The Night Gardener

By Jonathan Auxier Published 2014 AR level: 4.9 AR points: 12.0 Word count: 79,193 I suggest 4th through 8th grade. It’s that time of year when we’re all ready for something a little spooky, right? Well, I’ve got a few scary ideas for you, but I definitely want to mention The Night Gardener. This book has…

Land of Stories: Wishing Spell

By Chris Colfer Published 2012 AR level: 5.0 AR points: 15.0 Word count: 98,248 I suggest 3rd through 7th grade. If I could credit one book with giving my daughter the bug to read, it might be this one. Or perhaps, I’d just credit the whole series. This was the first BIG series that she…

Blood on the River

By Elisa Carbone Published 2006 AR level: 5.3 AR points: 7.0 Word Count: 47,770 I suggest 2nd through 6th grade. This book was provided to me by my Mom, because she knows how much I love historical fiction. What I discovered while reading it was a wonderfully crafted book that follows a boy’s journey to…

Panic

By Lauren Oliver AR level 5.2 AR points 12.0 Word count: 77,339 Suggest 7th through 12th grade. I was fortunate enough to meet Lauren Oliver at yet another great event at our local bookstore, Edmond’s Best of Books. She was joined by Adam Silvera, and they offered a scintillating talk about writing inspirations, techniques, and…

CatStronauts: Mission Moon

By Drew Brockington Published 2017 AR level: 3.0 AR points: 0.5 I suggest 1st through 4th grade. If you ever want to see your second grader have a meltdown in Barnes and Noble, then take him to get his free copy of CatStronauts: Mission Moon for completing his reading list, and then find out the store is…

All the Impossible Things

By Lindsay Lackey Published 2019 AR: not yet assessed I suggest 4th through 8th grade. All the Impossible Things is a book to savor. Honestly, when Katherine Applegate (One and Only Ivan, Crenshaw, etc.) endorses anything, I’m probably going to read it. I was lucky enough to get a sneak peak at this book (it releases September…

Bone Gap

By Laura Ruby Published 2015 AR level: 4.9 AR points: 11.0 Word count: 76,781 I suggest 7th through 12th grade. Haunting, cool, zany, funny, creepy, intriguing, thrilling. Laura Ruby’s Bone Gap are all these things. I wasn’t sure what to expect when I read this for a writing critique group assignment. What I experienced was a book so…

The Call

By Paeder O’Guilin Published 2016 AR level: 5.5 AR points: 11.0 Word Count: 71019 I suggest 8th through 12th grade. This is a drastic departure from the previous books I’ve written about. Not only is it young adult, but the tone, while not completely devoid of humor, is most definitely dark. As a kid, if…

Ghost

By Jason Reynolds Published 2016 AR level: 4.6 AR points: 6.0 Word count: 39.562 I suggest 3rd through 9th grade. I had heard about the book Ghost and seen it during my weekly trips to the bookstore. However, when two fictional kids in The Remarkable Journey of Coyote Sunrise (another great middle grade read) discussed it in the story,…

Sweep: The Story of a Girl and Her Monster

By Jonathan Auxier Published: 2018 AR level: 4.5 AR points: 10.0 Word count: 68,335 I suggest 4th through 7th grade. Sweep: The Story of a Girl and Her Monster is a tale that made me hold my breath, laugh, and cry.  Set in 1875 London, the novel will never let you think of chimney sweeps the same way….

Whales on Stilts (Pals in Peril Series)

By M.T. Anderson Published 2005 AR Level 4.6 Word Count: 22071 Suggested readers: Grades 3rd-6th So. I’ve posted three books so far, and all of them have one major thing in common. HUMOR! And I’m not alone in my love of laughter. Each year, Scholastic releases a Kids & Family Reading Report, and toward the…

Puppy Place

By Ellen Miles Published 2006 to present AR level: 3.5 to 4.5 Word count: about 10,000 I suggest 1st through 4th grade. You know what kids love? Puppies. They love puppies. I dare you to say differently. Puppy Place is a chapter book series for any child, because at one point or another, we all have a…