The Following Book Discussion Kits for families and children are Made Available Through Johnstown District Libraries Center
To request a Family Book Discussion Kit for your Book Club, complete the Book Discussion Kit Request Form.
Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day– Judith Viorste
He could tell it was going to be a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day. He went to sleep with gum in his mouth and woke up with gum in his hair. When he got out of bed, he tripped over his skateboard and by mistake dropped his sweater in the sink while the water was running. He could tell it was going to be a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.
Amelia Bedelia – Peggy Parish
From dressing the chicken to drawing the drapes, Amelia Bedelia does exactlywhat Mr. and Mrs. Rogers tell her to do. If things get a bit mixed up, well, that’s okay. When Amelia Bedelia is involved, everything always turns out perfectly in the end!
Because of Winn-Dixie – Kate DiCamillo
The summer Opal and her father, the preacher, move to Naomi, Florida, Opal goes into the Winn-Dixie supermarket and comes out with a dog. A big, ugly, suffering dog with a sterling sense of humor. A dog she dubs Winn-Dixie. Because of Winn-Dixie, the preacher tells Opal ten things about her absent mother, one for each year Opal has been alive. Winn-Dixie is better at making friends than anyone Opal has ever known, and together they meet the local librarian, Miss Franny Block, who once fought off a bear with a copy of War and Peace. They meet Gloria Dump, who is nearly blind but sees with her heart, and Otis, an ex-con who sets the animals in his pet shop loose after hours, then lulls them with his guitar. Opal spends all that sweet summer collecting stories about her new friends, and thinking about her mother. But because of Winn-Dixie or perhaps because she has grown, Opal learns to let go, just a little, and that friendship-and forgiveness-can sneak up on you like a sudden summer storm.
The BFG – Roald Dahl
The BFG is no ordinary bone-crunching giant. He is far too nice and jumbly. It’s lucky for Sophie that he is. Had she been carried off in the middle of the night by the Bloodbottler, or any of the other giants—rather than the BFG—she would have soon become breakfast. When Sophie hears that the giants are flush-bunking off to England to swollomp a few nice little chiddlers, she decides she must stop them once and for all. And the BFG is going to help her!
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – Roald Dahl
Each of five children lucky enough to discover an entry ticket into Mr. Willy Wonka’s mysterious chocolate factory takes advantage of the situation in his own way.
Charlotte’s Web – E.B. White
Charlotte’s Web is the story of a little girl named Fern who loved a little pig named Wilbur—and of Wilbur’s dear friend Charlotte A. Cavatica, a beautiful large grey spider who lived with Wilbur in the barn. With the help of Templeton, the rat who never did anything for anybody unless there was something in it for him, and by a wonderfully clever plan of her own, Charlotte saved the life of Wilbur, who by this time had grown up to quite a pig.
Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs – Judi Barrett
Grab your plates! In the land of Chewandswallow, meals – rather than rain or snow – fall from the sky. But something goes awry: the food falling from the sky gets larger and larger, causing the residents to make an escape before being squashed by giant pancakes or rolls. Ron Barrett dishes up some droll art work in this zany tall tale.
Corduroy – Don Freeman
A small teddy bear named Corduroy sits on the shelf of a department store and longs for someone to buy him. One afternoon, a little girl spots him and instantly decides he is the bear she has always wanted. Despite her excitement, the girl’s mother refuses to buy Corduroy, pointing out that the missing button on his overalls makes him look old. Upon hearing this, Corduroy decides to search the store in hopes of finding the button. That night, he encounters many new sights, including the store’s escalator and furniture department. After Corduroy’s failed attempt to remove a sewn-on button atop a mattress, the store’s security guard finds him and places him back on his original shelf. The next day, Corduroy awakes to find himself greeted by the smiling face of the girl from the previous day. She buys Corduroy and takes him home where she then replaces his lost button. As Corduroy looks at his new surroundings, he rejoices in the realization that he now has a home and a loving friend to take care of him.
The Day the Crayons Quit– Drew Daywalt and Oliver Jeffers
Poor Duncan just wants to color. But when he opens his box of crayons, he finds only letters, all saying the same thing: His crayons have had enough! They quit! Beige Crayon is tired of playing second fiddle to Brown Crayon. Black wants to be used for more than just outlining. Blue needs a break from coloring all those bodies of water. And Orange and Yellow are no longer speaking—each believes he is the true color of the sun.
Ella Enchanted- Gail Carson Levine
How can a fairy’s blessing be such a curse? At her birth, Ella of Frell was given a foolish fairy’s gift—the “gift” of obedience. Ella must obey any order given to her, whether it’s hopping on one foot for a day or chopping off her own head! But strong-willed Ella does not tamely accept her fate. She goes on a quest, encountering ogres, giants, wicked stepsisters, fairy godmothers, and handsome princes, determined to break the curse—and live happily ever after.
Frog and Toad Are Friends– Arnold Lobel
From writing letters to going swimming, telling stories to finding lost buttons, Frog and Toad are always there for each other—just as best friends should be.
Goodnight Moon– Margaret Wise Brown
In a great green room, tucked away in bed, is a little bunny. “Goodnight room, goodnight moon.” And to all the familiar things in the softly lit room–to the picture of the three little bears sitting in chairs, to the clocks and his socks, to the mittens and the kittens, to everything one by one–he says goodnight.
Horns and Wrinkles– Joseph Helgerson
Twelve-year-old Claire’s story begins ordinarily enough with Duke, her bully of a cousin, stealing her pet turtle, Lottie. She chases Duke down to the banks of the Mississippi where he throws her precious friend into the muddy waters. Then he tries to toss Claire in as well, but she grabs a hold of his wrist, causing them to get drenched in the shallows. To retaliate, Duke drags Claire up to the top of the bridge and dangles her over the edge, threatening to let her fall. Somewhere in the middle of all this, the story ceases to be average.
The Humming Room– Ellen Potter
Hiding is Roo Fanshaw’s special skill. Living in a frighteningly unstable family, she often needs to disappear at a moment’s notice. When her parents are murdered, it’s her special hiding place under the trailer that saves her life.
The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe– C.S. Lewis
Air-raids over London during WWII compel four siblings — Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy — to be sent away from the city to the house of a kindly, but remote Professor “who lived in the heart of the country.” There is much to discover in the country: woods, mountains, owls, eagles, maybe even hawks and snakes. But the children will soon discover that the Professor’s large house, staffed by three servants, holds even more mystery. It is a house filled with unexpected places, including a room which holds nothing but a large wardrobe, which Lucy opens one rainy day, never dreaming that the wardrobe is a passageway into Narnia.
A once peaceful world inhabited by Fauns, Dwarves, Giants, and Talking Beasts, Narnia has been frozen into perpetual winter by the fiendish White Witch who rules over it. Before long, Edmund steps into the wardrobe, and, in spite of himself, into Narnia, where he has a chilling encounter with the seductive White Witch. Soon, all of the children become embroiled in an adventure that includes themes of betrayal, forgiveness, death, and rebirth.
This is the first installment of C.S. Lewis’ renowned series, “The Chronicles of Narnia.” The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, first published in 1950, has been enchanting the hearts and imaginations of millions for generations, with its story of four siblings who, with the help of a Lion named Aslan, must overcome their own failings to become heroes of a better world.
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe was the first book written by C.S. Lewis in the Chronicles of Narnia series, but it is considered to be the second in the series by those wishing to read the books in chronological, rather than publishing, order.
Little Bear– Elise Holmeland Minarik
When it is cold, Mother Bear knows just the right coat to keep Little Bear warm. When he flies to the moon and back, she has lunch waiting for him. And of course she has the perfect surprise for his birthday!
Make Way for Ducklings– Robert McCloskey
The busy Boston streets are too dangerous for eight little ducklings! But with a little help from a friendly policeman Mrs. Mallard and her family arrive safely at their new home. The public garden was no place for ducklings when they were first born, but now they are old enough to brave the raucous crowds and swim with the giant swan boats. Available for the first time in a full-size paperback edition, this Caldecott winning classic continues to delight generations of children.
An abandoned orphanage.
A strange collection of very curious photographs.
It all waits to be discovered in Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, an unforgettable novel that mixes fiction and photography in a thrilling reading experience. As our story opens, a horrific family tragedy sets sixteen-year-old Jacob journeying to a remote island off the coast of Wales, where he discovers the crumbling ruins of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. As Jacob explores its abandoned bedrooms and hallways, it becomes clear that the children were more than just peculiar. They may have been dangerous. They may have been quarantined on a deserted island for good reason. And somehow—impossible though it seems—they may still be alive. A spine-tingling fantasy illustrated with haunting vintage photography, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children will delight adults, teens, and anyone who relishes an adventure in the shadows.
The Mouse and the Motorcycle – Beverly Cleary
A reckless young mouse named Ralph makes friends with a boy in room 215 of the Mountain View Inn and discovers the joys of motorcycling.
Mr. Popper’s Penguins – Richard Atwater
The unexpected delivery of a large crate containing an Antarctic penguin changes the life and fortunes of Mr. Popper, a house painter obsessed by dreams of the Polar regions.
Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of Nimh – Robert O’Brien
Mrs. Frisby, a widowed mouse with four small children, is faced with a terrible problem. She must move her family to their summer quarters immediately, or face almost certain death. But her youngest son, Timothy, lies ill with pneumonia and must not be moved. Fortunately, she encounters the rats of NIMH, an extraordinary breed of highly intelligent creatures, who come up with a brilliant solution to her dilemma. And Mrs. Frisby in turn renders them a great service.
The One and Only Ivan – Katherine Applegate
Ivan is an easygoing gorilla. Living in a shopping mall, he has grown accustomed to humans watching him through the glass walls of his domain. He rarely misses his life in the jungle. In fact, he hardly ever thinks about it at all.
Instead, Ivan thinks about TV shows he’s seen, his friends Stella and Bob, and painting.
Penderwicks – Jeanne Birdsall
This summer the Penderwick sisters have a wonderful surprise: a holiday on the grounds of a beautiful estate called Arundel. Soon they are busy discovering the summertime magic of Arundel’s sprawling gardens, treasure-filled attic, tame rabbits, and the cook who makes the best gingerbread in Massachusetts. But the best discovery of all is Jeffrey Tifton, son of Arundel’s owner, who quickly proves to be the perfect companion for their adventures.
The icy-hearted Mrs. Tifton is not as pleased with the Penderwicks as Jeffrey is, though, and warns the new friends to stay out of trouble. Which, of course, they will—won’t they? One thing’s for sure: it will be a summer the Penderwicks will never forget.
Deliciously nostalgic and quaintly witty, this is a story as breezy and carefree as a summer day.
The Phantom Tollbooth – Norton Juster
A young boy named Milo is going about his business, more bored than you could imagine. He doesn’t like school and has nothing to do. (Or at least that’s what it feels like). But in an exciting turn of events, he comes home one day to find a magic tollbooth in his room. He gets in his toy car, goes through the tollbooth, and finds himself in a magical place called the Lands Beyond.
Ramona Quimby, Age 8 – Beverly Cleary
Ramona Quimby, Age 8, is a story of a young third-grader’s experiences as she starts a new school year at a new school and deals with family stresses. Ramona endures some embarrassing episodes at school and learns to address a misunderstanding she has with her teacher. At home, Ramona observes the strain that financial concerns are placing on her family but affirms that they are still a happy family.
Roller Girl – Victoria Jamieson
Twelve-year-old Astrid has always done everything with her best friend Nicole. So when Astrid signs up for roller derby camp, she assumes Nicole will too. But Nicole signs up for dance camp with a new friend instead, and so begins the toughest summer of Astrid’s life. There are bumps and bruises as Astrid learns who she is without Nicole…and what it takes to be a strong, tough roller girl.
Sisters – Riana Telgemeier
Raina can’t wait to be a big sister. But once Amara is born, things aren’t quite how she expected them to be. Amara is cute, but she’s also a cranky, grouchy baby, and mostly prefers to play by herself. Their relationship doesn’t improve much over the years. But when a baby brother enters the picture, and later, when something doesn’t seem right between their parents, they realize they must figure out how to get along. They are sisters, after all.
Smile – Riana Telgemeier
Raina just wants to be a normal sixth grader. But one night after Girl Scouts she trips and falls, severely injuring her two front teeth. What follows is a long and frustrating journey with on-again, off-again braces, surgery, embarrassing headgear, and even a retainer with fake teeth attached. And on top of all that, there’s still more to deal with: a major earthquake, boy confusion, and friends who turn out to be not so friendly.
Strega Nona: An Original Tale – Tomie dePaola
Strega Nona — “Grandma Witch” — is the source for potions, cures, magic, and comfort in her Calabrian town. Her magical everfull pasta pot is especially intriguing to hungry Big Anthony. He is supposed to look after her house and tend her garden but one day, when she goes over the mountain to visit Strega Amelia, Big Anthony recites the magic verse over the pasta pot, with disastrous results.
The True Story of the Three Little Pigs – Jon Scieska
In this humorous story, Alexander T. Wolf tells his own outlandish version of what really happens during his encounter with the three pigs. He claims that he runs out of sugar for a cake that he is making for his grandmother. In an effort to locate sugar for his recipe, he visits the homes of his pig neighbors. At the first two houses, he goes into sneezing fits and ends up blowing the houses down, killing both pigs. Of course he couldn’t let those two good meals go to waste, so he eats them up! When he visits the third house, occupied by a grouchy pig, the wolf endures nasty insults, and as a result, tries to knock down the front door. When the police arrive at the scene, they capture an angry sneezing and wheezing wolf. After he ends up in jail, the wolf claims that he is being framed by the media, who are “blowing” the whole story out of proportion. Smith’s simplistic and wacky illustrations add to the effectiveness of this fractured fairy tale.
The Truth of Me: About a Boy, His Grandmother, and a Very Good Dog-Patricia MacLachlan
When Robbie spends the summer at his grandmother Maddy’s house, he revels in his grandmother’s easy, relaxed ways. Robbie has always felt as if something is missing in his life–his parents don’t always act like they love him. Maddy helps him understand that an experience his mother had long ago is at the heart of the problem in his family. With this knowledge, Robbie finds the courage to try to make things right.
We the Children (Benjamin Pratt and the Keepers of the School)– Andrew Clements
Benjamin Pratt’s school is about to become the site of a new amusement park. It sounds like a dream come true! But lately, Ben has been wondering if he’s going to like an amusement park in the middle of his town—with all the buses and traffic and eight dollar slices of pizza. It’s going to change everything. And, Ben is not so big on all the new changes in his life, like how his dad has moved out and started living in the marina on what used to be the “family” sailboat. Maybe it would be nice if the school just stayed as it is. He likes the school. Loves it, actually. It’s over 200 years old and sits right on the harbor. The playground has ocean breezes and the classrooms have million dollar views…MILLION DOLLAR views. And after a chance—and final—run-in with the school janitor, Ben starts to discover that these MILLION DOLLAR views have a lot to do with the deal to sell the school property. But, as much as the town wants to believe it, the school does not belong to the local government. It belongs to the CHILDREN and these children have the right to defend it!
Where the Wild Things Are– Maurice Sendak
Max feels anger at his mother, acts out his aggression in a fantasy land as he becomes “king” of his wild and ungovernable forces, and returns hungry, sleepy, and peaceful to the real world, where his porridge is still hot. This is a well-earned and reassuring happy ending for all children wrestling with human nature’s darker emotions.
A Wrinkle in Time– Madeleine L’Engle
A Wrinkle in Time is the story of Meg Murry, a high-school-aged girl who is transported on an adventure through time and space with her younger brother Charles Wallace and her friend Calvin O’Keefe to rescue her father, a gifted scientist, from the evil forces that hold him prisoner on another planet. At the beginning of the book, Meg is a homely, awkward, but loving girl, troubled by personal insecurities and her concern for her father, who has been missing for over a year. The plot begins with the arrival of Mrs. Whatsit at the Murry house on a dark and stormy evening. Although she looks like an eccentric tramp, she is actually a celestial creature with the ability to read Meg’s thoughts. She startles Meg’s mother by reassuring her of the existence of a tesseract–a sort of “wrinkle” in space and time. It is through this wrinkle that Meg and her companions will travel through the fifth dimension in search of Mr. Murry.