The Lightning Thief (Percy Jackson and the Olympians #1)

The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan is the first in a series. It is about a boy named Percy Jackson who is having a hard time at boarding school and can’t understand why. Percy’s mother finally tells him the truth about where he is from and she sends him to the one place he’ll be safe, a camp for demigods, Camp Half Blood. Here he meets his dad for the first time, who just happens to be the God of the Sea.

This story relates to the Greek Gods and uses related language, you should keep this in mind if you are not familiar with greek myths. Recommend for children 9 and older, particularly to children interested in the Greek mythology, and in a fantastic fantasy world with swordplay and monsters. The main character, Percy, is easy to identify with and can be seen as a role model with his bravery, loyalty and good heart. This is a great and adventurous tale about identity, discovery, love, bravery, and family.

Resources:

Teach This Book

Lesson Plans

Meet the Author, Book Trailer, Book Readings, Book Guides and More

Cinder

(TBR) Cinder by Marissa Meyer about a a cyborg named Cinder who is looked at as a burden by her stepmother. Even though society views her as a technical malfunction, being a cyborg has allowed her to have some incredible abilities, abilities which has caught the attention of the prince. When Cinder’s stepmother blames her for getting her sick with the plague she volunteers her daughter to scientists, which is considered a death sentence. Will Cinder survive or even greater lead scientists to a profound revelation?

This book is a unique take on the classic Cinderella and is a great story for those that like a little futuristic science fiction fairy tale. I would also recommend it to children 11 and older due to some of the difficult language and concepts that are a little far out. I would also recommend it to those who enjoy a positive and touch female role-model as Cinder is sure to not disappoint. This is also the first and a series.

Resources:

Discussion Questions

About the Author, Book Trailer, Book Guides, Lesson Plans and more

If You Give a Mouse a Cookie

If You Give a Mouse a Cookie is by New York Times Bestselling author Laura Joeffe Numeroff and illustrator Felicia Bond and is the first of the If You Give….series. This is a funny and imaginative tale about a boy who had no idea what he would get himself into by giving a mouse a cookie. Because of corse that wouldn’t be the only thing the mouse would want.

This book has won many awards including the California Young Reader Medal. This book is recommended for all ages but can be a great story to be read along with young readers as young children can practice their emerging reading skills as they anticipate what the mouse will want next. This is a silly, creative, and upbeat story that is sure to be a favorite!

Resources:

Resources and Lesson Plans

Integrating Language Arts Lesson Plan (K-2)

Animated Story

Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH

Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH by Robert C. O’Brien is winner of the 1972 John Newbery Medal, is on the top 100 children’s novels, and has been made into a film in 1982. This book is about a widowed mouse and her four young children and a mother’s will to protect her family. When one of Mrs. Frisby’s son (Timothy) becomes sick with pneumonia she must seek help before the farmer plows the garden….with them in it! Luckily, Mrs. Frisby finds the highly intelligent and advanced society of rats who have developed helpful and human-like skills. Will they be able to help save Mrs. Frisby and her children, even Timothy too?

This adventurous tale is about family, sacrifice, identity, society and class, and transformation. Recommended for children 9 and older, this is a believable tale where you quickly forget is about mice.

Resources:

Book Guides, Lesson Plans, Meet the Author

Guide For Reading/ Assignment Worksheets

My Friend is Sad

My Friend is Sad by New York Times Best Selling Author and Illustrator, Mo Williams is the second in the Elephant and Piggie series. This book is about a talking elephant and pig, friends Gerald and Piggie. This is a beautiful story about Piggie who is trying to cheer up his sad friend Gerald. This is a great story about emotions, how to recognize them through the very detailed facial expressions and body language, and also how you can help others who are feeling sad. This sweet and clever tale about friendship, helping, and how sometimes you just feel sad is recommended for children of all ages. This is especially a great story to children 2 and older because it does an excellent job helping them learn to recognize emotions, an important aspect of social and emotional development.

Resources:

Discussion Questions and Other Ideas

More Elephant and Piggie Books and Activities

The World of Elephant and Piggie

Coraline

Coraline (2002) by Neil Gaiman, is about a young girl named Coraline who is often bored because her parents are always working and she finds herself wishing she had parents who cared about her more. To keep herself busy, Coraline enjoys to go on adventures and explore her new home and there is one room in her flat that she has not been able to open, until her mom unlocks it to show her it is only a brick wall, at least that’s what Coraline thought at first. Later she goes back to the door by herself and discovers that the brick wall is no longer there and instead it leads to a flat that looks just like hers, well almost, even her ‘other parents’ are there except they have buttons for eyes. Everything seems great in this alternative world at first, until her other parents tell her to stay forever, this frightens Coraline and she quickly returns home. Once Coraline is back home she realizes her parents are no longer there and they are in trouble, they have been captured by her ‘other mother’ and she must go back to that dark world and save her parents from that evil and horrible woman and her nasty tricks to prevent her from ever going home again.

I would recommend this story to children with an active imagination, and who can handle stories that are a little darker/creepy. I would recommend it to children ages 8-years-old and older as long as parents know that this story is kind of creepy and they might not want to recommend it to children who are a little more sensitive, or at least be willing to talk to them about it in case they get scared. I would also recommend this story to young girls because it is very empowering as Coraline is very brave and independent and not afraid of anything. She is also very determined and will do anything she sets her mind to. This book was also made into a movie to enhance the story even more.

Resources:

Lesson Plans and Teaching Resources

Teaching Coraline

Where Do Balloons Go? An Uplifting Mystery

Where Do Balloons Go? An Uplifting Mystery by Jamie Lee Curtis and Illustrated by Laura Cornell (2000) was published by Harper Collins Publisher. This book is about the mystery of what happens to balloons when they fly away. This upbeat, silly, and beautifully rhymed story really takes your imagination on a wild adventure. Children of all ages, but particularly those 3 to 8 will love following the wacky things balloons might get into. It helps you see that when you use your imagination you can come up with anything. I love the way it takes something so simple like letting a Balloon go into a journey all over the world, and who’s to say they don’t get lonely, catch a cold, throw a party or travel to the moon? I like this story because it helps kids be kids by letting them use their imagination and believe that anything is possible.

 

Resources:

Other Stories by the Author and Illustrator with Activities

Meet the Author and Illustrator, Book Reading, Book Guides and Lesson Plans

 

A Bad Case of Stripes

A Bad Case of Stripes by David Shannon was published in 1998 by Scholastic (Blue Sky Press). This book is about a young girl named Camilla Cream who is too worried about what others at school think of her. Even though she loves lima beans but won’t eat them because the other kids don’t like them. Camilla wakes up one day and discovers she is covered in stripes. She is told she was well enough to go to school and when she gets there all the other kids make fun of her. It turns out her cure is to eat lima beans and she is instantly turned back to normal. Camilla realizes it is ok to be different and that you should do what you enjoy doing, even if others don’t like it or think you are strange.

This is a great story as it teaches children to accept yourself and to be true to who you are and not be afraid to be different. I would recommend this story to those 4 and over but particularly to children ages 4-9. I think it really helps teach children to accept others even if they are different and that you should never make fun of someone who is different than you but instead we should embrace differences because it makes us who we are.

Resources:

Teaching Ideas for A Bad Case of Stripes

A Bad Case of Bullying, Lesson Plan for A Bad Case of Stripe

The Giver

The Giver, by Lois Lowry (1993), follows 12-year old Jonas who lives in a strict and isolated community that favors sameness. Here everyone is assigned a job that they will have the rest of their life and what the elders, The Committee of Elders, say is always right. To Jonas’ surprise he is assigned the job of becoming the next Receiver of Memory which is the top job in the community. With the help of the current Receiver of Memory, known as The Giver, you follow Jonas as he discovers all the past memories that those in the community have given up. He learns that his seemingly perfect community is not as great as everyone thinks.

The story really makes you think and it provides the opportunity for a lot of thoughtful discussions. This book is high quality because it highlights the importance of individuality and acceptance of those who are different in a very thought provoking and unconventional way. I would recommend this book to those 11 and older as some of the material is more mature and abstract.

 

Published by Houghton Mifflin

Resources

The Giver Classroom Activities

The Giver Lesson Plan

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