A columnist of heart and mind

A columnist of heart and mind
Interviewing the animals at Children's Fairyland in Oakland. L-R: Bobo the sheep, Gideon the miniature donkey, me, Tumbleweed Tommy the miniature donkey, Juan the alpaca, Coco the pony

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Fun Reads For The Summer

(Above: Ms. Price Patel reading to the students at Redwood Day School)

No column is more eagerly awaited than our annual summer reading list for kids, courtesy of Liz Price Patel, the librarian at Redwood Day School in Oakland. And here it is:

Grades K-1

The Day the Crayons Quit by Drew Daywalt. The crayons have spoken. In a series of clever letters to their child artist/owner, Duncan’s crayons tell him exactly how they feel about their jobs.
Maria Had a Little Llama by Angela Dominguez. A bilingual version of Mary Had a Little Lamb is set to lovely Peruvian-inspired illustrations.

Grades 1-3

Battle Bunny by Jon Scieszka and Mac Barnett. Young Alex “redesigns” Birthday Bunny, the book his Gran Gran gives him for his birthday. This playful reinterpretation of a youngster’s picture book is also the story of fleeting childhood.
Little Sister Is Not My Name by Sharon M. Draper. Thanks to her special shiny sack, her spunk—and her grandmother—Sassy learns that being the youngest in the family isn’t always a bad thing.
Journey by Aaron Becker. Wordless picture books like Journey help our early readers grow. Join a young girl on a trip through a fantasyland of her own artistic creation.

Grades 3-5

Nelson Mandela by Kadir Nelson. A reader can lose himself in Kadir Nelson’s rich illustrations of the life of South African leader Nelson Mandela.
Magic Treehouse Fact Trackers by Mary Pope Osborne. Take the Jack and Annie stories to the next level by reading the facts behind their adventures.
Flora and Ulysses by Kate DiCamillo. Families can be tricky, and sometimes even dangerous, to navigate. Nobody knows this better than Flora and Ulysses. Part chapter book, part graphic novel, this Newbery Medal book about a girl and her superhero squirrel sidekick is curiously believable in all the right ways.

Grades 4-6

One Crazy Summer and P.S. Be Eleven by Rita Williams-Garcia. In Oakland, 1968, sisters Delphine, Vonetta, and Fern, meet their poet mother, Cecile; go to summer camp with the Black Panthers; and make unexpected friends. In the sequel, the girls carry on back home in Brooklyn, changed by their experience in Oakland and their new relationship with their mother.
How to Catch a Bogle by Catherine Jinks. Ten-year-old Birdie is apprentice to a bogler, or monster catcher. While some folks don’t believe in the spirits that Birdie and Alfred face down regularly, monsters are very real to the bogle-catching team as they investigate the disappearance of several orphan children. This book is an interesting combination of chilling and sweet.

Grades 5-8

Doll Bones by Holly Black. A childhood game of pretend turns into a coming-of-age adventure as Zach, Poppy, and Alice run away to solve a murder mystery and fulfill the destiny of a ghost who takes the form of an antique china doll.
The Giver by Lois Lowry. If you have not yet read this book, do yourself a favor and read it now, before the movie comes out in August. If you already read it as a younger student, try it again with a new lens.
Better Nate than Ever by Tim Federle. With the help of his best friend/drama coach - and behind his parents’ backs - 13-year-old Nate sets off for a Broadway audition. He hits speed bumps and total roadblocks along the way, but his humor and heartfelt nature see him through.

Have fun, kids!