Ages 5-11

Singing for Dr. King by Angela Shelf Medearis

Sheyann Webb courageously accepted an offer to lead the freedom songs during the civil rights marches in 1965. She was only nine years old and wanted to help Dr. Martin Luther King and African Americans gain the right to vote. This Just For You book touches on the subject of peaceful protests during the Civil Rights Movement. It is designed for children to read and discuss the important issues in the book with a parent.

Not the End of the World

“Tff.Tff. Single drops of rain raised little divots of dust, as though invisible feet were running over the dirt…..it had begun.”

Everyone knows the story. How it rained for forty days and forty nights. How Noah collected two of each animal and forbade anyone but his family on the Ark.

But Geraldine McCaughrean’s book, Not the End of the World, tells another story. It’s the story of Shem who cares only for the glory of his lineage and of Japheth whose only concern is the animals. At the center of the story is Timna, Noah’s daughter, who tells us how she rescues a boy and his baby sister from the flood and hides them from her father. The animals, too, have a voice. The terrified rabbit, the defiant raven, and the predatory lion all have their say. Frightened, hungry and desperate human and animal struggle to survive. But in the end it is Noah’s wife who questions her husband’s reasoning, defies him and saves her daughter. Not the End of the World won the British Whitbread Children’s Award for 2004. Well deserved, I’d say.

Luke Goes to Bat by Rachel Isadora

Luke wants to play stickball with his older brother Nicky. He gets his chance and fails. After he is taken to a Dogders game to see his favorite player, Jackie Robinson, he learns the lesson of hard work and determination. Set in Brooklyn, New York, in the 1950's, Rachel Isadora offers a touching tribute to one of America's best baseball players.

Mr. George Baker by Amy Hest

Harry and George are friends. George is a 100-year-old jazz musician and Harry is 7.
They have a lot in common. They both have red backpacks and go to the same school. They are also learning to read. George can’t read, A hundred years old and never learned how. "That must be corrected," says George. Amy Hest captures the warmth of this unlikely friendship in this tender story of the challenge to conquer illiteracy.

Family Bits: 10 years old and Coping

Two stories of 8-10 year old kids coping with a parent who has cancer. It is serious stuff, and family goes on. Ida B. is home-schooled until her mother must go into cancer treatment. Ida B. must find a new place in public school. Ida's patient teacher makes a significant difference in her outlook. Tobin in Chicken Boy has lost his mother to cancer. He changes significantly when Henry takes him home after school one day to see the chickens. Tobin's outlook grows through friendship with Henry and chickens.

History Bits: Historical Fiction 1930

Grandma's General Store: the Ark is the story of two young children in an African-American family in Florida during the Great Depression. The children must remain with Grandma in Florida, while their parents go north to find work in Philadelphia. This slim book maintains strong and honest characters and events while it leads to a simple happy ending. The family is re-united to live in the north, without Jim Crow laws.

Gnat Stokes and the Foggy Bottom Swamp Queen

Welcome to Foggy Bottom where nightmarish swamps swarm with hordes of gruesome, bewitched creatures, sweethearts are tragically separated by Zelda, the evil Swamp Queen, Eatmore Beans, a talking cat bears an enchanted locket and feisty, 12-year-old Gnat Stokes longs to be a hero. She must rescue her beloved Goodnow from the malevolent Swamp Queen, who is also her lost mother. In the end, she learns she must give up Goodnow in order to save him. Lots of humor and great characters make Gnat Stokes and the Foggy Bottom Swamp Queen by Sally Keehn a great read-aloud. For ages 9-12.

History Bits: 1915 Historical Fiction

Lizzie Bright And The Buckminster Boy tells a little-known piece of early 20th century history and race relations through the eyes of two children in a small town in Maine. Lizzie lives on a small island which has been inhabited by ex-slaves for generations. The Parson has a son referred to as the the Buckminster Boy. The Buckminster family is new to the coastal town of Phippsburg. Although there is profound impact on the island residents, the characters are deep and surprising. Hope and redemption remain a possibility beyond the end of the story.

Superhero by Marc Tauss

Maleek loves comic books. He is also a superhero. When the city parks disappear Maleek puts on his superhero costume and sets out with his trusty robot Marvyn to find a way to restore the parks. Black and white real life photos capture the wonder and adventure of childhood.

Smart Gifts

books

Need some ideas for that special reader on your list?

“Reader Perfect” suggestions cover many categories, formats and genres, as well as age groups.

Amazon.com gives you not only the Best Books of 2005, but also the
Top 50 Editors' Picks.

For the wee bookworms on your list, there's the age-appropriate Parents’ Choice Holiday Gift Guide.

And don't forget The New York Times Editor's Choice and the 100 Notable Books of the Year.

A book is a gift you can open again and again. ~ Garrison Keillor

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