Reader Recommendations


Every Monday I help in the classrooms at Ballard School where my children are in 1st and 4th grade. Cute school, huh?

I love when I get to read with the 4th graders. They bring out a book and read aloud to me, filling me in with what’s going on and sometimes asking what a word means. It’s always fun to see what interests them, especially when I know some of the authors. Last week I probably scared Sadie with my enthusiasm when I saw she was reading Sheep by Val Hobbs.

Me: Omigosh, Sadie, I’ll be at Val’s house tomorrow night! I’m taking a writing class from her!

Sadie, backing up a little: Wow, you know her? That’s cool…

Sadie’s sister gave her Sheep, which brings me to my point. Kids don’t look at best seller lists or choose a book because it won an award. Some will pick up books with interesting covers and good blurbs on the back. But mostly they choose books that they see their friends (or sisters) reading or hear about from the school librarian. And once they like an author, they’ll read anything by that person. (I found out that Sadie’s sisters and Mom own at least six of Val’s books!)

So when I saw Jen Robinson’s post about selecting reading material, I thought I’d go to some kids for recommendations. I’ve got two voracious readers living with me and here are their impromptu book lists:

Drew’s 4th Grade Recommendations
Harry Potter
My mom and I have read all these books together and I reread them by myself too.

The Dark Lord
I’ll read any Star Wars book, but this is my favorite.

Diary of a Wimpy Kid
I have all four books. They make me laugh out loud (and my mom, too).

Blood on the River
I just finished this for book club at school. It’s a historical novel about John Smith and the James Town settlers.

Drew is just starting the Percy Jackson series (one of MY personal favorites). I’m guessing it will become a favorite for him, too.

Jasmine’s 1st Grade Recommendations
The Wednesday Surprise

She loves this one because the kids surprise their daddy.

Nate the Great
She’s reading this book for Accelerated Reader.

The Magic Treehouse Series
I used to read these to her but now she reads them on her own.

Bark, George
This picture book still makes her laugh out loud every time she reads it.

16 thoughts on “Reader Recommendations

  1. Thanks for sharing these, Sherrie! I do think that Drew will like the Percy Jackson books. And I just saw mention of the Nate the Great books during the Share a Story tour. Will have to check those out!

  2. Oh, wonderful post! I actually cared about awards when I was younger, but I always knew I wanted to be a writer, too, so I’m the odd one out. Those are great recommendations, right from the source. Thanks!

  3. PJ — It does help to be in touch with real kids — how fun to work in the library!Jen — Drew is already on page 75 of The Lightning Thief and he just started yesterday afternoon!Beth — Good nostalgia, huh?Glam — I’m impressed — I didn’t know about book awards until I was an adult!T. Anne — Glad you have good memories of elementary school :^)Meredith — We love collecting books, too :^)

  4. You are so right, kids like what they like, not what adults tell them to like!Loved the recommendations, because I have a fourth grader (who shares a lot of the same favorites as yours) and a first grader as well!

  5. Your kids ARE great readers. We LOVED Nate the Great. I used to just say to my son, “So, Rosalind is a little strange…” I think she was our favorite character!So if your kids go to the Ballard school, you don’t really live IN Santa Ynez, do you? I seem to remember my parents driving out there for dinner at some really good restaurant. Or maybe I’m imagining things!

  6. I have driven by the Ballard School! It’s a lovely spot. It was highlighted in one of AAA’s roadtrips years ago. Anyway, it’s so cool that Sadie was reading one of your friend’s books. It’s a big “yay!” for Val.

  7. Kelly — I didn’t realize our kids were the same age! Hope yours like these recommendations :^)Becky — Your parents must have eaten at the Ballard Store Restaurant (which no longer exists) or the Ballard Inn (the chef’s son is in kindergarten). Our district is weird, so even though we do live in Solvang, we’re in the Ballard district (which is technically still part of Solvang).Suzanne — Since the school is a historic site, we get a LOT of people driving up, hopping out to take a picture, and driving away. And yes, a BIG yay for Val!

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