•                                                               BOOKS/AUTHORS
                                                                (with parent permission for content)
     
    39 Clues by  R. Riordan - The 39 Clues is an exciting adventure series that will visit every continent and lead your students through 500 years of history, all while introducing them to fascinating historical figures like Benjamin Franklin, Amadeus Mozart, Amelia Earhart, and more! (with parent permission). 
     
    The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis -  The Chronicles of Narnia deals with the struggle between good and evil (with parent permission).
     
    Van Allsburg Books such as Jumanji - When Peter and Judy's parents head to the opera and leave the children to their own devices for the afternoon, the children's excitement quickly turns to boredom. This changes when they find what appears to be an ordinary board game labeled "Jumanji" sitting under a tree in the park. A note taped to the box warns them to read the instructions. Mildly curious, the children take the game home. When they halfheartedly begin to play, it becomes immediately apparent that they are dealing with a very unusual game! (with parent permission).
     
    E.B. White books such as Charlotte's Web - An affectionate, sometimes bashful pig named Wilbur befriends a spider named Charlotte, who lives in the rafters above his pen. A prancing, playful bloke, Wilbur is devastated when he learns of the destiny that befalls all those of porcine persuasion. Determined to save her friend, Charlotte spins a web that reads "Some Pig," convincing the farmer and surrounding community that Wilbur is no ordinary animal and should be saved. In this story of friendship, hardship, and the passing on into time, E.B. White reminds us to open our eyes to the wonder and miracle often found in the simplest of things (with parent permission).

    The Underland Chronicles by Suzanne Collins. The first in the series is Gregor the Overlander. A boy falls into a fantastical world under New York. For grades 4th-6th, roughly. Both my sons devoured these (with parent permission).

    The Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins. Fantastic adventure novels. In the near future, children from twelve provinces are forced to fight for their survival in the ultimate reality television program. My older son loved this. Be aware the book presents some life and death situations and is meant for a slightly older audience, but the violence is not gratuitous. I would say it is appropriate for grades 7-10 (or older with parent permission).

    Jeremy Thatcher, Dragon Hatcher by Bruce Coville. And many other titles in his Magic Shop series. These are easier reads, ideal for 2nd-4th grade. Both my boys loved these (with parent permission).

    The Time Warp Trio series by John Scieszka. Again, for younger readers, 2nd-4th grade, but very funny and fast-paced (with parent permission)..

    The Thief Lord by Cornelia Funke. My favorite by this author. It’s a fast-paced read with a great premise and interesting characters. Grades 4th-7th (with parent permission).

    The Alex Rider series by Anthony Horowitz. A teen thriller series very much like James Bond. Good action and no-nonsense prose. Grades 6th-8th (with parent permission).

    Airborn and Skybreaker by Kenneth Oppel. Adventure novels in the tradition of Treasure Island and Jules Verne, but with a modern sense of storytelling. These take place in a world where airplanes were never invented, and dirigible airships rule the skies. Grades 6th-8th. Again, my son Haley ate these up (with parent permission).

    Gods of Manhattan by Scott Mebus. An interesting new take on mythology in New York. Rory and Bridget discover a hidden world in New York City where spirits of the past live on and sometimes become gods. If you liked the Gregor books, you may well enjoy this. Grades 5-7 (with parent permission).

    Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer. Lots of fantasy and humor, perfect for middle grade sensibilities. Grades 4th-7th (with parent permission).

    Skulduggery Pleasant series by Derek Landy. A funny fantasy/mystery series featuring a detective who just happens to be a fire-throwing skeleton. Grades 4th-7th (with parent permission).

    The Bartimaeus Trilogy by Jonathan Stroud. The first title is The Amulet of Samarkand. A more challenging series, but brilliant stuff. A young London magician summons an ancient djinn to help him with his problems. Grades 6th-8th (with parent permission).

    Everlost Trilogy, Downsiders, Dark Fusion series by Neal Shusterman. My older son loves these books - all great adventures, very accessible. Grades 6th-8th (with parent permission).

    Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney. I’ve never heard my son laugh so much while reading a book. These cartoon novels are real crowd-pleasers, especially for middle grade boys. I love them too. Grades 4-8 (with parent permission).

    Warriors by Erin Hunter. Clans of cats battle for supremacy. My younger son has really enjoyed these, and he’s not necessarily into animal stories. He can burn through a book a day. Fortunately it’s a big series! This is one of those series that works well for both boys and girls, which I really appreciate. Grades 4-7 (with parent permission).

    Bone by Jeff Smith. A nine-book series of graphic novels. And yes, comics absolutely qualify as reading! My sons and I all enjoyed this series - fast, high-interest reads with plenty of action, humor, romance and fantasy. Pretty much everything you could want, and the coolest red dragon ever. Grades 4-8 (with parent permission).

    Fablehaven by Brandon Mull. A brother and sister discover that their grandfather is the caretaker at a wildlife reserve for mythical creatures. The first book in a series: wonderful premise, great characters, page-turning adventure. Grades 4-8 (with parent permission).

    The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart. Four gifted children join a secret society to combat evil. This reminds me of Roald Dahl and Norton Juster — lots of humor, puzzles, and intriguing mysteries. Some great surprises at the end, too. Grades 4-7 (with parent permission).

    The Recruit by Robert Muchamore. First of the CHERUB series. A young boy is recruited into a spy organization for children. Extremely popular in the UK, this series is not as well known in the US but is definitely worth checking out. Be aware there is some teenage/adult content — some drinking, crime, mild cursing, and of course a little violence inherent in a spy novel, but it is nothing that would shock the average American middle schooler. Grades 7 and up (with parent permission).

    Uglies by Scott Westerfeld. Tally lives in a society where everyone turns supermodel pretty at the age of 16, but there’s a dark side to the process! A good fast-paced novel. It can be a little tough convincing the guys that this is not just a book about fashion models, but it really is an excellent adventure novel. Those of us who are old enough will see definite similarities to Logan’s Run. This is the first book of a trilogy. Grade 7 and up(with parent permission) .

    The Alchemyst by Michael Scott. First in a series about two siblings who are plunged into a world of immortals and mythological creatures. Fast-paced fantasy set in the modern world. Grades 5-8 (with parent permission).

    Leviathan Trilogy by Scott Westerfeld. A wonderful steampunk World War I series about two great powers, the Clankers and Darwinists, who go to war. History was never this much fun! (with parent permission)

     
    Heroes, Gods and Monsters of the Greek Myths - by Bernard Evslin. Much better storytelling than D’Aulaires (with parent permission).

    Greek Gods and Heroes -by Robert Graves. Another great anthology for young readers. I used this as my classroom text for 5th-6th grade when I taught English in San Francisco (with parent permission).

    The Usborne Illustrated Guide to Greek Myths and Legends - by Cheryl Evans. A little hard to find, but very accessible, with high-interest illustrations. (with parent permission)

    The Percy Jackson series by R. Riordan - Humans and half-bloods alike agree—Percy Jackson and the Olympians is a series fit for heroes! Re-live the adventure from the beginning with this boxed set of the first three books (with parent permission). 
     
    Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket -  A Series of Unfortunate Events is the story of the three Baudelaire orphans, Violet, Claus and Sunny. The books are narrated by Lemony Snicket, a mysterious man who follows the story through clues passed on through a secret organization known only as the V.F.D. (with parent permission).