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Grade

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ACT IVIT Y KIT
B

OOKS FOR READERS in grades 3-6 play such a crucial role in helping kids

bridge from early chapter books to YA. It’s vital to nurture that love of

reading through these critical years to help kids develop ever more sophisticated language skills and to blossom into lifelong readers.

Use the materials in this kit to celebrate reading
and encourage your reading maniacs
to stay crazy for books!
www.hmhbooks.com/middlegrademania
Illustrations copyright © 2013 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Activities

Middle Grade

M ania

Smackdown!

In the spirit of WrestleMania, host a Reading Smackdown! Challenge another group to a reading contest. How
many books can your kids read and report on in a month versus the other group? When the month is over, have
each group vote to select one title from all the books reported on for the entire group to read. Each group then
presents their book through skits, artwork, videos, and the like to an impartial judge—perhaps the school
principal or librarian. The judge, who has already read both books, selects the best presentation as the winner.

Word of Mouth

Create a “This Reader Recommends” display on a bulletin board in your meeting room or library. Whenever a
student loves a book, have him/her fill out a recommendation card you can post in a public space to encourage
other kids to give the book a try.

Jacket Gallery

As kids finish books, have them create their own cover illustration depicting a particular character or scene. Be
sure to have them include the title and the author’s name within the new cover design. Display the new book
covers on a bulletin board or in a reading corner.

Book Mobile

Have kids create a mobile for a favorite book. Use two pencils as the mobile framework—position them in an
X, with one pencil on top of the other, and tape them in place. Wrap a string or piece of yarn from which to
hang the mobile around the intersection of the two pencils, with a long length extending from the top. Create
two-sided illustrations of characters and events and key elements from the story on card stock and hang them
from the pencil frame. Be sure to include the book’s title and author on one hanging element. Display the
mobiles around the classroom or library.

Opening Lines

Books often begin with provocative, compelling openings to hook the reader from the very first page:
The last day of summer break before the start of my seventh grade year was the first time I ever got punched in the face.
—The Trap
Genuine Sweet. That’s me. And since everyone always asks how I came by such an unlikely name, I might as well
tell you now. —Genuine Sweet
I’m back. Or should I say, He vuelto. Because I’m in Mexico. In prison. Next to a guy named Raúl with weird body hair
and a bad habit of picking his teeth with a large knife. —Eddie Red Undercover: Mystery in Mayan Mexico

Encourage your kids to keep a journal of first lines from books to inspire them in their own creative
writing endeavors.

Character Quilt

Pass an 8.5-by-8.5-inch square piece of construction paper to each student. Have each child draw a portrait of a
favorite book character on his/her square using crayons, markers, or paint. Be sure to include the character’s
name and the book title on each square. Arrange the squares in a quilt pattern on a bulletin board or wall.
All the activities on this page can be modified and used in bookstores for applicable reading clubs!

This reader recommends . . .
BOOK TITLE
AUTHOR
RECOMMENDED BY GRADE
Plot summary/characters:

What I liked about the book:

Middle Grade

M ania

This reader recommends . . .
BOOK TITLE
AUTHOR
RECOMMENDED BY GRADE
Plot summary/characters:

What I liked about the book:

Middle Grade
Illustration © 2013 by M. Sarah Klise from Hollywood, Dead Ahead. All rights reserved. This page may be photocopied for free distribution.

M ania

Reading Log
Use this handy log sheet to keep track of the books you read. How many books can you read in a month? In a year?
Challenge your friends!

Title

Author

Flower illustrations © 2013 by Cara Llewellyn; face illustration © 2013 by Matt Smith. All rights reserved. This page may be photocopied for free distribution.

Date finished

Middle Grade

M ania

Illustrations copyright © 2015 by James Burks from Willy Maykit in Space by Greg Trine. All rights reserved.

This page may be photocopied for free distribution.

Soak
up
a
good
book!

Illustration copyright © 2015 by Mark Beech from Dragons at Crumbling Castle by Terry Pratchett. All rights reserved.

for
time
to
read!

Middle Grade

M ania

Illustration copyright © 2015 by Brandon Dorman from Genuine Sweet by Faith Harkey. All rights reserved.

Bookmarks
Make
a
wish

Middle Grade

Name: ________________________________________

Number Pattern
Twins Henry and Helen and their best friends, Alan and Nicki, find a mysterious book,
Subtle Travel and the Subtle Self, when Alan’s brother, Carl, disappears. The book is an
instruction guide to teach the art of subtle travel, a kind of out-of-body experience. In
order to enter the subtle world, would-be travelers like Henry and his friends must recite
a series of numbers as they lie in bed. This series of numbers, called the Fibonacci sequence, is
a mathematical pattern. Look at the numbers below. Can you discover the pattern and fill
in the next five numbers in the sequence?

The Trap

1

BY

1

2

Steven
Arntson

3

978-0-547-82408-6 hardcover
978-0-547-82412-3 eBook

5
8
13
21
34
­­­­­_______
­­­­­_______
­­­­­
_______
­­­­­ _______
­­­­­
_______

Describe the pattern:

Answer key follows, or can be found at hmhbooks.com/middlegrademania/resources.html.
Illustrations copyright © 2015 by Connie Gabbert. All rights reserved. This page may be photocopied for free distribution.

Middle Grade

Name: ________________________________________

Knock, Knock
Earth-dwelling fourth-grader Willy Maykit couldn’t be more excited about his school field
trip to Planet Ed. Willy’s class will blast off for the afternoon, learn about outer space, and be
home in time for dinner. On board the Starlight 3000, Willy tells knock-knock jokes to Max, the
android pilot, but androids don’t have a humorous bone in their bodies—if they even have
bones. But when Willy gets stranded on Planet Ed with classmate Cindy and an alien named
Norp, it’s Max to the rescue, eager to save the boy who tried to make him laugh. Try Willy’s
knock-knock jokes on your friends. Willy you maykit as a comedian?

K.
, KNOC
KNOCK
TH ERE?
WHO’S
BOO.
HO?
?
BOO W YOU CRYING
E
R
A
WHY

KNOCK
, KNOC
K.
WHO’S
TH ERE?
DOR IS.
DORIS W
HO?
D OO R
IS LOCK
ED. THA
T’S WH
Y I’M K
NOCKIN
G.

Willy Maykit
in Space
BY

Greg Trine
978-0-544-31351-4 hardcover
978-0-544-55690-4 eBook

KNOCK, KNOCK.
WHO’S TH ERE?
OI NK-OIN K.
OI NK-OIN K WHO?
OWL?
E YOU A PIG OR AN
AR
D.
IN
M
UR
YO
UP
MAKE

Try writing your own knock-knock jokes:
KNOCK, KNOCK.

WHO’S THERE?

¶¶

________________________
________________________ WHO?
_________________________________________

KNOCK, KNOCK.

WHO’S THERE?
________________________
________________________ WHO?
_________________________________________

Illustrations copyright © 2015 by James Burks. All rights reserved. This page may be photocopied for free distribution.

Middle Grade

Name: ________________________________________

Wish Biscuits
Twelve-year-old Genuine Sweet is a fourth-generation wish fetcher. With her Ma gone (she
died the day Genuine was born), Gram teaches her the gift that all the MacIntyre women have
shared—the ability to whistle down starlight and use it to grant wishes. Genuine can grant
any wish—except her own. Gram uses the starlight to water wish seeds, and her ma drank
it and all the words she spoke for the next day turned true. Genuine bakes the starlight into
wish biscuits, and with the help of her friends, she takes her gift global. Whip up a batch of
Genuine’s wish biscuits and see if your wishes come true!

Genuine
Sweet
BY

Faith Harkey

INGREDIENTS

4 cups baking mix 

8 ounces sour cream
¾ cup twinkling starlight (use sparkling water or juice, or club soda)
1 stick butter

978-0-544-28366-4 hardcover
978-0-544-28525-5 eBook

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Melt the butter in a 9 x 13-inch pan. Mix baking mix,
sour cream, and sparkling liquid together in a large bowl.
The dough will be thick. Transfer the dough into the pan,
on top of the melted butter. Score the top of the dough with
a spatula, marking it into twelve squares for easier cutting
after baking. Bake about 10 minutes, or until golden brown.
Cut into squares.


Makes 12 soft and crumbly biscuits.

This page may be photocopied for free distribution.

*

MAKE A WISH!

Middle Grade

Name: ________________________________________

Vocabulary Match-Up
Someone is smuggling secrets out of the Kennewicketts’ lab and sabotaging their experiments,
putting everyone at the Amazing Automated Inn at risk. Together with their robotic staff and
the inventor Nikola Tesla, the Kennewicketts must face murderous sky pirates, cross the Alps in
a giant mechanical spider, and defy the perilous pigeon Iron Claw and the malevolent magician
Madini once more. Fortunately for Wally, the boy genius and target of Iron Claw’s wrath, his daring
flying dachshund, Noodles, is keeping close watch and sniffing out clues. Noodles delights in
using and defining words in his narration of the story. Match each vocabulary word below with
the correct definition. To help you, each word is also given in a sentence from the novel.

_______ 1. mole

“Calypso, Wally’s mother, believed there must
be a mole at the Automated Inn.”

Gadgets and

_______ 2. belvedere

Gears, Book 2

“It was at that exact moment that the guests
inside the belvedere started screaming.”

BY

_______ 3. inveigle

“Wally wasn’t likely to inveigle a visit to the
mechanical monstrosity.”

_______ 4. tableau
_______ 5. apogee

“At the apogee of her arc, she released the bar
and did a somersault in the air before landing
lightly on the platform.”

_______ 6. girth

“She had recently expressed concern about
my girth.”

_______ 7. prodigal

“Melvin and Priss are the products of prodigal
parents.”

_______ 8. doughty

“The rat, wrapped in a monogrammed shroud
and smelling of Henkel’s New Hair Pomade, was
whisked away by the doughty Dusketeers.”

_______ 9. warren

“The Inn is a warren of secret ways!”

_______ 10. eccentricity

“Even the greatest of men have their
occasional eccentricity.”

_______ 11. blackguard

(pronounced “blaggard”)

“The blackguard meant Wally!”

_______ 12. apprise

a. a strange or unusual
behavior

“I had to admit it was a terrific tableau.”

“I believe we should apprise the president
of the attack, as well as our travel plans,
as soon as possible.”

The Ire of
Iron Claw

b. brave and persistent
c. someone with a rotten
or evil heart

d. to entice or coax
e. the measurement

around the middle of
something

Kersten
Hamilton
ILLUSTRATED BY

James
Hamilton
978-0-544-22502-2 hardcover
978-0-544-55684-3 eBook

f. a building or room set
on a high spot and
situated to command
an excellent view

g. someone who is

wasteful or spends
extravagantly

h. a picturesque

arrangement of
people or objects

i. to tell someone about
something

j. the farthest or highest
point of something

k. a person you know
and trust who is
betraying you

l. the underground home

of rabbits, with burrows
running in all directions

Answer key follows, or can be found at hmhbooks.com/middlegrademania/resources.html.
Text copyright © 2015 by Kersten Hamilton. Illustrations copyright © 2015 by James Hamilton. All rights reserved. This page may be photocopied for free distribution.

Middle Grade

Name: ________________________________________

Borrow-a-Pet Program
Seymour Hope takes advantage of the Ghastly Public Library’s innovative Borrow-a-Pet
Program by checking out a 198-year-old tortoise named Mr. Poe for the summer.
Unbeknownst to his parents, Ignatius B. Grumply and Olive C. Spence, Seymour stows
Mr. Poe in a steamer trunk and takes him along on a trip to Loch Ness in Scotland. If you
could borrow a pet for the summer from your library, what animal would you borrow?
Fill out the library card below and draw a picture of your borrowed pet.

Library Card
Ghastly Public Library
12 Scary St Ghastly, Illinois

Want to borrow a gerbil,
snake, puppy, cat or Monkey?

You can with the
Borrow-A-Pet Program!

43 Old Cemetery

____________________________________
Print your name

M. Balm
Chief Librarian

____________________________
Signature

The
Loch Ness
Punster
Road, Book 7

Only at the
Ghastly Public Library

BY

Kate Klise
ILLUSTRATED BY

M. Sarah Klise
978-0-544-31337-8 hardcover

My Borrowed Pet
Illustrations copyright © 2015 by M. Sarah Klise. All rights reserved. This page may be photocopied for free distribution.

Middle Grade

Name: ________________________________________

Bot Design
Boy robotics genius George Gearing is thrilled to have scored an elite internship at Tinker
Tech Headquarters. But he and his best pal and personal robot, Jackbot, soon realize that
something does not compute when a dangerous new invention threatens Terabyte Heights.
Jackbot’s processor is so powerful that it only took him a day and a half to read every book
ever published. His skill at defeating attacking giant robots is legendary as well. George’s
nemesis, a classmate named Patricia Volt, has a personal bot too—Cookie, a meBot series
three, who is a hairstylist, beauty expert, nutritionist, yoga instructor, and personal shopper all in one. If you had a personal bot, what skills would you want him/her to have? Add
attachments to the bot below to visually represent these skills. Write about them as well.

Lots of Bots
Robots Rule,
Book 2
BY

C. J. Richards
ILLUSTRATED BY

Goro Fujita
978-0-544-33954-7 hardcover
978-0-544-33823-4 eBook

My personal bot can
_______________________________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________________________
Illustrations copyright © 2015 by Goro Fujita. All rights reserved. This page may be photocopied for free distribution.

Middle Grade

Name: ________________________________________

Character Jumble
The classroom animals at McKenna School have their paws and claws full! Protecting nutters
(students) and lankies (teachers) is an around-the-clock job. When a rare coin and a strange
code are uncovered in the school, Malcolm the rat and his friends have a mystery to solve.
To find answers, Malcolm ventures into the dangerous outside world full of shadowy
characters. Can they save the school before it’s too late? Unscramble the letters in the clue
words to reveal the names of several of the characters from the story. Then take the circled
letters and unscramble them to solve the final question.

Clue Words

CAOMLML

Malcolm
Under the
Stars
BY


MILEAA

W. H. Beck
ILLUSTRATED BY

Brian Lies

TIRDPSE DAHWOS

978-0-544-39267-0 hardcover
978-0-544-55371-2 eBook

TEBER
HYNOE BYUNN

NIPS


LISAVY

What do the animals of McKenna School call themselves?

G

Answer key follows, or can be found at hmhbooks.com/middlegrademania/resources.html.
Illustrations copyright © 2015 by Brian Lies. All rights reserved. This page may be photocopied for free distribution.

Middle Grade

Name: ________________________________________

Short Story
Dragons at Crumbling Castle is a collection of fourteen funny and inventive tales by acclaimed
British author Sir Terry Pratchett. Sir Terry is a multi-award-winning and best-selling novelist
now, but when he originally wrote the stories in this never-before-published collection, he
was just a teenager with dreams of being a writer. Do you like to write stories? Look at the
illustration below and write your own tale about these characters and this scene. Continue
your story on the back of this sheet, if necessary. Who knows, maybe someday your books
for children and adults will have sold more than 85 million copies like Sir Terry’s, and a
publisher will publish this story as an early glimpse at your illustrious career!

Dragons at
Crumbling
Castle
And Other
Tales
BY

Terry Pratchett
ILLUSTRATED BY

Mark Beech
978-0-544-46659-3 hardcover
978-0-544-46661-6 eBook

Illustration copyright © 2014 by Mark Beech. All rights reserved. This page may be photocopied for free distribution.

Middle Grade

Name: ________________________________________

Word Search
Edmund “Eddie Red” Lonnrot, the NYPD’s youngest crime-solving hero, and his best friend,
Jonah, are ready to relax on a family vacation in Mexico. But when Eddie’s father is falsely
accused of stealing a priceless Mayan mask, the boys uncover another complex mystery.
Can Eddie and Jonah and new friend Julia uncover clues and catch the real crook in time?
Find key words from the story hidden in the letters below. Words can appear backward,
forward, and diagonally.

O G X T S K J F D E T H P N J
K C X G S O P Z D W H Y R M G
F L I A Q F Z E M T R C M Y Q
O G M X W J D R I A I W J S A

Eddie Red
Undercover
Mystery in
Mayan Mexico

K M B N E N S N M H H J V T I

BY

M V I A G M S I P J H D E E Z

Marcia Wells

G V O Y W B D A D E V I M R E
C H X A Q Y R E B B O R F Y O
Y P O M N G L E I B N Z C J F
O R B S O G I A F I R I M G Y
X V Z T T N W F L L L U B Y E
D V O O V M X Q F Y P S S J R
M H M F Y L A L Y A P I W E U
P G O L D Y O N N Q D B E L M
T A N T D E T E C T I V E W J
Key Words
DETECTIVE

MASK

PHOTOGRAPHIC

GHOSTMAN

MAYAN

PYRAMID

GOLD

MEXICO

ROBBERY

MYSTERY
Answer key follows, or can be found at hmhbooks.com/middlegrademania/resources.html.

Illustrations copyright © 2015 by Marcos Calo. All rights reserved. This page may be photocopied for free distribution.

978-0-544-30206-8 hardcover
978-0-544-55692-8 eBook

Middle Grade

Name: ________________________________________

Ready for Takeoff!
As soon as airplanes and cars existed, early in the twentieth century, people envisioned a
personal vehicle that would both fly in the air and drive on land. For the next hundred-plus
years, dreamers and tinkerers and engineers devoted themselves to designing and building
flying cars. Follow the steps below to create your own flying car using the template on the
next page.

Step 1

Place the airplane template print side down on a table or
hard surface. The white side of the paper should be facing
up. Fold the paper in half lengthwise and run your finger
along the folded edge to make a crease. Open the paper,
white side facing up.

Flying Cars
Step 1

978-0-618-98482-4 hardcover
978-0-547-53423-7 eBook

Step 2

Step 3

Take the outside corners at the “roof” edges and fold them
toward the center to meet at the crease, as shown.

Step 4

Step 3

Fold the left side completely over the right at the crease,
as shown. Your paper should look like a long colorful triangle with a slightly squared bottom.

Step 5

Turn your paper to the right, so that the crease is now
forming the bottom edge, as shown. Fold the top of your
triangle down toward the bottom along the black dotted
line. This will create a wing of your plane. Turn the paper over do the same on the other side. You now have two
wings!

Step 4

Step 5

Step 6

On the underside of each wing, you’ll see a red
dashed line. Fold the edges up on both wings
along this dashed line, as shown. Your flying car
is now ready for takeoff!
This page may be photocopied for free distribution.

BY

Andrew Glass

Step 2

Fold down the top corners toward the center to meet at
the crease, as shown. Your paper should look like a house
with a colorful roof.

The True Story

Step 6

Fold as shown in
the instructions
to create your
own flying
car!

This page may be photocopied for free distribution.

Flying Cars
Paper Airplane
Template

Answer Key
THE TRAP

Number Pattern
1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, ­­­­­____
____, 233
­­­­­____, ­­­­­____
55 , ­­­­­____
89 ,­­­­­144
377 . . . .
Describe the pattern: The final two integers are the
addends for the next number in the sequence.

THE IRE OF IRON CLAW

Vocabulary Match-Up
1. k
2. f
3. d
4. h
5. j
6. e

7. g
8. b
9. l
10. a
11. c
12. i



EDDIE RED UNDERCOVER:
Mystery in Mayan Mexico

MALCOLM UNDER THE STARS

Character Jumble

O G X T S K J F D E T H P N J
K C X G S O P Z D W H Y R M G

M A L C O L M

F L I A Q F Z E M T R C M Y Q
O G M X W J D R I A I W J S A

A M E L I A
S T R I P E D

S H A D O W

B U N N Y

M V I A G M S I P J H D E E Z
C H X A Q Y R E B B O R F Y O
Y P O M N G L E I B N Z C J F
O R B S O G I A F I R I M G Y

S N I P
S Y L V I A
T H E

K M B N E N S N M H H J V T I
G V O Y W B D A D E V I M R E

B E E R T
H O N E Y

Word Search

M I D N I G H T

A C A D E M Y

X V Z T T N W F L L L U B Y E
D V O O V M X Q F Y P S S J R
M H M F Y L A L Y A P I W E U
P G O L D Y O N N Q D B E L M
T A N T D E T E C T I V E W J

Middle Grade
Illustration copyright © 2015 by James Hamilton from The Ire of Iron Claw. All rights reserved.

M ania

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