Books for advanced readers — especially advanced second graders — are tough to find. But here at Happily Ever Elephants, we’ve curated a list of amazing chapter books that your second grade, high level readers will devour. Check them out!Read More
The best books for beginning readers must be short with large text and simple sentence structure. A good pre reader book must also contain words that are easy to decode and, most importantly, keep kids wanting more! This is why we totally love Fox the TigerRead More
The best books for beginning readers have large text, short sentences, lots of repetition and simple structure. Most importantly? They must be fun and engaging! Find out if your kids are ready for easy readers, and check out more than twenty pre reader books we love!Read More
Oh man! I am always look for the very best books for beginning readers, and this one is just hilarious! For a fun book thats easy to read and sure to elicit laughs, Snail and Worm is a must! It’s also a part of our list of easy chapter books. This one is a double whammy!Read More
Do you have an advanced second grade reader at home or in your classroom? This is the book for you!
Wishtree, the latest novel by Katherine Applegate, got a lot of hype. A LOT. And I’m always hesitant to pick up books like this because I pick them up with extremely high expectations. But this one- with its quiet, piercing beauty- absolutely blew me away. Wishtree lived up to the hype and then some, and I continuously find myself trying to get it into as many hands as I possibly can.
"Trees can't tell jokes, but they can certainly tell stories..." And so it is with Red, a majestic oak tree that is nearly two hundred and sixteen "rings" old, harboring secrets and stories that have been nearly forgotten by the people in the community in which it lives. Red is a wishtree who watches over the neighborhood, keeping mostly to himself. When a Muslim family moves onto the street, however, Red witnesses firsthand that all neighbors aren't so welcoming, and even children are forced to undergo hateful messages. It is then that Red realizes his status as a wishtree is more important than ever, and it might be just the time to break with tradition and intervene.
Descriptive language? Check. Incredible characterization? Check. Depth? Check. Real world issues? Check. Sensitive for even younger readers? Check. My goodness, how I love this book. Applegate writes with such a light, unadorned touch, yet her words move deeply and speak volumes. She tackles tough, mature topics in an accessible, easy to understand manner, allowing even young readers to grasp the enormity and import of these issues. I am so frequently asked for great books for advanced second graders, and I finally found a modern, perfect one. Wishtree is an absolute beauty. It is a timeless story that soars, with words that stir your soul. It is a treasure, and it will undoubtedly be devoured and loved by children and adults for generations to come.
Want the book? Get it here: Wishtree, by Katherine Applegate. *This is an affiliate link.
NEW SERIES ALERT!
We are so excited to introduce a new blog series here at Happily Ever Elephants - cover reveals! What is a cover reveal, you ask? Cover reveals happen several months before a new book hits the shelves, and they provide a wonderful avenue for authors and illustrators to share a sneak peak at their upcoming release(s) with their audience. The front cover of a book is, for all intents and purposes, the first page of the story. It communicates to the audience a bit about the pages inside, and it must be compelling enough to draw a reader's attention. From the cover alone, readers often get a sense of the story's genre, tone and writing style. A cover often makes a strong emotional appeal to the reader, thus getting the reader excited about the book pending release. Need I say more?
For our inaugural book cover here at Happily Ever Elephants, we are absolutely thrilled to introduce you to author Ariel Bernstein. Ariel's debut picture book, I Have A Balloon, is one of our very favorite picture books from 2017- it never fails to make us laugh, and it is a fabulous, humorous introduction to the concept of "wants" versus "needs." Thus, when Ariel asked if I would like to do a cover reveal in connection with her new chapter book series that will be out next year, I jumped at the chance!
Without further ado, here is Ariel, in her own words, to introduce her new series:
IN HER OWN WORDS:
I’m a big believer in taking breaks. So a few years ago, when I was feeling a little burnt-out from working on picture books, I knew that a short break was in order. Still, I didn’t want to completely stop writing. I had been interested in working on a chapter book series for a while, and I decided to give it a try. The only problem? I didn’t know what the chapter book series should be about.
I remembered a picture book I’d recently written. It was about a boy who told a pirate, a witch, and a dragon that he was scared to start kindergarten. The pirate, witch, and dragon thought the boy was being ridiculous, since they were all way scarier than kindergarten. By the end of the book, the boy was happy to return to school, while the pirate, witch, and dragon found kindergarten to be the scariest thing they’d ever encountered. I liked the concept, but the manuscript itself never totally worked.
I decided to take the characters of the boy and pirate and see if I could turn their relationship into something that would last for a whole chapter book. However, by the time I got to the third page, I was already annoyed at writing the pirate’s dialogue. An ‘Argh, Matey!’ here or there was fine for a picture book, but it felt very repetitive for a longer chapter book. I crossed out the idea of a boy and a pirate.
I looked back at the story and noticed the dragon character. So I began to write about a boy and a dragon, and I loved the back and forth banter between the two. I made the boy, now named Warren, into a dreamy second grader. The dragon character turned out to be oblivious and vain, with a serious marshmallow obsession. I added a socially adept but know it all twin sister, two parents, and a few other characters.
After a couple months, I’d come up with the first book for my new series, WARREN AND DRAGON. Since then, I haven’t taken any long breaks from writing chapter books as I’ve written the second and third book in the series, and will soon start on working on the fourth. Luckily, I love writing about Warren and Dragon’s adventures, and I hope readers will love them as well!
And now, Happily Ever Elephants is proud to present the cover for Warren & Dragon: 100 Friends by Ariel Bernstein and illustrated by Mike Malbrough:
How cute is that?
Ready for some more fun with Ariel? Check out our speed interview!
UNDER THE COVER: Interview with Ariel Bernstein
1. As a kid: books or basketball? Definitely books!
2. In college: study or soiree? Study
3. To start your day: coffee or tea? Coffee
4. In your car: top 40 or podcast? Top 40
5. Writing schedule: 9-5 or whenever it fits in? Whenever it fits in
6. What came first: character or setting? Character
7. First draft: sloppy or sleek? Sloppy
8. Writing reward: vino or vanilla? Vanilla
9. On your nightstand: newbery or pulitzer? Pulitzer
Thanks, Ariel! Books 1 and 2 of the Warren & Dragon series (100 Friends and Weekend with Chewy) will be published by Viking Books for Young Readers and released on August 28, 2018. Stay tuned! And because I won't leave you hanging, here is the awesome cover for book 2, Weekend with Chewy. Enjoy!
When a tough, strong princess combines in an easy to read format, we’ve got a new one for our collection of the best books for beginning readers! If your kids are beginning to read short chapter books independently, you’ll love Princess Cora and the Crocodile!Read More