June 10, 2016

Fiction Friday: Chapter 1

Happy Fiction Friday everyone!

Today marks the beginning of the 2016 summertime Fiction Friday link up. I started Fiction Friday five years ago to share the children's books I was reading during the summer. Having a "deadline" to finish books helped me stay on top of my summer reading list, and gave me a platform to share and talk about the many wonderful books I discovered along the way.


I choose my reading list three different ways.  I use the Texas Bluebonnet Nominee List, my district's Battle of the Books list for 4th grade, and recommendations from friends and bloggers around the world. Thank you all for joining in the conversation and sharing the books you love. I'm always excited to return to the classroom in August ready to talk books and share in the joy of reading with my students.

Circus Mirandus
by Cassie Beasley

Circus Mirandus has been on my list from the moment I saw the cover and the title. Who doesn't love a book about a circus, especially a magic circus?

Circus Mirandus is a beautifully written novel that tells the stories Micah Tuttle, his Grandfather Ephraim, and a magical place I want to visit.

Micah has lived with his grandfather since he was young.  As a child, he would listen to his Grandfather's stories about a magical circus. When Grandfather Ephraim gets sick, he confesses to Micah that the circus is REAL and says that he must get a message to The Lightbender, the great circus magician, who has promised Grandfather Ephraim a miracle.  Determined to save his Grandfather's life Micah sets out to find the circus and show all the nonbelievers (mainly his Aunt Gertrudis) that magic is in fact very real.

Cassie Beasley has created a world of wonder and hope that I fell in love with. Like Narnia and Hogwarts, Circus Mirandus is another magical world we get to visit through books. This novel would make a great read aloud in upper elementary. There is a wonderful mix of magic, adventure, friendship, hope, and love. Circus Mirandus will make you believe in magic all over again.

Book Information:
  • Fantasy
  • Grades 4-7
  • 304 pages
  • Guided Reading Level V
  • Lexile Measure 710L
  • Paperback available August 2016

by Katherine Applegate

This was another book that hooked me with the cover! Then, of course, I saw the author and knew I had to read it straight away.

Crenshaw did not disappoint.

Crenshaw is a cat. A seven-foot tall talking cat who shows up whenever Jackson needs a friend to cope with a family crisis. Crenshaw first appears in Jackson's life when he and his family were living out of their car and his father had just been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. He then disappears for a few years before returning to Jackson (now age 10) during another family struggle. Jackson is frustrated when the cat returns and refuses to believe he is real. After all, he's way too old for an imaginary friend! But friends show up for a reason, and Crenshaw's advice is exactly what Jackson and his family need to help them deal with the curve balls life keeps throwing at them.

Jackson is a believable and relateable character. Crenshaw is outrageous and not the cuddly imaginary friend you would expect. Together they captured my heart. Crenshaw tackled some tough topics through humor, friendship, honesty, and love. Another great read! 

Book Information: 
  • Realistic Fiction
  • Grades 4-7
  • 256 pages
  • Guided Reading Level Q
  • Lexile Measure 540L  
Raymie Nightingale
by Kate DiCamillo 

I should probably start by telling you that Kate DiCamillo is one of my favorite authors EVER! I pretty much believe that everything she does is gold. Because of Winn Dixie, The Tiger Rising, Tale of Despereaux, Flora & Ulysses... the list goes on and on. I have loved them all. Raymie Nightingale was no exception.

Set in the summer of 1975, Raymie's father has left her and her mother for a dental hygienist. Raymie is convinced that if she can win the Little Miss Central Florida Tire competition, her father will see her picture in the paper and come home. So, Raymie spends her summer learning to twirl a baton and doing good deeds which leads to some pretty wild shenanigans, unexpected friendships, and a hefty amount of self-discovery and soul searching.

I loved this novel. I loved the way Kate DiCamillo tells her story. The dialogue brings the characters to life and the story of loss, friendship, and love fills you heart to the brim. Beautifully written and expertly executed. It's just another book by Kate DiCamillo. GOLD. If you love her, you'll love Raymie too. 

Book Information:
  • Grades 4-7
  • 272 pages

That's it for this week! More great books coming soon. I've read some truly fantastic chicken books lately AND some creative new twists on old favorites. I can't wait to share.


What have you been reading this week? Month? Year?  Have you read the books above? I'd love to hear your recommendations and thoughts in the comments below. 

Also, don't forget to link up and share some of your favorite books in children's literature. Picture books, graphic novels, chapter books...whatever! We love it all. 

When linking up, please remember to grab the Fiction Friday button and link back to my blog. Also, please choose an image of the books you blogged about for the link. 

Thanks so much and happy reading!


Thank you for taking a moment to share your thoughts!