What is a struggling reader?


Unlike reluctant readers who are able to read at grade level but are unmotivated to read, struggling readers are students who read one or more years below grade level. The challenge in choosing books for such readers, is getting books that are written at much earlier grade levels but that have content that will interest older students.



THEY ARE LISTED BY YEAR OF RECOMMENDATION.

If you add an entry please place the reason for recommendation. All books are linked to Anderson's Bookshop, Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble, or Scholastic Book Wizard. Just click on photo of book and you will be linked to a summary of the book. We are also in the process of adding the comments of our reviewers.

2013-2014


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Ball Don't Lie by Matt de la Pena
Interest Level:

Lexile Level:

Grade Level:


Reviewer's Comments:


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Conspiracy 365 by Gabriel Lord
Interest Level:
Age Level: 14-16
Lexile Level: 740L

Reviewer's Comments:

A fast paced read. This book is filled with suspense, mystery, and drama. At the end of this book, you find yourself determined to read the rest of the books in the series. There is a book per month of the year because we are following Cal, main character, through his survival of 365 dies. Teens would like this adventure packed book because of its face paced speed through out. Struggling readers would enjoy this book because it is an easy read and keeps them inspired to keep going.



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(Click on the Photo for a Summary)
Divergent by Veronica Roth

Interest Level: 8th Grade
Age Level: 14-18
Lexile Level: HL700L
Grade Level Equivalent: 9

Reviewer's Comments:

A great dystopian. The first in a series of 3. This book is a harder read than what I would recommend for struggling readers but if you have a student in love with the dystopian books than this is a great book to add to their collection. This story follows the life of Beatrice and the choices she makes. The setting is a futuristic Chicago where things are not the same. There are 4 social classes and Beatrice must choose which social class she will join for the remainder of her life. Overall a great read. This reviewer has read all 3 and was only a little disappointed in the last book.


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Drive-By written by Lynne Ewing
Interest Level: 6th grade +
Lexile Level: 550L
Grade Level: 3.1

Reviewer's Comments:
The middle school reading teacher who recommended this book was right when she said it was a high interest book, particularly for boys. She also wrote that the book was great for helping kids to practice making inferences. And it is! Tito’s beloved older brother , Jimmy, is killed in a drive-by shooting that everyone claims is gang related. The clues he finds, force Tito, who looked up to his older brother as a role model and believes Jimmy was not in a gang, to come to terms with the truth. So readers, like Tito, will find themselves wondering and making inferences throughout the first half of the book about whether Jimmy was or was not in a gang. The book is a fast read and lends itself to good discussions about the reasons for joining or rejecting gangs.


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Harris and Me by Gary Paulson
Interest Level: 6th grade
Lexile Level: 1060L
Grade Level: 5.2

Reviewer's Comments:
Harris and Me, by Gary Paulsen, related exciting descriptions of what life used to be like on a farm, when relatives take in a young cousin for the summer whose family is having problems. The two boys work hard and play hard and are ready to try out any hare-brained experiment, no matter how dangerous. The wacky adventures as well as the relationships that develop among the members of the household will keep students reading to find out how (and if) the characters survive the next thing they try to do. This is a nice book for anyone to read, but it is especially good for any students having problems or experiencing the twists and turns that might uproot your way of life at any moment. The content is exciting enough to interest older students who may relate to some of the problems the main character experiences, despite it being set in the last century. It rings true because the author had some similar life experiences.

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I Survived Series by Lauren Tarshis and other authors
Interest Level: 2nd-6th
Age Level: 8-11
Lexile Level: 590L
Grade Level: 4.0

Reviewer's Comments:
There is a wonderful series of children's books by Lauren Tarshis and other authors entitled, I survived---. They include such topics as I survived the San Francisco earthquake, 1906; I survived the sinking of the Titanic, 1912; I survived the Shark Attacks of 1916; I survived the bombing of Pearl Harbor, 1941; I survived Hurricane Katrina, 2005; and even I survived the Attacks of September 11, 2001. These books are loaded with true historical information about each event. All the main events are real, but the characters are made up. The books include such helpful things as (in the Pearl Harbor book) Pearl Harbor Time Line, Pearl Harbor Facts, Questions & Answers about the event, such as an explanation for why the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. They even include sections in each book entitled To find out more on your own (which lists other books and resources, such as National Geographic websites. They have a whole section in the 9-11 book entitled Why I wrote about 9-11 (It was because they had received hundreds of requests from kids).They include such facts as there were 50,000 workers in the buildings, 2016 died, (including 343 firefighters and 60 police officers) and that there were only 14 survivors after the collapse. These readable books give children knowledge and a real perspective on the event, but make it meaningful for them, by having the main character be a child witnessing and surviving the event. Teachers in the intermediate grades have said that their students enjoy these books. As an adult, I also found them interesting and think they would provide useful information to older students who want an entertaining way to learn about major historic events in our recent history.


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Mexican Whiteboy by Matt De La Pena
Interest Level: 8-12th
Lexile Level: 680L

Reviewer's Comments:
Male and female readers, particularly those with an interest in baseball will be excited to read this novel. The
main character is multi-racial but does not seem to fit into either of his cultural backgrounds. The only place he
fits in is on the baseball field.



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Panic by Sharon Draper
Interest Level: High School
Lexile Level: HL610L
Grade Level: 9th-12th

Reviewer's Comments:
We most often think about very young kids being lured away by a stranger but it can happen to young adults
as well. Readers of this text will be pulled into the nightmare of a high school girl that is being held captive by a
stranger who she thought would help her become a movie star.



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(Click on photo for summary)
Persepolis by Mariane Satrapi
Interest Level: 9-12th grade
Lexile Level: GN380L
Grade Level: 5.8

Reviewer's Comments:
This graphic novel had been recommended by a high school reading coach to use with struggling high school seniors. Though its lexile score (380L) is low and its pictures lively, this is not an easy read. It requires lots of historical background knowledge and does raise lots of meaty issues: religious, social, economic and political issues. In May, 2013, the Chicago Public Schools banned this book, supposedly because of one panel depicting torture. Many protests of this censorship, including those from students, resulted in the ending of the ban. One teacher had his students review the book and make a case for why the book should or shouldn’t be banned.




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(Click on photo for summary)

The Pregnancy Project by Gaby Rodriguez
Interest Level: 9th-12th
Lexile Level: 970L

Reviewer's Comments:
This text tackles a topic that others think about but often dare not talk about, teen pregnancy in minority
communities. This non-fiction book will speak to all ethnicities, but it holds a special message that many
minority students must fight negative stereotypes and find their own way to a bright future.


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Schooled by Gordon Korman
Interest Level: 3-8th
Lexile Level: 740L
Grade Level: 4.0

Reviewer's Comments:

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Smile by Raina Telgemeier Drama by Raina Telgemeier
Interest Level: 5th-7th Interest Level: 5th-8th
Reading Level Grade 4 Reading Level: Grade 3.3
Lexile: GB410 Lexile: GB400

Reviewer's Comments
Telgemeier's books just fly off the shelves. They're easy to read (note the lexile), have appealing illustrations, and they deal with realistic middle school situations in a humorous and positive way. In addition to the typical middle school topics of peer pressure and social acceptance Drama also introduces the issue of homosexuality.




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Street Pharm by Allison van Diepen
Interest Level: 9th-12th
Lexile Level: 500L

Reviewer's Comments:
I found this book to be interesting and would recommend this to urban boys. The message is great because the main character realizes that being a "hustler" is not all that it seems it should be. The language is pretty foul and as an adult reader it makes it hard to continue to read. I would definitely pay careful attention to the students I recommended it to because of the foul language. Also, the way they refer to females are as an object at times which causes some difficulty. Recommendation would be to use with students who are Juniors or Seniors. Reading is easy and quick.




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(Click on the photo for a summary)
The Things They Carried by Tim O'Brien
Interest Level: 9th
Lexile Level: 880L
Grade Level: 9.0

Reviewer's Comments:








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Wait Till Helen Comes by Mary Downing Hahn
Interest Level: 6
Lexile Level: 750L
Grade Level: 4.7

Reviewer's Comments:
The Title I reading teacher who recommended this says she's used it in small reading groups where each student takes a turn reading. After reading it myself I can see why she said that the students love the book so much they don't even want to break for lunch! What I liked about it also was that in addition to a lively plot, the story explicitly and realistically describes the mixed emotions of children whose families have been broken by death and desertion and resolves their feelings in a way that promotes empathy.

2012-2013

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The Bone Books by Jeff Smith
Out from Boneville

Interest Level Grade 6
Grade Level Equivalent 3.6
Genre Adventure, Comic Books and Graphic Novels, Series, Fantasy
Reading motivation program Scholastic Reading Counts , Accelerated Reader

Reviewer Comments: Many kids, including reluctant readers, just love these books! Funny, witty, exciting, and whimsical are just some of the adjectives adults and kids use to describe this series.



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Bystander by James Preller
Interest Level: Grades 6-8
Grade level Equivalent: 4.4,
Lexile Measure®: 600L, DRA: 50, Guided Reading: U
Genre : Realistic Fiction

Reviewer's Comments:
Popular read with middle schoolers as it highlights problems of moving into a new neighborhood and dealing with issues not only of being the one bullied but also of being a bystander when bullying is taking place.







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Interest Level: Grades 6-10
Reading Level: Grade level Equivalent: 6.2,
Lexile Measure 940L
DRA: 44 GR V
Type of Book: Realistic Fiction

Reviewer’s comment: Really believable characters. Sensitive focus on the effect illness has on the well child in the family. Highly recommend this for any family in similar situation.

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If I Stay by Gale Forman
Interest Level: Grade 9-12
Grade Equivalent: 8
Lexile 830L

Reviewer's Comments:


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Interest Level: Grades 6-8
Grade Level Equivalent: 8.3
Lexile: 980L

Reviewer's Comment:



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(Click on photo for book summary)
Interest Level: 3-5
Grade Level Equivalent: 6.3
Lexile Level: N/A

Reviewer's Comment: Story is similar to the concept of Dork Diaries. I believe it really only holds the interest of younger readers but is written at a higher level. Much more meant for a reluctant readers in grades 3-5.



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Interest Level: Grades 6-8
Grade Equivalent: 4.7
Lexile Level: 890L
DRA: 50
Guided Reading: V

Reviewer's Comments:





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Interest Level: Grades 7-10
Grade Level Equivalent: 5
Lexile Level: 700L
DRA: 70
Guided Reading: Z

Reviewer's Comments:





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Interest Level: Grade 9-12
Grade Level Equivalent: 5.7
Lexile Measure: 560L


Reviewer's Comment: This book is supposed to be excellent but as the committee reviewer I had the hardest time completing the book. I found myself unable to get past the first chapter which is unusual for me. Unfortunately, I cannot give good feedback so I am hoping that over time a member of our audience can add to this.





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Interest Level:
Grade Level Equivalent:
Lexile Measure:

Reviewer's Comment:





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Interest Level: High School
Grade Level Equivalent: 8th-9th grade


Reviewer's Comment: A great read for any high school girl. Very easy to read and the love story makes you turn the pages quickly. Even as an adult I had to know how it ended. A Romeo and Juliet type of story where they came from different backgrounds yet somehow found love with each other.

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Interest Level: Grades 6-8
Grade Level Equivalent: 4.7
Lexile Level: 740L
DRA: 40
Guided Reading: S

Reviewer's Comment: This is a high packed adventure book. The actual interest level will hit lower grade levels of higher readers as well. The story is one that you can't put down because you get caught up in the story and want to know how it ends. Of course then you must continue reading the rest of the series. It helps students to find the fun in Greek Mythology at a younger age instead of seeing it as boring.


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13 Reasons Why
Interest Level: Middle School/High School
Grade Level Equivalent: 3.2-3.9

Lexile Level: 550 L

Reviewer's Comment:
I thought the book was very interesting to read, despite the downer of a topic. It points out the effect that seemingly minor actions you make can have on others, both good and bad. Most students who have read this book in either Middle School or High School really liked the book, although they were rather shocked by the topic. Several adults were angry that this teenager ended her life over silly embarrassments that often happen to most people in their lives. It certainly held my attention while reading and is good for both children and parents to read to realize the positive and negative effects we can have on each other, even without realizing it. I was pleased that the book jacket cover included the 1-800-suicide hotline and also the website for www.hopeline.com. It would also be good for parents & teachers to have discussions with students/children after reading this book to talk about better ways to improve your life if you are dealing with difficulties than the outrage of committing suicide.



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Trash by Andy Mulligan
Interest Level: Grades 6-9
Reading Level: 5.5
Lexile Measure: 860
Grade Level Equivalent: 5.5

Reviewer's Comments
The unusual setting and characters - a community built on a garbage dump where the three main characters, boys, scratch out a living by sorting through the trash - gives kids a view of another kind of world and promotes lots of discussion around questions about social justice and whether lying can ever be defended.



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Interest Level: Grades 7-10
Reading Level: 5
Lexile: 700L
DRA: 60
Guided Reading: X

Reviewer's Comments: I understood the story well, even without having read any of the previous books in the series. The book made me want to read other books in the series. The author has sold more than 220 million books worldwide and was named "Author of the Year" in 2010 by the Children's Book Council's Children's Choice Book Awards. This book would be exciting for both boys and girls to read. It was a fun read.
2005



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(Click on photo for book summary)
Interest Level: Grades 4-7
Grade Level Equivalent: 4
Lexile Measure: 780L
DRA: 40
Guided Reading: R

Reviewer's Comment:



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Interest Level: Grades 9-12
Grade Level Equivalent: 5.2
Lexile Measure: 680L

Reviewer's Comment:





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Plan B by Charnan Simon (Surviving Southside Series)
Interest Level: Grades 6-12
Reading Level: Grade level Equivalent: 6.2,
Lexile Measure 430L
DRA: 44 GR V

Reviewer's Comments:



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Interest Level: Grades 6-8
Grade Level Equivalent: 4.6
Lexile Measure: 760L

Reviewer's Comments:


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Interest Level: Grade 3-7
Grade Level Equivalent: 5.3
Lexile Measure 810 L

Reviewer's Comment: Cute story of 2 kids in love with magic and trying to solve a mystery. Fun read.



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The Shadow Club by Neil Shusterman
Interest Level: Grades 6-8
Reading Level: Grade level Equivalent: 5.1
Lexile Measure 760 L
DRA: 40 GR S

Reviewer's Comment: I can well understand why one 7th grade teacher says in the 10 years he's been reading this book aloud to his class he has never found a student who doesn't like it and that the students applaud when he finishes. Many of them couldn't wait till he finished so rushed out to get the book for themselves.



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Urban Underground Series by Ann Schraff
(Series of 15 books)
(Click on photo for book summary)
If You Really Loved Me # 4
Interest Level: Grades 6-12
Reading Level: Grade level Equivalent: 3.5
Lexile Measure 650L

Reviewer's Comments: The librarian who recommended this series says they fly off her shelves. I can believe that. The books are easy to read. The characters have believable problems that middle school and high school students will recognize. The solutions are realistic and reinforce positive social values. And the kinds of issues and backgrounds of the characters give food for discussion.




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Interest Level: Grades 9-12
Lexile Measure: 800L

Reviewer's Comments:




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Interest Level: Grades 3-5
Grade Level Equivalent: 4
Lexile Measure: 830L
DRA: 40

Reviewer's Comments: This book has beautiful illustrations to help enlighten and facilitate the concepts of inferencing. I do not see it as a struggling reader book as I do not see many of our older readers finding interest in the book. However I feel that this book would be great in modeling inferencing!

==

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REPEAT RECOMMENDATIONS: (TWO OR THREE YEARS OF RECOMMENDATIONS)

A Child Called It by Dave Pelzer (2008-2009)
Touching Spirit Bear by Ben Mikelson (2009-2010)
The Diary of a Wimpy Kid series by Jeff Kinney (see 2009-2010 below)
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (2010-2011)



***Please Click on Title of Book or Picture of book to be taken to a summary.

2011-2012



100 Cupboards by N.D. Wilson
Interest Level: Grades 6 – Grade 8
Reading Level: 3.7, Lexile 650
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Reviewer's Comments: This book has a male as the main character which can be appealing to adolescent male readers. It is a wonderful fantasy with cousins taking readers on an adventure that will keep you turning the pages.


Among the Hidden (Book 1 of Shadow Children) by Margaret Peterson Haddix
Interest Level: Grades 6-8
Reading Level: Grade 5.9 Lexile 800


Reviewer's Comments


Beast Quest, Book I : Ferno the Fire Dragon (first of a series of 60 books)
Interest Level: 3-5
Reading Level : Grade 3.7, Lexile 720L

Reviewer's Comments:

Blood on the River: James Town 1607 by Elisa Carbone

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Interest Level: Grade 6 - Grade 8
Reading Level: Grade 4.8, Lexile, 820L
Genre: Adventure, Science Fiction and Fantasy,



Reveiwer's Comments: This book was recommended by a teacher after last year’s IRC talk on struggling readers. On the first page of the book, it starts off with an exciting exploit that draws the reader in immediately. I really enjoyed reading the book and hearing about all of the adventures and trials and hardships suffered by the first white settlers at Jamestown. When I was done, I really wanted to read more about Jamestown, the Roanoke Colony, Captain John Smith, Pocahontas, Chief Powhatan, and other writings about interactions between the Native Americans and the new white settlers coming to America. The book was exciting and really made me want to know more about that time and place. I think students will greatly enjoy reading this exciting adventure. (Dr. Pamela Godt)


The Bottle in the Kitchen by Barbara Nesbitt
Interest Level: 6-12
Reading Level: Not Available
(The sentences are long but the words are easy. This seems to be about 4th grade level.)

Reviewer's Comments: Workshop 2011 participant: Kids In between has a series of hi interest/lo vocabulary that my special ed students have loved for years by Barbara Nesbitt. This is an excellent book to read aloud to 7th or 8th grade students. At Columbus Middle School in Columbus, MS we have Everyone Reads at Lunch. Teachers read aloud for at least 15 minutes every day. This book concerning alcoholic parents and how teens cope is very appropriate reading for this time. Our students love it and tell their friends to get their teachers to read it, too.


Breathing Underwater by Alex Finn (E for DC)
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Interest Level: Grade 9 - Grade 12
Grade Level Equivalent: 7.1 Guided Reading NR
Lexile® measure: 510L
Genre/Theme: Mystery and Suspense
Topics: Culture and Diversity, Character and Values, Friends and Friendship

Reviewer's Comments:



The Chocolate Touch
Interest Level: Grade 3 - Grade 5
Grade Level Equivalent: 4.5
Lexile Level: 770L

Reviewer's Comments:


Chicken Boy by Frances O’Roark Dowell
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Interest Level: Grade 6 - Grade 8
Reading Level:Grade 5.1, Lexile 860
Reviewer's Comments: Children enjoyed reading this book. However, this book surprised many readers. It turned out not to be about what they expected from the title. Students having problems in school may relate to many of the problems the main character is coping with in his own life situation. This book also shows what a difference a caring teacher and a good friend can make in a child’s life. I recommend this as a book that is also good for teachers to read themselves, to give themselves more understanding of possible reasons why a child might not hand in his/her homework or assignments when they are due. It can open the eyes (and hearts) of teachers and pre-service teachers to problems that they were unaware are things affecting some of their own students. (Dr. Pamela Godt)

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Crank by Ellen Hopkins
Interest Level: Grade 9 - Grade 12
Grade Level Equivalent: 6.8, Lexile Level: NP

**This book contains very mature content related to sex, drug use, and teen age pregnancy. If selected to be read, it should be accompanied with quality discussion facilitated by the teacher. Many teenagers praise it as realistic and a believable warning about what drugs can do to one’s life.

Recommendations:



Crossing the Wire by Will Hobbs

Crossing_the_Wire.jpgInterest Level: Grade 6 - Grade 8
Grade Level Equivalent: 4.4, Lexile: 670L









Reviewer's Comments:

This book was very popular with the students who read it. I was amazed at how reading this one book was able to change people’s opinions about the whole issue of immigration in this country to a more positive perspective. Students, (especially boys,but girls, too) really enjoyed the exciting adventures contained in this book! I hope your students enjoy it, as well. (Dr. Pamela Godt)



Deadly Stranger by Peg Kehret

Interest Level: Grade 3 - Grade 7 (?)
Grade Level Equivalent: 3.4, Lexile 730L

Reviewer's Comments:

One student reviewer describes this as the first “grown-up” book she ever read and says she read it when she was in fifth grade and it sparked her love for reading. 7/8th teacher: I had a 6th grade teacher who read it to me and I was RIVETED. Every chapter ends with a cliff hanger.


The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big Round Things by Carolyn Mackler
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Interest Level: Grade 9 - Grade 12
Grade Level Equivalent: 4.5, Lexile® measure: 790L, Guided Reading: NRGrad

"The heroine’s transformation into someone who finds her own style and speaks her own mind is believable — and worthy of applause." — PUBLISHERS WEEKLY



Reviewer's Comments:

Several people in the workshop recommended this book. It got rave reviews from many girls who post reviews on Shelfari. (www.shelfari.com)

Escape from Fire Mountain by Gary Paulsen

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Interest Level: Grades 3-5
Reading Level: Grade 3.9, Lexile: 630 L, DRA: 40 GR: R



Fablehaven Series

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Interest Level: Grade 3 - Grade 6
Grade Level Equivalent: 4.2
Lexile Level: 700L


Found by Margaret Haddix
Interest Level: Grade 3 - Grade 5
Grade Level Equivalent: 4.6
Lexile Level: 750L



Freak the Mighty by Rodman Philbrick
Interest Level: Grade 6 - Grade 8
Grade Level Equivalent: 6.3
Lexile Level: 1000

Reviewer's Comments:
Great book that can stimulate powerful discussions, addressing the topics of acceptance and differences that are often negatively accentuated by adolescents.



Guys Read Volume 2 - Thriller ed: Jon Scieszka
Interest Level: Grade 8 and up
Reading Level: Grade 3 and up
Genre: Anthology, Fiction, Short Story, Mystery
Topics: Mystery, Thriller, Ghost Stories, Suspense



Guys Read: Funny Business

Interest Level: Grade 3 - Grade 5
Grade Level Equivalent: 5.5
Lexile® measure: 840L
Genre/Theme: Comedy and Humor, Short Stories


Haunting_of_Hawthorn.jpgHaunting of Hawthorn by Anne Schraff
Interest Level: Grades 9-12
Reading Level: Grade 3.5, Lexile 510, GR NR










Inside_Out.jpgInside Out by Terry Truman
Interest Level: Grade 9 - Grade 12
Grade Level Equivalent: 5.6, Lexile 710, Guided Reading: NR
Genre/Theme: General Fiction, Social Studies, Character and Values







mocking_bird.jpgMockingbird by Katherine Erskine
Interest Level: Grade 6 - Grade 8
Reading Level: 3.5
Lexile® measure: 630L




Reviewer's Comment:
This book was very popular with both students and teachers who used it in a children’s literature class. It is short, easy to read, and has a tale that interests students. It was very timely, unfortunately, with a school shooting and it also discussed the psychological effects on both children and adults in the community after this horrible event. (It gave a nice plug for the benefits that accrue from having good school counselors in the building to help students dealing with issues.) It gives a helpful example to increase reader’s understanding of children with Asperger’s Syndrome and also addresses the issue of bullying. (Dr. Pamela Godt)


Notes from the Midnight Driver by Jordan Sonnenblick

Interest Level: Grade 7 - Grade 12
Reading Level: 5.5-6.0
Lexile 930L
Reviewer's Comments:
This book really has some hysterically funny scenes, yet there is also a lot of pathos included and very serious issues are raised. It starts right off talking about a 16–year-old who got drunk for the first time and had a car accident where he thought he killed someone—very serious issues, yet the author managed to make it quite funny. Because of several sensitive topics mentioned, it is for a more mature audience. It was very popular with the students who read it. (Dr. Pamela Godt)

On the Run Series: (includes 6 titles) by Gordon Korman
Interest Level: Grade 6 - Grade 8
Reading Level: range from 3.7 4.7, Lexile 680L - 740 DRA: 40, Guided Reading: R
Book Type: Chapter Book
Genre/Theme: Adventure, Mystery, Suspense
On the Run 1: Chasing the Falconersby Gordon Korman
Interest Level: Grades: 4-8 (might be 6-8 depending on parental views)
Reading Level: Grade 3.7, Lexile 680, Guided Reading Level: R
Reviewer's Comments:
Great book and would really spark the interest of boys. Story is exciting throughout. Currently there are 6 books within this series.
  1. Chasing the Falconer's— See above
  2. The Fugitive Factor—The Falconers talk to Frank Lindenaur's former girlfriend, but Meg is captured and thrown in jail.
  3. Now You See Them, Now You Don't—Aiden and Meg fly to Los Angeles and receive help from a street gang.
  4. The Stowaway Solution—The siblings stowaway on a ship to get closer to Frank Lindenaur.
  5. Public Enemies—The Falconers discover that Hairless Joe, who has been routinely trying to kill them, is Frank Lindenaur.
  6. Hunting the Hunter—The Falconers track down Hairless Joe to free their parents.


A Season of Gifts by Richard Peck

Interest Level: 3rd-6th

Reading Level: Lexile: 690





Soldier’s Heart: Being the Story of the Enlistment and Due Service of the Boy Charley Goddard in the First Minnesota Volunteers by Gary Paulsen (E for DC)
Interest Level: Grade 7 - Grade 9
Grade Level Equivalent: 5.9
Lexile® measure: 1000
DRA: 44
Guided Reading: V


The SOS File by Betsy Cromer Byars, Betsy Duffey and Laurie Myers (JB)
Interest Level: Grade 3 - Grade 5
Grade Level Equivalent: 4.0, 600L, DRA: 40, Guided Reading: R
Genre/Theme: Humor, Emergencies Student stories



The White Fox Chronicles by Gary Paulsen
Interest Level: Grades 5-8
Reading Level: Grade 5.8, Lexile 600L, DRA 44




Zlata’s Diary by Zlata Filipovic
Interest Level: Grades 4 and up
Reading Level: Grade 5.1 Lexile 640






2010-2011



1. The Barrio Kings by William Kowalski (Rapid Reads)
Interest Level: Adult
Reading Level: Grade 2.1
Themes; Gangs, loyalty, friendship


Rosario Gomez is trying to go straight. He has a job, a pregnant girlfriend, an almost-completed GED, and ambitions to claim a place for his family in
a different America from the one he knows in the barrio. He has promised his girlfriend, Connie, that he will not go back to the Barrio Kinds and will
live an exemplary life for her and their unborn son.

2. Burger Wuss, by Matthew T.Anderson
Interest Level: Grades 9-12
Reading Level: Grade 3.5, Lexile 420
Genre:
From Publishers Weekly
When Anthony's girlfriend dumps him for a guy who works for a fast food chain, he devises a complicated plan to get her back by working
for a rival restaurant. "Anderson's witty tale of a lovelorn boy and his corporate antagonists is both a tasty read and a stinging satire.



3. Cellular by Ellen Scwartz
Interest Level: Grade 6-12
Reading Level: Grades 2.3

Brendan has it all-captain of the basketball team, good friends, a beautiful girlfriend and a loving family - until he is diagnosed with leukemia. Terrified and convinced that no one understands what he is going through, Brendan faces chemotherapy alone, until he meets Lark. She is also in treatment, although her condition is much worse, and yet she remains positive and hopeful. Brendan is torn between feeling sorry for himself and the love for life that Lark brings to even the simplest thing. Through Lark, he discovers the strength to go on, to fight for survival and to love.


4. Dangerous Girls by R.L Stine
Interest Level: Grades 9-12
Reading Level: Grade 2.7 Lexile 510

From Wikipedia: Dangerous Girls is the first book in the Dangerous Girls series by R. L. Stine. This book is about Destiny and Livvy, two twin
sisters who turn into partial vampires at summer camp. It was published on August 2003 by HarperCollins in the United States. A sequel, //The
Taste of Night// was published on August 2004.



5. Devil’s Ride – Avi
Interest Level: Grades 6-8
Reading Level: Grade 4.4 Lexile 470
Genre: Horror/supernatural
From Amazon
Sixteen-year-old John Proud discovers his family's dark secret. In 1854 an ancestral namesake confessed to being a demon. Now John finds
himself battling his ancestor who is trying to use John for an evil purpose. Mounting suspense plus the sure draw of occult horror will keep
readers turning the pages.' 'BL.


6. The Fall Guy Barbara Fradkin
Interest Level: Grades 6-12
Reading Level:
Genre:
**http://rapid-reads.com/bookdetails/fallguy**_**details.html** Handyman Cedric O'Toole likes his simple life. He lives by himself on an isolate
farm, collecting sheds full of junk and dreaming of his next invention. Then one day a slick city lawyer drives down his lane and his nightmare begins.
Lori-Anne Wilkins, the wife of a wealthy local businessman, has fallen to her death from a deck Cedric built and the furious widower has slapped him
with a lawsuit.



7. Jay –Z by Roman Nacerous

Summary from www.lybrary.com/jayz-p-98195.html The story of Jay-Z's life is a story of hard work. He grew up in a poor neighborhood in New York
City, but now he has more number-one albums than any other hip-hop artist. He has worked with many famous people, from his wife, Beyoncé, t
Kanye West. Jay-Z is also a very successful businessman. His story inspires people to dream big and work to make those dreams come true


8. WW E: John Cena
Interest Level: Grades 2-6
Reading Level: Grade 2
Genre: nonfiction


Product Description: Learn about your favorite SuperStar John Cena and how he became the World Heavyweight Champion. Read about hi
finishing and signature moves and signature foreign objects, nicknames, signature taunts and managers.


9. LeBron James by Jeff Savage
Interest Level: Grades 3-6
Reading Level: Grade 3, Lexile 720
Genre: nonfiction
Traces the career of LeBron James from childhood to success with the Cleveland Cavaliers. Only goes up to 2008.



The Library of Doom Series **http://www.capstonepub.com/product/9781598893243#*


This series of 6+ graphic novels is aimed at students between grades 4 through 8 who are reading at a first through 3rd grade level.



In the Library of Doom, The Librarian is in charge of keeping the world’s most dangerous books out of the hands of innocent readers. High quality art
by Bradford Kendall that is visually linked to the text keeps the reader on edge from page to page as the stories unfold. This small size (6” x 8”) of




these books contributes to the reader’s experience in this fantasy world. In the real world, this book-based fantasy series is a librarian’s good dream
come true for struggling readers. Accelerated Reader Reading Practice Quizzes available. Horror/Fantasy by Sarah Braxton, Pennsylvania School
Library Association
10. Library of Doom: **//The Sea of Lost Books//** by Michael Dahl
Interest Level: 4-8
Reading Level: 1-3, Lexile: 350, ATOS Level 2.9, Guided Reading Level J

The underwater library has been attacked. The Librarian will have to retrieve all of the lost books.

11. Library of Doom, Inkfoot by Michael Dahl

Interest Level: 4-8
Reading Level: 1-3
Lexile Level: 500L
ATOS Level: 3.1


The Librarian helps Owen defeat the legendary Inkfoot.
12. Library of Doom: The Creeping Bookends by **Michael Dahl**
Interest Level: 3-8
Reading Level: 1-3, GRL: I, Lexile Level: 500L, ATOS Level: 3.1

One evening, a young boy is accidentally locked inside the library. Suddenly, a pair of lizard bookends come alive! The boy watches as the ravenous reptiles gobble up stacks of books. Will the Librarian arrive before the boy becomes their next meal?
13. Library of Doom: Rats on the Page by Michael Dahl


Interest Level: 4-8
Reading Level: 1-3, Lexile Level: 450L, ATOS Level: 3.0, Guided Reading Level: J


A mysterious picture book turns children into hungry rat creatures. The rats travel through the sewers of the Library of Doom and begin to
devour the library's most precious treasures.
14. Library of Doom: **The Book That Ate My Brother** by Michael Dahl
Interest Level: 4-8






Reading Level: 1-3, Lexile Level: 330L, ATOS Level: 2.8


Jack writes a letter to the Librarian because he needs help. His brother has been eaten by a book!
15. Library of Doom: Escape from Pop-up Prison by Michael Dahl
Interest Level: 3-8
Reading Level: 1-3, GRL: I, Lexile Level: 440L, ATOS Level: 3.3
A girl follows a group of strangers inside the giant Library of Doom. The strangers want their evil friends released from the pages a pop-up book. Can the Librarian stop them before the world’s deadliest criminals are set free?
16. Library of Doom: The Book that Dripped Blood by Michael Dahl
Reading Level: 1-3
Interest Level: 3-8, GRL: K, Lexile Level: 550L, ATOS Level: 3.2
A strange and evil book comes to life, and the librarian comes to the rescue before more blood is spilled.
17. Library of Doom: Zombie in the Library by Michael Dahl
Reading Level: 1-3
Interest Level: 3-8, GRL: J, Lexile Level: 440L, ATOS Level: 2.9
A zombie, made of unread and discarded books, comes to life during a lighting storm. A young boy makes the mistake of visiting the library after hours, and comes face to face with the hungry creature!

18. Ortona Street Fight by Mark Zuele

Interest Level: Grades 6-12
Reading Level: between grades 2-4
Genre: Nonfiction history, war
**http://www.orcabook.com/productdetails.cfm?PC=866**
December 20, 1943. Two Canadian infantry battalions and a tank regiment stand poised on the outskirts of a small Italian port town. They expect to take Ortona quickly. But the German 1st Parachute Division has other ideas. For reasons unknown, Hitler has ordered Ortona held to the last man. Houses, churches and other buildings are dynamited, clogging the streets with rubble. Germans with machine guns lie in ambush. Snipers slip from one rooftop to another. The Canadians seem to have walked into a death trap. This is a battle fought at close range, often hand to hand. Casualties on both sides are heavy. In the end, raw courage and ingenuity save the Canadians.

19. Rapid Read: Middle Ground by Zoe Whittall
Interest Level: Grades 8-12
Reading Level: Grade Fry Reading Level 4.2
Genre: realistic fiction
Missy Turner's ordinary life is turned upside down when she is taken hostage in a botched robbery at the local café, and she finds herself questioning the validity of everything she's always believed in

20. Rapid Read: The Spider Bites by Medora Sale
Interest Level: Grades 6-12
Reading Level: Grade 2
Genre: mystery, suspense
Detective Rick Montoya must find out who firebombed his apartment before he can clear his name of a bribery charge.

21. Sticks and Stones by Beth Goobie
Interest Level: Grades 9-12
Reading Level: 2.6, Lexile 430, Guided Reading NR
Genre: General Fiction
Themes: Character and Values, Friends and FriendshipFifteen-year-old Jujube is called a slut after she and Brent kiss in his car during the Valentine's Day dance. As the rumors affect how she feels and acts, Jujube devises a plan to show the other students the pain they cause.


22. Thunderbowl by Lesley Choyce
Interest Level: Grades 4-7
Reading Level: Grade 4, Lexile 520
Genre:
Jeremy's band is hot -- really hot. Thunderbowl is on the way up and they have had their first big break???a long-term gig at a local bar. The only problem is that while Jeremy should be doing his homework and keeping up in school, he is spending most nights in a rowdy club, trying to keep the band together while his life is falling apart. Trying to balance his dreams of success with the hard realities of the music business, Jeremy is forced to make some tough choices.

24. Twisted Journeys: Escape from Pyramid X
Interest Level: Grades 4-7
Reading Level: Grade 4
Genre: graphic novel – choose your own path
Product Description: Match your wits against a band of pirates on the high seas and try to defeat them—or join them! Every Twisted Journeys graphic novel lets YOU control the action by choosing which path to follow....

25. Wolf Rider by Avi
Interest Level: Grades 6-8
Reading Level: Grade 4.4 Lexile 470 GR NR
Genre: general fiction
From Book Wizard
After receiving an apparent crank call from a man claiming to have committed murder, fifteen-year-old Andy finds his close relationship with his father crumbling as he struggles to make everyone believe him

Catalogue
Grades 6-12 Struggling Readers Collection Winter 2011
Follett Educational Services, Inc. 1433 Internationale Parkway Woodridge, IL 60517-4941
This is a 16 page catalogue of hundreds of titles of both fiction and nonfiction books from a variety of publishers that are appropriate for struggling older readers.
**http://www.fes.follett.com/catalogs/supplemental/struggling-readers/spring-2011/FY11-High-Low-Catalog.pdf**
,Reading Level Conversion Chart
In addition to including a comparison of grade level ratings by Guided Reading, Reading Recovery, DRA, Lexile, ATOS, and Follett, the chart includes a column of descriptors such as early emergent, upper emergent, early fluent, fluent, and extended.
**http://www.dillon2.k12.sc.us/teachers/readinglevels/RL_Chart_J_Bach.pdf**
The following books were recommended by participants in the March 2010 workshop.. If you would like to recommend books for next year’s list, join our wiki page by going to http://ircstrugglingreaders.wikispaces.com and clicking on “join this wiki” in the menu on the left side of the page.
Note: Some of these books, i.e. The Hunger Games are very exciting but are not quick and easy reads and may be more appropriate for motivating “Reluctant” as distinguished from “Struggling” readers. We are defining Reluctant readers as unmotivated readers who are able to read at grade level but choose not to read. Struggling readers are readers who are reading two or more years below grade level. Such readers find decoding books that are written at their grade level such hard, slow work that they become discouraged and give up after just a few paragraphs or pages. Putting books into their hands that are easy for them to read is crucial.
Remind them of the “5 finger” rule when choosing appropriate books. (Put one finger up for each word they do not know. If they have 5 fingers up by the end of a page, it’s too hard. If no fingers are raised it may be too easy.)

1. Barack Obama: President for a New Era by Marelen Tag Brill
Interest Level: Grades 3-5
Reading Level: Grade 5

Summary from www.goodreads.com/book/show/6294379-barack-obama A truly inspiring role model for any youngster, this book chronicles the story of how Barack Obama rose from local reformer to the 44th President of the United States.
Comment by submitter: A book recommended for students in grades four through eight as well as for ELL students of all ages.

2. Begging for Change by: Sharon G Flake
Interest Level: Grades 5-8
Reading Level: Grade: 7.8 Lexile 1060 Guided Reading Level Z

Summary from bookwizard.scholastic.com : Raspberry Hill vowed never to end up living on the streets again. To her, money equals security. But when a troubled neighborhood teenager attacks her mother, Raspberry takes some desperate and disturbing steps. "A compelling slice of urban life." - SLJ Mature Content.
*High school aged students may think this is too young for them given that the characters in the book are all in junior high school. An added bonus to this book is reading about how Raspberry’s mother worked through the violent act that happened to her. This gave the book wonderful talking points about dealing with anger in a mature way. I recommend this book and series for grades 5-8.

3. Black and White by Paul Volponi
Interest Level: 9 - 12
Grade Level Equivalent: 3.9 Lexile 710L Guided Reading NR
Genre/Theme: General Fiction
Summary from bookwizard.scholastic.com Two high school basketball stars, one black and one white, see their lives move in different directions after they are arrested for shooting a man during a robbery. A gripping story about choices, friendship, and the implication of race in the justice system.
Bluford High Series

Summary of Series from Townsend Press (**http://www.townsendpress.com/product/97.aspx**)
The Bluford Series is a collection of EIGHTEEN young adult novels that focus on the lives of a group of high school students and their families. The series draws its name from the school which many of the characters attend: Bluford High, named after Guion "Guy" Bluford, America's first black astronaut. Set in contemporary urban America, each novel addresses complex topics relevant to the lives of today's students: family, friendship, trust, isolation, violence, and peer pressure, to name a few. In addition, the books feature male and female characters and include elements from many literary genres, such as mystery, suspense, romance, and a touch of the supernatural. In other words, the Bluford Series offers something for almost every reader.


4. Bluford High Series: Breaking Point (Book 16) by Karyn Langhorne Folan and Paul Langan
Reading Level: Grade 4
Interest Level – 7-12

http://www.townsendpress.com/product/239.aspxBreaking Point follows the story of Vicky Fallon, a Bluford sophomore who appears in Brothers in Arms and The Fallen. In this story, Vicky can't take it. Her father has lost his job. Her parents are constantly fighting, and her troubled little brother is out of control. Once an honor student, Vicky is quickly falling behind in her classes at Bluford High. Now her teachers, friends, and her new boyfriend, Martin Luna, want answers. Pressured from all sides, Vicky knows something is about to snap. But the explosion that hits her home is worse than anything she could imagine.

5. Bluford High Series: The Test (Book 17) by Peggy Kern
Reading Level: Grade 4
Interest Level – 7-12
Book Jacket:

Liselle Mason is in trouble. For weeks, she ignored the changes in her body and tried to forget her brief relationship with Oscar Price, her moody classmate at Bluford High. But when Liselle's clothes stop fitting, and her brother notices her growing belly, she panics. A pregnancy test confirms her biggest fears.

6. Bluford High Series: Pretty Ugly (Book 18) by Karyn Langhorne Folan
Reading Level: Grade 4
Interest Level – 7-12

www.townsendpress.com/product/241.A freshman at Bluford High, Jamee never expected Vanessa Pierce and her friends to go this far. The trouble starts at cheerleading practice when Vanessa begins teasing Angel McCallister, a shy new girl at school. When the insults turn nasty, Jamee tried to stop them. She wins Angel's friendship but makes many enemies. Now Jamee is a target, and someone is texting lies and pictures of her all over Bluford. Unwilling to tell her family or snitch on her fellow cheerleaders, Jamee is cornered. Will her next move solve her problems---or make them worse?

Why Recommend: Both I and my students, mainly African-American middle and high schoolers who are below grade level in reading, love this book and the others in the Bluford High series. Students like the books because they are fast paced and deal with characters and situations they can identify with. I like the series because the values, particularly in the books written by Paul Langan, are sound and the characters are carefully motivated and given believable family backgrounds that explain their actions.

7. Bronx Masquerade by: Nikki Grimes
Interest Level: Grades 7-12
Reading Level: Grade: 5.1 Lexile 670 Guided Reading Level W

Summary from bookwizard.scholastic.com : When Wesley Boone writes a poem for his high school English class and reads it aloud, poetry-slam-style, he kicks off a revolution. Soon his classmates are clamoring to have weekly poetry sessions. One by one, eighteen students take on the risky challenge of self-revelation. Award-winning author Nikki Grimes captures the voices of eighteen teenagers through the poetry they share and the stories they tell, and exposes what lies beneath the skin, behind the eyes, beyond the masquerade.
*The author deftly intermingles stories of the characters lives with poetry they wrote about their life experiences for the Friday Poetry Slam – great for class discussion. The author deals with violence, sex (including teenage pregnancy), and drugs in the book so it is meant for a mature audience. Some may think the subject matter is too mature but as Alfred Tatum often talks about - reading about what you know, what you live is what appeals to youth. I recommend this book for grades 7-12. *Coretta Scott King Award Winner

8. Fat Chance by Leslea Newman
Interest Level: 6-8
Reading Level- 4..9 Lexile 970 Guided Reading N/R
Genre: Mystery/Suspense

Summary from bookwizard.scholastic.com In a series of diary entries, thirteen-year-old Judi recounts her struggles to lose weight, hide her bulimia from her mother, find a boy friend, and decide on a profession.

9. The Hunger Games, Book 1 by Suzanne Collins
Interest Level: Grades 6-8
Reading Level: Grade 5.3 Lexile 810
Genre: Adventure, Science Fiction
Topics: Homelessness and Poverty, Social Issues and Conditions, Survival
Sensitivity Issues: Violence
Summary from bookwizard.scholastic.com: In the ruins of a place once known as North America lies the nation of Panem, a shining Capital surrounded by twelve outlying districts. The Capital is harsh and cruel and keeps the other districts in line by forcing them to participate in the annual Hunger Games, a fight-to-the death on live TV. One boy and one girl between the ages of twelve and sixteen are selected by lottery to play. The winner brings riches and favor to his or her district. But that is nothing compared to what the Capital wins: one more year of fearful compliance with its rules.
Sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen, who lives alone with her mother and younger sister, regards it as a death sentence when she is forced to represent her impoverished district in the Games. But Katniss has been close to dead before – and survival, for her, is second nature. Without really meaning to, she becomes a contender. But if she is to win, she will have to start making choices that weigh survival against humanity and life against love.
Why Recommend: A kid’s review- The characters are realistic and the plot is intense and engrossing. An ALA Quick Pick for Reluctant Young Readers.


10. The Hunger Games, Book 2: Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
Interest Level: Grades 6-8
Reading Level: Grade 5.4 Lexile 820
Genre: Adventure, Science Fiction, Fantasy
Topics: Homelessness and Poverty, Social Issues and Conditions, Survival
Sensitivity Issues: Violence
Summary from bookwizard.scholastic.com: Against all odds, Katniss Everdeen has won the annual Hunger Games with fellow district tribute Peeta Mellark. But it was a victory won by defiance of the Capitol and their harsh rules. Katniss and Peeta should be happy. After all, they have just won for themselves and their families a life of safety and plenty. But there are rumors of rebellion among the subjects, and Katniss and Peeta, to their horror, are the faces of that rebellion. The Capitol is angry. The Capitol wants revenge.

11. The Hunger Games, Book 3Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins
Interest Level: Grades 6-8
Reading Level: Grade 5.4 Lexile 800
Genre: Adventure, Science Fiction, Young Adult

Summary from bookwizard.scholastic.com: Katniss Everdeen, girl on fire, has survived, even though her home has been destroyed. Gale has escaped. Katniss's family is safe. Peeta has been captured by the Capitol. District 13 really does exist. There are rebels. There are new leaders. A revolution is unfolding.
The success of the rebellion hinges on Katniss's willingness to be a pawn, to accept responsibility for countless lives, and to change the course of the future of Panen. To do this, she must put aside her feelings of anger and distrust. She must become the rebels' Mockingjay — no matter what the personal cost.

12. Money Hungry by: Sharon G Flake
Interest Level: Grades 5-8
Reading Level: Grade: 5.9 Lexile 650 Guided Reading T

Summary from bookwizard.scholastic.com : With her brassy voice and saucy attitude, 13-year-old Raspberry Hill knows first-hand that living in the housing project is better than being out on the streets, but she and her mother are determined to move to a safer neighborhood. That's why Raspberry is so money hungry. When her money issues begin interfering with her friendships, Raspberry is forced to reexamine her priorities and values. Ultimately, it's not the heroine's stash of hard-earned cash that brings about positive change for the family, but rather her mother's ingenuity and the support offered by generous neighbors. Mature Content.
*High school aged students may think this is too young for them given that the characters in the book are all in junior high school. I recommend this book and series for grades 5-8.
*Coretta Scott King Award Winner (Non-Violent Social Change)


13. Out of the Dust by Karen Hesse
Interest Level: 6 - 8
Reading Level: 5.1
Genre: Historical Fiction, Poetry and Rhymes

Topics: American History, Communities and Ways of Life, Coping with Death, Grief, and Loss
Determination and Perseverance, Extended Family, Homelessness and Poverty


Summary from bookwizard.scholastic.com: A poem cycle that reads as a novel, Out of the Dust tells the story of a girl named Billie Jo, who struggles to help her family survive the dust-bowl years of the Depression. Fighting against the elements on her Oklahoma farm, Billie Jo takes on even more responsibilities when her mother dies in a tragic accident. A testament to the American spirit, this novel is an instant classic. Newberry Medal for 1998

14. Percy Jackson and the Olympians, Book 4 Battle of the Labyrinth: by Rick Riordan
Interest Level: Grades 6-8
Reading Level: Grade 3.3 Lexile 590
Genre: Adventure, Fables, Folk Tales, Myths
From Amazon:
In this fourth installment of the blockbuster series, time is running out as war between the Olympians and the evil Titan lord Kronos draws near. Even the safe haven of Camp Half Blood grows more vulnerable by the minute as Kronos’s army prepares to invade its once impenetrable borders. To stop them, Percy and his demigod friends will set out on a quest through the Labyrinth—a sprawling underground world with stunning surprises at every turn.

15. Peter and the Starcatchers by: Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson
Interest Level: Grades 6-8
Reading Level: Grade: 6.2 Lexile 770 Guided Reading Level: X

Summary from bookwizard.scholastic.com: Aboard the ship Never Land, a boy named Peter is bound for servitude in the court of King Zarboff the Third. Peter befriends Molly and helps her keep a secret treasure she is transporting, but will they succeed in keeping the cargo away from the pirate Black Stache?
*An adventurous fantasy fashioned after Peter Pan, this book is the first in a series that appeals to fantasy readers. Its size may e off-putting to the struggling reader so the teacher wanting to introduce this book may consider it as a read-aloud. “Peter…” may also work well for the strong reader in younger grades who likes the challenge of a chapter book, falls in love with the characters and enjoys reading a series. I recommend this book for grades 5-8.

16. Swear to Howdy by **Wendelin Van Draanen**
Interest Level 5-7
Reading Level: Grade: 5 Lexile 620
Genre: General Fiction
Summary adapted from bookwizard.scholastic.com The story is told through the voice of a Southern boy, Joey Banks’ best friend Rusty Cooper. Joey is a walking adventure. He’s funny, daring, mischievous—and frequently in trouble. Or he would be if anyone found out about half the stuff he’s done. But Rusty Cooper knows how to keep a secret. And Joey’s the best friend he’s ever had. But then comes a secret that is at once too terrible to tell and too terrible to keep. A secret so big it threatens to eat them...
The 39 Clues
Interest Level: Grades 3-8
Reading Level: 2.9-4.5
Genre: mystery, adventure
This is a series of 10 adventure books, combining reading, online gaming, and card collecting. Published by Scholastic, the main part of the series consists of ten books about the adventures of siblings Amy and Dan Cahill who are competing with other members of their far-flung and powerful family to find the 39 Clues which will make them "the most powerful and influential person(s) on the planet". Their search takes them to many countries and introduces many historical figures.

17. The 39 Clues, Book 5 : The Black Circle by Patrick Carman
Interest Level: 6-8
Reading Level: 4.3, Lexile 700

From Amazon:
The Black Circle sends the Cahill siblings off to Russia, where they chase down riddles left for them by someone only calling themselves "NRR." Is it a trap? Or is it really leading them to some of the biggest answers to their biggest questions?

18. The 39 Clues, Book 6: In Too Deep by Jude Watson
Interest Level: 6-8
Reading Level: 3.2 Lexile 550

From Amazon.com:
In this book Dan and Amy find themselves searching for clues in Australia and Indonesia and learning a little about Amelia Earhart and Mark Twain. They come close to death several times and are saved by someone who had been one of their enemies.

19. Witness by Karen Hesse
Interest Level: 6 - 8
Reading Level: 5.9
Genre: Historical Fiction, Poetry, Verse Novel
Topics: African Americans, Jewish, Prejudice and Racism, Prejudice and Tolerance
Sensitivity Issue: Objectionable Language
Summary by bookwizard.scholastic.com: Witness tells the story of the Klan's attempt to recruit members in a small town in Vermont in 1924. Leanora Sutter, a young black girl, feels isolated by racial prejudice and her mother's recent death. She is befriended by Esther Hirsh, a younger Jewish girl, whose innocence and natural optimism provides a sharp contrast to the other characters.
In the voices of 11 residents of the town, we experience this series of events from many different points of view, in the form of a poetic play in five acts. As the characters speak directly to the reader and relate the juxtaposition of acts of hate and love, violence and peace, terror and kindness, they illuminate the full range of human strengths and weaknesses in one small town.

2009-2010

ADDING BOOKS:

The following books have been recommended by IRC members during the current school year. If you are adding books to this list, please add them in alphabetical order by the title.

Don't worry if you don't have all the info about interest level and reading level. One of our editors will take care of that. Just be sure to include the title, author, a sentence or two telling us what it's about and your reason for recommending it.


COMMENTING ON BOOKS:

(Become a member and join the discussion - click on "join this wiki" in the menu in the margin)

If you want to comment on books go to the top of this page and click on the discussion tab. Write the title of the book in the window labeled "subject heading" and then write your comment in the message window.



Catch by Will Leitch

Interest Level: Grades 6-12
Reading Level: Grade 4.6, Lexile 720

Summary:(From Penguin.com)

Everything comes easy for Tim Temples. He’s got a sweet summer job, lots of love from the ladies, and parties with his high school buddies. Why does he need to go to college? Then Tim falls hard for Helena—a worldly and mysterious twenty-two year-old. Their relationship opens his eyes to life outside the small town of Mattoon, Illinois. Now Tim has to choose: Will he settle for being a small town hero, or will he leave it all behind to follow his dreams?


Question: This book was recommended by an IRC member. If any of you have used this book, too, what did you and your students think of it? Do you have any tips or activities to use with this book?

To comment, click on Discussion tab above.



Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Greg Heffley's Journal by Jeff Kinney


Interest Level 3-5
Reading Level 5
Title Point Value 7
Lexile Measure 950
Horn Book (The Horn Book Guide, Fall 2007)
First of all, let me get something straight: This is a JOURNAL, not a diary." Greg Heffley chronicles a year of middle school through hilarious journal entries and accompanying cartoon sketches. His experiences--having to perform in a school play, dealing with bullies and changing friendships--are made fresh by Greg's over-the-top narration. Kinney's writing and illustrations are filled with laugh-out-loud kid humor. Category: Intermediate Fiction. 2007, Abrams/Amulet, 217pp, 12.95. Ages 9 to 12. Rating: 3: Recommended, satisfactory in style, content, and/or illustration.

This is a book that is intriguing for many types of learners. The advanced readers in my 6th grade class thoroughly enjoy the humor, and the struggling readers enjoy the book because of its accessibility. The movie version of this book is coming out soon. To watch the movie trailer, please click on this link:
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1196141/ Also, to see an interesting interview with the author, Jeff Kinney, go to http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=114046852

Drive-By by Lynne Ewing

Interest Level: Grades 6-12
Reading Level: Grade 3.5, Lexile 560

Summary:
Twelve-year-old Tito, while helping to care for his little sister, struggles to find his way during the aftermath of his brother's death in a gang-related shooting.


Question: This book was recommended by an IRC member. If any of you have used this book, too, what did you and your students think of it? Do you have any tips or activities to use with this book?

To comment, click on Discussion tab above.


Lawn Boy by Gary Paulsen

Interest Level: Grades 6-8
Reading Level: Lexile 780

A young boy receives a riding lawnmower from his grandmother which jump starts a rollicking adventure in which this clever entrepreneur becomes wealthy through a stockbroker connection and ends up helping his family and community.

Question: This book was recommended by an IRC member. If any of you have used this book, too, what did you and your students think of it? Do you have any tips or activities to use with this book?

To comment, click on Discussion tab above.



On My Honor by Marion Bauer

Interest Level: Grades 6-8
Reading Level: Grade 5.6, DRA 40, Lexile 750

Summary:
Joel dares his best friend, Tony, to a swimming race in a dangerous river. Both boys jump in, but when Joel reaches the sandbar, he finds Tony has vanished. How can he face their parents and the terrible truth?

Question: This book was recommended by an IRC member. If any of you have used this book, too, what did you and your students think of it? Do you have any tips or activities to use with this book?

To comment, click on Discussion tab above.



Private by Kate Brian

Interest Level: Grades 8 and up
Lexile: ? (other books by the same author seem to range from 650 - 750)

Summary taken from Wikipedia
Private is a series of young-adult novels by American author Kate Brian, beginning with 2006's inaugural entry of the same name. The books chronicle the rise of ambitious teenager Reed Brennan, the series' narrator, as she becomes a member of her new school's elite sorority house—composed of a glamorous yet disparate group of teens known as the Billings Girls. As the series progresses, several matters surrounding mystery, morality, and romance arise


Staying Fat for Sarah Byrnes by Chris Crutcher

Interest Level: Grades 9-12
Reading Level: Grade 7.2, Lexile 920, Guided Reading NR
Summary:
Sarah Byrnes and Eric have been friends for years. When they were children, his fat and her terrible scars made them both outcasts. Later, although swimming slimmed Eric, she stayed his closest friend. Now Sarah Byrnes -- the smartest, toughest person Eric has ever known -- sits silent in a hospital. Eric must uncover the terrible secret she's hiding, before its dark currents pull them both under.
Source: Scholastic Book Wizard

Question: This book was recommended by an IRC member. If any of you have used this book, too, what did you and your students think of it? Do you have any tips or activities to use with this book?

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Shattering Glass by Gail Giles

Interest Level: Grades 9-12
Reading Level: Grade 6.2, 590 Lexile, Guided REading Level NR

Summary:Simon Glass was easy to hate....I guess, really we each hated him for a different reason, but we didn't realize it until the day we killed him."
Fat, clumsy Simon Glass is a nerd, a loser. Everyone picks on him, until Rob Haynes showed up. Rob, a transfer student with charisma to spare, immediately becomes the undisputed leader of the senior class. And he has plans for Simon. Rob's mission: Turn sniveling Simon from total freak to would-be prom king.
But as Simon rises to the top of the social ranks, he shows a new confidence and a devious side that power-hungry Rob did not anticipate. And when Simon uncovers a dangerous secret, events darken. The result is disquieting, bone-chilling . . . and brutal.Shattering Glass by Gail Giles
Source: Scholastic Reading Wizard
Question: This book was recommended by an IRC member. If any of you have used this book, too, what did you and your students think of it? Do you have any tips or activities to use with this book?

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The First Part Last by Angela Johnson

Interest Level: Grades 7-12
Reading Level: Grade 4.6, Lexile 795, Guided Reading NR
Summary from Wikipedia: "..this novel deals with the subject of teen pregnancy. The story is told from Bobby's perspective, which sets it apart from most books on teen pregnancy. Bobby and Nia, the child's parents, are urban upper-middle-class African-American teenagers. This book talks about Bobby being a father at the age of 16. Bobby raises his little girl, Feather, on his own and realizes how hard it truly is to be a parent.
Bobby becomes tired all the time, and can't always get to school on time. Bobby's mother won't do any of the work. Nia, while giving birth to Feather, gets into a horrid complication. This takes a toll on Bobby, Nia, and Feathers life. Nia will be kept in a coma for the rest of her young life."

Question: This book was recommended by an IRC member. If any of you have used this book, too, what did you and your students think of it? Do you have any tips or activities to use with this book?

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Travel Team by Mike Lupica

Interest Level: Grades 6-8
Reading Level: Grade 6, Lexile 920

Summary:
From Booklist
Gr. 6-8. Danny Walker is crushed when he doesn't make the Vikings, the seventh-grade basketball team. He is told that he is too short, but he suspects that the real reason has something to do with the bad blood between his divorced father (a former NBA star whose career was cut short by a car accident) and Mr. Ross, the father of the team's best player. Then Danny's father announces that he is starting his own youth team, but unexpected setbacks sideline his dad and the team until Danny steps in and coaches the team himself. Some readers may find that the story drags at times, and sports cliches fill the final pages. Still, Lupica creates a sports novel that is rich in details; this is one of the few novels about basketball, for example, that actually mentions zone defenses rather than the perennial one-on-one scenes in most basketball novels. Many fans of sports fiction will like this. Todd Morning
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved


Question: This book was recommended by an IRC member. If any of you have used this book, too, what did you and your students think of it? Do you have any tips or activities to use with this book?

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Touching Spirit Bear by Ben Michaelson


Interest Level: Grades 6-8
Reading Level: Grade 5.4, Lexile 670

After his anger erupts into violence, Cole, in order to avoid going to prison, agrees to participate in a sentencing alternative based on the native American Circle Justice, and he is sent to a remote Alaskan Island where an encounter with a huge Spirit Bear changes his life.



2008-2009

The following booklist is made up of all the books that IRC members recommended on a survey done from August 2008 through March 2009. If you are interested in suggesting or discussing these or other books for struggling readers, join the committee’s newly constructed Wiki discussion page by clicking on the "Join this wiki"emailing studies andresearch@illinoisreadingcouncil.org.


*indicates information was found at bookwizard.scholastic.com

Alabama Moon by Watt Key
*Interest Level: Grades 6, Ages 11-13
*Reading Level: Grade 5.2, Lexile 720, Guided Reading Level V
*Genre: Adventure, Fiction

Summary from Submitter: Moon was raised in the forest by his dad. When his dad dies, Moon finds himself in a struggle for his freedom.

Summary From School Library Journal
Grade 6-8–Moon, 10, has spent most of his life in a camouflaged shelter in the forest with his father, a Vietnam veteran who distrusts people and the government. Pap has educated him in both academics and survival skills. His life suddenly changes when the land is sold to a lawyer and his father dies. The lawyer discovers him and, believing what he is doing is best for the child, turns him over to Mr. Gene from the local boys home. When Moon escapes, Mr. Gene alerts the constable, an emotionally unstable bully who becomes obsessed with capturing him. Once at the home, though, Moon makes his first real friends and learns what friendship is all about. Much of the story revolves around multiple chases, captures, and escapes. The ending might be a bit too perfect, but it is a happy one for Moon.

Why Recommend: Moon is a strong character. There are violent scenes in the book and the language is realistic. But, the kids love it.

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Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst
*Reading Level: Lexile 970, Grade 3.6
*Interest Level: Grade 1-2
*Genre: Comedy and Humor, General Fiction

Summary by Submitter: All children and adults, if they’re willing to admit it, have had or will have a day as bad as Alexander describes.

Book Summary from Amazon.com: "I went to sleep with gum in my mouth and now there's gum in my hair and when I got out of bed this morning I tripped on the skateboard and by mistake I dropped my sweater in the sink while the water was running and I could tell it was going to be a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day." So begin the trials and tribulations of the irascible Alexander, who has been earning the sympathy of readers since 1972. People of all ages have terrible, horrible days, and Alexander offers us the cranky commiseration we crave as well as a reminder that things may not be all that bad. As Alexander's day progresses, he faces a barrage of bummers worthy of a country- western song: getting smushed in the middle seat of the car, a dessertless lunch sack, a cavity at the dentist's office, stripeless sneakers, witnessing kissing on television, and being forced to sleep in railroad-train pajamas. He resolves several times to move to Australia.

Why Recommend: This book will be appealing to readers because everyone has experienced a bad day or two at one time or another. The blunders that the main character faces are experiences that younger children could encounter, which may prove to be appealing to younger readers. The book hooks you in with the title and monopolizes your attention with repetition and humor.

A Child Called It by Dave Pelzer
*Interest Level: Grades 8 – 12
*Reading Level: 5.9, Lexile 850, Guided Reading: NR
*Genre: Autobiography

Summary from Amazon.com Review: David J. Pelzer's mother, Catherine Roerva, was, he writes in this ghastly, fascinating memoir, a devoted den mother to the Cub Scouts in her care, and somewhat nurturing to her children--but not to David, whom she referred to as "an It." This book is a brief, horrifying account of the bizarre tortures she inflicted on him, told from the point of view of the author as a young boy being starved, stabbed, smashed face-first into mirrors, forced to eat the contents of his sibling's diapers and a spoonful of ammonia, and burned over a gas stove by a maniacal, alcoholic mom.
Why Recommend: Submitter “In all my years of teaching, I have never had a student say that they did not like this book. It is the first book I put into the hands of my most struggling, disengaged readers.”
Compiler: A Child Called It was one of the most highly circulated books among my own middle-school students. The majority of my students read two to four years below grade level and are mainly African-American. The book is popular among both boys and girls of all races. On Literature Teachers Chatboard I found an entry by a teacher who noted its she regularly teaches it and its sequel, the Lost Boy, to her struggling ninth grade readers who love it. Do note that some teachers find the content distressing and too emotionally difficult for some of their younger students.

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Bluford High Series
Payback by Paul Langan
Reading Level: Grade 5-6, Lexile 730
Interest Level: 6-12
Genre: Urban fiction (See note below for more details)

Summary of Series from Townsend Press (http://www.townsendpress.com/product/97.aspx)
The Bluford Series is a collection of FIFTEEN young adult novels that focus on the lives of a group of high school students and their families. The series draws its name from the school which many of the characters attend: Bluford High, named after Guion "Guy" Bluford, America's first black astronaut. Set in contemporary urban America, each novel addresses complex topics relevant to the lives of today's students: family, friendship, trust, isolation, violence, and peer pressure, to name a few. In addition, the books feature male and female characters and include elements from many literary genres, such as mystery, suspense, romance, and a touch of the supernatural. In other words, the Bluford Series offers something for almost every reader.

Summary of Payback (Used to be titled The Gun)
Tyrone Hobbs, high school bully, has been taken down and humiliated by one of his victims and wants revenge. When the kids he has once bullied start threatening him, Tyrone thinks using a gun is his only way out. Happily he is shown a better way to solve his problems.

Why Recommend: Both I and my students, mainly African-American middle and high schoolers who are below grade level in reading, love this book and the others in the Bluford High series. Students like the books because they are fast paced and deal with characters and situations they can identify with. I like the series because the values, particularly in the books written by Paul Langan, are sound and the characters are carefully motivated and given believable family backgrounds that explain their actions.

Comeback Kid series.
Hot Hands by Mike Lupica
Reading Level: 6.5, Lexile 930
Interest level 3-5, Lexile 930L,
Genre: Realistic fiction.
Themes sports, teamwork, divorce, honesty.

Summary of Series by submitter: This is a series of books for lower level middle grade readers. The books are high interest sport themes in an easier to read format.

Summary of Billy Raynor is a shooter. In fact he is a one-man team. His dad, the coach is always stressing team. This runs counter to his personal life that is in divorce. Ben,Billy's brother is a child prodigy on the piano. While Billy becomes more extroverted by the events, Ben pulls inward. When the big basketball game falls on the same day as the piano recital problems occur. There is resolution due mainly to the Comeback Kid.

Why Recommend: The students love them. We can’t keep them in the library.

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The Fantastic Mr. Fox by Roald Dahl
*Reading Level: Lexile 600, Grade 4.9
*Interest Level: Grades 3-5
*Genre: Fiction, Animal Stories, Chapter Book

Summary from bookwizard.scholastic.com: Mr. Fox is surrounded! He's going to have to come up with a truly fantastic plan to dig himself out of trouble this time. The father fox needs to feed his family and outsmarts three farmers.

Why Recommend: Submitter suggests that this would be of high interest to boys.
Compiler’s Comments: The story keeps us in suspense as the fox tries time after time to keep ahead of his pursuers. He continually outwits them with clever plans. This story will challenge the reader to think of possible ways that the fox could get out of the latest predicament.

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Found by Margret Peterson Haddix
Interest Level: Grades 3-5 (Submitter says 5-8)
Lexile Framework: 750L, Grade Level Equivalent: 4.6
Genre: Mystery and Suspense, Science Fiction and Fantasy, Series

When Jonah and Chip, who are both adopted, learn they were discovered on a plane full of babies that came out of nowhere, they uncover a mystery involving time travel and two opposing forces trying to repair the fabric of time.
Summary: In Book One of the "Missing" series, thirteen-year-old friends Jonah and Chip find out that they, along with other adopted kids from their town, were taken as children from different times in history and reprogrammed through time travel for their new families.
Why Recommendr: Submitter says it’s very interesting and great story opener.

Question: This book was recommended by an IRC member. If any of you have used this book, too, what did you and your students think of it? Do you have any tips or activities to use with this book? Click on the comment tab at the top of this page to add your comments.


Frog and Toad Together by Arnold Lobel
*Reading Level: Lexile 330, Grade 2.3
*Interest Level: Grade K-2 Submitter suggests Grades 5-6
*Genre: Animal Stories, Early Chapter Book, Submitter suggests Picture Book

Summary from bookwizard.scholastic.com: In this Newbery Honor Book, Frog and Together, beloved stars of the Caldecott Honor Book Frog and Toad Are Friends, return in five new adventures. First, Toad decides to be organized, and makes a list of all the things he needs to do that day. Next, he works hard to make the seeds in his garden grow just like Frog's. Together, he and Frog share a big batch of cookies and learn about "willpower." They prove their bravery when faced with a snake, an avalanche, and a hawk. And when Toad has a dream in which Frog disappears, he wakes to find his friend with him after all. "'Frog,' he said, 'I am so glad that you came over.' 'I always do,' said Frog."
Why Recommend: Submitter says “Here are five wonderful stories about flowers, cookies, bravery, dreams, and most of all, friendship. This book has simple vocabulary that is easy for children to read and is a heartwarming story of friendship that any child can relate to.”
Compiler’s Comments: This is an easy to read book with large type. It is one of a series about Frog and Toad and all contain the charming brown and green pictures.

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Granny Torrelli Makes Soup by Sharon Creech
*Reading Level: Lexile 810, Grade 4.5
*Interest Level: Grade 3-5
Genre: General Fiction

Summary by Submitter: This is a story of friendship between 12-year-old Rosie and her best friend Bailey. When they begin to not get along, Rosie learns about some life lessons through the stories her Granny Torelli tells her.

Book Summary from Amazon.com: Tastes and smells emerge along with wisdom and insight as a grandmother and grandchild reveal experiences past and present in the warmth of the kitchen. Rosie and Bailey are neighbors, born only a week apart. They are like sister and brother, only better "because I chose him and he chose me." She has always been his helper as he was born visually impaired. But now they have had a falling out. As Rosie tells Granny, Bailey is acting spiteful, all because she tried to be just like him. To be just like Bailey-her buddy, her pal-Rosie secretly learned to read Braille and unknowingly took away the special thing only he could do. When the two of them come together with Granny Torrelli in the kitchen and make cavatelli, the rift between them heals. Stories and wisdom continue as sauce and meatballs are made, helping to clarify feelings. As family and friends raise a glass of water to toast the cooks, Rosie realizes that her world is indeed bigger as is Bailey's; that tutto va bene-all is well!
Why Recommend: Everyone has experienced a falling-out with one friend or another. Every reader will be able to relate to the happenings in this novel.
Submitter’s Comments: Students can relate to the characters and the problems that arise from friendships. The book also comes in a literature circle edition and has activities and great questions that are geared towards Bloom’s Taxonomy.

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Hatchet by Gary Paulsen
*Reading Level: Lexile 1020, Grade 6.3
*Interest Level: Grade 6-8
*Genre: Adventure, Classics


Summary by Submitter: Brian is stranded in the Canadian wilderness after the small plane he was riding crashes.
Summary from Amazon.com: When the pilot of a small, two-person plane has a heart attack and dies, Brian has to crash land in the forest of a Canadian wilderness. He has little time to realize how alone he is, because he is so busy just trying to survive. And learning to survive, to plan on food not just for a day but until and if he is rescued, only begins when he stops pitying himself and understands that no one can help him. He is on his own, without his divorced father, whom he was to visit, or his mother, whom Brian saw kissing another man before the divorce.

Why recommend: This book offers many instances of survival that the main character encounters, including landing a plane, hunger/famine, animal attacks, and even a tornado, which could be appealing to many different readers.
Submitter’s Comments: Living in a rural area, the students in my class have some experience with hunting and fishing and better understand the danger and problems the main character has.

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Hip Hop High School by Alan Lawerence Sitomer.I
Reading Level: Grade 4.7
Interest level: Grades 9-12
Genre realistic fiction.

Summary from Submitter: The main character in this book Tee-Ay works hard to get into a prestigious university despite the challenges she faces in school and at home.

Summary from compilery: Theresa Anderson, 10th grader is the central character. "TeeAy" as she is called, tries to succeed and better herself in a world where this is not practical and many times not plausible. She must walk a tightrope between her hopes, her family, her friends, and her culture. She bites the bullet and decides , with the help of her friend Devon, to beat the dreaded SAT's and get into USC. The language and behaviors depicted portray the battleground of ghetto LA but this almost presents a contradiction to her goals. She resists the temptation to be" too white" for her friends while trying to enter and be successful in the academia for a leading California University.

Why Recommend: The language and subject matter in this book is definitely for mature readers. But, Tee-Ay serves as a wonderful role model for teenage girls.

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Holes by Louis Sachar
*Reading Level: Lexile 660, Grade 5.2
*Interest Level: Grade 6-8
Genre: Realistic Fiction

Summary by Submitter: Boy is unjustly accused and incarcerated.

Summary from Amazon.com: "If you take a bad boy and make him dig a hole every day in the hot sun, it will turn him into a good boy." Such is the reigning philosophy at Camp Green Lake, a juvenile detention facility where there is no lake, and there are no happy campers. In place of what used to be "the largest lake in Texas" is now a dry, flat, sunburned wasteland, pocked with countless identical holes dug by boys improving their character. Stanley Yelnats, of palindromic name and ill-fated pedigree, has landed at Camp Green Lake because it seemed a better option than jail. No matter that his conviction was all a case of mistaken identity, the Yelnats family has become accustomed to a long history of bad luck, thanks to their "no-good-dirty-rotten-pig-stealing-great-great-grandfather!" Despite his innocence, Stanley is quickly enmeshed in the Camp Green Lake routine: rising before dawn to dig a hole five feet deep and five feet in diameter; learning how to get along with the Lord of the Flies-styled pack of boys in Group D; and fearing the warden, who paints her fingernails with rattlesnake venom. But when Stanley realizes that the boys may not just be digging to build character--that in fact the warden is seeking something specific--the plot gets as thick as the irony.
Why Recommend: The story has great vocabulary so struggling readers can familiarize themselves with these words. Many life lessons and themes are present also, so all readers will be able to take something away from the book even if they’re struggling readers. The many different types of characters in this novel will surely be appealing to readers of all kinds.
Submitter’s Comments: Kids can relate to the problems and pressures and inconsistencies of life.

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The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick
*Reading Level: Lexile 820, Grade 5.2
*Interest Level: Grade 4-7 (Submitter suggests using this with high school )
Genre: Graphic Novel, Chapter Book

Summary from Book Jacket: Orphan, Clock keeper, and thief, Hugo lives in the walls of a busy Paris train station, where his survival depends on staying under the radar. His world suddenly changes when he meets an unusual girl and a bitter old man who runs a toy booth in the station, Hugo's hidden life, and his most precious secret, are put in jeopardy.

Submitter’s Comments:
Why Recommend: It is a unique and exciting story with an interesting way of telling with words and pictures that keep the student’s attention and awe.
Compiler’s Comments: This is a book with over 500 pages. Over 300 pages are drawings. Less than 200 pages are text. Some of the text pages contain only one or two paragraphs and are mostly white space. Others are completely filled with text. The vocabulary of the text seems fairly sophisticated to me. Teachers, however, say their struggling readers in the upper grades (6th grade and up) like showing that they, too, can read fat books like their classmates.

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Keep in Touch: Letters, Notes, and More from the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants by Ann Brashares
Interest Level: Grades 7 - 12
Reading Level Grade Level Equivalent: Grade 4.4* (This is an estimate based on the other books about the Traveling Pants.)
Genre: Fictional letters and notes

Summary from Submitter: These are letters, notes, and poems that are written by the best friends who share all their experiences in school. They specifically share a pair of pants that seems to fit all of them and which they share all summer.
Why Recommend: There are pictures and notes, typical of letters that young adolescents share on a regular basis. The letters will be easy to read or to figure out since many common words are used and the topics are very familiar. The letters and notes are short, and therefore can be easily managed. The topics are great!
Compiler’s Comments: This slim 116 page book is an addendum to the 2005 movie, Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants and its four companion books: Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, The Second Summer of the Traveling Pants, Girls in Pants: The Third Summer; and Girls in Blue: The Fourth Summer. I was not familiar with the movie or books and thought Keep in Touch would have made more sense if I had seen the movie or read the other books. If a student had seen the movie, this may be easier to read than the other books as it is shorter and pages often consist of a short hand written note.

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Love that Dog by Sharon Creech
*Reading Level: Lexile 1010, Grade 4.9
*Interest Level: Grade 6-8
*Genre: Diaries and Journals, Poetry and Rhymes

Summary from Amazon.com: Newbery Medal winner Sharon Creech's Love That Dog, a funny, sweet, original short novel written in free verse, introduces us to an endearingly unassuming, straight-talking boy who discovers the powers and pleasures of poetry. Against his will. After all, "boys don't write poetry. Girls do." What does he say of the famous poem "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening"? "I think Mr. Robert Frost / has a little / too / much / time / on his / hands." As his teacher, Ms. Stretchberry, introduces the canon to the class, however, he starts to see the light. Poetry is not so bad, it's not just for girls, and it's not even that hard to write. Take William Carlos Williams, for example: "If that is a poem / about the red wheelbarrow / and the white chickens / then any words / can be a poem. / You've just got to / make / short / lines." He becomes more and more discerning as the days go by, and readers' spirits will rise with Jack's as he begins to find his own voice through his own poetry and through that of others. His favorite poem of all is a short, rhythmic one by Walter Dean Myers called "Love That Boy" (included at the end of the book with all the rest of Ms. Stretchberry's assignments). The words completely captivate him, reminding him of the loving way his dad calls him in the morning and of the way he used to call his yellow dog, Sky. Jack's reverence for the poem ultimately leads to meeting the poet himself, an experience he will never forget.

Why Recommend: This book has many different poems at the end that were mentioned in the story. This book will be appealing to those readers that are interested in poetry and will open the door for those who are not as familiar.

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Maniac Magee by Jerry Spinelli (Boomer)
*Reading Level: Lexile 820, Grade 5.4
*Interest Level: Grade 4-8
*Genre: Realistic Fiction

Summary from Amazon.com: Maniac Magee is a folk story about a boy, a very excitable boy. One that can outrun dogs, hit a home run off the best pitcher in the neighborhood, tie a knot no one can undo. "Kid's gotta be a maniac," is what the folks in Two Mills say. It's also the story of how this boy, Jeffrey Lionel "Maniac" Magee, confronts racism in a small town, tries to find a home where there is none and attempts to soothe tensions between rival factions on the tough side of town.

Why Recommend: The title of this novel may be appealing to different readers because people probably don’t think of “maniac” as being the best at everything in the neighborhood. This story seems to be more unrealistic and fantasy-like which may be appealing to readers.

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Oh, Yuck!: The Encyclopedia of Everything Nasty by Joy Masoff
*Reading Level: Lexile 950, Grade 5.8
*Interest Level: Grade 3-7
*Genre: Informational
*Topics: Animals, Human Body, Health

Summary by Submitter: This is a delightful book full of interesting, but gross, information about bizarre information, including how our body works. The table of contents details such things as “Farts—the burp from below”; “pee—they call me mellow yellow”; “poop—a bum deal”; “worms—spaghetti that squirms,” etc. The book has enough interesting facts about the world and your body to fascinate almost anyone. When I tried to pass the book around the room, it never got past the first group of boys—they were too engrossed to pass it along.

Book Summary from Amazon.com: Beginning with a warning that "this book is downright disgusting," Masoff presents a delightful compendium of facts about things that are gross, putrid, and stomach turning. Covering more than 50 topics from A to Z, she reveals the truth about some unsavory mysteries of the human body, such as acne, body lint, eye gunk, farts, halitosis, snot, and vomit. Odious creatures such as cockroaches, lice, maggots, rats, and slugs are also discussed. Other subjects include "Cannibals," "Gross Grub," "Mucky Medicine," and "Toilets." Ranging from a couple of paragraphs to several pages, the entries offer a great deal of information in a hilarious tongue-in-cheek manner. The author also provides pronunciations and definitions, historical perspectives, and advice on how to deal with each of her revolting topics. Amusing cartoons and well-chosen, black-and-white photographs with humorous captions support the text.
Why recommend: This book will surely keep children of all ages entertained, including struggling readers or those with reading disabilities, because of the “gross” topics that are discussed and the pictures that accompany them.
Submitter’s Comments: Students enjoy looking at the yucky pictures as well as reading about normal bodily functions, such as farts, burps, acne, pimples, as well as such varied things as shrunken heads, toilets, spiders, and tar pits.

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Passages to Suspense is a series of high interest, low reading level books..
The Frozen Face by Anne E. Schraff
Reading level: Grades 4.5, Lexile 560
Interest Level: Grades 4 - 7
Genre Realistic fiction, suspense,and mystery.

Summary: Laura, the main character, has to solve the mysterious death of Todd Smith. The problem is only she can see the dead boy. It is a good mystery that keeps the reader’s attention while adding tension.

Why Recommend: My kids loved them all. Kids love the mystery of the book. It is written at a level they understand but has content that is appropriate to them.

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Rules by Cynthia Lord
*Interest Level: Grades 4-7
*Reading Level: Lexile 780 Grade Level Equivalent: 4.5 Guided Reading Level: R Age:
*Genre: Realistic Fiction
*Topics: challenges and difference, understanding self and others

Book Summary Twelve year old Catherine wants to be normal in an environment that is anything but that. Her brother David is autistic and needs "rules" to exist. She meets Jason a paraplegic boy and Kristi the new neighbor. These are the friends she has been seeking to be "normal". However she learns about change , life and what is important.

Why Recommend: Twelve Year old Catherine gives the reader a vivid picture of what it means to deal with autism 24 hours a day. This book though humorous at times shows everyone not acquainted with autism what is really involved in the life of a 12 year old caregiver.

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Say “Cheese” by Patricia Reilly Giff
*Reading Lev

el: Lexile 230, Grade 2.1
*Interest Le

vel: Grade 3-5 (Submitter says Grades 4-8)
*Genre: General Fiction

Summary From School Library Journal: The tenth in this series, Say "Cheese" focuses on the adventures of the kids of Polk Street School at the end of the school year. Emily searches for a best friend and worries about the 40 cents she owes at the library. When she becomes lost at the school picnic, her thoughts turn to whether or not the others will leave her in the woods.

Why Recommend: Submitter says it’s interesting and easy for struggling readers to read independently

Compiler’s Comments: This is an easy to read book with fairly large type. If older readers are embarrassed to be reading books that look so young, teachers might put a collection of such books in a basket and explain to students that it is often fun to return to books that one read when he or she was younger.

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Shoeless Joe
and Me by Da
n Gutman.
Reading Level:4.8, Lexile: 600
Interest Level: Grades 3-7
Genre historical fiction,
Topics: honesty,baseball,heroes.

Submitter’s Summary:A young boy finds a baseball card and it transports him back in time. This is one of a series.
Compiler’s Summary: Joe Stoshack is able to travel back in time with the help of a real but magic baseball card of that era. His first adventure was to travel back to help Honus Wagner. This time he travels back to the 1919 World Series between the Chicago White Sox (Shoeless Joe Jackson's team) and the Cincinnati Reds. This will be the scandal of the century, the Black Sox Series where eight men will be thrown out of professional baseball for throwing the series. Joe travels back to help persuade Shoeless Joe not to take the bribe.
Why Recommend: Easy to read and adventurous.

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Skeleton Man
by Joseph Bruchac
*Reading Level: Lexile 730, Grade 5.4
*Interest Level: Grades 6-8
*Genre: Mystery and Suspense, Chapter Book

Summary From bookwizard.scholastic.com: Molly remembers the Mohawk legend of a man so hungry he ate himself and everyone in his village, except for one brave girl. Now her parents have mysteriously disappeared, and an unknown great-uncle has shown up to claim her. He has fingers like talons and eyes like twin blue flames. Somehow Molly must escape to find her parents — because the Skeleton Man may be more than just a legend!

Why Recommend: Submitter reports that middle school readers LOVE a good, scary story and this one fits the bill perfectly! In addition to a scary mystery, this book is based on a Native American monster legend, so readers are often inspired to learn more. The book’s length is student friendly, as it is not overly imposing. There is a seque1. The Return of Skeleton Man, which will keep reluctant readers hungry for more!
Compiler’s Comments: As I read the first half of the book I felt certain that the main character, a young girl going through a difficult time, was imagining wild things due to the stress in her life and the folk tales she had heard as a young girl. But when things started to turn serious I could hardly believe how scary the reading of this book became. Yet I just couldn’t put it down. It is well written and easy to read. Students will be intrigued by the bits of information they will learn about Native American life and folklore.

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Star Girl by Jerry Spinelli,
Reading Level: 6.1, Lexile 590
Interest Level: Grades 5-7
Genre: Young Adult, Realistic Fiction
Subject: Confronting and Resolving Fears, Friends and Friendship, School Life, Individuality

Summary: Homeschooled in the 1980's, 10th grade Susan Julia Caraway ,"Stargirl", is compassionate yet eccentric. Eleventh grader Leo Borlock narrates the story, which covers 15 years between his initial encounter to the epilogue. Mica Area High School,Mica Arizona is the setting. The theme is the kindness and understanding Stargirl imparts to all even in the face of adversity. Stargirl stuns all by her clothes, lack of make-up, pet rat, decorating her desk, dancing in the rain, playing the ukelele at lunch and her intense care for others. She becomes a cheerleader and that leads to the major turn about. Her revolt to conformity is too much for her classmates. Yet she endures.

Why Recommend: It’s
worked well in my 5th grade classroom.

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There’s a Boy In The Girls’ Bathroom by Louis Sachar
*Reading Level: Lexile 490, Grade 5.5
*Interest Level: Grades 4-6 Submitter suggests 4-7
Genre: Realistic Fiction/Comedy, Chapter Book

Summary From bookwizard.scholastic.com: Bradley Chalkers is the oldest kid in the fifth grade. He tells enormous lies. He picks fights with girls. No one likes him--except Carla, the new school counselor. She thinks Bradley is sensitive and generous, and knows that Bradley could change, if only he weren't afraid to try. But when you feel like the most-hated kid in the whole school, believing in yourself can be the hardest thing in the world. .
Why Recommend: Submitter states, “This book is about a young boy who, is smart but doesn’t know he is. He has a hard time making fiends and expressing his feelings until a pretty girl counselor comes to work at the school and befriends him. This was one of my favorite books when I was younger and I think it’s such a good book that I wqnt to share it for years to come.
Compiler’s Comme
nts: Readers
have all known boys-and girls- like Bradley. We can hate him at first but then we get to see who he really is and the reader begins to empathize with him and live through his changes with him. Leaves us with a positive feeling about people in general.

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The Titanic: An Interactive History Adventure by Bob Temple
*Reading Level: Lexile_, Submitter suggests Grade 3
*Interest Level: Grades 3-5, Submitter suggests Grades 5-8
*Genre: Nonfiction, A You Choose Book

Summary From bookwizard.scholastic.com: Put readers in the driver’s seat with these interactive history books! Everything in these books happened to real people. "You Choose" books allow readers to choose the path they take and what they do next. Readers will explore multiple perspectives and learn for themselves the value of seeing history from many points of view. Submitter adds that this book allows the reader to decide if they are a passenger traveling on vacation, an immigrant in third class or a crew member. The reader makes decisions as he/she reads through the book and ultimately those decisions result in the fate of the participant. The book can then be read again from a different point of view.
Why Recommend: High motivation; interactive; history topics at t high interest with low vocabulary. This is a series. If you “hook” the reader, you have
other titles to suggest.
Compiler’s Comments: As I read this I thought “If only all history could be taught like this!” All the facts were there along with actual photographs of the people aboard and of the ship and its interior. The reader will have fun choosing which person to “be” and, after almost every other page, what path to follow as the story moves along. After the book is read the first time, the reader will surely want to go back and follow a different path to wee what would happen if different choices were made. It will be like reading five or six books.

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The Un- series by Paul Jennings (Uncovered, Unmentionable, Uncanny, , Unbelievable, Undone, Unpopular, Unseen, etc.)
Reading Level: Lexile 360, Grade 3.8, Guided Reading Level Q
Interest Level: Grade 6-8
Genre: Short stories (generally eight stories per book)

Summary from http://bookwizard.scholastic.com:
In Undone “eight more tales are told to stretch the reader's imagination. Philip, who wears bats as clothes, must be rescued before his cave collapses. A powerful beetle bite turns Eric completely transparent.”
Submitter: The books in this series are funny and fast paced and they are always witty. They have huge twists of plot in them that keep students intereste
d. Always a surprise ending.
Why Recommend: So young struggling boys can feel like books were written for them, for once!!!
Compiler: Paul Jennings is an author who is new to me but who has sold over 6 million copies of his many books and who is a highly regarded children’s author in Australia. (He won the Medal of Order of Australia for Services to Children’s Literature.) He has worked as a special education teacher, a speech therapist, a lecturer in language and literature, and writer. I enjoyed reading his stories for the first time and found them delightfully bizarre and written in easy to understand language.
*indicates information was found at bookwizard.scholastic.com

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Tuck Everlasting By Natalie Babbitt
*Reading Level: Lexi
le 720, Grade Level 5.9, Guided Reading Level V
*Interest Lev
el: Grades 4-6 (Submitter says 7th and 8th grade)
*Genre: Fantasy

Summary From: bookwizard.scholastic.com:
The Tuck family is confronted with an agonizing situation when they discover that a ten-year-old girl and a malicious stranger now share their secret about a spring whose water prevents one from ever growing any older.

Compiler’s Summary: Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt, Genre fantasy. Written in 1975, it is a classic of modern children's literature. The book has been through two movies (1981 and 2002).
The main theme centers about the different characters reaction to immortality and the positive and negative aspects brought about by not being able to die. The Tucks, Jesse, Agnus, Mae, and Miles are immortal due to a spring. When Winnie, the heroine, discovers the spring and its qualities, problems ensue. The Tucks capture Winnie and take her to the hideaway. She falls in love with Jesse, Mae's son. Unfortunately she is tracked down by the man in the yellow suit. Mae kills him to protect Winnie and the family. In a series of twists and turns the reader is surprised by the ending. While only 66 pages in length, the book has become more famous than the author's Newberry winner. Over two million books have been sold since 1975.In sits up there as one of the solid stories of all literature.
Why recommend: Wouldn't everyone like to live forever or would you? This book is just enough fantasy to get you thinking about that question.

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Who Am I Without Him? Short Stories about Girls and the Boys in Their Lives by Sharon G. Flake
*Reading Level: Lexile 650, Grade 5.6
*Interest Level: Grades 7-12
*Genre: Young Adult Short Stories, Submitter suggests Speech (written in first person)

Summary From: bookwizard.scholastic.com: There is "The Ugly One," whose only solace comes when she is locked inside her own head. In "Wanted: A Thug," a teenager seeks advice on how to steal her best friend's bad-guy boyfriend. And then there's Erika, who only likes white boys. Sharon Flake takes readers through the minds of girls trying to define themselves while struggling to remain relevant to the boys in their lives. This is a complex, often humorous, always on-point exposition of black youth resolving to find self-worth … any way they know how.
Why Recomme
nd: Both my studen
ts and I like this book. My 6th to 12th grade students, mainly African American, relate to the authentic and snappy dialect and the characters. I find that the title story is even accessible to students who are reading at a 2nd grade level. The characters are carefully constructed and the stories lend themselves to discussions about values.
Compiler’s Comments: Fictitious but seemingly accurate and often very disturbing accounts told in the first person of feelings of inadequacy, anger, frustration, and loneliness. Stories are written in the informal dialect of teenagers mainly from minority cultures. Contains emotions with which teens from many cultures can identify.

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Who Moved My Cheese by Spencer Johnson.
(Available in several versions: original version, Who Moved My Cheese? for Kids, and Who Moved My Cheese for Teens)
Lexiles and grade level estimates not available.

Compiler’s Summary: Already famous in the realm of business, Dr. Johnson applies the same strategies and concerns to children in Who Stole My Cheese for Kids. The children's book is shorter 61 pages to 96 and easier to comprehend in the metaphors. It is at a K-3 level. For this report we will be reviewing the regular book keyed to junior high and high school. There are 4 characters in a maze seeking cheese. Two mice Sniff and Scurry leave their area when they discover their cheese is gone. They seek and find a new supply. Two human characters(but the same size as the mice) Hem and Haw take longer to discover the Cheese is gone. The Cheese represen
ts what you want to have in life: a good job, loving relationship, money, possessions, health or spiritual well being. The maze is where you look: work, school, family or community. Haw manages to get through the maze and leaves clues in the form of wise directions on the wall. They key is to discover how to deal with change so one has less stress and more success.
Books for Struggling Readers 2012.pptx

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