The Cay by Theodore Taylor (1969)

cay.jpgEleven-year-old Phillip and his mother flee their Caribbean island as German submarines begin to enter the waters in their area during World War 2.  Horrifically their ship is torpedoed and there only three survivors:  Phillip, Timothy (a black West Indian native) and a cat.

During their days at sea, Phillip is blinded by the glaring sun, and he quickly becomes completely dependent on Timothy.  Eventually they find a tiny island where they hope to survive until they can be rescued.  In the beginning, Phillip’s prejudice keeps him from accepting Timothy’s help, but as the weeks pass, Phillip comes to trust and love Timothy and becomes, as he later describes himself,  completely “color blind.”

The Cay, a touching story of cross-cultural, cross-racial humanity, is dedicated to Martin Luther King, Jr.

Sequel: Timothy of the Cay Middle Grade Reading Level, 176 pages, Published in 1993.

Middle Grade Reading Level, 160 pages, Published in 1969. 




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The Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle Series by Betty McDonald (1947 – 1957)

mrs 1.jpg

Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle  Do you know a child that won’t clean up their toys?  How about one who doesn’t want to go to bed?  Or a child who is quarrelsome?  Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle has the cure for every childhood ill you can imagine.   Each cure will make you laugh!  And each cure makes a wacky kind of sense!  Advanced Early Grade Reading Level, 128 pages, Published in 1947



magic.jpgMrs. Piggle-Wiggle’s Magic  Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle is back with more amazing/amusing cures for:  Tattletales,  Interrupters, Kids who don’t want to go to school and MORE!  Advanced Early Grade Reading Level, 192 pages, Published in 1949. 





farm.jpg  Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle’s Farm Back for a third round, Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle helps children who forget to care for their pets, lose things, and struggle to tell the truth and a few more common childhood troubles.  Advanced Early Grade Reading, 128 pages, Published in 1954.





hello.jpgHello, Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle In her final appearance, Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle cures the Slowpoke, the Bully, the Show-off and a few more!  Not to be missed.  Advanced Early Grade Reading Level, 128 pages, Published in 1957. 

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Across Five Aprils by Irene Hunt (1964)

april.jpgAcross Five Aprils follows the Creighton family starting in April 1861, just as the American Civil War begins.  Over the next 4 years, young Jethro Creighton watches as  family members struggle how to serve or whether to serve at all.  Public opinion ebbs and flows as battles are won and lost, soldiers (including a member of Jethro’s family) desert and the casualties mount.

Will the war ever end?  Which side will win?  How many more loved ones will be lost?

Our family has been fascinated for years by the touching and heroic human stories that come out of the Civil War era.  Across Five Aprils, which was a Newbery Honor Book in 1965, brings the Civil War to life for your young readers.  Although fictitious, Across Five Aprils was carefully researched and is based on family stories told to the author by her grandfather.

Middle Grade Reading Level, 224 pages, Newbery Honor Book, published in 1964.


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The Trumpet of the Swan by E. B. White (1970)

swan.jpgThe Trumpet of the Swan is the fanciful story of Louis, a young, mute swan, who yearns to have his unique voice heard in the world!

With the help of his father and a young boy named Sam Beaver, Louis finds several unusual ways to solve his problem.  Louis proves capable of attending school, holding down numerous jobs, and finding true love!  This is an amusing novel for young readers who enjoy animal stories.

By the author of Charlotte’s Web and Stuart Little.

Middle Grade Reading Level, 252 pages, Published in 1970.  

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The Time Cat: The Remarkable Journeys of Jason and Gareth by Lloyd Alexander (1963)

cat.jpgThe Time Cat: The Remarkable Journeys of Jason and Garth   Young Jason is thrilled (and not completely surprised) to discover his cat Gareth can talk!  Like most of us, Jason had often heard that cats have nine lives, but Gareth sets the record straight.  He doesn’t have nine lives, but he can VISIT nine other lives.  WOW!

Together they decide visit ancient Rome, Britain, Ireland, Japan, Italy, Peru, The Isle of Man and America — all at key times in history, of course.

Lloyd Alexander is considered one of the finest children’s authors of all time.  When reading The Time Cat, you’ll learn a fair amount of exciting history with each chapter.


Middle Grade Reading Level, 240 pages, Published in 1963).

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The Rise of Silas Lapham by William Dean Howells (1885)

rise.jpgI think we can all agree that part of the American Dream is the possibility of a Rags to Riches story for anyone.  The Rise of Silas Lapham, written over 100 years ago, follows just such a success story.

Silas Lapham earns a fortune in the late 1800s in the paint industry.  His family is suddenly thrust into the highest echelons of Boston society.   How does an individual and a family handle such a dramatic change of circumstances?  Can Silas maintain both his morality and humility despite his vast newfound wealth?

I read this many years ago and think of its many themes and lessons often.  I love a novel that influences me like that.

High School Reading Level, 384 pages, Published in 1885.


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Fairchild Family Series by Rebecca Caudill (1947 – 1959)

happy.jpgHappy Little Family   Take a charming step back in time to meet the Fairchild family living in turn of the 20th century Kentucky.  Bonnie is the youngest child, can she finally join in all the fun of her older siblings now that she’s finally turned four?               Early Grade Reading Level, 107 pages, Published in 1947.




school.jpgSchoolhouse in the Woods, Bonnie is finally old enough to cross the swinging bridge to join her four older siblings at school.  What wonders await Bonnie and all the other students in this new school year?  Early Grade Reading Level, 129 pages, Published in 1949.





Up and Down the River  Bonnie and Debbie Fairchild are convinced they can early a fortune selling up and down the river.  But what they earn is much more valuable than money.  Early Grade Reading Level, 143 pages, Published in 1951.





parlor.jpgSchoolroom in the Parlor  Deep snow after Christmas makes it impossible for the Fairchild children to walk to their schoolhouse anymore.  How exciting to have school in their own parlor instead!  Early Grade Reading, 145 pages, Published in 1959.  





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