We spend a lot of time thinking about encouraging reading for literacy building. As educators, of course this makes sense because we're trying to support students' foundational skills. But as with everything, it's good to take a step back now and then to just enjoy. In that spirit, today we're sharing some titles that are easy listening. The characters are relatable, the plots are intriguing, and the writing draws you in, making it easy to just keep listening. Be sure to read the descriptions - some of us love intrigue and action that whisks us away to other worlds or times. Others of us want to slide into a cozy story that feels familiar, but never tired. We've got both types of stories in this round up, and a few others sprinkled in for good measure.
A House for Hermit Crab by Eric Carle
Poor Hermit Crab! He's outgrown his snug little shell, so he finds himself a larger one -- and many new friends to decorate and protect his new house. But what will happen when he outgrows this shell and has to say good-bye to all the sea creatures who have made Hermit Crab's house a home? Children facing change in their own lives will relate to Hermit Crab's story -- and learn a lot about the fascinating world of marine life along the way.
Diary Of A Worm by Doreen Cronin
Meet a worm not that different from you or me, except that his head looks a lot like his tail! A hysterical journal about the daily doings and the hidden world of a lovable underground dweller that will be sure to delight kids both young and old.
The Captain's Dog: My Journey with the Lewis and Clark Tribe by Roland Smith
Born the runt of his litter and gambled away to a rusty old riverman, the Newfoundland pup Seaman doesn't imagine his life will be marked by any kind of glory-beyond chasing down rats. But when he meets Captain Meriwether Lewis, Seaman finds himself on a path that will make history. Lewis is just setting off on his landmark search for the Northwest Passage, and he takes Seaman along. Sharing the curiosity and strength of spirit of his new master, Seaman proves himself a valuable companion at every turn. Part history, part science-and adventure through and through-The Captain's Dog is the carefully researched, thrilling tale of America's greatest journey of discovery, as seen through the keen, compassionate eyes of a remarkable dog.
The Lost Kingdom by Matthew J. Kirby
In this extraordinary adventure story, Billy Bartram, his father, and a secret society of philosophers and scientists venture into the American wilderness in search of the lost people of the Welsh Prince Madoc, seeking aid in the coming war against the French. Traveling in a flying airship, the members of the expedition find their lives frequently endangered in the untamed American West by terrifying creatures, a party of French soldiers hot on their trail, and the constant threat of traitors and spies. Billy will face hazards greater than he can ever imagine as, together with his father, he gets caught up in the fight for the biggest prize of all: America. THE LOST KINGDOM is an epic journey filled with marvelous exploits, courage and intrigue, and a bold reimagining of a mythical America. Matthew J. Kirby brings his signature storytelling prowess and superb craft to this astonishing story of fathers and sons, the beginnings of a nation, and wonder-filled adventure.
The Bicycle Spy by Yona Zeldis McDonough
Can Marcel make the ride of his life? Marcel loves riding his bicycle, whether he's racing through the streets of his small town in France or making bread deliveries for his parents' bakery. He dreams of someday competing in the Tour de France, the greatest bicycle race. But ever since Germany's occupation of France began two years ago, in 1940, the race has been canceled. Now there are soldiers everywhere, interrupting Marcel's rides with checkpoints and questioning. Then Marcel learns two big secrets, and he realizes there are worse things about the war than a canceled race. When he later discovers that his friend's entire family is in imminent danger, Marcel knows he can help -- but it will involve taking a risky bicycle ride to pass along covert information. And when nothing ends up going according to plan, it's up to him to keep pedaling and think quickly... because his friend, her family, and his own future hang in the balance.
How I Became A Spy by Deborah Hopkinson
From the award-winning author of The Great Trouble comes a story of espionage, survival, and friendship during World War II. Bertie Bradshaw never set out to become a spy. He never imagined traipsing around war-torn London, solving ciphers, practicing surveillance, and searching for a traitor to the Allied forces. He certainly never expected that a strong-willed American girl named Eleanor would play Watson to his Holmes (or Holmes to his Watson, depending on who you ask). But when a young woman goes missing, leaving behind a coded notebook, Bertie is determined to solve the mystery. With the help of Eleanor and his friend David, a Jewish refugee--and, of course, his trusty pup, Little Roo--Bertie must decipher the notebook in time to stop a double agent from spilling the biggest secret of all to the Nazis. From the author of The Great Trouble, this suspenseful WWII adventure reminds us that times of war call for bravery, brains and teamwork from even the most unlikely heroes.
Geekerella by Ashley Poston
Geek girl Elle Wittimer lives and breathes Starfield, the classic science-fiction series she grew up watching with her late father. So when she sees a cosplay contest for a new Starfield movie, she has to enter. The prize? An invitation to the ExcelsiCon Cosplay Ball and a meet-and-greet with the actor slated to play Federation Prince Carmindor in the reboot. With savings from her gig at the Magic Pumpkin food truck and her dad's old costume, Elle's determined to win-unless her stepsisters get there first. Teen actor Darien Freeman used to live for cons-before he was famous. Now they're nothing but autographs and awkward meet-and-greets. Playing Carmindor is all he has ever wanted, but Starfield fandom has written him off as just another dumb heartthrob. As ExcelsiCon draws near, Darien feels more and more like a fake-until he meets a girl who shows him otherwise. But when she disappears at midnight, will he ever be able to find her again? Part romance, part love letter to nerd culture, and all totally adorbs, Geekerella is a fairy tale for anyone who believes in the magic of fandom.
We Came, We Saw, We Left: A Family Gap Year by Charles Wheelan
Charlie Wheelan and his family do what others dream of: They take a year off to travel the world. This is their story. What would happen if you quit your life for a year? In a pre-COVID-19 world, the Wheelan family decided to find out; leaving behind work, school, and even the family dogs to travel the world on a modest budget. Equal parts "how-to" and "how-not-to" - and with an eye toward a world emerging from a pandemic - We Came, We Saw, We Left is the insightful and often hilarious account of one family's gap-year experiment. Wheelan answers questions like: How do you sneak out of a Peruvian town that has been barricaded by the local army? And where can you get treatment for a flesh-eating bacteria your daughter picked up two continents ago? From Colombia to Cambodia, We Came, We Saw, We Left chronicles nine months across six continents with three teenagers. What could go wrong?
18 Hours to Us by Krista Norman
When Natalie Rhodes left her house early that fateful morning to catch the bus to her senior class trip, she never expected to end up in a car with Colton Daynes--the guy she's had a crush on since first grade, the guy who has no idea who she is. But when Colton's irresponsible driving causes them both to miss the bus, the unlikely pair set off on a road trip from Michigan to Virginia Beach to catch up with their classmates. From the little village of Middleville, the popular football star and the quiet gymnast will navigate back roads and highways, travel from lake towns to waterfalls to mountaintops and beyond, all the while fielding texts from Colton's friends and mean girl, Lexi, who also happens to be Colton's girlfriend and Natalie's former best friend. Hours spent together on the road will lead them to places they've never been, discovering hidden talents, revealing secrets and fears. And they just might realize they have more in common than they know.
It's Not Me, It's You by Stephanie Kate Strohm
One high school girl's comedic examination of her dating past as told by the friends, family, and the boys who were involved! Avery Dennis is a high school senior and one of the most popular girls in her class. But a majorly public breakup with the guy she's been dating causes some disastrous waves. It is right before prom and Avery no longer has the perfect date. She runs the prom committee, how could she not show up with somebody? Post-breakup, Avery gets to thinking about all of the guys that she has ever dated. How come none of those relationships ever worked out? Could it be her fault? Avery decides to investigate. In history class she's learning about this method of record-keeping called "oral history" and she has a report due. So Avery decides to go directly to the source. Avery tracks down all of the guys she's ever dated, and uses that information along with her friends, family, and even teachers thoughts, to compile a total account of her dating history. Avery discovers some surprises about herself and the guys she's spent time with just in time for prom night!
Across A Billion Years by Robert Silverberg
Graduate student Tom Rice is thrilled to embark on his first deep-space archeological expedition. He is part of a team from Earth, venturing out in search of artifacts from a civilization that ruled the universe many millennia ago. Called the High Ones, the members of this long-gone society left tantalizing clues about their history and culture scattered throughout space. One such clue, a "message cube" containing footage of the ancient ones, is more interesting than all of the others combined. It seems to indicate that the High Ones aren't extinct after all-and just like that, Tom Rice's archeological mission has become an intergalactic manhunt, one filled with ever-increasing danger that will send the explorers hurtling headlong into the greatest adventure-and peril-of their lives.
If you'd like the spreadsheet version of this list, find it on Google Sheets here.