Styling Librarian: Top 15 Recommendations for Early Chapter Books/Fiction and Audiobooks
TOP 15 Book Recommendations for ECB and Audiobooks: I think that some books on this list are Early Chapter Books/Fiction Books including these since they’re also great for audiobook format.
I love giving advice to my student’s parents, especially when they are already knowledgeable but just need a new lead on terrific books. Here’s my advice to a parent of a Kindergarten girl. She mentioned to me that they love listening to books in the car. (one of my FAVORITE THINGS to do with my son- we’re reading Lloyd Alexander’s Book of Three right now- I DO count audiobooks as reading.) Then she mentioned that she was a little tired of her daughter picking up inappropriate words when listening to Junie B. Jones and asked for book suggestions with some nicer characters:
Taking a break from Junie B. Jones and getting into a few nicer characters:
Recommendation: I love the Junie B. Jones series, I enjoy reading them with my son and discussing how she deals with situations, what he would do differently for resolving problems and also when she uses inappropriate words or speaks/spells things incorrectly how we would communicate different than her. So I use Barbara Park’s books as fabulous teachable moments. I also should mention that I love her other books my favorite being: Mick Harte was Here, what a heartwrenching treasure. Summary of Mick Harte was Here: Thirteen-year-old Phoebe recalls the death of her younger brother Mick in a bicycle accident, which might not have been fatal had he been wearing his helmet, and how she and her family reacted to the tragedy. Closes with an appeal to bikers to wear protective bicycle helmets. http://www.readwritethink.org/classroom-resources/calendar-activities/barbara-park-author-junie-20690.html
Here are the titles I suggested with “nicer” characters that the mom could either partner read with her daughter or listen to in the car: (I admit it, there are extra books in addition to main numbered ones, I’ll never limit myself when it comes to book treasure recommendations!)
1. Beany Goes to Camp by Susan Wojciechowski – There are a load of Beany books, I love them all! The main character is a thoughtful girl that gets into mishaps and solves her problems in an interesting way. (Reminds me of Ramona Quimby stories by Beverly Cleary.)
Beany Goes to Camp book summary: Beany definitely does not want to spend her summer vacation at camp, but she endures bugs and a bossy cabin-mate, finds a new friend, and has an okay time after all. http://www.susanwoj.com/
2. Betsy and Tacy by Maud Hart Lovelace
I love this series. I also love that when I brought up this list/blog post with my son, the first thing he said was “Betsy and Tacy, of course mommy!” – (Blush, I didn’t even think of this fabulous series until he mentioned it. We’re in the middle of the sequel, Betsy, Tacy and Tib)
Betsy and Tacy summary: After Tacy Kelly moves into the house across the street from Betsy Ray, the five-year-olds become inseparable friends.
3. Andy Shane and the Very Bossy Dolores Starbuckle by Jennifer Richard Jacobson – this boy shows tolerance and also how to deal with pushy classmates (with the help of his Granny). I’ve enjoyed reading this to multiple classes in the past and am happy to also have the rest of the series constantly checked out.
Andy Shane and the Very Bossy Dolores Starbuckle book summary: Andy Shane hates school, mainly because of a tattletale know-it-all named Dolores Starbuckle, but Granny Webb, who has taken care of him all his life, joins him in class one day and helps him solve the problem.
4. Ann Whitehead Nagda – – I would suggest any books by her, my favorites are: Dear Whiskers and Meow Means Mischief - Both of these books are beautiful –and multicultural!:
Dear Whiskers book summary: Jenny is discouraged when her second grade pen pal turns out to be a new student from Saudi Arabia who does not speak English very well, but as she works with her they slowly become friends.
Meow Means Mischief book summary: A stray kitten turns out to be the perfect way to help Rana make friends in her new school and to feel more comfortable with her grandparents, who are visiting from India while her parents are away. *I love her non-fiction animal math books as well, do dig into those too!
(Polar Bear Math, Panda Math) http://www.annnagda.com/
5. Donna Jo Napoli and Robert Furrow write a wonderful mystery series, terrific strong lead girl character: Sly the Sleuth and the Pet Mysteries.
Sly the Sleuth and the Pet Mysteries book summary: Sly the Sleuth, also known as Sylvia, solves three mysteries for her friends and neighbors, all involving pets, through her detective agency, Sleuth for Hire.
6. Annie Burrows write a wonderful friendship girl series called Ivy + Bean, I highly recommend. http://www.anniebarrows.com/ivyandbean/
Ivy + Bean book summary: Bean wasn’t interested in making friends with Ivy, the new girl across the street, until she plays a trick on her sister and needs a place to hide out.
7. Harriet Bean and the League of Cheats by Alexander McCall Smith is another mystery series that I think you might like to read together. (I’ve blogged about another new series by Alexander McCall Smith- terrific to read with family: http://thestylinglibrarian.com/2012/05/14/styling-librarian-what-are-you-reading-51412/
Harriet Bean and the League of Cheats book summary: Harriet helps her detective aunts, Thessalonika and Japonica, investigate cheating at the racetrack by disguising herself as a jockey.
8. Beverly Cleary- Classics, highly recommend anything from Ellen Tebbets to Emily’s Runaway Imagination! (But don’t forget about Ramona, Henry, Beezus, and the rest of the gang! http://www.beverlycleary.com/characters.aspx#Ramona
Ellen Tebbets book summary: The part of third grade Ellen Tebbits likes most is having Austine Allen for her best friend.
Emily’s Runaway Imagination by Beverly Cleary (my favorite book as a little girl for a long time, a future audio book for my son and I to enjoy together) I find many new favorite books connect with this one: Emily’s imagination helps bring a library to her town of Pitchfork, Oregon.
9. Ann Cameron – there are a bunch of humorous fiction books by her- my favorite is: The Stories Julian Tells and Gloria’s Way
I can’t help but laugh aloud when I’m reading these books to a class:
The Stories Julian Tells summary: Relates episodes in seven-year-old Julian’s life which include getting into trouble with his younger brother Huey, planting a garden, what he did to try to grow taller, losing a tooth, and finding a new friend.
Gloria’s Way summary: Gloria shares special times with her mother and father and with her friends Julian, Huey, and Latisha.
10. Grace Lin- read all of her books, they’re exquisite and packed with wonderful illustrations as well. I love Where the Mountain Meets the Moon and also Year of the Dog.
Where the Mountain Meets the Moon summary: Minli, an adventurous girl from a poor village, buys a magical goldfish, and then joins a dragon who cannot fly on a quest to find the Old Man of the Moon in hopes of bringing life to Fruitless Mountain and freshness to Jade River.
Year of the Dog summary: Frustrated at her seeming lack of talent for anything, a young Taiwanese American girl sets out to apply the lessons of the Chinese Year of the Dog, those of making best friends and finding onself, to her own life.
11. Judy Cox writes fabulous books that would be wonderful entertaining family reads from Butterfly Buddies to Don’t Be Silly Mrs. Millie.
Butterfly Buddies book summary: Third grader Robin has a series of mishaps and learns the value of honesty as she tries to become best friends with Zoey, her partner for a class project on raising butterflies. Includes butterfly care tips.
12. Kate DiCamillo- I love all of her books. I’m especially fond of Bink and Gollie and Mercy Watson books. Because of Winn-Dixie by Kate DiCamillo – if you look up Kate DiCamillo’s name on the library system, you’ll find loads of her fabulous books are also wonderful audiobooks. My favorite above all is Louise, Adventures of a Chicken.
Because of Winn-Dixie summary: Ten-year-old India Opal Buloni describes her first summer in the town of Naomi, Florida, and all the good things that happen to her because of her big ugly dog Winn-Dixie.
Bink and Gollie summary: Two roller-skating best friends- one tiny, one tall- share three comical adventures involving outrageously bright socks, an impromptu trek to the Andes, and a most unlikely marvelous companion.
Mercy Watson to the Rescue summary: After Mercy the pig snuggles to sleep with the Watsons, all three awaken with the bed teetering on the edge of a big hole in the floor.
Louise, Adventures of a Chicken summary: *Odyssey audio book award winner- Longing for adventure, intrepid Louise leaves her comfortable nest and goes to sea.
13. Judy Moody is one of my favorite series (along with the accompanying series Stink) and I highly recommend enjoying it: Megan McDonald is a fabulous author. These books are quite popular and I’d expect if you go to your public library, you’d find audiobooks for them easily.
Judy Moody summary: Third grader Judy Moody is in a first day of school bad mood until she gets an assignment to create a collage all about herself and begins creating her masterpiece, the Me collage.
14. Half Magic by Edward Eager This is one of those classic books that I adored reading as a child and then found quite easily approachable and enjoyed by my son presently. I’m also quite fond of these sibling stories: The Saturdays by Elizabeth Enright, all of Noel Streatfield’s shoes stories including Ballet Shoes by Noel Streatfield, and All of a Kind Family by Sidney Taylor.
Half Magic summary: Four children looking forward to an ordinary summer enjoy a series of fantastic adventures by double-wishing on an ancient coin.
15. The BFG by Roald Dahl – This is one excellent audio book, family read together book, or independent read book. I would like to make time to listen to this book again soon with my son, we loved it this year!
The BFG summary: Kidsnatched from her orphanage by a BFG (Big Friendly Giant) who spends his life blowing happy dreams to children, Sophie concocts a plan with him to save the world from nine other man-gobbling cannybull giants.
Book summaries are all from my school library search station.
What would you recommend? Would love other opinions! — 15 was quite limiting…