are currently reading, or will read this summer.

Through Fiction Fridays we will learn about great new characters, a well-written new series, books that lend themselves to great lessons, and find mucho books to add to our Amazon wish lists!  I'm so excited that I am going to use multiple exclamation marks!!!!!

First up...


Hamster Magic by Lynne Jonell

Hamster Magic is a charming story about four siblings that move to a new house and discover a talking hamster.  It turns out the hamster can grant them one wish and Celia, the youngest, wishes to be big.  This inadvertently turns her into a very large hamster with all the bad habits of a hamster. Desperate to keep the secret from their parents, the kids set off on an adventure to find the Great Hamster and turn their sister back into a little girl.

Hamster Magic is part of the Magic Mix-Up Series by Lynne Jonell who also wrote Emmy and the Incredible Shrinking Rat.  I was pleasantly surprised by this book and enjoyed myself completely while reading it.  It was well written with very realistic dialogue.  I think it would make a great read aloud, especially in a K-2 classroom.  It is a beginning chapter book, but as those go, I thought it had a lot more heart and style.  I will be looking for more in this series. (RL 3.2)
Next up...
EllRay Jakes is NOT a Chicken! by Sally Warner

The back of the book reads, "EllRay Jakes may be the smallest kind in Ms. Sanchez's third-grade class, but he has a big personality!"  I couldn't have said it better myself.  He reminds me of sooo many of my students.  The story follows EllRay in his struggle to stay out of trouble and earn his trip to Disneyland. But staying out of trouble becomes even more difficult for EllRay when Jared, the biggest kid in 3rd grade, starts bullying him. The good news is that he only has to make it until Friday.

EllRay Jakes is NOT a Chicken is the first in a new series by Sally Warner. I enjoyed it for many reasons.  First, how many beginning chapter books have you read with an African-American protagonist?  Not many, right? EllRay is a breath of fresh air. He is witty and very easy for kid to relate to.  His narration sets a great pace for the novel and he has fantastic voice.  I feel like I know him.  I would definitely use this book for a writing lesson on voice and character description.  It would be a great read aloud and sets the stage for discussions around racial issues and bullying.  Overall, EllRay is an extremely likable character and I will be looking for more his books in the future. (RL 3.0)

Both of these books are Bluebonnet Nominees for 2012-2013. 
For more information about the Bluebonnet Award click here!

So, what children's books have you read recently?  From pictures books to chapter books, please link up and share your thoughts, reviews, and opinions of other children's books that you have read lately. 

My Amazon wishlist is already on standby. Woot! Woot!

Be sure to link back to me on your post so that we can get as many people as possible to join our party. Spread the word!

15 comments:

  1. Oh my gosh, Amanda. Do you have *any* idea how helpful this is? I can tell you a million great books for Firsties, but come up a little dry with intermediates. Now I have a good place to start!

    Heather
    www.peacocksandpenguins.blogspot.com

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    1. Oh good! Hopefully lots of other teachers will link up and we can learn about all kinds of great books. Don't worry I've got you covered on the intermediate end. Spread the word!

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  2. This is a great idea! I had a student who read these books in May and she told me all about them. I've been wanted to know a little more and then they pop up on your blog! These are also great chapter books for higher readers in the lower grades. I find that it is hard to get age appropriate fiction chapter books for some of my higher readers. (I'm talking 3rd grade and above reading level but they are still 6 & 7) These books are great for those kind of kids!

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    1. Absolutely! Content can definitely be a concern when you have kids on high reading levels. What I liked about both of these books was their wide range of appeal. I really think both could be enjoyed K-4. 5th grade might be pushing it. :) ~Amanda

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  3. I would love to be a part of this. I make it my goal to read all of the Sunshine State Young Readers Award books during the summer so that I can find good read alouds, make recommendations and participate in book talk with my students since these books are very popular at my school. I would love to tell you about the books as I complete them. I actually already blogged about one of the books, Trouble with Chickens by Doreen Cronin back in May if you want to check out my blog.
    : ) Nicole
    www.mrscorbitt.blogspot.com

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    1. Awesome! I am doing something similar, but trying to read all of the 4th grade Battle Books in my district. This way I have to finish by Friday. :) Glad you are going to join us.

      P.S. I've heard Trouble with Chickens is good. I mean how much do you LOVE (like big time love) Doreen Cronin. Click, Clack, Moo is still one of my very favorites!

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  4. This is such a great idea! Thank you so much for sharing! I plan on joining this linky party soon. And I am glad to see authors are writing stories with African American leads!

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    1. Can't wait for you to link up! :)

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  5. Thank you so much for sharing. I love this idea. :) This is an amazing idea. I so want to be apart of this. :) You rock!

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    1. Haha! You win my favorite comment of day award. Feel free to link up anytime this week and if you miss this week, you always have next Friday. Happy reading!

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  6. Ha! I'm part of the trashy beach reads crew! I just bought 50 Shades of Grey today so I can read it on my vacay! I will definitely try & link up with the children's book reviews when I get back!
    Lisa
    Learning Is Something to Treasure

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    1. Awesome! Both to Shades of Grey and future book reviews! Looking forward to your post.

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  7. Love your blog title! :) I also plan to link up and I'm your newest follower! :)

    Josh
    Mr. B's Beach Brains

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  8. Love this!!! What a wonderful idea. I am your newest follower. :)

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  9. This is a fantastic idea, thank you so much!

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Thank you for taking a moment to share your thoughts!