Friday, July 15, 2016

Spotlight Friday: transitional chapter books, part 2 - 7.15.16

Time to get ready for the weekend!
Kick up your feet and find a good place to read.
Sharing #booklove for your classroom or library.
Spotlighting a book or two because these books deserve the spotlight!

Last month I turned the spotlight on books and series that are perfect for readers who are starting their reading journey.  Books that rely on sight words, accessible text and decodable print.  After progressing through these books and longer picture books, kids are ready for longer text.  However, there is a big jump from picture books to middle grade novels.  That is where transitional chapter books come into play.  They make the perfect bridge between the two.  But finding a good transitional chapter book can be tricky.  Some readers who need them are younger readers.  They are ready for longer books, but don't have the stamina to read middle grade just yet.  These kids need books that appeal to younger grades, and don't have content that is too over their head.  Whereas other readers who need a transitional chapter book are those who struggle with reading.  Kids who are still trying to fit all the reading pieces together.  Middle grade books are often too challenging, too daunting, and they get turned off from reading all together.  These readers are looking for a transitional chapter book that is smart, isn't going to appear for very young readers, have good story lines and fun characters.  

This week I'll be spotlighting some titles and series that would be perfect for 1st-4th graders.  Some books are part of a series.  Some are new, some you probably know.  Share this post with teachers who may not know them, give them new title ideas!  Some of the books are stand alines, not series.  All of them have wide appeal.  Here are some of my favorites:

Charlie Bumpers vs. the Teacher of the Year
Charlie Bumpers series
by Bill Harley
This is my favorite new series.  It's funny, smart, witty and has characters that 4th graders will like. It's not a difficult read so it's perfect for older kids who are still working on reading skills.

Mischief Season by John Bemelmans Marciano
The Witches of Benevento series
by John Bemelmans
Short, small books that have a very "old" feel about them - like something you would've found in the "olden days"!  But don't let that old feel fool you, the books are funny and have a good mystery to solve.  I was hooked after the first one and immediately got the second.  Plus, with Caldecott winning illustrator Sophie Blackall contributing, it's a sure fire win!

Lola Levine Is Not Mean!
Lola Levine series
by Monica Brown
Lola is a sassy but sweet character who is quick to make mistakes but faster to fix them.

MVP #1: The Gold Medal Mess
MVP series
by David Kelly
Mysteries and sports - perfect kid combo!

Attaboy, Sam!
Sam Krupnik series
by Lois Lowry
I grew up on the Anastasia Krupnik series.  HMH is rereleasing the follow up to this series, about Anastasia's younger brother, Sam.  
This series is a bit longer in length, so while the main character is younger, it should still present enough of a challenge for those "old" 4th grade readers to keep them interested!

Jelly Bean (Shelter Pet Squad, #1)
Shelter Pet Squad series 
by Cynthia Lord
Anything by Cynthia Lord is great in my mind!  But pare readers with animals and you almost always have a hit.  I love that this series is pushing kids to go out and do something to help!

Race to the South Pole (Ranger in Time #4)
Ranger in Time:  Race to the South Pole
by Kate Messner
The fourth book in this series is out!  I love how Kate Messner is getting kids to read historical fiction.  Perfect for kids who love the I Survived books.

Spunky Tells All
Spunky Tells All
by Ann Cameron
Fans of the the "Julian" series will love this stand alone book where Spunky the dog gets to tell his side of the story.  Add in illustrations by Caldecott Honor author Lauren Castillo, I know this book will be a hit with readers.

Weekends with Max and His Dad
Weekends with Max and His Dad 
by Linda Urban
I believe this book is going to end up as a series and I'm very excited for that.  This book is about Max who spends his weekends with his dad.  Each section of the book explores new adventures for the father-son and we see Max get more comfortable with his new surroundings.  I love that this is a book about a divorced family without the book focusing on a negative divorce.

Hope you find some new titles for your class and students.  These books are important to have so all readers can find a book they will enjoy and can read independently.
I hope to see more authors writing smart and fun transitional chapter books!

Be sure to check out part one of this series where I turned the spotlight on transitional chapter books that are perfect for Kg-3rd grade.


  1. I'm moving from middle school to third grade this year and have spent the summer building my classroom library! Thank you for these titles... I'll be checking them out!

  2. LOVE these recs, Michele! Weekends With Max & His Dad is awesome & I can't wait to check out The Witches of Benevento. BUT I must say the "All About Sam" series by Lois Lowry is one of my absolute favorites. So excited it's being re-released! Go, Sam!!!