It’s time for another month of book recommendations. This list of books from former Summit teacher Ashley Hare is perfect for cuddling up inside as the weather starts to cool down. There are tons of great options for each reading level so there is something for everyone. Let us know if you pick up any of these and what you think.

Picture Books

Because by Mo Willems

“Beautiful and inspirational. Along with hard work, and sometimes a dash of luck, this book shows how events, no matter how small, can impact your life. Music lovers will especially appreciate this story, but the theme can be applied to life in general as well.” –Ashley

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Jasper & Ollie by Alex Willan

“This humorous story illustrates how sometimes it can be nice to slow down, be patient, and enjoy life. Young readers will enjoy looking at all the details and watching the two different scenarios on the pages: Fox who is speed racing and making a mess of his surroundings and Sloth, on the bottom of the page, who is taking his time heading to the pool.” –Ashley

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Magic Ramen: The Story of Momofuku Ando by Andrea Wang

“I love good stories, but I especially love good stories that are based on real life events and people. Who knew there was an interesting, passionate, and kind-hearted inventor behind instant ramen?! Momofuku Ando shows students what perseverance and making a difference is all about.” –Ashley

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Middle Reader Books (Grades 3-5):

Shouting at the Rain by Lynda Mullaly Hunt

“I absolutely loved this novel. Lunda Mullaly Hunt creates an engaging read, set in Cape Cod during the summer, FULL of valuable and important lessons for young readers. I loved how so many of the lessons were “told” through the use of metaphors and similes. I honestly laughed out loud at this one: “Potential is like coupons in a drawer. If you leave them there, they are nothing but scraps of paper.”

Delsie and Ronan will illustrate perspective to readers – how you can look at the same situation and decide what you see positive or negative. Readers will also discover how anger can be controlled and how important it is to listen to that inner voice we all have. Finally, in this novel, children are encouraged to talk about their feelings instead of bottling everything up inside and are told that a mistake does not define a person.” –Ashley

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Sweet Home Alaska by Carole Estby Dagg

“In all honesty I bought this book since I was going to Alaska and it did have good reviews. But I am surprised by how much I enjoyed it, which is a good thing! Like with “Little House on the Prairie” and other historical fiction novels, I am just fascinated and inspired by pioneers and appreciate that part of history that I did not know that much about. This book centers around Terpsichore and her family, which is one of the families chosen to move to Palmer, Alaska, as part of the New Deal colony in Alaska by President Roosevelt. You’ll love Terpsichore and her determined ways! As I was reading, I could not stop imagining what it must have been like to move all the way to Alaska to start up a colony from scratch – how brave and dedicated you must have to be. I absolutely recommend this book for families or classrooms wanting to learn more about American History, be inspired by an 11-year-old entrepreneur, or just for an entertaining story. I also loved reading the Author’s Note about exactly what was fiction and nonfiction in her book and why a big element was chosen to be absent from the plot.” –Ashley

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The Firefly Code by Megan Frazer Blakemore

“It’s no surprise that I thoroughly enjoyed this youth dystopian novel (one of my favorite genres!). Set in a safe and perfect utopian community, Mori and her friends on Firefly Lane begin to wonder and question the practices of their community which include parents being able to alter their children’s capabilities and personalities. Questions of ethics, artificial intelligence, and friendship end up causing the friends to decide whether they are willing to risk everything to save their new friend, Ilana.

At first I was slightly disappointed by the end of this book, but then I realized I need to read the next book “The Daybreak Bond” to find out the rest of the story of what happens to Mori and her friends!” –Ashley

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Upper Middle Readers (Grades 5+)

Nine, ten: A September 11 Story by Nora Raskin 

“This story expertly, beautifully, and emotionally follows four middle schoolers the two days leading up to Sept. 11th and then shortly after. Nora Baskin provides children with the perspective of being a student during this tragic event, and for those of us old enjoy to remember the day we were in school and found out a plane hit the Twin Towers…this powerful novel will bring up all those emotions again. A must read.” –Ashley

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A Drop of Hope by Keith Calabrese

“This book really surprised me. I really enjoyed it. I love that the novel illustrated that good, and genuine, friendships can form with classmates that might appear extremely different from you. I love that kindness wins in this book. I loved being constantly surprised by how everything and everyone is somehow linked together. I loved watching the main characters find their voice and strength. And I love that this book promotes hopefulness.” –Ashley

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Blended by Sharon Draper

“Raw. Thought-provoking. Eye-opening. Innocent.

This coming-of-age novel is packed with complex and important topics such as stereotypes, identity, police brutality, and split families all from an 11 year old girl’s perspective. Topics that can be tough to read but need to be shared. This book would make for a good family read aloud to have an open discussion about the difficult situations that arise in this honest story.

Sharon Draper nailed the voice of pre-teen Isabella. I frequently found myself chuckling at Isabella’s metaphors and descriptions of her crazy split life because she had to be shared by her mom and dad who are divorced – so many children can relate to her feelings on that topic. And many students will either relate or learn from “watching” Isabella go through understanding who she is with regards to being biracial.

And piano enthusiasts will enjoy this book as well!” –Ashley

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