All journeys have a starting place.
This is a weekly place to find books and tools
that you may use with readers
at the start of their independent reading journey.
Join in the conversation at #road2reading.
My reading this past week brought me traveling "across the pond" as they say!
Judy Moody and the Right Royal Tea Party
written by Megan McDonald
illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds
Judy Moody books have long been some of my favorite books to recommend to young readers. Many kids have a familiarity of her and the other characters because of the movie that came out years ago. I prefer Reynolds' illustrations to the craziness of the movie and I know others would agree. Judy's attitude and wacky stories are sure to please many readers. I also like that there are a variety of Judy Moody books for readers - from early chapter books to the Stink books to the Judy and Stink books (with color illustrations) to the actual Judy books (and have you seen their new covers?) - there is always a book to recommend!
This new Judy escapade may be my favorite because I used a brilliant English accent in my head as I read the book! I can't imagine how fun it would be to use this one as a read aloud!
Judy is doing some digging into her family tree and in true Judy Moody fashion, has determined that a great (x a few more greats) grandfather was related to the Queen of England. Which of course makes her surmise that she is British royalty. The British slang and terms begin as Judy begins her search to learn everything about the queen!
Mac B. Kid Spy: Mac Undercover
written by Mac Barnett
illustrated by Mike Lowery
The second book I read that has to do with all things British, this one taking place in London.
If you've ever met Mac Barnett, you'll be able to read this with this voice in your head. His words and phrases and sentences sound how he speaks - I can imagine where the intonation of his voice may raise a bit, an how he often further explains his thoughts after making a statement. After all, he is telling the story, since he's relating how he was a spy when he was a kid and all of these adventures, which may seem a bit outlandish, are actually true.
The story takes place in the 80s and I think the adults that read the story will find some of the references funnier than the kids who pick this book up today. Kid Mac has been contacted by the Queen of England to take on a case to find the missing crown jewels. And before we know it, kid Mac is on his way overseas, sans parents, to solve the case. Outlandish? Yes. But, it might be just crazy enough to make a young reader stick with the story and laugh out loud a few times.
I'm looking forward to getting this one in the hands of kids. I want to see what their reaction is to the crazy story. This is a book that will reach a wide audience. Younger kids who are ready for a longer chapter book, more sophisticated vocabulary, yet enjoy some illustrations in their stories will enjoy this one. Older readers who need their books broken up with visuals, but appreciate humor in their stories will like this one too. This is not a book that has simple vocabulary and a straight forward story (all readers will have to suspend some belief as they read) that some younger readers are looking for. I am interested in seeing the reaction to this one. Since this is going to be a series, it will be interesting to see the demand for it by young readers.
So after that journey, I came back to the United States but settled into a new transitional chapter book that is an #ownvoices story and also one with a young author!
Sarai and the Meaning of Awesome
by Sarai Gonzalez and Monica Brown
Meet Sarai - she's a fourth grader with two immigrant parents and two younger sisters (one who is deaf and has implants... as an auntie to someone who has cochlear implants, looking forward to more on that in future books, perhaps) and has a lot of extended family close by. But when the house that her grandparents, cousins and aunt and uncle are renting is being sold, it's up to Sarai to try and figure out some new ideas how to make money and buy the house!
I think readers will like Sarai's voice and fall in love with her enthusiasm for life and for her family! This book will hit the sweet spot in second-fourth grade libraries, I think. The first book in the series publishes Sept. 11th but it is already available through Scholastic book clubs!
It says in the author's bio that Sarai Gonzalez first gained notoriety when she starred in Bomba Estéreo's video "Soy Yo". I have not heard of the group or song but I had to check it out. The song, in Spanish, is about embracing who you are - flaws and all!! After watching it, it gives me even more of an idea of Sarai's personality!
Do you work with readers who are starting their journey on the road to reading? Join Alyson Beecher from Kid Lit Frenzy and me every Thursday as we explore books and ideas to help readers have a successful start to independent picture book and chapter book reading. If you blog or have a Goodreads page, please link up with us!