Recommended Intermediate Level Books

Librarians & Teachers Encourage Reading Newer Intermediate Level Books

Looking for newer intermediate level books for your students? Teachers can easily get stuck in a rut, relying on old favorites. In 2016 these two books were picked as part of a Reading Revolution competition for intermediate students grades 3-5. Even if you haven’t read them, you can trust the teachers and librarians who chose them. You and your students will enjoy these choices.

No Talking by Andrew Clements

Click on the picture to order.

What a brilliant idea behind the book, No Talking! Written in 2012, Andrew Clements took the most common command heard in schools throughout history and turned it into a student-directed contest. A no-talking contest between fifth-grade girls and fifth-grade boys would be stranger than fiction if it was not already fiction. But there it is, inspired by Mahatma Gandhi, or rather a report written about him started the unlikely contest. Neither teachers, principal or the students could have predicted the results. It became the perfect example of flipped classroom where the students ran with a grass-roots idea and were as surprised where it lead as the teachers were. It became the perfect example of flipped classroom where the students ran with a grass-roots idea and were as surprised where it lead as the teachers were.

At only 166 pages, No Talking was fun and tremendously easy to read.

The Amazon ratings within the children’s books for Kindle category for April 27, 2017, are #66 for parents, #226 for school and #532 for friendship.

How to Train Your Dragon by Cressida Cowell

newer intermediate level books

Published in 2014 as part of a 12-book-series, I almost didn’t make it to page nine out of 224 short pages wading through the ridiculous character names that author, Cressida Cowell, invented. Third to fifth graders, especially boys would love them, so never mind what I thought. What boy wouldn’t appreciate friends like Duhbrain, Dogsbreath, Snotface, and their teacher, Gobber the Belch?

Instead of dogs, cats or even lizards, the boys had to catch and train a dragon to successfully join the tribe of Vikings and take their place as warriors. The chief’s puny son, Hiccup Horrendous Haddock the Third, was the least likely to lead the boys successfully through their training.  The rites of initiation had a major hiccup when the dragons they had domesticated and trained for several months before the final ceremony got into a fight. Even I sat on the edge of my seat to learn the outcome. Ok, maybe I exaggerate.

If you hate the book, don’t worry, the kids won’t. One redeeming feature of the book is a double page spread map, and they will study it intensely.  Since Google has our backs, nobody understands real maps anymore. Don’t tell them it might improve social studies skills. Shhhhh no talking!

Related Children’s Book Posts

Imagine a Free Black Canadian Child in a Town of Runaways 

newer intermediate level books
Click to order.

More Librarian & Teacher Recommended Intermediate Books

  1. Because of Mr. Terupt – two book series

Blue Willow written in 1976 about San Joaquin Valley

Elijah of Buxton Best Seller See above for review. 

Flora & Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures The 2014 Newbery Medal winner, written by beloved storyteller Kate DiCamillo. She has many excellent children’s books. I’ve read at least three and recommend them highly.

Hurricane Katrina, 2005
 This is one of many How I Survived series. They are all engaging.

Inside Out & Back Again  by Thanhha Lai A touching story about fleeing from VietNam and immigrating to Alabama.

Share this post if you know anyone with intermediate school-aged children. Thanks!

Where Can You Find Amaryllis Blooming in May?

Amaryllis-Blooming Beauties at Running P Ranch

Woodlake, CA is the land within the magic circle, a protected valley surrounded by the foothills of the Sierra Nevada. Running P Ranch in Elderwood hosts weddings in a setting of flowering amaryllis.

According to experts, amaryllis is the easiest of flowering bulbs to make bloom.  Indoors or out, and they flower from late December until the end of June. In early May amaryllis plants flaunt their beauty.

Amaryllis BloomingMy friend Katherine Traugar respects people who know the name of plants, so this tidbit is for you, my friend. The amaryllis bears the botanical name Hippeastrum.  These flowers make showy Christmas gifts, but outside in a natural setting, they stand out among other spring beauties.

Amaryllis BloomingNestled against the western fence in this wedding setting, they rival the bride’s glowing beauty. The flamboyant blooms make amaryllis popular and in demand worldwide.  Besides various shades of red and salmon as seen in Elderwood, they also come in white, pink, and orange as well as striped and multicolored varieties.

Amaryllis Blooming

Prepare to Plant

If you want to plant these South American flowers, first place the base and roots of the bulb in lukewarm water for a few hours.  To store them keep the bulbs at a temperature between 40-50 degrees F if you can’t plant them right away. But keep them away from apples.


Plant the bulb up to its neck in a nutritious potting compost, taking care not to damage the roots.  Firmly tamp down the soil after planting.

Blooming Period

Amaryllis plants flower seven to ten weeks after planting. Plant bulbs every two weeks to achieve continuous bloom.

For more beautiful flowers visit May Dreams Gardens

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Book Reviews: Good for Travel – Peter Abrahams Collection

Peter Abraham’s Collection Recommended by Stephen King

Yes, I just told you that my goals are to use Always Write for my book reviews and this blog for traveling. Because there are book reviews here already, I am going to repurpose some the posts from time to time.

Here’s my logic to how this relates to travel.

If you’re going on a trip, you need some books to read. Don’t blame me for recommending these books. Steven King included his favorite books in his book On Writing.

After I had read Steven King’s On Writing, I thumbed through his suggested reading list at the end of the book.  Granted he published his book ten years ago, so these are classics.  Probably voracious readers have already heard of Peter Abrahams, but I started at the top of the alphabetized list, so I started reading his books.  He does what I haven’t even come close to mastering.  He writes descriptions, metaphors newer and fresher than clean socks, similes as puzzling as a Sudoku, which I never work out correctly no matter how much scratching I do along the sides.

Lights Out – Peter Abrahams

In Lights Out Abrahams chose a wrongfully imprisoned, vengeful murderer as the hero.  This poor man’s mother neglected him. His older brother set him up, lied to him and abandoned him, leaving “Nails” to serve his entire sentence in prison for something he never did. Of course, he killed a few bad guys in jail that picked on him, which kept him locked up. When he eventually emerged, looking younger and more fit than his outside colleagues, he searched for his brother. Nails seemed dumb, but you had a feeling he would solve the mystery of why he went to prison, and get the sexy woman in the end. You wondered if his brother would get caught, and by whom. He did, but not in any way I would have expected or chosen to read, for that matter, but it kept me reading. No matter what he did, Nails’ brother got an appropriate comeuppance, but not one you’d wish on your worst enemy.

Revolution #9-Peter-Abrahams

Revolution #9, published in 1992, told the classic story of a smart woman marrying a man she thought she knew and finding out on her wedding night that she didn’t even know his name, nor the people who came and took him away. The government thought they could close the twenty-year-old murder case when a counterfeiter blew Charlie’s cover in return for favors he would soon need again. No one had reacted with more surprise than Charlie when the bomb he had built and set under the building exploded, killing the eleven-year-old son of a professor at his college.

Running for his life, abandoned by the real terrorists, Charlie changed his identity and took cover as a lobster fisherman. He had not been discovered. Then he accidentally fell in love. When he married, news of Charlie’s reappearance twenty years later triggered many levels of events reaching into the depths of the government before the reader discovers the true perpetrators. But did they get away with it, and let Charlie live?  Only those who read the book will know for sure.

Abrahams Collection
My old blog with a new name. Tagline: Blogging and Traveling Near and Far

I also read Oblivion.  Such a title that might have clued me into the surprise, but it didn’t.  It’s unclear by the end of the book if it actually has a resolved, happy ending.  It’s sort of happy, but because of the oblivious, I’m not sure.

Petrov is an investigator who wins court cases for his clients.  He’s dramatic and thorough, attacking each case with the tenacity of the locked door on my front loading washer. (That’s another story.)  Somehow along the way, he loses his way, and ends up in the hospital, falls in love with the nurse, and ends up head to head against his past and another love.  Abrahams packs more surprises into each chapter than I have had in my life.  If you read it long ago, you may have forgotten all the turns and twists, but I doubt it.

Abrahams Collection

If you haven’t read this trio of mysteries, treat yourself a few days of good reading this summer.  🙂  What are you reading?

Abrahams Collection
My old blog with a new name. Tagline: Blogging and Traveling Near and Far



Want a unique travel experience? Badfish writes an amazing travelogue about his trip to Malta. Malta is in the Mediterranean south of Sicily. I’ve never seen such blue waters. You will enjoy his lively sense of humor as well.


Sedona Oddballs at Sun Silver West Gallery

Sedona Oddball Whimsical Garden Art

Want a friendly pig?

Sedona Odballs
Sun Silver West Cop on Duty

A new wagon to carry your load?

How about a dancing frog?

Sedona Oddballs
Dancing frogs show no inhibitions

Do you have an insect problem at your house? It’s nothing compared to this!

Sedona oddballs
Ant Invasion

Someone even created a look-alike for Puppy Girl

Sedona Oddballs
Puppy Girl’s metal twin.

Do you need to practice being charming?

Sedona oddballs
“May I help you, misssssss?”

Sun Silver West Gallery looks a little funky, but there’s plenty to like in this shop. They even warn you before you enter the store.

Sedona oddballsWatch your pocket-book, the sign should say! 🙂

sedona oddballs

I think these guys got bored golfing. Or maybe they would rather be golfing. What do you think?

Visit Cee’s Oddball Challenge for more oddball pictures.

Sedona Oddballs

Sun Silver West Gallery

Address: 1476 State Route 179, Sedona, AZ 86336-6540
Phone Number:
+1 928-282-3580
Accepts Credit Cards
Private Lot
Bike Parking
Wheelchair Accessible
Good for Kids
By Appointment Only

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