Susan Goldman Rubin
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I Like to Read Books
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Classroom Picks . . . Summer Reading! All available in e-book format!

Summer is the perfect time to get lost in a good book! New readers can follow a frisky dog through a lush garden, middle graders have choices that range from fun adventures to learning a hard lesson about love and letting go to a daring-princess fantasy. And we even have some Steampunk for YAs!

This Month's Picks

I Have a Garden
An I Like to Read® Book Level B
by Bob Barner
Bob Barner, Illustrator


K: RF.3, 3a, 3b, 3c, 3d, 4, RL.1-10
1: RF.1, 1a, 3, 3a, 3b, 3c, 3g, 4, 4a, 4b, 4c, RL.1-9
2: RL.1-7

This book is aligned with the COMMON CORE STATE STANDARDS for kindergarten and first grade in Phonics and Word Recognition, as well as in Fluency, and in first grade Print Concepts.

"I have a garden," a frisky dog announces. In simple sentences the dog guides new readers through a bright and lush garden, which is home to a chipmunk, a bird, a bug, and all sorts of other creatures.

"This garden is for me," the dog continues.

"No. This garden is for all of us. We have a garden," answer his animal neighbors. Illustrated in vibrant collage, this deceptively simple I Like to Read® book is a celebration of nature and community, plus readers can play spot the dog on nearly every spread.


"A playful pup shares the wonders of his garden and all the living things that reside in it. . . . Superb."—Booklist

"The bright pictures, particularly coupled witht he clearly defined value of the garden as a shared environment, make this a nice choice for preschoolers, too."—Kirkus Reviews

"Barner's amusing artwork done in paper collage, gouache, pastel, and pencil radiates off the pages as a playful pup shares the wonders of his garden and all of the living things that reside in it. The clear vocabulary and engaging drawings provide the earliest readers with a delightful story. . . . Simple sentences, repetition, and a large font assure success for children just learing to read. This leveled series supports core standards, helping beginning readers understand characters, setting, and plot while building reading fluency. Super choices for the very earliest readers."—School Library Journal

Hunter Moran Saves the Universe
by Patricia Reilly Giff

Grades: FIFTH

3: RL.3
5: RL.4, RL.6
6: RL.2, RL.6

Two-time Newbery Honor winner Patricia Reilly Giff has created a novel filled with whimsical characters, lots of mischief, and plenty of heart.

Twins Hunter and Zack have a small problem to solve: they must save their town from a diabolical dentist who is planning to blow it to smithereens. But first they have to hold a funeral for an incriminating report card before it breaks their mother's heart, hide a cello that has been demolished, and keep their father from finding out what they did to his laptop. None of this is going to be easy with their busybody older sister, Linny, watching their every move; older brother, William, just waiting to get them in trouble; five-year-old brother, Steadman, tailing them; and baby Mary banging her spoon like a maniac so no one can think. Before the book is over, a vintage airplane, a hot-air balloon, and a borrowed fire engine will all play parts in the unfolding mystery.


"With a wry blend of mystery and farce, fifth-grader Hunter describes the crazy goings-on in his small town over a summer."-Booklist

"With Giff as skilled accomplice, the Morans provide delightful entertainment."-Publishers Weekly

"This is an amusing tale of an imagination gone wild, an affectionate tribute to a kid whose mischief is entirely warm-hearted and endearing. Hunter's voice is pitch perfect."-The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

"The boys' exaggerated escapades make for an appealing read-aloud as well as a successful summer read."-Kirkus Reviews

Patricia Reilly Giff is the author of many highly acclaimed books for children, including Lily's Crossing, a Newbery Honor Book and Boston Globe-Horn Book Honor Book, Pictures of Hollis Woods, a Newbery Honor Book; and Don't Tell the Girls: A Family Memoir. She lives in Connecticut.

Possum Summer
by Jen K. Blom
Omar Rayyan, Illustrator

Grades: FIFTH


Possum Summer is a heartbreaking novel about a girl and her father whose fractious relationship is healed by the hard lessons they learn about love and letting go.

Eleven-year-old P (short for Princess, a name she loathes) longs for a pet, but her father insists that all animals on their Oklahoma farm must earn their keep. While he's away on combat duty in Iraq, P tries to turn his cattle dog into her pet—with disastrous results. Then P rescues an orphaned opossum that she names Ike. She hand-feeds the beguiling critter, smuggles him into school, and teaches him to follow her everywhere. But when her father is reported injured, P knows that before he is shipped home, she must betray Ike's trust and force him to survive in the wild.


Check out the Debut Novels Reading Group Guide.


"Blom captures the feel of rural America . . . in an authentic exploration of friendship, a family under stress, and a child learning to cope with consequences."—Booklist

Ivy's Ever After
by Dawn Lairamore

Grades: FIFTH

3-5: RL.3
6: RL.6

Full of humor and high adventure—and plenty of slightly skewed fairy-tale motifs—this frothy, fractured fairy tale will delight young readers.

Once upon a time in the kingdom of Ardendale there lived a spirited princess named Ivy, who had no interest in being rescued by Prince Charming, and an undersized dragon named Elridge, who was better at solving word puzzles than breathing fire. Sailing into this world on a ship made of whale bones came Romil, a handsome prince with dastardly designs on Princess Ivy and her kingdom. Ivy and Elridge, both disappointments to their families, join forces to try and thwart Romil's evil plot. In the process these traditional enemies become fast friends, discover hidden strengths, and earn the respect of all who know them.

Check out the author's website and her book trailer for IVY'S EVER AFTER.


"Evenly paced with humor to match, this fractured fairy tale will delight tween readers. ."—Kirkus Reviews

"Ivy is an engaging alternative to the standard damsel-in-distress figure. . . . A lushly vivid setting, witty dialogue, and lots of adventure."—Booklist

The Incredible Charlotte Sycamore
by Kate Maddison

Grades: SIXTH

6: RL.5
6-8: RL.3

Queen Victoria's court knows Charlotte Sycamore as the mild-mannered sixteen-year-old daughter of the Her Majesty's royal surgeon. Yet Charlotte has a penchant for inventing new gadgets, and most nights she sneaks out to sword fight with her best friends, Peter and Jillian. When the three are mauled by what look like rabid dogs, Charlotte is forced to hide both her friends and her own injury. As her symptoms worsen and people are murdered across London, she embarks in a race against time to find the antidote and ultimately save the queen's own life. Full of action, luxe royal court, engineered beasts, and a good dose of humor, this steampunk novel is a masterful blend of science fiction, fantasy, and alternative history.


"This steampunk novel has it all: deceptions, a brainy and courageous girl, violence, inventions and mystery set in Victorian England. Charlotte’s tale is indeed incredible—in a good way."—Kirkus Reviews

"The underlying mystery and Charlotte’s rebellious antics will have readers swiftly turning pages to see what happens next, while the plentiful period detail and light-touch romance give them a reason to linger. . . . A thoroughly engrossing read."—The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

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