Posts from the ‘Short Stories’ Category

NOT TOO SCARY

Halloween Short Stories: Spooky Short Stories for Kids

Written by Uncle Amon

This book consists of five short stories and a short selection of Halloween jokes. The characters deal with familiar Halloween themes like pumpkins, black cats, witches, and haunted houses. It is the first volume in a collection of Halloween stories.

These tales are short and do not contain difficult vocabulary. I would recommend them especially for beginning readers in the six to nine age group. They are not particularly scary. I would say they are appropriate for children who are not too fond of Halloween.

The book may be a good choice for a read-aloud or sharing at a Halloween party.

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Mind over Matter

Hello Brain: A Book about Talking to Your Brain

Written by Clarissa Johnson

This book discusses mindfulness for children. It contains six stories about students in a classroom who experience different troubling situations. It begins with Sam, who is terribly shy and afraid to talk with anyone at school. Eve is frustrated because she views herself not smart enough to learn. Jane talks too much in class and can’t concentrate. Nick is grumpy, unhappy and cannot focus. Kate excels in school and sports, but cannot see the worth of other students. Will is a shy boy, who is often the victim of others who take advantage of him with unkind words and acts. In each situation, one of the other students approaches the child with a problem and reminds him that he can talk to his brain and take control of the situation to remedy the problem.

This book can be used by parents or teachers to guide discussions with individual children or a classroom group. It could be an effective resource for elementary and middle school students who are struggling with individual emotions and peer relationships. It is particularly recommended for students in the six to twelve age range.

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A NEW BEGINNING

In Memory of Dad

Written by Maranda Russell

Kaley Jergins is a spirited fourth-grader who loves playing basketball. While she enjoys practicing with her teammates, Kaley especially enjoys playing with her father, Kyle. Kyle played basketball in college and received a championship ring after participating in The Final Four matches several times.

One-night Kaley’s placid world is turned upside down when her father suffers a heart attack. After his death, she and her mother withdraw. Kaley gives up basketball because the memories of her father pain her too much. One day her former teammate, Drea begs her to attend a game, which Kaley reluctantly agrees to do after much cajoling. A surprise event propels Kaley from her lethargy and convinces her to move on with her life.

This short story is a good way to discuss the topic of death and dying in families who have experienced or who are about to experience a loss. Teachers might also use the book as a read-aloud for class discussion. The author writes an afterword in which she offers suggestions to young readers for coping with the loss of a family member. Recommended for middle-grade and young adult readers.

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TRIAL AND ERROR

 

Jerry the Squirrel: Volume One (Arestana Series)

Written and Illustrated by Shawn P.B. Robinson

This book is the first in a series that features Jerry, a squirrel who loves to invent things. Jerry uses his imagination to problem solve the issues of everyday life that confront him. One day Jerry decides to end the problem of not having his slippers next to his bed when he wakes up to a cold floor each morning. Jerry spends all day and night designing a pair of slippers that will come to him each morning. When Jerry succeeds in the task, he gets more than he bargained for. His slippers take charge and take him on a wild adventure. All the squirrel neighbors watch in fascination. They are eager to sign up for a pair of slippers just like Jerry’s.

The book contains other adventures. One of these deals with Jerry needing to come up with an idea fast when he fails to garner enough nuts for the winter and another chronicles his adventure with the nut beetles. All of them feature the trials and tribulations of Jerry’s career as an inventor who experiences success and failure.

This book might best be described as a series of short stories rather than a chapter book. Because it does not contain illustrations and the stories are short, it is a good choice for reluctant or beginning readers. It encourages creativity and independent solutions to problem-solving. I would recommend it for ages six through fourteen.

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BOLD AND BRASH

How He Comes Out of the Sun

Written by Carlyle Clark

 

This is a tale focusing on The Nobodies, a team of African-American B-17 flyers who were not supposed to exist. The story opens in the middle of the action, a crew is battling the enemy when a split-decision needs to be made. The language is a bit raw, laced with dialect. Readers need to pay close attention to grasp the meaning.

While I enjoyed the short read and thought the characters well developed for the length of the tale, I would have preferred to see the author embellish the story a bit more. If you enjoy wartime stories, you will be engrossed with this one that has an ending with a twist.

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LESSONS FROM THE ANIMAL KINGDOM

THE PARROT: Short lessons and fables for children: Fable Collection Volume #2

Written and Illustrated by Christy Astremsky

This book contains a collection of five animal fables that teach children lessons about themselves and others. In the first story, the parrot mouths words he has been taught over and over, but the words have little worth. When the parrot escapes from his owners, he can do nothing more than repeat those inane words, he finds that others think little of him. The second story features a zebra who gets lost and finds himself among others unlike himself. He discovers that it is okay to be different. The sparrow and the pigeon teach children what true friendship entails, while the tiger and jackal story teaches to beware of letting one’s guard down. The last story features a butterfly who has a habit of taking from others without ever giving something in return.

The rhyming stories are short and have a few illustrations so the collection might appeal to a beginning reader. Parents and teachers could use the fables on issues that they would like to open with children or students for discussion or intervention. I would especially recommend the book for ages seven through ten though older children who enjoy animal stories will find them appealing.

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BILLY AND BOB’S BLUNDERS

Lost in Lithuania and other funny stories

Written by Alex Goodwin

 

This is my first time reading a book in this series. Goodwin is a thirteen-year-old author with a wonderful imagination and a creative mind. Bob and Billy are two obese friends who decide that they must get in shape. They abruptly decide to enter a curling contest, even though they have no knowledge of the game. The friends discover a note that they have been fired from their jobs in San Francisco, so they hurry to board a plant to get back. Alas! Bob and Billy board the wrong plane and wind up in Lithuania. Now broke, they answer an ad for a job in a bakery for which they have no background and cannot speak the language. When the disgruntled patrons attack them, Bob and Billy flee for their lives and stumble across an abandoned castle where they become tour guides. The two tell a lot of lies, but they become quite adept at their profession. Determined to return home, at last, they are foiled when all their money falls through a hole in their baggage. So, they write to their uncle and secure employment, only to find they will be making aglets for shoelaces on an assembly line. And so, the stories go on… Will Billy and Bob ever make it back home to their jobs at the nuclear plant in Death Valley?

Goodwin writes crisp, catchy dialogue that is as hilarious as it is preposterous. He manages to weave a link between the short stories to create a cohesive plot. The tales are clean, good fun. Readers ages ten and older won’t stop laughing till the last line.

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