Best books of 2011 so far (grades 4-8)

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My top 40 picks of 2011 for 4th-8th grade readers. (so far!)

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Best books of 2011 so far (grades 4-8)

  1. 1. Best Books of 2011 (so far): Grades 4-8 Donalyn Miller September 18, 2011The adventures of Mark Twain Bad islandBy Burleigh, Robert By TenNapel, DougAn illustrated biography of American author Reese, forced to go on vacation with hisMark Twain, presented from the perspective of family, finds himself shipwrecked with themthe Twains famous literary character on a strange island full of weird plants andHuckleberry Finn. IL:3-6 RL:5.1 animals, and pursued by an unknown entity on the hunt. IL:5-8 RL:4.2Between shades of gray Bigger than a bread boxBy Sepetys, Ruta By Snyder, LaurelIn 1941, fifteen-year-old Lina, her mother, and Twelve-year-old Rebecca, struggling with herbrother are pulled from their Lithuanian home parents separation and a move to another state,by Soviet guards and sent to Siberia, where her discovers a magical bread box in the attic thatfather is sentenced to death in a prison camp makes things easier at first, but then starts towhile she fights for her life, vowing to honor add complications. IL:3-6her family and the thousands like hers byburying her story in a jar on Lithuanian soil.Based on the authors family, includes ahistorical note. IL:YABreadcrumbs / illustrated by Erin McGuire Can we save the tiger?By Ursu, Anne By Jenkins, Martin"Hazel and Jack are best friends until an Contains illustrations of rare animals,accident with a magical mirror and a run-in including tigers, ground iguanas, white-with a villainous queen find Hazel on her own, rumped vultures, and others, discusses theentering an enchanted wood in the hopes of impact of human activities on the animals, andsaving Jacks life.” IL:3-6 looks at how they can be saved. IL:K-3 RL:3.5The Cheshire Cheese cat: a Dickens of a tale Dead end in NorveltBy Deedy, Carmen Agra By Gantos, JackA community of mice and a cheese-loving cat In the historic town of Norvelt, Pennsylvania,form an unlikely alliance at Londons Cheshire twelve-year-old Jack Gantos spends theCheese, an inn where Charles Dickens finds summer of 1962 grounded for various offensesinspiration and Queen Victoria makes an until he is assigned to help an elderly neighborunexpected appearance. IL:3-6 RL:5.2 with a most unusual chore involving the newly dead, molten wax, twisted promises, Girl Scout cookies, underage driving, lessons from history, typewriting, and countless bloody noses. IL:5-8 RL:6Annotations provided by Titlewave.
  2. 2. Best Books of 2011 (so far): Grades 4-8 Donalyn Miller September 18, 2011Divergent The emerald atlasBy Roth, Veronica By Stephens, JohnIn a future Chicago, sixteen-year-old Beatrice Kate, Michael, and Emma have passed fromPrior must choose among five predetermined one orphanage to another in the ten years sincefactions to define her identity for the rest of their parents disappeared to protect them, buther life, a decision made more difficult when now they learn that they have special powers--she discovers that she is an anomaly who does and a fearsome enemy--and embark on anot fit into any one group, and that the society prophesied quest to find a magical book.she lives in is not perfect after all. IL:YA IL:5-8 RL:5.1Everybody Sees the Ants The friendship dollBy King, A. S By Larson, KirbyIL:YA Follows the adventures of Miss Kanagawa, a doll made to serve as an ambassador from Japan to the United States, as she makes friends and learns about love during the twentieth century. IL:3-6 RL:5.2The girl who circumnavigated Fairyland in The great wall of Lucy Wua ship of her own making By Shang, Wendy Wan LongBy Valente, Catherynne M. Eleven-year-old aspiring basketball star andA young girl named September finds herself interior designer Lucy Wu is excited abouttransported from her home in Omaha to finally having her own bedroom, until sheFairyland, where she must battle the learns that her great-aunt is coming to visit andmysterious Marquess alongside her creature- Lucy will have to share a room with her forfriends. IL:5-8 RL:6.7 several months, shattering her plans for a perfect sixth-grade year. IL:3-6 RL:5.3Horton Halfpott, or, The fiendish mystery I am the book : poemsof Smugwick Manor, or, The loosening of An illustrated collection of poems thatMLady Luggertucks corset celebrates reading, featuring selections byBy Angleberger, Tom Karla Kuskin, Jill Corcoran, Jane Yolen, andHorton, an upstanding kitchen boy in a castle others. IL:K-3 RL:3.4in nineteenth-century England, becomesembroiled in a mystery surrounding a series ofthefts, which is also connected to the pursuit ofa very eligible and wealthy young ladysaffections. IL:5-8 RL:6.4Annotations provided by Titlewave.
  3. 3. Best Books of 2011 (so far): Grades 4-8 Donalyn Miller September 18, 2011Inside out & back again Jeremy Bender vs. the Cupcake CadetsBy Lai, Thanhha By Luper, EricThrough a series of poems, a young girl When sixth-grader Jeremy Bender damages hischronicles the life-changing year of 1975, fathers prized boat and needs to come up withwhen she, her mother, and her brothers leave a lot of money to get it repaired, he and hisVietnam and resettle in Alabama. best friend dress up as girls and infiltrate theIL:3-6 RL:4.9 Cupcake Cadet troop in an attempt to win the Windjammer Whirl model sailboat contest, and the prize money that comes with it. IL:3-6 RL:4.1Junonia Lemonade: and other poems squeezed fromBy Henkes, Kevin a single wordAlice and her parents spend the week of By Raczka, BobAlices tenth birthday as they always do on A collection of poems based on a childs day-Sanibel Island, Florida, but Alice gets upset to-day experiences that includes a puzzle at thewhen she discovers some of the people who end of each poem. IL:3-6 RL:6.1are always there are missing and new oneshave arrived, and Alice wants things to be likethey have always been. IL:3-6 RL:4.3Lost and found : 3 The manatee scientist: saving vulnerableBy Tan, Shaun speciesCollects three stories by Shaun Tan that By Lourie, Peterexplore how people lose and find what matters An introduction to manatees and manateemost to them, as a girl finds a bright spot in a conservation that includes photographs anddark world, a boy leads a strange, lost being information on the three different manateehome, and a group of peaceful creatures loses species, their migration patterns, and theirits home to cruel invaders. IL:5-8 RL:5.4 natural habitat. IL:5-8 RL:7A mango in the hand : a story told through Me-- Janeproverbs By McDonnell, PatrickBy Sacre, Antonio Holding her stuffed toy chimpanzee, youngGuided by proverbs from his father and other Jane Goodall observes nature, reads Tarzanrelatives, Francisco makes several attempts to books, and dreams of living in Africa andbring ripe mangoes home for dessert on his helping animals. Includes biographicalsaint day, and in the process learns lessons in information on the prominent zoologist.love and generosity. Includes glossary of IL:K-3 RL:3.5Spanish terms. IL:K-3 RL:2.8Annotations provided by Titlewave.
  4. 4. Best Books of 2011 (so far): Grades 4-8 Donalyn Miller September 18, 2011A monster calls --a novel Never forgottenBy Ness, Patrick By McKissack, PatriciaThirteen-year-old Conor awakens one night to A lyrical story-in-verse that details thefind a monster outside his bedroom window, experiences of an African boy who wasbut not the one from the recurring nightmare kidnapped and sold into slavery. IL:3-6that began when his mother became ill--anancient, wild creature that wants him to facetruth and loss. IL:YANo one but you Nurse, soldier, spy : the story of SarahBy Wood, Douglas Edmonds, a Civil War heroReaders are invited to discover nature using By Moss, Marissatheir sense of smell, sight, hearing, touch, and Describes the life of Sarah Emma Edmonds,taste. IL:K-3 RL:5 who disguised herself as a man, took the name Frank Thompson, joined a Michigan army regiment to fight in the Civil War, served as a nurse on the battlefield, and became a spy. IL:K-3 RL:4.9Okay for now Olympians. 3: Hera, the goddess and herBy Schmidt, Gary gloryFourteen-year-old Doug Swieteck faces many By OConnor, Georgechallenges, including an abusive father, a Recounts the stories of the many heroes whobrother traumatized by Vietnam, suspicious sought and won the approval and patronage ofteachers and police officers, and isolation, but Hera, the Queen of the Gods, including thewhen he meets a girl known as Lil Spicer, he story of Heracles. IL:5-8 RL:5.1develops a close relationship with her andfinds a safe place at the local library.IL:5-8 RL:4.3Passing the music down Peter Nimble and his fantastic eyes: a storyBy Sullivan, Sarah By Auxier, JonathanA boy and his family befriend a country Raised to be a thief, blind orphan Peterfiddler, who teaches the boy all about playing Nimble, age ten, steals from a mysteriousthe old tunes, which the boy promises to help stranger three pairs of magical eyes, whichkeep alive. Inspired by Melvin Wine and Jake lead him to a hidden island where he mustKrack. IL:K-3 RL:2.7 decide to become a hero or resume his life of crime. IL:5-8 RL:5.9Annotations provided by Titlewave.
  5. 5. Best Books of 2011 (so far): Grades 4-8 Donalyn Miller September 18, 2011The pull of gravity The scorpio racesBy Polisner, Gae By Stiefvater, MaggieWhen their friend Scooter dies of a rare Nineteen-year-old returning champion Seandisease, teenagers Nick Gardner and Jaycee Kendrick competes against Puck Connolly, theAmato set out on a secret journey to find the first girl ever to ride in the annual Scorpiofather who abandoned "The Scoot" when he Races, both trying to keep hold of theirwas an infant, and give him a signed first dangerous water horses long enough to make itedition of "Of Mice and Men." IL:YA to the finish line. IL:YASeabird in the forest : the mystery of the The secret rivermarbled murrelet By Rawlings, Marjorie KinnanBy Dunning, Joan Young Calpurnia takes her dog, Buggy-horse,Illustrations and text show how the marbled and follows her nose to a secret river in amurrelet, a sea bird, make their nests and raise Florida forest, where she catches enough freshtheir chicks inland, hundreds of feet above fish to feed her hungry neighbors, even afterground, before they fly back and forth over the giving some to the forest creatures she meetsPacific Ocean. IL:K-3 RL:4.1 on the way home. IL:K-3 RL:3Sidekicks Squish. No. 1, Super AmoebaBy Santat, Dan By Holm, JenniferCaptain Amazing tries to hire a new sidekick The young amoeba Squish, inspired by hiswhen he feels he is getting too old to be a favorite comic book hero, Super Amoeba, triesreliable superhero, but his pets have different to navigate his way through school and saveideas. IL:3-6 RL:4.8 his friends and the world from the evils that lurk in the halls. IL:3-6 RL:2.2Thunder birds: natures flying predators Wonderstruck: a novel in words andBy Arnosky, Jim picturesPresents information about different types of By Selznick, Brianbirds of prey and the features that make them Relates the stories of twelve-year-old Ben,unique. Contains color illustrations of each who loses his mother and his hearing in a shortbird. time frame and decides to leave his MinnesotaIL:K-3 RL:5.8 home in 1977 to seek the father he has never known in New York City; and Rose, who lives with her father but feels compelled to search for what is missing in her life. Bens story is told in words; Roses in pictures. IL:5-8 RL:4.6Annotations provided by Titlewave.

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