South Salem NY Homes | Reading, Writing & Chocolate: Great Books for Fourth and Fifth-Graders – Bedford-Katonah, NY Patch

Working in the Katonah Village Library, I am surrounded by great books to read. Whenever parents ask for a book recommendation for their fourth or fifth graders, my “go to” author is Richard Peck.

Richard Peck writes realistic fiction with humor, quirky characters, and historical time periods. The companion books, A Long Way from Chicago (a Newbery Honor book) and A Year Down Yonder (a Newbery Award winner), take place in the heartland of small town Illinois during the 1920’s and 1930’s. A brother and sister from Chicago spend the summers with their ornery grandmother and wackiness ensues.

Three of my additional favorites from this master storyteller are: The Teacher’s Funeral – the old crabby teacher of the one-room schoolhouse has died and a replacement must be found by September; Here Lies the Librarian – two brothers in a small Indiana town help out when the fate of the only library in town is up for grabs; and Fair Weather – a Midwestern farm family gets the chance to visit the Chicago World’s Fair in 1893 where unusual sights and characters abound.

Richard Peck gives the reader strong characters, visual settings, humor, adventure, and wonderful language. His stories are peppered with “old-timey” phrases that will keep you laughing.

Adults can enjoy all of these novels, as well as Richard Peck’s short story collection, Past Perfect, Present Tense. He really does have something for everyone.

Most of these books are available on CD-audio which would really be a treat for the whole family to listen to while driving to the beach or to visit grandparents. Make sure to stop by a local farm stand or general store when you are on your next car trip and buy some rocky road fudge to make the experience even sweeter!

On a personal note: This writer is looking to rent a small house or 2 bedroom apartment in the Katonah/Cross River/South Salem area. Please call me at the library with any leads—there may be a box of Perugina chocolates in it for you!

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