Staley's Bookshelf

Alabama Moon - Watt Key

Another great Mrs.Gilmore suggestion :) Moon Blake has lived out in the woods since he was 2 years old with his dad. When his dad falls ill and dies, Moon is left to fend for himself. With a crazy constable on his tail, Moon gets sent to a boys home and then breaks out with 2 friends, Hal and Kip. Another survivalist tale but so much more than living in the woods. It focuses on forming friendships and family dynamics, such a great story for upper grades. It would be a great literature circle book but also class study. There is some profanity so you may need to  get that cleared with your parents but it is a great story! I would like to watch the movie adaptation and see how it compares, which could also be a good way to close out the study of the book in your classroom.

Frindle - Andrew Clements, Brian Selznick

This is a cute quick read for upper grades. Nick Allen has always had a creative side and then he lands in Mrs. Granger's 5th grade class. Mrs. Granger is all about vocabulary and it leaves Nick wondering, who makes a word, a word? So Nick decides to invent a word "Frindle" which Nick says is another word for pen. As the frindle trend grows among the school, so does Mrs.Granger's annoyance with Nick. I think this is a GREAT book for vocabulary building and a way to show how trends grow. 

Hatchet - Gary Paulsen

This is another book I chose for a potential book to read with my tutoring child. Gary Paulsen's books were popular when I was in school but I never read them. Hatchet tells the story of Brian, who is traveling to visit his father after his parents divorce. While traveling, the pilot has a heart attack and Brian is stranded in the Canadian forrest. With only a hatchet that his mother gave him, Brian sets out to survive. I didn't love this book as much, it got a little boring but I think for a 4th or 5th grade boy, they would love this. It would be a great literature circle book for a group of boys and I think you could do some fun writing tie-ins like "If I was Brian, this is what I would do.." or writing from Brian's perspective about his summer vacation. 

The One and Only Ivan - Patricia Castelao, Katherine Applegate

Thanks to Mrs. Gilmore's suggestion, I picked up this book as a potential book to read with my tutoring child and I am SO glad I did. The story is about Ivan, the shopping mall gorilla, who has spent all of his life in this shopping mall circus performing day after day. Ivan is an artist and aspires to make it to this "zoo" that he hears about on TV. He starts to use his art as a way to express himself and hopes to break out of the shopping mall to make it to the mall. I think this could be a great read aloud to lower grades like 2nd and 3rd but then a great literature circle book or class book study for 4th and 5th grades. It is based on a true story about Ivan, a gorilla who spent 20 years in a shopping mall space and finally was loaned to the Atlanta zoo until his death. That would be a great non-fiction tie in. Its a really quick read, I would suggest reading it to use in your future classroom. 

Vampires Don't Wear Polka Dots - Debbie Dadey, Marcia Thornton Jones, John Steven Gurney

The Bailey School Kids is a fun beginner chapter series for the lower grades like late 1st grade and 2nd grade. Each book is a different story about the teachers at Bailey School. This one is Vampires Don't Wear Polka Dots and the kids are convinced their teacher might be a vampire but of course, vampires don't wear polka dots. I think this is just a fun series for kids to read for fun, free reading, it doesn't take a lot of thought but its funny and will help get kids into reading chapter books.

A Mink, a Fink, a Skating Rink: What Is a Noun? - Brian P. Cleary, Jenya Prosmitsky

This was a great "Book of the Week" that Mrs. Gilmore read today in class. I love how it introduces nouns with fun rhyming and pictures. This would be great for introducing nouns in the lower grades but a good way to review nouns in the older grades. I love the idea of counting how many different nouns you hear while reading or thumbs up every time you hear a noun. I definitely want to look into the other books by the author that focus on other grammatical aspects.

Amber Brown Goes Fourth - Paula Danziger, Tony Ross, Jacqueline Rogers

I had forgotten about this series until it was mentioned in our text for Dr. Raulston's class. Amber Brown is a girl who has two colors for a name and the books are about her day-to-day life in school. In this particular one she starts 4th grade. The books are written on a 3rd grade level but they could be good for a beginning of the year 4th grade read-aloud to discuss friendship and working together as a team.

Cam Jansen and the First Day of School Mystery - David A. Adler, Susanna Natti

I think that Cam Jansen books are a good classroom library staple for grades 2 and 3. Its a good read aloud and a way to introduce the mystery genre to kids. I saw that there is now a Young Cam Jansen series that are beginning readers for K and First grades. Kids will love Cam who has a photographic mind and solves mysteries and crimes all while going to school at the same time. 

The Magic School Bus Inside the Human Body - Joanna Cole, Bruce Degen

Who doesn't love Ms. Frizzle and her amazing field trips? Magic School bus is a great way to integrate science and reading and there are so many, you can bet there is one on whatever topic you need. I think these are great for any grade.

The Scrambled States of America (Books for Young Readers) - Laurie Keller

A cute story about the states if they got "scrambled." My CT in 1st grade last semester used this book as a way to introduce their maps unit and the kids loved it. They watched a cute video story of it online and it was so cute. I think this is a great book for introducing states, maps, and geography for the lower grades.

Amanda Bean's Amazing Dream - Cindy Neuschwander, Marilyn Burns, Rosanne Litzinger

Another book from when I was observing in third grade. This is a great book for introducing multiplication and arrays. The teacher I was observing with let me do this lesson with the kids and it was so fun. We read the book which is about a girl who loves to count and her teacher suggests using multiplication to count faster and its a great visual to those who are struggling to get the concept of multiplication at first. There is a supplemental activity with the book that ties things Amanda counted to multiplication problems. 

Zathura - Chris Van Allsburg

When I was observing in 3rd grade last semester they read this book as they compared the differences between fiction and non-fiction texts. They read this book and then they read a non-fiction text about space and compared and contrasted the differences between the two. I really like Chris Van Allsburg books because they are always kind of magical and the illustrations are beautiful. 

Fancy Nancy - Jane O'Connor, Robin Preiss Glasser

Fancy Nancy is just fun and she probably is more on the girly-er side but I think using this series could be a great vocabulary builder in the lower grades. She always is using fun "fancy" words that kids have probably never heard which I think is great for lower grades to hear. Fun fact: I made a Fancy Nancy pumpkin for the preschool I work at's Fall Open House and it came in 3rd place, here's a pic because she's just too cute 


Beautiful Oops! - Barney Saltzberg

I was observing in 3rd grade last semester for my SPED class at Gwin Elementary and the reading coach came in and taught a lesson on growth mindset and she read this book. I wasn't familiar with growth mindset until then and I quickly became a big fan. It's all about teaching kids that you are always learning and your brain is always growing and it does all of this by making mistakes and I think its such a great message to teach. She read this book and the artwork is amazing. It shows how spills and rips and tears can turn into something beautiful. Its a really great message and I would read it at all grades to teach growth mindset. 

Love Monster - Rachel Bright

I discovered this book when teaching 3K last year and it is now one of my favorites. Such a cute story about a monster who lives in cutesville and can't find anyone like him. He searches and searches and when he's about to give up he meets a new monster friend. I would read this in a lower grade class to teach that not everyone is the same but we should all love one another. 

Matilda - Roald Dahl, Quentin Blake

Matilda is another classic to me. She's another strong female character as she deals with her life at home and The Trunchbull at school. Every future teacher wants to be Ms. Honey right? I know I do. Even though Matilda is a girl, I think this would be a good read aloud to a whole class or in small group setting like literature circles.