The Styling Librarian

In my opinion, books are the best accessory.

Styling Librarian: Children books with Multiple Points of View

Point of view image

I was sitting and thinking about how I’ve enjoyed many books recently from different points of view. Sometimes these books are challenging for students to read and follow. What is your strategy for reading a book with multiple points of view? Listening to audiobooks with different points of view? Me? If I find that I’m lost in characters, I reread the book. I take note of the different characters. I try to find at least one character I really like. If I have students getting confused, we discuss the characteristics of the different characters and talk about how you can use different voices as you read the different characters.

Wonder by R.J. Palacio – Realistic Fiction, 3rd grade and up – my favorite book on the list. Most powerfully told through different perspectives. Goodreads Summary: “August (Auggie) Pullman was born with a facial deformity that prevented him from going to a mainstream school—until now. He’s about to start 5th grade at Beecher Prep, and if you’ve ever been the new kid then you know how hard that can be. The thing is Auggie’s just an ordinary kid, with an extraordinary face. But can he convince his new classmates that he’s just like them, despite appearances?”

The View from Saturday by E.L. Konigsburg – Realistic Fiction, 4th grade and up – this is one of those perfect books for the reader. I’ve had some students read and reread this book and get lost in the story. Fantastic treasure! Goodreads Summary: “Four students, with their own individual stories, develop a special bond and attract the attention of their teacher, a paraplegic, who chooses them to represent their sixth-grade class in the Academic Bowl competition.”

Origami Yoda Series by Tom Angleberger – Realistic Fiction, 4th grade and up – Be prepared for a terrific, hilarious, wonderful story with unexpected twists and turns… Goodreads Summary: “IT TAKES THE WISDOM OF YODA TO SURVIVED THE SIXTH GRADE – Meet Dwight, a sixth-grade oddball. Dwight does a lot of weird things, like wearing the same T-shirt for a month or telling people to call him “Captain Dwight.” This is embarrassing, particularly for Tommy, who sits with him at lunch every day.  But Dwight does one cool thing. He makes origami. One day he makes an origami finger puppet of Yoda. And that’s when things get mysterious. Origami Yoda can predict the future and suggest the best way to deal with a tricky situation. His advice actually works, and soon most of the sixth grade is lining up with questions. Tommy wants to know how Origami Yoda can be so smart when Dwight himself is so clueless. Is Yoda tapping into the Force? It’s crucial that Tommy figure out the mystery before he takes Yoda’s advice about something VERY IMPORTANT that has to do with a girl. This is Tommy’s case file of his investigation into “The Strange Case of Origami Yoda.””

A Tangle of Knots by Lisa Graff – Fantasy, 4th grade and up – Fantastic book, my newest read with multiple perspectives. Beautiful story intertwined and delicious! Certainly will make you hungry and possibly provide you with a need for baking a cake! Goodreads Summary: “Told in multiple viewpoints, A Tangle of Knots is a magnificent puzzle. In a slightly magical world where everyone has a Talent, eleven-year-old Cady is an orphan with a phenomenal Talent for cake baking. But little does she know that fate has set her on a journey from the moment she was born. And her destiny leads her to a mysterious address that houses a lost luggage emporium, an old recipe, a family of children searching for their own Talents, and a Talent Thief who will alter her life forever. However, these encounters hold the key to Cady’s past and how she became an orphan. If she’s lucky, fate may reunite her with her long-lost parent.”

Because of Mr. Terupt by Rob Buyea – Realistic Fiction, 4th grade and up – Highly memorable, touching book. Really appreciated jumping from one student’s thoughts to another with strong voices! Goodreads Summary: “Features seven narrators, each with a unique story, and each with a different perspective on what makes their teacher so special. It’s the start of fifth grade for seven kids at Snow Hill School. There’s . . .Jessica, the new girl, smart and perceptive, who’s having a hard time fitting in; Alexia, a bully, your friend one second, your enemy the next;Peter, class prankster and troublemaker; Luke, the brain; Danielle,who never stands up for herself; shy Anna, whose home situation makes her an outcast; and Jeffrey, who hates school. Only Mr. Terupt, their new and energetic teacher, seems to know how to deal with them all. He makes the classroom a fun place, even if he doesn’t let them get away with much . . . until the snowy winter day when an accident changes everything—and everyone.”

Hurricane Dancers and Tropical Secrets by Margarita Engle – Historical Fiction/Novel in Verse, 5/6th grade and up – be prepared to be transported back in time to poignant experiences…
Hurricane Dancers: Goodreads Summary: “Quebrado has been traded from pirate ship to ship in the Caribbean Sea for as long as he can remember. The sailors he toils under call him el quebrado—half islander, half outsider, a broken one. Now the pirate captain Bernardino de Talavera uses Quebrado as a translator to help navigate the worlds and words between his mother’s Taíno Indian language and his father’s Spanish. But when a hurricane sinks the ship and most of its crew, it is Quebrado who escapes to safety. He learns how to live on land again, among people who treat him well. And it is he who must decide the fate of his former captors.”
Tropical Secrets:  Goodreads Summary: “Daniel has escaped Nazi Germany with nothing but a desperate dream that he might one day find his parents again. But that golden land called New York has turned away his ship full of refugees, and Daniel finds himself in Cuba.
As the tropical island begins to work its magic on him, the young refugee befriends a local girl with some painful secrets of her own. Yet even in Cuba, the Nazi darkness is never far away . . .”

Schooled by Gordon Korman – Realistic Ficton, 5th grade and up – powerful story! Goodreads Summary: “Homeschooled by his hippie grandmother, Capricorn (Cap) Anderson has never watched television, tasted a pizza, or even heard of a wedgie. But when his grandmother lands in the hospital, Cap is forced to move in with a guidance counselor and attend the local middle school. While Cap knows a lot about tie-dyeing and Zen Buddhism, no education could prepare him for the politics of public school.”

Every Soul a Star by Wendy Mass – Realistic Fiction, 4/5th grade and up – Loved how this book connected to a specific moment in time. Goodreads Summary: “And as streams of light fan out behind the darkened sun like the wings of a butterfly, I realize that I never saw real beauty until now. At Moon Shadow, an isolated campground, thousands have gathered to catch a glimpse of a rare and extraordinary total eclipse of the sun. It’s also were three lives are about to be changed forever: Ally likes the simple things in life–labyrinths, star-gazing, and comet-hunting. Her home, the Moon Shadow campground, is a part of who she is, and she refuses to imagine it any other way. Popular and gorgeous (everybody says so), Bree is a future homecoming queen for sure. Bree wears her beauty like a suit of armor. But what is she trying to hide? Overweight and awkward, jack is used to spending a lot of time alone. But when opportunity knocks, he finds himself in situations he never would have imagined and making friends in the most unexpected situations. Told from three distinct voices and perspectives, Wendy Mass weaves an intricate and compelling story about strangers coming together, unlikely friendships, and finding one’s place in the universe.”

The School Story by Andrew Clements – Realistic Fiction, 4th grade and up – excellent introduction to publishing… Goodreads Summary: “Natalie’s best friend, Zoe, is sure that the novel Natalie’s written is good enough to be published. But how can a twelve-year-old girl publish a book? Natalie’s mother is an editor for a big children’s publisher, but Natalie doesn’t want to ask for any favors. Then Zoe has a brilliant idea: Natalie can submit her manuscript under a pen name, with Zoe acting as her literary agent. But it’s not easy for two sixth graders to put themselves over as grown-ups, even with some help from a couple of real grown-ups who are supportive but skeptical. The next best-selling school story may be in their hands — but can Natalie and Zoe pull off their masquerade?”

Seedfolks by Paul Fleischman – Realistic Fiction, 4th grade and up – voices from a community… Goodreads Summary: “A vacant lot, rat-infested and filled with garbage, looked like no place for a garden. Especially to a neighborhood of strangers where no one seems to care. Until one day, a young girl clears a small space and digs into the hard-packed soil to plant her precious bean seeds. Suddenly, the soil holds promise: To Curtis, who believes he can win back Lateesha’s heart with a harvest of tomatoes; to Virgil’s dad, who sees a fortune to be made from growing lettuce; and even to Maricela, sixteen and pregnant, wishing she were dead. Thirteen very different voices — old, young, Haitian, Hispanic, tough, haunted, and hopeful — tell one amazing story about a garden that transforms a neighborhood.”

The Whipping Boy by Sid Fleischman – Historical Fiction, 4th grade and up – Google Summary: A Prince and a Pauper – Jemmy, once a poor boy living on the streets, now lives in a castle. As the whipping boy, he bears the punishment when Prince Brat misbehaves, for it is forbidden to spank, thrash, or whack the heir to the throne. The two boys have nothing in common and even less reason to like one another. But when they find themselves taken hostage after running away, they are left with no choice but to trust each other.”  *2 points of view.

Freaky Friday by Mary Rodgers – Fantasy, 4th grade and up – Google Summary: “A thirteen-year-old girl gains a much more sympathetic understanding of her relationship with her mother when she has to spend a day in her mother’s body.”  *2 points of view.

A Week in the Woods by Andrew Clements – Realistic Fiction, 4th grade and up -Goodreads Summary: “The fifth-grade Week in the Woods is a beloved tradition of Hardy Elementary, where Mark Chelmsley (the Fourth) is pretty much killing time before his parents send him off to an exclusive prep school. But then Mark realizes the Week might be a chance to prove to Mr. Maxwell that he’s not just another of the slacker rich kids the teacher can’t stand. But it may be too late for Mark to change Mr. Maxwell’s opinion of him. On the first day of the Week, the tension between teacher and student explodes, and in a reckless moment, Mark puts not only himself, but also Mr. Maxwell, in grave danger. Can two such strong adversaries work together to save their lives?”  *2 points of view.


Flipped by Wendelin van Draanen – Realistic Fiction, 4/5th grade – jump between two deep characters both discovering whom they are. Adapted to film. Goodreads Summary: “Flipped is a romance told in two voices. The first time Juli Baker saw Bryce Loski, she flipped. The first time Bryce saw Juli, he ran. That’s pretty much the pattern for these two neighbors until the eighth grade, when, just as Juli is realizing Bryce isn’t as wonderful as she thought, Bryce is starting to see that Juli is pretty amazing. How these two teens manage to see beyond the surface of things and come together makes for a comic and poignant romance.”  *2 points of view.

The Candymakers by Wendy Mass – Fantasy/Realistic Fiction, 4/5th grade – Interesting to follow the different student’s adventure through a candy making competition with magic mixed in. Goodreads Summary: “Four children have been chosen to compete in a national competition to find the tastiest confection in the country. Who will invent a candy more delicious than the Oozing Crunchorama or the Neon Lightning Chew? Logan, the Candymaker’s son, who can detect the color of chocolate by touch alone? Miles, the boy who is allergic to merry-go-rounds and the color pink?  Daisy, the cheerful girl who can lift a fifty-pound lump of taffy like it’s a feather? Or Philip, the suit-and-tie wearing boy who’s always scribbling in a secret notebook? This sweet, charming, and cleverly crafted story, told from each contestant’s perspective, is filled with mystery, friendship, and juicy revelations.”

P.S. Longer Letter Later by Paula Danziger and Ann M. Martin – Realistic Fiction, 4th grade and up – perspectives presented through letters between two best friends. There is also a sequel. Google Summary: “Elizabeth and Tara*Starr are totally different. Tara*Starr wears glitter and sequins, loves to be the center of attention, and has two parents who won’t grow up. Elizabeth is shy and quiet, hates being the center of attention, and lives in a house where possessions are more important than feelings.”
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The Wanderer by Sharon Creech – Historical Fiction, 5th grade and up – Favorite   Goodreads Summary: “The sea, the sea, the sea. It rolled and rolled and called to me. Come in, it said, come in. Sophie hears the sea calling, promising adventure as she sets sail for England with her three uncles and two cousins. Sophie’s cousin Cody isn’t sure he has the strength to prove himself to the crew and to his father. Through Sophie’s and Cody’s travel logs, we hear stories of the past and the daily challenges of surviving at sea as The Wanderer sails toward its destination — and its passengers search for their places in the world.”

YA Books:

East by Edith Pattou – Fantasy/Folk tale connection, 5th grade and up – Goodreads Summary: “Rose has always been different. Since the day she was born, it was clear she had a special fate. Her superstitious mother keeps the unusual circumstances of Rose’s birth a secret, hoping to prevent her adventurous daughter from leaving home… but she can’t suppress Rose’s true nature forever. So when an enormous white bear shows up one cold autumn evening and asks teenage Rose to come away with it– in exchange for health and prosperity for her ailing family– she readily agrees. Rose travels on the bear’s broad back to a distant and empty castle, where she is nightly joined by a mysterious stranger. In discovering his identity, she loses her heart– and finds her purpose– and realizes her journey has only just begun.”

The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants by Ann Brashares – Realistic Fiction, 6/7th grade and up – Google Summary: “As moving and life-changing as an encounter with long-lost best friends, Sisterhood Everlasting is a powerful story about growing up, losing your way, and finding the courage to create a new one.”

Day of Tears by Julius Lester – Historical Fiction, 6th grade and up – Goodreads Summary: “On March 2 and 3, 1859, the largest auction of slaves in American history took place in Savannah, Georgia. More than 400 slaves were sold. On the first day of the auction, the skies darkened and torrential rain began falling. The rain continued throughout the two days, stopping only when the auction had ended. The simultaneity of the rain storm with the auction led to these two days being called “the weeping time.” Master storyteller Julius Lester has taken this footnote of history and created the crowning achievement of his literary career. Julius Lester tells the story of several characters including Emma, a slave owned by Pierce Butler and caretaker of his two daughters, and Pierce, a man with a mounting gambling debt and household to protect. Emma wants to teach his daughters-one who opposes slavery and one who supports it-to have kind hearts. Meanwhile, in a desperate bid to survive, Pierce decides to cash in his “assets” and host the largest slave auction in American history. And on that day, the skies open up and weep endlessly on the proceedings below. Using the multiple voices of enslaved Africans and their owners, Julius Lester has taken a little-known, all-true event in American history and transformed it into a heartbreaking and powerfully dramatic epic on slavery, and the struggle to affirm humanity in the midst of it”

The Firefly Letters by Margarita Engle – Historical Fiction, novel in verse, 6th grade and up – Fascinating history exploration of life in cuba in 1851. Goodreads Summary: “The freedom to roam is something that women and girls in Cuba do not have. Yet when Fredrika Bremer visits from Sweden in 1851 to learn about the people of this magical island, she is accompanied by Cecilia, a young slave who longs for her lost home in Africa. Soon Elena, the wealthy daughter of the house, sneaks out to join them. As the three women explore the lush countryside, they form a bond that breaks the barriers of language and culture. In this quietly powerful new book, award-winning poet Margarita Engle paints a portrait of early women’s rights pioneer Fredrika Bremer and the journey to Cuba that transformed her life.”

Turnabout by Margaret Peterson Haddix – Science Fiction, 6th grade and up – Goodreads Summary: “In the year 2000 Melly and Anny Beth had reached the peak of old age and were ready to die. But when offered the chance to be young again by participating in a top-secret experiment called Project Turnabout, they agreed. Miraculously, the experiment worked — Melly and Anny Beth were actually growing younger every year. But when they learned that the final treatment would be deadly, they ran for their lives. Now it is 2085. Melly and Anny Beth are teenagers. They have no idea what will happen when they hit age zero, but they do know they will soon be too young to take care of themselves. They need to find someone to help them before time runs out, once and for all….”  *2 points of view.

Picture books:

Voices in the Park by Anthony Browne – Loved reading this picture book, told from four different perspectives with one event. Brilliant book! Loved how both parents and children’s voices and perspectives were quite clear. It was interesting to chat with my son about this book. Since each point of view was presented by Story 1-2-3-4, he was quite confused and we had to reread the story and then discuss points of view/perspectives. He “got” it finally when he realized that he already experienced different points of view with the book series we’re enjoying together- The Five Ancestors by Jeff Stone.

Adult books:

The Help by Kathryn Stockett – Historical Fiction – One of my favorite audiobooks I’ve ever enjoyed! Goodreads Summary: “Three ordinary women are about to take one extraordinary step. Twenty-two-year-old Skeeter has just returned home after graduating from Ole Miss. She may have a degree, but it is 1962, Mississippi, and her mother will not be happy till Skeeter has a ring on her finger. Skeeter would normally find solace with her beloved maid Constantine, the woman who raised her, but Constantine has disappeared and no one will tell Skeeter where she has gone. Aibileen is a black maid, a wise, regal woman raising her seventeenth white child. Something has shifted inside her after the loss of her own son, who died while his bosses looked the other way. She is devoted to the little girl she looks after, though she knows both their hearts may be broken. Minny, Aibileen’s best friend, is short, fat, and perhaps the sassiest woman in Mississippi. She can cook like nobody’s business, but she can’t mind her tongue, so she’s lost yet another job. Minny finally finds a position working for someone too new to town to know her reputation. But her new boss has secrets of her own. Seemingly as different from one another as can be, these women will nonetheless come together for a clandestine project that will put them all at risk. And why? Because they are suffocating within the lines that define their town and their times. And sometimes lines are made to be crossed. In pitch-perfect voices, Kathryn Stockett creates three extraordinary women whose determination to start a movement of their own forever changes a town, and the way women – mothers, daughters, caregivers, friends – view one another. A deeply moving novel filled with poignancy, humor, and hope, The Help is a timeless and universal story about the lines we abide by, and the ones we don’t.”

The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan – Historical Fiction/Realistic Fiction – The Joy Luck Club is a book that stuck with me for quite a long time… Goodreads Summary: “Four mothers, four daughters, four families whose histories shift with the four winds depending on who’s “saying” the stories. In 1949 four Chinese women, recent immigrants to San Francisco, begin meeting to eat dim sum, play mahjong, and talk. United in shared unspeakable loss and hope, they call themselves the Joy Luck Club. Rather than sink into tragedy, they choose to gather to raise their spirits and money. “To despair was to wish back for something already lost. Or to prolong what was already unbearable.” Forty years later the stories and history continue.”

Game of Thrones Series by George R.R. Martin – Fantasy – Goodreads Summary: “The first volume of A Song of Ice and Fire, the greatest fantasy epic of the modern age.  Summers span decades. Winter can last a lifetime. And the struggle for the Iron Throne has begun. As Warden of the north, Lord Eddard Stark counts it a curse when King Robert bestows on him the office of the Hand. His honour weighs him down at court where a true man does what he will, not what he must … and a dead enemy is a thing of beauty. The old gods have no power in the south, Stark’s family is split and there is treachery at court. Worse, the vengeance-mad heir of the deposed Dragon King has grown to maturity in exile in the Free Cities. He claims the Iron Throne.”

Chocolat by Joanne Harris – Fantasy – I watched the movie first and then listened to the audiobook years later. I’m a huge Joanne Harris fan… Goodreads Summary: “Just a few days before Lent, a flamboyant woman and her daughter open a chocolate shop in a small French town and create a stir with their seemingly magical sweet-treat remedies for life’s problems.” – movie trailer vs. book trailer:

House Rules by Jodi Picoult – Realistic Fiction – Goodreads Summary: “When your son can’t look you in the eye…does that mean he’s guilty? Jacob Hunt is a teen with Asperger’s syndrome. He’s hopeless at reading social cues or expressing himself well to others, though he is brilliant in many ways. But he has a special focus on one subject – forensic analysis. A police scanner in his room clues him in to crime scenes, and he’s always showing up and telling the cops what to do. And he’s usually right. But when Jacob’s small hometown is rocked by a terrible murder, law enforcement comes to him. Jacob’s behaviors are hallmark Asperger’s, but they look a lot like guilt to the local police. Suddenly the Hunt family, who only want to fit in, are directly in the spotlight. For Jacob’s mother, Emma, it’s a brutal reminder of the intolerance and misunderstanding that always threaten her family. For his brother, Theo, it’s another indication why nothing is normal because of Jacob. And over this small family, the soul-searing question looms: Did Jacob commit murder?”

Little Bee by Chris Cleave – Historical Fiction – Goodreads Summary: “Two women collide lives on a Nigeria beach. One must make a terrible choice. Two years later, they meet again and the story starts …”  *2 points of view.

Teaching about Point of View:

http://www.teachingkidsbooks.com/3rd-4th-grade/point-of-view

“Meet the Narrator” Story Point of View explanation:

http://www.writingforchildren.com/g0440/rx/wt07/poviews.shtml

4 comments on “Styling Librarian: Children books with Multiple Points of View

  1. David E.
    May 28, 2013

    GONE GIRL

  2. Julia
    November 24, 2015

    Bat 6 by Virginia Euwer Wolff is a great middle grade multiple pov book taking place during the internment of Japanese Americans, and told from the pov of two different girls’ softball teams.

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