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Great Books for Great Kids!

03/02/2015 01:59PM ● Published by Alexandra Brown

By Alexandra Brown

Another school year is nearly over and it just flew by.  This year both of my daughters attended public school and it seems like standardized tests and worksheets have pushed reading almost completely out of the door.  There just doesn’t seem to be enough time in the pace set by the state standards to allow for unrushed free reading time.

Hopefully, your child will still want to get in some quality reading and hopefully, you as a parent will encourage it.  There are some great books out there – but it seems there are so many books and so little time!

In this article are some gems I found for this month, so maybe this article will save you some time choosing books and give you more time for reading them.

The first book this month is “Taking Flight: From War Orphan to Star Ballerina” by Michaela DePrince.  It is the author’s own story of her beginnings as a war orphan in Sierra Leone, her eventual adoption by an American family and her current success as a professional ballerina.  Michaela’s story is also told in “First Position” which is an amazing movie documentary of young people competing in the Grand Prix, an international ballet competition.  Both the movie and the book are excellent and anyone ages 11 and up will enjoy them.

The second book for this month is another true story, “The Boys in the Boat:  Nine Americans and Their Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics.”  The author, Daniel James Brown, does an incredible job of describing the economic upheavals of the late 1920s an 1930s, the migration of Americans to the West and the events leading up to World War II.  He does it so compellingly that you have no idea that you are getting a thorough history lesson because you are spending so much time sitting on the edge of your seat rooting for nine poor farm boys who find themselves in a boat rowing crew.  This is one of the best books I have read in a long time and I recommend it highly for anyone ages 13 and up – don’t miss this one!

For a slightly younger crowd, I found a series at one of my favorite independently owned book stores.  To date, there are 4 books in the series, with more anticipated.  The first book in the series is “The Flame of Olympus:  Pegasus Book 1” by Kate O’Hearn.  The series begins with 13 year old Emily finding a winged horse on the roof of her New York City apartment building.  Realizing that the creatures she always thought to be myths are real, she embarks on a quest to return Pegasus to Olympus.  The series is reminiscent of the Percy Jackson series, but the exciting story line gives these books a life of their own.  Both boys and girls ages 8 and up will love this series.

Finally, I include a book that is laugh out loud funny.  “The Left Behinds:  The iPhone that Saved George Washington” is a hilarious take on the historical event of the crossing of the Delaware River by George Washington.  An iPhone app gone awry sends 3 kids back in time to 1776 where they encounter George Washington on the day before the crossing.  The author takes a lot of artistic license with history, but the result is a funny lighthearted take that will get kids laughing.  Both boys and girls ages 8 and up will have fun reading this one.

I hope that your children are able to fit some reading time in their schedules.  It may be tough, but it is worth it!  Should you have any questions or suggestions, please forward them to  

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Michaela De Prince Taking FLight The boys in the boat Danial James Brown Kate O' Hearn The Flame of Olympus The Left BEhinds


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