Snakes

Written and illustrated by Nic Bishop

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Magnificent, crisply detailed photographs make possible the difficult feat of looking at snakes with unbiased eyes. Nic Bishop, the author and illustrator of the book, does not gloss over the many dangerous snakes that exist; it is just that the photographs show the reader the beauty and diversity of this misunderstood species of reptiles.

Only some snakes are dangerous, but all snakes share basic common features. The author presents this information in an interesting manner. If you were a snake, he tells us, you would be about four times longer than you are now, and only a few inches thick. The book draws in third grade readers with such imagery. “..if you were like many snakes, you would only have room for one large lung.” Wow! How do they breathe with just one lung?
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Body Actions

Written by Shelley Rotner and David A. White

Outstanding Science Trade Book 2013 from the National Science Teacher’s Association and the Children’s Book Council (click for more info)

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Your body is incredibly well-designed! Rotner’s and White’s book is an easy-to-understand book about the major organ groups of the body. With large, real pictures and clearly written text, this book is well-suited for a third grade class as a read-aloud, especially in a small group setting. Students will find the illustrations overlaying the photographs easy to understand; the ear bones illustration is especially helpful. The x-ray of teeth is also enlightening because students reading this book will be in full swing of tooth loss and replacement, so they will marvel at the sight of the adult teeth growing beneath the baby teeth. For students who are hungry for more information, there is a glossary and a section that further describes the body’s systems.
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Freaky Fast Frankie Joe

Written by Lutricia Clifton

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Frankie Joe lives in a trailer park in Texas and his friends are the retired people who live there.  But all that changes when he has to leave them behind because his mother is put in jail and he can’t live alone.  The father he has never known is taking temporary custody of Frankie Joe.  He will move in with a family he has never met and go to Illinois, a place he has never seen.  Frankie Joe hates it.  The school holds him back a grade to give him a chance to catch up, but he is bigger than everyone else.  His four half brothers make him feel like a freak.  He decides to escape.  He will earn money as a delivery boy and ride back home on his bicycle.  Slowly, he makes friends as he builds his business and he gains the respect of his new family.  Just as he attempts to put his escape into action, his mother throws the biggest kink of all into the plan.  She signs over permanent custody to his father and blithely leaves town with the boyfriend whose drugs landed her in jail in the first place.  The life he created in Illinois is now his safety net.
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Vampire School: Stage Fright

Written by Peter Bently
Illustrated by Chris Harrison

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The kids from St. Orlok’s Elementary, a vampire school, return with more monster mayhem. This time, they’re preparing for the big phantomime of Snow Fright and the Seven Dwarfs. After bat lessons with the three S’s (swooping, swerving, and skulking), the vampire children prepare for their performance. Their teacher also explains the three C’s for hiding (columns, curtains, and corners) and the three D’s (dark, damp, and dingy). Gnashful is the angry dwarf. The others are Gappy, Snappy, Flappy, Creepy, Chompy, and Shock. Lucy is typecast as the Wicked Queen. When Bella loses her voice, Lee volunteers to let her lip synch to his voice. Bella and Lee are subsequently cast in the upcoming production of The Sound of Screaming, in which there are seven children and a nanny. It will be produced by local impresario Harker Winegum.
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Mallory McDonald: Super Snoop

Written by Laurie Friedman
Illustrated by Jennifer Kalis

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What do you get when a ten-year-old girl’s brother has an official girlfriend and the sister wants to know what the couple is doing?Lots of trouble. That’s what. In this eighteenth installment from the “Mallory McDonald” series, Mallory and brother Max are at home with babysitter Crystal while their parents are out of town. Max and his girlfriend are working diligently on a secret science project, and Mallory is not convinced they are really working on the project. Mallory goes to extreme lengths to discover the truth, asking everyone she knows, including her cat, for advice. She talks to her best friend, to Crystal, to other friends, and even sends an email to an internet advice columnist. They all tell her to leave her brother alone, but she doesn’t like this advice. She finally witnesses an innocent kiss by hiding in a closet. Not satisfied with her knowledge, she embellishes the event to the point of embarrassment for all involved. Needless to say, she pays dearly for her lies. Her friends are appalled, and everyone else is very angry. Mallory has to figure out a way to start the healing.
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The Conference of the Birds

Retold by Alexis York Lumbard
Illustrated by Demi

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Alexis Lumbard has taken a 12th century Persian poem, modernized it, and made it fun to read. This is the story of a search for the King. The birds of the land were in search of somebody who would lead and care for them. They flew all across the world, searching for their King. There were many problems to be faced along the way; one of the biggest problems for each one of the birds was their depth of commitment. How far were they willing to go, and what were they willing to give up to be able to come before the King?

The many different birds will each come face to face with their own deepest fears: Am I strong enough? Am I worthy? Can I give up my beautiful jewels? Can I stand before him as I am, without pretext?
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My Favorite Bible: The Best Loved Stories of the Bible

Written by Rondi DeBoer and Christine Tangvald

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My Favorite Bible: The Best Loved Stories of the Bible just might be this moms favorite bible for kids!In our home we have more than a few chunky kids’ bibles on the shelves. After twenty years of raising children, one tends to gather quite a collection and many have been sent packing because they didn’t quite make the grade. My Favorite Bible is certainly a keeper because this chunky kid’s bible is different than any other I’ve laid hands on.

Author’s Rondi DeBoer and Christine Tangvald have done a superb job bringing bible stories to life. They’ve included most of the main Old Testament stories and just as many New Testament stories, which isn’t always common among children’s bibles. Each story is written in an easy to understand way and uses the God’s Word Translation, giving it extra readability. It’s written at about a third grade reading level, but would also make an outstanding read aloud for younger children.
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The Enchanted Attic: Saving Moby Dick

Written by L.L. Samson

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Picture a reluctant young reader with two reading choices: classics in one pile and contemporary fiction in the other. Which will be the favored pile? LL Samson, the author of The Enchanted Attic books, makes the task easier by melding the two piles into one. He created a series that brings the characters of the classics into the modern world and introduces readers to the classics in an un-putt-downable fashion. Saving Moby Dick is the second book in the series.
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Tashi and the Tibetan Flower Cure

Written and Illustrated by Naomi C. Rose

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Naomi C. Rose weaves a heart-warming tale about the resolve of a little girl to help her Popola get well. This story is perhaps best suited for a third grade class; it speaks of a little girl’s Tibetan grandfather who is healed by the power of nature and people’s enveloping companionship and love. As a third grade class reads this book, it encourages reading skills in comprehension. There are several culturally relevant words that students will perhaps have to research or at least dig deep into the text for context clues. Words such as “Tibetan chants,” “mala,” “thangka,” and “solja” encourage students to look up their meanings to deepen comprehension. The theme of this book is a girl’s determination on behalf of her grandfather. She rallies a community to help heal him from the spirit outward. An easy journal assignment after reading <em>Tashi and the Tibetan Flower Cure</em> would be to have students write how they can relate to Tashi. Perhaps students could share what they would be willing to do for a beloved family member.
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A Picture Book of Sam Houston

Written by David A. Adler and Michael S. Adler
Illustrated by Matt Collins

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While Texans know and love Sam Houston and learn about him in school, this American hero may not be as well known to readers in the other 49 states.David and Michael Adler rectify this situation with an informative and exciting picture book that is sure to capture the imagination of third-grade readers, no matter where they live.

Sam Houston was a war hero who went on to become the president of the Republic of Texas and later the state’s governor. The Adlers start their story with one of the most dramatic and dangerous moments of Houston’s life: his surprise victory over the Mexican army at the Battle of San Jacinto in 1836. From there, the book goes back to follow Houston’s life, which was never boring! » Read more

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