Looking for a book to recommend to your child? Some of the best ideas for kids’ reading come from their peers. Check out these UCLA Lab School student book reviews. Then visit the Gonda Family Library or your local public library to check out these titles and more.
The Wheel on the School
By Meindert DeJong
Recommended by Chloe S.
The Wheel on the School is a story about a group of school children. They live in a town called Shora where there are no storks. One day, one of the school children whose name is Lina wondered why there weren’t any storks. The children think that there are no storks in Shora because the roofs are too sharp. All the other towns have wagon wheels on their roofs. So the children of Shora decide to try to find a wagon wheel to put on their school house roof. Each chapter of this book is about each child’s quest for a wheel. Will they ever find a wheel? Will a stork ever land on it? Read this book to find out!
By John Reynolds Gardiner
Reviewed by Claire K.
Have you ever had to run a farm by yourself? Well, Little Willy has. The book Stone Fox is about a boy named Little Willy. He lives on a farm with his grandfather. One morning on the farm, Grandfather would not get out of bed, he just sat there. Little Willy did not know what to do because Grandfather has been sitting there for days. Soon enough, Little Willy finds out about a dog sled race where you can win $500. Little Willy needs $500 because Grandfather is sick. He has a special sickness when you give up on yourself and don’t want to live. Grandfather doesn’t want to live because his farm will get taken away by the tax man.
The day before the race Little Willy meets Stone Fox. Stone Fox wins every race. He is very fearless and strong. He is an Indian and he is entering the race with his five prize winning dogs. Will Little Willy win the race? Will Grandfather get better?
I recommend this book to people who have had a very sick family member. I connected to this book because once my Grandma was sick for four weeks. I was very sad and never got to see her. I felt great when I saw that Little Willy took care of his Grandfather by himself.
The Secret Language
By Ursula Nordstrom
Reviewed by Kara
No one can stay at home forever. Victoria North had to go to boarding school when she was eight. All of the other girls at boarding school knew each other, but Victoria had no one to hang on to. She was put in a room with perfect Ann Spear who tells her the rules from Miss Mossman, their strict and cross housemother. They can’t even sit on their beds! At recess Victoria meets a strange girl named Martha. Martha hates everything about boarding school. She made up a secret language that she teaches Victoria. Victoria quickly becomes good friends with Martha. Ann then gets taken home from boarding school, all of the children’s dream. Just by luck, Victoria and Martha are allowed to share a room. After winter break, Miss Mossman retires to stay home with her sick father and a kind woman named Caroline Denton takes her place.
How many adventures will Victoria get into with Martha? What other girls would build a hut with a pool, go to the Halloween party as pistachio ice cream cones or host a midnight feast?
My favorite part about this story is when Martha starts calling Miss Denton “Mother Carrie” as she insists. I recommend this book to people that have ever felt homesick because they will be able to make connections to Victoria. I also recommend this to people who like to read about how characters use their imagination. I learned that secrets can be very fun, but it doesn’t feel nice to be the one left out.
By Beverly Cleary
Reviewed by Yetlanezi M.
Have you ever gotten a bad grade? This book is about a girl named Ramona Quimby, who is getting a bad grade.
Ramona Quimby is nine years old. She has two sisters. Ramona is excited to start fourth grade. On the first day of fourth grade for Ramona, she gets an assignment to write about herself. The day the assignment was due she saw that there were spelling words on the board. When she looked closely at the words, she realized that those words were her own words. Then she got really upset because those were the words she had misspelled. When her teacher Ms. Meacheam read them, the whole class laughed. Ramona felt embarrassed. Will she get better at spelling and fourth grade?
I recommend this book to people who have problems at school and spelling. I learned that it’s hard to be perfect, but it’s okay to be different. This book has excitement and adventure on every page!