New Books for 6th Graders
Reading Level: Grade 4-6
An unwanted orphan girl...an unhappy man...a forbidding estate...a secret...a neglected garden. Is this a description of Burnett's Sercet Garden? No, but it is a literary reflection of that beloved classic.
More books by Ellen Potter
Other tales of orphan girls include:
A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett
Maggie & Oliver, or, A Bone of One's Own by Valerie Hobbs
Liesl & Po by Lauren Oliver and
Listening for Lions by Gloria Whelan
Reading Level: Grades 4 - 6
Rebecca's life is turned upside down when her mother, without warning, takes Rebecca and her little brother away from their father and home and moves them in with their grandmother. Upset when she learns that this is not a short trip, but a permanent relocation Rebecca goes to the attic to sulk and finds a magic bread box. If she wishes for something that is real AND which will fit inside the bread box, the box will give it to her. But magic, no matter how harmless it seems at the time, always comes with a price.
Reading Level: Grades 3 - 6
When Lily's mother realizes that the mothers in novels for children her daughter's age all die horrible deaths she becomes obsessed with avoiding that fate, especially since Lily has now been a main character in four Pals in Peril novels. Unfortunately in her desperate attempt to avoid anything that might endager her life, she throws herself quite literally right into the arms of zombies, ghosts and vampires. Can the Pals rescue her before it is too late and she becomes just another fictional mother statistic?
Reading Level: Grades 3-6
Henrietta Hornbuckle is a clown in Filbert's Traveling Clown Circus, and has been her whole life. Used to the travelling life, loving to watch the world pass her by as she tumbles and exaggerates movements and brings cheer and laughter to each town the circus visits. To Henrietta, circus life is a fluid, dynamic constant in her life. Then suddenly everything changes - Henrietta learns that the circus is in danger of closing, financial problems having finally become insurmountable. Furthermore, her mother, Hortense, wants to reconnect with her estranged sister Carlotta - a woman with an enormous house (the first Henrietta had ever entered) and a butler - a lavish, expansive lifestyle absurdly foreign to the young clown. Then the unthinkable happens, and Henrietta's jolly life is thrust away from everything she loves.
Reading Level: Grades 2-8 (and even adults on a silly day)
They're soft. They're cute. They're fluffy. They'll rip you face off!! They are killer koalas from outer space. And they are only one of the hilarious hazards you'll encounter in this book full of terrible jokes, blood-sucking grannies and poo...lots and lots and lots of poo.
If totally gross, stupid (and funny) books are for you, try:
Reading Level: Grade 6-8
13-year-old Sarah, a new scholarship student at the exclusive Glades Academy, is miserable. In a school where kids judge each other by the amount of money and things their parents have, Sarah the daughter of the lunch lady doesn't stand a chance.
Teachers are no help. Sarah wouldn't even be on this stupid overnight field trip if Mr. Vickers hadn't insisted the trip would help her make friends. Surprise, surprise...the four other girls on the trip spend their time snubbing Sarah and talking behind her back.
After a morning of cruelty, Sarah has had it. She pretends to be sick enough to stay behind...but not need a doctor. Sarah has no intention of spending the afternoon in her musty bunk. Instead she agrees to join on a joy ride through the Everglades 15-year-old Andy, son of a local fisherman, on his air boat. He even lets her drive!
When the boat runs aground deep in the heart of the Everglades, far from any cell phone reception, Sarah and Andy must save themselves...or die.
Other tales of survival include
Reading Level: 3rd-6th
New teacher Mr. Terupt has a handful this year in his fifth grade class - but his abnormal teaching methods are a good fit for helping the students grow and work together. The school year is going great, until the accident. Then everything changes.
A heartwarming book about the profound influence of Mr. Terupt, this is a tale for students of all ages.
A few similar books:
You probably learned to read in kindergarten or first grade, maybe even sooner. Maybe it's a little hard for you, maybe it got easier as you read more and more, maybe you can't stop reading.
But you did learn to read - good at it or not, loving it or not.
For Travis, that never happened. From kindergarten until seventh grade, he never let anyone see that he couldn't read - and no one knew - not even his teachers. When Travis and his grandpa move to a new town, and he begins at a new school, Travis isn't worried that he'll have trouble hiding his secret - until he gets his schedule.
Fourth period. Reading class. Room 134. Mr. McQueen.
Have you ever read a book that made you cry? Ever read a book that, once you were finished, you just sat with and held for a while, letting the words sink into you, not wanting to have finished it? Ever read a book that you couldn't stop thinking about after you finished? Ever read a book that was so true and real you experienced the whole thing in your mind as you read? This is one of those books.
Hauntingly, chillingly written with formidable illustration, A Monster Calls tells the story of a boy named Conor. Conor has terrible, monstrous nightmares; one day he looks out his bedroom window to see a monster looking back at him - but not the one from his nightmares. This monster wants something of Conor, but before it gets it, it will tell Conor three stories.
When the three stories are finished, it will be Conor's turn. And he will have to tell his story.
If you read one book this year, this reviewer hopes it's this one.
Books by Siobhan Dowd
Siobhan Dowd, children's and young adult author, passed away from breast cancer in 2007. Among the things left behind was the idea for A Monster Calls, which Patrick Ness has written in her memory.
*Title also owned on My Media Mall
Third U.S. President Thomas Jefferson lived at the plantation Monticello and kept slaves to work in his fields, farm and home. One of his slaves was a woman named Sally Hemings, mother to four of Jefferson's children - Beverly, Harriet, Maddy, and Eston. Though slaves, the children and their mother were given special treatment by Jefferson because of his discreet relationship to them - but nevertheless, slaves they remained.
Master Jefferson promises freedom to all four of his slave children upon their twenty-first birthdays, but Beverly, the eldest, cannot imagine leaving his mother, sister, brothers - but especially his father. Light-skinned and longing for a father figure, Beverly struggles with the secrecy of Jefferson's nonpublic identity as his father, especially when Jefferson presents him and his brothers with a kit violin and lessons. He and his siblings imagine a life where his mother, siblings and father could live openly together as a real family; a life that did not involve waiting on Master Jefferson's real children, especially the snippy Miss Martha.
Based on true events at Monticello during the early 1800s, Jefferson's Sons is a slave tale of a different order, exploring slavery and racial issues from the fresh perspective of Jefferson's slave children. The novel is a welcome look into one aspect of post-revolutionary slave life in Virginia that explores the bonds of family and friendship.