July 1, 2016

Fiction Friday: Chapter 4

Hello fellow book lovers! 

Welcome back to the 4th installment of Fiction Friday 2016!


Fiction Friday: Chapter 4 means this is the 4th week of summer. Eek! That means one month of summer has come and gone. I don't feel ready for summer to be half-way over, do you?  I'm having way too much fun reading good books, laying out by the pool, and relaxing with a glass of wine and Netflix. :)

I still have lots of great books to share with you. Last week, Fiction Friday was all about chicken literature. This week I'm excited to share a handful of powerful reads for upper and middle grades.

The Crossover

by Kwame Alexander

The Crossover arrived in my birthday box from my best friend back in February. There was a note on top demanding that I put down the trashy YA series I was reading to read this.  She was right, as was the Newbery Committee and the Corretta Scott King Committee. :)


Written entirely in prose, this book will win you over in an instant. I couldn't put it down. It's a story of basketball, family, and ultimately growing up. I'm not sure I could ever fully describe the feeling I had while reading this book. The poetry was powerful. I could feel the beat and the strength of the words reverberate through me as I devoured each page, each poem.

This book begs to be read aloud, even if you are the only one in the room. It would be an incredible addition to any poetry unit in upper elementary and middle school. Geared toward 5th grade and up, this book will make everyone, but especially boys, fall in love with poetry. As a 4th grade teacher, I may not read the whole book aloud to my class, but I will certainly pull excerpts to share during our poetry study.

Check out Kwame Alexander's website to learn more about him, his books, and his teacher resources. This guy is amazing!

Book Information:
  • Poetry/Realistic Fiction
  • Grades 5-7 
  • 240 pages
  • Lexile Level 750L
  • Guided Reading Level Z


by R.J. Palacio

I finally read it! In fact, my 4th graders and I took this journey together as one of our read alouds this year.

As I'm sure you've heard, Wonder is the story of Auggie Pullman, a 10-year-old with a facial deformity that prevented him from attending mainstream school most of his life. Wonder follows his story as he bravely ventures into Beecher Prep, where he must face new situations, students, and parents. Told from different perspectives throughout the novel and filled with characters that will leave a lasting impression on you, Wonder gives the reader a rare opportunity to see characters in their entirety. They are dynamic, complex, filled with internal struggle, and a raw honesty that brings understanding, compassion, empathy, and acceptance. 

Powerful. Memorable. Important. 

Wonder is an incredible platform for classroom discussions about acceptance, kindness, courage, understanding, and love. This is a must-read for everyone!

Exciting News!  Wonder is being turned into a movie starring Julia Roberts and Owen Wilson - due to come out April 2017.  Stephen Chbosky, the author and director of The Perks of Being a Wallflower is directing. No trailer yet, but keep your eyes peeled.  :)

Book Information:
  • Realistic Fiction
  • Grades 5-7 
  • 310 pages
  • Lexile Level 790L
  • Guided Reading Level U

Small Steps: The Year I Got Polio

by Peg Keret

Small Steps is the autobiography of another favorite author of mine, Peg Kehret.  Truth be told, I have probably read this book at least five times. It is one of my go-to read alouds for 4th and 5th grade because it is so different from the typical read aloud and it is always a hit with the kids!

In this captivating memoir, the reader is transported back to 1949, where 12-year-old Peg is suddenly struck ill and finds herself diagnosed with not one, but three different kinds of polio.  She is paralyzed from the neck down and unable to breathe well on her own.  As the story progresses, the reader learns about the symptoms, treatments, and effects of polio.  Kehret paints a vivid picture of the struggles and successes she faced while recovering with humor and honesty. A true story of survival, grit, and perseverance, you will be rooting for Peg and her friends for the beginning. 

Students will beg you to keep reading and then rush to the library to check out all of her books. Please be warned though, some kids get very worried about Polio while reading this book.  You may want to quickly address the history of polio and the vaccine to reassure kids that they will not get sick.  Either way, when you read the chapter where she finds herself paralyzed they will all start moving their legs just to double check.

Check out Peg Kehret's website for more information on her books for middle grades and click here to read my Fiction Friday post of Escaping the Giant Wave.
Book Information:
  • Autobiography/Memoir
  • Grades 3-8
  • 179 pages
  • Lexile Level 890L

As always, thank you for joining me for another installment of Fiction Friday.

Please share your thoughts on these books and recommendations below.

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

For more great books, please visit the Fiction Friday Archive or click through this year's Fiction Friday Link-Up below!

Happy Reading!


  1. I absolutely LOVED The Crossover when I read it last year. So much that his newest book "Booked" was on my to-read list for months. I got my hands on it last week and read it in one sitting. It is just as amazing.

    Math is Elementary

    1. I agree. It was an absolutely incredible read and so different from anything else I've read. Loved it!

  2. I love reading children's fiction books! I am late to the party but, I am so looking forward to reading your post on the books you have read thus far. I will be posting my read this evening. Summer is super busy:)
    2 Smart Wenches

    1. Hi Martha! I'm so happy we have connected. Children's literature is my favorite genre. I can't wait to see what you've been reading and loving lately. Thank you so much for joining the fun!

  3. I teach middle school, and my students, boys especially, absolutely love it..... even though it is more like poetry than prose. One young man who is a reluctant reader asked if he can read a page aloud to the class each day after recess.



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