Elementary & Junior High Book Line-up and Give-away

#Books #read #library

A while back, I did a preschool book review and give away… and now I get to share a few elementary and junior high level books! I’ll start with the early on-your-own readers for the kindergarten and first grade level, and then move on up – all the way to an 8th grade level (and some of these would even be enjoyable for high school kids).

This list of books are mostly review item books that I got over the past year or so. I gather them up in a stack by age group and then share them with you when I have enough to constitute a fun give-away.

Take a look at the short review on these books and click over (on the image) if you are interested in purchasing one from Amazon. I’m an affiliate, so if you do buy them from me, I will get a few pennies towards my next Amazon purchase.

If you read to the end of the post and want to participate in a give away, you can leave a comment and I’ll send you some of the books in this list (some publishers have offered an extra copy for me to give away)! *Note: the books which have an asterisk by their title will be given away!


One, Two, AH-CHOO! & Snow Dance *
~ Richard Scarry’s Great Big Schoolhouse Readers

These are cute little winter early readers by the famous and wonderfully fun Richard Scarry. Who doesn’t love his awesome illustrations? My little ones love looking for the Gold Bug while we read them. I work with my kids using the Distar method (phonics-based) and teach them to read with “Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons” and then we move on to Bob Books – and then on to books like these. I love Busy Town, and these books are really fun.

Bombus the Bumblebee *
~ Elsie Larson

You know me and bees. I adore them. Something I love about Bombus the Bumblebee is that it was printed by MasterBooks… which means the story is filled with Creation rather than evolution. The story is a cute rendition of how the bumblebee learned to fly, followed by a scientific section about bumblebees, talking points and questions for reading retention and discussion, and a list of creative activities to try. I can’t wait to read this one to my little dudes when we begin elementary school.

Lisa Loeb’s Songs for Movin’ & Shakin’
~ Lisa Loeb (includes 10-song CD)

This book and CD are an early music education teacher’s dream. This is a great way to get the giggles and wiggles out of your preschoolers or elementary kids (who seem to have endless supplies – so unfair). The illustrations in this book are fabulous. It’s so colorful and has visual body movement patterns for you to teach the kids to dance along to the songs. She has fun favorites like Father Abraham, Do Your Ears Hang Low, and Head, Shoulders, Knees & Toes. There are a few new ones I haven’t ever heard before, too… like Peanut Butter and Jelly… and Monster Stomp! Big hit with my little guys.

Anybody Home?
~ Marianne Berkes

Teaching your K-2nd graders about animal homes has never been easier. Polly Possum meets a wide variety of diurnal and nocturnal animals on her way to find a new place to raise her babies. She learns about their webs, nests, hives, shells, burrows, lodges, dens, caves, dreys and hollows. There is a science section at the end of the story, activity suggestions, questions and discussion points, and a map activity.

A Butterfly Called Hope
~ Mary Alice Monroe (NY Times Bestselling Author) with Linda Love

I love Monarch butterflies. In fact, we have a thing for bugs around here. This book teaches youngsters about Monarch Life Cycle Sequencing, migration patterns, and about raising the butterflies in captivity. The story is of a young girl who raises a Monarch with her mom at home, and in the end they set the butterfly free. There is a science teaching section at the end of the story, a vocabulary and matching activity, and tips on successful Monarch care for those who wish to try raising a caterpillar of their own.

A Day in the Deep
~ Kevin Kurtz

Another fun animal book… this one is about the animals deep beneath the surface of the ocean… amazing creatures in the dark depths of the sea. I love the illustrations by Erin E. Hunter in this book. I read through the entire thing and didn’t see anything objectionable as far as macro evolution or millions of years; they really stick to the animals and facts. They briefly cover Sargassum fish, cookiecutter sharks, viperfish, plankton, headlight fish, vampire squid, frilled sharks, spookfish, marine snow, pelican eel, Atolla jellyfish, and anglerfish. There is a science teaching section at the end of the story which discusses deep ocean habitats, bioluminescence, and living under pressure.

How Did That Get in My Lunchbox? The Story of Food *
~ Chris Butterworth

This book has fantastic illustration and the colors pop off the page. It received the American Farm Bureau’s Book of the Year award. The book teaches children about where the items in their lunchbox come from (hint: not just the grocery store). Bread starting as grain… and all the people who work to make it into bread: the farmer, the miller, and the baker! Kids learn about how cheese is made, how tomatoes are grown, and how apple juice gets in their juice boxes. They even cover how chocolate gets in their chocolate chip cookies. What a handy bit of information that every kid should know… filled with lovely images and a food guide to teach children how to eat for optimal health. Love it.

Shimmer & Splash: The Sparkling World of Sea Life
Jim Arnosky

Another book where the illustrations will blow you away. Jim has written or illustrated over 100 books for children and has received an award for Excellence in Science Illustration. I love how he captures marine life and brings it to life for the reader’s eyes. This book is full of science facts and flap-out large illustrations. Sketches line some of the scientific reading material and the author tries to personalize the story with his own experiences with the animals he’s describing to make it more interesting. The drawings on the sides of the pages and the colors of this book remind me of the wonderful Holling C. Holling books (Pagoo, Seabird, Paddle-to-the-Sea, Minn of the Mississippi and Tree in the Trail). Holling is one of my favorite children’s book authors, so I was pretty impressed with this book.

Mesmerizing Math
~ Jonathan Litton, Thomas Flintham

Flaps, pop-ups and groovy graphics… something to look at in every corner of the page… what a great way to get your kids in to math! You have to see this book to believe it! From the back of the book:

Math – boring bits = a world of discovery

Why are four-leaf clovers so rare? How big is infinity? And why do mathematicians think a coffee mug and a donut are the same shape? With pop-ups, spinners, booklets, flaps, and even a wrecking ball, this book explains how math is at the heart of everyday life. Discover the secret of the Mona Lisa, make your own never-ending shape, and learn about a number so big it couldn’t possibly be written out in full. A world of mathematical merriment awaits!

Electrical Wizard: How Nikola Tesla Lit Up the World
~ Elizabeth Rusch

One of my favorite men of science: the underdog, Nikola Tesla gets royal treatment in this beautifully illustrated children’s picture book. The book tells the story of Nikola’s life from boyhood through adulthood, discussing his brilliant mind and his amazing inventions. The back of the book has a few short essays about how ahead of his time he was, his rival: Thomas Edison, some scientific notes on Tesla’s inventions, and a select bibliography & further reading section. The author, Elizabeth Rusch said about writing this book, “The more I learned about Nikola Tesla while researching this book, the more I realized how completely this one inventor has shaped modern life.” I highly recommend this one for your homeschool library.

The Graphic History of GETTYSBURG, America’s Most Famous Battle and the Turning Point of the Civil War *
~ Written and Illustrated by Wayne Vansant

Published last April in commemoration of the 150th anniversary since the Civil War, this graphic history book by Zenith Press describes the history leading up to the battle of Gettysburg, as well as all of the major military events in early July of 1863. The author also includes the Gettysburg Address by Abraham Lincoln as a conclusion to the story. The book reads like a comic strip and is sure to capture the reluctant reader with its constant animation and visual stories of events as the reader imagined them taking place.

Wayne Vansant previously worked for Marvel and was the primary artist for The ‘Nam series for more than five years. This book would be a great read for junior high through young adulthood. A study from the Oklahoma University shows graphic novel readers retain more information than traditional textbook users (but we homeschool moms already knew that combining learning styles is the best way to help them remember). We spent quite a lot of time on the Civil War a couple of years ago, and I’m saving this graphic novel as a refresher for our senior year when we cover American History, Government and Economics.

The Complete Aquarium Adventure (A Field Trip in a Book) *
~ Merilee & Bill Clifton

When they say a field trip in a book, they really mean it. We’ve been to the aquarium three times (two different ones) over the past year or so, and while amazing, this book provides as much learning information as all three trips combined… in the leisure of your own living room. My little guys are loving the images and discussion, but the book is really designed to be used as a marine biology curriculum for (and I’m guessing here) ages 5-13. The age level really just depends on whether your child is interested in marine animals and able to sit and listen or read for themselves. As with any MasterBooks printing, you’ll be amazed in the quality and thrilled with the godly direction of the book. The dedication in the front of the spiral-ring-bound book states, “…[to] all Christian parents who embrace the challenge to bring up their children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.” YES!

Chapters include, but aren’t limited to: How to use this curricula, Charting a course (tips on setting up your field trip to a local aquarium), Devotionals (7 of them!), Scripture Memory, Assignments, Knowing the Ropes for Visiting the Aquarium, Prayer, detailed information on the animals who live in and near the sea (birds, bony fish, cartilaginous fish, invertebrates, mammals, reptiles and shore life), activities, solutions, glossary, a tool kit (fact cards, ocean zone cards, aquarium alphabet cards, etc), and a reproducible Aquarium Animal Observation Sheet.

I can’t recommend this enough. It’s way under-priced, too. I saw it for less than 18$ on Amazon Prime when I looked up the image for this post! What a steal… and what I wouldn’t have given for this back when my oldest two homeschoolers were studying about marine animals “back in the day”.

Guide to Creation Basics *
~ Institute for Creation Research

DK quality images and format, information you can trust. You can’t beat that. Here’s a quick run-down of some of what you’ll find covered in this mini-encyclopedia:

  • Why study creation?
  • The beginning
  • The flood
  • The Grand Canyon
  • Fossils and the Fossil Record
  • Original tissue in fossils
  • Plate tectonics
  • Mount St. Helens
  • Ice Age
  • Legends of the flood
  • Carbon dating
  • Radiometric dating
  • Physical sciences (Big Bang, Solar System, sun & stars, universe, outer space, starlight and time)
  • Life sciences (design, interdependence in living things, cells, creature changes, variations within kinds, biomimicry, dinosaurs in scripture and dragon legend)
  • Myths and Fallacies (Darwin, lack of transitional forms, humans vs. apes, naturalistic attempts to explain origins, Genesis timeline, UFO myths)
  • Foundation to Creation (Genesis, the Curse, People groups and languages, design in creation, numbers in nature, human uniqueness)

What a great resource to have on hand. So glad to have this on my shelf.

Guide to Animals *
~ Frank Sherwin for Institute for Creation Research

Another amazing animal book, except this one is full of the wonder of creation – not the dogma of Darwinian evolution. Did you know my DK Internet Linked Encyclopedia of World History dedicates nearly 1/4 of their book to the bogus fiction of Darwin? { Yep: Big Bang, How Evolution Works, Pangaea, Chemical Soup, “Earliest Ancestors”, fish out of water, reptiles with fur, reptiles to birds, death of the dino sensational theories, reptile ancestors – which supposedly became mammals, rise of mammals, horse evolution, strange creatures, elephant ancestors, ice age, apes to humans, cave men, early families, starting to talk, the first modern people, …} – seriously… 101 pages of this stuff. That’s why I love having great quality science and history books that keep THEORY as theory, remove known fraudulent information, and include all angles, not just the state-sponsored ones.

In Guide to Animals, you’ll find information about every “creeping thing” you can imagine, and the entire book is filled with breathtaking photography and blurbs of easily digestible information. You can look at the entire world as if it was one big amazing mistake, or as if it was a miracle of design by a loving creator with a purpose. If your view is the latter, this book has a lot of great proofs and “evidences of God’s wonderful creative design” that you’ll definitely want to share with your kids.

Betsy-Tacy books for girls (first 4 are younger, last 3 are for teens), written by Maud Hart Lovelace, based on her childhood. These were sent to us to review and I wish I had time to read them all myself! I might just start on them in my spare time. One

The Betsy-Tacy Series
~ Maud Hart Lovelace
(Given to me to review by BookClubGirl.com)

The Betsy-Tacy books are a series based on the life experiences of a woman who was born in 1892. I loved the Little House series, but had not heard of these back when we were reading those. I’ve seen these recommended by many a homeschool mom.

When we got this series to review, my daughter had just finished the Elsie Dinsmore series and was reading How to Train Your Dragon and then began the Percy Jackson series because of the movie coming out and an older cousin hooking her interest on them (I would not repeat letting her read those so young if I had to do it all over again). She was a voracious reader. She was reading classics left and right, and because the first few books of the Betsy-Tacy series are “childish” (her words – after flipping through the first book, which she says is more of a “third grade reader”), she wasn’t as interested in them. As you can see from my photo, the first book is considerably thinner than the others, and after the fourth book, the rest of the series is in thick novels (containing 2 books each). The series ends when Betsy gets married.

If I had to do it all over again, I would have introduced this set to her at about age 8 or 9 (the first book), and then let her grow in to the rest of the series as she was of age to read them. Better yet, I might have read these with her at those ages (you live and learn).

My girl is a pretty mature as a 15 year old, and we have read many books together – including the Hunger Games and Divergent series lately. Some kids just have a quick grasp on reading, and having great recommendations and book lists ahead of time for your budding readers is really handy! It’s almost too late to direct them once they get off on a reading binge. Having great books on hand to read when they want them is underrated (and I’m pretty sure Charlotte Mason would have smacked my hand for not preventing some of the twaddle I let my kids read). I’m really interested in reading these myself, along with the Elsie Dinsmore series (back to back) after hearing controversy about the different way both series were written. I plan to come back in to this post later and update it with my findings.

One of my goals this year was to read FICTION (since I never take time for fiction). I’m much more apt to be reading titles about motherhood, homeschooling, organization, or devotional books. Reading fiction stories was a favorite hobby of mine prior to having kids, so I’m going to pick up a few good books this year just for fun. Unfortunately, I didn’t grow up on either Elsie or Betsy (or the Little House series – FOR SHAME), so it’s about time to remedy that. Maybe I can talk my daughter in to putting down “The Book Thief”, “The Help”, and “Les Miserables” … and our thick World Lit books { misery = Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics } and read these with me just for fun! I love it that my big kids still enjoy reading aloud even though they really don’t need mama’s help any more.


Have you read any of these? Want to give your ‘two cents’ in the comments section?

*Want to win a few of these fabulous books?

Leave me a comment listing 3 favorite elementary and 3 favorite junior high level books and you’ll be entered! Entries end next Wednesday at midnight.

Winner announced on the raffle-copter on Thursday, February 6th.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

{ Have a splendid weekend! }

In Him,


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Disclaimer: Many of these books were review items given to me for free. All opinions here are my own. Only the books with the asterisks beside them will be given away.


  1. Anne Donahue says

    Favorite: Jr. High Guide to Animals, Creation Basics, Creation Basics, The Complete Aquarium Adventure

    Favorite Elementary: Gettysbury

  2. says

    (Elementary books): Where the Sidewalk Ends, Aliens Love Underpants, Number the Stars. (Junior High books): The Giver, Roll of Thunder Hear My Cry, The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants

  3. Jessica says

    Where the Wild Things Are, The Giving Tree, The Boxcar Children, Number the Stars, Holes, and The Giver

  4. says

    Just three? Elementary: Laura Ingalls; Usborne Book of World History; Richard Scarry’s Around the World stories
    Jr. High: Beauty by Robin McKinley; Carry On, Mr. Bowditch; And the Word Came With Power by Joanne Shetler

  5. Katrina says

    My favorite books are timeless and span both elementary and junior high – those are the Anne of Green Gables series and the Narnia series. Also a favorite for elementary are the Little House series. Another favorite junior high book is Little Women. Those are the ones that top all the rest for me, but below that are so many fabulous books it is hard to choose! Goodreads has some great lists. :)

  6. Danna says

    Elementary: The Seven Silly Eaters by Mary Ann Hoberman; The Rag Coat by Lauren Miller; All Gerald & Piggy books by Mo Willems.

    Middle School: The Giver by Lois Lowry; White Fang by Jack London; Shipwrecked by Robert Lewis Stevenson

  7. MistiB says

    Ramona series, Where the Sidewalk Ends, Narnia Series
    A wrinkle in Time, Scarlet Letter, This Present Darkness

    Thanks for the other suggestions, we are going to travel to Williamsburg,VA so I look forward to reading the Gettysburg book with my kids:-)

  8. alissa says

    The Betsy Tasy series, Ramona series, Where the sidewalk ends, where the wild things are, Anything by patricia st. john, and the dangerous journey.

  9. Jessica says

    I loved to read when I was younger and love reading with my kids now. I loved Little Women and the Harry Potter books. My kids enjoyed Percy Jackson and the “My Weirder School” series. I’m interested to share the Guide to Creation Basics and Guide to Animals books. We’ve spent a lot of time on Truth Be Told from Apologetics Press and their young and advanced reader series that promote creationism. This would be a great addition for us.

    • April says

      Elementary: Amelia Bedilia, Ping, Richard Scarry
      Junior High: Because of Winn Dixie, Island of the Blue Dolphins, A Wrinkle in Time

  10. Jeri says

    Are we choosing from the list above? Or just picking faves?
    Elem: The Boxcar Series, Little House on the Prairies series, and Clifford books…yes the big red dog
    jr high: Narnia books, I loved Nancy Drew but that might be elementary, Little Women books

  11. Brandi says

    For the elementary level we have really enjoyed the Moody Series by Sarah Maxwell, Twice Freed, Detectives in Togas and A Lion to Guard Us.

    Middle School level books we have liked are Pocahontas by Joseph Bruchac, Calico Captive and The Captain’s Dog.


  12. Jamie says

    We love The Boxcar series, the Circle C Adventures series, and the Mo Willems Pigeon books.

    For older kids: Narnia are favorites The Wingfeather Saga. We are just now in middle school and we’re having a hard time finding appropriate books. My poor older kids just read the same books over and over because I can’t keep up with them.

    Thanks for your list. We’re ALWAYS looking for ideas and some of these correspond with exact topics we are studying at this moment.

  13. Kelly says

    Can I give you my kids’ favorites?
    Elementary – Billy B. Brown series (Usborne)
    A Fly Went By
    Frog and Toad
    JR HIGH –
    Conspiracy 365 series (Usborne)
    Robinson Crusoe
    Christian Heroes: Then and Now series

  14. MotherLydia says

    I LOVED Betsy-Tacy as a child. But I don’t think I even knew any books past Heavens to Betsy existed!

    Elementary: The Original Picture Atlas for Children by IKEA, Journey by Aaron Becker, Science in the Beinning by Dr. Wile

    Junior High: The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner, Trickster’s Choice by Tamora Pierce, The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin

    • MotherLydia says

      Yay! I won. SO excited. I’d put several of these on my kids wish list just from your excellent reviews.