Books in the Bend

Just another Williamson County Schools Sites site

VSBA Intermediate List Grades 3-5

The Volunteer State Book Award is sponsored every year by the Tennessee Library Association.  During library I read aloud picture books from the primary list to all the Kindergartners through 2nd graders.  The intermediate list for grades 3-5 are chapter books and students must read on their own.  Any student that has read or listened to at least three VSBA books gets to cast their vote for who they think should win.  I then collect all the votes and turn them into the Tennessee Library Association.  They count up the votes from schools all around Tennessee and announce a winner.

Any student that read all 20 of the books from the intermediate list gets a trophy at the end of the year to recognize their hard work and dedication.  So if your 3-5 graders wants to get a head start on reading the entire intermediate list, summer is a great chance to do it!  Keep track of any VSBA books your student reads.  In August, I will send home a sheet for parents to sign off on and I will ask some questions about each book to make sure if was read entirely.

Here is next years grades 3-5 VSBA book list!

Crenshaw

Level 3.8

Jackson and his family have fallen on hard times. They don’t have money to pay the rent and food is in short supply. The family might be forced to live in their minivan again. When it looks like things are going to hit rock bottom, Jackson receives an unexpected visit from Crenshaw, his imaginary friend. Can this large, furry pal actually help?

 

Circus Mirandus

Level 4.8

Do you believe in magic?
Micah Tuttle does.

Even though his awful Great-Aunt Gertrudis doesn’t approve, Micah believes in the stories his dying Grandpa Ephraim tells him of the magical Circus Mirandus: the invisible tiger guarding the gates, the beautiful flying birdwoman, and the magician more powerful than any other—the Man Who Bends Light. Finally, Grandpa Ephraim offers proof. The Circus is real. And the Lightbender owes Ephraim a miracle. With his friend Jenny Mendoza in tow, Micah sets out to find the Circus and the man he believes will save his grandfather.

The only problem is, the Lightbender doesn’t want to keep his promise. And now it’s up to Micah to get the miracle he came for.

Serafina and the Black Cloak

Level 5.9

Serafina has never had a reason to disobey her pa and venture beyond the grounds of Biltmore Estate. There’s plenty to explore in Mr. and Mrs. Vanderbilt’s vast and opulent home, but she must take care to never be seen. None of the rich folk upstairs know that Serafina exists; she and her pa, the estate’s maintenance man, have lived in the basement for as long as Serafina can remember. She has learned to prowl through the darkened corridors at night, to sneak and hide, using the mansion’s hidden doors and secret passageways.
But when children at the estate start disappearing, only Serafina knows the clues to follow. A terrifying man in a black cloak stalks Biltmore’s corridors at night. Following her own harrowing escape, Serafina risks everything by joining forces with Braeden Vanderbilt, the young nephew of Biltmore’s owners. Braeden and Serafina must uncover the Man in the Black Cloak’s true identity before all of the children vanish one by one.

Serafina’s hunt leads her into the very forest that she has been taught to fear, where she discovers a forgotten legacy of magic. In order to save the children of Biltmore, Serafina must not only face her darkest enemy, but delve into the strange mystery of her own identity.

Book Scavenger
Level 5.5

For twelve-year-old Emily, the best thing about moving to San Francisco is that it’s the home city of her literary idol: Garrison Griswold, book publisher and creator of the online sensation Book Scavenger (a game where books are hidden in cities all over the country and clues to find them are revealed through puzzles). Upon her arrival, however, Emily learns that Griswold has been attacked and is now in a coma, and no one knows anything about the epic new game he had been poised to launch. Then Emily and her new friend James discover an odd book, which they come to believe is from Griswold himself, and might contain the only copy of his mysterious new game.

Racing against time, Emily and James rush from clue to clue, desperate to figure out the secret at the heart of Griswold’s new game—before those who attacked Griswold come after them too.

 

Iron Trial

Level 5.6

Most kids would do anything to pass the Iron Trial.

Not Callum Hunt. He wants to fail.

All his life, Call has been warned by his father to stay away from magic. If he succeeds at the Iron Trial and is admitted into the Magisterium, he is sure it can only mean bad things for him.

So he tries his best to do his worst – and fails at failing.

Now the Magisterium awaits him. It’s a place that’s both sensational and sinister, with dark ties to his past and a twisty path to his future.

The Iron Trial is just the beginning, for the biggest test is still to come . . .

From the remarkable imaginations of bestselling authors Holly Black and Cassandra Clare comes a heart-stopping, mind-blowing, pulse-pounding plunge into the magical unknown.

The War that Saved My Life

Level 4.1

Ten-year-old Ada has never left her one-room apartment. Her mother is too humiliated by Ada’s twisted foot to let her outside. So when her little brother Jamie is shipped out of London to escape the war, Ada doesn’t waste a minute—she sneaks out to join him.

So begins a new adventure for Ada, and for Susan Smith, the woman who is forced to take the two kids in. As Ada teaches herself to ride a pony, learns to read, and watches for German spies, she begins to trust Susan—and Susan begins to love Ada and Jamie. But in the end, will their bond be enough to hold them together through wartime? Or will Ada and her brother fall back into the cruel hands of their mother?

Life on Mars

Level 5.0

Twelve-year-old Arcturus Betelgeuse Chambers comes from a family of stargazers and his quest to find life on other planets is unstoppable.

But when Arty’s family announces they’re moving to Las Vegas, the City of Lights threatens to put an end to his stargazing dreams forever-especially when he has to stay with his scary next door neighbor while his parents look for a house. As it turns out, “Mr. Death†? isn’t terrifying at all-he’s actually Cash Maddox, a bonafide astronaut! But when Cash falls ill, will Arty find the courage to complete his mission by himself? And might he actually prove, once and for all, that there is life on Mars?

Diary of a Mad Brownie

Level 5.3

In the first hilarious Enchanted Files, Angus is a brownie. No, not the kind you eat! He’s a tiny magical creature that loves to do chores. Angus has just “inherited” a new human girl, Alex. To say that Alex is messy would be an understatement. She’s a total hurricane-like disaster—and she likes it that way, thankyouverymuch! Living with each other isn’t easy but Angus and Alex soon learn there is a curse that binds them. What’s worse, it threatens Alex’s family! Working together, Angus and Alex will set out to break the curse . . . without killing each other first . . . hopefully.

This laugh-out-loud adventure, full of humor and heart, is ideal for fans of Escape From Mr. Lemoncello’s Library or Chris Grabenstein.

 

The Curious Tale of In Between

Level 5.2

Pram Bellamy is special–she can talk to ghosts. She doesn’t have too many friends amongst the living, but that’s all right. She has her books, she has her aunts, and she has her best friend, the ghostly Felix.

Then Pram meets Clarence, a boy from school who has also lost a parent and is looking for answers. Together they arrive at the door of the mysterious Lady Savant, who promises to help. But this spiritualist knows the true nature of Pram’s power, and what she has planned is more terrifying than any ghost.

Stubby the Dog Soldier

Level 4.0

A stray dog named Stubby braves the World War I battlefields alongside Private J. Robert Conroy. See the story unfold as this brave little canine makes a big difference in the lives of many World War I soldiers.

Fish in a Tree

Level 3.7

“Everybody is smart in different ways. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its life believing it is stupid.”

Ally has been smart enough to fool a lot of smart people. Every time she lands in a new school, she is able to hide her inability to read by creating clever yet disruptive distractions.  She is afraid to ask for help; after all, how can you cure dumb? However, her newest teacher Mr. Daniels sees the bright, creative kid underneath the trouble maker. With his help, Ally learns not to be so hard on herself and that dyslexia is nothing to be ashamed of. As her confidence grows, Ally feels free to be herself and the world starts opening up with possibilities. She discovers that there’s a lot more to her—and to everyone—than a label, and that great minds don’t always think alike.

Unusual Chickens for the Exceptional Poultry Farmer

Level 5.2

Twelve-year-old Sophie Brown feels like a fish out of water when she and her parents move from Los Angeles to the farm they’ve inherited from a great-uncle. But farm life gets more interesting when a cranky chicken appears and Sophie discovers the hen can move objects with the power of her little chicken brain: jam jars, the latch to her henhouse, the entire henhouse….

And then more of her great-uncle’s unusual chickens come home to roost. Determined, resourceful Sophie learns to care for her flock, earning money for chicken feed, collecting eggs. But when a respected local farmer tries to steal them, Sophie must find a way to keep them (and their superpowers) safe.

Told in letters to Sophie’s abuela, quizzes, a chicken-care correspondence course, to-do lists, and more, Unusual Chickens is a quirky, clucky classic in the making.

The Key to Extraordinary

Level 4.7

Everyone in Emma’s family is special. Her ancestors include Revolutionary War spies, brilliant scientists, and famous musicians–every single one of which learned of their extraordinary destiny through a dream.

For Emma, her own dream can’t come soon enough. Right before her mother died, Emma promised that she’d do whatever it took to fulfill her destiny, and she doesn’t want to let her mother down.

But when Emma’s dream finally arrives, it points her toward an impossible task–finding a legendary treasure hidden in her town’s cemetery. If Emma fails, she’ll let down generations of extraordinary ancestors . . . including her own mother. But how can she find something that’s been missing for centuries and might be protected by a mysterious singing ghost?

With her signature blend of lyrical writing, quirky humor, and unforgettable characters, Natalie Lloyd’s The Key to Extraordinary cements her status as one of the most original voices writing for children today.

A Handful of Stars

Level 4.4

When Lily’s blind dog, Lucky, slips his collar and runs away across the wide-open blueberry barrens of eastern Maine, it’s Salma Santiago who manages to catch him. Salma, the daughter of migrant workers, is in the small town with her family for the blueberry-picking season.

After their initial chance meeting, Salma and Lily bond over painting bee boxes for Lily’s grandfather, and Salma’s friendship transforms Lily’s summer. But when Salma decides to run in the upcoming Blueberry Queen pageant, they’ll have to face some tough truths about friendship and belonging. Should an outsider like Salma really participate in the pageant-and possibly win?

Set amongst the blueberry barrens and by the sea, this is a gorgeous new novel by Newbery Honor author Cynthia Lord that tackles themes of prejudice and friendship, loss and love.

Baba Yaga’s Assistant

Level 2.8

Graphic Novel

Most children think twice before braving a haunted wood filled with terrifying beasties to match wits with a witch, but not Masha. Her beloved grandma taught her many things: that stories are useful, that magic is fickle, that nothing is too difficult or too dirty to clean. The fearsome witch of folklore needs an assistant, and Masha needs an adventure. She may be clever enough to enter Baba Yaga’s house-on-chicken-legs, but within its walls, deceit is the rule. To earn her place, Masha must pass a series of tests, outfox a territorial bear, and make dinner for her host. No easy task, with children on the menu! Spooky and poignant, Marika McCoola’s stunning debut—with richly layered art by acclaimed graphic artist Emily Carroll—is a storytelling feat and a visual feast.

Ranger in Time: Long Road to Freedom

Level 4.2

Ranger is a time-traveling golden retriever with search-and-rescue training. In this adventure, he goes to a Maryland plantation during the days of American slavery, where he meets a young girl named Sarah. When she learns that the owner has plans to sell her little brother, Jesse, to a plantation in the Deep South, it means they could be separated forever. Sarah takes their future into her own hands and decides there’s only one way to run — north.

Lucky Strike

Level 5.2

Nate Harlow would love to be lucky, just once!

He’d like to win a prize, get picked first, call a coin toss right, even! But his best friend, Genesis Beam (aka Gen), believes in science and logic, and she doesn’t think for one second that there’s such a thing as luck, good or bad. She doesn’t care what names the other kids call them. She cares about being right, about saving the turtles of Paradise Beach, and she cares about Nate.

Then, on his birthday, at the Goofy Golf mini-golf course, Nate is struck by lightning — and survives! Suddenly baseballs are drawn to his bat-popular kids want HIM on their side. It seems the whole town of Paradise Beach thinks Nate has the magic touch.

But is there room for Gen in Nate’s lucky new world?

Woof

Level 4.3

There is trouble brewing in the Louisiana swamp — Bowser can smell it. Bowser is a very handsome and only slightly slobbery dog, and he can smell lots of things. Like bacon. And rawhide chews! And the sweat on humans when they’re lying.

Birdie Gaux, the girl Bowser lives with, also knows something is wrong. It’s not just that her grammy’s stuffed prize marlin has been stolen. It’s the weird rumor that the marlin is linked to a missing treasure. It’s the truck that seems to be following Birdie and the bad feeling on the back of her neck.

When Birdie and Bowser start digging into the mystery, not even Bowser’s powerful sniffer can smell just how menacing the threat is. And when the danger comes straight for Birdie, Bowser knows it up to him to sic ’em.

The Way to Stay in Destiny

Level 4.1

When Theo gets off a bus in Destiny, Florida, he’s left behind the only
life he’s ever known. Now he’s got to live with Uncle Raymond, a Vietnam
War vet and a loner who wants nothing to do with this long-lost nephew.
Thank goodness for Miss Sister Grandersole’s Rooming House and Dance
School. The piano that sits in Miss Sister’s dance hall calls to Theo.
He can’t wait to play those ivory keys. When Anabel arrives things get
even more enticing. This feisty girl, a baseball fanatic, invites Theo
on her quest to uncover the town’s connection to old-time ball players
rumored to have lived there years before. A mystery, an adventure, and a
musical exploration unfold as this town called Destiny lives up to its
name.

A Dragon’s Guide to the Care and Feeding of Humans

Level 5.6

Crusty dragon Miss Drake has a new pet human, precocious Winnie. Oddly enough, Winnie seems to think Miss Drake is her pet—a ridiculous notion!

Unknown to most of its inhabitants, the City by the Bay is home to many mysterious and fantastic creatures, hidden beneath the parks, among the clouds, and even in plain sight. And Winnie wants to draw every new creature she encounters: the good, the bad, and the ugly. But Winnie’s sketchbook is not what it seems. Somehow, her sketchlings have been set loose on the city streets! It will take Winnie and Miss Drake’s combined efforts to put an end to the mayhem . . . before it’s too late.

All summaries taken from Amazon.com
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2nd-3rd

Dory Fantasmagory Series

Level 3.2

As the youngest in her family, Dory really wants attention, and more than anything she wants her brother and sister to play with her. But she’s too much of a baby for them, so she’s left to her own devices—including her wild imagination and untiring energy. Her siblings may roll their eyes at her childish games, but Dory has lots of things to do: outsmarting the monsters all over the house, moving into the closet, and exacting revenge on her sister’s favorite doll. And when they really need her, daring Dory will prove her bravery, and finally get exactly what she has been looking for.

With plenty of pictures bursting with charm and character, this hilarious book about an irresistible rascal is the new must-read for the chapter book set.

Princess in Black Series

Level 3.0

Today is Princess Magnolia’s birthday party, and she wants everything to be perfect. But just as her guests are arriving . . . Brring! Brring! The monster alarm! Princess Magnolia runs to the broom closet, ditches her frilly clothes, and becomes the Princess in Black! She rushes to the goat pasture, defeats the monster, and returns to the castle before her guests discover her secret. But every time Princess Magnolia is about to open her presents, the monster alarm rings again. And every time she rushes back—an inside-out dress here, a missing shoe there—it gets harder to keep the other princesses from being suspicious. Don’t those monsters understand that now is not a good time for an attack?

Jake Maddox Books

Levels 3-4

These best-selling sports stories by Jake Maddox are a hit with boys and girls alike! Pumped-up, easy-to-read stories with an emphasis on speed, skill, and fair play. The boys and girls in these books face obstacles on the gridiron, the court, the ice, or the half-pipe, and meet mental and social challenges as well. Readers discover that an athlete’s inner game, persistence, and courage are just as important as a steady hand or a chance for a goal.

Bad Kitty Series

Level 2-3

Bad Kitty is bad. Very bad. But she doesn’t always mean to be. Whether she is trying to be a good little kitty and eat her vegetables or be a quiet little kitty and behave at a birthday party, it seems that trouble finds a way to her. Children will fall in love with Bad Kitty–and be roaring with laughter at all of her antics. Bad Kitty is a delightful picture book and an alphabetical romp through berserk cat behavior, and the follow up books are the perfect introduction to chapter books for young readers.

13 Story Treehouse (series)

Andy and Terry live in a treehouse. But it’s not just any old treehouse, it’s the most amazing treehouse in the world!

This treehouse has thirteen stories, a bowling alley, a see-through swimming pool, a secret underground laboratory, and a marshmallow machine that follows you around and automatically shoots marshmallows into your mouth whenever you are hungry.

Life would be perfect for Andy and Terry if it wasn’t for the fact that they have to write their next book, which is almost impossible because there are just so many distractions, including thirteen flying cats, giant bananas, mermaids, a sea monsters pretending to be mermaids, enormous gorillas, and dangerous burp gas-bubblegum bubbles!

Year of Billy Miller

Level 4.2

When Billy Miller has a mishap at the statue of the Jolly Green Giant at the end of summer vacation, he ends up with a big lump on his head. What a way to start second grade, with a lump on your head! As the year goes by, though, Billy figures out how to navigate elementary school, how to appreciate his little sister, and how to be a more grown up and responsible member of the family and a help to his busy working mom and stay-at-home dad. Newbery Honor author and Caldecott Medalist Kevin Henkes delivers a short, satisfying, laugh-out-loud-funny school and family story that features a diorama homework assignment, a school poetry slam, cancelled sleepovers, and epic sibling temper tantrums. This is a perfect short novel for the early elementary grades.

 

Weird School Series

In the first My Weird School book ever, second-grade teacher Miss Daisy is in over her head. She doesn’t even know how to add or subtract! But the kids have other things on their minds. Principal Klutz has promised that if they read a million pages in books, they can turn the school into a video-game arcade for one whole night!

Perfect for reluctant readers and word lovers alike, Dan Gutman’s insanely popular My Weird School series has something for everyone. Don’t miss the hilarious adventures of A.J. and the gang.

Twig

Twig was just a plain, ordinary little girl who lived on the fourth floor of a “high sort of house” in the city. The back yard behind that house was Twig’s little world. It was a bare little world, with nothing but a dandelion and a stream of drainpipe water to make it beautiful; with nobody but Old Boy, the ice-wagon horse, Old Girl, the cat, and the Sparrows, to keep Twig company.

But one day, out in the alley, Twig found an empty tomato can, with pictures of bright red tomatoes all round it. When it was upside down, it looked like a pretty little house, just the right size for a fairy! Twig stood it upside down next to the dandelion, not far from the stream. And this is the story of what happened in and around that little house one Saturday afternoon.

A story full of magic, full of fun, full of fantasy interwoven with reality, and full of the kind of tenderness which belongs most particularly to the very young. A story both boys and girls will love.

Sarah Plain and Tall

Level 3.4

This Newbery Medal–winning book is the first of five books in Patricia MacLachlan’s chapter book series about the Witting family. Set in the late nineteenth century and told from young Anna’s point of view, Sarah, Plain and Tall tells the story of how Sarah Elisabeth Wheaton comes from Maine to the prairie to answer Papa’s advertisement for a wife and mother. Before Sarah arrives, Anna and her younger brother Caleb wait and wonder. Will Sarah be nice? Will she sing? Will she stay?

This children’s literature classic is perfect for fans of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House on the Prairie books, historical fiction, and timeless stories using rich and beautiful language. Sarah, Plain and Tall gently explores themes of abandonment, loss and love.

 

Crenshaw

Level 3.8

Jackson and his family have fallen on hard times. There’s no more money for rent. And not much for food, either. His parents, his little sister, and their dog may have to live in their minivan. Again.

Crenshaw is a cat. He’s large, he’s outspoken, and he’s imaginary. He has come back into Jackson’s life to help him. But is an imaginary friend enough to save this family from losing everything?

Beloved author Katherine Applegate proves in unexpected ways that friends matter, whether real or imaginary.

 

One and Only Ivan

Level 3.6

This stirring and unforgettable novel from renowned author Katherine Applegate celebrates the transformative power of unexpected friendships. Inspired by the true story of a captive gorilla known as Ivan, this illustrated novel is told from the point-of-view of Ivan himself.

Having spent 27 years behind the glass walls of his enclosure in a shopping mall, Ivan has grown accustomed to humans watching him. He hardly ever thinks about his life in the jungle. Instead, Ivan occupies himself with television, his friends Stella and Bob, and painting. But when he meets Ruby, a baby elephant taken from the wild, he is forced to see their home, and his art, through new eyes.

The One and Only Ivan was hailed as a best book of the year by Kirkus, School Library Journal, and Amazon, demonstrating it is a true classic in the making. In the tradition of timeless stories like Charlotte’s Web and Stuart Little, Katherine Applegate blends humor and poignancy to create Ivan’s unforgettable first-person narration in a story of friendship, art, and hope. An author’s note depicts the differences between the fictional story and true events.

Eerie Elementary Series

Level 3.4

Eerie Elementary is one scary school!

This series is part of Scholastic’s early chapter book line called Branches, which is aimed at newly independent readers. With easy-to-read text, high-interest content, fast-paced plots, and illustrations on every page, these books will boost reading confidence and stamina. Branches books help readers grow!

In this first book in the series, Sam Graves discovers that his elementary school is ALIVE! Sam finds this out on his first day as the school hall monitor. Sam must defend himself and his fellow students against the evil school! Is Sam up to the challenge? He’ll find out soon enough: the class play is just around the corner. Sam teams up with friends Lucy and Antonio to stop this scary school before it’s too late!

Owl Diaries Series

Level 3.0

This adorable early chapter book series is perfect for young girls who love friendship stories starring animal characters!

This series is part of Scholastic’s early chapter book line called Branches, which is aimed at newly independent readers. With easy-to-read text, high-interest content, fast-paced plots, and illustrations on every page, these books will boost reading confidence and stamina. Branches books help readers grow!

Eva Wingdale gets in over her head when she offers to organize a spring festival at school. Even with her best friend Lucy’s help, there is NO way she will get everything done in time. Will Eva have to ask Sue (a.k.a. Meanie McMeanerson) for help? Or will the festival have to be cancelled? This book is written as Eva’s diary — with Rebecca Elliott’s owl-dorable full-color illustrations throughout!

All summaries taken from Amazon.com
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The Wright Brothers

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Amelia Earhart

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Shel Silverstein

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Harriet Tubman



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Mae Jamison

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Dian Fossey


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Jane Goodall


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Barack Obama

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