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Reading Programs

Because of the Rabbit

by Cynthia LordYear Published: 2019

On the last night of summer, Emma and her Maine game warden father rescue a small domestic rabbit stuck in a fence. The very next day Emma starts fifth grade after years of being home schooled, excited and apprehensive about making new friends. Then she is paired with Jack who does not seem to fit in with anyone--except that they share a love of animals, which draws them together, because of the rabbit. (Grades 3-5)

 

 

Blended

by Sharon DraperYear Published: 2018

Piano-prodigy Isabella, eleven, whose black father and white mother struggle to share custody, never feels whole, especially as racial tensions affect her school, her parents both become engaged, and she and her stepbrother are stopped by police. (Grades 4-7)

 

 

Does it Fart? A Kid's Guide to the Gas Animals Pass

by Nick Caruso & Dani Rabaiotti/Alex Griffiths,Year Published: 2019

This hilariously informative book of scientific facts, farts, and fun answers kids' questions about whether or not various animals pass gas. (Grades 1-4)

 

Framed! A T. O. A. S. T. Mystery

by James PontiYear Published: 2016

In Washington, D.C., twelve-year-old Florian Bates, a consulting detective for the FBI, and his best friend Margaret help thwart the biggest art heist in United States history. (Grades 4-7)

 

 

Hana’s Suitcase: The Quest to Solve a Holocaust Mystery

by Karen LevineYear Published: 2002/2016

A Japanese woman is determined to uncover the identity and destiny of the owner of a suitcase sent by a Holocaust museum. Her investigation takes her around the world before she finally solves the mystery, while using the journey to teach her students about the tragedy of the Holocaust. (Grades 5 and up)

 

 

Handimals: Animals in Art and Nature

by Sylvia Lopez & Daniele, GuidoYear Published: 2019

A fascinating and visually stunning collection of hands modeled and painted into sixteen creatures--ranging from polar bears to alpacas to Komodo dragons--paired with facts to raise awareness of each creature.

 

 

Klawde: Evil Alien Warlord Cat

by Emily Chenoweth & Johnny Marciano/Robb MommaertsYear Published: 2019

Klawde, the exiled ruler of the planet Lyttyrboks, and Raj, who just moved from Brooklyn to tiny Elba, Oregon, forge an unlikely friendship as they find their footing in a strange new world. (Grades 3-5)

 

 

Let the Children March

by Monica Clark-Robinson/Frank MorrisonYear Published: 2018

Told from a child's point of view, this moving historical picture book focuses on a monumental moment in the civil rights movement: the Children's Crusade of 1963. Thousands of African American children and teens marched through the streets of Birmingham, Alabama to end segregation and to inspire change and hope for the future. 

 

 

The Oldest Student: How Mary Walker Learned to Read

by Rita L. Hubbard/Oge MoraYear Published: 2020

Imagine learning to read at the age of 116! Discover the true story of Mary Walker, the nation's oldest student who did just that, in this picture book from a Caldecott Honor-winning illustrator and a rising star author. 

 

 

One-Third Nerd

by Gennifer Choldenko//Églantine CeulemansYear Published: 2019

Ten-year-old Liam and his two younger sisters, precocious third-grader Dakota and second-grader Izzy, who has Down syndrome, face the possibility of losing their beloved dog, Cupcake, who keeps urinating on their apartment's carpet. (Grades 3-5)

 

 

Other Words for Home

by Jasmine WargaYear Published: 2019

Jude never thought she'd be leaving her beloved older brother and father behind, all the way across the ocean in Syria. But when things in her hometown start becoming volatile, Jude and her mother are sent to live in Cincinnati with relatives. (Grades 4-8)

 

 

Pie in the Sky

by Remy LaiYear Published: 2019

Knowing very little English, eleven-year-old Jingwen feels like an alien when his family immigrates to Australia, but copes with loneliness and the loss of his father by baking elaborate cakes. (Grades 3-6)

 

 

Planet Omar: Accidental Trouble Magnet

by Zanib Mian/Nasaya MafaridikYear Published: 2020

Imaginative Omar goes through the ups and downs of starting a new school and making new friends with the help of his wonderful (and silly) Muslim family. (Grades 3-5)

 

 

Prairie Lotus

by Linda Sue ParkYear Published: 2020

In Dakota Territory in the 1880s, half-Chinese Hanna and her white father face racism and resistance to change as they try to make a home for themselves. (Grades 5-8)

 

 

Project Z: A Zombie Ate My Homework

by Tommy Greenwald/Dave BardinYear Published: 2019

Ombee has escaped a secret government lab that's developing zombies. Fortunately, he's found by the Kinders, a warmhearted human couple who are determined to help keep his zombie status under wraps. (Grades 3-5)

 

 

Roll With It

by Jamie SumnerYear Published: 2019

Twelve-year-old Ellie, who has cerebral palsy, finds her life transformed when she moves with her mother to small-town Oklahoma to help care for her grandfather, who has Alzheimer's Disease. (Grades 4-8)

 

 

Unicorn Rescue Society: The Creature of the Pines

by Adam Gidwitz/Hatem AlyYear Published: 2018

After encountering a Jersey Devil while on a field trip to the Pine Barrens, Elliot and his new friend Uchenna help their weird teacher Professor Fauna rescue the mythological creature from a pair of greedy billionaire brothers. (Grades 2-5)

 

 

The Unstoppable Garrett Morgan: Inventor, Entrepreneur, Hero

by Joan DiCicco/Ebony GlennYear Published: 2019

The biography of Garrett A. Morgan, an African American entrepreneur and prolific inventor, whose bravery saved lives at the Cleveland Waterworks Disaster in 1916. Includes timeline and author's sources.

 

 

The Vanderbeekers of 141st Street

by Karina Yan GlaserYear Published: 2017

Humorous and heartfelt, the five Vanderbeeker children will do whatever it takes to stay in their beloved brownstone home in this sweeping family story that is as lively, diverse, and noisy as any street in Harlem. (Grades 3-6)

 

 

What a Waste: Trash, Recycling, and Protecting Our Planet

by Jess FrenchYear Published: 2019

Discover shocking facts about the waste we produce and where it goes. Did you know that every single plastic toothbrush ever made still exists? Or that there's a floating mass of garbage twice the size of Texas drifting around the Pacific Ocean? Discover ways you can help to reduce the problem.

2021-2022 ILLINOIS STATE BLUESTEM READER'S CHOICE AWARD LIST (GRADES 3-5)

2020-2021 BLUESTEM ILLINOIS STATE READER'S CHOICE AWARD LIST (GRADES 3-5)

A Dash of Trouble

by Ana MerianoYear Published: 2018

Wanting to be a part of her family's Dia de los Muertos preparations, Leonora sneaks out of school to discover her mother, aunt, and older sisters have been keeping a secret.

 

 

A Whole New Ballgame

by Phil BildnerYear Published: 2015

Rip and Red are best friends whose fifth-grade year is nothing like what they expected. They have a crazy new teacher named Mr. Acevedo who doesn't believe in tests or homework and likes off-the-wall projects - the more "off" the better. They also find themselves with a new basketball coach: Mr. Acevedo!

 

 

Animals by the Numbers: A Book of Infographics

by Steve JenkinsYear Published: 2016

An amazing look at numbers, facts, infographics, and the animals that inhabit them from the Caldecott Honor-winning author-illustrator Steve Jenkins!

 

 

Bob

by Wendy Mass and Rebecca SteadYear Published: 2018

Visiting her grandmother in Australia, Livy, ten, is reminded of the promise she made five years before to Bob, a strange, green creature who cannot recall who or what he is.

 

 

Chester Nez and the Unbreakable Code

by Joseph BruchacYear Published: 2018

As a young Navajo boy, Chester Nez had to leave the reservation and attend boarding school, where he was taught that his native language and culture were useless. But Chester refused to give up his heritage. Years later, during World War II, Chester--and other Navajo men like him--was recruited by the US Marines to use the Navajo language to create an unbreakable military code.

 

 

Click

by Kayla MillerYear Published: 2019

When a school variety show leaves Olive stranded without an act to join, she wonders why all of her friends have already formed their own groups without her.

 

 

Curiosity: The Story of a Mars Rover

by Markus MotemYear Published: 2017

Full of eye-catching retro illustrations, a look at NASA's beloved Mars rover is sure to fascinate budding space explorers -- and set inquisitive minds soaring.

 

 

Finding Langston

by Lesa Cline-RansomeYear Published: 2018

When 11-year-old Langston's mother dies in 1946, he and his father leave rural Alabama for Chicago's brown belt as a part of what came to be known as the Great Migration. It's lonely in the small apartment with just the two of them, and at school Langston is bullied. But his new home has one fantastic thing. Unlike the whites-only library in Alabama, the local public library welcomes everyone.

 

 

Hope in the Holler

by Lisa Lewis TyreYear Published: 2018

The poignant--and funny--story of a girl trying to be brave and find her place in the world after she's sent to live with scheming relatives.

 

 

Lifeboat 12

by Susan HoodYear Published: 2018

In 1940, a group of British children, their escorts, and some sailors struggle to survive in a lifeboat when the ship taking them to safety in Canada is torpedoed.

 

 

Max and the Midknights

by Lincoln Peirce Year Published: 2019

Max and a group of friends dubbed the Midknights go on a quest to rescue the Kingdom of Byjovia from the mean King Gastley!

 

 

Otis and Will Discover the Deep

by Barb Rosenstock Year Published: 2018

The suspenseful, little-known true story of two determined pioneers who made the first dive into the deep ocean.

 

 

Power Forward

by Hena Khan, Year Published: 2018

Fourth-grader Zayd yearns to play basketball on the Gold Team, but when he skips orchestra rehearsal to practice, his parents forbid anything basketball-related, and tryouts are coming soon.

 

 

Sergeant Reckless

by Patricia McCormick, Year Published: 2017

When a group of US Marines fighting in the Korean War found a bedraggled mare, they wondered if she could be trained to as a packhorse. They had no idea that the skinny, underfed horse had one of the biggest and bravest hearts they'd ever known. And one of the biggest appetites!

 

 

 

Stef Soto, Taco Queen

by Jennifer Torres, Year Published: 2017

Estefania "Stef" Soto is itching to shake off the onion-and-cilantro embrace of Tia Perla, her family's taco truck. She wants nothing more than for Papi to get a normal job and for Tia Perla to be a distant memory. Then maybe everyone at school will stop seeing her as the Taco Queen.

 

 

Strongheart: Wonder Dog of the Silver Screen

by Candace Fleming, Year Published: 2018

A German shepherd is transformed from Etzel, a police dog in Berlin, to Strongheart, a silent movie star that will need his best acting skills to prove himself innocent of attacking a girl.

 

 

 

The Ambrose Deception

by Emily Ecton, Year Published: 2018

Melissa is a nobody. Wilf is a slacker. Bondi is a show-off. At least that's what their middle school teachers think. To everyone's surprise, they are the three students chosen to compete for a ten thousand-dollar scholarship, solving clues that lead them to various locations around Chicago.

 

 

 

The Undefeated

by Kwame Alexander, Year Published: 2019

The Newbery Award-winning author of THE CROSSOVER pens an ode to black American triumph and tribulation, with art from a two-time Caldecott Honoree, Kadir Nelson.

 

The Van Gogh Deception

by Deron R. Hicks, Year Published: 2017

Dan Brown meets Jason Bourne in this riveting middle-grade mystery thriller. When a young boy is discovered in Washington DC's National Gallery without any recollection of who he is, so begins a high-stakes race to unravel the greatest mystery of all: his identity.

 

 

 

Wedgie and Gizmo

by Suzanne Selfors, Year Published: 2017

Fans of Stick Dog and My Big Fat Zombie Goldfish will love Suzanne Selfors's hilarious new illustrated series about the growing pains of blended families and the secret rivalry of pets.

 

 

 

 

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