Sports Illustrated has published a collection of Rookie Books for 6 sports: soccer, football, baseball, hockey, lacrosse, with the latest on basketball. These books, on the 2nd grade RU Level, describe the game basics using fun illustrations and simple explanations. Illustrated characters also appear to give fun facts. These are a good shared reads for adults and students.
Rookie Books from sports illustrated
The Big Dark
Author: Rodman Philbrick
RU Level: 6th Grade
In one puzzling, baffling, unexplained burst of light, all electricity on earth no longer works. This means no cars, no running water, no phones, no a lot of things. As Charlie tries to make sense of this new reality and tries to figure out how to live in it, he realizes that his mother's diabetic medication will run out shortly unless he acts. While handling others acting in a way to take advantage of the situation instead of looking out for others, Charlie goes on a trek to save his mother--despite his fear and the challenges he encounters.
There is a scene where some dead bodies are found but it isn't described in detail. The rest of the situation is handled in a manner appropriate for middle-graders.
Click, Clack, again. . . .
Click, Clack, Quack to School
Author: Doreen Cronin
RU Level: Kindergarten
Farmer Brown receives an invitation to bring the animals to school who are super-excited until they hear the news--there are rules at school! WHAT?? They have to stand in line?? They have to share?? They have to be quiet?? Or do they. . . .
Silly and charming and perfect for Kindergartners who may feel the same way! A wonderful addition to the Click, Clack collection.
Author: Terry Lynn Johnson
RU Level: 4th Grade
The "Survivor Diaries" are filled with exciting, page-turning adventures set in different dangerous situations. Written by a survival expert with seventeen years of experience, they also include real-life survival tips for the reader to learn from, both modeled by the twin boy and girl characters as part of the unfolding action in the story and as factual information at the end of the book. Would you know the best things to do if caught in an avalanche, in freezing cold water, in a dust storm, or if lost (see below for an example)? These books are "two-fers" --- great entertainment and great knowledge building. Here's hoping there will be more books to come!
Secrets of American History Collection
Books from the Science of Fun Stuff Collection and the History of Fun Stuff Collection are often checked out and enjoyed by 3rd grade students. Students have learned about pizza, amusement parks, hot chocolate, ice cream, video games, fireworks, Halloween, magic, candy, airplanes, baseball, etc. from reading these fun Ready-to-Read books.
There is now an additional new collection in the same format: Secrets of American History. This collection includes books describing secret rooms in Mount Rushmore, World War I planes that were painted to look like Easter eggs, how Benjamin Franklin wrote secret codes in invisible ink, why shark repellant was used during World War II, and why you can't bring a sandwich on a spaceship, among other interesting facts. A non-fiction lover has one more collection to devour!
Author: James Ponti
RU Level: 6th Grade
A hands-down favorite among sixth grade boys and girls. This series stars Florian, a boy who has developed a theory to solve mysteries using T.O.A.S.T (Theory of All Small Things) and his friend Margaret. Now, because of Florian's track record, the F.B.I. Director has him as his "go to" person for help. The great characters and fast moving plot makes this hard to put down. Watch for a reference to Utah in the 2nd book in the series, Vanished. The 3rd book in the series, Trapped, is also now out!
Magic Tree House Lowdown
Author: Mary Pope Osborne
RU Level: 2nd Grade
There are actually two different groups of "Magic Tree House" books. Books 1-28 describe Jack and Annie Smith being sent on different adventures to historical or current, actual places by Morgan Le Fay. These books are shorter. Beginning with book #29 the children receive their missions from Merlin the Magician and have two additional characters join them: Kathleen and Teddy. These missions are sometimes to mythical, fantastical places, are longer, for more advanced readers, and are often referred to as the Merlin Missions. The Merlin Missions now go through book #55. Recently the author has written three more books as part of the original, shorter, Morgan Le Fay series: A Big Day for Baseball (2017), Hurricane Heroes in Texas (2018), and Warriors in Winter (Jan. 2019). With the recently published reprints of these books, the two groups have been divided into two different series and numbered sequentially. This means there is a #1 Original Series and a #1 Merlin Mission Series. While it makes more sense to read them sequentially, If it all is too confusing-- just enjoy reading the books!
Don't forget about the "Magic Tree House Fact Tracker" collection with non-fiction books that correlate with the non-fiction titles, providing factual information about the time/place of the adventure. These are also on the 2nd Grade Level.
National Geographic Non-Fiction
National Geographic continues to publish some wonderful non-fiction in different formats on a wide variety of subjects. The wonderful photographs provide great appeal and the interesting text is engaging. The different type of National Geographic books appear on different RU levels. For a complete list see each grade's RU listings. For a limited example:
Kindergarten- National Geographic Explore My World
First Grade- National Geographic Level 1, Little Kids First Big Books
Second Grade- National Geographic Level 2, Little Kids First Big Books
Third Grade- National Geographic Level 3, Little Kids First Big Books
Fourth Grade- National Geographic Kids Chapter, Weird But True, By the Numbers, other fact formatted lists
Fifth Grade- National Geographic Everything ____________, Awesome Facts ____
Sixth Grade- National Geographic __________ Rescue, Ultimate ______________, Encyclopedia type books, i.e., Ultimate Bugopedia
Author: Gordon Korman
RU Level: 5th Grade
Gordon Korman is a popular author at APA. In this addition to his collection of writing, Cooper, tired of moving all the time, wants more than anything to make a friend. It becomes hard, however, when he starts hearing the voice of someone from Elizabethan times through his phone who claims to be the real author of "Romeo and Juliet" and wants help to prove it. Funny in the way Korman can do.
Is on the 5th grade list to support their study of the Elizabethan era and Shakespeare. Would be a fun mystery reading follow-up.