Welcome to One Busy Momma! The Blog for Busy Moms by one Busy Mom.....

Welcome to my blog. One Busy Momma is my space to rant about my life and the things that happen in it. I have a crazy life - and instead of focusing on the crazy - I like to focus on the funny. Because if I focused on the craziness - well, I'd have been shipped off to an institution long, long ago. And while, I'll admit, there are some days when being institutionalized sounds PRETTY GOOD compared to making ANOTHER diorama at 1am - I'd rather be right where I am - in my messy house with my not so perfect kids making crooked dioramas in the middle of the night.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Summer Reading List 2012 - the Kiddie Edition!

"The more you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you'll go." - Dr. Seuss

Ain't THAT the truth! Well, here it is Peeps - my first annual summer reading list for KIDS!!! I'm SO excited about this post and I've been doing quite a bit of research for it. As my friends Phineus and Ferb sing: "There's 104 days of Summer Vacation 'till school comes along just to end it...so the annual problem of our generation is finding a good way to spend it..."And as we all know - in Busy Momma's house, one of the ways we spend our summer vacation is by reading. We all read our own books for about an hour every day and then we read a few novels aloud in the evenings. Over the past several years, I've had quite a few parents ask me for some suggestions for some really great books for their little guys and gals to read over the summer holiday. So, I've put a few lists together and I've arranged them by age and/or grade level. The lists are by no means exhaustive. I have only listed books that I have read or that my guys have read and enjoyed. Feel free to add to the lists!


I love to give books as gifts. I think giving a big basket of classic books as a baby gift or a baby shower gift is just too perfect for words. Whenever I do this - I include the following 10 classic books that I believe every well read baby HAS to have on his or her book shelf:
  1. Goodnight Moon - Margaret Wise Brown
  2. Pat the Bunny - Dorothy Kunhardt
  3. Where the Wild Things Are - Maurice Sendak
  4. The Giving Tree - Shel Silverstein
  5. The Little Engine that Could - Watty Pipen
  6. Oh The Places You'll Go! - Dr. Seuss
  7. Corduroy - Don Freeman
  8. Are You my Mother? - P.D. Eastman
  9. Cars and Trucks and Things That Go - Richard Scary
  10. What do People Do All Day? - Richard Scary
GREAT Picture Books

 I could probably write for days about picture books that I love. Picture books are so great for so many reasons. They are quick to read - the artwork is BEAUTIFUL in so many of them, kids love to hear them read over and over again and they remember them. Last night we were talking about our favorite picture books and Jack - who is my reluctant reader -started rattling off titles: Snowmen at Night, Aunti Claus, Whose Baby Am I..... So I have come up with a list of some of my absolute favorites. If you haven't read these aloud to your kids - try to pick one or two of them up at the library this summer. I bet you'll love them as much as we do.
  1. A Bad Case of the Stripes - David Shannon
  2. The Kissing Hand - Audrey Penn
  3. Dear Mrs. LaRue: Letters from Obedience School - Mark Teague
  4. The Mitten - Jan Brett
  5. The Lorax - Dr. Seuss
  6. Madeline - Ludwig Bemelmans
  7. Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Tale - Mo Williams
  8. Diary of a Worm - Doreen Cronin
  9. Goodnight Gorilla - Peggy Rathman
  10. Strega Nona - Tomie de Paola
  11. Sylvester and the Magic Pebble - William Steig
  12. Chrysanthemum - Kevin Henkes
  13. Owl Moon - Jane Yolen
  14. Thank You Mr. Faulkner - Patricia Pollaco
You've probably noticed that the authors of most of these books are beloved authors. You really can't go wrong with ANY of their books!

Chapter Books and Series by Grade Level

Book leveling is a tricky business. There are several different formulas and ways to level books. Lexile levels only look at number of words per sentence and level of vocabulary. While that's part of the formula- it's not the whole picture. You must take your child's interests, age, maturity and background experience into account when you help him or her select books to read independently. I like to use the "five finger rule" when I help kids pick books to read on their own. I have them open the book to any page and try to read it. If there are 5 or more words on that page that they can't read on their own - the book is probably too hard for them to read by themselves. If they REALLY want to read it - that's fine. Just be prepared to make that book a shared read or a read aloud. It's really important that kids have books to read independently. They need to build their independent reading muscles with texts that are at their "just right reading levels" not so hard that their are spending all of their brain power on decoding the words. If they are - then they are not comprehending the story - and that's no good. But we also don't want them reading something so easy that it's not requiring them to stretch those muscles a bit to make them stronger. I like the website http://www.scholastic.com/ to help me figure out what books are appropriate for my guys. They give a grade level range for almost all titles you will ever come across. That is how I came up with many of the leveling suggestions I am about to make.

Grades 2-3

Junie B. Jones - Barbara Parks

I am a HUGE Junie B. fan. She is absolutely hysterical. If you haven't read the "Yulky Blucky Fruitcake" - make it a must read. You will laugh at the toilet scene - that's all I'm saying...

The Magic Tree House - Mary Pope Osbourne

Great books for boys. Lots of action and adventure rooted in historical events. My daughter LOVED the ones that took place in and around Camelot. I would definitely say these are more along the lines of end of second grade-beginning of third grade readabilty.

My Weird School - Dan Gutman

This is a whole series - and it is really funny. We just finished reading "Mr. Harrison is an Embarrassment". These are great for second and third graders - especially boys. Lots of humor - much at the expense of the girls in the class. Also there are a lot of illustrations - it is almost like a graphic novel - but not quite.

Flat Stanley - Jeff Brown

3rd Grade

Mr. Popper's Penguins - Richard Attwater

Encyclopedia Brown - Donald Sobol

Ramona the Great - Beverly Cleary

Ribsy - Beverly Cleary

Ivy and Bean - Annie Barrows

Geronimo Stilton - Geronimo Stilton

Bad Kitty - Nick Bruel

Grades 3-5

Sarah, Plain and Tall - Patricia MacLachlan

James and The Giant Peach - Roald Dahl

Charlie and the Chocoalte Factory - Roald Dahl

Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing - Judy Blume

Freckle Juice - Judy Blume

Fudge - Judy Blume

Frindle - Andrew Clements

Diary of a Wimpy Kid - Jeff Kinney

Charlotte's Web - E B White

Because of Winn Dixie - Kate Di Camillo

Shiloh - Phyllis Reynolds Naylor

Harry Potter series - J K Rowling

5th grade and up

Some of these titles are considered YA and deal with sensitive subjects. I LOVED Out of the Dust however, I would definitely suggest that YOU read it before your 11 year old reads it to be sure that he or she can handle it. The mother dies in a fire that the main character is responsible for. That being said - it's a great book.

The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe - C. S. Lewis (The readability on this one is listed as 6th grade. I'm not sure I agree with that. I think it's easier than that.)

The City of Ember - Jeanne DuPrau

Number the Stars - Lois Lowry

The Giver - Lois Lowry

Hatchet -  Gary Paulsen

The Hunger Games trilogy - Suzanne Collins

Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH - Robert O'Brien

Bridge to Terabithia - Katherine Paterson

Esperanza Rising - Pam Munoz Ryan

Tuck Everlasting - Natalie Babbit

Out of the Dust - Karen Hesse

Little Women - Louisa May Alcott

What We Are Reading This Summer:

Read Alouds:

The Phantom Tollbooth - Norton Juster

It's the 50th anniversarry of this classic and we've NEVER read it.

From the Mixed up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler - E. L. Konigsburg

This was one of my favorite stories growing up - about a brother and a sister who run away from home and live in the Metropolitan Museum of Art for part of one summer! I hope my guys don't get any ideas...

The Cricket in Times Square - George Selden

I've never read this one!


Bella wants to read The Wind in the Willows and I'd like her to read The Penderwicks. I'm sure she will have some sort of required reading list going into middle school, so we will see what happens!


Jack is on a Flat Stanley kick right now. I am going to try to introduce Encyclopedia Brown because he liked Nate the Great so much. He really has to be bribed to read...so we will see how it goes

So there you have it. Hopefully you'll find something on the list to wet their whistle this summer. My next post will be my summer reading list for grown ups!!!!

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