In Illinois, there is a student vote on favorite books for Kindergarten through third graders called the Monarch awards. Although Raisin is not in public school in which the voting takes place, he has enjoyed browsing the shelves at the library for new favorites! Here are three that I really enjoyed too.
8 Class Pets + 1 Squirrel ÷ 1 Dog = CHAOS by Vivia Vande Velde (Holiday House, 2012) has a nearly impossible title to type up, but it is a truly fun early reader. In this book, a dog chases a squirrel into the school on a quiet night. The pets in the classrooms end up having an adventure as well! This would be a great book for discussing the literary characteristic of voice, since each chapter is narrated by one of the animals. Each animal has a distinct personality, and the end result is, as the title suggests, chaos! This is an amusing book sure to keep the early chapter book reader entertained.
Lost Cat by C. Roger Madder (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2013) has gorgeous illustrations of a cat and the feet it encounters as it tries to find it’s owner after he’s lost during a move. I love how the pictures showed things from the cat’s perspective! Each of the different shoes he met gave him a good reason not to stay with them. I also loved the happy ending. This is a book for those who love cats but also anyone who enjoys a clever story about perspective. The pictures are a realistic delight for me to enjoy as well.
The Girl Who Heard Colors by Marie Harris (Nancy Paulsen, 2013) focuses on the extra-sensory condition called synthesia, in which various senses are enriched by colors. I do not have this condition myself, so it has always fascinated me. In this story, a young girl hears colors. Her story focuses on her experience in her daily elementary school class, where she eventually admits to her classmate that the noise she heard was “yellow” and that the cacophony of a student play instruments are too many colors all at once, so she cannot enjoy it. She meets an adult with her condition, and I love how she and her classmates come to terms with her strange extra sense. The illustrations are playful but appropriately full of the colors of the rainbow, making this a visual delight to read as well.