By Anvi Kevany
One of my favorite past times is reading. I love to read, especially travel stories, stories about small-town America, funny stories, classics, fantasies, science fiction, to name a few genres.
I have compiled a list, based on my research from Good Reads, and the public library reading lists, and some of the books that I have read, and read to my children throughout their growing years. I hope you enjoy and maybe discover a favorite book or author. That’s always the fun part.
Elementary School Level:
Mixed: A Colorful Story by Arree Chung, author and illustrator, Pre-K – Grade 2:
When a Blue and a Yellow fall in love, they create a whole new color and they name her Green. Green is bright like Yellow and calm like Blue, but really, she’s her own color. Soon other colors begin to mix and a colorful new world is created.
Grow up, David! By David Shannon, author and illustrator, Grade 1 – 3:
A new adventure in Shannon’s picture book series about a very mischievous boy! This one focuses on David’s relationship with his older brother, who generally thinks David is a pain. But when David needs help, his brother comes through and allows for a tender moment.
Front Desk by Kelly Yang, Grade 4 – 6:
Mia and her parents, immigrants from China, are excited to have jobs and a place to live when they start managing a motel. But their new boss won’t make repairs on his building or pay the family what they have earned. In her efforts to improve her English, Mia learns what a well-written letter can do to help her family.
The Girl Who Drew Butterflies: How Maria Merian’s Art Changed Science by Joyce Sidman, Grade 3 – 8:
Sidman’s signature poetry and love of nature shine through in this exquisitely researched, highly attractive and entertaining biography of Maria Merian, a revolutionary and groundbreaking “citizen-scientist” in the 1600s.
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, (The Chronicles of Narnia (Publication Order) #1), by C.S. Lewis
There are a thousand stories in the land of Narnia. In the never-ending war between good and evil, The Chronicles of Narnia set the stage for battles of epic proportions. Some take place in vast fields, where the forces of light and darkness clash. But other battles occur within the small chambers of the heart and are equally decisive.
Journeys to the ends of the world, fantastic creatures, betrayals, heroic deeds and friendships won and lost — all come together in an unforgettable world of magic. So join the battle to end all battles.
Number the Stars, by Lois Lowry
Ten-year-old Annemarie Johansen and her best friend Ellen Rosen often think of life before the war. It’s now 1943 and their life in Copenhagen is filled with school, food shortages, and the Nazi soldiers marching through town. When the Jews of Denmark are “relocated,” Ellen moves in with the Johansens and pretends to be one of the family. Soon Annemarie is asked to go on a dangerous mission to save Ellen’s life.
Speak: The Graphic Novel, Anderson, Laurie Halse
Melinda enters her freshman year of high school as an outcast after events that took place at a party during the summer. As she is grappling with what happened that night, she attempts to find solace in her art class. Released on the 20th anniversary of the original publication of Speak, Emily Carroll’s illustrations give a haunting and powerful new visual perspective to this classic novel.
The Grapes of Wrath, by John Steinbeck
The Pulitzer Prize-winning epic of the Great Depression, a book that galvanized—and sometimes outraged—millions of readers. First published in 1939, Steinbeck’s Pulitzer Prize-winning epic of the Great Depression chronicles the Dust Bowl migration of the 1930s and tells the story of one Oklahoma farm family, the Joads—driven from their homestead and forced to travel west to the promised land of California. Out of their trials and their repeated collisions against the hard realities of an America divided into Haves and Have-Nots evolves a drama that is intensely human yet majestic in its scale and moral vision, elemental yet plainspoken, tragic but ultimately stirring in its human dignity. A portrait of the conflict between the powerful and the powerless, of one man’s fierce reaction to injustice, and of one woman’s stoical strength, the novel captures the horrors of the Great Depression and probes into the very nature of equality and justice in America. At once a naturalistic epic, captivity narrative, road novel, and transcendental gospel, Steinbeck’s powerful landmark novel is perhaps the most American of American Classics. Brave New World.
Girl with a Pearl Earring, by Tracy Chevalier
With precisely 35 canvases to his credit, the Dutch painter Johannes Vermeer represents one of the great enigmas of 17th-century art. The meager facts of his biography have been gleaned from a handful of legal documents. Yet Vermeer’s extraordinary paintings of domestic life, with their subtle play of light and texture, have come to define the Dutch golden age. His portrait of the anonymous Girl with a Pearl Earring has exerted a particular fascination for centuries – and it is this magnetic painting that lies at the heart of Tracy Chevalier’s second novel of the same title.
The Sun Is Also a Star, by Nicola Yoon
Natasha: I’m a girl who believes in science and facts. Not fate. Not destiny. Or dreams that will never come true. I’m definitely not the kind of girl who meets a cute boy on a crowded New York City street and falls in love with him. Not when my family is twelve hours away from being deported to Jamaica. Falling in love with him won’t be my story.
Daniel: I’ve always been the good son, the good student, living up to my parents’ high expectations. Never the poet. Or the dreamer. But when I see her, I forget about all that. Something about Natasha makes me think that fate has something much more extraordinary in store—for both of us.
The Universe: Every moment in our lives has brought us to this single moment. A million futures lie before us. Which one will come true?
A Really Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson
Bill Bryson’s own fascination with science began with a battered old school book he had when he was about ten or eleven years old. It had an illustration that captivated him–a diagram showing Earth’s interior as it would look if you cut into it with a large knife and removed about a quarter of its bulk. The idea of lots of startled cars and people falling off the edge of that sudden cliff (and 4,000 miles is a pretty long way to fall) was what grabbed him in the beginning, but gradually his attention turned to what the picture was trying to teach him: namely that Earth’s interior is made up of several different layers of materials, and at the very centre is a glowing sphere of iron and nickel, as hot as the Sun’s surface, according to the caption. And he very clearly remembers thinking: “How do they know that?”
Bill’s storytelling skill makes the “How?” and, just as importantly, the “Who?” of scientific discovery entertaining and accessible for all ages. He covers the wonder and mystery of time and space, the frequently bizarre and often obsessive scientists and the methods they used, and the mind-boggling fact that, somehow, the universe exists and against all odds, life came to be on this wondrous planet we call home.
The Bookshop of Yesterdays by Amy Meyereson
When Miranda’s once beloved, then estranged uncle Billy unexpectedly passes away, he leaves her two things: his struggling Los Angeles bookstore and one last scavenger hunt like the ones he would organize for her in her youth. But this time the stakes are high; each clue uncovers family secrets buried far too long.
Convenience Store Woman by Sayaka Murata
Keiko Furukura marches to the beat of her own drummer. Or rather, to the music of her own convenience store. She may not have any idea how to function in the outside world, but she is completely in her element at the conbini where she has worked for 18 years. Her friends and family, however, all think there’s something wrong with her, so she resolves to find her own cure.
The Dinner List by Rebecca Serle
When Sabrina Nielsen arrives at the restaurant to celebrate her 30th birthday, she is astonished to find the people from her “dinner list” (any five people, living or dead, you would invite to dinner) seated at the table for an evening none of them will forget. This is a charming, heart-warming and heart-breaking book about how it feels to be young and what we lose, and gain, as we become adults.
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