Books to Read in Quarantine that Your 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th Graders Will Love!
We are truly hoping you and your family are staying healthy and in good spirits these days! This is not an easy time of course...but it is an opportunity to grow, learn and become stronger and more compassionate human beings.
When the Zoom classes are over and a much needed break from screen time arrives on the weekend, we urge you to encourage your sons to read books that will inspire them to start thinking about who they are, who they want to be in the world, and how to deal with stressful and life changing situations in a healthy way. It can also inspire their writing and schoolwork. These are great books for parents to read as well, to promote communication and common experiences and to remember what it's like to be a kid!
A comprehensive list is below. Enjoy! Happy Reading. And #stayathome.
By Gary Paulsen
Hatchet - A boy is the only survivor of a small plane crash. He has to survive in the woods by himself. Teaches resilience, inner voice, relying on yourself, learning patience, and keeping things in perspective
Liar, Liar - A kid lies to get out of things and eventually all the lying catches up to him. Friends / family are hurt so he has to make amends, rebuild trust, and apologize.
Molly McGinty Has a Really Good Day - About changing perspective and listening to your inner voice. Deals with how to let things go and not always being perfect.
Mudshark - A boys ablity to problem solve and help others makes him a popular kid in school. Eventually Mudshark cannot solve the mystery of the rising erasers on his own and needs to team up with the school parrot (also psychic) and work together.
By Jerry Spinelli
Maniac Magee - A boy literally runs everywhere, but despite his constant moving he makes real connections with people. Learn about taking care of yourself, looking after others, and doing the right thing.
Loser - A boy can’t seem to fit in at school, he's picked last for teams and nobody wants to be his friend. A little girl goes missing and he spend hours looking for her in the snow - he doesn't find her but people are touched by his efforts.
Wringer - Rite of passage for all boys 12 years old in this small town is to wring the necks of the pigeons during the town's 'Pigeons Day'. Protagonist actually befriends a pigeon and doesn't want to participate, but everyone expects him too. Lessons are standing up for what you believe in, and going against the crowd.
Love, Stargirl - Mostly a "girl book" about friendship, and believing in yourself. (New Disney movie based on the book is coming out soon)
By Jason Reynolds
Series: Ghost, Patina, Sunny, Lu: Each story is told by one of the kids in a track team. They each face personal challenges, need to make decisions for themselves in this 'coming-of-age' story. Learn about making choices, friendships, and family issues.
As Brave As You - Brothers living in the city are sent to spend the summer down south with grandparents. While there they make new friends, learn about their family history, learn about themselves, and father/son issues.
By Stewart Foster
All The Things That Could Go Wrong - The main character has OCD and it affects his life in very challenging ways. His parents pair him up with his main tormentor, a local bully (they do not know their history) to work on a special project. Book considers what it's like to have OCD, and also takes the unusually point of view of the bully and what challenges he is going through. Teaches about unusual friendships, standing up for yourself, self-awareness, and emotions.
By James Howe
The Misfits - A group of friends consider themselves "the misfits". They decide as a group to run for student council and learn a lot about each other, themselves and friendships.
By Kate DiCamillo
The Tiger Rising - A boy's mother passed away a few years early and the father and son never talk about her or her death. So much emotion builds up between the two so when the boy comes across a tiger, that actually helps start the conversation between father and son. This book deals with emotions, family and friendships.
Because of Winn Dixie - A young girl uses the over friendly and charming local stray dog to make friends with others in her small town. A book about "putting yourself out there", making friends, and accepting people for who they are.
By Richard Peck
The Best Man - A boy grows up with a strong relationship with his grandfather and father. Both men are great role models and teach the boy what a man really should be. Deals with relationships, family dynamics/expectations, right and wrong, and the effect of putting labels on people.
By Carl Hiaasen
Squirm - A story about a boy and his love for nature and animals. The main character has a very strong moral compass and is tested on what to do in a very dangerous situation. Focus on doing the right thing and finding ways to be brave.
By Lynda Mullaly Hunt
Fish in a Tree - The main character struggles in school and cant figure out why. Until one year she her teacher sees something special in her and gives her the strength to see herself for the first time. Book focuses on how to deal with negative self-talk, school struggles, overcoming obstacles, and standing up for yourself.
By Brenda Woods
The Blossoming Universe of Violet Diamond - A biracial girl does not have a connection with her African American family until the opportunity arises for her to spend the summer with her grandmother. During her stay she learns about her father (who passed away long ago) is connected to her heritage and begins to understands herself better. Book deals with themes related to differences among people, race in particular.
By Holly Goldberg Sloan
Short - A girl and her brother are cast as munchkins in the local community theaters "Wizard of Oz". During the rehearsals she learns to challenge herself, makes new friends and try new things.
By Sheila Turnage
Three Times Lucky - An orphaned baby is found floating in a basket during a storm in a small creek. That baby grows up and with the help of her guardians, friends and local police finds out about her history all while helping solve a local murder! Teaches about friendships, finding happiness with where and who you are.
By Andrew Clements
Frindle - A boy decides to change the name for a pen. He convinces his classmates to do that same and pretty soon the whole town is in on it.
Lunch Money - The only thing the main character cares about is making money. When a classmate cuts in on his ability to monopolize the market he needs to learn compromise, how to work with others even if they are the enemy.
By Rebecca Stead
When You Reach Me - There is something unusual about the anonymous messages the main character is finding in her backpack and apartment. The themes in this book focus on how our actions and words affect people not just in the moment but can her everlasting. Book has a surprise twist that leads us to the possibility of time travel!
By Frances O’Roark Dowell
The Second Life of Abigail Walker - A girl fed up with what her "friends" and parents expect of her decides to stand up for self but struggles with just how to do that until she gets bit by a wolf. Books focus is about standing up for yourself but also needing to help others when possible.
By Lois Lowry
Number the Stars - A young Jewish family tries to escape Copenhagen during World War II. The main character is put into situations where she needs to be brave for herself, her family and unbeknownst to her other Jews that are trying to escape. Focus of the book is on how to do something when you are so scared. Holocaust theme.
By Beth Turley
If This Were a Story - Story about a girl that is having a hard time with her friends and her parents. The book focusses on feeling sadness and what happens when we keep those feelings inside. In order for things to get better she needs to find the courage to talk.
By Gordon Foreman
The 6th Grade Nickname Game - Two best friends are great at giving people the perfect nickname based on their physical features, whether do or personality. But what happens when you give someone a nickname that is contrary to their personality? This book focuses on the power of labels and how they can affect us into believing things about ourselves that are not always true.
By Louis Sachar
Holes - A boy is sent to a juvenile detention center and digs holes all day, every day. Themes include making friendships in unusual circumstances, dealing with unfairness, the choices we make and there consequences.
By Kelly Yang
Front Desk - A young girl and her immigrant parents work at a motel where she manages the front desk while her parents clean the rooms. The family uses the motel as an opportunity to help other immigrants as they are passing through. If the motel owner finds this out they will be out on the street. Book focuses on the immigrant experience, poverty and standing up for others.
By Marilyn Hilton
Full Cicada Moon by Marilyn Hilton - A biracial girl and her family move to a small town where most people have never seen or met someone from Japan and African American. The book focuses how to feel good about yourself, have pride in your history while still trying to fit in.
By Lisa Graff
Absolutely Almost - Having a difficult time with school and life, the main character tries hard to get things right but then something always happens to mess it up. Main themes are learning how to be ok with yourself, and realizing that we can’t always be perfect.