Contemporary & Realistic Fiction

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Festival of Colors by Kabir Sehgal and Surishtha Sehgal


Illustrator:

Harrison, Vashti


Nelson’s Stars (Out of 5):

4


Recommended Grades:

K-2


Summary:

Learn about Holi, the Indian festival of colors, which takes place annually. Here people crush beautiful colors to form dyes that are thrown on their friends and community members to celebrate new beginnings.


Why Read This Book?

The beautiful pictures will draw in children of any age, while adults and children will both enjoy learning about Holi, a tradition not commonly celebrated in the United States.


Year Published:

2018


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Solutions for Cold Feet and Other Little Problems by Carey Sookocheff

Nelson’s Stars (Out of 5):

5

Recommended Grades:

4K-2

Summary:

A young girl finds solutions to some of her biggest challenges: cold feet, flyaway hats, boring days, and getting caught in the rain.

Why Read This Book?

It is a cute and fun story that all people (but especially dog lovers) will enjoy. I'd also recommend trying to think of other solutions with your child. It's fun to be creative and silly while solving problems!

Year Published:

2016


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A Different Pond by Bao Phi

Illustrator: Bui, Thi

Nelson’s Stars (Out of 5):

5

Recommended Grades:

2-8

Summary:

A young boy and his dad go on a fishing trip to provide food for their family. While fishing, the dad explains how fishing in America reminds him of his family in Vietnam.

Why Read This Book?

First, absolutely beautiful illustrations. Second, it is a great reminder of what immigrants face when they are away from family. It can also be pulled into a discussion about the Vietnam War.

Year Published:

2017


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Thunder Boy Jr. by Sherman Alexie

Summary: Thunder Boy Jr., wants a "normal" name like Sam. But he was born into Native American tradition where he is named after an earthly event. Thunder Boy Jr. explores different names he would prefer and in the end, his wish does come true--he is given a new name. This is a fun and silly book that gets kids thinking about their own names.

Alexie, S. (2016). Thunder Boy Jr. New York, NY: Hachette Book Group.


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The Girl and the Bicycle by Mark Pett

Summary: This book is told with illustration only, no text appears on the pages. A little girl and her brother are walking downtown when the little girl finds the most beautiful green bike she’s ever seen. She rushes home only to discover that she doesn’t have enough money to buy the bike. She has a rummage sale and a lemonade stand to raise funds. But her biggest money-maker is helping the elderly woman in her neighborhood. She rakes, shovels snow, helps clean her home, plants her garden and is a companion to the woman. When the little girl finally realizes that she has enough money saved to buy the bike, she rushes downtown with her brother only to learn that the bike is gone—somebody else bought it. The little girl uses the money she earned to buy her little brother a tricycle instead. This sweet book touches on the caring nature between siblings and neighbors, focuses in on hard work, and reminds the reader of doing good for others.

Pett, M. (2014). The girl and the bicycle. New York, NY: Simon & Schuster.

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"Mom, Dad, Our Books, and Me" by Danielle Marcotte, illustrated by Josee Bisaillon

One young boy shares his love of reading with his family and friends through this short story.  His uncle enjoys reading in the kitchen, his aunt reads sheet music to make beautiful sounds, his neighbor swings in a hammock while reading, and the child enjoys reading in the tub. People read when checking a clock or thermometer and also when examining a map. It is a fun story where children can think of all the ways and all the places where they read.

Marcotte, D. (2016). Mom, dad, our books, and me. Berkeley, CA: Owlkids Books.

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Other Great Titles:

  • Michael Recycle by Ellie Bethel
  • Blue Sky, White Stars by Sarvinder Naberhaus
  • A Giraffe and a Half by Shel Silverstein



Books for Older Students:

I Am Not a Number by Jenny Kay Dupuis and Kathy Kacer


Illustrator:

Newland, Gillian


Nelson’s Stars (Out of 5):

5


Recommended Grades:

4-6


Summary:

For about 100 years, First Nations and Inuit children were taken from their families and sent to harsh schools around Canada. Here they were given a very basic education and treated meanly. This true story follows one child as she goes through this experience and how her family was able to stand up to protect them.


Why Read This Book?

This helps me remember the loss that hundreds of thousands of native peoples faced for generations. I found the author's notes at the end extremely interesting as it shared more information about the children removed from their homes and Couchie Dupuis, for whom the story was based on.


Year Published:

2016



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