My top 10 reads for the semester are a pretty varied collection. I loved reading each and every one of them so it is impossible for me to rank these. Consider them all number ones!
- The Giver by Lois Lowry engages you emotionally and intellectually as a reader. It tells a thought-provoking and timeless tale that calls us to question the price we pay for an ordered and peaceful society. The decision that the hero makes in the end renewed my faith in humanity.
- The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo is a sweet adventure tale of a mouse born with a curiosity that leads him to read fairy tales, appreciate music, and learn to love. His bravery and loyalty turns the runt of the family into a true hero.
- The Incredible Painting of Felix Clousseau by Jon Agee is about a mysterious stranger whose paintings cause all sorts of mischief and land him jail. Alas, one single painting saves the day and Clousseau exits the story as mysteriously as he entered. This picture book is wonderfully illustrated and would be a fun mystery to read to young children.
- Rain Reign by Ann M. Martin is a beautiful story of the daily struggles of a girl born with Asperger’s syndrome. The story is filled with strength and compassion and is presented in a way that is humorous, thoughtful, and very touching.
- Swamp Angel by Anne Isaacs is a folk tale with rich colorful illustrations. The story is outlandish and fun. It takes place in Tennessee and the setting is portrayed nicely through the artwork and the language used. This would make a great read aloud book to a mixed audience, K-4th grade.
- Locomotive by Brian Floca is illustrated with detail that brings the railroad to life. The reader will follow train travelers on the first transcontinental railroad on their way out West to California.
- Seven Blind Mice by Ed Young tells a story of seven mice who individually discover the same object but each perspective is uniquely different. It takes the last mouse to put all the clues together to identify what they found. This is a great story to read to preschoolers or kindergartners.
- Minou by Mindy Bingham tells the story of a very pampered cat who has never had to do anything for herself. One day her owner dies and she is forced out on the streets of Paris to fend for herself. She meets Celeste, an experienced cat, who teaches her how to survive and become independent. The watercolor paintings beautifully depict some of the sights in Paris and there is a glossary of them in the back of the book. A word of caution: Don’t get too caught up with the feminist theme presented or this sweet story will simply become a political agenda.
- An American Plague: The True and Terrifying Story of the Yellow Fever Epidemic of 1793 by Jim Murphy is a historically accurate account of a plague that wiped out thousands at the end of the eighteenth century. When you read this story it does not feel like you are learning history. It reads like a mystery novel and is a real page turner.
- The Black Cat by Christopher Myers is an intriguing story that follows a black cat through the inner city at night to discover where he lives. The artwork is very unique and effectively enhances the mysteriousness of the feline.