Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children

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Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children is a mystery about a strange orphanage on an island in Wales.  Teenage Jacob seeks to solve the mysteries of the island after listening to his grandfather’s tales and seeing photos of the children who lived there.  As Jacob tries to determine what happened to the orphans, he finds himself in a supernatural and thrilling world.

This chapter book is a good pick for grades 8 and up.  Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children spent a year on the New York Times bestseller list in 2011, so it is likely to be a book many students know.  I would recommend it to students to use in literature circles or book clubs.  The book includes photographs and letters to mix up the writing style, which is something students will appreciate.

Riggs, R.  (2011).  Miss peregrine’s home for peculiar children.  Philadelphia: Quirk Books.

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Owen and Mzee: The True Story of a Remarkable Friendship

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This picture book is the story of an orphaned baby hippo named Mzee.  Mzee’s parents were killed during the 2004 tsunami.  Kenyan villagers worked to save Mzee, who soon became fast friends with an elderly tortoise named Owen.  Locals took photos of the pair, quickly making them worldwide celebrities.

This picture book was illustrated using photographs.  Mzee is a different type of orphan, but one that is not uncommon.  Children in younger grades will love hearing the story of animal friendship.  This story also provides a way to integrate science topics into literacy, such as weather and animal adaptations.

Hatkoff, I., Hatkoff C., & Kahumbu, P.  (2006).  Owen and mzee: The true story of a remarkable friendship.  New York: Scholastic.