Ms. Cadet's Captivating Children's Collection

Ms. Cadet's Captivating Children's Collection

A collection of my favorite books to read in and out of the Elementary classroom.


4.5 Stars
Freedom Summer by Deborah Wiles
Freedom Summer - Deborah Wiles, Jerome Lagarrigue

Freedom Summer by Deborah Wiles is a beautiful story of friendship between John Henry (a young black boy) and Joe (a young white boy) in the 1960s. The two boys spend their entire summer together, going on adventures and making unforgettable memories. As the boys spend time together, Joe begins to notice all of the things John Henry can't do and all of the places he is not allowed into simply because of this skin color. But despite this, the boys become close friends and embrace each other's differences. This book has a great variety of vocabulary that readers can learn from and excellent illustrations that paint an accurate picture of the South during the 1960s. 


I would use this book during a Social Studies lesson and ask students to compare and contrast John Henry's and Joe's lives before and after the Civil Rights Act was passed in 1964. Using historical facts learned in previous lessons and the book, I would ask them to compare/contrast what they could and could not do and what their daily life would look like. What changed? What stayed the same? They would write their response in a PowerPoint or Prezi presentation that they could share in class. 

Lexile Measure: AD460L

5 Stars
Miss Nelson is Missing by Harry Allard
Miss Nelson Is Missing! - Harry Allard, James Marshall

Miss Nelson is Missing by Harry Allard tells a valuable story on being respectful towards your teacher/adults and being grateful for what/who you have. This is such a fun story for students to read or hear read aloud to them. It is light hearted and funny but still teaches a moral lesson. The students will learn the importance of being grateful for the people in your life and treating them with the respect they deserve. 


I would have students create a "Wanted" or "Missing Person" poster to find the two teachers, Miss Nelson and Miss Swamp. In the poster they would draw a picture of the missing character of their choice and write a brief description on the character. 

Guided Reading: L
Lexile: 340L
Accelerated Reader Level: 2.7
5 Stars
I Love My Hair by Natasha Tarpley
I Love My Hair! - Natasha Tarpley

I really enjoyed reading I Love My Hair by Natasha Tarpley. This book serves a greater purpose than just a good story. It teaches young girls (and even boys) to love their hair (or any other characteristic) and its uniqueness. Specifically, this book tackles the long history of young, black girls disliking their hair because it is "different" from everyone else hair. This book highlights all the great things her hair can do and all the different ways she can wear it as well as the heritage and culture of her hair. I also love the use of positive similes and metaphors when comparing the main character's hair to objects. 


I would read this book to the class, pausing to discuss with students the ways her mom does her hair, the different styles she wears her hair in (and ask the student what their favorite hairstyles are), and feelings towards her hair (compared to the student's feeling towards their own hair), etc. After reading I would ask students to write a paragraph that connects the book to themselves or their own hair. I would ask them to use evidence from the text to support their connection.

Lexile Measure: 670L 
5 Stars
Martin's Big Words: The Life of Martin Luther King Jr.
Martin's Big Words: The Life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. - Doreen Rappaport, Bryan Collier

Martin's Big Words: The Life of Martin Luther King Jr. by Doreen Rappaport is a great rendition of the history of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. This book does an excellent job of explaining historical events and facts of the Civil Rights Movement and Dr. King's influence during that time. This book is appropriate for young readers and uses developmentally appropriate language. The illustrations are exceptional. Without too many words and with just enough detail, readers can learn about the life and death of Dr. King as well as the start and end of the Civil Rights Movement.


This book serves a great educational purpose in the classroom. After a lesson on Dr. King's influence during the Civil Rights Movement, I would read this book to the class and discuss it afterwards. Then I would ask students to read portions of the famous "I Have a Dream Speech" by Dr. King and to find real word examples of how his dream came true. Then, I would ask students to help write a class "We Have a Dream Too" speech where we would write dreams or wishes we have for the world as it is today (and the issues Americans face today).



Guided Reading: S
Lexile: 410L
Accelerated Reader Level: 3.4

!!! spoiler alert !!! Review
5 Stars
Wilma Jean the Worry Machine by Julia Cook
Wilma Jean the Worry Machine - Julia Cook, Anita DuFalla

Wilma Jean the Worry Machine by Julia Cook is a new favorite Children's book of mine. This book spreads awareness of anxiety disorders in Children and young students. This topic is rarely discussed in the classroom, if ever. This book discusses anxiety in a way that is appropriate for all ages but also beneficial. This is a way to help students in a classroom without singling them about their anxiety, or worry. Many students will be able to relate to the main character, Wilma Jean, and her many worries about school. This relation to the text may be comforting to many students because they will realize that they are not alone in this feeling. 


This book would be an excellent read in the first week of school or once school has picked up and students have grown to dislike certain parts of the day. I would read this book aloud to the class, stopping to discuss the obstacles Wilma Jean is facing. At the end of the class I would have a discussion about the problem (Wilma Jean getting the worry flu because she was worrying so much) and solution (finding a way to concur her fears at school and wearing the worry hat). While discussing, I would create a class chart to document the student's responses. Then, I would ask students to draw a hat in the writing journal and draw a horizontal line in the middle (similar to how it was drawn in the book) to separate their personal worries that they can control and can't control. This would be private and would not be shared with the class.


Lexile Measure: AD630L

5 Stars
Franklin's New Friend by Paulette Bourgeois
Franklin's New Friend - Paulette Bourgeois, Brenda Clark

Franklin's New Friend by Paulette Bourgeois is one of my childhood favorites. It is a wonderful story about friendship and making new friends. It teaches a valuable lesson on not "judging a book by its cover" and instead getting to know someone for who they are. I believe this would be a great read for children of all ages. The storyline is easy to follow and the vocabulary is great for all ages. 


I would use this lesson to emphasize the importance of accepting those who are different from us instead of discriminating against them. I would encourage people to embrace their differences and the difference of others. This is a great character building book. I would also use this book to inspire students writing. I would ask them to write a story about a time they misjudged something or someone and turned out to enjoy it or like it/them in the end.


Lexile Measure: 380L

5 Stars
Froggy Gets Dressed by Jonathan London
Froggy Gets Dressed - Jonathan London,  Frank Remkiewicz (Illustrator)

Froggy Gets Dressed by Jonathan London is such a fun read for young readers! This book provides a great deal of exposure to onomatopoeia and dialogue. This is great for beginning readers because they can read it to themselves and become familiar with these literary devices. The vivid illustrations are also engaging for readers of all ages as it draws you in and keeps you wanting to keep reading. I also think this book does a wonderful job of sequencing. Froggy undresses and redresses several times in the story. This opens up the door for a lesson on sequencing.


I would use this in the classroom by asking students to write a story explaining how they get dressed for school in the morning. I would ask them to use adjectives to describe the color and style of the clothing they put on. I would also ask the students to include everything that they put on including socks and hair ties. In upper grades, I would ask students to include as much detail as which shoe they tie first, what do they button/zip, and more. At the end of the writing, I would encourage students to share their morning routine with their classmates so they can compare their routines with each other.

Guided Reading: K
Lexile: 300L
Accelerated Reader Level: 1.8
5 Stars
Duck for President by Doreen Cronin
Duck for President - Doreen Cronin, Betsy Lewin

Duck for President by Doreen Cronin does a phenomenal job of educating readers on the process of nominating and electing a person in office as well as gives an insight on the responsibility of the President. I love the concept of using animals rather than people in this story because children are more likely to be engaged. This also encourages imagination as animals do not truly have these roles but are being given human characteristics. I really enjoy how smoothly this book transitions from a conflict in the story, to nominating Duck for President, to election day, etc. The story line is written so well, readers may not even notice that they are learning in the process.


I would use this book in the classroom to introduce a lesson on electing a president or the roles of a president. After reading the book, I would ask students to make a poster that has a picture of a person in their lives (favorite TV show character, friend, family, teacher, etc.) who would make a great president and list words or phrases explaining why people should vote for them. These signs would then be displayed around the classroom and in a confidential voting, I would ask my team teachers to vote on their "Team President" based on the posters. The person who made the winning poster will get a shoutout and have their work displayed in the class e-newsletter but I will remind students that there will be more opportunities for student's work to be displayed in the future and that we should congratulate the "winner."


Lexile Measure: AD680L

4.5 Stars
Panda Bear, Panda Bear, What Do You See? by Bill Martin, Jr. and Eric Carle
Panda Bear, Panda Bear, What Do You See? - Bill Martin Jr., Eric Carle

Panda Bear, Panda Bear, What Do You See? by Bill Martin, Jr. and Eric Carle is an outstanding book for young readers to read. The variety of animals in this book allows for a broad representation of animals that can be found in the wild. I adore the illustrations which are simple and clear with a bit of abstract flair. This book also includes many descriptive words. For example, instead of "bear" the character is named "Panda Bear". Each animal has a different verb attached to the action they are completing, allowing readers to build their vocabulary.


I would like to use this book in the classroom by asking students to select one animal from the story and research it. They will read books and use iPads/laptops to find where they live (water, land, in homes as a pet, etc.), what they eat, and more. The students can draw and color their animal as well. After they have gathered all of their research, the students will be encouraged to present their animals to their class.


Lexile: AD640L
Accelerated Reader Level: 2.5

5 Stars
Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss
Green Eggs and Ham - Dr. Seuss

Dr. Seuss's Green Eggs and Ham is another classic children's book. This book is a fun read for young readers--whether they are just beginning to read or are advanced in their reading. The alliteration and rhyming is an added bonus to an already great book. Readers can familiarize themselves with rhyming and alliteration and these literary devices also keep the book fun and interesting.


I would use this book in the classroom during a lesson on literary devices--specifically rhyming. I would ask students to play a rhyming puzzle card game where they must retell the story by matching rhyming word pairs. This would serve as a quick and fun review of the game but also practice rhyming. 


Lexile Measure: 210L 

5 Stars
Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin, Jr. and John Archambault
Chicka Chicka Boom Boom - Bill Martin Jr., John Archambault, Lois Ehlert

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin, Jr. and John Archambault is an excellent book for young readers. This is an excellent way to introduce or review letters and colors. All the letters of the alphabet are written in order and a variety of colors (both primary and secondary) are on every page. I especially like that the book also has a story line to follow so readers don't even notice that the book serves an instructional purpose as well.


I would read this out loud to my class and ask students to say the letter sounds every few pages. I would especially focus on letter sounds that may be difficult for my students to say. In first or second grade I would ask the students to create their own coconut tree and instead of writing letters on them, they could write their sight words. 



Lexile Measure: AD430L


5 Stars
The Berenstain Bears Go to School by Stan and Jan Berenstain
The Berenstain Bears Go to School (First Time Books(R)) - 'Stan Berenstain',  'Jan Berenstain'

The Berenstain Bears Go to School by Stan and Jan Berenstain is a cute and relatable story on Brother and Sister Bears's fear of the first day of school. This book paints the picture of the first day of school that many readers, no matter how young or old, have painted once before. This book has an excellent message that no matter how scary something may seem, take a chance and you may be pleasantly surprised.


This is such a lighthearted and warming story that is inviting for young readers who are beginning school. I would read this book on the first day of school, especially if my students are Kindergarteners. After reading this book, I would connect it to a first day of school activity that allows students to share a little something about themselves. In higher grades, this book could be connected with decoding text to find the central message or finding the traits of characters.


Lexile: 520L
Accelerated Reader Level: 3.2

5 Stars
The Very First Thanksgiving Day by Rhonda Gowler Greene
The Very First Thanksgiving Day - Rhonda Gowler Greene

The Very First Thanksgiving Day by Rhonda Gowler Greene is the perfect blend of educational and intriguing. This picture book has fantastic illustrations that are vibrant and elaborate. The text, on the other hand, tells the story/history of Thanksgiving in a way that is easy to follow and understand for beginning readers.



This book provides the perfect opportunity to act out the storyline. In a developmentally appropriate way, I feel it would be perfect to ask students to choose a character and retell the story by playing the characters in the book. 


Lexile: AD800L
Accelerated Reader Level: 3.9

5 Stars
Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson
Bridge to Terabithia - Katherine Paterson, Donna Diamond

Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson is a great novel that tells a touching story about friendship and loss. This novel is easily relatable to any audience as most have felt like an outsider at some point in their lives. It is easy to fall in love with the characters and relate to their conflicts in the novel.


This is a perfect novel for the classroom as it has a great deal of symbolism for students to learn from. The symbolism in this book can be broken down during class discussions and further enhanced through a variety of comprehension activities. There are endless possibilities to using this novel in the classroom!


Accelerated Reader Level: 7.0

5 Stars
Hero Dad by Melinda Hardin
Hero Dad - Melinda Hardin, Bryan Langdo

Hero Dad by Melinda Hardin is a lighthearted yet meaningful children's book. This book highlights the heroic characteristics of a soldier from the perspective of a child and does an excellent job of highlighting their duties as a soldier. It is child friendly while still being informative. The illustrations do an excellent job of showing the meaning behind the text for readers who may not understand the vocabulary.


I would use this book in class when students are learning about descriptive words or even when discussing occupations. This book could also be used during a lesson discussing the military around Veteran's Day.


Lexile Measure: AD610L

5 Stars
The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein
The Giving Tree - Shel Silverstein

The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein is a phenomenal classic for every generation! This book teachers such an important lesson that is appropriate for readers of all ages. I enjoy the simple illustrations and language which is great for beginning readers. The story line is easy to follow and interesting.


I would use this in the classroom when learning about finding the central message in a text. After a lesson on finding the central message, I would read this book aloud with my class and discuss the central message of this book with the students.


Accelerated Reader Level: 2.6