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Reluctant Reader Favorites-Summer 2012


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

Tedd Arnold's FLY GUY book series-

Tedd Arnold, a winner of the Dr. Seuss Award, has another Fly Guy book out, There's a Fly in my Soup. The twelfth book is out now. The young boy named BUZZ has a pet fly called FLY GUY and they have wonderfully funny, gross food adventures together. These books about Fly Guy are one of sweetest and funniest series I have ever read in the early format/style.

$5.99 from Scholastic hardcover, $3.99 paperback ( first two books only)

Mo Willems' Elephant & Piggies series

Mo Willems also has won the Dr. Seuss award for this series. Both Elephant & Piggie have humorous adventures together and emotional reviving expressions are simply a treasure to behold. Your children will ask for these books to be read often and enjoy learning to read them on their own. So far a 14 book series. Newest out in October 2012, Let's Go For a Drive.

$8.99 from Candlewick hardcover Pigs Make Me Squeeze.

First to Second Grade Readers (ages 5-8).cat on the mat is flat  book cover

Andy Griffiths' The Cat on the Mat is Flat.

Andy Griffiths won the Dr. Seuss award for his first book, The Cat on the Mat is Flat. Most parents as well as their children love these silly rhyming books about the Fred, a cat and mouse. This Australian author understands children and their sense of humor: especially practical jokes and physical fall down humor. Andy Griffiths' books works wonders with reluctant readers and that's why I mentioned his books so often! The second book in the series is now paperback, THE BIG FAT COW GOES KAPOW!! The illustrations are black/white drawings, so give your child colored pencils and have them color in the illustrations, making the book more to their liking and style. And his newest, Killer Koalas From Outer Space out in paperback this October 2012.

$12.99 in hardcover, $6.99 in paperback from Feiwel & Friends Books (120 pages)

Erica Silverman's CowGirl Kate & CoCoa Her Horse series

Award winning author Erica Silverman has a new early reader series illustrated by award winning artist, Betsy Lewin. This 5 book series works very nicely for many readers. Three to four short stories within each book with a total of 48 pages of delight and amusement as Kate and CoCoa go thorough their day together. Another Cowgirl Kate due in April 2010, titled:Cowgirl Kate and CoCoa-Spring Babies. The series continues to grow better with each book.

$5.99 paperback, Newest $15.99 hardcover (Horse in the House) from Blue Apple Books

Second to Third Grade Readers (ages 7-10)

Andy Griffiths' books and his Schooling Around series

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 Schooling Around series (average 200 pages each) and are so quickly paced with physical and practical jokes, us adults would suffer whiplash if we read too many of them. As with his Dr.Seuss award winning series (Big Fat Cow Goes Kapow!) reluctant readers are able to read and enjoy every page in his books, especially for our young boys in our lives. His JUST series is available in audio format now in June 2012.

$5.99 paperback from Scholastic (eight book series so far)

Steve Voake's new series Daisy Dawson

Daisy Dawson is part of a six book series with lovely young girl who is able to talk and understand animals she meets in her life. Of course, this ability leads to harmless complications in her daily routine as she goes to school. Refreshing and wonderful to read aloud too. The newest in paperback, Daisy Dawson at the Beach, and the newest in hardcover is Daisy Dawson on the Farm and is worth every penny. Your child will want to reread and visit Daisy and her animal world adventures over again and again.

$5.99 in paperback from Candlewick, 14.99 in hardcover

Fourth to Fifth Grade Readers (ages 9-13)

Michael Buckley's newest series NERDS-National Espionage, Rescue Defense Society- books 1-4

Former writer for the cartoon network show SPONGEBOB SQUAREPANTS,and author of the Sisters Grimm series has created a new cast characters your child will want to reread and revisit often as possible. The cast has two girls and three guys who have super powers, and naturally high IQ's and are very creative in their struggles against evil in our world. These books are full of zany humor we have come to expect from SpongeBob Squarepants, too! You need these books for your students.(mid 4th grade reading level) Your children will thank you. Newest NERD #4- Villain Virus out early September 2012

NERDS- $14.99 from Amulet Books (books 1 & 2 in paperback) Book 3& 4 hardcover)

Vordak Evil Mastermind books 1-3-#3 Double Trouble (new graphic novel series)

This new series written by the evil genius himself, Vorkdak the Incomprehensible has enough vomit, fart, booger and poop jokes for the most reluctant reader who loved Captain Underpants and enjoys the Wimpy Kid series now. These books spoof on Super heroes and other anti-heroes as they explore all the angles, attitudes, and themes as seen in past old school favorites such the Mad, Mad World or Spy vs Spy. So far a three book series only in hardcover.

Vorkdak the Incomprehensible- from Egmont USA $14.99

Lauren Myracle's The Winnie Years, her newest 5 book series-

This five book series has created a wonderful girl full of feistiness and creativity, named Winnie. The Winnie Years is not done meanly. If you are worried about the age of the character, Winnie is TEN, then she is a year older in Eleven and finally in the past book titled Thirteen 1/2. These books are only 250 pages long for your reader, then have your child read the Flower Girl Power series which are 1/3 longer. (Lauren Myracle has written many YA books for older readers)

$6.99 in paperback from Puffin

Graphic Novels for the Summer Days & Nights-

Sixth to Eighth Grade Readers (11-13)

Shannon Hale's award winning graphic novel, Rapanzel's Revenge and its follow up - Calamity Jack

Its Pecos Bill meets Rapanzel: its Robin Hood and Sleeping Beauty all rolled up and mixed together in the most amusing and entertaining ways. This adventure is on going, and your middle schooler will demand its sequel: Calamity Jack which is out now in paperback.

$18.99 paperback from Bloomsbury USA Childrens, hardcover $24.99

Kazu Kibuishi's Amulet series The Stonekeeper (books1-5)

Born in Japan, Kibuishi moved to USA with his mother and brother when he was quite young. He grew up in California where he currently lives with his wife. This new series by Kibusihi is for the middle schooler and kids loves the striking drawings and poignant story line as brother, Navin, and sister, Emily with help from talking animals and robots struggle to rescue their mother in a parallel universe. Book 5 out Sept. 2012.

$10.99 each paperback from GraphixBooks

High School and Up (14-18)

Graphic Novels, and the teenagers will love these books!

Friends with Boys written and illustrated by Faith Erin Hicks

I know you're worried because of its title, but parents no worries please: Hicks is Canadian, now joking aside. This graphic novel is smartly written and strikingly drawn about a young 14 year girl who was home school until now and is entering the real world as a freshmen in high school. Her first day is so scary for her she hides out in local town library. Author herself was home schooled and panic her first day in high school too. There are many laughs and tears in Maggie McKay first year in public high school. (224 pages) Maggie is the only girl in her family of four brothers, so she feels more comfortable with the guys.

$15.99 paperback from FRIST SECOND Books

James Patterson's newest series DANIEL X-books1-4daniel X book cover

Daniel X is an orphaned alien whose family was sent to Earth to rid it of criminal evil aliens: there's a most wanted list for the Aliens. When his parents are killed in the first chapter of series, Daniel X makes the list his personal quest to finish his parents work. His personal weapon is the power of his imagination and ability to change reality as we know it. Daniel X is action packed, and full of cliches, but its a fun ride with the master of suspense. (128 pages) Also check Patterson's other series now available in graphic novel format ( Maximum Ride series or the Witch & Wizard series)

$14.99 in paperback from Little Brown for Young Adults


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)

Ally Carter's new 5 book series-I'll Tell You I Love You, But Then I 'll Have To Kill You!, etc.(a comic look at Spy High School run by ex spooks)

James Patterson's Maximum Ride series, with the latest, and final 8th book, Nevermore in August 2012.

James Patterson's Daniel X (4 book series)

Maggie Stiefvater's Shiver (3 book 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 ,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