Realistic fiction, grade 4-6.
The Rhino in Right Field by Stacy DeKeyser takes place in Milwaukee in 1950 where Nick and his friends play baseball at the city park which also happens to house the city zoo. And often their ball lands right inside an animal enclosure! The most difficult one to retrieve is when it lands with Tank, the very large zoo's rhino, which still never stops Nick and his best friend Ace from playing ball. Nick's strict immigrant parents, who came from Greece, make sure he works hard at regular school, and Greek school and on Saturdays he helps in his dad's store. But this summer the local minor league team, the Mud Puppies, are bought by a new owner who has all sorts of ideas to bring fans in. He announces a city contest for 10-14 year old boys to become a bat boy for the day. NIck can't wait to try out until he discovers the tryouts are on Saturdays. Join Nick for baseball, good friends, and even a new girl in town who can really throw a baseball, as he faces his dilemma. Fun, sports/historical fiction. Grades 3-5.
In The Science of Breakable Things by Tae Keller, meet Natalie, her best friend, Twig, her nemesis Mikayla, new serious student Dari, and her brand new science teacher, Mr. Neely. While Mr. Neely teaches the scientific method of "observe, question, research, hypothesis, procedure, experiment, results and analyze" and assigns the class a long term Wonder project, Natalie just wants to blend in and forget what is happening at home. Her mother, once a dedicated and enthusiastic plant biologist has left her job and is spending more and more time in her bedroom, often asleep. Her dad, while trying to help Natalie deal with her mother's depression, does not really know what to do. Slowly Mr. Neely's assignment, to design and test the best egg drop basket, begins to change Natalie's outlook and with Twig and Dari they begin the scientific process steps that may help Natalie to cope. A serious topic told with humor and realistic middle grade situations.
Realistic fiction, grade 4-6.
The Serpent's Secret by Sayantani DasGupta is a fantasy story that mixes the real world of a girl growing up in New Jersey with fantastic Benghali folktales. Kiran has grown up knowing her Indian parents are strange and different, insisting she is a princess, protecting her from snakes and talking often about wild beasts and monsters from another world. She has taken this all in stride until her 12th birthday when she comes home to a monster wrecking her home, her parents gone and two young "princes" on horses waiting to help her. Kiran's parents left a note that says to trust the boys, and explains that the magic that kept them in the human world has run out. With the boy's help, Kiran fells the monster and runs away with them to find and save her parents. But the world they take her to has unimaginable beasts and dangers and everyone there thinks she is a great princess, the daughter of the moon, finally coming back to their alternate world. Join Kiran on this truly fantastic journey to help her parents and learn who she is! Fantasy, grades 3-5.
My Reading List!
I am the Library Media Center director at Patton School in Arlington Heights where I help students from kindergarten through 5th grade find terrific independent reading for enjoyment and information, and teach students the skills to use information and technology safely and productively and to connect, communicate and share with others. I have four grown children, a large black dog, (flat coat retriever) and a small striped cat. I am an obessive Chicago Cubs fan and I love to run.