February 22, 2018

The Advocate's Toolbox

‘Til We Meet Again: New Series Installments for Intermediate Readers │ JLG’s Booktalks to Go

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Children in second through fourth grades often exhaust a complete series in a matter of weeks. New entries to a returning series are met with cries of “Can I check it out first?” For kids searching for chapter books that introduce them to characters who feel as they do, the following titles selected by the editors at Junior Library Guild will be just right.

With the turn of the publishing calendar, a new JLG Booktalks to Go: Fall 2014 LiveBinder has been created. Titles are now sorted by interest level. Clicking on that tab will take you to the books and their resources. The Spring 2014 LiveBinder will continue to be posted.

Charlie Bumpers vs the Squeaking Skull HARLEY, Bill. Charlie Bumpers vs. the Squeaking Skull. illus. by Adam Gustavson. (Charlie Bumpers). Peachtree. Sept. 2014. ISBN 9781561458080. JLG Level: A+ : Intermediate Readers (Grades 3–5).

It’s almost Halloween and Charlie Bumpers has two things on his mind: winning the costume contest and becoming “de-scared.” For the first time he gets to trick or treat without his little sister, but the trade-off is a sleepover with a horror movie. His friends will laugh if he screams like at the last show he saw. The lure of big candy from large houses is too much to resist.

Master storyteller Harley guides readers on a roller coaster ride of laughs and thrills. He provides resources for teachers on his website, in addition to posting lyrics to his songs and digital downloads of his stories. Follow him on Facebook, Twitter, and You Tube. Read more about the illustrator on the publisher’s website. A must-see is the Charlie Bumpers Blog where you’ll find short posts and a book trailer― just right for your readers.

Annika RizMILLS, Claudia. Annika Riz, Math Whiz  illus. by Rob Shepperson. (Franklin School Friends: Bk. 2). Farrar. 2014. ISBN 9780374303358. JLG Level: A : Intermediate Readers (Grades 3–5).

Annika Riz loves math. Everyone in her house loves math. So when her teacher tells her about a sudoku contest, she is determined to do whatever it takes to win. In the meantime, her Franklin School friends need to bake cookies for the school carnival. How hard could it possibly be?

Read about the author on her website where you can also find her blog. A Common Core State Standards (CCSS) curriculum guide for the series is available. You can follow her on Twitter. Connect with the illustrator at the publisher’s website. Betty Crocker has a website for kids’ baking. Kids interested in sudoku can check out Daily Sudoku for Kids.

Frank EinsteinSCIESZKA, Jon. Frank Einstein and the Antimatter Motor. illus. by Brian Biggs. Abrams/Amulet. (Frank Einstein: Bk. 1). Aug. 2014. ISBN 9781419712180. JLG Level: A : Intermediate Readers (Grades 3–5).

Science, robots, an evil villain, and Universal-Strength Peanut Butter Bubble Gum―who could ask for more in a chapter book? Frank Einstein is determined to win the Midville Science Prize with an invention that will change the world. But spies are everywhere and the fight to save his Grampa Al’s shop brings twists to a plot that races to the finish line.

Blending science with humor, Scieszka introduces his new series. Readers will want to know the correct pronunciation of the beloved author. His website is not-to-be-missed for fun, links to Guys Read, and his Favorite Answers to Frequently Asked Questions. Check out the amazing illustrations in the first of six books on the illustrator’s website. You can follow Scieszka and Biggs on Twitter. An activity guide with science experiments, word find, and other activities, as well as a teaching guide with extensive vocabulary and CCSS questions are available on the publisher’s website. Additional resources are posted in the Fall 2014 LiveBinder, such as the Wonderopolis lesson, “Do Robots Wonder?” and Tobey’s Robot Workshop at PBS.

Justin Case Rules ToolsVAIL, Rachel. Justin Case: Rules, Tools, and Maybe a Bully. illus. by Matthew Cordell. (Justin Case: Bk. 3). Fewel & Friends. 2014. ISBN 9781250039781. JLG Level: A+ : Intermediate Readers (Grades 3–5).

Justin Case is in the fourth grade for goodness sake, but the rules are different. His friend Noah is mad, and he can’t figure out why. Then there is his teacher Mr. Leonard whose raised eyebrow shuts them all up as completely as mute button. His little sister continually breaks the no kissing rule. And it’s the girls who come to his rescue when the boys give him the silent treatment. Everything gives him something to worry about.

Delightful illustrations and the poignant commentary of Justin Case’s life unite for a hilarious third installment of the series. On Vail’s website you’ll find links for teens and kids. Learn about the author’s interests and past jobs. Introduce new readers to the series with the book trailer. A visit to Cordell’s website reveals a glimpse at his portfolio and links to his blog. The Styling Librarian has a great interview with Cordell on her blog. Follow the author and illustrator on Twitter.

Case of the Stolen SixpenceWEBB, Holly. The Case of the Stolen Sixpence: The Mysteries of Maisie Hitchins. illus. by Marion Lindsay. (The Mysteries of Maisie Hitchins). Houghton Harcourt. Sept. 2014. ISBN 9780544339286. JLG Level: ME : Mystery/Adventure Elementary (Grades 2–6) .

Maisie Hitchins gets her chance to be a detective when the butcher delivery boy loses his job for theft. She quickly learns that the work is harder than she expected. Wearing disguises can be dangerous. Finding time to investigate when there are chores to be done is difficult. Proving her friend’s innocence puts her in a dilemma when she uncovers the truth of the crime.

Set in Victorian London, young readers get a taste of life in the past in the new series. For those without much experience, a visit to Primary History Victorian Britain reveals information about children of the time period. On the author’s website readers get a taste of the first chapter. Follow her on Facebook and Twitter. The series has its own website, featuring activities and an author video interview.  What interesting new job is the illustrator doing? Find out by reading her bio on her website. Kids may wonder about their fingerprints while reading the book, so include the Wonderopolis lesson, “What’s So Special About Your Fingerprints?” in your plans. Budding detectives can learn more about spy work at FBI Kids.

Additional Resources

The resources for the above titles have been organized in a new JLG Booktalks to Go: Fall 2014 LiveBinder. Titles are sorted by interest level, PreK-3, 3-6, 5-8, and YA. Check out our award-winning Spring 2014 LiveBinder which organizes resources for spring releases. All websites are posted within each LiveBinder, along with the accompanying booktalk. As I write more columns, more books and their resources are added. Everything you need to teach or share brand new, hot-off-the-press books is now all in one place. Booktalks and resources are also included on JLG’s BTG Pinterest board.

For library resources, tips, and ideas, please visit JLG’s Shelf Life Blog.

Junior Library Guild (JLG) is a collection development service that helps school and public libraries acquire the best new children’s and young adult books. Season after season, year after year, Junior Library Guild book selections go on to win awards, collect starred or favorable reviews, and earn industry honors. Visit us at www.JuniorLibraryGuild.com. (NOTE: JLG is owned by Media Source, Inc., SLJ’s parent company.)


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Deborah B. Ford About Deborah B. Ford

Deborah is the Director of Library Outreach for Junior Library Guild. She is an award-winning teacher librarian with almost 30 years of experience as a classroom teacher and librarian in K–12 schools.

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