Book Talk Tuesday

Every year fifteen books are chosen as Florida's "Sunshine State Young Reader Award" books for grades 3 - 5. Having been a 3rd-grade teacher for several years I got into the habit of reading all of them during the summer, and I have kept up the tradition the last couple of summers. I found this year's selections a bit of a mixed bag - as always - and rather than share all of them I'll highlight my favorites.

1. Framed! by James Ponti

Ponti is the author of the Dead City books, which I had read and enjoyed. This book is my pick for the very best of this year's SSYRAs. Twelve-year-old Florian Bates has just moved to Washington, DC. He is using a technique he developed called T.O.A.S.T to learn about his new area. It stands for theory of all small things and helps Florian solve all sorts of mysteries. He soon makes a new friend, Margaret, and teaches it to her. Before long they are embroiled in a mystery at the National Gallery and Florian is an unofficial asset for the FBI! 
This is a great story that will make a great read-aloud for intermediate students.

2. A Dragon's Guide To The Care And Feeding Of Humans by Laurance Yep

This is the book I expected to be ho-hum and I totally loved it. It's a great reversal story in that the dragon keeps human "pets" throughout her long life. Miss Drake's previous companion/pet has passed away and her young niece Winnie is ready to fill her role. The relationship that develops between the little girl and the huge dragon is very sweet.

3. A Whole New Ballgame by Phil Bildner

Rip and Red, fifth-grade best friends, have a new off-the-wall teacher. They are shocked to find out that he is also their new basketball coach (the boys are obsessed with basketball). This is a book about school, sports, and friendship. It's the friendship that's my favorite part of the story. Red has autism and Rip is the one who "gets him." Kids will definitely love Mr. Acevedo, the new teacher, who does not believe in homework or tests!

1 comment

  1. You know, teaching the fives means I don't read much intermediate (though I have a MS for this very age group... that will probably never actually BE a book...). When I read book reviews for them, as I always do to stay up a bit, I think back to myself as a kid and what I would have liked. I loved both mystery and fantasy- still do- so numbers one and two would have been big hits with ten year old Kathleen. See you later. Kathleen


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