We Recommend: Books for Uganda Trip—Fast!

In which we recommend books based on what you tell us
in an email. If you have specific questions, needs,
or desires (my child is a reluctant reader who loves carnage but hates
cats) send it to us here,
and we will do our best to recommend the right book for you. And, as
always, please don’t hesitate to put in your own recommendations!

We hear from a teacher who wants help with her student—who needs a book by tomorrow?!?!? Anyway, here’s the situation:

I have a student (a girl who reads at about a 5.5 to 6.5 grade level)
who is going to Uganda for  the month of December. She asked me for a
list of books she could take with her. I’m kind of at a loss!  She is a
voracious reader and has made her way through my standard
recommendations pretty quickly. She likes realistic fiction but also
likes fantasy and historical fiction. What do you recommend??? I really appreciate any suggestions!

First of all, I would recommend that the girl bring along an old favorite, just because when you’re traveling far away, it can be intensely comforting to have something familiar, say Harry Potter, to help you feel like yourself. But it’s also nice, of course, to have a book that talks a bit about where you’re going. Uganda? I don’t know one about Uganda, but this one is at least on the continent, plus it’s sort of excellent:


It’s really cool, about millions of years ago, and the links between then and now. But of course, she should bring a lot of books, so clear the tryptophan from your brains and let’s see if we can find something for her!

10 thoughts on “We Recommend: Books for Uganda Trip—Fast!

  1. A highly touted book for fifth graders at our school’s book fair was The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate, though it’s in hardcover and maybe not so great for travel.


  2. Some Random Ideas I am trying to think of things that will be paperback
    I corriander by Sally Gardner
    Larklight, or, The revenge of the white spiders!, or, To Saturn’s rings and back! : a rousing tale of dauntless pluck in the farthest reaches of space / as chronicl’d by Art Mumby, with the aid of Philip Reeve ; and decorated throughout by David Wyatt.
    Also get book 2 Starcross and book 3 Mothstorm so you have the entire series
    Frances hodgson Burnett A Little Princess
    Anything by Diana Wynne Jones
    Joan Aiken
    Wolves of Willoughby Chase
    Nightbirds on Nantucket,
    Blackhearts in Battersea
    Agatha Christie Mysteries
    Alice in Wonderland
    Rabbit Hill by Robert Lawson
    The Melendy Books by Elizabeth Enright
    The Saturdays
    The Four Storey Mistake
    Then There were Five
    Spiderweb for two
    Gone Away Lake – Elizabeth Enright
    Although if she has to shop in a chain bookstore then she should just look for anythng that looks good…


  3. I’ve just been reading The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart. It has two sequels whose names I forget. I adored the first and am loving the first sequel as well. It’s about four gifted kids who have unusual adventures.


  4. Lots of good ideas here. If anyone comes across this thread who is leaving on a trip, but not tomorrow, if you can afford it, the best thing for a long trip with a voracious reader is a Kindle (or other ebook reader).
    You can load a Kindle with classic (read: public domain) children’s literature for very little money, and buy a few current titles for variety. You can buy more books from anywhere if you have a laptop and can get on the internet. (You can transfer books to the Kindle by USB, not only through the built-in cell connection.) So that’s my high-budget, moderate lead time solution.
    My other suggestion is to find a good used book store and buy a pile of cheap paperbacks that look decent. If they are cheap enough, and your bags get heavy as you travel, you won’t feel bad leaving them behind for another reader.


  5. anything by Tamora Pierce…I suggest starting with The Song of the Lioness quartet or The Circle of Magic Quartet (most of what she writes is quartets). They are fantasy, with an emphasis on strong female protagonists, though there are male protagonists in some of them also. I loved them. Also, James Herriot is great for animal lovers. Oh, and I loved The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle in the 6th grade.


  6. Thanks so much for all your suggestions! Batenga doesn’t actually leave until Saturday, which gives us a few days to gather up some of these great books. Since I teach at a low-income school, it’s great that many of these books are in our school library. Most of my families can’t afford a Kindle or to buy tons of books at the big book sellers.


  7. I am so thrilled to see you recommend Peter Dickinson’s Bone From A Dry Sea. I think he is a hugely unknown and wonderful author. I would also recommend his book, Eva. In fact, if Batenga likes fantasy, he has written some great fantasy…as has his wife, Robin McKinley…I’d recommend any of her books, too.
    They are too new to be in paperback but The Knife of Never Letting Go and its sequel, The Ask and the Answer are gripping and good.


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