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Reluctant Reader

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Reluctant Reader Favorites


I have been working with reluctant reader book groups for 10 years now (ages, 9-14) at a local school. I truly love working with this group of readers. They challenge me to figure out what books will turn them into life long readers and I love challenges. I read strong girl and strong boy theme books, but I must admit to having a deep empathy with reluctant reader boys and young men.

Early Readers

Kate DiCamillo's Mercy Watson's six book series-MERCY WATSON BOOK COVER

Kate DiCamillo, a winner of the Dr. Seuss Award, has a refreshingly sweet and darling series with its sixth book coming in August 2009. It is Mercy Watson: Something Wonky This Way Comes. Mercy Watson is an adorable pig who lives as indigent child would with her loving parents, Mr. & Mrs. Watson. Their neighbors, elderly sisters Eugenia and Baby Lincoln who do not truly understand the Watsons and their passions in life. The colorful and lovely illustrations by gifted Chris Van Dusen convey a wonderful sense of humor and adventure to the series:Mercy Watson to the Rescue is the first book,and the latest available to buy is:Mercy Watson Thinks Like A Pig. Our children ask for these books time and time again. Boys and girls both, and their parents love Mercy Watson and her neighbors, Eugenia and Baby Lincoln. These books are worth every penny spent on them!

$12.99 from Candlewick Children's Books hardcover only

Laura McGee Kvasnosky's Zelda & Ivy serieszelda & Ivy book cover

Laura Mcgee Kvasnosky's (local author & illustrator) winner of the Dr. Seuss award has a lovely series about two fox sisters and their adventures together growing up. The fox sisters Zelda & Ivy feel about 5-8 years old and have backyard adventures as they learn to help each other in their common family struggles. The first four paperback books are level two early readers: Zelda & Ivy, and Zelda & Ivy- the Runaways, Zelda & Ivy and the Boy Next door, and Zelda & Ivy- One Christmas. Newest book in the series Zelda & Ivy:Keeping Secrets is out now. Your children will ask for these fox sisters books to be read often and enjoy the short chapter adventures in each book, too! (Look for Laura Kvasnosky's author event in March or April 2010).

$15.99 from Candlewick hardcover Keeping Secrets- Zelda & Ivy paperback $4.99

First to Second Grade Readers (5-8)

fly guy book coverTedd Arnold's Fly Guy series, the latest is Hooray for Fly Guy

Tedd Arnold won the Dr. Seuss award for the first book, Hi Fly Guy. Most parents as well as their children love these silly books about the boy Buzz and his pet fly named Fly Guy and their harmless, but gross adventures. Your child will love them all. Super Fly Guy will be available in paperback soon. The sixth Fly Guy:I Spy Fly Guy will be available in October 2009 (hardcover only)

$5.99 in hardcover, $3.99 in paperback from Cartwheel Books

flip a word book coverHarriet Ziefert's Crab Cab- A Flip-A-Word series

Award winning author Harriet Ziefert has a new early reader series illustrated by Japanese award winning artist, Yukiko Kido. Stylized graphics and simple rhyming words:this 7 book series works very nicely for many early level one readers. Each book works on different blended sounds for instance, cr/sn/br/cl/op connections are made with long and short vowel sounds. The illustrations are similar to Anime cartooning which many children find very attractive. They will enjoy learning to read with this series.(32 pages each)

$5.99 paperback, $15.99 hardcover from Blue Apple Books

Second to Third Grade Readers (7-10)

Andy Griffiths' books The Cat On The Mat Is Flat! & The Big Fat Cow that Goes Kapow! (coming end of September 2009)cat on the mat is flat  book cover

This Australian author understands children and their sense of humor, especially physical and practical jokes! Andy Griffiths' books work wonders with reluctant readers and that's why his books are mentioned so often. His hardcover book, The Cat on the Mat is Flat will be available in paperback in early September 2009 fo r$6.99 . I believe it is worth every penny in hardcover for this level of reader. Its a hardcover which the reluctant reader is able to read and enjoy from the first page to its last page, and reread often by choice! Also its a Dr. Seuss award winner, too! (176 pages in rhyme)

$9.99 hardcovers from Feiwel & Friends, second book available in early October 2009!

Suzanne Williams' Fairy Blossoms series-Daisy & the First Wish Book 5suzanne williams' fairy blossoms book cover

This new book by local author(see May 22 event at Mockingbird Books) is part of a five book series with sweet flower fairies.They are best friends who attend a fairy school where they learn the values of sharing, listening to each other, and thinking about others besides themselves. There are boy fairy wee folk, such as brownies and hoggarts who help the fairy students with their school adventures. These books are a mid second grade reading level. Your reader will want all five books. Also, Suzanne Willaims' picture book illustrated by Steven Kellogg, Library Lil, is a classic and should not be missed by any reader. She is wonderful writer with a wide range from her picture books to early reader chapter books. Please come to our event with her, (see home page for more information).

$4.99 in paperback from HarperCollins.(signed copies still available at Mockingbird Books)

Fourth to Fifth Grade Readers (9-13)

KEVIN EMERSON BOOK COVERKevin Emerson's Oliver Nocturne-Eternal Tomb-5th book

Your child needs to know about local author and musician who had wonderful events at Mockingbird Books and at local school, B. F. Day Elementary School this past month. The children truly enjoy this former science teacher and current volunteer at Seattle 826 writers group. Your reluctant reader will fly though all five books available now in paperback. Oliver Nocturne an honorable 13 year old vampire and his human best friends, Dean & Emalie have adventures in the Seattle area as they attend school.Your reader will ask about future books in this series, and hopefully the publisher will allow it to happen soon! Each book is about 200 pages long. Library editions are available for schools, please teachers you need these books for your students.(mid 4th grade reading level) Your children will thank you.

$5.99 each in paperback from Scholastic (signed copies still available at Mockingbird Books)


FASHION KITTY BOOK COVERFashion Kitty author Charisle Mericle Harper's Just GraceFASHION KITTY BK3 COVER

This five book series (hopefully more coming) has created a wonderful girl full of feistiness and creativity. Grace is one of three girls with the same first name in her classroom. Her teacher names her Just Grace to differentiate between the three of them, named Grace. This does not sit well with Just Grace. Her next door neighbor, Mrs. Luther seems to enjoy the company of a boy, Sammy Stringer who is not nice to Just Grace at school. These conflicts are resolved in very creative ways which delight and amuse the reader. Harper's other books are:Just Grace and Snack Attack, Still Just Grace, Just Grace walks the Dog, and Just Grace Goes Green. These books have been a favorite among reluctant reader girl book groups. Yes, Just Grace is in third grade but there is a level of sophistication within this character, many girl readers pick up on it quickly. Just Grace seems to have super human power to accurately read other people's emotions and their state of mind! Parents no worries about content, here. There's drama about friendships, but it is not done meanly. (less than 150 pages each) If you are worried about the age of the character, Just Grace, for your reader, then have your child read Harper's graphic novels first, the Fashion Kitty series. Fashion Kitty will overcome any resistance to this author.

$5.99 in paperback from Candlewick,

Sixth to Eighth Grade Readers (11-13)

39 CLUES-RICK RIORDAN BOOK COVERRick Riordan's 39 Clues- 10 book series, 5 available now!39 CLUES-3RD BOOK COVER

This 10 book series with multiple authors sounds gimmicky (too many bells & whistles right!) But You would be Wrong! Rick Riordan has mapped the story arc for all 10 volumes with his fellow authors and friends. The sister/brother team of Amy and Dan Cahill are in the fight of their lives as the orphans of infamous Cahill Clan. The historical aspects of these fast paced thriller style books are surprising strong and effortlessly woven into the subplots of the books. As a reader, you will say to yourself: why not? or and that could happen; Please trust me, it works especially for the reluctant reader. This series is worth all the hype. see website (www.the39clues.com) for an extra information about the 39 clues needed to solve this scavenger hunt for the Cahill fortune. Book 5 written by local favorite author Patrick Carman and its title isThe Black Circle.

$12.99 each from Scholastic (with clue cards included)

Liz Gallagher's The Opposite of Being Invisibleliz gallagher opposite of being invisible book cover

Former staff member of All For Kids Books & Music, a former children's bookstore in Seattle, Liz Gallagher has written a book about a very innocent first romance of a young Seattle teenager. Set locally with a high school girl named Alice. Her best friend of early elementary school days, Jewel, a boy who lives next door is in love with her. But she is emotional torn and confused about her crush on a high school football player. No worries here about content: it is all handled sensitively, and the outcome is what we as parents hope for our young women in high school. This book is excellent for girls who want to image themselves older in high school: this is a wonderfully sweet first crush and dating experience for them to read about in a short novel (160 pages.)

$15.99 hardcover only from Wendy Lamb Books (paperback in Oct. 2009)

High School and Up (14-18)

ZOMBIES BOOK COVERPride and Prejudice and Zombies -regency romance reworked with Ultraviolent Zombie Mayhem! by Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith.

This author rewrote the classic by Jane Austen and your teenager will love this new version with brain eating zombies especially if they love the Twilight series by Stephenie Meyer. England has decide to keep their upper lips stiff and kill all the zombies as they meet them. There's romance, parental conflict and zombies to be killed at every bend in the road, and in every chapter in this version of Pride & Prejudice. When our teenagers should be studying for their exams, they will be reading about Jane Austen's Mr. Darcy, Elizabeth Bennet, and battling zombies. (320 pages) It looks thinner than it is, but the book cover is great.

$12.99 paperback from Quirk Books

RICH WALLACE BOOK COVERRich Wallace's Winning Season series (1-10 books)

This author writes fast moving action packed books especially for our young men (ages 13 plus) which take place in high school with high school issues, conflicts and problems. The main boy characters who are members of a sport team within their High School confront typical issues. (see baseball, basketball, football, soccer, track,and wrestling) Many of our young men have no time for extra reading during high school. These books are well written and just short enough not to take up too much time reading for the guys. My favorites are:Takedown#8, Double Fake #4, and Roar of the Crowd #2. I strongly recommend all of his books. They are short books under 150 pages each.

$4.99 in paperback from Penguin Puffin
daniel X book cover

Below is a list of other favorites for High School age reluctant readers-

Sherman Alexie's The Absolutely True Story of a Part Time Indian (Now in paperback from Little Brown)

James Patterson's Maximum Ride series, with the latest, MAX

James Patterson's Daniel X series

Stephenie Meyer's Twilight series

Rick Riordan's Percy Jackson series

Francisco Block's Dangerous Angel Weetzie Bat series

P C Cast's House of Night series

Terry Trueman's books, No Right Turn, and Cruise Control

Walter Dean Myers' books,(any of them) Monster, Game,Slam, Fallen Angels

Maureen Johnson's books,13 little Blue Envelopes, Girl at Sea, Suite Scarlett,

Meg Cabot's any of them, except the Allie Finkle series, try Avalon High

Melissa Marr's Wicked Lovely series.

Kate Wild's Firefight and Fight Game