Macomb County libraries provide bookmarks in childhood reading (Part 4)


Elliot, Casper and Abbot Conant enjoy a day of reading at Mount Clemens Public Library.

This is our last blog in our series about book recommendations from Macomb County’s librarians to celebrate the many reading holidays the month of March brings. The following recommendations are from Marjorie Kinzy, children’s librarian at the Mount Clemens Public Library.


  • Where’s Spot? by Eric Hill – I have grandchildren, and my husband and I had to read and Spotreread this book multiple times in one sitting for the two younger kiddos. It’s a lift-the-flap book, and they can’t get enough of lifting the flaps and having us make the sounds of the animals behind the flaps.
  • Any books with rhythm and rhyme like Bubble Gum, Bubble Gum by Lisa Wheeler – This book is the Michigan Reads pick this year although it has been my favorite since 2004. Different animals get stuck in gooey bubble gum in the middle of a road and how they get unstuck when a truck comes down the road is lots of fun. It’s a book that never ends.
  • Cadillac by Charles A. Temple – This is a great book to share with grandchildren. A little girl braves going for a ride in her granny’s Cadillac and is hilariously lucky to survive! (Boom-shack-a-lack-a-lack)
  • Trout, Trout, Trout (A Fish Chant) by April Pulley Sayre – A fun book that chants all the different types of freshwater fish – many which are found in our Great Lakes.

Early elementary:

  • Mo Willems: Pigeon books and Elephant and Piggie books
  • Cynthia Rylant: early chapter books
  • Magic Tree House series by Mary Pope Osborne

Late elementary:

  • My Side of the Mountain trilogy by Jean Craighead George – A young man of about 12Mountain came into the library praising My Side of the Mountain: “Mrs. Kinzy, you have to read this book! It is soooo good.” So I did and realized it seemed familiar. It was first published in 1959 and takes place not too far from where I grew up in upstate New York. I had read it as a child. I reread it and the next two in the trilogy and loved those books also. Also of interest to Macomb County readers could be that the main character, Sam Gribley, has a peregrine falcon as a hunting partner in his adventure to live off the land in the Catskill Mountains. I entice young people to read the book because we have peregrine falcons living on the Old Macomb County Building here in Mount Clemens.
  • Anything by Andrew Clements: Frindle, Janitor’s Boy, Landry News, Map Trap, About Average to name a few. Andrew Clements knows children and school. His books hit a nerve with young people and how they feel about school and relationships.

Middle school:

  • No More Dead Dogs by Gordon Korman – A young man does not want to read the assigned book about a dog because he knows the dog will die at the end. His punishment for not doing the assignment is to help the drama club. How fitting and funny!
  • Swindle mystery series by Gordon Korman
  • I Survived series by Lauren Tarshis

High school:

  • Bucking the Sarge by Christopher Paul Curtis (takes place in Flint, MI) – Luther is trapped in Sarge’s (his mother’s) “evil empire” of slum housing and group homes in Flint. He hopes to go to college some day and escape his mother’s control. He’s a great kid despite his nefarious upbringing. Even though things look bleak, there is plenty of humor to keep you rooting for Luther to escape his circumstances.
  • Slam by Walter Dean Myers
  • Bloody Jack series by L.A. Meyer (Fun historical fiction series) – I absolutely love this series of books. The entire series of 12 books goes from the late 1790s until around 1810. It starts with the plague in London and ends in the U.S. around 1810. You learn about life in Boston, life on the Ohio River, the Napoleonic wars, life and adventures on the Mississippi and in the Caribbean, life in China, and how all these parts of the world are connected to U.S. and British history. Mary Faber has to disguise herself as a boy in order to survive after her family dies of the plague in London. She becomes a highly skilled ship’s boy named Jacky and has many adventures on the high seas. In a fight with pirates, she earns her name “Bloody Jack.” I liked the books because they were unpredictable, funny and entertaining. I’m one that tries to guess what’s going to happen, and I was always surprised.
  • Whirligig by Paul Fleischman (older book circa 1998 but a timeless message) – Brent whirlBishop’s family is always moving, and now he has to try to fit in to a new high school. He attends a party but gets publicly embarrassed in front of everyone including a girl he has a crush on. He chooses to drown his sorrows with alcohol and then on the way home has a head-on car collision with an 18-year-old girl. The girl dies but her mother, not wanting another life to be lost, asks the judge to sentence Brent to fulfill her daughter’s dream of traveling to the four farthest corners of the U.S. and place a whirligig with her daughter’s likeness on it in each place. Affluent Brent must travel by bus in order to serve his sentence. This is a story of repentance and redemption.
  • House of the Scorpion by Nancy Farmer (Does a clone have a soul?)
  • Things series by Andrew Clements: 1. Things Not Seen, Things Hoped For, 3. Things That Are (What happens when you go to bed one night and when you wake up you find you’re invisible?)

Marjorie Kinzy is the children’s librarian at the Mount Clemens Public Library.

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