Summary: Shipwrecked on the shore of Japan, twelve-year-old Jack Fletcher is wounded and alone. His father and the entire crew have been slaughtered by ninja pirates. Jack's last remaining possession is his father's rudder, an invaluable book of maps and notes about the world's uncharted oceans. Masamoto-sama, one of Japan's greatest samurai, rescues Jack, adopts him, and sends him to samurai school, where Jack will be trained in the Way of the Warrior. Will it be enough to help Jack defeat Dragon Eye, the ruthless ninja who is intent on stealing the rudder at any cost?
The Alchemyst (Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel): Another series that has my boys holed up under the covers and finishing every last word. Recommended ages 12 and up.
The One and Only Ivan: This book got serious thumbs up from all my kids, and it would make an excellent read aloud. The story's main characters are animals but the themes and lessons could not be more human. Give this one a shot! Great for ages 8 and up.Summary: Ivan is an easygoing gorilla. Living at the Exit 8 Big Top Mall and Video Arcade, he has grown accustomed to humans watching him through the glass walls of his domain. He rarely misses his life in the jungle. In fact, he hardly ever thinks about it at all. Instead, Ivan thinks about TV shows he’s seen and about his friends Stella, an elderly elephant, and Bob, a stray dog. But mostly Ivan thinks about art and how to capture the taste of a mango or the sound of leaves with color and a well-placed line. Then he meets Ruby, a baby elephant taken from her family, and she makes Ivan see their home—and his own art—through new eyes. When Ruby arrives, change comes with her, and it’s up to Ivan to make it a change for the better. Katherine Applegate blends humor and poignancy to create Ivan’s unforgettable first-person narration in a story of friendship, art, and hope.
Rump: The True Story of Rumplestiltskin: This book would also make a great read aloud, a perfect present for a book lover or reluctant reader. Ideal for ages 8 and up, this new yet familiar story will be a real winner in your house!
Summary: In a magic kingdom where your name is your destiny, 12-year-old Rump is the butt of everyone's joke. But when he finds an old spinning wheel, his luck seems to change. Rump discovers he has a gift for spinning straw into gold. His best friend, Red Riding Hood, warns him that magic is dangerous, and she’s right. With each thread he spins, he weaves himself deeper into a curse. To break the spell, Rump must go on a perilous quest, fighting off pixies, trolls, poison apples, and a wickedly foolish queen. The odds are against him, but with courage and friendship—and a cheeky sense of humor—he just might triumph in the end.
Island: This is an awesome adventure story for the younger crowd, recommended for ages 8-12. It would also make a great read aloud or a good book for a boy who doesn't love reading yet. There are 3 books in the series that are all very engaging.
Summary: Six kids. One fate.They didn't want to be on the boat in the first place. They were sent there as a character-building experience. But now that the adults are gone, the quest for survival has begun. This first book in a suspenseful survival trilogy delivers the gripping drama of people battling the elements to younger readers.
Because of Mr. Terupt: Heart-warming and thought provoking this is a story about a 5th grade classroom that learns the meaning of love, friendship and forgiveness. We love it as a read aloud because there are some mature themes and great opportunities to talk. If not reading it aloud, best for kids 12 and up.
Unbroken (The Young Adult Adaptation): This book is just as powerful for teens as it is for adults. Such an incredible story of determination, love, and redemption told so beautifully. Be sure your son reads to at least page 60, once they do, they won't be able to put it down. Best for ages 12 and up.
Elephant and Piggy INTEREST LEVEL: Pre-Kindergarten, READING LEVEL: Pre-K, Kindergarten (series)