Pippi Longstocking


Bibliographic Info: Lindgren, A., & Glanzman, L. S. (1950). Pippi Longstocking. New York: Viking Press.

Annotation: Pippi has lived her whole life at sea.  Her Dad vanishes out at sea and Pippi is left on her own.  She moves to sweden with her monkey and horse.  Having spent her life at sea she doesn’t know much about manners and customs of living on land.  She encounters some very funny situations while trying to learn the ways of life on land.

Genre: Fiction

Grade Level: 5-8

Readers who will like this book: Any reader I feel would like this book.  It is very humorous and they could easily relate to it.

Response/Rating: This book was very funny.  It was a quick read yet very entertaining. I would give this book a 4.

Question: If you were living on your own right now, what would be the first fun thing you would do?

Posted By: Natalie Gannon


The Trumpet of the Swan


Bibliographic Info:  Lees, B., & White, E. B. (1976). The trumpet of the swan. London: Boosey & Hawkes.

Annotation:  Louis is a special trumpeter swan.  He cannot speak and struggles to communicate with others.  He befriends Sam, a young boy who lives near by and Sam takes him to school with him to help him learn to read and write.  Though no other swan can read or write so Louis is still very lonely.  His Dad steals a trumpet for him and he becomes a huge success.  He moves to the Ritz and gets 500 dollars a week to play the trumpet.  His only interest is in Serena, his crush.  Finally they meet and he plays for her and they fall in love.

Genre: Fiction

Grade Level: 5-8

Readers who will like this book: Any reader with an interest in animals and love stories would like this book.

Response/Rating: I enjoyed this book very much.  It was fun to read about the adventures of a cute swan and his adventures in love.

Question: How do you think it would feel to not be able to communicate with anyone?

Posted By: Natalie Gannon

Where the Red Fern Grows


Bibliographic Info: Rawls, W. (1974). Where the red fern grows. New York: Bantam.

Annotation:  A young boy Billy dreams of having his own dogs to hunt with.  He saves up enough money and get Old Dan and Little Anne.  They are very good hunters and he becomes best friends with them.  Their time together is fast paced and rewarding, yet they see some hardships.  A friend/rival loses his life and the dogs have a few close calls themselves.

Genre: Fiction

Readers who will like this book: Young boys who are interested in hunting would really enjoy this book.  Also anyone who has a soft spot for dogs will enjoy this.  It will be sad for them, but overall it would be worth it.

Response/Rating: I loved this book.  I read it when I was much younger and it is even better reading it a second time years later.  I would give this book a 5.

Question: What would you say defines a friendship? Loyalty? Fun? Common interests?

Posted By: Natalie Gannon

Flowers for Algernon


Bibliographic Information: Keyes, D. Flowers for Algernon. (1966). Orlando: Harcourt, Inc.

Brief Annotation: Charlie Gordon, a man with a severe mental disability and “friends” who make fun of him, volunteers to be the first human subject for a brain-enhancing surgery.  He becomes fast friends with a mouse, Algernon, who had gone through the same experiment.  He rapidly rises to the level of an intellectual genius and makes many contributions to the professional world, nearly falls in love, and then regresses again as the old Charlie within himself screams to be let out.

Genre: Free Choice (Chapter)

Grade Level: 8

Readers who will like this: Students who like reading about modern scientific advancements, students who like reading about “the underdog.”

Rating/Response: 4. Another great book.  This one should probably receive parental permission before high school, as there are some adult themes, but it would be very enlightening for many students.

One question you would ask before a read aloud: Think about a time others made you feel inadequate, even if you didn’t deserve it?  How did it make you feel, and what would you have done to feel adequate?

Posted by: Iliya Hoffert

Where the Red Fern Grows


Bibliographic Information: Rawls, W. Where the Red Fern Grows. (1961). New York: Yearling.

Brief Annotation: Billy is the son of a farmer in the Ozark Mountains during the depression, and when he has saved up enough money, he buys two hunting hounds, Old Dan and Little Ann.  Together, they hunt a great many raccoons and win a large local tournament, but then tragedy strikes during an encounter with a mountain lion.  However, the legend of the red fern comes true.

Genre: Free Choice (Chapter)

Grade Level: 4-6

Readers who will like this: Students who like heartwarming tales or reading about the successes of people around their age.

Rating/Response: 5. I absolutely loved this book.  It has a great message, and there is quite a bit for students to learn.  This would make a great read aloud.

One question you would ask before a read aloud: Have you ever saved up your money to buy something you really wanted?  How did it feel?

Posted by: Iliya Hoffert

The Secret Tree


Bibliographic Information: Standiford, N. (2012). The secret tree. New York: Scholastic Press.

Brief Annotation: This is the story of Minty, her neighborhood friends and the summer that she found a tree filled with secrets. Then, the drama and mystery begin. Minty is on a quest to find out which secret belongs to which neighborhood kid.

Genre: Free Choice (Chapter)

Grade Level: 5-8

Readers who will like this: Children who can relate to the ups and downs of friendships

Rating/Response: 5. I think kids will like this book because it is easily relatable. There are also very memorable characters in it that will remind children of their own friends and neighborhoods.

One question you would ask before a read aloud: Do you think sharing secrets is a good thing or a bad thing?

Posted by: Christina Angell

Cold Tom


Bibliographic Information: Prue, S. Cold Tom. (2002). U.K.: Oxford University Press.

Brief Annotation: Tom, a member of an elfin Tribe, flees from his ostracism.  His only place to go is the land of the demons the elves’ hated enemies, but he is only part demon.  As the Tribe searches for him in order to kill him, he must befriend two demons his age in order to escape.

Genre: Free Choice (Chapter)

Grade Level: 5-8

Readers who will like this: Students who are interested in fantasy stories of magic and non-human characters, such as those in The Lord of the Rings.

Rating/Response: 3. A very interesting read, though not my favorite out of the fantasy literature I have read.  Tom and the other characters, however, are very interesting in their own unique way, and I enjoyed reading it.  This would be a book I would recommend if students were looking for a book to read.

One question you would ask before a read aloud: Have you ever had to make a desperate decision or do something that you didn’t want to in order to avoid something worse?

Posted by: Iliya Hoffert

Three Times Lucky


Bibliographic Information: Turnage, S. (2012). Three times lucky. New York: Dial Books for Young Readers.

Brief Annotation: Miss Moses LoBeau washed up to shore in a hurricane years ago and has been adopted by the Colonel and Miss Lana and has made a family with them. After police come to town asking her family about a murder, she does everything she can to protect them.

Genre: Free Choice (Chapter)

Grade Level: 4-6

Readers who will like this: Readers who love mystery!

Rating/Response: 4. Kids who love mysteries will love this book! It is full of it. It takes place in the south so there are funky names and accents that are used so students would have to get used to it.

One question you would ask before a read aloud: Has anyone ever been or known someone who has been caught in a hurricane or witnessed one?

Posted by: Christina Angell

The Lions of Little Rock


Bibliographic Information: Levine, K., & Ericsson, A. B. (2012). The lions of Little Rock. New York: G. P. Putnam’s Sons.

Brief Annotation: This is the story of two friends overcoming society’s views during the integration of Little Rock, Arkansas schools in the year 1958.

Genre: Free Choice (chapter)

Grade Level: 3-5

Readers who will like this: Readers who like historical fiction

Rating/Response: 4. This is a great book for learning about the integration of African Americans into white schools during the Civil Rights Movement. I think kids would like this story. It’s not a true story but something like this could have happened during this time and maybe some children can relate!

One question you would ask before a read aloud: Does anyone know what integration means?

Posted by: Christina Angell

Charlotte’s Web


Bibliographic Information: White, E.B. Charlotte’s Web. New York: Harper, 1952. Print.

Brief Annotation: Nobody ever expects the runt of the litter to be the best pig.  They usually die off pretty quickly.  However, one little girl named Fern can’t help but fall in love with one little piglet runt she names Wilbur.  Wilbur soon grows up and must be brought to the family farm where the other farm animals aren’t as friendly as his old caretaker.  Until one day Wilbur befriends the most unexpected of the creatures, a spider named Charlotte. It is through their daily talks that the two quickly become close.  Charlotte, knowing how pigs usually end up to humans, does what she can to save her beloved friend.

Genre: Free Choice (Chapter)

Grade Level: Grades 2-5

Readers who will like this: This book would appeal to students that love animals.  It also is a classic story of friendship that nearly anyone can connect with.

Rating/Response: 5. Any book that touches the heart is one that stays in the heart.  That is how I feel about Charlotte’s Web.  This book does an excellent job exemplifying how even the most peculiar friendships will last a lifetime, and sometimes longer.

One question you would ask before a read aloud: Who here has felt left out before?

Posted by: Natalie Hager