This Reading List Works with Kids Who Love Reading and Those Who Don't!


Reading list?!?

You mean we have to endure yet ANOTHER list?

I'm thinking that you'll agree with me--it's time-consuming to wade through all of the thousands of lists that we seem to encounter everywhere.

To me, it all boils down to two questions. What will kids REALLY like? And, just importantly, which books will kids totally ignore?

What follows on this page springs from a combination of personal experience as a teacher, suggestions from my colleagues, and a lot of trial and error over the years.

I'm not claiming that this is the book list to end all book lists, but I AM suggesting that this is an excellent starting point for helping to get young people enthused about reading.

Quick Links for THIS Page

You may use the following quick links to go directly to what interests you on this page. You may also scroll down the page manually if you choose to do so.

Book Adventure
The Goldilocks Test
Newbery Medal Winners for 2011
Newbery Medal Winners for 20 Years Prior
Caldecott Medal Winners for 2011
Caldecott Medal Winners for 20 Years Prior
Top 10 Graphic Novels for 2011
Top 10 Graphic Novels for 2010
My Kids' Favorite Books
Language Arts Presenter
PowerPoint Presentation for 100 Books
Tools Notebook

Book Adventure

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I think so highly of this site that this is probably the third or fourth time I've mentioned it on Daily Teaching Tools.

Book Adventure is a FREE reading motivation program for children in grades K-8. Kids create their own reading lists from over 7,000 recommended titles, take multiple choice quizzes on the books they've read, and earn points and prizes for their literary successes.

What I like best is the spiders that crawl this site. The kids take a reading and interest survey, and the spiders steer students toward books that they believe kids will like. The results, I have to say, are impressive.

Even reluctant readers end up with books that they truly enjoy reading.

And, even better, students have to actually READ the books in order to be able to pass a 10 point quiz upon completion.

The Goldilocks Testreading list

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reading list
This is a tool that may help to match the appropriate book with a particular kid.

Although some kids are eager to read, many of them just simply don't want to. As I've mentioned several times on this website, students at Twin Lakes were expected to read 25 books in a school year.

With that kind of pressure, kids would deliberately pick books for their reading lists that were much too easy for them to read. After all, that made the task much less formidable. The end result, of course, is that they WERE reading, but they weren't getting much benefit from it.

That's where The Goldilocks Test comes in.

Students ask themselves the following yes/no questions. Then, "Goldilocks" gives them some guidance on their reading list choices.

Have you read the book lots of times before?
Do you understand the story very well?
Do you know almost every word?
Can you read it smoothly?

The book is too easy.

Is this book new to you?
Do you understand a lot of the book?
Are there just one or two words a page you don't know?
When you read, are some places smooth and some choppy?
Do you have to think as you read?

This book is just right.

Are there more than five words on a page you don't know?
Are you confused about what is happening in most of this book?
When you read it, does it sound really choppy?
Are you finding that you're just not enjoying this book?

This book is too hard.

The Goldilocks Test is a free download. There are two per sheet and they can be duplicated and given to your kids.

Newbery Medal Winners for 2011reading list

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What better books to recommend for reading lists than the Newbery Medal Winners?

The 2011 Newbery Medal winner is . . .

Moon over Manifest by Clare Vanderpool, published by Delacorte Press, an imprint of Random House Children's Books, a division of Random House, Inc.

The town of Manifest is based on Frontenac, Kansas, the home of debut author Clare Vanderpool’s maternal grandparents.

Vanderpool was inspired to write about what the idea of “home” might look like to a girl who had grown up riding the rails. She lives in Wichita with her husband and four children.

Vanderpool illustrates the importance of stories as a way for children to understand the past, inform the present and provide hope for the future.

The following are Newbery Honor Books for 2011:

Turtle in Paradise by Jennifer L. Holm, published by Random House Children's Books, a division of Random House, Inc.

Sassy eleven-year-old Turtle finds her life turned on end when she is sent to live with her aunt in Depression-era Key West. With vivid details, witty dialogue and outrageous escapades, Jennifer Holm successfully explores the meaning of family and home… and lost treasures found.

Heart of a Samurai by Margi Preus, published by Amulet Books, an imprint of Abrams.

Shipwrecks, whaling, a search for home and a delightful exploration of cultures create a swashbuckling adventure. This historical novel is based on the true story of Manjiro (later John Mung), the young fisherman believed to be the first Japanese person to visit America, who against all odds, becomes a samurai.

Dark Emperor and Other Poems of the Night by Joyce Sidman, illustrated by Rick Allen, published by Houghton Mifflin Books for Children, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

Welcoming her readers into the “wild, enchanted park” that is the night, Joyce Sidman has elegantly crafted twelve poems rich in content and varied in format. Companion prose pieces about nocturnal flora and fauna are as tuneful and graceful as the poems. This book is “a feast of sound and spark.”

One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia, published by Amistad, an imprint of Harper Collins Publishers.

The voices of sisters Delphine, Vonetta and Fern sing in three-part harmony in this wonderfully nuanced, humorous novel set in 1968 Oakland, California. One crazy summer, the three girls find adventure when they are sent to meet their estranged poet-mother Cecile, who prints flyers for the Black Panthers.

Newbery Medal Winners for 20 Years Prior

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2010: When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead (Wendy Lamb Books, an imprint of Random House Children's Books)

2009: The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman, illustrated by Dave McKean (HarperCollins)

2008: Good Masters! Sweet Ladies! Voices from a Medieval Village by Laura Amy Schlitz (Candlewick)

2007: The Higher Power of Lucky by Susan Patron, illustrated by Matt Phelan (Simon & Schuster/Richard Jackson)

2006: Criss Cross by Lynne Rae Perkins (Greenwillow Books/HarperCollins)

2005: Kira-Kira by Cynthia Kadohata (Atheneum Books for Young Readers/Simon & Schuster)

2004: The Tale of Despereaux: Being the Story of a Mouse, a Princess, Some Soup, and a Spool of Thread by Kate DiCamillo (Candlewick Press)

2003: Crispin: The Cross of Lead by Avi (Hyperion Books for Children)

2002: A Single Shard by Linda Sue Park(Clarion Books/Houghton Mifflin)

2001: A Year Down Yonder by Richard Peck (Dial)

2000: Bud, Not Buddy by Christopher Paul Curtis (Delacorte)

1999: Holes by Louis Sachar (Frances Foster)

1998: Out of the Dust by Karen Hesse (Scholastic)

1997: The View from Saturday by E.L. Konigsburg (Jean Karl/Atheneum)

1996: The Midwife's Apprentice by Karen Cushman (Clarion)

1995: Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech (HarperCollins)

1994: The Giver by Lois Lowry(Houghton)

1993: Missing May by Cynthia Rylant (Jackson/Orchard)

1992: Shiloh by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor (Atheneum)

1991: Maniac Magee by Jerry Spinelli (Little, Brown)

Caldecott Medal Winners for 2011reading list

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For more reluctant readers, the Caldecott Medal Winners are excellent choices for high-quality reading materials.

Yes, they DO have more pictures and illustrations than the Newbery award winning books. However, young readers are intrigued by excellent pictures and illustrations--kids WILL read these!

The 2011 Caldecott Medal winner is . . .

A Sick Day for Amos McGee, illustrated by Erin E. Stead, written by Philip C. Stead. A Neal Porter Book, published by Roaring Brook Press, a division of Holtzbrinck Publishing.

In this tender tale of reciprocity and friendship, zookeeper Amos McGee gets the sniffles and receives a surprise visit from his caring animal friends.

Erin Stead’s delicate woodblock prints and fine pencil work complement Philip Stead’s understated, spare and humorous text to create a well-paced, gentle and satisfying book, perfect for sharing with friends.

The following are Caldecott Honor Books for 2011:

Dave the Potter: Artist, Poet, Slave, illustrated by Bryan Collier, written by Laban Carrick Hill, published by Little, Brown and Company, a division of Hachette Book Group, Inc.

Collier’s arrestingly beautiful artistic interpretation of Hill’s poetic text reveals Dave the potter’s artistic process while also conveying the dignified triumph of his humanity in the face of oppression. Lush, earth-toned, multimedia collages are illuminated in soft, ethereal light that focuses the eye on the subject of each spread.

Interrupting Chicken, written and illustrated by David Ezra Stein, published by Candlewick Press.

Stein’s hilarious story presents Little Chicken and her long-suffering Papa, who just wants to get through a bedtime story without his daughter’s metafictive disruptions. Exuberant artwork shifts media and style, taking readers into three fairy tales, culminating in Little Chicken’s “Bedtime for Papa,” but truly delivering a story for all.

Caldecott Medal Winners for 20 Years Prior

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2010: The Lion & the Mouse by Jerry Pinkney (Little, Brown and Company)

2009: The House in the Night illustrated by Beth Krommes, written by Susan Marie Swanson (Houghton Mifflin Company)

2008: The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick (Scholastic Press, an imprint of Scholastic)

2007: Flotsam by David Wiesner (Clarion)

2006: The Hello, Goodbye Window Illustrated by Chris Raschka, written by Norton Juster (Michael di Capua/Hyperion)

2005: Kitten's First Full Moon by Kevin Henkes (Greenwillow Books/HarperCollinsPublishers)

2004: The Man Who Walked Between the Towers by Mordicai Gerstein (Roaring Brook Press/Millbrook Press)

2003: My Friend Rabbit by Eric Rohmann (Roaring Brook Press/Millbrook Press)

2002: The Three Pigs by David Wiesner (Clarion/Houghton Mifflin)

2001: So You Want to Be President? Illustrated by David Small; text by Judith St. George (Philomel Books)

2000: Joseph Had a Little Overcoat by Simms Taback (Viking)

1999: Snowflake Bentley, Illustrated by Mary Azarian; text by Jacqueline Briggs Martin (Houghton)

1998: Rapunzel by Paul O. Zelinsky (Dutton)

1997: Golem by David Wisniewski (Clarion)

1996: Officer Buckle and Gloria by Peggy Rathmann (Putnam)

1995: Smoky Night, illustrated by David Diaz; text: Eve Bunting (Harcourt)

1994: Grandfather's Journey by Allen Say; text: edited by Walter Lorraine (Houghton)

1993: Mirette on the High Wire by Emily Arnold McCully (Putnam)

1992: Tuesday by David Wiesner (Clarion Books)

1991: Black and White by David Macaulay (Houghton)

1990: Lon Po Po: A Red-Riding Hood Story from China by Ed Young (Philomel)

Top 10 Graphic Novels for 2011reading list

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If kids are having a difficult time making a reading list, graphic novels may be an option.

As you can imagine, these are EXTREMELY popular with young readers--especially the reluctant ones.

Although I am not aware of any award medals going to artists and writers who produce graphic novels, I DO know that the American Library Association publishes an annual list of the top 10 graphic novels for teens.

Here are the top 10 for 2011:reading list

The Zabime Sisters by Aristophane, translated by by Matt Madden.

Experience the first day of summer vacation with three sisters on their island home of Guadelupe.

Green Monk by Brandon Dayton, self-published.

A young monk with the most powerful blade of grass EVER wanders into battle with a fierce giant.

Saturn Apartments by Hisae Iwaoka, V. 1. VIZ Media.

Mitsu takes on his late father's dangerous job as a window washer on the space ship Saturn Apartments.

Brain Camp by Kim, Susan, et. al.

Two teens discover there is something far more sinister than nature hikes going on at their summer camp.

Chew V. 1: Taster’s Choice by John and Rob Guillory, Image Comics.

When Tony Chu has to investigate murder, just about anything can end up down the hatch.

Yummy: The Last Days of a Southside Shorty by G. Neri and Randy Duburke, Lee & Low Books.

The life, death and aftermath of an eleven-year-old gangbanger, based on a true tragedy.

Pick Any Path. 3,856 Story Possibilities by Jason Shiga, Amulet Books.

Have you played any comics lately? Choose your own adventure. Brace yourself: Middle School plus orthodontia equals dental drama.

Ghostopolis by Doug TenNapel, Graphix.

Garth Hale has gone to the other side, but he’s not dead yet.

Set to Sea by Drew Weing, Fantagraphics.

A lumbering poet discovers hardship and wisdom on the high seas.

Top 10 Great Graphic Novels for 2010

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The Helm by Jim Hardison and Bart Sears, Dark Horse.

Pathetic loser Matt Blurdy has a heroic destiny, but he'd better shed those extra pounds and beat that murder rap in a hurry, because his destiny is about to be put to the test.

Children of the Sea by Daisuke Igarashi, Vol 1. VIZ Media.

Three young teens hear the call of the ocean and realize their special connection to the depths of the sea.

Pinocchio: Vampire Slayer by Van Jensen and Dusty Higgins, SLG Publishing.

Thought Pinocchio's story had a happy ending? Wrong!

The Nobody by Jeff Lemire, DC Comics/Vertigo.

A mysterious stranger covered head to toe in bandages arrives in a small town. Paranoia follows in his wake.

Omega the Unknown by Jonathan Lethem and Farel Dalrymple, Marvel.

The weird, twisting journey of a boy with a (maybe) super-heroic destiny.

Bayou by Jeremy Love, Volume 1, DC Comics/Zuda.

A kidnapping and a lynching send Lee on a quest into a terrifying fantasy world hidden beneath the bayou.

Katman by Kevin C. Pyle, Henry Holt.

An urban teen spends his summer vacation caring for stray cats while he cultivates a friendship with an aspiring cartoonist.

Frankenstein: The Graphic Novel by Mary Shelley and Clive Bryant, Classical Comics Ltd.

Horror comes to life: the ethics of creation and destruction.

Gunnerkrigg Court, Vol 1: Orientation by Tom Siddell, Archaia Studios Press.

Antimony is starting her first year of boarding school, where secrets and mysterious, spooky events are part of the curriculum.

Pluto, Volume 1, Pluto, Volume 2, and Pluto, Volume 3 by Naoki Urasawa and Takashi Nagasaki, VIZ Media.

Who is killing the greatest robots on Earth?

My Kids' Favorite Booksreading list

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I almost didn't include this on this page of reading lists, but I thought, why not?
reading list
Having been charged with the task of getting my students to read 25 books in a school year, I learned their reading preferences rather thoroughly.
reading list
Other than the Potter series and the Twilight series, the books in my classroom library that proved to be the most popular with MY kids were as follows (they're not presented in any particular order):

Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney

Because of Winn-Dixie by Kate DiCamillo

Holes by Louis Sachar

Hoot by Carol Hiaasen

A Corner of the Universe by Ann M. Martin

Surviving the Applewhites by Stephanie Tolan

Esparanza Rising by Pam Munoz Ryan

Bud, Not Buddy by Christopher Paul Curtis

Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt

The Cay by Theodore Taylor

From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg

Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O'Dell

Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine

Inkheart by Cornelia Funke

Coraline by Neil Gaiman

The View from Saturday by E.L. Konigsburg

My kids also enjoyed ANY books by the following authors:

  • Avi
  • Gary Paulsen
  • Lois Lowry
  • Sharon Creech
  • Katherine Paterson
  • Jerry Spinelli
  • Walter Dean Myers
  • Madeleine L'Engle
  • C. S. Lewis
  • Karen Cushman
  • Richard Peck

Language Arts Presenter

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I know that this is a shameful plug, but Language Arts Presenter contains two mini-lessons that are appropriate to mention here.
reading list
Introducing Literature (found in the Literature Bundle) contains an excellent, if I do say so myself, presentation on the value of literature and how the genres of literature are related.

Here is a fully-functioning free trial.

The Importance of Reading (also found in the Literature Bundle) makes it very clear to students why it is so important to value reading. The free trial may be downloaded here.

Both of these lessons would serve you well, whether you're dealing with students who like to read or students who are reluctant.
reading list
Hey, if I can't plug my own products, who's going to do it for me?

PowerPoint Presentation for 100 Booksreading list
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Sometime during the school year of 2005-2006, I luckily stumbled upon a PowerPoint resource that I found for free on the Internet.

This presentation is called, Books, Books, and More Books: A Parent and Teacher's Guide to Contemporary Adolescent Literature compiled by Lu Ann Brobst Staheli.

It features 100 books and includes the title, the author, the summary, photos of the front covers of the books, and an approximate age recommendation.

The most obvious benefit of this resource is the book recommendations for reading lists; however, I have used it for additional purposes. For example, I made full 8 x 10 color prints of the individual slides on card stock paper (with a minimum paperweight of 65 pounds) and used them for display purposes.

I used them for my "Book of the Week" display right outside my classroom door, and I featured several of them on a special bulletin board across the hall labeled, "Books that Are Hot Right Now."

If you would like a free copy of this PowerPoint presentation, you may download it here.

Conclusionreading list

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I'm guessing that it's more than likely that you are NOT charged with the task of getting your kids to read 25 books in the school year, as I was.

However, I think we ALL agree that reading is critically important for kids--particularly in this, the Age Of Information.

Finding books that they really want to read can be a challenge, but I'm hoping that the resources presented here will be of service to you and your kids.
reading list

reading list
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