Category Archives: Recommended Reads

The 2016 Summer Reading Challenge

Dear Families,
Summer provides such wonderful moments for discovery. With extra time off or just a few more hours of daylight in our evenings, most of us use the summer months to discover new hobbies, travel to new places, and dive into stacks and stacks of books.
Let’s make this a summer for discovering books. One of our favorite moments in the reading process is the hunt: searching for new titles and asking family and friends for their recommendations. This leads to surprises and great conversations. This quest to find books is an invaluable part of the reading process, a part that we help cultivate each week in our Lower School library sessions.
For the past several years, the Library Team has issued annual summer reading recommendations. These lists provide several great options, and our recommendations from 2014 and 2015 are still available for your enjoyment. The New York Public Library and the Association for Library Service to Children provide a wonderful selection of suggestions, as well.
In lieu of our usual recommendations, we are issuing a call to action: discover new, enchanting and surprising titles that we might not otherwise encounter within our normal range of reading interests. Below, you will find a list of ‘reading challenges’ that are shaped to help you and your child find new titles.

2016 Summer Reading Challenge

Any student starting the fall with a list of eight different titles that cover the eight summer reading challenges will be invited to a special Summer Reading Reception during the first full week of school.
We’ll sip lemonade. We’ll dive into the library’s famous homemade cookies. We’ll share our lists, recounting our favorite discoveries. And we’ll also offer first access to the hundreds of new titles that we’ll add to our collection over the summer.

We hope these challenges bring you a summer’s worth of reading interests and surprises. Below, you’ll find a list of local libraries that offer such great reading resources.

Tacoma Public Library

Pierce County Public Library

Kitsap Regional Library

Timberland Regional Library

While we are closed for regular library service over the next two months, do let us know if there is any other support we might offer you and your family. We wish you the best adventures from now until August, and we’re excited to see how your child takes on the 2016 Summer Reading Challenge.

All the best,

Joe Romano

Library Media Specialist

 

 

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Visiting Author: Stuart Gibbs!

The Library & Learning Commons is excited to announce that New York Times best selling author Stuart Gibbs will visit Annie Wright Schools on April 14 from 1:30-2:30.

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Gibbs is the author of several series, from his FunJungle Books and the Spy School series. He is currently touring the United States to promote his newest release, Spaced Out,  the second book in the Moon Base Alpha series.

Stuart Gibbs will speak to our 4th and 5th graders about his life as a learner, adventurer, and writer.

Stuart’s books will be available for purchase through our Annual Book Fair, and Stuart will then stay after his talk to sign books.

Below are some of the titles that will be available. Prices already include tax.

Moon Base Alpha #1: Space Case | recommended for ages 8-12 | paperback | $8.76

Moon Base Alpha #2: Spaced Out | recommended for ages 8-12 | hardcover | $18.62

Spy School #1 | recommended for ages 11-14 | paperback | $8.76

Spy School #2: Spy Camp | recommended for ages 11-14 | paperback | $8.76

Spy School #3: Evil Spy School | recommended for ages 11-14 | paperback | $8.76

FunJungle #1: Belly Up | recommended for ages 11-14 | paperback | $8.76

Thanks to Secret Garden Books for facilitating this great author visit!

 

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The Book Fair Returns!

Students, Parents, Teachers!

During the week of April 11 through April 15, we invite you to the Library & Learning Commons for our Annual Book Fair. The Book Fair will open on the afternoon of April 11, and we will run from 7:30 to 8:00am each morning thereafter and from 3:00 to 4:30 on each afternoon of that week. We will also extend the book fair hours to 5:30pm on Wednesday, April 15 in celebration of Annie Writer’s Tea.

This year’s Book Fair also coincides with a visit from New York Times best-selling author Stuart Gibbs, who will speak to our 4th and 5th graders about the adventurous and imaginative life of a writer. 4th and 5th graders will have the opportunity to have their copies of Stuart’s books signed by the author himself. Click here to learn more about this opportunity.

As in years past, we are excited that Seattle-based independent bookstore Secret Garden Books will be organizing our book fair. They’ll stock the fair with classic, eclectic and contemporary selections for any reading level and interest in our community. We particularly appreciate Secret Garden’s commitment to high quality books that resist commercial messaging.

Students are welcome to shop during their morning recess with a teacher’s permission or before and after school with a supervising adult. You can pay for your purchases with cash, a credit card, or a check payable to ‘Secret Garden Bookshop.’ Unfortunately, we cannot charge purchases to your Annie Wright Schools bookstore account at this time.

Our book fair provides a wonderful opportunity to excite readers young and old with wonderful selections, and proceeds of the fair contribute to maintaining our library’s expansive collection. If you have any questions, please contact Joe Romano or Carla Clark regarding the book fair.

And! Our book fair runs the smoothest with the generous help of volunteers. If you are interested in volunteering for our book fair for an afternoon (or for the week!), do let us know, and we’d be happy to have your help hawking books.

Happy Reading. And we’ll see you at the fair!

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Mongolia, Wolves, and Reading & Running the World: (or, The Week in Library: 3!)

When I’m not in the library, I’m often on the run, enjoying the trails and roads of Point Defiance or exploring new hills in downtown. And when I’m on the run, I’m plugged into an audiobook. So strange, I think, to have my ventures narrated by The Devil in the White City, Americanah, or The Wind-Up Bird ChroniclePerhaps a good zombie thriller would help add some strength to my gait.

Since June, my run read of choice has been Wolf Totem, a 26 hour audio epic. While it took me 4 hours to truly adjust to a style which enrolls characters to serve as satellites for ideology (as many works of political literature do), I’m utterly enamored by the work, which was initially recommended to me by one of our Chinese international students last year. This 2004 publication by Jiang Rong is the second best selling book in all of Chinese history, with Mao’s Little Red Book the only other work to supersede it in sales.

With three hours left in my listening, I’m continually enchanted, gutted, and elated in this realistic account of the Chinese push to develop inner Mongolia during the Cultural Revolution, an act that severely set back the sustainable, spiritual, and ecology-minded existence of the nomadic peoples of that region.

Truly, this is a book that’s made me add miles to my daily outings on foot, and it’s raised my consciousness over cultural conflict and the rapid implementation of technology to habituate humans in environments that we had been so ecologically mindful of for thousands of years.

So, that’s my fiction recommendation for the week. Our collection features two editions of Wolf Totem: the original Chinese version and its English translation.

Here are a few recommendations from our collection that I hope will constellate around this choice!

NONFICTION

What the World Eats, by Faith D’Aluisio, Peter Menzel

JUNIOR FICTION

I Rode a Horse of Milk and White Jade,         by Diane Lee Wilson

JUNIOR NONFICTION

Mongolian Folktales, by Hilary Roe Metternich

ILLUSTRATED

Suho’s White Horse: A Mongolian Legend, Retold by Yuzo Otsuka

THE WEEK IN LIBRARY

My excitement over such readings trumped a chronicle of this week in library, although don’t fret: we’re dishing books, raising levels of information literacy, and providing inspirational and aspirational learning spaces for all the learners in AWS. My favorite moment of the week is when our Kindergarteners approached me with drawings and photographs of where they’ll keep our library books safe when they bring them home.

Safe Places for BooksSo lovely, this utter excitement over selecting books and hauling them home. With such research into proper book care, our Kindergarteners have unlocked this next ability in their library lives.

Besides that, we’ve been rolling with a few great read alouds and some energetic activities (‘let’s pretend we’re books, and let’s organize ourselves!’).

With our first full week, the library’s on the move!

Endnote

*Scribd is another great resource for ebooks and audiobooks available on subscription basis. I also scour local libraries (and our own collection at AWS–the username and password are exactly the same: your ID number).

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The Week in Library: 1!

Happy New Year, AWS!. After a long, quiet summer, the library is ready for another raucous, vigorous year of reading, learning, and sharing. As a community space, the library was

Blue Tie Library Camp OutSome highlights from Week 1:

*9th Grade Orientation’s Camp out on the Soccer Field was moved indoors due to rain. While the Learning Commons is typically home base for homework and quiet reading in the after hours, we’re happy to host a multitude of events, and it was incredible to see the various forts and palaces our new and rising Blue Ties created.

*Middle School occupied the library on the opening day of school, as we cast aside all of our furniture to clear the floor for an exciting new year. While I didn’t get the chance to spend much of the orientation week with Middle School, I had a blast heading out to Millersylvania State Park to supervise a cabin for their overnight.

*5th Grade visited the library two times in two days, first to find titles for independent reading and second to challenge their library skills by navigating a scavenger hunt for titles relating to their Unit of Inquiry on Peace & Conflict.

*PreKindergarten, Kindergarten, and First Grade all enjoyed reading and discussing Little Elliot, Big City. Inspired by Andy Plemmons’s ideas for using this text with his elementary library students, we also used the story of this industrious elephant to consider how we navigate our large library space with the help of our friends.

We rounded out the week with a visit from 2nd & 3rd grades along with a stint with my section of 9th Grade Humanities. If the week’s excitement and energy about reading and learning together is any indication, this year in library is going to be great.

A Week in Recommendations

I walk our shelves each Friday afternoon, unearthing titles in our collection that are worth a deeper look. With a return to wetter late summer weather, I was reminded of the great PNW tale of The Raven. Nathan Hale’s Hazardous Tales has been such a hit with our younger readers, they are often unaware of the important dose of history these books provide; The Underground Abductor is Hale’s newest. The classic Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle wraps in almost every reader, and Drowned City is a timely reminder of the Katrina’s impact on New Orleans. And finally, The Theory of Everything: the story of a girl, her imaginary panda, and her quest to find her father. Kari Luna is an author to track, and this is best work to date.

FICTION

The Theory of Everything, by Kari Luna

NON-FICTION

Drowned City: Hurricane Katrina & New Orleans, by Don Brown

JUNIOR FICTION

Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle, by Betty MacDonald

JUNIOR NONFICTION

The Underground Abductor: Nathan Hale’s Hazardous Tales, by Nathan Hale

ILLUSTRATED The Raven: A Trickster Tale from the Pacific Northwest, by Gerald McDermott

2015 Lower School Summer Reading Recommendations!

Dear AWS Parents and Community Members,

Summer presents itself with such wonderful opportunities for informal reading and learning. Our children have more chances to freely dive into the topics, activities, and stories that do not always fit into the hectic pace of school life. What follows is a list of non-required reading recommendations that I hope will capture the interests and imaginations for our rising Preschool through Fifth Grade students.

Many of these will serve as perfect launchpads for a summer flush with learning, creation, and imagination. I hope you consider sharing these stories with your children through read alouds and conversations, as this is one of the most proven ways for parents to encourage academic success in children of all ages. Each title also presents opportunity for an accompanying activity, whether our young readers write a sequel, invent new stories with the same theme, or tackle a project that may have been presented within the narrative.

For more reading recommendations and techniques, you may consider Jim Trelease’s The Read Aloud Handbook or Diane F. Frankenstein’s Reading Together. We have copies of these in our library should you wish to check them out this summer.

Likewise, you may be interested in pursuing guides like UnBored: the Essential Field Guide to Serious Fun and Tinkerlab: A Hands On Guide for Little Inventors. These are flush with ideas for summer projects you may like to explore with your child, the projects will surely spark new interests and develop invaluable skills.

Additionally, there are many summer reading events and activities planned at our local public libraries, and they themselves are great resources for reading recommendations, as well. Here are links to the children’s programming for several local libraries:

Tacoma Public Library

Pierce County Public Library

Kitsap Regional Library

Timberland Regional Library

If you have any questions regarding reading opportunities, suggestions, or activities, never hesitate to e-mail us: library@aw.org.

Thanks for a great year of reading and learning. We’ll be excited to reopen the library in August.

All the best,

Joe Romano

Library Media Specialist

Reading Lists for Rising Grade Levels

Preschool and PreKindergarten

Kindergarten

First Grade

Second Grade

Third Grade

Fourth Grade

Fifth Grade

A note on these lists:

When available, we have provided links to the e-book editions of our summer reading recommendations, as many of them are available through Overdrive, our digital lending service. You can access these titles through your home computer, an e-reader, a tablet device like the iPad or the Kindle Fire, or even your smartphone. Click here to learn how your device can access our e-reading services. During this process, you will be prompted to enter your student’s username and password. This username and password are both your student’s AWS ID number. If you need assistance in accessing OverDrive, please visit our library or send along an e-mail, and we are more than happy to help.
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Fourth Grade Summer Reading Recommendations

Wonder, by R.J. Palacio

Click here for an e-book edition available through the AWS Library

August Pullman was born with a facial difference that, up until now, has prevented him from going to a mainstream school. Starting 5th grade at Beecher Prep, he wants nothing more than to be treated as an ordinary kid—but his new classmates can’t get past Auggie’s extraordinary face. (from publisher’s note)
Have a Hot Time, Hades! by Kate McMullen

Click here for an e-book edition available through the AWS Library

Think you know the real story behind the Greek myths? Think again. Most people only know what Zeus wants them to. But the truth is, Zeus is a total myth-o-maniac. Hades, King of the Underworld, is here to set the record straight on how he ended up as Ruler of the Underworld and Zeus became King of the Gods. (from publisher’s note)

Hereville: How Mirka Got Her Sword, by Barry Deutsch

Spunky, strong-willed eleven-year-old Mirka Herschberg isn’t interested in knitting lessons from her stepmother, or how-to-find-a-husband advice from her sister, or you-better-not warnings from her brother. There’s only one thing she “does” want: to fight dragons! (from publisher’s note)

Jinx, by Sage Blackwood

Click here for an e-book edition available through the AWS Library!

In the Urwald, you don’t step off the path. Trolls, werewolves, and butter-churn riding witches lurk amid the clawing branches, eager to swoop up the unwary. Jinx has always feared leaving the path—then he meets the wizard Simon Magus. (from publisher’s note)

The 14 Fibs of Gregory K., by Greg Pincus
Gregory K is the middle child in a family of mathematical geniuses. But if he claimed to love math? Well, he’d be fibbing. What he really wants most is to go to Author Camp. But to get his parents’ permission he’s going to have to pass his math class, which has a probability of 0. THAT much he can understand! To make matters worse, he’s been playing fast and loose with the truth: “I LOVE math” he tells his parents. “I’ve entered a citywide math contest!” he tells his teacher. “We’re going to author camp!” he tells his best friend, Kelly. And now, somehow, he’s going to have to make good on his promises.(from publisher’s note)

Additional Recommendations

Smile, by Raina Telgemeier

The Penderwicks, by Jeanne Birdsall | Click here for an e-book edition

Flora & Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures, by Kate DiCamillo | Click here for an e-book edition

Holes, by Louis Sachar | Click here for an e-book edition

Lincoln’s Graverobbers, by Steve Sheinken

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Third Grade Summer Reading Recommendations

The Tale of Despereaux, by Kate Dicamillo

Click here for an e-book edition available through the AWS Library

Welcome to the story of Despereaux Tilling, a mouse who is in love with music, stories, and a princess named Pea. It is also the story of a rat called Roscuro, who lives in the darkness and covets a world filled with light. And it is the story of Miggery Sow, a slow-witted serving girl who harbors a simple, impossible wish. These three characters are about to embark on a journey that will lead them down into a horrible dungeon, up into a glittering castle, and, ultimately, into each other’s lives. (from publisher’s note)

The Strange Case of Origami Yoda, by Tom Angleberger

Click here for an e-book edition available through the AWS Library

Not so long ago, in a middle school not so far away, a sixth grader named Dwight folded an origami finger puppet of Yoda. For class oddball Dwight, this wasn’t weird. It was typical Dwight behavior. But what is weird is that Origami Yoda is uncannily wise and prescient. He can predict the date of a pop quiz, guess who stole the classroom Shakespeare bust, and save a classmate from popularity-crushing embarrassment with some well-timed advice. (from publisher’s note)

The Platypus Police Squad: The Frog Who Croaked , by Jarrett J. Krosoczka

Click here for an e-book edition available through the AWS Library

When a call comes in about a crime down at the docks involving a missing schoolteacher and a duffle bag full of illegal fish, Zengo and O’Malley are going to have to learn to set their differences aside if they want to get to the bottom of this. Especially when the clues all point to Frank Pandini Jr., Kallamazoo’s first son and its most powerful, well-respected businessman. (from publisher’s note)

El Deafo, by Cece Bell

Click here for an e-book edition available through the AWS Library

Going to school and making new friends can be tough. But going to school and making new friends while wearing a bulky hearing aid strapped to your chest? That requires superpowers! In this funny, poignant graphic novel memoir, author/illustrator Cece Bell chronicles her hearing loss at a young age and her subsequent experiences with the Phonic Ear, a very powerful—and very awkward—hearing aid. (from publisher’s note)

The Invention of Hugo Cabret, by Brian Selznick

Orphan, clock keeper, and thief, Hugo lives in the walls of a busy Paris train station, where his survival depends on secrets and anonymity. But when his world suddenly interlocks with an eccentric, bookish girl and a bitter old man who runs a toy booth in the station, Hugo’s undercover life, and his most precious secret, are put in jeopardy. A cryptic drawing, a treasured notebook, a stolen key, a mechanical man, and a hidden message from Hugo’s dead father form the backbone of this intricate, tender, and spellbinding mystery. (from publisher’s note)

Additional Recommendations

Big, Bad Ironclad, by Nathan Hale | Click here for an e-book edition

The Sasquatch Escape, by Suzanne Selfors & Dan Santat

The Terrible Two, by Mac Barnet, Jory John, and Kevin Cornell (illus.)

Fake Mustache, by Tom Angleberger | Click here for an e-book edition

The Fairy Tale Detectives, by Michael Buckley | Click here for an e-book edition

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Second Grade Summer Reading Recommendations

The Hidden Stairs and the Magic Carpet, by Tony Abbott

Eric, Julie, and Neal have just found something magic in Eric’s basement. They have discovered a staircase to another world! The world of Droon is amazing – full of magic, flying lizards, and fun, furry creatures. But how will Eric, Julie, and Neal find their way home? (from publisher’s note)

Rosie Revere, Engineer, by Andrea Beaty & David Roberts (illus.)

Click here for an e-book edition available through the AWS Library

Rosie may seem quiet during the day, but at night she’s a brilliant inventor of gizmos and gadgets who dreams of becoming a great engineer. When her great-great-aunt Rose (Rosie the Riveter) comes for a visit and mentions her one unfinished goal–to fly–Rosie sets to work building a contraption to make her aunt’s dream come true. (from publisher’s note)

Shackleton’s Journey, by William Grill

Young, up-and-coming illustrator William Grill weaves a detailed visual narrative of Shackleton’s journey to Antarctica. Grill’s beautiful use of colored pencils and vibrant hues effortlessly evokes the adventure and excitement that surrounded the expedition. His impeccably researched drawings, rich with detail, fastidiously reproduce the minutiae of the expedition. (from publisher’s note)

The Most Magnificent Thing, by Ashley Spires

Click here for an e-book edition available through the AWS Library

A girl has a wonderful idea. “She is going to make the most MAGNIFICENT thing! She knows just how it will look. She knows just how it will work. All she has to do is make it, and she makes things all the time. Easy-peasy!” But making her magnificent thing is anything but easy, and the girl tries and fails, repeatedly. Eventually, the girl gets really, really mad. She is so mad, in fact, that she quits. But after her dog convinces her to take a walk, she comes back to her project with renewed enthusiasm and manages to get it just right. (from the publisher’s note)

Guinea Dog, by Patrick Jennings

Click here for an e-book edition available through the AWS Library

Rufus has been dreaming of getting a dog. His best friend has one. His worst friend has one. But his dad has a few objections: They whine. They gnaw. They bark. They scratch. They beg. They drool. Rufus pays no attention when his mom offers her think-outside-the-box suggestion, because she can’t be serious. She can’t be. She can be. And she actually comes home with a guinea pig. And if Rufus’s dad thinks dogs are a problem, he won’t know what hit him when he meets the Guinea Pig that Thinks She’s a Dog. She barks. She bites. She’ll eat your homework. (from publisher’s note)

Additional Recommendations

The One and Only Ivan, by Katherine Applegate | Click here for an e-book edition

Me…Jane, by Patrick McDonnell

Do Not Open this Book, by Michaela Muntean & Pascal Lemaitre (illus.)

Mercy Watson to the Rescue, by Kate DiCamillo & Chris Van Dusen (illus.)  | Click here for an e-book edition

Stuart Little, by E.B. White & Garth Reynolds (illus). | Click here for an e-book edition

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First Grade Summer Reading Recommendations

Nugget & Fang: Friends Forever—or Snack Time? Tammi Sauer and Michael Slack (illus.)

In the deep ocean, tiny Nugget and big, toothy Fang get along swimmingly—until Nugget’s first day of minnow school. There Nugget learns that minnows are supposed to be afraid of sharks! To regain Nugget’s trust, Fang takes desperate (and hilarious) measures. But it’s not until his big sharp teeth save the entire school that minnows learn this shark is no foe. Fantastically stylized artwork adds even more humor to this undersea story of unlikely friendship. (from publisher’s description)

Ten Rules of Being a Superhero, by Deb Pilutti

In this handy guide, Captain Magma and his trusty sidekick, Lava Boy, take young readers on an adventure to learn all ten rules of being a good superhero. (from publisher’s note)

11 Experiments that Failed, by Jenny Offill and Nancy Carpenter (illus.)

By reading the step-by-step instructions, kids can discover the answers to such all-important questions along with the book’s curious narrator. Here are 12 “hypotheses,” as well as lists of “what you need,” “what to do,” and “what happened” that are sure to make young readers laugh out loud as they learn how to conduct science experiments (really!) (from publisher’s note)

Hi, Koo!: A Year of Seasons, by John J. Muth

With a featherlight touch and disarming charm, Jon J Muth–and his delightful little panda bear, Koo–challenge readers to stretch their minds and imaginations with twenty-six haikus about the four seasons.  (from publisher’s note)

My Name is Yoon, by Helen Recordist & Gabi Swiatkowska (illus.)
Helen Recorvits’s spare and inspiring story about a little girl finding her place in a new country is given luminous pictures filled with surprising vistas and dreamscapes by Gabi Swiatkowska. (from publisher’s note)

Additional Reading Recommendations

This is a Moose, by Richard T. Morris & Tom Lichtenheld (illus.)

Around the World on Eighty Legs, by Amy Gibson & Daniel Salmieri (illus.)

Diary of a Fly, by Doreen Cronin & Harry Bliss (illus.)

The Right Word: Roget and His Thesaurus, by Jennifer Fisher Bryant & Melissa Sweet (illus.)

How to Make an Apple Pie and See the World, by Marjorie Ariceman | Click here for an e-book edition

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