The first book that I have chosen to talk about this week is Waiting for the Magic by Patricia MacLachlan. I chose this book because it is one of the SSYRA 2013-2014 books and I can totally see why. This book was inspiring as it told about a boy named William and his family and how they deal with his father leaving (again). The family has never had pets, the dad didn't want them, and when he leaves the mother, William, and his little sister Elinor go to the animal shelter and get not just one pet but four dogs and a cat. These new additions teach William that there is more to family than just the people in our lives and discover the "magic" that surrounds us.
The SSYRA books are typically geared for 3rd-5th grades, but in the years past have been a little high for your average third grade reader. However, I loved this book for any age. Since William's little sister Elinor is only four years old the more difficult vocabulary words that are used by William and his mother are explained for Elinor (and of course the reader) making it an easier fit for young readers. The pictures fully support the text and make this almost one hundred fifty page book much more manageable for young readers (3rd grade and up).
The second book I read this week was The Year of the Book by Andrea Cheng. I have to say that as a bookworm I LOVED this book! The book is about a fourth grader named Anna who is struggling with fitting in at school. She isn't great at making friends but she loves to read and often finds herself lost in her books. I can totally relate to Anna! The book goes through the ups and downs of the whole school year and you watch Anna find herself and transform into a really wonderful friend. After all you have to be a friend to have a friend. Another great feature of this book is that the author, Andrea Cheng, lists each of the books that Anna reads throughout the year and I am hoping that they will advertise some of the classics to my students.
This year's SSYRA's are off to a fabulous start! I would definitely recommend both of these books, but you don't have to take my word for it (shout out to Reading Rainbow).