We convene a panel of elementary school librarians. They join our table at the Bryant Corner Café to share some of their favorite books of the year and talk about encouraging reading in the age of the always-distracting cell phone and Internet.
“The Best Pet of All,” by David LaRochelle. Wonderful story with lovely illustrations by Hanako Wakiyama that Audrey Rahm has read to children at Olympic Hills Elementary many times.
“Once Upon A Cool Motorcycle Dude,” by Kevin O’Malley, Carol Heyer and Scott Goto. Librarian Amy Young from View Ridge says it is a fun book that shows the power of illustration.
“The Book with No Pictures, B.J. Novak. Amy says can’t keep the book on her shelf. It is a plain white book with no pictures, but it is full of ridiculous things to say and read.
Anne Aliverti, teacher/librarian at Bryant Elementary, likes local author Joshua Kriesberg’s “Horatio's One Wish: A Tale of One Heroic Hedgehog, Two Loyal Hamsters, and a Missing River Otter” has a perfect balance of humor and some scary moments. She read it to 5year olds as well as 3-5th graders.
Anne Aliverti is also emphasizing non-fiction to young readers, since the common core is asking teachers to bring more non-fiction to children. She likes the author Steve Sheinkin and his book “Bomb: The Race to Build--and Steal--the World's Most Dangerous Weapon.” It is a Newbery Honor Book.
Also, the author Kathleen Krull has a good book with illustrations for grades 3-5, “The Beatles Were Fab (and They Were Funny)”
Nancy Fisher-Allison from John Rodgers Elementary School brought a stack of books of trickster stories, including, “Love and Roast Chicken: A Trickster Tale from the Andes Mountains,” by Barbara Knutson. Trickster tales from every culture are stories in which the trickster is tricky for his own benefit or for other people’s benefit.
LeAnn Miller from Cascadia Elementary likes the author Jennifer Nielsen for upper elementary children who loved Harry Potter or The Lightening Thief. Both “Mark of the Thief,” is about a slave in Rome who finds an amulet that has a special power.
Also check out the non-fiction “Finding Winnie: The True Story of the World's Most Famous Bear,” by Lindsay Mattick and Sophie Blackall.
She also says anything by Kate Messner is great for young readers, including “Capture the Flag.”
Tom Brown from Laurelhurst Elementary shared some graphic novels for children, including “Smile,” “Drama,” and “Sisters,” by Raina Telgemeier as well as novelist John Flanagan’s The Ranger’s Apprentice series.
Here are a few other book suggestions from our librarians.
“Turtle of Oman” by Naomi Shihab Nye. This is a lovely slow moving tale that is wonderful for in class reading and reading out loud.
“Okay for Now,” Garry D. Schmidt. It takes place during the Vietnam War and combines many different ideas about families and learning. He is a boy with learning disabilities whose father drinks too much. Many things are woven in to this modern story.
“Nurse, Soldier, Spy: The Sarah Edmonds Story,” by Marissa Moss and John Hendrix. This is a fast-paced picture book about Sarah Emma Edmonds. She came from Canada to fight on the Union Side during the Civil War.
“Apple Blossom the Possum,” by Holly Goldberg. A sweet read that young kids like for read aloud. Older kids and adults will laugh along.
“Dave the Potter: Artist, Poet, Slave,” by Laban Carrick Hill. Another wonderful biographical picture book with a revelatory story and pictures loaded with social and cultural detail.
“The Great Green Heist,” by Varian Johnson. This is a fun book about saving the school one con at a time. It is a great book with many diverse characters that kids can identify with.
“Star Girl,” by Jerry Spinelli is a nice book for middle and high-school children. It follows a girl who comes to a new school and tries to be herself.