First Program Library

Community Building Books

List of 8 items.

  • Approaching Adoption

    Jin Woo, by Eve Bunting.   David’s family is just about to adopt a sibling from Korea.  He moves from ambivalence to acceptance in this sensitive book told from the sibling’s point of view.
    How I was Adopted, by Joanna Cole.   This is a very simple, upbeat story about an adoption.  It also encourages children to share their own “how I was adopted stories.”
    On the Day You Were Born, by Jamie Lee Curtis.   A young girl asks her parents to tell her again the cherished family story of her birth and adoption.
    An American Face, by Jan Czeck.   Adopted from Korea by American parents, Jessie excitedly waits for the day he will get his American citizenship and, he thinks, an American face.
    Emma’s Yucky Brother, by Emma Little.   In this I can-read-book, just right for an early reader, Emma finds out how hard it is to be a big sister when her family adopts a four-year-old boy named Max.
    Over the Moon, an Adoption Tale, by Karen Katz.   A very sweet reassuring tale of a mom and dad, dreaming of their baby and then traveling to a “far away place.”  This is perfect for very young children, but maybe too simple for those who want more information.
    I Love You Like Crazy Cakes, by Rose A. Lewis.   In this lovely, touching book, a single woman describes how she went to China to adopt a special baby girl.
    Pablo’s Tree, by Pat Mora.   Each year on his birthday, a young Mexican American boy looks forward to seeing how his grandfather has decorated the tree he planted on the day the boy was adopted.
    Mommy Near, Mommy Far, by Carol Peacock.   Elizabeth, who was born in China, describes the family who has adopted her and tries to sort out her feelings for her mother back in China.
  • Coping with Death and Dying

    When People Die, by Joanne Berstein.   Explains in simple terms the reasons for death, theories on afterlife, burial practices, grief, and the naturalness of death in the chain of life.
    Rudi’s Pond, by Eve Bunting.   When a sick boy dies, his friends and classmates remember him by building a schoolyard pond in his memory.
    The Fall of Freddy the Leaf, by Leo Buscaglia.   An incisive, sensitive exploration of the questions of life, death, mortality, and immortality uses the leaves of a tree as symbols of enjoying life to the fullest and accepting mortality with dignity and equanimity.
    Sadako, by Eleanor Coerr.   Hospitalized with the dreaded atom bomb disease, leukemia, a child in Hiroshima races against time to fold one thousand paper cranes to verify the legend that by doing so a sick person will become healthy.
    Saying Goodbye to Lulu, by Corinne Demas.   When her dog Lulu dies, a girl grieves but then continues with her life.
    Nana Upstairs and Nana Downstairs, by Tomie de Paola.   Four-year-old Tommy enjoys his relationship with both his grandmother and great-grandmother, but eventually learns to face their inevitable death.
    If Nathan Were Here, by Mary Bahr Fritts.   A young boy grieves the loss of his best friend and thinks about how things would be if he were still alive.
    I’ll Always Love You, by Wilhelm Hans.   A child’s sadness at the death of a beloved dog is tempered by the remembrance of saying to it every night, “I’ll always love you.”
    Too Far Away to Touch, by Leslea Newman.   Zoe’s favorite uncle, Leonard, takes her to a planetarium and explains that if he dies he will be like the stars, too far away to touch, but close enough to see.
    In the Piney Woods, by Roni Schotter.   Grandpa and his granddaughter spend his last summer visiting and enjoying the pine woods near their house.
    What’s Heaven? by Maria Shriver.   After her great-grandmother’s death, a young girl learns about heaven by asking her mother all kinds of questions.
    The Saddest Time, by Norma Simon.   In three separate stories, the author focuses on the emotions children experience when someone close to them is dying or has died and provides ways to lessen their pain.
    After Charlotte’s Mom Died, by Cornelia Spelman.   Because her mom’s death causes six-year-old Charlotte to feel sad, mad, and scared, she and her dad visit a therapist who helps them acknowledge and express their feelings.
    The Tenth Good Thing about Barney, by Judith Viorst.   A young boy learns to come to grips with the death of his beloved cat by writing something for his funeral.
    Through the Mickle Woods, by Gregory Valiska.   After his wife’s death a grieving king journeys to an old bear’s cave in the mickle woods, where he hears three stories that help him go on living.
    Badger’s Parting Gifts, by Susan Varley.   Badger’s friends are sad when he dies but they treasure the memories he left them.
    Grandad Bill’s Song, by Jane Yolen.   A boy asks others how they felt when his grandfather died and then shares his own fee.
  • Dealing with Divorce

    Dinosaurs Divorce, by Laurene Krasny Brown and Marc Brown.   Text and illustrations of dinosaur characters introduce aspects of divorce such as its causes and effects, living with a single parent, spending holidays in two separate households, and adjusting to a stepparent.
     My Mother’s House, My Father’s House, by C.B. Christiansen.   A child describes having two different houses in which to live, “my mother’s house” and “my father’s house,” and what it is like to travel back and forth between them.
    Dear Mr. Henshaw, by Beverly Cleary.   In his letters to his favorite author, ten-year-old Leigh reveals his problems in coping with his parents’ divorce, being the new boy in school, and generally finding his own place in the world.  This is a long chapter book that would be best for third graders.
    The Un-Wedding, by Babette Cole.   As their parents disagree more and more about everything, Demetrius and Paula Ogglebutt decide that everyone would be happier if they “un-marry.”  This silly tale can serve as a refreshing way to talk about divorce.
    Amber Brown is Not a Color, by Paula Danziger.   This is the first in a series about Amber Brown, a spirited third grader who deals with divorce and her father’s remarriage.  It is just right for second and third grade girls—a great alternative to Junie B. Jones.
    Changing Families: A Guide for Kids and Grown-ups, by David Fassler.   Provides advice on coping with such family changes as separation, divorce, remarriage, new family members, and new schools.  This book also serves as a workbook for children with writing and drawing activities and samples of other children’s responses.
    At Daddy’s on Saturdays, by Linda Walvoord Girard.   Although her parents’ divorce causes her to feel anger, concern, and sadness, Katie discovers that she can keep a loving relationship with her father even though he lives apart from her.
    Celebrating Families, by Rosmarie Hausherr.   This beautifully photographed book presents many different kinds of families, both traditional and non-traditional.
    What Can I Do?,  by Danielle Lowry.   A young girl tries everything she can think of to keep her parents from getting a divorce, but with the help of her school counselor, she comes to realize that the divorce is not her fault.
    I Don’t Want to Talk About It, by Jeanie Franz Ransom.   A child describes having two different houses in which to live, “my mother’s house” and “my father’s house,” and what it is like to travel back and forth between them.
    My Other Mother, My Other Father, by Harriet Langsam Sobol.   In this rather long, picture book, twelve-year-old Andrea, whose parents have divorced and remarried, discusses the complexities of her new, larger family.  This is illustrated with rather dated photographs but is still relevant for an older child who is coping with new family members.
    Scooter, by Vera B. Williams.   Elana “Lanny” Rosen has to move to New York City after her parents divorce.  Her new silver scooter helps her adjust to the many changes in her life. This is a chapter book that would be good for second or third graders.
  • Our Favorite Picture Books

    Picture Books You Won’t Want to Miss

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    Miss Rumphius, by Barbara Cooney, A wonderful, gentle story of a woman’s life and her ambition to make the world more beautiful.
    The Keeping Quilt, by Patricia Polacco. Pollaco writes many wonderful stories about her childhood and family traditions.
    Click, Clack Moo, by Doreen Cronin.  The first in a few books about a duck who learns to type and then organizes the animals on the farm to strike for better working conditions.
    Strega Nona, by Tomie DePaola. This is the first of many adventures of the kind witch and her not -so -helpful helper Big Anthony.
    Olivia, by Ian Falconer. There are three books about this spirited New York pig!
    The Man Who Walked Between the Towers, by Mordecai Gerstein. This is a riveting story about Philip Petit and his famous high wire walk.
    Gaspard and Lisa in the Museum, by Ann Gutman. Bright illustrations and simple text make these newer books popular with younger children.
    Chester’s Way by Kevin Henkes. We can’t get enough Kevin Henkes!  Don’t miss anything by him.
    Anansi the Spider by Gerald McDermott. Even the youngest children love this classic West African folktale about the famous trickster.
    George and Martha, by James Marshall.  Two hippos star these very short, very silly stories.
    Mirette on the Highwire, by Emily Arnold McCully.  Mirette meets a famous tightrope walker and helps him overcome his fear.
    The Rainbabies, by Laura Melmed.  The moon gives twelve tiny babies to a childless couple in the magical, original fairytale.
    Officer Buckle and Gloria, by Peggy Rathman.  A policeman’s safety speeches become much more exciting when he brings his dog along.
    Tar Beach by Faith Ringgold.  A girl dreams of flying high above her Harlem home.
    Grandfather’s Journey, by Allen Say.  A Japanese-American man recounts his Grandfather’s journeys between California and Japan.
    The Stinky Cheese Man, and True Story of the Three Little Pigs, by John Scieska.  Children cannot get enough of these hilarious retellings of fairytales.
    No David , by David Shannon.  There is a bit of David in everyone!
    Tasty Baby Bellybuttons, by Judy Sierra.  Brave Uriko must save the babies from the oni monters in this retelling of a famous Japanese folktale.
    The Amazing Bone, by William Steig.  We love William Steig so much we had to list three books.  In this one, Pearl comes across a talking bone, but it only leads her into trouble.  Don’t miss Doctor DeSoto, the tale of a mouse/dentist and his fox/patient.  Then there is the classic, Sylvester and the Magic Pebble.
    The Gardener,  by Sarah Stewart.  Letters tell the story of Lydia’s visit to her uncle in the city and her attempt to share her love of gardening.
    We also love The Library and The Friend, also by Stewart.
    Many Moons, by James Thurber.  Only the court jester can fulfill Princess Lenore’s wish for the moon.
    Two Bad Ants, by ChrisVan Allsburg. This tale of two ants and their disastrous quest for a sugar crystal is just one of the many wonderfully illustrated and wonderfully told books by this author.  Don’t miss The Widow’s BroomThe Stranger or Jumanji
    Bunny Money, by Rosemary Wells. This is just one of the wonderful stories about Max and his sometimes bossy older sisterRuby.
    A Chair for My Mother, by Vera B. Williams.  A girl, her mother and her grandmother, save their dimes to buy a comfy chair in this beautifully illustrated story.
    Don’t Let the Pidgeon Drive the Bus and  Knuffle Bunny by Mo Willems.  These deceptively simple and hilarious stories are hits with children of all ages.
    Lon Po Po, by Ed Young.  In this Chinese version of Red Riding Hood, three clever, brave girls outsmart the wolf.

     
  • Our Favorite Read-Alouds

    Of course it is always hard to narrow things down to a few good books—there are so many. We think that these are all wonderful chapter books to read to your children.  A few of them are also fine for older children to read to themselves, but we think they are perfect for sharing.  We wouldn’t want YOU to miss out on a chance to revisit an old favorite or embark a new adventure.

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    Mr. Popper’s Penguins, by Richard Atwater.  One day Mr. Popper, a house painter who loves reading about polar explorations, gets a surprise package form Admiral Drake. Pretty soon this one penguin turns into twelve and the Poppers find themselves in the middle of many hilarious adventures.
    Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing, by Judy Blume.  This is the first in a very funny series about Peter and his exhasperating younger brother “Fudge.”
    No Flying in the House, by Betty Brock. This is one of our favorites from childhood! Kids will be enchanted by the magical adventures of little Arabella Tippens. There are many unusual things about Arabella: she has a tiny talking dog for a guardian, she can kiss her elbow, and she can…..well, you guessed it!.
    The Stories Julian Tells, by Ann Cameron  This is a wonderful collection of light, funny  stories about Julian, his younger brother Hughey and their warm, funny family
    The Family Under the Bridge, by Natalie Savage Carlson. This is the delightfully warm and enjoyable story of an old Parisian tramp named Armand, who just wanted to live by himself. That is until he meets the children who live under the bridge along the Seine. Soon he has a family that he loves, and one for whom he would have to find a better home.
    The Mouse and the Motorcycle, by Beverly Cleary. A reckless young mouse named Ralph makes friends with a boy in room 215 of the Mountain View Inn and discovers the joys of motorcycling! We love all the books by Beverly Cleary. Don’t miss the more realistic, but just as funny adventures of Ramona, Beezus and Henry Huggins as well.
    Frindle, by Andrew Clements.  Nicholas is a bright boy who likes to make trouble at school, creatively. He decides to torment his fifth-grade English teacher, Mrs. Granger by getting everyone in the class to replace the word “pen” with “frindle,” and he unleashes pandemonium in his town.
    Matilda, by Roald Dahl. Of course we love all the books by Roald Dahl, but have to admit that we are partial to the story of Madilta, who loves to read. Matilda learns to use her untapped mental powers to rid the school of the evil headmistress, Miss Trunchbull, and restore her sweet, understanding teacher, Miss Honey, to financial security.  Don’t forget about James and the Giant Peach, Fantastic Mr. Fox and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
    The Hundred Dresses, by Eleanor Estes. This is a classic about a Polish girl who becomes a target for teasing by her classmates. It is told from the point of view of Maddie, a little girl who is not the ringleader, but gets caught up in the teasing. Through Maddie’s eyes, the reader can see how everyone is affected by the cruelty. It is just as effective today as it was in 1944.
    My Father’s Dragon, by Ruth Stiles Gannett. This is the perfect chapter book to read to Kindergartners.  However, any age would love to hear all about the adventures of Elmer Elevator and how he journeys far away to Wild Island to rescue a poor baby dragon.  This is also a good choice for older, independent readers.
    The Puppy Sister, by S.E. Hinton.  Nick was really hoping for a sister, not a puppy.  The new puppy is also wishing to be a real girl.  Will each of their dreams come true?
    The Trolls, by Polly Horvath.  This is one of our favorite newer books.  Aunt Sally, the Mary Poppins-like relative of the Anderson family, comes to stay with the Anderson children while their parents are away.  The book contains the stories Aunt Sally tells the children about their father and herself when they were little.  She claims that they are all true—even the one about the trolls.  You will have to decide for yourself!
    Babe: The Gallant Pig, by Dick King-Smith. Read it even if you’ve seen the movie! It is the story of an engaging pig with impeccable manners that becomes a champion sheepherder. Dick King-Smith is the master of animal and the author of many other wonderful chapter books.
    Mrs. Piggle Wiggle, by Betty MacDonald. Mrs. Piggle Wiggle loves children, lives in an upside down house and can cure any child of bad manners and nasty habits. Some of the situations in this series of books are a little dated, but kids never tire of Mrs. Piggle Wiggle’s innovative and funny cures.
    Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of N.I.H.M., by Robert O’Brien. Threatened with the loss of home and family, Mrs. Frisby, a widowed field mouse, finds help from a colony of super-intelligent rat escapees from the NIMH labs (the National Instate of Mental Health), who have formed a unique rat society. This is a fantastic, scientific, suspenseful tale that might be best for older listeners.
    Cricket in Times Square, by George Selden. Chester, a musically talented country cricket from Connecticut, is accidentally transported to the 42ndStreet Subway Station. There, he finds shelter in a newsstand and makes friends with Mario, a young boy, Tucker, a streetwise Mouse and Harry the Cat. This is the perfect animal adventure for city children. You can read more about Chester, Harry and Tucker in three sequels.
    All of a Kind Family, by Sydney Taylor. This is the first book in a series about this large Jewish family of girls growing up in the Lower East Side just before World War I. The girls get into mischief and have adventures in everyday life. We love the details about everyday life in New York and the rich descriptions of each holiday.
    Many Moons, by James Thurber. When pampered Princess Leonore insists that she must have the moon in order to recover from the illness that has incapacitated her, she plunges the court into a frenetic search for a solution. This long picture book could be read in one sitting.
    Mary Poppins, by P.L. Travers.  Return to the original for these fun tales about the famous English Nanny who turns everyday events into outrageous adventures.
    The Trumpet of the Swan, by E.B. White. If you loved Charlotte’s Web and Stuart Little you will love this tale of Louis, a trumpeter swan with no sound. He befriends a little boy and goes off on a journey to find his voice A true classic!
    The Little House series, by Laura Ingalls Wilder.  We love these classics for their wonderfully detailed descriptions of pioneer life.  Boys and girls alike will like the adventure and humor throughout the books.  Make sure to try Farmer Boy as well, especially for reluctant boys.

     
  • Scary Stories

    … but not TOO scary

    We love a scary story but we also want to make sure that it is just scary enough to give your family chills and thrills—but not nightmares.  You know your child best and will definitely want to preview any Halloween books or scary stories that come home.

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    Night of the Gargolyles, by Eve Bunting.   Three gargoyles that adorn the walls of a museum come to life and frighten the night watchman.
    Bony Legs, by Joanna Cole.   When a terrible witch vows to eat her for supper, a little girl escapes with the help of a mirror and comb given to her by the witch’s cat and dog.
    The Ghost of Sifty-Sifty Sam, by Angela Shelf Medearis.   To win a reward, a chef agrees to stay in a haunted house overnight and meets a very hungry ghost.
    Piggie Pie, by Margie Palatine.   Kindergarteners will love this story of Gritch the Witch and her attempt to make her favorite meal.
    The Boy and the Ghost, by Robert D. SanSoucie.   A young boy must face a famous ghost in order to win enough money to help his family.
    In a Dark, Dark Room and Other Scary Stories, by Alvin Schwartz.  Children ask for this collection of scary stories again and again.  They just can’t seem to get enough of the story of Jenny and her green ribbon!
    Wiley and the Hairy Man, by Judy Sierra.   This is a classic African American tale from the South in which Wiley and his mother outwit a famous local monster.
    The Amazing Bone, by William Steig.   We just love this story of Pearl, her magic bone, and their close scrape with a fox.
     The Widow’s Broom, by Chris VanAllsburg.   This mysterious tale of a kindly widow, her magic broom, and her suspicious neighbors is one of our favorites.
  • Super Series (great for DEAR time!)

    There is something so reassuring for children about reading books in a series.  It gives just the right balance of predictability and novelty.  We have included the titles of many books in a series.  Most of them are just right for second or third grade readers and many are fine for younger readers as well.

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    The Secrets of Droon, by Tony Abbott.  Two friends Find a secret passage to a magic world in this series for children who are not yet ready for Harry Potter.
    Cam Jansen, by David Adler.  Cam solves mysteries with her photographic memory.  This is best for second graders, but younger readers should try the Young Cam Jansen series.
    Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing, Super Fudge, etc. by Judy Blume.  These are a little harder and longer than some of the books on this list, but kids love the adventures of Peter and his trying little brother Fudge.
    Flat Stanley, by Marc Brown.  This is short funny series of three books in which Stanley becomes flat as a pancake, invisible, and encounters a genie.
    The Stories Julian Tells, by Ann Cameron . These connected short stories relate episodes in seven-year-old Julian’s life and the adventures of his warm, fun loving, modern family.  As the series goes on we get to hear things from the perspective of his younger brother and his best friend.
    The Dog That Pitched a No-Hitter, and many, many more by Matt Christopher.  There is something by Matt Christopher on virtually every reading level.  They are perfect for a reader trying to move from non-fiction sports books into fiction.
    Henry Huggins, Ramona, Ellen Tebbits or anything by Beverly Cleary.  Children never tire of any of these books about the realistic but funny adventure of Cleary’s cast of characters.
    Space Brat, by Bruce Coville.   The first in a silly series about Blork, the biggest brat on the planet Splat.  These are a great choice for children who might want to read science fiction but need a shorter, easier text.
    Amber Brown, by Paula Danziger.  We follow Amber through all sorts of real life problems, from hating her name to her parent’s divorce.
    EEK, Stories to Make you Shriek, by Margaret Frith.  Best for younger readers, this is a popular I-Can ?Read series with scary stories that are just not too scary.
    The Zack Files by Dan Greenburg.  Nine-year-old Zack has many unusual adventures in each book: from stepping into an alternate universe, to finding his great-grandfather reincarnated as a cat! Also try the Maximum boy books by the same author.
    B is for Betsy, by Carolyn Haywood.  This is the first book in an old-fashioned series of books about the day to day adventures of a group of children.  Children love them as much now as they did 60 years ago.
    The Mystery of the Pirate Ghost, and other Otto and Uncle Tooth books by Geoffrey Hayes.  These are longer I-Can-Read books, perfect for the fluent reader whose attention may not hold through a longer book.
    Bunnicula, by James Howe. In the first book narrated by the household cat and dog, they realize something is strange about the new pet rabbit…and why are all the vegetables suddenly drained of color?
    Herbie Jones, by Suzy Klein.  The funny, but true to life adventures of third grade friends Herbie and Ray.
    Judy Moody, by Megan MacDonald.   A new series about a third grader and her moods–perfect for those who are tiring of Junie B. Jones.
    The Magic Treehouse series by Mary Pope Osborne.  This is a very popular series about a brother and sister who find a treehouse that lets them travel through time.
    Key to the Treasure, Clues in the Woods, etc. by Peggy Parish.  Three young children visiting grandparents stumble upon coded clues that will unravel a secret more than one hundred years old.  Readers can follow along and unravel the clues along with the children.
    M and M, by Pat Ross.  These are very short chapter books about the adventures of best friends Mandy and Mimi.
    A-Z Mysteries, by Ron Roy.  Dink, Josh and Ruth Rose continue to encounter mysterious situations.  Also try  a newer series by this author, The Capital Mysteries, which take place in Washington D.C
    Cobble Street Cousins, by Cynthia Rylant..  A very sweet, quite old-fashioned series of short chapter books for girls.
    Henry and Mudge, by Cynthia Rylant.  This is a great I-Can-Read series that is best for younger independent readers (K-2) about a boy and his loyal dog.
    Marvin Redpost, by Louis Sachar.  Things never seem to go quite right for this third grader in this funny collection of his adventures.
    Nate the Great, by Marjorie Sharmat.  Fun, short mysteries for first or second graders.
    The Time Warp Trio, by John Sczieska.  Three boys find a magic book that transports them back in time.  These are a little sillier and more irreverent than the Magic Treehouse books.
    The Boxcar Children, by Gertrude Warner.  The first book is a classic about a family of orphans living in an abandoned boxcar. The seemingly endless series continues as the children solve many mysteries.
    Commander Toad, by Jane Yolen.  This I-Can-Read series is a spoof on Star Wars, where all the leading characters are amphibians on the ship “Star Warts”.
  • Wild About Harry Potter?

    Harry Potter had us all flying off to bookstores, and we think that he deserves every bit of his widespread fame.  Children have been swept away by author J.K. Rowling’s combination of humor and fantasy.  Still, what can be done when that last page of The Deathly Hallows has been turned?  The good news is that there are so many other wonderful books for children that offer the same kind of escape.  Here is a list of a few of our favorites.  Each one is bubbling over with fun and magical adventures!!

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    The Secrets of Droon, by Tony Abbott
    A secret doorway leads three friends to a world filled with adventure and magical characters.  This is a very long series (at least 20 books.)  Each volume is short, action packed and easy to comprehend.
    The Wonderful Wizard of OzOzma of Oz, Glinda of Oz and others by L. Frank Baum.
    These are the original books and they takes you way beyond the movie.  Dorothy and all your favorite Oz characters travel to many other lands and meet all kinds of wicked witches, princesses, and wizards.  The series is practically endless and has a huge following!
    The Spiderwick Chroicles, by Holly Black.
    When the Grace children go to stay at their Great Aunt Lucinda’s worn Victorian house, they discover a field guide to fairies and other creatures and begin to have some unusual experiences
    No Flying in the House, by Betty Brock.
    This is a classic!  A little girl and her dog Gloria find themselves in an adventure full of fairies, flying, excitement and enchantments.  Don’t miss it, it is one of our all-time favorites.
    The Would Be Witch, By Ruth Chew.
    When two children meet Zleda, the eccentric owner of an antique shop, they begin to suspect that she might be a witch—until they discover something about themselves.  We have many of the Ruth Chew books in the library (sadly, they are out of print) The language is much easier to read than Harry Potter and makes them a great choice for second graders.
    Dorrie and the Wizard’s Spell, by Patricia Coombs.
    This is one of a series of books about Dorrie, the little witch who is just learning her spells.  She has many encounters with goblins, imps and ghosts, but the books are short, sweet and gentle–perfect for younger readers.
    The Magic Shop, by Scott Corbett.
    All of the Corbett books are good for younger readers who want to get in on the magic.  Each of these short, easier to read volumes contains some kind of wizard, potion, or magic spell.
    Jeremy Thatcher, Dragon Hatcher, by Bruce Coville.
    Jeremy buys a mysterious looking ball in a strange shop and follows the unusual instructions.  Nothing is ever the same!  Try other funny and magical stories by Coville such as The World’s Worst Fairy Godmother and Jennifer Murdley’s Toad.
    The Magic Finger, by Roald Dahl.
    This is perfect for readers who don’t want to tackle a book the size of Harry Potter or other Roald Dahl books.  It is the hilarious story of a girl, her temper and her powerful finger.
    Matilda, by Roald Dahl.
    This is one of our favorite Roald Dahl tales. Poor little Matilda loves to read and learn but is hopelessly misunderstood by almost everyone.  She overcomes her circumstances with help and a little bit of magic.  Don’t miss other imaginative Dahl classics like George’s Marvelous Medicine and The BFG, and of course Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
    Half Magic, by Edward Eager.
    This is a classic.  When the children find a wish-giving coin, they learn that it is only half magic. This leads to all kinds of magical adventures that only seem to work halfway.  There are many equally enchanting books by this author such as Seven Day Magic.
    The Last of the Really Great Whangdoodles, by Julie Edwards.
    Three children and a professor  make a journey to the fantastic land of the Whangdoodle, a magical creature who roamed the earth until everyone stopped believing in him This has tons of fun and adventure for older readers.
    My Father’s Dragon, by Ruth Stiles Gannet.
    Elmer Elevator goes on a series of funny, quirky adventures to rescue a dragon. This is the perfect read aloud for kindergarteners and a great independent choice for second graders.  There are two sequels.
    The Secret of Platform Thirteen, by Eva Ibbotson.
    A hag, a wizard and an ogre must travel from their world, through a secret tunnel (open every nine years) to London to rescue a prince who was stolen at birth.  Also try Which WitchIsland of the Aunts and others by Ibbotson.
    Paddy’s Pot of Gold, by Dick King-Smith.
    Brigid, a little Irish girl, encounters a leprechaun on her ninth birthday and their friendship leads to all kinds of excitement.  Make sure not to miss other titles by King-Smith who is the author of Babe the Gallant Pig and many other whimsical, imaginative tales.
    The Ghost of Thomas Kempe, by Penelope Lively
    James moves into a new house that’s hundreds of years old. Eventually he becomes the apprentice to ghost.
    Ella Enchanted, by Gail Carson Levine.
    This is a wonderful but rather complicated retelling of Cinderella.  In this story full of magical details Ella is cursed from birth: she must always obey orders, even if they come from evil stepsisters–great for older readers.
    The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe, by C.S. Lewis (1st in a series of seven).
    You can read it to your children now, or save to for them to read to themselves in a few years.  Nothing beats these absorbing journeys through the wardrobe into the enchanted world land of Narnia.
    The Gold Dust Letters, by Janet Taylor Lisle.
    Three children are surprised to find a message made of fairy dust.  Their communications with the fairy continue until a mystery in unraveled.
    The Lost Flower Children, by Janet Taylor Lisle.
    Two unhappy girls visit their eccentric aunt and hear of a curse set on her garden.  Can they find the buried treasure and break the spell? This is one of our favorite new books this year.
    The Worst Witch, by Jill Murphy.
    Don’t be put off by the covers of the new editions.  These are classic, charming books about a clumsy witch’s adventures in witch school.
    The Magic Treehouse, series by Mary Pope Osborne.
    This is a very popular sereis for children about two chilren who find a treehouse that lets them travel through time.  These are perfect for second graders.
    Deltora Quest, by Emily Rodda
    This is a series of books about the land of Deltora, a kingdom that has fallen on hard times since the invasion of the evil Shadow Lord. Two friends must recover magic gems and rid their land of the tyrant. This is perfect for second and third graders who are dying to read the Lord of the Rings.
    The Time Warp Trio, series by John Scieska.
    These books are short but hysterical tales of three time traveling friends and a mysterious magical book.
    The Genie of Sutton Place, by George Selden.
    A 12 year boy discovers that magic words that unleash a real genie in New York City.
    The Series of Unfortunate Events, by Lemony Snicket.
    Almost a parody of Dickens, this series follows the three Baudelaire orphans through their many, many trials.  The books have a sarcastic (and quite dark) sense of humor and would be enjyoyed most by older children.
    Egypt Game, by Zilpha Keatley Snyder.
    Two children love to pretend that they are in ancient Egypt.  But when they begin playing behind a dusty antiques store, strange things being to happen.  Also try The Headless Cupid by the same author for another ghotsly adventure.
    The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, by Nancy Willard.
    This is a beautifully illustrated version of the classic story where the sorcerer’s helper doesn’t follow directions.  It is a picture book, but the text is quite long and complicated.
    The Castle in the Attic, by Elizabeth Winthrop.
    When lonely William is given a toy castle, his world suddenly becomes full of knights, wizards, and sorcery.
    Wizard Hall, by Jane Yolen.
    The superficial resembleances to Harry Potter are uncanny. Eleven-year old Henry goes off to a school for Wizards.  It is also full of details and dragons, but is a little darker and more serious than Harry Potter.