Fall Into Reading

Clever stories to jump-start learning, and some imaginative tales to take your class into late October.

  • Grades: PreK–K, 1–2, 3–5, 6–8

Gary Ross, author of Bartholomew Biddle and the Very Big Wind 

How did you decide to write the book in verse?

There’s something magical about stories told in verse. Kids love that words can do two things at once, the constant surprises, the impossible nature of it. I think it’s also a wonderful tool for teachers. Most structured verse tends to be juvenile or archaic. The book could be a wonderful way for kids to access the world of formal verse with a narrative they can relate to.

What excited you most about writing for a young audience?

The challenge of it. Some days are hard, when the rhyme doesn’t come easily. Some days, it flows, as if you are writing prose. You access another, more musical part of your brain, and it’s a thrill when it’s working right.

Do you have any advice for teachers of reluctant readers?

Let them find stories they can relate to. Harry Potter created a generation of readers. We should always challenge young readers to reach beyond where they are, but when we do, we should find texts in their world, and not try to yank them into ours.


1. The Chicken Problem
By Jennifer Oxley and Billy Aronson. $16.99.
Inspire young mathematicians with an antic farm tale that has left-brained Peg and right-brained Cat gathering and counting chicks on the lam.
Grades PreK–1.

2. Don’t Let the Pigeon Finish This Activity Book!
By Mo Willems. $19.99.
Irrepressible Pigeon is back in a book that promises “250 pages of games, events, and hot dogs!” Great for budding artists/architects.
Grades PreK–2.

3. Because You Are My Teacher
By Sherry North, illustrated by Marcellus Hall. $16.95.
It’s not a magic bus but a hot-air balloon that transports teacher and class across seven continents. Perfect for geography buffs.
Grades PreK–2.

4. The Monsters’ Monster
By Patrick McDonnell. $16.99.
Not all monsters want to be the “BADDEST”—the monster that naughty pals Grouch, Grump, and Gloom ’n’ Doom build is, surprisingly, one happy beast.
Grades PreK–1.

5. Ten Creepy Monsters
By Carey F. Armstrong-Ellis. $14.95.
The “… and then there were nine” trope gets a boost with a cast that includes a mummy, a werewolf, and a mystery ghoul.
Grades PreK–1.

6. The Goldilocks Variations
By Allan Ahlberg, illustrated by Jessica Ahlberg. $17.99.
This pop-up book is a looking-glass version in which Goldilocks meets lots of bears, a “Bliim,” and even three little pigs.
Grades K–2.

7. Super Grammar
By Tony Preciado, illustrated by Rhode Montijo. $8.99.
“Protecting your sentences from wrongdoing”—by villains like Double Negative—is the goal of this comic grammar guide.
Grades 2–5.

8. The Secret of the Stone Frog
By David Nytra. $14.95.
Kids learn about imaginative writing as they’re pulled into a world of pet bees and oversize rabbits in this graphic novel–meets–fresh fairy tale.
Grades 3–6.

9. Bartholomew Biddle and the Very Big Wind
By Gary Ross, illustrated by Matthew Myers. $17.99.
Strong winds blow our hero through exotic ports, ending in a windless cove and the challenge of getting home.
Grades 1–4.

10. Benjamin Franklinstein Meets Thomas Deadison
By Matthew McElligott and Larry Tuxbury. $12.99.
Any mad scientists in your midst? This tale pits an evil electro-villain against two fathers of invention.
Grades 3–7.



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