Monday, March 5, 2012

More Book Research

My writing project is along the lines of Judy Moody... realistic fiction, on the lower end of middle grade, or high end of lower grade chapter books. I have been reading as many of these types of books as I can find, with the main character's name and hint at subject matter in the title. Some books I have found through research but when I was at the library recently I strolled up and down the aisles in the juvenile section trying to spot books that had "that look" and surprisingly I found several. They are usually about the same size and of course have a name on the spine!

Cinderella Smith by Stephanie Barden, Harper Collins (word count 20264; pgs. 148; AR 4.2) Age Range: 8 and up; Middle Grade: 4-8

Penina Levine is a Hard Boiled Egg by Rebecca O'Connell, Roaring Brook Press (word count 28147; pgs. 164; AR 4.0) Age Range: 8 and up; Middle Grade: 4-8

Just Grace by Charise Mericle Harper, Houghton Mifflin (word count 16004; pgs. 138; AR 4.8) Age Range: 6 and up; Lower Grade: K-3

Piper Reed Gets a Job by Kimberly Willis Holt, Henry & Holt (word count 15289; pgs. 149; AR 3.7) Age Range: 8 and up; Lower Grade: K-3

Alice's World Record by Tim Kennemore, Eerdmans Books (word count 10225; pgs. 76; AR 4.9) Age Range: 8 and up; Lower Grade: K-3

More thoughts on the reading level of books. I was reading "Just Grace" to my daughter (who is 8) last night. I hadn't checked the reading level yet but was thinking to myself that, even though the main character is in 3rd grade, the book had to have a much higher difficulty level. And I was right. Some of the sentences in this book are WAY long and I actually found myself gasping for a breath while reading. Even though my daughter is an advanced reader for her age/grade, I don't think she would be able to read through such long sentences, pausing when necessary, and get the gist of all the thoughts packed together. I'm also not sure that almost 5th graders (as the reading level suggests this book is suited for) would be interested in reading about a 3rd grader. But I could be wrong on this point b/c my own almost 5th grader was listening in and has also been seen reading the Ivy and Bean books we have laying around. I asked him what he liked about the Ivy and Bean books and he said "that they are being bad" which of course I should have known would be his answer!

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