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A GOOD READ: Books your children won't want to put down
Here are some great reading suggestions for kids in Grades 4 and 5 that are interesting for both girls and boys.
The Paper House by Lois Peterson is the inspiring story of 10-year-old Safiya, who lives in the Kibera slum outside Nairobi. Safiya spends her days rummaging through the garbage dump for things she can sell to support herself and her grandmother. “Everything was different in Kibera. The noises were louder and the smells stronger. Flies hovered above trenches of mucky water. Garbage lay everywhere. Packs of dogs roamed the alleys, barking and howling, rooting for food and getting in snarling fights… Fires sometimes destroyed whole rows of shacks. Gangs threatened old people and women and little kids.” Safiya finds beautiful magazine pictures in the dump that inspire her to create a better life for her and her grandmother. The author, Peterson, is Canadian and lives in Surrey — and she works in a library.
The Contest by Gordon Korman is the first book in the Everest series. A young boy, Dominic, enters a contest to be the youngest person to climb Mount Everest, the world’s tallest mountain. Twenty of the country’s top climbers have to compete for four spots. “On Everest, everything above 25,000 feet is known as the Death Zone. There, overpowering wind gusts approaching 200 miles per hour can wrench a strong person clear off the mountain, and bone-chilling night-time cold of 100 degrees below zero causes frostbite and hypothermia.” The other books in the series are The Climb and The Summit.
Poppy by Avi is the irresistible tale of a tiny mouse who ends up battling a huge, horned owl, Mr. Ocax, so that she can lead her family to a better life — a wonderful story of bravery and courage. “For an instant the two of them, owl and mouse, confronted each other. Then a look of horrible rage passed across the owl’s face… Now there was nothing he’d not do to kill her.” There are four other Poppy books: Ragweed, Poppy and Rye, Ereth’s Birthday and Poppy’s Return.
The Lemonade War by Jacqueline Davies is the story of a brother and sister, Evan and Jesse, who launch an all-out war to see who can sell the most lemonade before school starts. Even though they have always viewed the world in different ways, Evan and Jesse had always been close until Jesse skips a grade and is going to be in Evan’s class. The battle heats up and Jesse tries to sabotage Evan’s lemonade. “She filled that bag and two more with flies… she plunged the bag into the lemonade… she found two green inchworms and a fuzzy gypsy moth caterpillar. She tossed them into the cooler. Then she threw in a fistful of dirt for good measure.” The other books in this series are The Lemonade Crime, The Bell Bandit and The Candy Smash.
The Sky is Falling by Kit Pearson is set during the Second World War, when children were sent from England to live in Canada, where they would be safe from the war. A brother and sister, Norah and Gavin, travel across the ocean together. Norah is only 10 years old and does not want to leave her family; she doesn’t know who she’ll be living with when she gets to Canada. The Sky is Falling is the first book in the Guests of War trilogy. The other two books are Looking at the Moon and The Lights go on Again. Pearson is a Canadian author and former librarian.
If you are looking for more great titles, don’t hesitate to ask a librarian — we are always happy to recommend books.
A Good Read is a column by Tri-City librarians that is published every Wednesday. Dianne Allan works at Terry Fox Library in Port Coquitlam.