The Estella Project, Season 3!


It’s time! It’s time! Time for what? Season 3 of The Estella Project! #EstellaProject3

We’ve hosted The Estella Project Seasons 1 and 2 the last couple of summers! We’re back and we’re asking followers to submit the book, THE ONE BOOK, that they would put into everyone’s hands if given the chance. Then we challenge you to pick three (or even just one or two if you want) from the list to read and report back on (we’ll provide the linky) before summer is up.

In the form below, submit your BESTEST BOOK for consideration. We don’t care of there are duplicates from last year. That ONE BOOK may still BE YOUR ONE BOOK. And maybe we didn’t read it last year.

The Timeline

The list of Bestest Books will be posted on June 1, the day we plan to start reading and will run through September 7 (which coincides with another REALLY COOL thing we’ll announce soon!), the deadline to link up and share you reading with your Estella Project pals. We hope to have a couple of Twitter chats and who knows what other kind of fun. We hope you will join in!

100 Chapter Books Project: Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland


One of the oldest (1865) but absolutely best books on the Top 100 Chapter Books list is Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll. It’s only #31 on the list but, based on its influence on children’s literature (and film) and the multitude of new book versions constantly coming out, I’m sure it really should be in the top ten.

What it’s about: Nonsense.

Age level: Grades 3-∞

Best part: The tea party. And the fact that it’s still quite readable after 150 years.

Worst part: The whole duchess/cook/baby-pig chapter. And the “it was all a dream” crap. Wonderland is real and everyone knows it.

Verdict: Buy

The wonderful thing about this book is that there are constantly new versions being put out, both with new, modern illustrations and also with faithful reproductions of the old ones, so that every reader should be able to find a copy that is visually interesting to them. I own at least three versions and have my eye on a couple more because I love almost all of the covers and artwork that this story inspires. But the best thing is that the words never need change because they are perfect as is. There are a few random British history sentences that modern global kids might not understand but the rest is the perfect type of fancy that never goes out of style.

My next read is The Giver which I have always avoided based on the bleak cover (and the fact that it came out the year after I graduated high school so I wasn’t really picking up chapter books at that time). I’m in the middle of listening to it on audio and I am surprisingly LOVING it. I can’t wait to see how it ends!

Schedule – May through August
May 31 – #4 The Giver by Lois Lowry (1993)
June 15 – #80 The Four-Story Mistake by Elizabeth Enright (1942)
June 30 – #70 Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech (1994)
July 15 – #7 From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg (1967)
July 31 – #65 Wonder by R.J. Palacio (2012)
August 15 – #43 Jacob Have I Loved by Katherine Paterson (1980)

100 Chapter Books Project: Each Little Bird That Sings


I’m always thrilled to discover a hidden gem on the Top 100 Chapter Books list and I’ve found another one — Each Little Bird That Sings (2005) by Deborah Wiles. It definitely deserves to be higher than number 71. It’s only ten years old though so there’s still time for it to gain in popularity.

What it’s about: Comfort Snowberger at ten years old is already well-versed in death. Her family owns Snowbergers’ Funeral Home and so it’s her family’s business to take care of the dead of Snapfinger, Mississippi. As it turns out, dealing with the dead is actually easier than dealing with the living, especially friends who are untrue.

Age level: Grades 4-6

Best character: Comfort Snowberger — she is an incredible kid, not flawless but able to find redemption once she figures out which are the things that really matter in life.

Worst character: Declaration Johnson — because the worst bully is the one that used to be your friend.

Verdict: Buy

I’ve never read a book that dealt with death in such a straight-forward and thoughtful way. I think if I had read a book like this as a kid, I would have had a better understanding of death and grief thanks to Comfort and her “Life Notices” (she writes positive, friendly obituaries that never get published in the small local paper because they’re not “just the facts”). Just a warning though — there is a major pet trauma toward the end of the story that may be a bit much for sensitive young ones (or me, apparently). Still, it wasn’t enough to dampen my enthusiasm for this fantastic story.

After a little time off for spring break (yay!), my 40th birthday (boo!), and Read-a-thon (double yay!), I’ll be back with an umpteenth reread of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. If you’ve never read it, join me. It’ll be fun!

Schedule – May through July
April 30 – Spring Break
May 15 – #31 Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll (1865)
May 31 – #4 The Giver by Lois Lowry (1993)
June 15 – #80 The Four-Story Mistake by Elizabeth Enright (1942)
June 30 – #70 Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech (1994)
July 15 – #7 From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg (1967)