Librarians: Give a child the gift of reading

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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Duval County schools' reading and media specialists and those who work at Jacksonville Public Libraries are urging people give share a special gift this season for the children in their lives: a good book.

Here are their collective suggestions -- broken down by grade level -- that can delight a child and help support Read It Forward Jax!


  • We Are in a Book! by Mo Willems - Gerald and Piggie discover the joy of being read.
  • But what will happen when the book ends? Bink & Gollie by Kate DiCamillo and Alison McGhee - Two roller-skating best friends--one tiny, one tall--dissimilar, yet steadfast friends, celebrate the ups and downs of their daily escapades in three lively chapters that explore compromise, asserting independence, and jealousy. (Geisel Award Book)
  • Diary of a Worm by Doreen Cronin; pictures by Harry Bliss - A young worm discovers, day by day, that there are some very good and some not so good things about being a worm in this great big world.
  • Stellaluna by Janell Cannon - After she falls headfirst into a bird's nest, a baby bat is raised like a bird until she is reunited with her mother.
  • Star Wars (series) Levels 1-4 - These are a series of easy reading books about the adventures of the star war characters.  For example: Star Wars: The Adventures of Han Solo written by Lindsay Kent.
  • Dear Primo: A Letter to My Cousin by Duncan Tonatiuh - Two cousins, one in Mexico and one in New York City, write to each other and learn that even though their daily lives differ, at heart the boys are very similar.
  • A Sick Day for Amos McGee by Philip C. Stead; illustrated by Erin E. Stead - Amos McGee, a friendly zookeeper, always made time to visit his good friends: the elephant, the tortoise, the penguin, the rhinoceros, and the owl. But one day he woke with the sniffles and the sneezes. Though he didn't make it into the zoo that day, he did receive some unexpected guests.
  • Rubia and the Three Osos by Susan Middleton Elya; illustrated by Melissa Sweet - A bouncy, rhyming story about a little golden-haired niña who helps herself to everything in the house of the three bears.
  • Big Red Lollipop by Rukhsana Khan; illustrated by Sophie Blackall - Having to take her younger sister along the first time she is invited to a birthday party spoils Rubina's fun, and later when that sister is asked to a party and baby sister wants to come, Rubina must decide whether to help.
  • I Spy Fly Guy! by Tedd Arnold; illustrated by Tedd Arnold - A disastrous ending to a game of hide and seek finds Fly Guy hauled away to the local dump in this new take on a lost pet. (A 2010 Geisel Honor Book)
  • A Couple of Boys Have the Best Week Ever by Marla Frazee - Friends James and Eamon enjoy a wonderful week at the home of Eamon's grandparents during summer vacation. (2009 Caldecott Honor Book)
  • Buster Goes to Cowboy Camp by Denise Fleming - After a week at Cowboy Camp for Dogs, Buster's homesickness evaporates as he joyfully joins the controlled canine chaos of camp activities. Fleming's richly colored multimedia art details the camp's layout and the animals' constant motion.
  • Wolfsnail: A Backyard Predator by Sarah C. Campbell - Magnified photographs and informative text provide a nonfiction look at the carnivorous wolfsnail trapping and devouring its victim. This science book will amaze and attract readers. (2009 Geisel Honor Book)

GRADES 3 – 5

  • The Strange Case of Origami Yoda by Tom Angleberger - In this hilarious tale, Tommy and his sixth grade friends must decide if the advice of an origami finger puppet can be trusted.
  • Abe Lincoln Crosses a Creek: A Tall, Thin Tale (Introducing His Forgotten Frontier Friend) by Deborah Hopkinson - Taking a boyhood story about Lincoln as inspiration, Hopkinson provides a lively, tongue-in-cheek telling with as many bends as Knob Creek. Hendrix's broad, cartoony illustrations visually suggest several possible outcomes to the boys' predicament.
  • The Mostly True Adventures of Homer P. Figg by Rodman Philbrick - Homer, an admitted liar and teller of tales, must rescue his brother Harold after Uncle Squinton Leach sells him to the Union Army. (A 2010 Newbery Honor Book.)
  • The Fantastic Secret of Owen Jester by Barbara O'Connor - After Owen captures an enormous bullfrog, names it Tooley Graham, then has to release it, he and two friends try to use a small submarine that fell from a passing train to search for Tooley in the Carter, Georgia, pond it came from, while avoiding nosy neighbor Viola.
  • Ninth Ward by Jewell Parker Rhodes - In this story of survival, twelve-year-old Lanesha and her adopted grandmother have little choice but to stay in New Orleans and weather Hurricane Katrina. ALA Coretta Scott King Author Honor Book
  • Bone: Quest for the Spark Book 1 by Tom Sniegoski; illustrated by Jeff Smith; color by Steve Hamaker - Something evil has poisoned the Dreaming and is now invading the Waking World. As the darkness spreads, the people of the Valley -- even Queen Thorn -- are caught in the grip of nightmares, and it's up to 12-year-old Tom Elm and a mismatched group of friends to find the lost pieces of the Spark. This novel is part of the BONE SAGA, a graphic series.
  • Bad News for Outlaws: The Remarkable Life of Bass Reeves, Deputy U.S. Marshal by Vaunda Micheaux Nelson; illustrated by R. Gregory Christie - Former slave Bass Reeves, the first black U.S. Marshall, staunchly defended territorial law in the American West through many remarkable deeds. (The 2010 Coretta Scott King Author Award Winner)
  • Tsunami! by Kimiko Kajikawa; illustrated by Ed Young - Through deep personal sacrifice, Ojiisan, known as grandfather, saves his village from a tsunami. The tension in this Japanese folktale is heightened by the rich texture of the mixed media illustrations.
  • How to Clean a Hippopotamus: A Look at Unusual Animal Partnerships by Steve Jenkins and Robin Page; illustrated by Steve Jenkins - Animal partnerships often defy explanation; Jenkins and Page explore and clarify these relationships in concise text and glorious torn-paper collage.
  • Frogs by Nic Bishop - Bishop presents salient facts about frogs through clear text, augmented with fascinating photographs of species around the world. Even the frog-phobic will be fascinated.
  • Adventures in Cartooning by James Sturm, Andrew Arnold and Alexis Frederick-Frost - The Magic Cartooning Elf memorizes readers with the story of a knight and a princess that also provides step-by-step instruction for creating cartoons.
  • All Stations! Distress!: April 15, 1912, the Day the Titanic Sank by Dan Brown - Selecting just the right amount of essential information, Brown artfully captures the drama of what happened to the unsinkable Titanic on that fateful night.
  • Guinness Book of World Records, 2012 – for 4th-5th graders - It's an Olympic year, and to celebrate, the latest incarnation of the world's biggest selling annual unveils its most thrilling edition yet with a dynamic new "widescreen" design, thousands of new and classic records, never-before-seen photos and an exciting selection of new topics and features.


  • Firegirl by Tony Abbott
  • Hoot by Carl Hiaasen
  • Rules by Cynthia Lord
  • Brian's Winter by Gary Paulsen
  • The Lightening Thief by Rick Riordan
  • Defiance by Valerie Hobbs
  • Crash by Jerry Spinelli


  • Tangerine by Edward Bloor
  • Artemis Fowl Series: The Wish List by Eoin Colfer
  • Fire from the Rock by Sharon Draper
  • Football Genius by Tim Green
  • Agnes Parker: Keeping Cool in Middle School by Kathleen O'Dell
  • All of the Above by Shelley Pearsall


  • We beat the Streets by Sampson Davis, Rameck Hunt & George Jenkins
  • Hoot by Carl Hiaasen
  • The Power of Half by Kevin & Hannah Salwen
  • Do the Math: Secrets, Lies and Algebra by Wendy Lichtman
  • Nick of Time by Ted Bell
  • Vanishing Act by John Feinstein
  • Feathers by Jacqueline Woodson

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