Recommended Reading List for Parents and Teachers

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There are so many great books available that it can be difficult to know where to begin. Below are some of my favorites. If you're looking for new titles to add to your children's book shelf, may I recommend one of these? Feel free to check them out at your local bookstore, library or online retailer.

Happy reading!

Fiction - Picture Books

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Snowmen at Night by Caralyn Buehner, illustrated by Mark Buehner — Now THIS is imagination at work!

Julian by Anne-Marie Chapouton, illustrated by Jean Claverie — a bittersweet story with breathtaking illustrations and a lesson about being true to your gifts.

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No, David! by David Shannon — VERY, very funny!! Kids love it and most grown-up canít keep from laughing, either.

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Grumpy Bird by Jeremy Tankard — This story was my personal favorite new title of 2007. Just a fun and fabulous story.

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How Cold Was It? by Jane Barclay, illustrated by Janice Donato — After living on the Canadian prairies for over 30 years, I know cold! Janeís gift for rythmn in language make this story delightful (although I must say children in Oregon donít really get it.)

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Emmaís Eggs by Margriet Ruurs, illustrated by Barbara Spurll — A delightful story and illustrations that are laugh-out-loud funny.

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The True Story of the 3 Little Pigs! as told to Jon Scieska, illustrated by Lane Smith — Funny stuff although possibly funnier for grown-ups than young children. But interesting for seeing someone elseís perspective and unique with its collage-style illustrations.

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Old Black Fly by Jim Aylesworth, illustrated by Stephen Gammell — Absolutely phenomenal illustrations! This one travels with me to schools and libraries all the time. It's also one of the best alphabet books I've ever read because it so effortlessly presents the alphabet without contorting the story.

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Click, Clack, Moo — Cows That Type by Doreen Cronin, pictures by Betsy Lewin. Hysterically funny story line and illustrations with great perspective. Not at all surprising that this was a Caldecott Honor Book.

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Bats About Baseball by Jean Little and Claire Mackay, illustrated by Kim LaFave — Hysterically funny story, great language play and a grannie that is a home run herself!

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When the Fly Flew In… by Lisa Westberg Peters, pictures by Brad Sneed — Great story and fun pictures combine to make this book a delight.

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No Matter What by Debi Gliori — A beautiful story with gentle but colorful pictures — a perfect cozy-time book!

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Philadelphia Chickens (book and CD) by Sandra Boynton — What can I say? Iíve always been a fan of Sandra Boynton but this combination is utterly irresistible! We have played this CD on over 5000 miles of cross-country vacations and still LOVE it. Also recommended: Boynton's Dog Train: A Wild Ride on the Rock-and-Roll Side (Book & CD) and Blue Moo: 17 Jukebox Hits From Way Back Never.

Fiction - Chapter Books and YA

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No More Dead Dogs by Gordon Korman — A twist on a classic format in the best sense of the words. Boys or girls will find someone to relate to in this funny story about friends and schoolwork (and the occasional dead dog).

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Holes by Louis Sachar — Absolutely fabulous read and top-notch writing!

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Artemis Fowl by Eoin Coifer — What a fantastic premise! Fairies, high tech gadgetry and a flatulent dwarf — what's not to love? I found book one a little odd to start out with (couldn't tell at first who the hero actually is) but once these stories hit their stride, they are fun from beginning to end. Highly recommend the first four books in this series. (FYI, I have a few reservations about book five.)

Non-fiction (for kids)

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Abe's Honest Words: The Life of Abraham Lincoln by Doreen Rappaport, illustrated by Kadir Nelson — I picked up this book because of the gorgeous cover and quickly discovered it is as beautifully written as it is illustrated. A wonderful and inspiring book that I would call a must-have for any teacher's shelf.

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The Octopus's Garden: The Secret World Under the Sea by Dr. Mark Norman — Beuatiful colored photos of squid, octopuses, cuttlefish and nautiluses. Comes with an accompanying (silent) DVD that lets you see these remarkable creatures in action.

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Puzzle It! U.S. History & Government Puzzles by Nadine Rogers and Tina West — There are mazes, jumbles, codes and more to find the fun in US history.

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Touching All the Bases: Baseball for Kids of All Ages by Claire Mackay, illustrated by Bill Slavin — You love baseball? You'll love this book. Everything from the elements of the game to historical highlights to frisking fans.

Non-fiction (for grown-ups that work with kids)

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Kids Write!: Fantasy & Sci Fi, Mystery, Autobiography, Adventure & More! by Rebecca Olien — Full of prompts, vocabulary tips, word-related activities, crafts and much more all related to the adventure of writing.

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How to Teach Art to Children by Evan-Moor Educational Publishers — This is one of the best books I've seen to date for simply but effectively teaching different elements of art. Fun projects that are simple in application and that build on each other. Great resource for teachers or homeschool groups.

Oldies but Goodies

A Bag Full of Nothing by Jay Williams, illustrated by Tom OíSullivan — Though this book is out of print, it is a treasure! Jay Williams is one of my favorite all-time authors.

THE PRACTICAL PRINCESS AND OTHER LIBERATING FAIRY TALES by Jay Williams, illustrated by Rick Schreiter — This collection of fairly tales turn the typical happy ending on its head! Very fun and imaginative.

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Youíre Only Old Once: A Book for Obsolete Children by Dr. Seuss — Okay, this isnít really a childrenís book but as I get older I find it funnier and funnier!

Christian/faith-based

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Good Night, Little One by Steve Bjorkman — "God knows you've been a stinker today..." I became familiar with Steve Bjorkman through his work with Melody Carlson's retelling of some of the parables, and was thrilled to find this book. A gently sweet and humorous end to anyone's day as woodland parents tuck their little ones in for the night. Highly recommend.

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Am I Praying? by Jeannie St. John Taylor — Good for any age to understand the concept of talking to God.

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Godís Paintbrush by Sandy Eienberg Sasso, illustrated by Annette Compton — Written by "the first rabbi to become a mother", this book really is suited for a wide range of faiths. Her questions are not so much stories as conversation starters. A wonderful book.

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And God Created Squash: How the World Began by Martha Whitmore Hickman, illustrated by Giuliano Ferri — These absolutely stunning illustrations are combined with an easy and fun re-telling of how God created heaven and earth. This duo has done several other books together and all are beautiful.

The Birthday of a King (What Was It Like? Bible Stories) by Bob Hartman, illustrated by Michael McGuire — I heard my mom read this story several years ago and have been enchanted with it ever since.

Behold Your Queen ! by Gladys Malvern — I found this book in the Palliser Heights Elementary School library when I was in about 4th grade and read it constantly! Itís a fictionalized account of the story of Esther and it has everything for the pre-teen girl — fashion, romance, adventure and more. Itís out of print but if you can find a copy itís worth it.


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