Thursday, July 1, 2021

#road2reading Challenge - #ChapterBookSummer Series - books for kids who think outside of the box - 7.01.21


Welcome to the 3rd Chapter Book Summer Series!  I have been shining the spotlight on chapter books for the last few years because all too often I see in chat groups people asking for chapter book titles and the series that are mentioned the most often are Magic Tree House, A-Z Mysteries, and Junie B. Jones.  While all of these series are great, there are many many many more out there that just aren't mentioned as often.  I often see other recommendations be very lacking of representation of BIPoC creators and characters.  
I've been sharing chapter books for the past two summers, but also in my Thursday posts throughout the year.  And speaking of BIPoC creators and characters, they are sorely lacking in representation in chapter books.  It  also has not gone unnoticed the small amount of boy main characters.  Hoping publishers are taking notice of some of the conversations that have taken place on social media about the lack of both.
Over the next two months, I have a round up of chapter books.  Each focuses on a topic kids might enjoy reading about.  Today's roundup is for kids who enjoying thinking outside of the box.

Too Small Tola by Atinuke
Too Small Tola
written by Atinuke
illustrated by Onyinye Iwu
Tola is the youngest sibling in her apartment in Lagos, Nigeria.  Tola lives with her older brother and sister and her Grandmommy, who is described as being very bossy :)  Her father is in the UK because he can find a steady job there and send money back to the family.  While Tola is young and small, she learns that doesn't have to define her.  Tola has talents that can stop a bully, help out a neighbor, and help her Grandmommy in the market place.  And she comes up with ideas that might be different from how others would approach the same problem.
The book is split into three chapters, each a different story.  It's perfect for young readers who are venturing into chapter books but may struggle with a cumulative story.  Having three episodic chapters means they don't have to carry the plot through the entire book!  
I also love the setting of Lagos, Nigeria.  The illustrator, Onyinye Iwu helps bring it to life for young readers.
for read aloud:  grades 1/2
for independent reading: grades 1-3

The Birthday Castle     Happy Tails Lodge     Battle of the Blanket Forts by Dee Romito
Fort Builders Inc series
written by Dee Romito
illustrated by Marta Kissi
When you were little, do you have memories of making forts?  That was a big part of my childhood.  The best was when you could get an appliance box - those made the best forts!  But so did blankets and couch cushions and underneath tables.
This series features kids who use a STEAM approach to their fort building business.  Someone is the designer, the organizer, the builder, and the artist. Each book features teamwork, cooperation, and compromises.
The books have 6 chapters and illustrations featured throughout the text.  With realistic characters, settings, and problems, it's a comfortable book for readers who are starting to read books with chapters.
for read aloud: grades 1/2
for independent reading: grades 1-3

Home Sweet Forever Home (The Invincible Girls Club, #1)     Art with Heart
The Invincible Girls Club
written by Rachele Alpine
illustrated by Addy Rivera Sonda
Meet the four girls that make up the Invincible Girls Club!  Each one has a particular passion and will have a book that features them.  The first book spotlights Lauren who loves animals, especially dogs.  But since her stepfather is allergic to them, she settles (although it's certainly not a chore) for volunteering at the local dog shelter.  Her friends join her and they love helping out with the puppies.  But they soon realize that it's not just puppies at the shelter, there are older dogs there, too.  Unfortunately, they are not rescued as quickly as the puppies, so Lauren and her friends decide to do something about it.  But even best plans don't work out and the girls have to think creatively to come up with a solution.  
The second book focuses on Emelyn.  Emelyn is the artistic type and she decides to put that to use when a bully leaves messages all over the school.  The messages name students at the school and say something hurtful about the person.  The Invincible Girls Club and art to the rescue!  But just like the first book, nothing goes to plan and the girls find themselves having to be extra creative!
I like that it shows young readers the need to persevere and to always keep thinking of new and different ways to solve problems.  
This series is a bit longer than the other two I featured today.  They come in at just over 100 pages and have a smaller font and more words on a page.  This series also has illustrations, but they are spread out a bit more through the book.  There is also backmatter with ideas and 2 page-spreads featuring a variety of females who have done some very creative things with the topic in each book.
for read aloud: 2nd grade
for independent reading: grades 2-4

Hope you found a new book or series for your readers!  Be sure to check back next Thursday for books to hand to readers who love The Magic Tree House series!


  1. These look like some wonderful chapter book series! I keep hearing great things about Too Small Tola in particular, and it was interesting to hear that the book is 3 separate stories in one. I also appreciate you trying to highlight some more diverse chapter book series! Thanks so much for the great post!

  2. I have TOO SMALL TOLA, and I love it. The setting in Africa is very clearly articulated and the short sentences are fun to read.