Great Reads for Teens and Tweens!

Helping you make an informed decision about that book

Ramona Quimby, Age 8 by Beverly Cleary

Title: Ramona Quimby, Age 8

Author: Beverly Cleary

Publisher: HarperCollins        Year: 1992

ISBN-13: 978-0380709564

Genre: Fiction

Age: 8 and up

Awards: Newbery Honor Book, IRA/CBC Children’s Choice, Buckeye Children’s Book Award (Ohio), Garden State Children’s Book Award (New Jersey), Charlie May Simon Book Award (Arkansas), ALA Notable Children’s Book, Horn Book Fanfare, Horn Book Fanfare, Parents’ Choice Gold Award, Parents’ Choice Gold Award

Themes / Subjects: Juvenile Fiction, Elementary School, Friendships, Family Life

Plot Summary:

Check out my booktalk trailer I created with!

Ramona Quimby, Age 8 by Beverly Cleary

My Take:

Another classic from my childhood! The pages of my copy are literally falling out, but I’ve had the book since childhood and can’t bear to throw it out for a new copy. In elementary school I had my fair share of mishaps which is just one of the reasons I love Ramona Quimby. Reading about her made me feel like it was ok that I leaned up against the wall with wet paint and got it in my hair because Ramona had gotten egg in hers. Ramona is literally the little girl inside every one of us and even if you relate more with Beezus, I am sure you have had a Ramona moment. Although this book is intended for children, I would highly recommend that parents buy it for their young kids and keep it on the family bookshelf because they are going to want to read it again and again.

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Similar read: Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret by Judy Blume. No young girl’s life is complete without Beverly Cleary and Judy Blume by their beds.

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Hank Zipzer: Niagara Falls, or Does It? by Henry Winkler and Lin Oliver

Title: Hank Zipzer: Niagara Falls, or Does It?

Author: Henry Winkler and Lin Oliver

Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap      Year: 2003

ISBN-13: 978-0448431628

Genre: Fiction

Age: 7 and up

Awards: Beehive Children’s Fictional Book Award,  Black-Eyed Susan Book Award,  Maud Hart Lovelace Award,  Wyoming Indian Paintbrush Book Award

Themes / Subjects: Elementary school, school & education, learning disabilities, humor, friendships, social issues – special needs, juvenile fiction

Plot Summary:

For Hank Zipzer, fourth grade is not the fresh start he thought it’d be. On his first day back to school he is called to the principal’s office where he is scolded for being late to school. When he returns back to class things get even worse when Mrs. Adolf assigns the class a five paragraph essay on “What You Did This Summer” and tells Hank he will be the first to present his essay. Five paragraphs?! Hank can hardly write one good sentence, how is he going to write five paragraphs? Instead of writing what he did last summer, Hank decides to use his “creativity” to present a living essay. Naturally it begins well and ends as a disaster landing Hank in detention which strangely enough may end up changing his life.

My Take:

Is Hank Zipzer really the world’s greatest underachiever? I think not. Hank Zipzer is absolutely an amazingly awesome character and one whom I greatly admire. Everyone learns differently and it’s a little heartbreaking to read that people (especially his parents) think Hank is lazy or dumb just because he does things differently. In fact, he is a creative genius and has a knack for remembering interesting facts. He just has difficulty translating his knowledge to boring assignments. It uses silly, irreverent, classroom humor to tell the story of a young boy who enlists the aid of his classmates to keep him out of trouble. This is one book in a series of similar stories, and promises good reading for kids of all ages.

I know the age is 7 and up and this is a teen/tween page, so why include this book? Because it is that awesome! The lessons in this book can be applied to all ages and should be read by all ages. Don’t let the fact that Hank is an elementary kid scare you off, take my word for it, it’s a great read.

Neat fact: Henry Winkler is dyslexic and his stories are about a kid with a learning disability. See any similarities? Hmm…

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Similar read: Joey Pigza Swallowed the Key by Jack Gantos … Like Hank Zipzer, Joey Pigza the main character of this series has a learning disabilities and struggles with his desire to behave and his impulses.