Archive for Contemporary

Weird! Book One of the Weird! Series

By Erin Frankel

Illustrated by Paula Heaphy

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Luisa thinks there is something wrong with her because a girl in her class calls her “weird” every time she does something.  Whether she’s answering a question in math, telling a joke at lunch or kissing her mom at pick-up time, Sam says, “weird!”      Luisa keeps changing the things she does but Sam keeps calling her weird.  After her mother’s advice to be herself, Luisa works at building her self-confidence and ignoring Sam’s hurtful words.  By gently and realistically taking a sweet character through an all-too-common dilemma, the reader can see Luisa triumph in the best possible way: being herself.
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The Man in the Clouds

By Koos Meinderts
Illustrated by Annette Fienieg

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The mountain had always been there. The man in the clouds appeared seemingly out of nowhere, to make his home in the house on the mountain that had always been there, and made a life on the mountain as though he had always been there.

It’s such a simple tale, simply told. The man has not much more than a painting depicting a world of great beauty–”this is what it must have looked like when the world began.” The villagers hear of it, and make the climb to see the painting, and to visit with the man. He welcomes them all, the hale and hearty, the old, the broken, the rejected.
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Those Magical Manatees

By Jan Lee Wicker

Illustrated by Steve Weaver

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Did you know that manatees are also known as “sea cows”?  Those Magical Manatees is filled with interesting facts about this gentle sea giant.

The book is organized in a question and answer format. The author asks and provides the answers to twenty questions, starting with “What is a manatee?” and ending with the question “What can you do to protect the manatees?”  We learn that human activities cause them most injuries. In fact, scientists distinguish one manatee from another by looking at the scars.
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A Winning Goal

By Laurie Calkhoven

Illustrated by Arcana Studios

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As part of the “Innerstar University” series, A Winning Goal  is about a girls’ soccer team and how teams work. With much of the text written in second person, the reader becomes one of the team and participates in all activities, on and off the field. This approach works well for third grade reading, making the reader feel a part of the story.
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My Even Day

By Doris Fisher and Dani Sneed
Illustrated by Karen Lee

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When the unnamed narrator wakes up to see a Mom with two heads, he realizes this is no ordinary day. Wackiness highlights the fact that in order to have an even number of things, there could be some extras around. There are two tour guides on their field trip to the zoo instead of one. The trip abounds with other oddities like elephants with four trunks, lions with six wings and alligators with antlers sporting eight golden rings. As the sights become more outlandish, the boy can only hope that the next day will be normal. Alas, the day must be fraction day: one half of his hair is normal, the other half shaved.
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Nathan Hale’s Hazardous Tales: Big Bad Ironclad

Written and Illustrated by Nathan Hale

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This graphic novel tells the true story of the Battle of the Hampton Roads. It was the most important naval battle of the American Civil war, between the Confederates (the rebels) and the Union (the north). This story for third graders was the first meeting of the ironclad warship, the Virginia (built from part of the famous Merrimack) and the Monitor (built by the Union and designed by John Ericsson).

Third grade students will enjoy reading this book. This book will be specially appealing to boys, who love an exciting, but true story.  They will learn about the events leading up to the final showdown of the two ships and the other ships involved.  It is an exciting way to learn about this event in American history.

This graphic novel also includes some very funny characters besides the people who were in involved in the preparation of the ships and crew for the battle. The illustrations add a lot of information and are fun to read.  Third grade students will enjoy reading this book more than once because of the details included in the both the illustrations and the text.  A fun book for all ages, this could also be used as a center for students who are reading for comprehension. The teacher could ask for facts to be written from each chapter.

In the back pages there are facts about each person involved in the battle. There is a time line and a bibliography.

For more information on author, Nathan Hale, go to his website: [learn_more caption=”Bibliographic Information”]

  • Nathan HaleTitle:  Nathan Hale’s Hazardous Tales: Big Bad Ironclad
  • Author and Illustrator: Nathan Hale
  • Publisher:  Amululet Books, 2012
  • Reviewer:  Susan Couture
  • Hardcover: 118 pages
  • ISBN: 978-1-4197-0395-9
  • Genre: Graphic Novel, History
  • Lexile: 280GN

Can We Share the World with Tigers?

Written and Illustrated by Robert E. Wells

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Everyone, even the youngest of readers have heard of tigers. The author wisely uses the tiger as a vehicle to present important conservation-related issues.

We read that the Bengal tiger is in danger of becoming extinct, but falling prey to poachers is not the only reason that they are in danger. Their natural habitat (and that of their prey) is being destroyed to make way for farms and ranches. More than 90% of their original habitat, an astonishing number, has been destroyed.
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Victricia Malicia Book-Loving Buccaneer

By Carrie Clickard

Illustrated by Mark Meyers

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Victricia Alicia Calamity Barrett comes from a pirate family, where she has learned the correct behaviors of being a pirate. However, piracy is not her forte.  Victricia doesn’t tie her knots right. She can’t climb ropes. And, all she  wants to do is READ!    Third grade strong boys and girls will laugh at this funny story.
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Marching with Aunt Susan: Susan B. Anthony and the Fight for Women’s Suffrage

By Claire Rudolf Murphy

Illustrated by Stacey Schuett

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Bessie Keith Pond, a real girl from Berkeley, California, wanted to ride bikes and go on hikes with her father and brothers. But back in 1896, girls were only supposed to stay home and take care of the house.The man of the house, in this case Bessie’s father, was the decision maker of the household.
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Today on Election Day

By Catherine Stier
Illustrated by David Leonard

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Today on Election Day, a book for third graders gives information about what happens on election day. It’s a very exciting time for Bailey and her classmates as they explain what goes on at their school and homes for the elections.  During election time, Bailey’s school is being used as a polling location for the national and local elections. Readers will learn what goes on during the election time and how elections are used to determine who will be the next President, the next Senator, or even just the city mayor.
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