13 Books That Will Enhance Your Child’s Love for Reading

Article and Photo courtesy of STRATFORD SCHOOL ALTADENA
Published on Feb 6, 2021

Studies on how to increase comprehension skills have shown the more you read, the more you improve your ability to absorb and retain what you read. And to help foster your child’s love for reading, Stratford School’s librarians have put together a curated list of recommended books by grade level for your child’s reading enjoyment!

Rhyme Crime by: Jon Burgerman
Children are often read stories about the good guy coming out on top. Here is a story that gives even “bad guys” their day in the spotlight. Meet the sneaky thief that can’t seem to keep his hands off other people’s things. Every time he snatches something, he replaces it with a rhyme. As long as the thief continues to rhyme, he escapes capture! This will be a sure hit with young children and a fun way to practice different ending sounds.

Mixed: A Colorful Story Written and Illustrated by Arree Chung
This masterfully written children’s book is illustrated with powerful metaphors for social justice that are easily relatable to our youngest readers. With a very simple plot, the author makes it fun, accessible, and easy to understand. The bravery of two main characters to defy their community’s segregation by color (red, blue, and yellow), results not only in the creation of a new color, green, but transforms their town into something amazing. A great way for children to learn about colors while getting an introduction to inclusion and diversity.

First Grade
Meet Yasmin! Written by Saadiya Faruqi and Illustrated by Hatem Aly
Yasmin Ahmad is a spirited second-grader who’s always on the lookout for those “aha” moments to help her solve life’s little problems. Taking inspiration from her surroundings and her big imagination, she boldly faces any situation, assuming her imagination doesn’t get too big, of course! A creative thinker and curious explorer, Yasmin and her multi-generational Pakistani American family will delight and inspire readers.

Key Hunters (series) by Eric Luper
Two secret agents must embark on thrilling adventures in seek of a special key. In doing so, they must enter an enchanted library and travel through a collection of dangerous books in order to complete their mission. The mysteries that unfold will keep eager readers glued to the pages of this book!

Second Grade
I Survived (series) by Lauren Tarshis
Famous historical events and popular topics come to life in this inspiring series! Young people in the midst of incredible disasters must demonstrate resilience and strength in order to defy all odds of surviving. These sensational tales will be a sure hit with young survivalists or aspiring historians!

Bad Kitty by Nick Bruel
School is out and summer begins! Time do some fun reading with Nick Bruel’s Bad Kitty. Your children will absolutely love the imaginative pictures of this book. In this story a good kitty turns bad then back to good again. Cats can get grumpy when they don’t get the food they want. After running out of cat food the family tries to feed their cat healthy foods such as vegetables. Well this cat is having none of that.

Third Grade
The Code Busters Club (series) by Penny Warner
Four code-loving fanatics join forces to crack mind-boggling mysteries involving spies, rare Egyptian artifacts, haunted lighthouses, and much more! Finding the missing key isn’t the only thing solving these puzzles. The code busters discover that friends are the most valuable key and can be as different as the symbols they solve. These exciting interactive adventures will bring out the true code buster in any young reader eager to learn and decipher more than fifteen codes.

Twintuition (series) by Tia & Tamara Mowry
These twins have the power to see the future! Cassie and Caitlyn both have a special gift but it doesn’t always make life easier. When the girls start seeing trouble ahead, they realize their powers may not be enough to save the day. The twins will have to put their heads together and work as a team. This series illustrates the special bond shared between sisters even if they don’t always see things alike!

Fourth Grade
The One and Only Ivan written by Katherine Applegate
This book won the 2013 Newberry Award. Ivan is an easygoing gorilla. Living at the Exit 8 Big Top Mall and Video Arcade, he has grown accustomed to humans watching him through the glass walls of his domain. He rarely misses his life in the jungle. In fact, he hardly ever thinks about it at all. Instead, Ivan thinks about TV shows he’s seen and about his friends Stella, an elderly elephant, and Bob, a stray dog. But mostly Ivan thinks about art and how to capture the taste of a mango or the sound of leaves with color and a well-placed line. Then he meets Ruby, a baby elephant taken from her family, and she makes Ivan see their home–and his own art–through new eyes. When Ruby arrives, change comes with her, and it’s up to Ivan to make it a change for the better. Katherine Applegate blends humor and poignancy to create Ivan’s unforgettable first-person narration in a story of friendship, art, and hope.

Zita The Spacegirl (series) by Ben Hatke
A headstrong, imperfect heroine finds herself in a galaxy far, far away. Zita requires the help of new friends that she meets along the way to save her best friend from home. While Zita always wants to do the right thing, she can sometimes be afraid. Her true heart and courage come out at the end. This whimsical graphic novel is brilliantly illustrated and fast-paced. Children will be inspired to read the whole series.

Fifth Grade
Aruh Shah and the End of Time (series) written by Roshani Chokshi
Best-selling author Rick Riordan introduces this adventure by Roshani Chokshi about twelve-year-old Aru Shah, who has a tendency to stretch the truth in order to fit in at school. While her classmates are jetting off to family vacations in exotic locales, she’ll be spending her autumn break at home, in the Museum of Ancient Indian Art and Culture, waiting for her mom to return from her latest archeological trip. Is it any wonder that Aru makes up stories about being royalty, traveling to Paris, and having a chauffeur? Witty humor and fast paced fun keep readers content through the Kingdom of Death in this fantasy rooted in Hindu mythology.

Middle School
What if? : Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions by Randall Munroe
From the creator of the wildly popular webcomic xkcd, hilarious and informative answers to important questions you probably never thought to ask. His responses are masterpieces of clarity and wit, gleefully and accurately explaining everything from the relativistic effects of a baseball pitched at near the speed of light to the many horrible ways you could die while building a periodic table out of all the actual elements. The book features new and never-before-answered questions, along with the most popular answers from the xkcd website. What If? is an informative feast for xkcd fans and anyone who loves to ponder the hypothetical.

Ghost – Track, Book 1 (series) by Jason Reynolds
A National Book Award Finalist for Young People’s Literature. Ghost wants to be the fastest sprinter on his elite Middle School track team, but his past is slowing him down in this first electrifying novel of a brand-new series from Coretta Scott King/John Award–winning author Jason Reynolds. Ghost. Lu. Patina. Sunny. Four kids from wildly different backgrounds with personalities that are explosive when they clash. But they are also four kids chosen for an elite Middle School track team—a team that could qualify them for the Junior Olympics if they can get their acts together. They all have a lot to lose, but they also have a lot to prove, not only to each other, but to themselves.

At Stratford, we believe high expectations yield extraordinary results. Our advanced, innovative, intentionally balanced curriculum challenges students, accelerates their achievement, and prepares them for the future. To learn more go to stratfordschools.com.

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