Monday, February 10, 2014

The Quirks--A Must Have Series

I finally had a chance to read The Quirks: Welcome to Normal over winter break.  Since I am new to 3rd grade, I am just getting to know books that are good for this age. I have always believed that series books are so important for this age so I am always on the lookout for new series books.

I LOVED LOVED LOVED this book and couldn't wait to share it with my kids. This is what I wrote in my "It's Monday! What Are You Reading?" post the week that I'd finished it:

I met author Erin Soderberg at #ncte13. Because I've been so far behind on my reading, her new book The Quirks: Welcome to Normal has been on my stack.  I ended up reading it as one of my #bookaday books and loved it. It is a fun new series about a family with unique "quirks".  They move to a very normal town and try to fit in. This book had everything in it that I loved about stories when I was younger.  That whole idea that something magical could be happening. The Littles, The Borrowers, Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle, I Dream of Jeanie, Escape to Witch Mountain and Bewitched were some of my favorite. I got that same feeling when I read this--loving the idea that someone I know may have magical powers! This is a new series and the 2nd is due out in February.  I think it is perfect for grades 3 and 4. I can't wait to share this one with my students!

Well, I brought the book to my classroom.   And I shared it with a student, who shared it with another student, who shared it with another student. The kids' eyes light up when they talk about it.  

Last week, I picked up a copy of the 2nd book in the Quirks series--The Quirks in Circus Quirkus . I took it to school and it too, is making its rounds.  (I can't seem to get my hands back on it to read it myself but I am hearing all about it as kids are abuzz about it!)  Last week, two students approached me asking when the 3rd Quirks was coming out.  We emailed the author and found out that the third book is due out in January. That is a LONG wait but everyone is still excited.

I have 12 kids in my class waiting to read this series.  I am trying to reserve a few at the library and add a few more to our classroom.  This is a book that is changing our classroom community. It is connecting kids who don't normally connect and it is stretching kids as readers.  It is a little longer and more complex than the things many kids have been reading so it is a perfect next step. And it is so fun!

There are not lots of 3rd grade-ish series books that I read and love as much as the kids. I sometimes like them because I see how they will appeal to 8 year olds. I sometimes like them but am reading them more as a teacher than a reader. But I love this series as both a teacher and a reader.  This is the PERFECT middle grade series. I am thinking it will make a good read aloud early in  3rd grade next year.  

If you teach 3rd or 4th grade, I would definitely recommend this fun new series!


  1. Curious if you have read "Savvy" by Ingrid Law. For me, the Quirks reads too much like a younger-aimed imitation. I could definitely see my students liking the series, but personally I find it too hard to disengage from having read "Savvy" first.

  2. I think series books are excellent regardless of the age! I teach high school and find that my students really enjoy a good series and like you I often talk to them about what they are reading and share what I am reading. They seem to enjoy the open dialogue and hearing about my choices as much as I enjoy hearing about theirs. I wish my teachers had done this more with me when I was younger. Because while I distinctly remember reading series when I was in elementary school; Babysitter Club, Goosebumps, Wayside School, etc. I cannot remember my teachers recommending any series that they were not specifically teaching. Regardless, I truly believe that series books contributed to my love of reading. I currently teach special education at the high school setting, but I spent some time in lower elementary as well and remember my kids being more involved and getting carried away a little more when a series was involved as opposed to a single book. I think if we get them excited about reading by keeping the “mystery” and “what will happen next” aspect of things alive when they are younger they will be more interested in reading throughout their lives. I hope all of your students enjoy the series and continue to enjoy reading!

  3. Anonymous9:48 PM

    I teach high functioning special education students in the 4th and 5th grades, and they LOVE this series. Series books are always a good choice. If a child becomes hooked on one, they are more likely to read the rest of them out of enjoyment. It's difficult to get special ed students to enjoy reading if they have difficulties with it. Finding series that they can relate to or that entertain them helps them to enjoy reading. I love that you got your students so excited about reading this new series. I use my "golden shelf" in my classroom to entice my students to read new books. They see me read them, and then I put my favorites on the golden shelf for the students to check out and read. Anything I put on that shelf is always the first to go compared to the rest of my classroom library. I'm glad someone enjoys the series as much as I do!


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