Maeve Visser Knoth: And more recent fiction for 2nd-4th graders

Guest Book - Please let me know who you are or ask a question (Click here)!

Friday, October 06, 2006

And more recent fiction for 2nd-4th graders

There are so many books out there for 2nd-4th graders but not many of them are really special. Much of the writing is really formulaic, especially when you get into a long series. The very thing that appeals to young readers, the predictability, the stability of characters, can bore adults to tears (and even bore the readers once they have made it through a few books in a series). So, what can you do if you have just a few dollars and want to add some special, new books to your classroom, school library or bedroom shelves?

First, I want to suggest the article published in the recent issue of the Horn Book Magazine titled "What Makes a Good Second Grade Book? A Letter to Parents" by teacher Robin Smith. The article is in the September/October 2006 issue of the magazine and spells out the particular needs of young readers as they move from "easy readers" such as Henry and Mudge by Cynthia Rylant to longer books such as The Chalk Box Kid by Clyde Robert Bulla.

I agree with many of Smith's recommendations. If I were purchasing fiction for 2nd-4th graders, I would start with Owen Foote, Soccer Star by Stephanie Greene and add the rest of the books about Owen Foote to my shelves as well. I love Owen (and as a parent, I love Owen's mom- she reminds me of the parents I hope I am most days). Owen is adventurous and kind. He is curious and thoughtful. He cares deeply about the things he gets involved in- building a fort, becoming a spy, protecting his friend from teasing. Girls and boys both like reading the books about Owen Foote. Stephanie Greene has an equally lovely book for readers in this same age range starring a girl Queen Sophie Hartley.

I enjoy recommending the books about Martin Bridge just about as much as I like recommending the books about Owen Foote. Martin Bridge: Ready For Takeoff by Jessica Kerrin and the subsequent stories about Martin are full of humor and look at everyday life with a fresh view. I know a child who was dropped off at a birthday party on the wrong day (the mom drove up and dropped her off, not staying to check in) but when this very same thing happens in Martin Bridge: On the Lookout the small disaster becomes a full and very satisfying story.

Have you seen Jennifer Holm's books about Babymouse? Babymouse: Queen of the World and its sequels are graphic novels that appeal all kinds of readers, shy girls who dream of heroism, girls who already see themselves as heroes, and boys who love the action-filled format. I am not usually attracted to graphic novels. Tintin books leave me cold but Jennifer Holm has created such an appealing character that I was won over.

Now I'll think about non-fiction for the same age group....


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks, Maeve, for the great ideas. I'm working at our middle school library, so we'll bookmark your website and start ordering!

10/09/2006 6:07 AM  
Blogger Shannon Des Roches Rosa said...

Zelly loooooves Babymouse. We'll have to check out your other recommendations, too. Thanks.

10/14/2006 12:37 PM  

Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home