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Podcast Podcast

Episode 5 — Back to School


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Chatting About Books: Recommendations for Young Readers

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Grades K – 5
Podcast Series Chatting About Books: Recommendations for Young Readers
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Duration 15:26
Original Air Date Published August 07, 2008

Book Chat

Cookies and Milk

Expert Chat


Book Chat

  • Moxy Maxwell Does Not Love Stuart Little by Peggy Gifford; photographs by Valorie Fisher (Schwartz & Wade, 2007)

    This book is the hilarious tale of Moxy Maxwell’s last day of summer vacation before entering fourth grade. She loves to read, but doesn’t love being told what to read. Moxy has been carrying around her school assignment, Stuart Little, all summer but life (and an endless stream of excuses) keeps getting in the way. Her mother has instructed her stay finish the book by the end of the day or “there will be consequences.” True to form however, Moxy thinks up one way after another to get herself out of reading on this fateful day. When she does end up reading Stuart Little by flashlight at the very end of the day, Moxy wonders why it took her so long to get to know this adventurous mouse. The photographs that go along with each chapter add to the hilarity of this summer story that any procrastinating kid can relate to.
    Best for grades 3–6, ages 9–12
    Listed as one of the 2008 Notable Children’s Books in the English Language Arts
    Peggy Gifford's website

  • Speak to Me (And I Will Listen Between the Lines) by Karen English; illustrated by Amy Bates (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2004)

    This poetry book is told from the perspective of six second-graders about one day at school. Each student sees their school day a little differently even though they are in the same class. The author realistically, yet age appropriately, creates six distinct voices and shows how one day can be viewed in many ways. Kids will relate to these characters and parents will find many opportunities throughout the book to start conversations with their children about friendship, family, and school.
    Best for grades K–3, ages 4–8

Cookies and Milk

This fifth-grade book club opted out of cookies; they feasted on doughnuts instead while chatting about Moxy Maxwell. They can relate to Moxy’s messy bedroom and her reasoning behind putting off reading Stuart Little. Vanessa, Crystal, Melanie, and Isabel agree that most kids don’t want to read a book they have to read, especially during the summer.

Expert Chat

Paige and Joey offer advice to kids about starting school. Paige shares her kindergarten experiences and reassures kids that after three or four days, kindergarten starts to feel less scary and more fun, especially when you start to read, write, and make friends that fill you with cheer. Joey also shares his initial concerns of middle school and dispels any fear of locker woes. His advice? Don’t panic on the first day; once you find your friends and get into school work, middle school becomes a pretty fun place!