In my opinion, books are the best accessory.
Sometimes students come and ask if I have a recommendation that is not a series. I love stand alone books and am thrilled when this topic comes up. I recently had a student come and say, “I need a break from series, I love 39 Clues Books, what would you recommend reading next?” I enjoyed pulling a few books to answer this question.
If you like 39 Clues Books…
Take a break from reading a series with these books:
The Ear, The Eye and the Arm by Nancy Farmer – Science Fiction – 5th grade and up – I love recommending this book, fascinating dystopian book before dystopia books were all the rage. Complicated storyline but quite fascinating. Nancy Farmer’s books are always fulfilling and an experience that cannot be forgotten. Goodreads Summary: “General Matsika’s children steal out of the house on a forbidden adventure–and disappear. In Zimbabwe, in the year 2194, the children’s parents call in Africa’s most unusual detectives–the Ear, the Eye and the Arm–who have powers far beyond those of other human beings. The children must avoid the evils of the past, the technology of the future, and a motley assortment of criminals in order to return home safely.”
The Falcon In The Glass by Susan Fletcher – Historical Fiction/Adventure – 4th grade and up – New release by the lovely author who creates incredible fantasy worlds with dragons and fascinating historical fiction books as well. I loved this book because I travelled through Italy and Florence in this book. For my full review and author interview, visit here. Goodreads Summary: “In Venice in 1487, the secrets of glassblowing are guarded jealously. Renzo, a twelve-year-old laborer in a glassworks, has just a few months to prepare for a test of his abilities, and no one to teach him. If he passes, he will qualify as a skilled glassblower. If he fails, he will be expelled from the glassworks. Becoming a glassblower is his murdered father’s dying wish for him, and the means of supporting his mother and sister. But Renzo desperately needs another pair of hands to help him turn the glass as he practices at night. One night he is disturbed by a bird—a small falcon—that seems to belong to a girl hiding in the glassworks. Soon Renzo learns about her and others like her—the bird people, who can communicate with birds and are condemned as witches. He tries to get her to help him and discovers that she comes with baggage: ten hungry bird-kenning children who desperately need his aid. Caught between devotion to his family and his art and protecting a group of outcast children, Renzo struggles for a solution that will keep everyone safe in this atmospheric adventure.”
The Thief Lord by Cornelia Funke – Fantasy – 4th grade and up – Beautiful story that lends you the opportunity to explore Italy in this fascinating adventure – Goodreads Summary: “Welcome to the magical underworld of Venice, Italy. Here, hidden canals and crumbling rooftops shelter runaways and children with incredible secrets…. After escaping from their cruel aunt and uncle, orphans Prosper and Bo meet a mysterious boy who calls himself the “Thief Lord.” Clever and charming, the Thief Lord leads a band of street children who enjoy making mischief. But the Thief Lord also has a dark secret. And suddenly Proper and Bo find themselves on a fantastical journey to a forgotten place. What they discover there will change the course of their destiny.”
Getting Air by Dan Gutman – 4th grade and up – Quite the packed adventure, I always have students clamoring for more books “like this” and lead them to 39 Clues and others on this list! Goodreads Summary: “They can rule the half-pipe, but can they survive this? Jimmy, David, and Henry are psyched. It’s summer, school’s out, and they are on their way to California, where they will be able to do some major skating. But on the plane, the unthinkable happens: They are hijacked by terrorists. As frightened as they may be, they take action and they succeed. Sort of. They may have beaten the terrorists, but now their plane has crashed in the middle of nowhere and all of a sudden, their summer vacation is about finding food, shelter, and a rescue. Can three normal twelve-year-old boys find a way to get by without fast food and skate parks?”
Flush by Carl Hiaasen (other books by Carl Hiaasen are fantastic as well!) – 4th grade and up Adventure – Eco-adventure, Carl Hiaasen is the king of this book. Goodreads Summary: “Noah’s dad has a little problem with anger control. He tried to stop theCoral Queen casino boat’s illegal dumping . . . by sinking the boat. But his bold protest fizzles: within days the casino is back in business, and Noah’s dad is behind bars and out of action. Now Noah is determined to succeed where his father failed. But even though pumping raw sewage into the waters of the Florida Keys is both gross and against the law, turns out it’s near impossible to catch the flusher—especially when he’s already bamboozled the prosecutors, the local press, and even the Coast Guard. But Noah’s got a few allies. There’s his little sister, Abbey, an unreformed childhood biter; Lice Peeking, a half-soused ex-mate of the Coral Queenwho is willing to testify . . . for a price; and Shelly, a bighearted bartender with even bigger biceps. Okay, so the odds aren’t good. But Noah has an ace up his sleeve—a plan so crazy it just might stop the polluting, save the beaches, and prove to the world that it’s the owner of the Coral Queen, and not his dad, who is full of . . . crud.”
The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster – 4th grade and up – Fantasy – Excellent read aloud choice! – Goodreads Summary: “Milo mopes in black ink sketches, until he assembles a tollbooth and drives through. He jumps to the island of Conclusions. But brothers King Azaz of Dictionopolis and the Mathemagician of Digitopolis war over words and numbers. Joined by ticking watchdog Tock and adult-size Humbug, Milo rescues the Princesses of Rhyme and Reason, and learns to enjoy life.”
Eye of the Storm by Kate Messner – Adventure – 4th grade and up – Goodreads Summary: “In the not-too-distant future, huge tornadoes and monster storms are a part of everyday life. Sent to spend the summer in the heart of storm country with her father in the special StormSafe community his company has developed, Jaden Meggs is excited to reconnect with her dad after he spent years researching storm technology in Russia. She’ll also be attending the exclusive summer science camp, Eye On Tomorrow, that her dad founded. There, Jaden meets Alex, a boy whose passion for science matches hers, and together they discover a horrible truth about her dad’s research that is putting countless lives at risk. As a massive tornado approaches, threatening to destroy everything in its path, Jaden is torn between loyalty to her dad and revealing his secret. Can she find the courage to confront her dad and save everyone from the biggest storm yet?”
Wake Up Missing by Kate Messner – Science Fiction – 4th grade and up – Goodreads Summary: “Meet Quentin, a middle school football star from Chicago… Sarah, an Upstate New York girls’ hockey team stand-out… Ben, a horse lover from the Pacific Northwest… And Cat, an artistic bird watcher from California. The four have nothing in common except for the head injuries that land them in an elite brain-science center in the Florida Everglades. It’s known as the best in the world, but as days pass, the kids begin to suspect that they are subjects in an experiment that goes far beyond treating concussions….and threatens their very identities. They’ll have to overcome their injuries – and their differences – to escape, or risk losing themselves forever.”
The Fantastic Secret of Owen Jester by Barbara O’Connor – Realistic Fiction – 3rd grade and up – One of my favorite books by Barbara O’Connor – interesting adventure/mystery – Goodreads Summary: “An amazing secret has tumbled off a freight train into Carter, Georgia, and Owen Jester is the only person who knows about it. If he can simply manage to evade his grandfather’s snappish housekeeper, organize his two best friends, and keep his nosy neighbor, Viola, at bay, he just might be in for the summer of a lifetime. With her trademark wit and easy charm, Barbara O’Connor spins a fantastic fable of friends, enemies, and superbly slimy bullfrogs.”
The Humming Room by Ellen Potter – Fantasy – 3rd grade and up – This is a gorgeous book set in present day that feels like an homage to The Secret Garden, enjoyed every minute. Goodreads Summary: “Hiding is Roo Fanshaw’s special skill. Living in a frighteningly unstable family, she often needs to disappear at a moment’s notice. When her parents are murdered, it’s her special hiding place under the trailer that saves her life. As it turns out, Roo, much to her surprise, has a wealthy if eccentric uncle, who has agreed to take her into his home on Cough Rock Island. Once a tuberculosis sanitarium for children of the rich, the strange house is teeming with ghost stories and secrets. Roo doesn’t believe in ghosts or fairy stories, but what are those eerie noises she keeps hearing? And who is that strange wild boy who lives on the river? People are lying to her, and Roo becomes determined to find the truth. Despite the best efforts of her uncle’s assistants, Roo discovers the house’s hidden room–a garden with a tragic secret.”
Holes by Louis Sachar – Fiction that I honestly don’t want to place in a specific genre – 4th grade and up – Goodreads Summary: “And so, Stanley Yelnats seems set to serve an easy sentence, which is only fair because he is as innocent as you or me. But Stanley is not going where he thinks he is. Camp Green Lake is like no other camp anywhere. It is a bizarre, almost otherworldly place that has no lake and nothing that is green. Nor is it a camp, at least not the kind of camp kids look forward to in the summertime. It is a place that once held “the largest lake in Texas,” but today it is only a scorching desert wasteland, dotted with countless holes dug by the boys who live at the camp. The trouble started when Stanley was accused of stealing a pair of shoes donated by basketball great Clyde “Sweetfeet” Livingston to a celebrity auction. In court, the judge doesn’t believe Stanley’s claim that the shoes fell from the sky onto his head. And yet, that’s exactly what happened. Oddly, though, Stanley doesn’t blame the judge for falsely convicting him. Instead, he blames the whole misadventure on his “no-good-dirty-rotten-pig-stealing-great-great-grandfather.” Thanks to this benighted distant relative, the Yelnats family had been cursed for generations. For Stanley, his current troubles are just a natural part of being a Yelnats. At Camp Green Lake, the warden makes the boys “build character” by spending all day, every day, digging holes: five feet wide and five feet deep. It doesn’t take long for Stanley to realize there’s more than character improvement going on at Camp Green Lake. The boys are digging holes because the treacherous warden is searching for something, and before long Stanley begins his own search—for the truth. Fate conspires to resolve it all—the family curse, the mystery of the holes, the drought that destroyed Green Lake, and also, the legend of Kissing Kate Barlow, an infamous outlaw of the Wild West. The great wheel of justice has ground slowly for generations, but now it is about to reveal its verdict.”
When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead – Realistic Fiction + – 5th grade and up – Fantastic book that has many stories intertwined, excellent connection with the beautiful book Goodreads Summary: “Four mysterious letters change Miranda’s world forever.
By sixth grade, Miranda and her best friend, Sal, know how to navigate their New York City neighborhood. They know where it’s safe to go, like the local grocery store, and they know whom to avoid, like the crazy guy on the corner.
But things start to unravel. Sal gets punched by a new kid for what seems like no reason, and he shuts Miranda out of his life. The apartment key that Miranda’s mom keeps hidden for emergencies is stolen. And then Miranda finds a mysterious note scrawled on a tiny slip of paper:
I am coming to save your friend’s life, and my own.
I must ask two favors. First, you must write me a letter.
The notes keep coming, and Miranda slowly realizes that whoever is leaving them knows all about her, including things that have not even happened yet. Each message brings her closer to believing that only she can prevent a tragic death. Until the final note makes her think she’s too late.”
First Light by Rebecca Stead – Science Fiction – 4th grade and up – Goodreads Summary: “Peter is thrilled to join his parents on an expedition to Greenland, where his father studies global warming. Peter will get to skip school, drive a dogsled, and–finally–share in his dad’s adventures. But on the ice cap, Peter struggles to understand a series of visions that both frighten and entice him. Thea has never seen the sun. Her extraordinary people, suspected of witchcraft and nearly driven to extinction, have retreated to a secret world they’ve built deep inside the arctic ice. As Thea dreams of a path to Earth’s surface, Peter’s search for answers brings him ever closer to her hidden home.”
Liar and Spy by Rebecca Stead – Mystery – 4th grade – Goodreads Summary: “Georges (the s is silent) has a lot going on. He’s having trouble with some boys at school, his dad lost his job and so his mum has started working all the time – and they had to sell their house and move into an apartment. But moving into the apartment block does bring one good thing – Safer, an unusual boy who lives on the top floor. He runs a spy club, and is determined to teach Georges everything he knows. Their current case is to spy on the mysterious Mr X in the apartment above Georges.But as Georges and Safer go deeper into their Mr X plan, the line between games, lies, and reality begin to blur.”
What would you add to this list?
Want more book ideas and reviews? – Yes, I’m quite brief, but a prolific reader! Please visit me at Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/user/show/1941055-the-styling-librarian Also, please follow this blog through email updates – (do so to the right of this blog post). I appreciate all of the support, makes my day! Honored by all the wonderful followers.
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