Books to Read by the Fire

Special thanks to our librarians for helping compile this list: Dorinda Koelewyn, Delinda Irvine, and Julie Cardoza

It’s the perfect time of year to find your favorite blanket, slap on some slippers (over those thick wool socks) and snuggle into the easy chair nearest the fire, and read a good book. But there are so many to choose from! Here are our librarians’ suggestions for an engaging read over the Christmas break. Look for them at your local library or order online. Happy reading!


The One and Only Ivan (2015)
by Katherine Applegate
Inspired by the true story of a gorilla named Ivan, The One and Only Ivan captures the hearts of any who read it. Narrated from Ivan’s point of view, the story draws readers in with the gorilla’s emotional past and a new friendship that ensues. It is a story of hope, love, and compassion.
Book level: 3.6
Accelerated Reader points: 4.0

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Crenshaw (2017)
by Katherine Applegate

Jackson and his family are struggling to make ends meet. Faced with hunger, illness, and job loss, his family is doing anything they can to get by. While dealing with this stress, Jackson has an imaginary cat friend, Crenshaw, who helps him to cope with his situation. This book will develop empathy for the homeless and the hungry, reminding the reader to never take for granted all that we have been given. And perhaps, it will spur on generosity, not only financially, but of a listening heart.
Book level: 3.8
Accelerated Reader points: 3.0

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Ms. Rapscott’s Girls (2016)
by Elise Primavera
Five flying boxes land on top of the lighthouse of the School for Girls of Busy Parents. These boxes contain five of its newest students. These girls have poor manners and are lonely, as their parents never have time for them. However, Ms. Rapscott is determined to take the girls on exciting adventures and on a search for their missing classmate. The pencil artwork and distinct personalities of the girls make this a fun and amusing fantastical read.
Book level: 5.4
Accelerated Reader points: 4.0

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Upside Down in the Middle of Nowhere (2015)
by Julie Lamana
Hurricane Katrina hits New Orleans and all of a sudden, 10-year old Armani is faced with helping her family survive. The dramatic transition from a birthday party to a devastating natural disaster reminds the reader of the brevity of life and making the most of every opportunity in each day that God gifts us. This story gives a glimpse into what it might feel like to lose so much of what you know as home.
Book level: 4.7
Accelerated Reader points: 11.0

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Pax (2016)
Sara Pennypacker
Losing loved ones and learning how to live without them is difficult. Peter know what this feels like on so many different levels. His friendship with a fox name Pax has helped him through some of this. However, when he is forced to return his fox to the wild due to his father enlisting in the military, a new journey unfolds. Setting out by himself to reunite with his fox, Peter begins a healing process of his own. He sorts through his grief and is compelled by his friendship and a hope to make things right again. A beautiful story, especially for those who have grieved and who have a special place in their hearts for animals.
Book level: 5.3
Accelerated Reader points: 8.0

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Don’t You Dare Read This, Mrs. Dunphrey
By Margaret Haddix
In this story, written through a series of journal entries, readers take a peek into a teenage girl’s life that is spiraling out of control–journal entries that her English teacher has promised not to read. The story is very real and Tish’s plight brings high drama with a gritty edge.
Book level: age 13-17

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Guitar Notes
by Mary Amato
This is an author Mrs. Koelewyn is hoping to bring to CVC. Each of Mary Amato’s books has a music theme. Guitar Notes is the story of two high school kids who meet because of one snippy note from Lyla left between the strings of the guitar borrowed by Tripp.
Book level: age 11-17

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The Boys in the Boat
by Daniel Brown
There are so many non-fiction books that are exciting to read, and The Boys in the Boat is one of them. It’s the story of nine Americans and their epic quest for gold at the 1936 berlin Olympics. The library also has a young reader copy of this book.
Book level: age 11-adult

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The Hiding Place
by Corrie ten Boom
This classic is my favorite WWII story. Filled with faith and forgiveness during the worst of times, the story is hard to put down.
Book level: age 13-adult

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Want to have your kids reading good books all year-round? Our librarians are happy to help find books that fit in with your child’s interests, and our staff is here to encourage good reading skills from the start. Sound good? Start your application for CVC today! | 559-734-2684

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