This blog is created by Linda Williams at the Connecticut State Library. It’s purpose is to suggest books, by topic, to replace outdated books in the children’s/YA book collection. Tabs across the top categorize ongoing posts. Please feel free to suggest topics for future posts!

Booklist: Only Child

January 7, 2015 Leave a comment

Collected from the goodnightmoon January 2015:

Picture Books

Annunziata, Jane. Why Am I an Only Child? (Magination, 1998) 5*
Because Eudora, a little rhino, is an only child, she tries to talk her parents into giving her a brother or sister so that she will no longer be lonely.

Bertrand, Cecile. Mr. and Mrs. Smith Have Only One Child, But What a Child! (Lothrop, Lee & Shepard, 1992 – Out of Print) 5
Ursula is an only child, but she is “worth ten of any other” in her parents’ eyes.

Best, Cari. What’s So Bad About Being an Only Child? (Farrar, Straus, 2007 / Out of Print) 52
Rosemary Emma Angela Lynette Isabel Iris Malone grows tired of being an only child, but eventually finds a way to feel less alone.

Byrne, Gayle. Sometimes Just One is Just Right. (Abbeville Kids, 2013) 31
An only child describes the good and bad side of having no siblings, comparing his life especially to that of his cousin Nico, who has two brothers and a sister.

DePaola, Tomie. Now One Foot, Now the Other. (Putnam, 1981) 156
When his grandfather suffers a stroke, Bobby teaches him to walk, just as his grandfather had once taught him.

Krantz, Linda. Only One You. (Rising Moon, 2006) 23
Adri promises to remember his parents’ words of wisdom about how to live his life, such as “Find your own way. You don’t have to follow the crowd” and “Make wishes on the stars in the nighttime sky.

Leman, Kevin. My Only Child, There’s No One Like You. (Revell, 2005) 6
Mama Bear shows just how special her little cub is by pointing out all of his special qualities and Only Cub knows that he is, indeed, loved.

Lindenbaum, Pija. 9780873589017. (R&S Books, 2004 – Out of Print) 19
Tells the story of Bridget who is tired of being an only child, but when she decides to try out as brothers some moose she finds sitting outside her building, she finds they don’t turn out to be the sort of siblings she had in mind.

Roth, Carol. Little Bunny’s Sleepless Night. (North South, 1999) 70
Little Bunny, an only child, is so lonely that he cannot sleep, so he asks his friends Squirrel, Skunk, Porcupine, Bear, and Owl if he can stay with them, only to discover that his own bed is best.

Seuss, Dr. There’s a Wocket in my Pocket. (Beginner Books, 1974) 304
?A household of unusual creatures help beginning readers recognize common “household” words.

Seuss, Dr. Wacky Wednesday. (Beginner Books, 1974) 155
?Drawings and verse point out the many things that are wrong one wacky Wednesday.

Shyer, Marlene Fanta. Here I Am, An Only Child. (Scribner, 1985) 16
A child presents the pros and cons of being an only child.

Smith, Wendy. The Lonely, Only Mouse. (Viking, 1986 – Out of Print) 6
A mouse who longs for a brother finds out how good life is as an only child when Cousin Charlie comes to visit.

Willems, Mo. Knuffle Bunny. (Hyperion, 2004) 227
A trip to the laundromat leads to a momentous occasion when Trixie, too young to speak words, realizes that something important is missing and struggles to explain the problem to her father.

Winter, Ariel S. One of a Kind. (Aladdin, 2012) 11
Lysander Singleton tries his best to fit in at Twin Oaks Elementary, where all students are twins except him, but on the day of the Twindividuation contest his experience as an only child gives him a competitive edge.

Chapter Books

Glatt, Lisa and Greenberg, Suzanne. Abigail Iris: The One and Only (Walker, 2009) 55
Abigail Iris thinks she would rather be an only child but after going on vacation with her best friend, who is an “Only,” she realizes there are benefits of being one of many.

Warner, Sally. Only Emma. (Viking, 2005) 91
Third-grader Emma’s peaceful life as an only child is disrupted when she has to temporarily share her tidy bedroom with four-year-old Anthony Scarpetto, a bona fide “pain in the patootie.”

* Number of holdings in ReQuest

Categories: Uncategorized

Booklist: Death of a Pet

December 22, 2014 Leave a comment

Picture Books About Losing A Pet compiled by Linda Williams, Connecticut State Library (download .pdf)


A Funeral for Whiskers: Understanding Death by Lawrence Balter
Sandy is very sad and upset when her cat Whiskers dies, but her parents help her understand and accept the loss.

Angel Cat by Michael Garland
This is a book for any child who has ever loved an animal–a book for those who will always remember the pet that brought them joy.

Mustard by Charlotte Towner Graeber
Eight-year-old Alex and his family try to come to terms with the old age and death of their beloved cat.

The Bug Cemetery by Frances Hill
Neighborhood children imaginatively stage funerals for dead bugs, but they experience real sadness following the death of a pet.

Six is So Much Less Than Seven by Ronald Himler
After the death of one of his seven cats, an old man finds how much he misses his cat as he goes about the activities of each day.

The Best Cat in the World by Leslea Newman
A young boy deals with the loss of his beloved cat Charlie, eventually accepting the arrival of another, very different cat.

Big Cat Pepper by Elizabeth Partridge
Big Cat Pepper has always been part of the family, but after he grows very old and dies, the boy who loves him comes to understand his mother’s reassurance that “his spirit is forever and can fly, fly, fly.”

Cat Heaven by Cynthia Rylant
God created Cat Heaven, with fields of sweet grass where cats can play, kitty-toys for them to enjoy, and angels to rub their noses and ears.

Desser the Best Ever Cat by Maggie Smith
A child describes how Dexter the cat had always been part of the family and how much he was loved even after he died.

Bimmi Finds a Cat by Elisabeth Jane Stewart
An eight-year-old Creole boy on Galveston Island grieves the death of his cat Crabmeat, but when another lost cat leads him to a new friend he starts to heal.

The Tenth Good Thing About Barney by Judith Viorst
In an attempt to overcome his grief, a boy tries to think of the ten best things about his dead cat.

Goodbye, Mitch by Ruth Wallace-Brodeur
A young boy describes how he feels when the family cat dies.

The Day Tiger Rose Said Goodbye by Jane Yolen
A cat whose kitten days are far behind her says goodbye to her human family, and the animals and places that have made her life special, before leaving this life behind.


Return of Rex and Ethel by Arnold Adoff
Two girls who share many wonderful times with their beloved dogs, Rex and Ethel, find a special way to remember them when they die.

Blue House Dog by Deborah Blumenthal
A boy whose beloved dog has died, and a dog whose owner also died, find each other and slowly begin to trust one another. (CIP) Dogs. Grief in children.

The Day Scooter Died: A Book About the Death of a Pet by Kathleen Long Bostrom
Mikey feels responsible for his dog Scooter’s accidental death, but his parents remind him that the dog loved him best of all and they can still love each other, although Scooter is now with God.

Good-Bye, Sheepie by Robert Burleigh
A father teaches his young son about death and remembrance as he buries their beloved dog.

The Accident by Carol Carrick
After his dog is hit by a truck and killed, Christopher must deal with his own feelings of depression and guilt.

Up in Heaven by Emma Chichester Clark
When Arthur’s dog, Daisy, goes to live in heaven, she is sad because she knows Arthur misses her so much. Then she thinks of a way to show him she’s thinking of him, and that lets him know she’s safe in heaven.

The Forever Dog by Bill Cochran
Mike and his dog Corky plan to be best friends forever, so when Corky becomes sick and dies, Mike is angry about the broken promise.

Jim’s Dog Muffins by Miriam Cohen
When Jim’s dog is killed, the other first graders experience with him his natural reactions to death.

Saying Goodbye to Lulu by Corinne Demas
When her dog Lulu dies, a girl grieves but then continues with her life.

A Dog Like Jack by DyAnne DiSalvo-Ryan
After a long life of chasing squirrels, licking ice cream cones, and loving his adoptive family, an old dog comes to the end of his days.

Maggie and Silky and Joe by Amy Ehrlich
Joe, a young boy who grows up under the protection and companionship of his family’s cow dog, Maggie, and later with a stray puppy called Silky, must learn how to cope with loss when Maggie dies during a thunderstorm.

Murphy and Kate by Ellen Howard
Kate and her dog Murphy are best friends, and when Murphy dies Kate does not think she can ever be happy again.

Sally Goes to Heaven by Stephen Huneck
A beloved dog dies and goes to Heaven where she lives happily and helps to find her family on earth a new pet.

Black Dog Who Went Into the Woods by Edith Thacher Hurd
The various members of a family react to the death of their dog.

Better With Two by Barbara M. Joosse
Laura tries to make Mrs. Brady feel better when her dog Max dies.

Goodbye, Max by Holly Keller
Ben blames his parents for the death of his dog, Max, and does not want the new puppy they brought home.

Ada’s Pal by George Ella Lyon
A small dog suffers from a broken heart when her dog companion dies until a veterinarian advises the family that there is only one thing to do.

Jasper’s Day by Marjorie Blain Parker
This debut picture book deals with a subject fearful to every child’s heart–a beloved pet who is dying. This celebration of a dog’s last day speaks of acceptance, remembrance, and the importance of cherishing life’s every moment.

Bone Dog by Eric Rohmann
Although devastated when his pet dog dies, a young boy goes trick-or-treating and receives a timely visit from an old friend during a scary encounter with graveyard skeletons.

Bonesy and Isabel by Michael J. Rosen
Isabel, an adopted Salvadoran girl, adjusts to her new life in America by befriending the old dog Bonesy, but then she must deal with her grief when he dies.

Sammy in the Sky by Barbara Walsh
A little girl tells about her special pet, Sammy, “the best hound dog in the whole world,” and how, after he becomes sick and dies, she comes to know the truth of her mother’s words, that Sammy’s spirit is everywhere.

I’ll Always Love You by Hans Wilhelm
A child’s sadness at the death of a beloved dog is tempered by the remembrance of saying to it every night, “I’ll always love you.”

Harry & Hopper by Margaret Wild
Harry is devastated when he returns home from school to find that his beloved dog, Hopper, will no longer be there to greet him.

Toby by Margaret Wild
When Toby the dog gets old and sick and finally dies, the children who love him express their love in different ways.

The Old Dog by Charlotte Zolotow
When a young boy finds his old dog dead one morning, he spends the rest of the day thinking about all the good times they had together.


Tough Boris by Mem Fox
Boris von der Borch is a tough pirate, but he cries when his parrot dies.

Good-Bye, Vivi! by Antonie Schneider
When Granny’s beloved canary Vivi dies, the family comes to accept it, as well as the idea that some day they will lose Granny as well.

Goodbye Mousie by Robie Harris
A boy grieves for his dead pet Mousie, helps to bury him, and begins to come to terms with his loss.

Helen the Fish by Virginia L. Kroll
When six-year-old Hannah’s beloved goldfish dies after a relatively long life, she seeks comfort from her older brother Seth.

Petey by Tobi Tobias
Emily has enjoyed her pet gerbil for five years, but one day after school she finds Petey huddled up in a corner of his cage.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.5 License.

Updated December 22, 2014

Categories: Uncategorized

Quotes About Reading

May 1, 2014 Leave a comment

These quotes were suggested by Goodnightmoon subscribers in May of 2014.

“What is a great love of books? It is something like a personal introduction to the great and good men of all past times. Books, it is true, are silent as you see them on their shelves; but, silent as they are, when I enter a library I feel as if almost the dead were present, and I know if I put questions to these books they will answer me with all the faithfulness and fullness which has been left in them by the great men who have left the books with us.”
— John Bright

“Children are made readers on the laps of their parents.”
— Emilie Buchwald

“There is no substitute for books in the life of a child.”
— May Ellen Chase

“He who has a library and a garden, wants for nothing.”
― Marcus Tullius Cicero

“A room without books is like a body without a soul.”
― Marcus Tullius Cicero

“So please, oh PLEASE, we beg, we pray, go throw your TV set away. And in its place you can install, a lovely bookshelf on the wall.”
— Roald Dahl

[the last paragraph]
― Roald Dahl, in The Giraffe, the Pelly and Me

“Reading should not be presented to children as a chore or duty. It should be offered to them as a precious gift.”
— Kate DiCamillo

“We live for books.”
― Umberto Eco

“If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales.”
― Albert Einstein, (1879-1955), Scientist

“Books are the quietest and most constant of friends; they are the most accessible and wisest of counselors, and the most patient of teachers.”
― Charles W. Eliot

“Today a reader, tomorrow a leader.”
— Margaret Fuller

“You may have tangible wealth untold.
Caskets of jewels and coffers of gold.
Richer than I you can never be –
I had a mother who read to me.”
— Strickland Gillilan

“He liked the mere act of reading, the magic of turning scratches on a page into words inside his head.”
― John Green

“What a school thinks about its library is a measure of what it thinks about education.”
— Harold Howe, former U.S. Commissioner of Education

“So it is with children who learn to read fluently and well: They begin to take flight into whole new worlds as effortlessly as young birds take to the sky.”
— William James

“No matter where they go, children lost in books will always find their way home.”
— Paul Jennings

“There are many little ways to enlarge your child’s world. Love of books is the best of all.” }— Jacqueline Kennedy

“I think of life as a good book. The further you get into it, the more it begins to make sense.”
― Harold S. Kushner

“Books to the ceiling,
Books to the sky,
My pile of books is a mile high.
How I love them! How I need them!
I’ll have a long beard by the time I read them.”
― Arnold Lobel

“Outside of a dog, a book is man’s best friend.
Inside of a dog, it is too dark to read.”
― Groucho Marx

“It is, however, not to the museum, or the lecture-room, or the drawing-school, but to the library, that we must go for the completion of our humanity. It is books that bear from age to age the intellectual wealth of the world.”
― Owen Meredith

“Why, I can go most anywhere by reading a good book.”
― Mark Kimball Moulton, in Scarecrow Pete


“I’d never felt like this before, but that was all it took-if reading made me feel this way, I knew that I was hooked!”
― Mark Kimball Moulton, in Scarecrow Pete

“At the moment that we persuade a child, any child, to cross that threshold, that magic threshold into a library, we change their lives forever, for the better.”
― Barack Obama

“God loves little children but especially those who return their books on time.”
― Frances O’Brien, Head Librarian

“Books are the plane, and the train, and the road. They are the destination, and the journey. They are home.” ― Anna Quindlen

“Words, like flowers, have their colors too.”
― Ernest Rhys, (1859-1946), Author and Editor

“Frederick Douglass taught that literacy is the path from slavery to freedom. There are many kinds of slavery and many kinds of freedom, but reading is still the path.”
― Carl Sagan

“The more that you read, the more things you will know.
The more you learn, the more places you’ll go.”
— Dr. Seuss, I Can Read With My Eyes Shut

“You can find magic wherever you look.
Sit back and relax,
All you need is a good book.”
— Dr. Seuss

“The man who does not read good books has no advantage over the man who can’t read them.”
– Mark Twain

“It is well known that reading quickens the growth of a heart like nothing else.”
― Catherynne M. Valente,

Categories: Uncategorized

Primary Source Material in the Service Center Collections

April 23, 2014 Leave a comment

The First Book Edition of John F. Kennedy’s Inaugural Address / proclamation by Lyndon B. Johnson ; illustrated by Leonard Everett Fisher. New York: Franklin Watts, Inc., 1964.

Categories: Uncategorized

2014 Grade 9-12 Summer Reading List

April 3, 2014 Leave a comment

This list was compiled by Linda Williams for the Connecticut State Department of Education. Most selected titles are loosely connected to Connecticut’s statewide summer reading theme, SCIENCE. Many have been selected as exemplary books by at least one of the following: American Library Association (ALA) the International Reading Association (IRA), the National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS), the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE), the National Science Teachers Assocation (NSTA) or the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). Note: There is little coverage of high school level titles by any of these organizations other than ALA and AAAS. (Download a .pdf of the list)


We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler
Coming of age in middle America, 18-year-old Rosemary evaluates how her entire youth was defined by the presence and forced removal of an endearing chimpanzee who was secretly regarded as a family member and who Rosemary loved as a sister. Lexile:
ALA, Outstanding Books for the College Bound,


The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
Seconds before Earth is demolished to make room for a galactic freeway, an earthman is saved by his friend. Together they journey through the galaxy. Lexile: 1000

Parable of the Sower by Octavia E. Butler
In 2025 California, an eighteen-year-old African American woman, suffering from a hereditary trait that causes her to feel others’ pain as well as her own, flees northward from her small community and its desperate savages. Lexile: 710

Little Brother by Cory Doctorow
After being interrogated for days by the Department of Homeland Security in the aftermath of a major terrorist attack on San Francisco, California, seventeen-year-old Marcus, released into what is now a police state, decides to use his expertise in computer hacking to set things right. Lexile: 900. Ebook can be downloaded for free here:

Jekel Loves Hyde by Beth Fantaskey
As seventeen-year-old Jill Jekel and classmate Tristen Hyde work together on a chemistry project, hoping to win a scholarship for her and a cure for his curse, they also uncover family secrets and a chemistry of their own. Lexile:

Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes
Charlie Gordon, born with an unusually low IQ, must face his gradual return to his former state when the astounding results of an experimental surgery that increased his intelligence prove to be only temporary. Lexile:

The Carbon Diaries, 2015 by Saci Lloyd
In 2015, when England becomes the first nation to introduce carbon dioxide rationing in a drastic bid to combat climate change, sixteen-year-old Laura documents the first year of rationing as her family spirals out of control. Lexile: 690

The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness
Pursued by power-hungry Prentiss and mad minister Aaron, young Todd and Viola set out across New World searching for answers about his colony’s true past and seeking a way to warn the ship bringing hopeful settlers from Old World. Lexile: 860. Sequels: The Ask and the Answer and Monsters of Men.
ALA, Outstanding Books for the College Bound,

A Confusion of Princes by Garth Nix
Battling aliens, space pirates, and competitors, Prince Khemri meets a young woman, named Raine, and learns more than he expected about the hidden workings of a vast, intergalactic Empire, and about himself. (Publisher) Lexile: 1070

The Madman’s Daughter by Megan Shepherd
Dr. Moreau’s daughter, Juliet, travels to her estranged father’s island, only to encounter murder, medical horrors, and a love triangle. Lexile: 640

Grasshopper Jungle by Andrew Smith
Austin Szerba narrates the end of humanity as he and his best friend Robby accidentally unleash an army of giant, unstoppable bugs and uncover the secrets of a decades-old experiment gone terribly wrong. Lexile:

Double Helix by Nancy Werlin
Eighteen-year-old Eli discovers a shocking secret about his life and his family while working for a Nobel Prize-winning scientist whose specialty is genetic engineering. Lexile: 690
NBA Finalist,

The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey
Cassie Sullivan, the survivor of an alien invasion, must rescue her young brother from the enemy with help from a boy who may be one of them. Lexile: 690


How to Fake a Moon Landing: Exposing the Myths of Science Denial by Darryl Cunningham
Author-illustrator Darryl Cunningham looks at hot-button science topics and presents a fact-based, visual assessment of current thinking and research on eight different issues everybody’s arguing about. Lexile:

Gris Grimly’s Frankenstein by Gris Grimly
Retells, in graphic novel format, Mary Shelley’s classic tale of a monster, assembled by a scientist from parts of dead bodies, who develops a mind of his own as he learns to loathe himself and hate his creator.

Feynman by Jim Ottaviani
In this substantial graphic novel biography, First Second presents the larger-than-life exploits of Nobel-winning quantum physicist, adventurer, musician, world-class raconteur, and one of the greatest minds of the twentieth century: Richard Feynman. Written by nonfiction comics mainstay Jim Ottaviani and brilliantly illustrated by First Second author Leland Myrick, Feynman tells the story of the great man’s life from his childhood in Long Island to his work on the Manhattan Project and the Challenger disaster. Ottaviani tackles the bad with the good, leaving the reader delighted by Feynman’s exuberant life and staggered at the loss humanity suffered with his death. (Publisher) Lexile: 620


Steampunk Poe by Edgar Allan Poe
Presents a collection of Poe’s short stories and poems, including “The Tell-Tale Heart,” “The Fall of the House of Usher,” and “The Raven,” accompanied by steampunk-inspired illustrations. Lexile:


Frankenstein’s Cat: Cuddling up to Biotech’s Brave New Beasts by Emily Anthes
Examines the advances in cloning technology, including sensor-wearing seals, cyborg beetles, a bionic bulldog, and the world’s first cloned cat. Lexile:

Sugar Changed the World: A Story of Magic, Spice, Slavery, Freedom and Science by Marc Aronson
Sugar has left a bloody trail through human history. Cane–not cotton or tobacco–drove the bloody Atlantic slave trade and took the lives of countless Africans who toiled on vast sugar plantations under cruel overseers. And yet the very popularity of sugar gave abolitionists in England the one tool that could finally end the slave trade. This book traces the history of sugar from its origins in New Guinea around 7000 B.C. to its use in the 21st century to produce ethanol. Lexile: 1120

Gulp.: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal by Mary Roach
Examines the alimentary canal and the digestive system, answering such questions as, can constipation kill a person, why the stomach doesn’t digest itself, how much can be eaten before the stomach bursts, and more. Lexile: . Or any book by Mary Roach.

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot
Examines the experiences of the children and husband of Henrietta Lacks, who, twenty years after her death from cervical cancer in 1951, learned doctors and researchers took cells from her cervix without consent which were used to create the immortal cell line known as the HeLa cell; provides an overview of Henrietta’s life; and explores issues of experimentation on African-Americans and bioethics. Lexile: 1140
ALA, Outstanding Books for the College Bound

Death by Black Hole: And Other Cosmic Quandaries by Neil deGrasse Tyson
A collection of essays on the cosmos, written by an American Museum of Natural History astrophysicist, includes “Holy Wars,” “Ends of the World,” and “Hollywood Nights.” Lexile: 1300

The World Without Us by Alan Weisman
A study of what would happen to Earth if the human presence was removed examines our legacy for the planet, from the objects that would vanish without human intervention to those that would become long-lasting remnants of humankind. Lexile:


The Radioactive Boys Scout: The Frightening True Story of a Whiz Kid and His Homemade Nuclear Reactor by Ken Silverstein
This book recreates David Hahn’s nuclear quest to build a breeder reactor in his backyard garden shed. Lexile: 1300
ALA, Outstanding Books for the College Bound

Favorites & Classics


Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson
A traumatic event near the end of the summer has a devastating effect on Melinda’s freshman year in high school. Lexile: 690

Kindred by Octavia Butler
A young African-American woman is mysteriously transferred back in time leading to an irresistible curiosity about her family’s past. Lexile: 580

Feed by M. T. Anderson
In a future where most people have computer implants in their heads to control their environment, a boy meets an unusual girl who is in serious trouble. Lexile: 770

The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
Set in the near future, America has become a puritanical theocracy and Offred tells her story as a Handmaid under the new social order. Lexile: 750

Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card
Young Ender Wiggin may prove to be the military genius Earth needs to fight a desperate battle against a deadly alien race that will determine the future of the human race. Lexile: 780

The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros
A young girl living in a Hispanic neighborhood in Chicago ponders the advantages and disadvantages of her environment and evaluates her relationships with family and friends. Lexile: 850

The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
A series of letters to an unknown correspondent reveals the coming-of-age trials of a high-schooler named Charlie. Lexile: 720

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer
Follows nine-year-old Oskar Schell as he encounters a number of interesting characters in his search for information about his father, who died in the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001, and tries to find the lock that fits the mysterious key he left behind. Lexile: 940

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
Sixteen-year-old Hazel, a stage IV thyroid cancer patient, has accepted her terminal diagnosis until a chance meeting with a boy at cancer support group forces her to reexamine her perspective on love, loss, and life. Lexile: 850

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime by Mark Haddon
Despite his overwhelming fear of interacting with people, Christopher, a mathematically-gifted, autistic fifteen-yearold boy, decides to investigate the murder of a neighbor’s dog and uncovers secret information about his mother. Lexile: 1180

Monster by Walter Dean Myers
While on trial as an accomplice to a murder, sixteen-yearold Steve Harmon records his experiences in prison and in the courtroom in the form of a film script as he tries to come to terms with the course his life has taken.Lexile: 670

Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi
Contains black-and-white comic strip images in which the author shares the story of her life in Tehran, Iran, where she lived from ages six to fourteen while the country came under control of the Islamic regime. Lexile: 380

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith
Young Francie Nolan, having inherited both her father’s romantic and her mother’s practical nature, struggles to survive and thrive growing up in the slums of Brooklyn in the early twentieth century. Lexile: 810

Buried Onions by Gary Soto
When nineteen-year-old Eddie drops out of college, he struggles to find a place for himself as a Mexican American living in a violence-infested neighborhood of Fresno, California. Lexile: 850


Weetzie Bat series by Francesca Lia Block
The Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare
Earthsea series by Ursula K. Le Guin
His Dark Materials series by Philip Pullman
Shiver trilogy by Maggie Steifvater
Daughter of Smoke and Bone series by Laini Taylor
Uglies series by Scott Westerfeld

Categories: Summer Reading Lists

2014 Grade 5 & 6 Summer Reading List

April 3, 2014 Leave a comment

This list was compiled by Linda Williams for the Connecticut State Department of Education. Some of the titles selected are loosely connected to Connecticut’s statewide summer reading theme, SCIENCE or are written or illustrated by Connecticut residents. Many listed titles have been selected as exemplary books by at least one of the following: American Library Association (ALA) the International Reading Association (IRA), the National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS), the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE), the National Science Teachers Assocation (NSTA) or the United States Board on Books for Young People (USBBY). (Download a .pdf of the list).


The 5,000-Year-Old Puzzle by Claudia Logan
An account of Dr. George Reisner’s 1925 discovery and excavation of a secret tomb in Giza, Egypt, based on archival documents and records, but told through the fictionalized experiences of a young boy who accompanies his father on the dig. Lexile: 900


One White Dolphin by Gill Lewis
When a baby albino dolphin caught in old fishing netting washes ashore, Paralympics sailing hopeful Felix and English school girl Kara work with veterinarians and specialists to save and reunite the dolphin with her mother, setting off a chain of events that might just save the reef from the environmental effects of proposed dredging. Lexile: 620

Project Mulberry by Linda Sue Park
While working on a project for an after-school club, Julia, a Korean American girl, and her friend Patrick learn not just about silkworms, but also about tolerance, prejudice, friendship, patience, and more. Between the chapters are short dialogues between the author and main character about the writing of the book. Lexile: 690
Nutmeg Nominee 2008,


Whales on Stilts! by M. T. Anderson
Racing against the clock, shy middle-school student Lily and her best friends, Katie and Jasper, must foil the plot of her father’s conniving boss to conquer the world using an army of whales. Lexile: 760

Science Fair: A Story of Mystery, Danger, International Suspense, and a Very Nervous Frog by Dave Barry & Ridley Pearson
The president of Kprshtskan is plotting to infiltrate the science fair at Hubble Middle School in Maryland in order to take over the United States government, but when Toby Harbinger, an ordinary student, makes up his mind finally to win the fair, the terrorists’ plans go awry. Lexile: 770

The City of Ember by Jeanne DuPrau
In the year 241, twelve-year-old Lina trades jobs on Assignment Day to be a Messenger to run to new places in her decaying but beloved city, perhaps even to glimpse Unknown Regions. Lexile: 680. Or read The City of Ember: The Graphic Novel, adapted by Dallas Middaugh.

A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle
Meg Murry and her friends become involved with unearthly strangers and a search for Meg’s father, who has disappeared while engaged in secret work for the government. Lexile: . Or A Wrinkle in Time: The Graphic Novel adapted by Hope Larson.

Eye of the Storm by Kate Messner
Ebook available. Jaden’s summer visit with her meteorologist father, who has just returned from spending four years in Russia conducting weather experiments not permitted in the United States, fills her with apprehension and fear as she discovers that living at her father’s planned community, Placid Meadows, is anything but placid. Lexile: 740
NSTA, Nutmeg Nominee 2015,

Herbert’s Wormhole by Peter Nelson
When almost-sixth-grader Alex, a video game fanatic, is forced on a “playdate” with his neighbor Herbert, an inventor, the two travel to the twenty-second century and face off against aliens, who are not as beneficent as most people think. Lexile: 780
Nutmeg Nominee 2012,

Tesla’s Attic by Neal Shusterman & Eric Elfman
With a plot combining science and the supernatural, four kids are caught up in a dangerous plan concocted by the eccentric inventor, Nikola Tesla.


The Secret Science Alliance and the Copycat Crook by Eleanor Davis
Eleven-year-old Julian Calendar thought changing schools would mean leaving his “nerdy” persona behind, but instead he forms an alliance with fellow inventors Greta and Ben and works with them to prevent an adult from using one of their gadgets for nefarious purposes. Lexile: 470

Robot Dreams by Sara Varon
The enduring friendship between a dog and a robot is portrayed in this wordless graphic novel. Lexile:


At the Sea Floor Cafe: Odd Ocean Critter Poems by Leslie Bulion
An illustrated collection of poems that provides information about some of the creatures that live in the sea. Includes a glossary of scientific terms. Lexile: 1130
Connecticut Author,

Ubiquitous: Celebrating Nature’s Survivors by Joyce Sidman
Poems and factual information about some of the creatures that live on Planet Earth. Lexile: 1300


When Fish Got Feet, Sharks Got Teeth, and Bugs Began to Swarm by Hannah Bonner
Describes life on Earth approximately 430 million years ago. Lexile:

Citizen Scientists: Be a Part of Scientific Discovery from Your Own Backyard by Loree Griffin Burns
Anyone can get involved in gathering data for ongoing, actual scientific studies such as the Audubon Bird Count and FrogWatch USA. Just get out into a field, urban park, or your own backyard. You can put your nose to a monarch pupa or listen for raucous frog calls. You can tally woodpeckers or sweep the grass for ladybugs. This book, full of engaging photos and useful tips, will show you how. Lexile: 1050

The Book of Blood: From Legends and Leeches to Vampires and Veins by H. P. Newquist
A thrilling and lively tour of the world of blood, from ancient history to modern science, to dark and often gruesome legends of vampires and plague, this book informs readers about the most important tissue in the body. (Publisher) Lexile:


Electric Ben: The Amazing Life and Times of Benjamin Franklin by Robert Byrd
Learn all about the life of Benjamin Franklin, from his childhood to his golden years, in this beautifully illustrated, thoughtful, and thorough book. Lexile: 1050

Lives of the Scientists: Experiments, Explosions (And What the Neighbors Thought) by Kathleen Krull
Profiles 18 of history’s most noteworthy scientists, from Zhang Heng and Isaac Newton to Albert Einstein and Barbara McClintock, sharing lesser-known facts about their favorite activities, relationships, and eccentricities. Lexile: 1120

Temple Grandin: How the Girl Who Loved Cows Embraced Autism and Changed the World by Sy Montgomery
An authorized portrait about Grandin’s life with autism and her groundbreaking work as a scientist and designer of cruelty-free livestock facilities describes how she overcame key disabilities through education and the support of her mother. Lexile: 960

Favorites & Classics


The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
A ten-year-old orphan comes to live in a lonely house on the Yorkshire moors where she discovers an invalid cousin and the mysteries of a locked garden. Lexile: 970

The Incredible Journey by Sheila Burnford
A Siamese cat, an old bull terrier, and a young Labrador retriever travel together 250 miles through the Canadian wilderness to find their family. Lexile: 1320

The Watsons Go To Birmingham – 1963 by Christopher Paul Curtis
The ordinary interactions and everyday routines of the Watsons, an African American family living in Flint,
Michigan, are drastically changed after they go to visit Grandma in Alabama in the summer of 1963. Lexile: 1000

The Birchbark House by Louise Erdrich
Omakayas, a seven-year-old Native American girl of the Ojibwa tribe, lives through the joys of summer and the
perils of winter on an island in Lake Superior in 1847. Lexile: 970

The Ear, the Eye, and the Arm by Nancy Farmer
In 2194 in Zimbabwe, General Matsika’s three children are kidnapped and put to work in a plastic mine, while three mutant detectives use their special powers to search for them. Lexile: 660

Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh
Eleven year old Harriet, who is a spy and plans to be an author keeps a secret notebook filled with thoughts and notes on her schoolmates and people she observes on her afterschool spy route, but when some of her classmates read the notebook, they seek revenge. Lexile: 760

The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C. S. Lewis
Four English schoolchildren find their way through the back of a wardrobe into the magic land of Narnia and assist Aslan, the golden lion, to triumph over the White Witch, who has cursed the land with eternal winter. Lexile: 940

Number the Stars by Lois Lowry
In 1943, during the German occupation of Denmark, tenyear-old Annemarie learns how to be brave and courageous when she helps shelter her Jewish friend from the Nazis. Lexile: 670

Anne of Green Gables by L. M. Montgomery
Anne, an eleven-year-old orphan, is sent by mistake to live with a lonely, middle-aged brother and sister on a Prince Edward Island farm and proceeds to make an indelible impression on everyone around her. Lexile: 850

The Borrowers by Mary Norton
Miniature people who live in an old country house by borrowing things from the humans are forced to emigrate from their home under the clock. Lexile: 780

Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson
The life of a ten-year-old boy in rural Virginia expands when he becomes friends with a newcomer who
subsequently meets an untimely death trying to reach their hideaway, Terabithia, during a storm. Lexile: 810

Tom’s Midnight Garden by Philippa Pearce
While staying with his aunt and uncle, Tom discovers a beautiful garden that is visible only at night and meets a little girl from the Victorian era with whom he travels back in time. Lexile: 860


Poppy series by Avi
John Bellairs Mysteries by John Bellairs
The Penderwicks series by Jeanne Birdsall
The Dark is Rising series by Susan Cooper
The Moffats series by Eleanor Estes
Shadow Children by Margaret Peterson Haddix
Dog Friday trilogy by Hilary McKay
Percy Jackson & the Olympians by Rick Riordan
Septimus Heap series by Angie Sage
Enola Holmes Mysteries by Nancy Springer
The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart
Sammy Keyes series by Wendelin Van Draanen
Dear America series by various authors

Categories: Summer Reading Lists

2014 Grade 3 & 4 Summer Reading List

April 3, 2014 Leave a comment

This list was compiled by Linda Williams for the Connecticut State Department of Education. Many of the titles selected are loosely connected to Connecticut’s statewide summer reading theme, SCIENCE. Most listed titles have been selected as exemplary books by at least one of the following: American Library Association (ALA) the International Reading Association (IRA), the National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS), the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE), the National Science Teachers Assocation (NSTA), the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)  or the United States Board on Books for Young People (USBBY). (Download a .pdf of the list).


What Floats in a Moat? by Lynne Berry
While trying to cross a moat, Archimedes the Goat and Skinny the Hen learn why objects sink or float. Lexile: 400

Family Pack by Sandra Markle
A young wolf, taken from her pack in Canada to Yellowstone National Park, struggles alone to master the skills of hunting and survival until she finds a lone male and begins a new pack with him. Lexile: 760

Science Verse by Jon Scieszka
When the teacher tells his class that they can hear the poetry of science in everything, a student is struck with a curse and begins hearing nothing but science verses that sound verymuch like some well-known poems. Lexile: NP


Ivy + Bean: What’s the Big Idea? by Annie Barrows
When all the second grade students must enter the science fair, which has global warming as its theme, best friends Ivy and Bean team up to create an unusual project. Lexile: 550

Violet Mackerel’s Natural Habitat by Anna Branford
As the youngest in her family, seven-year-old Violet identifies with small creatures in the natural world, but when she tries to help special ladybug, she learns an important lesson about animal habitats. Lexile: 1080

The Year of the Baby by Andrea Cheng
Fifth-grader Anna is concerned that her baby sister Kaylee, adopted from China three months ago, is not thriving so she and her best friends, Laura and Camille, create a science project that may save the day. Lexile: 640

The Contagious Colors of Mumpley Middle School by Fowler DeWitt
When a mysterious illness sweeps through school, causing students to change color, sixth-grader scientist Wilmer Dooley tries to find the cause and cure. Lexile: 720

Hiss-s-s-s! by Eric A. Kimmel
When a Muslim American boy named Omar finally convinces his family that he should have a pet snake, it escapes and Omar learns why his mother is so scared of them. Lexile: 540

Judy Moody Saves the World by Megan McDonald
When Judy Moody gets serious about protecting the environment, her little brother Stink thinks she is overdoing it, but she manages to inspire her third grade class to undertake an award-winning, environment-saving project. Lexile: 500

How Oliver Olson Changed the World by Claudia Mills
Afraid he will always be an outsider like ex-planet Pluto, nine-year-old Oliver finally shows his extremely overprotective parents that he is capable of doing great things without their help while his class is studying the solar system. Lexile: 730


Zita the Spacegirl by Ben Hatke
When young Zita discovers a device that opens a portal to another place, and her best friend is abducted, she is compelled to set out on a strange journey from star to star in order to get back home. Lexile: 310

Super Amoeba by Jennifer L. & Matthew Holm
Squish, a meek amoeba who loves the comic book exploits of his favorite hero, “Super Amoeba,” tries to emulate him when his best friend is threatened by a bully. Lexile: 230. And other books in the Squish series.

Zig and Wikki in The Cow by Nadja Spiegelman
Two extraterrestrial friends land on Earth in the center of a farm ecosystem, where an argument forces them to separate, only to be brought back together in the stomach of a cow. Lexile: 270


Outside Your Window: A First Book of Nature by Nicola Davies
Introduces the sights and sounds of the changing seasons, along city streets and in country meadow. Lexile:

Out of This World: Poems and Facts About Space by Amy E. Sklansky
Offers lyrically presented facts about space and with perspective illustrations and additional explanations in the margins. Lexile:


Island: A Story of the Galapagos by Jason Chin
An island is about to be born- one that in time will become the home of plants and animals that exist nowhere else on Earth. This book is the biography of a Galápagos island- from birth, through adolescence, to adulthood, and beyond. Lexile: 900
Or other books by Jason Chin – Gravity, Coral Reefs, or Redwoods.

Eight Dolphins of Katrina: A True Tale of Survival by Janet Wyman Coleman
Recounts the true story of eight bottlenose dolphins and their trainers who survived the devastation of Hurricane Katrina. Lexile: 710

Moonshot: The Flight of Apollo 11 by Brian Floca
Here is the story of the Apollo 11 mission to the Moon — a story of leaving and returning during the summer of 1969, and a story of home, seen whole, from far away by steady astronauts in their great machines. Lexile: 990

Flight of the Honey Bee by Raymond Huber
Demonstrates how Scout the bee searches for nectar to sustain her hive and pollinates flowers to produce seeds and fruits. Lexile: 840

The Beetle Book by Steve Jenkins
An illustrated introduction to a variety of beetle species with information on unique characteristics and how these insects have adapted to survive. Lexile:

The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind by William Kamkwamba and Brian Mealer
When 14-year-old William Kamkwamba’s Malawi village was hit by a drought in 2001, everyone’s crops began to fail. His family didn’t have enough money for food, let alone school, so William spent his days in the library. He came across a book on windmills and figured out how to build a windmill that could bring electricity to his village. Everyone thought he was crazy but William persevered and managed to create a functioning windmill out of junkyard scraps. Several years later he figured out how to use the windmill for irrigation purposes. (Publisher) Lexile: 910
IRA, NCSS, NSTA, Nutmeg Nominee 2015,

Survival at 120 Above by Debbie S. Miller
Introduces the variety of animals who call the Australian Simpson Desert home and shows how they have adapted to survive extreme temperatures. Lexile: . Also Survival at 40 Below.

No Monkeys, No Chocolate by Melissa Stewart
When you think of chocolate, you might think of a candy bar, a birthday cake, or a glass of chocolate milk. But where does chocolate come from? This book tells about the cocoa bean, which grows in the tropical rain forests and how the animals and other living things play an important part, even the monkeys. Lexile: 740


On a Beam of Light: A Story of Albert Einstein by Jennifer Berne
Follows the life of the famous physicist, from his early ideas to his groundbreaking theories. Lexile: 680

Rachel Carson and Her Book That Changed the World by Laurie Lawlor
Retells the story of Rachel Carson, a pioneering environmentalist who wrote and published “Silent Spring,” the revolutionary book pointing out the dangerous effects of chemicals on the living world. Lexile: 890

Favorites & Classics


Mr. Popper’s Penguins by Richard Atwater
The unexpected delivery of a large crate containing an Antarctic penguin changes the life and fortunes of Mr.
Popper, a house painter obsessed by dreams of the Polar regions. Lexile: 910

Madeline by Ludwig Bemelmans
Madeline, smallest and naughtiest of the twelve little charges of Miss Clavel, wakes up one night with an attack
of appendicitis. Lexile: 480

Freckle Juice by Judy Blume
Andrew wants freckles so badly that he buys Sharon’s freckle recipe for fifty cents. Lexile: 370

The Hundred Dresses by Eleanor Estes
In winning a medal she is no longer there to receive, a tightlipped little Polish girl teaches her classmates a lesson. Lexile: 870

My Father’s Dragon by Ruth Stiles Gannett
A young boy determines to rescue a poor baby dragon who is being used by a group of lazy wild animals to ferry them across the river on Wild Island. Lexile: 990

The Story of Ferdinand by Munro Leaf
Ferdinand likes to sit quietly and smell the flowers, but one day he gets stung by a bee and his snorting and stomping convince everyone that he is the fiercest of bulls. Lexile: 710

The Tales of Uncle Remus as told by Julius Lester
A retelling of the Afro-American tales about the adventures and misadventures of Brer Rabbit and his friends and enemies. Lexile: 760

Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lindgren
Escapades of a lucky little girl who lives with a horse and a monkey–but without any parents–at the edge of a Swedish village. Lexile: 870

Sarah, Plain and Tall by Patricia MacLachlan
When their father invites a mail-order bride to come live with them in their prairie home, Caleb and Anna are
captivated by their new mother and hope that she will stay. Lexile: 560

Pink and Say by Patricia Polacco
Say Curtis describes his meeting with Pinkus Aylee, a black soldier, during the Civil War, and their capture by Southern troops. Based on a true story about the author’s great-greatgrandfather. Lexile: 590

Tar Beach by Faith Ringgold
A young girl dreams of flying above her Harlem home, claiming all she sees for herself and her family. Based on
the author’s quilt painting of the same name. Lexile: 790

Grandfather’s Journey by Allen Say
A Japanese American man recounts his grandfather’s journey to America which he later also undertakes, and the feelings of being torn by a love for two different countries. Lexile: 560

The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams
By the time the Velveteen Rabbit is dirty, worn out, and about to be burned, he has almost given up hope of ever finding the magic called Real. Lexile: 820

Rumpelstiltskin by Paul O. Zelinsky
A strange little man helps the miller’s daughter spin straw into gold for the king on the condition that she will give him her first-born child. Lexile: 740

Charlotte’s Web by E. B. White
Wilbur, the pig, is desolate when he discovers that he is destined to be the farmer’s Christmas dinner until his spider friend, Charlotte, decides to help him. Lexile: 680


Amber Brown series by Paula Danziger
Babymouse series by Jennifer L. Holm
Bunnicula series by James Howe
Clementine series by Sara Pennypacker
Frog and Toad series by Arnold Lobel
Gooney Bird series by Lois Lowry
Junie B. Jones series by Barbara Park
Calvin Coconut series by Graham Salisbury
The Time Warp Trio series by Jon Scieszka
Commander Toad series by Jane Yolen



Categories: Summer Reading Lists

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