Nic Bishop

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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:

The Snake Scientist, by Sy Montgomery

Published June 10, 2013 by Dagmar

snake scientistI’ve found a non-fiction series that I just love, Scientists in the Field: Where Science Meets Adventure.  The writing in these books is targeted toward older elementary and middle school students.

In The Snake Scientist, writer Sy Montgomery is joined by fabulous nature photographer Nic Bishop.  (See my blog on Nic Bishop here. It just so happens that I wrote on his snake book.  Bishop has an beautiful series of companion books to his Snakes book.)

The Snake Scientist follows the work of Robert Mason, Ph.D., a zoologist from Oregon State University who works studying the red-sided garter snakes in Manitoba province in Canada at the Narcisse Wildlife Management Area.  There, drawn by the unique geology of the area, tens of thousands of harmless red-sided garter snakes make their home during the winter.

I really like this book, because it moves so effortlessly from topic to topic.  This book describes how Bob Mason studies snakes and how he began his career as a scientist.  You’ll find examples of how Mason uses the information he gathers to run experiments so he can study snake behavior.  The Snake Scientist explains the impact of Mason’s work and how the study of snakes may even result in the development of cures for human diseases.  The book also works to dispel common myths about snakes.

It’s no surprise to me that Nic Bishop’s photographs are stunning.  Not only do you get a sense for the number of red-sided gartner snakes in the area (quite amazing), but you see pictures of scientists collecting snakes and measuring snakes and snakes in their natural habitats.

This book is not a survey of snakes, but any child interested in snakes or zoology will gain valuable insight into how a zoologist studying snakes goes about their work.

Highly recommended to future scientists and reptile fans.

Snakes, by Nic Bishop

Published January 8, 2013 by Dagmar

snakesSnakes fascinate so many children, including lots of my students.  This new book by Nic Bishop is absolutely beautiful.  Each page spread is has one full page, full-color photograph and an opposite page with interesting facts that will, including facts about their senses, how they eat and digest and how they survive winters.  These are facts that are sure to entertain and inform even a well-read snake enthusiast.  In smaller type you’ll find facts about the pictured snake.  I can promise you this will be a very popular book in my library and will appeal most to my third through sixth graders.