Early Elementary Books

Theme: Physical Challenges

Pippi to the Rescue - (ISBN: 978-0670880744)

by Astrid Lindgren

The well-loved Pippi Longstocking character, a favorite with children for many years, is again the heroine of this book. She finds a way to rescue two boys trapped during a fire. The fire department’s ladders are too short! As usual, Pippi calls on her friends to help. In this case, a monkey named Mr. Nilsson assists her with the rescue. If you like this feisty character, try other books in the series.

Singing with Momma Lou: A Family Copes with Alzheimer's Disease - (ISBN: 978-1584300403)

by Elizabeth Kennedy

Tamika is a bit perturbed when setting off with her family for their weekly visit to an elderly acquaintance that suffers from dementia. She resents having to answer the same questions again and again. But after she looks at photos of her friend’s life, she comes to see things in a different light. If your family has a member or close friend suffering from dementia or memory loss, use photos and memories to bring them back to a happier time.

Sunrise over Fire Rock Field - (ISBN: 978-1449987565)

by John M. Dolbey

One young iguanodon dinosaur, Iggy, proves a leader when a group faces starvation. He helps to rally the group of plant eaters, building a fortification to protect them from the meat-eating dinosaurs. Slowly their fort becomes a new home, and Iggy has helped them create a way to continue living. What two meanings of “green” does Iggy’s approach demonstrate?

The Mysterious Misadventures of Foy Rin Jin: A Decidedly Dysfunctional Dragon - (ISBN: 978-0060280000)

by Jim Friedman

An overly thin, reddish dragon spurts water instead of flame. Since fellow dragons will not help him with his problem or even acknowledge that he has one, he goes to live with humans. The solution comes in the form of a “foy rin jin.” Read the book to find out how.

Welcome Comfort - (ISBN: 978-0698119659)

by Patricia Polacco

An overweight foster child finds friendship and comfort at his new school in his relationship with the overweight school custodian. Read this warm tale to learn how the child’s life changes from coping to enjoying new experiences.

A Visit from Dr. Katz - (ISBN: 978-0689313325)

by Ursula LeGuin

But What if I Don’t Understand - (ISBN: 978-1606969045)

by C.B. Siebenhuener

Eight Days - (ISBN: 978-0545278492)

by Edwidge Danticat

Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes - (ISBN: 978-0698118027)

by Eleanor Coerr

The Sick Day - (ISBN: 978-0440417712)

by Patricia Maclachlan

Activities for this Theme

Select, print, and create a get-well card for an ailing friend or relative


Learn to fold the paper cranes that Sadako made when she was ill with leukemia, a side effect of the atom bomb dropped on Hiroshima.


Visit an elderly friend or relative, and ask to look through their picture albums together.


Make a list of things you can do to help when someone in your family gets sick. Make “promise squares” or pledges to help based on your list, and give them to your parents or siblings for future use when they are not feeling great.