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Episode 59 — Are You at the End of Your Series?


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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
See all episodes in this series

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Duration 12:42
Original Air Date Published September 09, 2013

Music in this podcast is provided by Freeplay Music.


Book Chat

Expert Chat


Book Chat

If you like the Magic Tree House series by Mary Pope Osborne or the Time Warp Trio series by Jon Scieszka, you might like the Dragon Slayers’ Academy series by Kate McMullan.

The New Kid at School (Dragon Slayers’ Academy #1) by Kate McMullan (Grossett & Dunlap, 1997-2012)

It all started when a traveling minstrel read Wiglaf’s fortune. His fortune said that he would be a great hero. Hard to believe for the son who is known as the runt of the family, but with plenty of gumption and determination, Wiglaf heads off to Dragon Slayers’ Academy (DSA). However, what he finds at DSA is not quite what he expected: Eel for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, students who haven’t really slayed dragons (does stepping on a dragon egg count?), and teachers who are more concerned with making a buck than making a hero. But when Wiglaf gets picked to slay Gorzil, he must put everything he has learned so far (which isn’t much) to the test. If only he knew Gorzil’s weakness. Kids will enjoy this series set in medieval times with the unexpected hero Wiglaf leading the troops and a school of kids who always manage to best the adults and the dragons in their lives!

Visit Kate Mcmullan’s website to learn more about Wiglaf and see the titles of all 20 books in the series: http://www.katemcmullan.com/dsa01.htm

If you like the Henry and Mudge series by Cynthia Rylant, you might like the Cowgirl Kate and Cocoa series by Erica Silverman.

Any cowgirls or cowboys in your house? Then saddle up and try out this series. Spunky cowgirl Kate and her talking (and sometimes stubborn) horse, Cocoa, have plenty of adventures to keep kids reading. No matter the situation, whether it’s convincing Cocoa that calves aren’t half bad or calming Cocoa down after a ghost scare, these two remain true partners. Kids will like that Cocoa speaks his own mind and that Kate is resourceful and capable. She definitely knows her way around a ranch. This series would work well for beginning readers in first and second grade.

Cowgirl Kate and Cocoa by Erica Silverman; illustrated by Betsy Lewin (Harcourt, 2006)

Cowgirl Kate and Cocoa: Partners by Erica Silverman; illustrated by Betsy Lewin (Harcourt, 2007)

Cowgirl Kate and Cocoa: School Days by Erica Silverman; illustrated by Betsy Lewin (Harcourt, 2008)

Cowgirl Kate and Cocoa: Rain or Shine by Erica Silverman; illustrated by Betsy Lewin (Harcourt, 2008)

Cowgirl Kate and Cocoa: Horse in the House by Erica Silverman; illustrated by Betsy Lewin (Harcourt, 2010)

Cowgirl Kate and Cocoa: Spring Babies by Erica Silverman; illustrated by Betsy Lewin (Harcourt, 2011)

If you like Ricky Ricotta’s Mighty Robot series by Dav Pilkey or the Lunch Lady series Jarrett Krosoczka, you might like the Squish series by Jennifer and Matt Holm.

Squish is an amoeba. You might not think that amoebas are all that interesting, but if you dare to magnify their lives and look closely you will see that amoebas aren’t all that different from you and me. Jennifer and Matt Holm, the authors of the graphic novel series Babymouse, team up once again to bring kids Squish, a comic-book-loving amoeba that has to weather life’s ups and downs, along with his two best amoeba friends, Peggy and Pod. Squish battles bullies, peer pressure, swim lessons, parents, and video game obsession with the inspiration of his favorite comic-book hero: Super Amoeba!

Squish #1: Super Amoeba by Jennifer L. Holm and Matt Holm (Random House Books for Young Readers, 2011)

Squish #2: Brave New Pond by Jennifer L. Holm and Matt Holm (Random House Books for Young Readers, 2011)

Squish #3: The Power of the Parasite by Jennifer L. Holm and Matt Holm (Random House Books for Young Readers, 2012)

Squish #4: Captain Disaster by Jennifer L. Holm and Matt Holm (Random House Books for Young Readers, 2012)

Squish #5: Game On! by Jennifer L. Holm and Matt Holm (Random House Books for Young Readers, 2013)

If you like Junie B. Jones (series by Barbara Park) and Clementine (series by Sara Pennypacker), you might like Stella Batts (series by Courtney Sheinmel).

Featured Author’s Website: http://courtneysheinmel.com/index.html

Stella Batts Needs a New Name by Courtney Sheinmel (Sleeping Bear Press, 2012)

Third grader Stella Batts is writing her autobiography, but first she needs to change her name (mostly so that Joshua will stop calling her Stella-Smella). So Stella convinces her friends that they should all change their names, and they do. The problem is that it’s hard to remember who is who, and pretty soon Stella begins to miss her own name.  Stella’s debut novel will have readers wishing they could be friends with the girl whose family owns the local candy store.

Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow by Courtney Sheinmel (Sleeping Bear Press, 2012)

Stella is back, and she has plenty to write about. The new magical, glow-in-the-dark gum that her father brings for her and her sister Penny to try out  accidentally gets stuck in her hair (okay, maybe she shouldn’t have been chewing that piece of gum—and, okay, maybe she forgot to spit it out before she fell asleep). When she wakes up, she panics and decides the only thing to do is to cut it out…big mistake! Now, not only does she have super-short hair, but she also finds out her best friend is moving away. This magical gum is not working out at all like she had hoped.

Pardon Me by Courtney Sheinmel (Sleeping Bear Press, 2012)

Stella continues to work on her autobiography in the third book in the series. Her best friend Willa has moved away, and Stella needs a new friend. Evie, the new girl, seems like the perfect fit, but just as in books 1 and 2, Stella’s perfect plans go a little awry!

A Case of the Meanies by Courtney Sheinmel (Sleeping Bear Press, 2012)

Life would be great for Stella Batts if it weren’t for….life! As readers learn through Stella’s autobiographical writing, being a third grader isn’t always easy. In the fourth book in this series, Stella must deal with a mean classmate: Joshua. Remember he’s the one who gave her the nickname Stella-Smella? It’s his birthday, and he wants to have his party at the candy store owned by Stella’s parents. The problem? He invited everyone except Stella.

Who’s in Charge? by Courtney Sheinmel (Sleeping Bear Press, 2013)

Stella’s back!  In her fifth book, and as usual for Stella, the best laid plans often go kersplat…at least for a little while! Stella decides that she needs to take on some responsibilities, so she agrees to pet sit for her friend Evie without asking her mom first. Kids, this is never a good idea! And Stella soon finds that out.

Expert Chat

Listen in as Emily chats with Courtney Sheinmel, the author of the Stella Batts series. Courtney chats about her inspiration for her series and shares the details of her very own hair disaster as a 7-year-old.