2012 Teacher's Choices-Intermediate Readers (Grade 3-5)

View all Recommendations by Age > Recommendations for Age 9-12 book lists; This list was last updated on 8/1/2013
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Since 1989,  the International Reading Association started the Teachers' Choices project  that will encourage young people to read. These are books that kids will enjoy—and that contribute to learning across the curriculum. Teachers and parents will  find exceptional for curriculum use or reading aloud uses. 

For more book recommendations, please check out New York Times® Best Sellers, Children's Book Recommendations or the complete list of Featured Book Lists and Award Winners

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Wonderstruck
From Brian Selznick, the creator of the Caldecott Medal winner The Invention of Hugo Cabret, comes another breathtaking tour de force.

Playing with the form he created in his trailblazing debut novel The Invention of Hugo Cabret, Brian Selznick once again sails into uncharted territory and takes readers on an awe-inspiring journey.

Ben and Rose secretly wish their lives were different. Ben longs for the father he has never known. Rose dreams of a mysterious actress whose life she chronicles in a scrapbook. When Ben discovers a puzzling clue in his mother's room and Rose reads an enticing headline in the newspaper, both children set out alone on desperate quests to find what they are missing.

Set fifty years apart, these two independent stories--Ben's told in words, Rose's in pictures--weave back and forth with mesmerizing symmetry. How they unfold and ultimately intertwine will surprise you, challenge you, and leave you breathless with wonder. Rich, complex, affecting, and beautiful--with over 460 pages of original artwork--Wonderstruck is a stunning achievement from a uniquely gifted artist and visionary.
 
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Walking Home to Rosie Lee

Young Gabe's is a story of heartache and jubilation. He's a child slave freed after the Civil War. He sets off to reunite himself with his mother who was sold before the war's end. "Come morning, the folks take to the road again, singing songs, telling stories, and dream-talking of the lives they're gonna live in freedom. And I follow, keeping my eyes open for my mama. Days pass into weeks, and one gray evening as Mr. Dark laid down his coat, I see a woman with a yellow scarf 'round her neck as bright as a star. I run up to grab her hand, saying, Mama?" Gabe's odyssey in search of his mother has an epic American quality, and Keith Shepherd's illustrations—influenced deeply by the narrative work of Thomas Hart Benton—fervently portray the struggle in Gabe's heroic quest.

Selected as a 2012 Skipping Stones Honor Book and for the 2012 IRA Teacher's Choices Reading List.

A. LaFaye hopes Walking Home to Rosie Lee will honor all those African American families who struggled to reunite at the end of the Civil War and will pay her respects to those who banded together through the long struggle for freedom. She is the author of the Scott O'Dell Award-winning novel Worth and lives in Tennessee with her daughter Adia.

Keith Shepherd is a painter, graphic designer, and educator working out of Kansas City, MO. His painting "Sunday Best" is part of the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum's permanent collection. He describes his work as being "motivated by family, religion, history, and music."


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A Storm Called Katrina
Ten-year-old Louis Daniel hates it when Mama treats him like a baby. But when Hurricane Katrina blows through the Gulf Coast on a fateful August night, followed by broken levees and rising floodwaters threatening New Orleans, Louis feels like a little kid again. With no time to gather their belongings save Louis s beloved horn Daddy leads the family from their home and into an unfamiliar, watery world of floating debris, lurking critters, a winsome black-and-white dog, and desperate neighbors heading for dry ground. Taking shelter in the already-crowded Superdome, Louis and his parents wait and wait. As the days pass, the electricity goes out, the air conditioning dies, the bathrooms are closed, and people around them begin to bicker as they run out of food and water. When Daddy fails to return from a scouting mission within the Dome, Louis knows he s no longer a baby. It s up to him to find Daddy, with the help of his prized cornet.
release date: Aug 01, 2011
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Picture Yourself Writing Poetry
Poetry is more than rhyming words on a page. A poem is crafted by carefully selecting each word and rhythm. But how does a poet get started? Finding inspiration is as easy as looking at a picture.
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Nurse, Soldier, Spy: The Story of Sarah Edmonds, a Civil War Hero

This fast-paced, high-energy picture book tells the true story of Sarah Emma Edmonds, who at age nineteen disguised herself as a man in order to fight in the Civil War. She took the name Frank Thompson and joined a Michigan army regiment to battle the Confederacy. Sarah excelled as a soldier and nurse on the battlefield. Because of her heroism, she was asked to become a spy. Her story comes to life through the signature illustrations and design of John Hendrix and the exciting storytelling of Marissa Moss.

Praise for Nurse, Soldier, Spy
“The incredible story of how Sarah Edmonds becomes Frank Thompson is full of adventure, bravado and pathos. Spirited pen-and-ink drawings, full of period detail and war action always focus on the intriguing Frank…” –San Francisco Chronicle

“Readers won't stop until the last page of Marissa Moss' exciting Civil War story about Sarah Edmonds' life as a man in the Union Army. Vivid illustrations by artist John Hendrix match Moss' exciting account of Sarah's life in the Army.” –Sacramento Bee 

“Hendrix's artwork is, as usual, a showstopper, and his bold caricatures convey Edmonds's strength and determination. Moss delivers a riveting narrative, making it clear that Edmonds was fighting for more than one kind of freedom.” –Publishers Weekly, starred review

The focused view makes the book accessible for children. The pen-and-ink with acrylic wash illustrations are full of vibrant detail. Hendrix presents a meticulous view of military life, including army camp layouts and fortifications. Hand-drawn typography highlights important or humorous points in the text and adds even more visual interest.” –School Library Journal

“Hendrix's art emphasizes the horror and drama of war. Using hand-lettered text reminiscent of broadsides of the time, he visually shouts danger to the reader when tension is the highest.” –Horn Book

“In ink-and-wash illustrations, Hendrix again displays his knack for visual narrative. The aerial view of Edmonds approaching the Confederate camp is particularly effective. This large-format picture book illustrates Edmonds' courage and determination while conveying a good deal of information in a highly readable way.” –Booklist

“Admirable and enlightening. Moss is a lively prose writer, and Hendrix's illustrations inject humor into what is actually a serious subject.” –The New York Times

“Boldly illustrated. The text is full of interesting details. This book strikes a fine balance which conveys the horrors of the Civil War without portraying too much blood and violence for elementary readers. A very useful and researchable picture book.” –Library Media Connection, starred review

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Marching with Aunt Susan
All Bessie wants is to go hiking with her father and brothers. But it s 1896 and girls don t get to hike. They can t vote either, which Bessie discovers when Susan B. Anthony comes to town to help lead the campaign for women s suffrage. Inspired by the great woman, Bessie becomes involved in the movement and discovers that hiking is only one of the many things that women and girls aren t allowed to do. But small efforts can result in small changes and maybe even big ones.
release date: Mar 01, 2011
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Energy Island

Hold onto your hats! It's windy on the Danish island of Samso. Meet the environmentally friendly people who now proudly call their home Energy Island.

At a time when most countries are producing ever-increasing amounts of CO2, the rather ordinary citizens of Samsø have accomplished something extraordinary--in just ten years they have reduced their carbon emissions by 140% and become almost completely energy independent. A narrative tale and a science book in one, this inspiring true story proves that with a little hard work and a big idea, anyone can make a huge step towards energy conservation.

release date: Feb 08, 2011
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Amelia Lost
From the acclaimed author of The Great and Only Barnum—as well as The Lincolns, Our Eleanor, and Ben Franklin's Almanac—comes the thrilling story of America's most celebrated flyer, Amelia Earhart.

In alternating chapters, Fleming deftly moves readers back and forth between Amelia's life (from childhood up until her last flight) and the exhaustive search for her and her missing plane. With incredible photos, maps, and handwritten notes from Amelia herself—plus informative sidebars tackling everything from the history of flight to what Amelia liked to eat while flying (tomato soup)—this unique nonfiction title is tailor-made for middle graders.

Amelia Lost received four starred reviews and Best Book of the Year accolades from School Library Journal, Kirkus Reviews, Horn Book Magazine, the Washington Post, and the New York Times.
release date: May 18, 2011
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A Butterfly Is Patient
The creators of the award-winning An Egg Is Quiet and A Seed Is Sleepy have teamed up again to create this gorgeous and informative introduction to the world of butterflies. From iridescent blue swallowtails and brilliant orange monarchs to the worlds tiniest butterfly (Western Pygmy Blue) and the largest (Queen Alexandra's Birdwing), an incredible variety of butterflies are celebrated here in all of their beauty and wonder. Perfect for a child's bedroom bookshelf or for a classroom reading circle!
release date: Dec 28, 2010
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A Boy Named FDR

Franklin D. Roosevelt was born into one of the wealthiest families in America, yet this ultimate rich kid grew up to do more for ordinary Americans than any other president. This appealing picture book biography shows how, from childhood on, FDR  was compassionate, cheerful, determined, and enormously likable. Though he had private tutors as a young boy and later attended an elite boys' school, he played pranks and had down-to-earth fun just like any boy today. 

Kathleen Krull's animated picture book biography focuses on FDR's childhood years through his entry as a young man into politics and his battle with polio. A summary of his achievements as president and a chronology of his life are included. The well-researched text and the evocative illustrations by Steve Johnson and Lou Fancher provide an inspiring introduction to one of our greatest presidents.

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