Committee for Children Blog

Schooled

by Gordon Korman
Reading level: Grades 6–9

At age 13, Cap (for Capricorn) knows how to spell barometer and psychedelic, how to build a Foucault pendulum, and how to grow plums. But he has no idea how to read the social map of the traditional American public school. As one of only two remaining members on a remote alternative farm commune, Cap is homeschooled by the other,…… Read More


Book Review: Flying Solo

by Ralph Fletcher
Reading level: Grades 5–8

What happens in a sixth-grade classroom when kids rule? When the regular, beloved teacher is absent, and the sub doesn’t show up? The students have several choices. They could go straight to the principal’s office to report the situation. They could take the Lord of the Flies route and go wild until they are caught. As one of the…… Read More


Book Review: Say Something

by Peggy Moss
Reading level: Kindergarten–Grade 4

The narrator in Say Something is astute and empathic toward the kids in her school who are teased. She watches and wonders about them, picking up on body language that tells her they are sad. She would never make fun of someone the way her schoolmates do. Instead, she feels sorry for them, crosses to the other side of the hall, and…… Read More


Book Review: Viva La Paris

by Esmé Raji Codell
Reading level: Grades 4–6

When you’re a fifth-grade girl, it’s tricky enough to try to solve the problem of your eighth-grade brother being bullied by another fifth-grade girl. But when Paris McCray begins learning about the big-time bullying that went on during World War II, her brain and heart switch to overload, and all she can do is bury herself deeper and…… Read More


Book Review: Martha Walks the Dog

by Susan Meddaugh
Reading level: Kindergarten–Grade 3

Ever since she ate her first bowl of alphabet soup, Martha the dog has developed the gift of gab…sometimes to a fault. Her ingenious monologues and impressive vocabulary make her the life of the party, but they also can get her into trouble.

Out for her walk one day, Martha encounters new neighbors: an aggressive dog and his…… Read More


Book Review: Betty Lou Blue

by Nancy Crocker; Illustrated by Boris Kulikov
Reading level: Preschool–Grade 2

Little Betty Lou Blue longs to be included by the other kids. But in the playground pecking order, a girl with giant feet usually does not come out on top. And Betty Lou's feet are rather big. If her shoes were boats, according to her would-be friends, she “could float for a year!” Poor Betty Lou Blue tries to ignore the…… Read More


Book Review: Death by Eggplant

by Susan Heyboer O'Keef
Reading level: Grades 5–8

As if it's not enough for Bert to keep mind, body, and culinary aspirations intact throughout his eighth-grade year, he now has baby Cleopatra to protect as well. Resentment turns to grudging big-brotherly concern for little Cleo as Bert gradually loses sight of the fact that “she” is in fact a five-pound sack of flour given to him as a school…… Read More


Book Review: Shrinking Violet

by Cari Best; Illustrated by Giselle Potter
Reading level: Kindergarten–Grade 2

Violet is allergic to attention. This fact has come to the attention of her classmate, Irwin, who takes every opportunity to torment her: “You have hairy arms,” he hisses from the bushes. And, “I will be watching your fat knees.” But there's something Irwin and the others don't know about Violet. Beneath…… Read More


Book Review: Soupy Saturdays with the Pain and the Great One

by Judy Blume; Illustrated by James Stevenson
Reading level: Grades 1–4

Ahh, sibling rivalry. Who among us has not stooped to such fine exchanges as this one, between first grader Jake and his older sister, Abigail:

“You're a big bowl of spider soup!”

“Mmm…sounds yummy!”
“Spider poop soup! That's what you are.”Read More


Book Review: The Misfits

by James Howe
Reading level: Grades 6–8

Lardo. Beanpole. Freak. Tinkerbell. Queer. Slimeball. Wop. Brains. Fairy. Fat Boy. Loser.

Do these epithets define the people at whom they are aimed? Seventh grader Bobby Goodspeed and his group of “misfit” friends think not. In a bid for student council leadership, the friends underscore their broader platform for freedom and…… Read More