A GOOD READ: Reading Challenge books great reading for kids
For the ninth year, Fraser Valley Regional Library and Coquitlam Public Library are presenting the Reading Link Challenge to Grade 4 and 5 students. The teams are chosen and the reading has begun. Teams will advance through three levels of challenge until the winner emerges in April.
This year’s books have something for all tastes and we know that other readers would enjoy them as well.
• Seaglass Summer by Anjali Banerjee: 11-year-old Poppy is excited to be spending the summer on an island with her veterinarian uncle. Her parents are visiting relatives in India but she plans to be a vet herself and would rather help out in the clinic. Things don’t go exactly as planned, however, as she discovers the hard side to caring for animals. An older boy helping at the clinic teases her, animals die, she has to rescue a duck in the bathroom and her suitcase full of vet supplies is lost on the first day. Will she survive her dream summer?
• Safe as Houses by Eric Walters: This is an exciting survival tale about a young babysitter caring for two younger children when Hurricane Hazel strikes Ontario in 1954. They think they will be safe inside the house until the river rises and carries away everything in its path. Elizabeth must show how brave and resourceful she can be when not even a house is safe anymore. Wilson is a well-known Canadian writer and he based this book on true rescue stories of the time.
• Alvin Ho: Allergic to Girls, School and Other Scary Things by Lenore Look: Alvin is a middle child who is afraid of almost everything. He cannot talk in school and keeps lists of how to behave in all sorts of scary situations. Luckily, he has some good friends who like him anyway and when he is dressed as Firecracker Man, he is ready for anything. This short, easy-to-read book with lots of illustrations is part of a series.
• George’s Cosmic Treasure Hunt by Lucy and Stephen Hawking: Yes, famous scientist Stephen Hawking and his daughter have written a second book about George and Annie, who can access a supercomputer and transport themselves through time and space. (The first book was George’s Secret Key to the Universe.) With a younger boy genius to help them, they travel to planets, receive alien messages and battle dust storms. Sections of NASA photos and science facts make this a fascinating read for children and adults alike.
• Extra Credit by Andrew Clements: Popular author Clements has written another engaging school story about Abby, who is failing several subjects. In order to pass into Grade 7, she agrees to write to a pen pal in Afghanistan and do reports but her pal is not allowed to write to a girl. The village elders decide that his younger sister can write the letters in Dari and Sadeed can translate them into English. The plan falls apart when his sister is not able to write very good letters and Sadeed takes over, writing fascinating letters about his life. Abby is shocked and impressed by his letters and puts her heart into her replies. Soon, the conservative village men find out what is going on and Sadeed is in big trouble. The alternating chapters in the voices of the two children in such different worlds make for a fascinating read.
• Because of Winn Dixie by Kate Di Camillo: Named for the grocery store where he is rescued, Winn Dixie the smiling dog makes a big difference in Opal’s life. After moving with her single father to a trailer park in small-town Florida, Opal is in need of friends. She gradually meets a wonderfully eccentric group of people through her new dog and finally convinces her father to tell her about her mother, who left them years before.
A Good Read is a column by Tri-City librarians that is published every Wednesday. Deborah Duncan works at Coquitlam Public Library.