The Hand-Me-Down Magic Series by Corey Ann Haydu

The Hand-Me-Down Magic Series by Corey Ann Haydu

I’m so excited to introduce you to a new early-to-middle elementary chapter book series, Hand-Me-Down Magic by Corey Ann Haydu, illustrated by Luisa Uribe. The first two books in the series (Stoop Sale Treasure and Crystal Ball Fortunes) were released in June, 2020… Once we got our hands on them and I started to read them out loud to the girls this summer, they couldn’t get enough and we flew through both books! Needless to say, our girls will be thrilled when the next book(s) in the series release! Read on to see what makes this new series so delightful for young readers and listeners.

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Recent Favorites from a Second Grader

Recent Favorites from a Second Grader

Well, it’s happened… Now that our older daughter is reading chapter books rather ravenously, I can’t keep up… When she was reading picture books, I always knew what they were about and how I felt about them, but now that she’s onto chapter books, I just can’t. But, I know many of you have readers who are also moving into reading more and more chapter books independently. So, every month or so, I’ll have our older daughter (a seven-year-old second grader) tell you about 4 or 5 of her favorite books lately (and, I’ll add thoughts too if I’ve read them and have anything that you need to know as a parent). Up today, we’ve got six of her favorite read (chosen from read alouds, audiobooks, and independent reads) from late August and September!

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The Hundred Dresses by Eleanor Estes

The Hundred Dresses by Eleanor Estes

Let’s talk about The Hundred Dresses. As a teacher, this was the first chapter book that I read aloud to my students each year. We’d talk about kindness, being an upstander, being a bystander, standing up for ourselves, forgiveness, empathy, socio-economic diversity, preconceived notions, and so much more. As a parent, I vowed to read The Hundred Dresses aloud to our girls before school started each year, once they were old enough to sustain attention for a chapter book read aloud. I read The Hundred Dresses with our older daughter last summer, before she started first grade, and we started to reread it with both girls just this week, to gear them up for their upcoming school years. So why do I love this chapter book enough to reread it yearly with my students and now my girls?

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Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson

Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson

How do you feel about novels written in free verse? I have to admit that they’re not really my thing… But, in an effort to model open-minded reading for my girls, I have tried to read two this summer. And while I abandoned one of them, I absolutely loved Jacqueline Woodson’s middle-grade stunner Brown Girl Dreaming!

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Gooney Bird Greene by Lois Lowry

Gooney Bird Greene by Lois Lowry

Earlier this spring, we read the first two books in the Gooney Bird Greene series by Lois Lowry, and they were a HUGE hit! If you’re looking for a family read-aloud book that is bound to make your children laugh, inspire them to tell and write their own stories, teach them a bit about writing craft, AND is part of a 6-book series (so you’ve got lots of material once your kiddos are hooked, which they will be…), then look no further than Gooney Bird Greene by Lois Lowry, illustrated by Middy Thomas!

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The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate DiCamillo

The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate DiCamillo

If you follow me on Instagram, you might remember that we read The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate DiCamillo, illustrated by Bagram Ibatoulline, about a month ago for a rabbit-themed family chapter book read aloud just before Easter. It had probably been at least 10 years since I had read this book in the classroom, and I was struck every single day we read by just how beautiful this book is. On top of that, my girls absolutely LOVED Edward’s story, asking for more and more chapters each day we read (I think we were able to finish this in about 4 days!). Sharing what makes The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane so magical became obviously necessary, so read on for a little insight into the emotional evolution of this beloved toy. Continue reading “The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate DiCamillo”

The Clementine Series by Sara Pennypacker

The Clementine Series by Sara Pennypacker

If you’ve followed along for a while, you might remember that it took our older daughter a long time to be interested in chapter book read alouds. Thought she LOVED cuddling up to listen to a picture book, and she’d sit and listen to audiobook chapter books for hours, she had a harder time with chapter book read alouds. Recently, though, both girls changed almost overnight to requesting almost only chapter books when it is time to read together. While we still read lots of lots of picture books (because, remember, they’re great for kids of all ages!), we’ve had a lot of fun exploring chapter books together. Most recently, the girls have been laughing their way through the Clementine series by Sara Pennypacker, illustrated by Marla Frazee. Read on for a little information about these books, as well as why we love them! Continue reading “The Clementine Series by Sara Pennypacker”

The True Gift by Patricia MacLachlan

The True Gift by Patricia MacLachlan

Now that our girls are a year older and a year more used to listening to chapter book read alouds, I thought I’d try some Christmas novels this season, to go along with all of the holiday picture books that we love to read (you can find my 2018 list here and my 2019 list here!). Since I always try to preread as many chapter books as I can (I am pretty particular when it comes to characters’ language and attitudes… My girls don’t need any more models of things we won’t want to see!), I got my hands on a handful of Christmas chapter books, and decided to start with The True Gift by Patricia MacLachlan, illustrated by Brian Floca. We finished this one yesterday, and the girls delighted in it just as much as I did when I read it on my own! Continue reading “The True Gift by Patricia MacLachlan”

Tips for Transitioning to Chapter Book Read-Alouds (and a Delightful Series to Try)

Tips for Transitioning to Chapter Book Read-Alouds (and a Delightful Series to Try)

One of the questions that I often get asked is how and when to transition from reading only picture books with your children to reading some chapter books as well. While no one child will transition the same way, I’ll share some tips and tricks here for you, as well as recommend a delightfully sweet chapter book series to share with your children! Continue reading “Tips for Transitioning to Chapter Book Read-Alouds (and a Delightful Series to Try)”