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iStock_000006627042XSmall.jpgAs a school librarian, I often interact with frustrated parents. Whether in person, at conferences, phone calls or even when they see me at the grocery store they want recommendations for their child so they will enjoy reading or to become better readers. I gladly give them some exact titles, but there is a method behind my madness.  I am constantly reinforcing these ideas with teachers as well. Students need to READ so they can become better READERS!  I feel, it doesn’t matter so much as what they are reading, but they enjoy it.


What does your student enjoy?  Nonfiction books can be equally satisfying to many students.  Not every student enjoys fiction. And that’s OK! Discover what your students like and match those with keyword searching.

Popular Titles

What I see “flying” off the shelves, is a good indication that most kids will like similar books.


Try other types of books in a genre.  Again, seeing which genres are popular will help you make recommendations.


When you fall in love with a particular character, you will want to read every book in that series.  I loved reading the boxcar children as an elementary student. I was thrilled to find out it was a series!  However, be prepared if you don’t have the “next” book available, you may have a revolt on your hands!

Check Reading Level

In my opinion, this are merely suggestions. Students shouldn’t be required to read exactly a 4.2 level.  It is only a GUIDE!  As long as students are reading around their ZPD, they will be fine.  Again, we should be encouraging reading. 

There are many features that I like on Big Universe.

Big Universe Featured Books – Similar to what is “flying” off my shelves, you can see popular titles.

Share – Students enjoy this feature, because they know what their friends are reading.

Recommended Books – Based on their previous selections, Big Universe will “match” books to you.

New Arrivals – This is always a big hit.  They love reading new books.

Try these books on….. Let us know how you liked them.

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Rhonda Gowler Greene (author), Brian Ajhar (illustrator)

AR: Accelerated Reader (AR) Points:0.5, Accelerated Reader (AR) Quiz Number:161641

ISBN: 9781627530095

Sleeping Bear Press

From the publisher, “At Seabreezy Library, things were just right. / Booklovers were cozy. The sky was blue-bright / when–Shiver me timbers!–through Seabreezy’s door / stormed big Pirate Pete and his parrot, Igor! Argh!! Things are looking–and smelling!!–a little fishy at Seabreezy Library. When the big X on Pirate Pete’s treasure map leads him and his parrot-sidekick Igor to believe buried treasure is hidden at the library, the patrons are quaking in their shoes. But never fear! Library Lou, Seabreezy’s librarian-extraordinaire, is as cool as a cucumber and knows how to handle an irate pirate or two. She knows exactly where the treasure is buried. But first she needs to help Pirate Pete and Igor get a handle on their hygiene, brush up on library etiquette, and then tackle learning their letters. And that will lead them to the treasure that can always be found at the library.”

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Frank Murphy (author), Gijsbert van Frankenhuyzen (illustrator)

AR: Accelerated Reader (AR) Points:0.5, Accelerated Reader (AR) Quiz Number:60691

ISBN: 9781627531238

Sleeping Bear Press

From the publisher, “While nearly everyone has a memory of their own favorite tattered teddy bear, the details of the day President Theodore “Teddy” Roosevelt refused to shoot a bear have been lost to time. Now, nearly 100 years later, the legend that has grown around that fateful encounter will captivate you in this delightful tale. Gijsbert van Frankenhuyzen brings his magical touch to another great American legend with illustrations for the origins of America’s favorite stuffed animal and how it got its name. Author Frank Murphy shares the history and lucky timing of two candy store entrepreneurs who took the story of President Theodore Roosevelt’s warm-hearted gesture in refusing to shoot a cornered bear and turned it into a legend of the toy world. Relive the memory of your own timeless, tattered “Teddy’s” bear with The Legend of the Teddy Bear.”

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