I love everything Linda Urban writes. Little Red Henry is a must read for any parents who have struggled with letting go as their "babies" grow up and begin asserting their independence. The family in this story humorously struggles between hovering over their youngest and giving him room to grow.
Last week one of my students begged to read Each Kindness--it sits on a shelf above my desk. We read it together out loud, both having read it several times before. I think each one of us, at one time or another, can relate to the little girl in the story who misses an opportunity to do the right thing before it's too late. Maya, a new girl who doesn't quite fit in, moves into Chloe's class and tries many times to befriend Chloe and the other girls. Only after Maya suddenly moves away and Chloe's teacher talks to the class about kindness, does Chloe realize that she will not have an opportunity to make things right. She struggles to figure out how to live with that.
I will read anything by Mac Barnett because he makes me laugh out loud. I love his dry sense of humor, as do most kids I know. His books tend to leave the reader with unanswered questions to ponder at the end of the story. Check out Sam and Dave Dig a Hole, Telephone, and Battle Bunny.
All I have to say about this one is....read it. I liked it, my middle schooler liked it, and I just gave it to my 5th grade neighbor and he liked it. It's a quick read and laugh-out-loud funny--think small town, cows, and lot's of pranks with some great twists and turns throughout.
Twelve year old Peter Stone is a quiet, sensitive, introverted boy living in a crazy loud family who doesn't get him at all. He has grown up feeling like who he is, is not enough. After being bullied and beaten up by kids in his school/neighborhood, and writing some dark thoughts in his journal found by his parents, his family moves out to the Texas hill country to give Peter a chance to start over. There he meets Annie- the wish girl, discovers a valley, which just might be magical, and learns how to make himself heard above all the noise. A really beautiful story filled with wonder, magic, friendship, and a boy desperately looking to find his place in the world.
I'm currently reading Read Between the Lines by Jo Knowles, a YA novel for grades 9 and up. Up next will be The Truth about Twinkie Pie by Kat Yeh. I'm looking forward to see what others are reading and recommending!