Tag Archives: realistic fiction

Fly Away, by Patricia MacLachlan

24 Jun

I’ve just finished my first book of the summer! Fly Away by Patricia MacLachlan. This is a very short and simple story about a family on a visit to Aunt Frankie’s farm. I really like how the author is able to make me feel like I know the characters as people in such a short time. Lucy is the main character, but we get to know her whole family: Dad, also known as Boots, Mom, older sister Gracie, younger brother Teddy, and Aunt Frankie. Aunt Frankie is one of my favorite characters because she’s tough and independent, but also very loving.

This book would be a tasty book snack for students in second through fourth grade. It would be a good fit for students who enjoy realistic fiction, and even poetry.

Fly Away, by Patricia MacLachlan


Have you ever read anything by Deborah Ellis?

24 Mar

Hello my friends!

Over the past few weeks, I have read several books by Deborah Ellis. I’ve read her trilogy that includes The Breadwinner, Parvana’s Journey, and Mud City. I’ve also read No Ordinary Day, which takes place in India, rather than Afghanistan. All four of these books are realistic fiction, but they’re not your typical school stories. Realistic fiction takes on a whole new meaning when you are reading about real life halfway around the world. 

In the Breadwinner trilogy, we experience life through Parvana, a young girl living in Afghanistan under Taliban rule. An interesting thing about this book is that it was first published just before 9/11, so the Taliban was not well-known, especially to American students. Women had to stay inside and didn’t have the same rights as men. Girls couldn’t even go to school, and most books were against the law. When Parvana’s father disappears in the middle of the night, she must find a way to earn money to get food for her family. How can she do that when she can’t even leave the house?

No Ordinary Day takes place in India, and is a very different story. Valli is an young girl who scavenges chunks of coal to help her family. What she doesn’t know, is that she’s an orphan, and her family doesn’t want her. Valli decides she must try to make a life for herself, even though she has almost no education and no idea where to go. Will she survive on her own, or will she run into even more trouble?

One reason I really enjoyed these books is the settings. So many of our most popular realistic fiction books take place in America, Canada, or maybe England. This is a true glimpse at what life is really like in other places for kids who could be just like YOU. Reading books like this makes us better people because they help us understand how other people live.

The next time your teacher suggests a realistic fiction book, surprise them by picking something unusual and out of the ordinary. Pick something by Deborah Ellis.


The Lemonade War, by Jacqueline Davies

12 Jul

I have just read the perfect summer book: The Lemonade War, by Jacqueline Davies. Check out this refreshing cover:

This is the story of two siblings: Evan and Jessie. Usually they get along, but when Evan finds out that Jessie will be in his class next year because she is skipping a whole grade level, he freaks out and says some hurtful things he doesn’t mean. This leads to a lemonade-selling competition with each sibling trying everything he or she can to out-sell the other. If you like money, summertime, competitions, and friendships, this is the book for you.

This is a tasty and refreshing book snack for both guys and gals in grades 4 – 6.

The One and Only Ivan, by Katherine Applegate

23 May

If you love animals, this is the book for you. But beware – there’s a good chance you need at least a few tissues.

The One and Only Ivan

Ivan is a silverback – a gorilla. He has lived in the Big Top Mall for 9,876 days in his very small domain (he doesn’t like to call it a cage). He is surrounded by other animals, but hasn’t had any contact with any other gorillas since he was a baby. It’s not a good life, but there’s no way out… is there?

The coolest (and saddest) thing about this story is that it is based on a real gorilla named Ivan. He’s still alive in a zoo in Atlanta, Georgia!

Check it out here! And while you’re there, you can find out about the author, too.

This book is a tasty snack for banana lovers in fourth grade and up! 🙂

Wonder, by R.J. Palacio

13 Apr

Wonder“I won’t describe what I look like. Whatever you’re thinking, it’s probably worse.”

Auggie Pullman was born with a facial deformity that prevented him from going to school — until now. He’s about to start 5th grade, and if you’ve ever been the new kid then you know how hard that can be. The thing is Auggie’s just an ordinary kid, with an extraordinary face. But can he convince his new classmates that he’s just like them, despite appearances? (From the publisher)

Friends, I read this book all in one sitting – I could not put it down! This is definitely one of the best books of the year, and I absolutely love Auggie.

If you are looking for a realistic fiction book, but want something a little different, this is the book for you. This is not an easy book to snack on – you might need a box of tissues nearby, but it’s one of the most satisfying book snacks of the year. You’ll be thinking about Auggie long after the book is over.

*UPDATE: Check out this very cool site inspired by this book. Will YOU choose to be kind?

A Solar Eclipses and a Time-traveling Toy Train?

21 Jul

Hello, my friends! It is so exciting to see so many students coming to Book Snacks to check it out! Thanks for stopping by again!

I have been reading like CrAzY the past week or so, and I wanted to catch you up on the books I’ve read. The first book is by an author that was recommended on this very site in the comments. I knew I had to read something by Wendy Mass this summer, so I chose Every Soul a Star, a book that I’d been eyeballing, but have been unable to read because it’s always checked out of our library!

Every Soul a StarI am not surprised that this book was totally fantastic. So many students told me I HAD to read this book, I knew it would be great. I was surprised, however, at the story! I thought it would just be a story about two girls who don’t want to move figuring out that it is going to be just fine. I was wrong – it’s so much more than that.

Ally and Bree could not be more opposite. Ally’s family runs a campground, Moon Shadow, in the middle of nowhere. Her parents are scientists, and they’ve been preparing for the solar eclipse that is about to happen for years. She can’t even think about living anywhere else. Bree lives in the city, is super popular, and really can’t be bothered with all that “science” stuff. She’s into being popular, not smart. One day, Bree finds out that she is moving so that her parents can conduct research. When she finds out what her new home is like, she is absolutely mortified – she can’t live away from her best friend and become a model if she’s living at Moon Shadow!

But there’s a third story to tell, too: Jack’s story. Jack is offered a trip to the solar eclipse instead of attending summer school, which sounds like a pretty good deal. He’s nervous because he thinks he doesn’t know anything about science, but decides to make the trip with his science teacher anyway.

How will Bree adjust to living “in the sticks”? How will Ally every find the strength to say goodbye? And how does Jack fit in? I really loved the way these three stories came together, and I loved how much I learned about science, too! This book is a good choice for some 3rd graders and most 4th and 5th graders. This is the perfect Book Snack if your family is headed to a science museum this summer, or if you have a backyard to lay outside and gaze up at the stars! 🙂

On the Blue CometThe other book I read that I loved is On the Blue Comet, by Rosemary Wells. It is 1929, and Oscar Ogilvie lives with his father in Cairo, Illinois. In their basement is a huge layout with Lionel toy trains which they are always working on together. Then, tragedy strikes and the stock market crash causes the Great Depression. Oscar’s father has to go to California to find work, and Oscar must live with his prickly Aunt Carmen. I can’t tell too much more without giving this one away because the adventure is non-stop! I couldn’t put it down! I think students in grades 4 – 6 would enjoy this science-fiction novel. (Did you know this book is sci-fi from the cover or description? Probably not!) If you are traveling this summer, even if it’s not on a train, be sure to take this book snack with you! It will make you wonder where – and when – you are headed. 🙂
That’s not all, though! I’ve also read The Goodbye Time, by Celeste Conway and Gifts From the Sea, by Natalie Kinsey-Warnock. I also read Shooting Kabul, by Right now, I’m reading the second Trackers book, Shantorian, by Patrick Carman and Emmy and the Incredible Shrinking Rat, by Lynne Jonell. What are YOU reading? 🙂