From transitional readers to full-fledged novels, chapter books allow readers the space to lose themselves in a story...
Nothing is more satisfying to a new reader who is six, seven, or eight years old than the ability to read a book independently. Transitional readers are intended to motivate these young readers by providing a reading experience that falls between controlled vocabulary books (easy readers) and fully developed novels. In the best of these books, the vocabulary is not limited but clear and natural and the writing spare but rich. Relatively large type and plenty of white space create unintimidating pages. The books are usually fairly slim, with a minimum of subplots, and the chapters are often episodic.
Many of these transitional chapter books are written in series which are highly popular with the early elementary crowd and generally fly off the library shelves. Some of the most popular series include:
Transitional fiction typically has...
How to find great transitional chapter books...
Here are some online resources with lists of great classic and hot-off-the-presses chapter books:
ALSC Notable Children's
Bartlett Public Library (PDF)
Des Plaines Library Booklists
Dublin Schools list (PDF)
Great Kid Books
The New York Society Library list
Stowe Schools list (PDF)
Children's varying development makes it difficult to define the term "middle-grade fiction" with precision. However, the genre is well-suited for students in the intermediate elementary and middle school grades (roughly grades four through eight). Novels written for these children help them understand themselves, empathize with others, safely explore the complexities of relationships and find their own unique voice. They also provide them with glimpses into other worlds and ways of living. Oh, and they are entertaining as well!
Middle-grade fiction encompasses all the genres that attract and hold readers to the page: mystery, fantasy, adventure, realistic fiction, historical fiction, science fiction. Whatever a child's interests, there are novels to satisfy the pickiest reader.
The Newbery Award
The Newbery Medal was created as a tribute to John Newbery, the first English publisher of books for children (1713-1767). It is awarded annually by the Association for Library Service to Children, a division of the American Library Association, to an American author who has made the most distinguished contribution to literature for children. The committee usually names several honor books as well as the medal winner.
How to find great novels for children...
Here are some online resources to help you in your search for fabulous books!
ALSC Notable Children's Books lists
Caudill Award 2014 list
Coretta Scott King Award list
Des Plaines Library Booklists
Fuse#8 Top 100 List
ISLMA Bluestem Award 2014 list
Pura Belpre Award winners
Tween Recommended Reads
What Should I Read Next
For the latest news from the world of children's fiction,
check out our Chapter Book of the Week blog!