I'm linking up with Amanda at The Teaching Thief today for my first Fiction Friday! And the book that I want to mention today is a classic, but I'm continually surprised by how many people have maybe heard about it, but have never read it - A Wrinkle In Time, by Madeleine L'Engle - it's one of my absolute favorite books!!
If I remember correctly, my mom suggested it as a book for me to read in 4th grade for an optional, special program my school did called the Literary Society. If you chose to participate, there were so many literature-based tasks that we had to complete (i.e. memorize and recite a short poem, read a Caldecott book and design a poster, read a biography, read a Newbery book and do a book report, write a poem, etc) and if you completed all those tasks, you were considered to be a "member" in the literary society, and I'm sure there was some sort of incentive that accompanied it as well. But ANYWAY, I read this book as my Newbery book, and absolutely loved it!
Even students today can relate to the 3 main characters - Meg, Charles Wallace, and Calvin. Meg struggles with self-acceptance and feeling like she's not anything special; Charles Wallace is constantly made fun of by adults and the kids in his school for being "different", and Calvin struggles with relating to his own family - all similar issues that students today have to deal with.
The plot centers on these three, and the book begins with the classic "It was a dark and stormy night" introduction. The children meet three mysterious visitors, and must go on a quest and battle evil forces to be able to rescue Meg and Charles Wallace's father from the frightening planet of Camazotz.
This book would work great as a read-aloud, or for independent reading. And the best part? It's part of a whole group of books that center on the Murry-O'Keefe families through a few different generations. :)