Dan Gutman

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Summer reading recommendations

Published June 13, 2013 by Dagmar

My last summer reading list was my own – books that I have been meaning to read but haven’t had the time to read yet.  Here’s a list for kids of books that I’ve loved and students in my library have loved.  Of course, as I was writing it, I remembered all the books I still have to write about that are missing from this list.  Here’s a great start, though.  I hope you enjoy the list.  I’d love to hear your own recommendations.

I’ve listed books by an approximate age group and added links to my blog articles so you can read more about each title and see cover pictures.

Favorite Picture Books

Early readers (K-2nd grade)

  • I love the Mr. Putter and Tabby series, a sweet series by Cynthia Rylant with short chapters.  Click on the link to my blog article.
  • Katie Kazoo, by Nancy Krulik
  • Magic Tree House, by Mary Pope Osborne is a suspenseful series great for either read aloud or to read alone.
  • My Weird School and My Weird School Daze by Dan Gutman and Jim Paillot are very funny and full of snarky humor, perfect for this age.  Short chapters work, too.

Favorite chapter books (2nd-tween):

  • Inside Out & Back Again, by Thanhha Lai a wonderful book in verse about 10 year old girl’s transition from war-time Vietnam to the United States.
  • Moon over Manifest, by Clare Vanderpool.  The story of a girl who goes to live in a new town with a friend of her father. There she discovers new friends and a mystery that might tell her more about her father.
  • One Crazy Summer by Rita Garcia-Williams is an award-winning book about a strong and resourceful 12 year old girl who, along with her sisters, flies to see the mother that abandoned her.
  • Ranger’s Apprentice, by John Flanagan is a fantastic fantasy series about an orphaned boy who is taken on as an apprentice to the elite but mysterious Rangers who work to protect
  • Wonder by R.J. Palacio the story of a boy with severe facial disfiguration and his entry into school.

Favorite chapter books for tweens and middle school:

  • Conspiracy 365, by Gabrielle Lord an exciting and suspenseful series about a high school boy who has to solve a mystery in order to save his own life.One for the Murphys, by Lynda Mullaly Hunt was my favorite book of the year.  Realistic fiction about a girl in foster care and her new foster family.
  • Okay for Now, by Gary P. Schmidt, the story of a boy with a difficult home life that finds his way in a new town and discovers a love for the drawings of John Audobon.
  • One Crazy Summer by Rita Garcia-Williams is an award-winning book about a strong and resourceful 12 year old girl who, along with her sisters, flies to see the mother that abandoned her.
  • One for the Murphys, by Lynda Mullaly Hunt.  My favorite book of the year.  Realistic fiction about a girl who winds up in foster care, her relationship with her foster family.
  • Ranger’s Apprentice, by John Flanagan is a fantastic fantasy series about an orphaned boy who is taken on as an apprentice to the elite but mysterious Rangers who work to protect
  • Shooting Kabul, by N.H. Senzai

Great non-fiction:

Dear Dumb Diary, by Jim Benton

Published May 23, 2013 by Dagmar

dear dumb diaryI love Dan Gutman’s My Weird School series for younger readers, because it is so irreverent.   Kids say things in the books that they would actually say to each other, instead of the more “pc” things they say around their parents and teachers.  I think that’s what makes the series so successful with its 2nd and 3rd grade fans.

Well, here is the series for older readers – the same snarky, irreverent humor that so appeals to kids with My Weird School, appears in Jim Benton’s Dear Dumb Diary, a real favorite with my 4th-6th graders looking for a funny book.  This series tends to be read more by girls.

In her note at the beginning of her “dumb” diary, Jamie Kelly writes, “Dear Whoever is Reading My Dumb Diary, Are you sure you’re supposed to be reading somebody else’s diary?  …If you are my parents, then YES, I know that I am not allowed to call people idiots and fools and goons and halfwits and pinheads and all that, but this is a diary and I didn’t actually “call” them anything.  I wrote it.  And if you punish me for it, then I will know that you read my diary, which I amnot giving you permission to do.”  So begins Jamie’s diary and her hatred of “perfect” Angeline, a kid named Mike Pinsetti who has the power to create embarrassing nicknames, and her search to help her good friend Isabelle pick a new “signature” lip gloss.

Ok, the series is NOT deep; but, it is really funny.  This series flies off my shelves with its fans reading every book in the series.

My Weird School and My Weird School Daze, by Dan Gutman and Jim Paillot

Published November 29, 2012 by Dagmar

my weird schoolI can’t say enough about these very funny book series.  These books are among the most popular books in my library.  I bought them because my son read every single book in the two series in second grade.  This is great for second grade or for reluctant readers in older grades.  There are lots of books in the series, so plenty of material for students to enjoy.