Quality Books for New Readers
By Holly E. Newton

New readers have a huge advantage these days — there is a wealth of books geared specifically for them. There wasn't such a huge selection to choose from 10 years ago. But now there are many publishers who have found really great authors who write for the interest of young readers who are on the brink of discovering the joy of reading. Here is an outstanding list of books beginning with ABC books and then on to new readers.

The Dog from Arf! Arf! To Zzzzz, by The Dog Artist Collection, is a hilarious photo gallery full of wide-lens posing puppies according to the letter of the page. The letter “I” has a furry brown canine and who seems to have an “itch.” The letter “L” had an adorable white poodle “lying down.” This is a fun way to reinforce letter recognition!

Hungry Monster — An Alphabet Book, by Susan Heyboer O'Keefe, and illustrated by Lynn Munsinger, is a terrific way to teach letters because it incorporates each letter alphabetically into a story. This approach makes teaching letters more effective as the letters are more pertinent and accessible, as a youngster attempts to teach the alphabet to some incorrigible monsters.

Eric Carle's ABC has the author's brilliant trademark artwork throughout this simple board book. But check out the unique way the pages open. This book is a keeper!

G is for Goat, written and illustrated by Patricia Polacco, takes the reader through a story about a young girl as she cares for her herd of goats. Each page begins the next letter but propels the story along in a rhythmical pattern — “N is for nanny, whose milk can't be beat. O is for oats she sneaks for a treat.”

D is for Dahl: A gloriumptious A-Z guide to the World of Roald Dahl , compiled by Wendy Cooling, and with illustrations by Quentin Blake, is a celebration of an author who had an ingenious way with words. This compilation reads like an encyclopedia but is organized in alphabetical order with a collection of Dahl's most memorable phrases or ubiquitous descriptions of some of his story characters. This book is to be relished slowly with milk and cookies, preferably for kids ages 8 through adult.

New readers look for few words that repeat. Orange Pear Apple Bear, written and illustrated by Emily Gravett, takes these four words and uses them exclusively throughout this uncomplicated picture book. Gravett takes one or more of these fruits as a rotund bear juggles or eats them. Clever!

I Spy Phonics Fun, by Jean Marzollo, and photographed by Walter Wick, is based on the popular series that kids love to explore as they search. This set of 12 small books has initial and vowel sounds that children will enjoy as they ponder over the photos that go with each letter.

Brand New Readers, published by Candlewick, has new books that the newest readers will surely enjoy. They include Larry and Rita and Otter Everywhere, which has four books included.

I Can Read series features renowned authors with stories that children and adults love and include CD's to read along. Two of the newest editions are Biscuit Finds a Friend and Frog and Toad Together.

Bug in a Rug, and Dog in the Fog , both by Sue Graves, and illustrated by Jan Smith, have a clever interactive turning wheel that reinforces the vowels being taught. Youngsters will love this!

Here are some great early readers: Award winner Mo Willems has a new Elephant and Piggie Book, Today I Will Fly, which has the two main characters experimenting flight in the easiest fashion. Joe on the Go, by Peggy Perry Anderson, is too small or too slow? You'll just have to read to know! Squirrel's World, by Lisa Moser, and illustrated by Valeri Gorbaschev, is a cute little story about a squirrel who loves to help his friends.

Friends Forever, by Sally Grindley, and illustrated by Penny Dann, is a sweet story about Jefferson Bear and his fox friend. And if you're looking for factual books about animals for the newest readers, Cheetah Cubs, by Ginjer L. Clarke and Dinosaur Tracks, by Kathleen Weidner Zoehfeld, and illustrated by Lucia Washburn, are filled with information that kids will enjoy.

Bones and the Birthday Mystery, by David A. Adler, and illustrated by Barbara Johansen Newman and Amelia Bedella's Masterpiece, by Herman Parish, and illustrated by Lynn Seat, are both geared for the beginning chapter reader. The stories are fun and invite investigation.

For the more advanced chapter reader, check out these outstanding new publications: Violet Bing and the Grand House by Jennifer Paros, Cam Jansen and the Mystery Writer Mystery, by David A. Adler, and illustrated by Joy Allen, Max & Maddy and the Chocolate Money Mystery, by Alexander McCall Smith, and with pictures by Macky Pamintuan, Encyclopedia Brown Cracks the Case, by Donald J. Sobol, Amelia's Family Ties, by Marissa Moss, The Talented Clementine, by Sara Pennypacker, and with pictures by Marla Frazee, Wiley & Grampa's Creature Features Bigfoot Backpacking Bonanza, by Kirk Scroggs and Stink and the World's Worst Super-Stinky Sneakers, by Megan McDonald, and pictures by Peter H. Reynolds.

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About the Author:

Holly Evans Newton has taught kindergarten through 7th grades for 25 years. She received her B.S. from Utah State University in Logan, Utah, and her M.A. from Lindenwood University in St. Charles, Missouri. She has three sons who have served full time missions, two younger daughters, plus four adorable grandchildren. She has been married to Dale Karl Newton for 34 years. Her husband has recently taken a position in Salt Lake City, Utah. So she is now expanding her reviews to cover not only the areas in Missouri and Arizona but now Utah as well

Holly is the recent recipient of the prestigious Literacy Award, which was presented to her by the International Reading Association. She writes a weekly children's book review for the largest distributed newspaper throughout mid-Missouri. She was seen for eight years on the NBC affiliate in Missouri and on the NBC affiliate in Phoenix for her weekly children’s book reviews. She will soon be seen on the NBC affiliate in Salt Lake City. She presents book presentations to schools where her knowledge, experience and enthusiasm are valued by educators, students and parents. What sets her apart from other reviewers is her goal to find the best books for kids by reading books cover to cover and making sure there is no inappropriate language or sexual content. You can find her past book reviews on her website: www.newtonsbook.com

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