A blog about the amazing things teenagers do, about writing for teens, books for teens, and occasional forays into my world and the world of publishing.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Book Review Wednesday--A First Grade Perspective

Today was our school barbecue, so I got to have lunch with my son's 1st grade class.

The first thing I learned while I was there was, the best part of eating school lunch with 1st graders is that when you're having ice cream, you get to eat dessert first so it doesn't melt! What a GREAT idea! When I was in grade school, we had to eat all the icky stuff like mushy peas and carrots and slimy green beans before we could eat desert.

The second thing I learned surprised, impressed, and amazed me almost as much--these kids are really reading!!! While we were eating, I asked them what there favorite books were. I expected to hear a lot of picture books, but what I heard were chapter books. (For first graders!) And when I asked them who was reading them the chapter books, they said, "No one. We read them ourselves."

Yay for great beginning reader books!

Here are some of their favorites:

RAMONA BOOKS by Beverly Cleary. Obviously these have been revitalized with the new movie, BEEZUS and RAMONA. I was excited to hear that a lot of the little girls were reading Ramona books, because they were my absolute favorite books back in the day when veggies came before dessert. I'm thrilled that the legacy of the little girl who gets herself into trouble just by being herself lives on.

MAGIC TREEEHOUSE Books--Full of adventure, fantasy and fact, Mary Pope Osborn's Magic Tree house books are a great combination for kids. My older kids loved them, but I hadn't considered getting them out for my first grader yet, and we have a bunch. (Can anyone say summer reading?) When I looked into the series I realized that it's continued on from a few years ago, when my almost-fifth-grader read them. The latest books in the series look like they venture more into fantasy, but the book my first grade friends said they liked the most was DOLPHINS AT DAYBREAK.

JUNIE B. JONES--(You knew it was coming,) It may be grammar poor, but JUNIE B. is humor rich, crazy and highly relate-able for young kids. JUNIE B. is in many ways a more modern Ramona. My daughter loved these when she was in first, second grade and third grade and the girls in my son's class said they loved them too. These are also fun books are to read out loud with your kids.

Besides the early reader chapter books, my first grade book critics mentioned a few of their favorite picture books including; the SCAREDY THE SQUIRREL series, (which I love too because the aside comments are hilarious,) SKIPPY JON JONES books, and BEDTIME IN THE SWAMP (which happens to be a book I picked up at the LDStorymakers conference.

My lunch with first graders class taught me two valuable life lessons:

1) Eat dessert first!
2) You're never too young to love reading!

What are your favorite early reader/chapter books?

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