Saturday, June 9, 2012

48 Hour Book Challenge: Early Chapter books

This is year number seven for Mother Reader's 48 Hour Book Challenge.  Every year I say I'm going to take the plunge and join the madness, but it is always such a busy time of year.  Between graduations, ending school years, and trying to get life back together it just never seems to work.  This year, I decided despite graduation festivities and other calendar obligations, I was going to give it a try.  (I swear it wasn't so I could sit on the patio and watch my husband mulch the flowerbeds.)  I made a plan, downloaded Book Time to track my reading, and picked a starting time.  On your mark, get set, READ!  (Book reviews at the bottom of this post.)

I decided this challenge was the perfect time to learn about some new beginning chapter books.  I'm a picture book gal and honestly hope the children I teach will enjoy picture books for as long as they can.  However, I know I have some obligation to learn more about beginning chapter books.  I know that reading these books is an important step in the reading lives of young learners.  I knew I needed titles beyond Junie B. Jones, Magic Tree House, and Henry and Mudge --- all of which I love.   This challenge does not include picture books which was perfect for providing incentive to catching up on  some transitional titles.  

I did what I always do when I have such a dilemma, I sent out a tweet.

My colleagues on Twitter never disappoint me.  Ask and you shall receive.
Thanks to @frankisibberson, @literacydocent, @sylive_shaffer, @komos72, @utalaniz, @lorilovesbooks, @mselke01, @jillfisch@donalynbooks, and @jmalphy I had list in hand.  Thankfully, most of the titles were available on the Kindle.  (That's a post for another day!)  I loaded the Kindle and began.

Early Chapter Series Books
Here are the first three books.  I love that each one is a part of series.  When I talk with people who are real readers --- the kind that will hide to read, avoid work to read, escape to quiet places to read --- they always talk of a series that was significant in their reading journey.

Roscoe Riley Rules #1:  Never Glue Friends to a Chair by Katherine Applegate.  This book made me laugh.  Roscoe seems to have a tendency to make decisions that might not be in his best interest.  As Roscoe tells us, "It's not that I try to find ways to get into trouble.  It's just that trouble has a way of finding me."

In this book a performance for parents, a class of students with a first year teacher, and some super-mega-gonzo glue create an interesting series of events.  At least Roscoe's intentions were good.  This book is the first in a series and I'm looking forward to finding out what other adventures lie ahead with Roscoe.

Heidi Heckelbeck Has a Secret by Wanda Coven.  In this book, Heidi is the beginning of her second grade year.  What makes the start of the school year more unusual is that Heidi has been home schooled until this day.  While her brother is quite excited about attending kindergarten, Heidi is not sure she feels she the same.  Heidi feels like she doesn't fit in to this new environment and Melanie doesn't make life any easier for her.

I enjoyed getting to know the character in this book, but felt like the book ended without a solution.  I'm going to have to read book number two to see what happens next.

Keena Ford and the Second Grade Mix-Up by Melissa Thomson.  I love love loved this book.  I loved the character.  I loved the writing.  I can't wait to read the next one!

It's true I loved Keena from the start.  I teach first grade so how can I not love a character leaving first grade and getting ready to start second?  How can I not love a character who journals --- even if it is to keep herself out of trouble?  How can I not love a character who seems to unintentionally get herself into some sticky situations?  How can I not love a character who loves a good dessert and will do most anything to find one?

In this book it is the beginning of the school year and Keena has just found out she will not be in her best friend Eric's class this year.  To make matters worse, she has just found out she will be in a class with all girls and he will be in a class with all boys.  Keena's not sure she will like a room that is pink and makes time for yucky tea parties.  However, when she gets to school she finds she might just like her new teacher and classroom.  However, telling the teacher her birthday is in September when it is in February and getting caught hiding under Eric's teacher's desk make for a rocky start to her year.  Like Roscoe, Keena doesn't intentionally get herself into these sticky situations.  Keena is definitely going to our school shelf!

Well, back to reading (maybe a break for some weeding too).  Thanks, friends, for the terrific recommendations!


  1. Hope you are continuing to enjoy yourself! It's been a great weekend for me for sure, glad to be back to the 48HRC after a couple of years when I could not participate. Best wishes, Book People Unite!

  2. Sounds like you found some good early chapter books! My current favorite early chapter series are Alvin Ho by Lenore Look, Marty McGuire by Kate Messner, and Clementine by Sara Pennypacker.

  3. I hope you have fun with the chapter books!