Books for this age group cover the waterfront not only for subjects but also in readability. Some kids in this range still prefer picture books, but they need more sophisticated content. Some are ready for full-length stories that verge on YA. Thankfully, authors and publishers cover the whole range. Here are a few things that we’re looking forward to reading over the winter.
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Becoming Charlemagne: Europe, Baghdad, and the Empires of A.D. 800 by Jeff Sypeck. Unless you are in a parochial school or in AP history, this isn’t a period of time you know much about. This is a non-fiction book, but it has the look and feel (I skimmed a couple pages) of a novel. The more robust, informative footnotes caught my attention, too. (Ecco, an Imprint of HarperCollins Publishers, 2007) Reading Level – not yet determined
Little Leap Forward, a Boy in Beijing written by Guo Yue and Clare Farrow, illustrated by Helen Cann. I’m sure this book came out in time for the 2008 Summer Olympics, but it just arrived here. This is a middle-grade chapter book set in China during the summer of 1966, and the arrival of the Cultural Revolution. It sounds fascinating. (Barefoot Books, 2008) Reading Level 5.5
Looking at Paintings: An Introduction to Fine Art for Young Readers by Erika Langmuir. What caught my attention was the effort to connect Mickey Mouse and Goofy to fine art. Thumbing through, various classic Disney characters (not the princesses) introduce kids to the elements of paintings and various media. I particularly like that it’s a hand-held book, about the size of an easy reader. (Bunker Hill Publishing, 2002) Reading Level 5.7
The Summer of Cecily written by Nan Lincoln, illustrated by Walt Smith This is a lightly-illustrated, semi-autobiographical story of a Harbor Seal pup who is orphaned and then rescued by a family in Maine. The author, who was part of the rescue, tells the story. When I hold this book, Trumpet of the Swan comes to mind … but I don’t know why. (Bunker Hill Publishing, 2004) Reading Level 4.4