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Country Life and Social Themes: Books For Kids

This list of the best kids books about country life is sure to include a new favorite for the voracious young reader in your life! From The Widow’s Broom to Under the Bottle Bridge there’s something here for everyone’s tastes. Do you have a favorite book about country life? Let us know!

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The Widow's Broom
Written & illustrated by Chris Van Allsburg
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-7
Some of Minna Shaw's neighbors don't trust her clever broom. "It's dangerous," they say. But Minna appreciates the broom's help. She enjoys its quiet company. But one day two children get taught a well-deserved lesson by the broom. For her neighbors, this is proof of the broom's evil spirit. Minna is obligated to give up her dear companion. Chris Van Allsburg, master of the mysterious, brings this tale to life with moody and memorable pictures that will haunt readers long after the book's covers are closed—now in a new edition to celebrate this beloved book's twenty-fifth anniversary.
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The Treasure of Maria Mamoun
Written by Michell Chalfoun
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12
Twelve-year-old Maria lives a lonely, latchkey-kid's life in the Bronx. Her Lebanese mother is working two nursing jobs to keep them afloat, and Maria keeps her worries to herself, not wanting to be a burden. Then something happens one day between home and school that changes everything. Mom whisks them to an altogether different world on Martha's Vineyard, where she's found a job on a seaside estate. While the mysterious bedridden owner―a former film director―keeps her mother busy, Maria has the freedom to explore a place she thought could only exist in the movies. Making friends with a troublesome local character, Maria finds an old sailboat that could make a marvelous clubhouse. She also stumbles upon an old map that she is sure will lead to pirate's plunder―but golden treasure may not be the most valuable thing she discovers for herself this special summer.
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Izzy and Frank
Written by Katrina Lehman & illustrated by Sophie Beer
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-6
Izzy and Frank spend blue-sky-sunny days and gray-cloud-rainy days roaming and playing by the sea. But when Izzy has to leave her lighthouse and island life behind to move to the city, she also has to say goodbye to Frank. The city is crowded and noisy, and Izzy misses the sand and the sea. Can Izzy find a place for herself in her new home? And will she ever see Frank again?
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Breakout
Written & illustrated by Kate Messner
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12
Told in letters, poems, text messages, news stories, and comics--a series of documents Nora collects for the Wolf Creek Community Time Capsule Project--Breakout is a thrilling story that will leave readers thinking about who's really welcome in the places we call home. Nora Tucker is looking forward to summer vacation in Wolf Creek--two months of swimming, popsicles, and brushing up on her journalism skills for the school paper. But when two inmates break out of the town's maximum security prison, everything changes. Doors are locked, helicopters fly over the woods, and police patrol the school grounds. Worst of all, everyone is on edge, and fear brings out the worst in some people Nora has known her whole life. Even if the inmates are caught, she worries that home might never feel the same.
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Blackberry Juice
Written by Sara Cassidy & illustrated by Helen Flook
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 6-10
After moving into their new home, a keeling-over farmhouse in the country, nine-year-old Cyrus and his brother, Rudy, have trouble adjusting to all the changes. The fresh-from-the-farm egg yolks are blindingly yellow. The eccentric girl next door has a very unusual sense of style. And Rumpley, a donkey they inherited with the farmhouse, doesn't even know how to bray. Nothing about the country feels warm or familiar. But when Cyrus is stranded one evening by the tide, he finds his lifeline in an unlikely companion. Blackberry Juice is the sequel to Not For Sale.
The Doughnut Fix book
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Finding Esme book
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As Brave As You book
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The Troublemaker book
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  • The Doughnut Fix - An Amazon Best Book of the Month! Superfudge meets The Lemonade War in this funny, heartwarming series debut about change, adventure, family, and of course, doughnuts. Tristan isn’t Gifted or Talented like his sister Jeanine, and he’s always been okay with that because he can make a perfect chocolate chip cookie and he lives in the greatest city in the world. But his life takes a turn for the worse when his parents decide to move to middle-of-nowhere Petersville―a town with one street and no restaurants. It’s like suddenly they’re supposed to be this other family, one that can survive without bagels and movie theaters. His suspicions about his new town are confirmed when he’s tricked into believing the local general store has life-changing chocolate cream doughnuts, when in fact the owner hasn’t made them in years. And so begins the only thing that could make life in Petersville worth living: getting the recipe, making the doughnuts, and bringing them back to the town through his very own doughnut stand. But Tristan will soon discover that when starting a business, it helps to be both Gifted and Talented, and It’s possible he’s bitten off more than he can chew…

  • Finding Esme - After her grandfather died from a heart attack while driving his tractor on Solace Hill, twelve-year-old Esme’s been inextricably drawn to that spot, although her grandmother warns her to stay away. But when she follows her little brother, Bo, and her dog, Old Jack, up the hill while chasing fireflies, she makes an incredible discovery—dinosaur bones peeking out from underneath the abandoned tractor. The bones must be a message from her grandfather, a connection from beyond the grave. But when word gets out that the farm is hiding something valuable, reporters, researchers, and neighbors arrive in droves. Esme struggles to understand who has her best interests at heart, especially as the memory of her grandfather begins to slip away. Full of friendship and adventure, and featuring a palpable Texas setting, Finding Esme is a moving and heartfelt story about family, friendship, and learning to deal with loss. From acclaimed author Suzanne Crowley, this engaging adventure set on a Texas peach farm is just right for fans of Rebecca Stead and Ann M. Martin.

  • As Brave As You - Kirkus Award Finalist Schneider Family Book Award Winner Coretta Scott King Author Honor Book When two brothers decide to prove how brave they are, everything backfires—literally—in this piercing middle grade novel by the winner of the Coretta Scott King – John Steptoe Award. Genie’s summer is full of surprises. The first is that he and his big brother, Ernie, are leaving Brooklyn for the very first time to spend the summer with their grandparents all the way in Virginia—in the COUNTRY! The second surprise comes when Genie figures out that their grandfather is blind. Thunderstruck and—being a curious kid—Genie peppers Grandpop with questions about how he covers it so well (besides wearing way cool Ray-Bans). How does he match his clothes? Know where to walk? Cook with a gas stove? Pour a glass of sweet tea without spilling it? Genie thinks Grandpop must be the bravest guy he’s ever known, but he starts to notice that his grandfather never leaves the house—as in NEVER. And when he finds the secret room that Grandpop is always disappearing into—a room so full of songbirds and plants that it’s almost as if it’s been pulled inside-out—he begins to wonder if his grandfather is really so brave after all. Then Ernie lets him down in the bravery department. It’s his fourteenth birthday, and, Grandpop says to become a man, you have to learn how to shoot a gun. Genie thinks that is AWESOME until he realizes Ernie has no interest in learning how to shoot. None. Nada. Dumbfounded by Ernie’s reluctance, Genie is left to wonder—is bravery and becoming a man only about proving something, or is it just as important to own up to what you won’t do?

  • The Troublemaker - Bored and restless on a summer day, a little boy steals his sister’s bunny and sends it on an adventure. He is well satisfied with the results—until his own stuffed animal disappears. Could it be that he is not the only troublemaker around . . . ? A case of sibling rivalry is neatly resolved with the “assistance” of a hilarious raccoon in Lauren Castillo’s warm, simple text and gorgeous classic illustrations.

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Tumble & Blue
Written by Kate Beasley
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12
When the red moon rises over the heart of the Okefenokee swamp, legend says that the mysterious golden gator Munch will grant good luck to the poor soul foolish enough to face him. But in 1817, when TWO fools reach him at the same time, the night’s fate is split. With disastrous consequences for both . . . and their descendants. Half of the descendants have great fates, and the other half have terrible ones. Now, Tumble Wilson and Blue Montgomery are determined to fix their ancestors’ mistakes and banish the bad luck that’s followed them around for all of their lives. They’re going to face Munch the gator themselves, and they’re going to reclaim their destinies. But what if the legend of Munch is nothing but a legend, after all?
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A Farm for Maisie
Written by Jennifer Churchman & illustrated by John Churchman
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
Meet adorable sheepdog Maisie in this follow-up to the picture book phenomenon The SheepOver! When Maisie Grace the puppy arrives at Moonrise Farm, she's excited about her new home but overwhelmed by all the bustling activity around her. She learns about each animal's job: the chickens lay eggs, the pony pulls a cart for Farmer John, and the sheep make lots of soft wool for blankets and warm clothes. But what will Maisie's job be? With the help of older dog Laddie and her new friends, Maisie realizes how she can help--she's going to be a sheepdog! This charming story by John and Jennifer Churchman, featuring their photo-illustrations of the real animals on their bustling Vermont farm including fan favorites Sweet Pea from The Sheepover and Finn from Brave Little Finn, celebrates the joy of finding just where you belong.
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Under the Bottle Bridge
Written by Jessica Lawson
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12
In the tradition of Counting by 7s and Three Times Lucky, critically acclaimed author Jessica Lawson returns with her fourth whimsical, lyrical, and heartfelt middle grade novel about a girl who’s desperately trying to keep her life together, when everything seems to be falling apart. In the weeks leading up to Gilbreth, New York’s annual AutumnFest, twelve-year-old woodcraft legacy Minna Treat is struggling with looming deadlines, an uncle trying to hide Very Bad News, and a secret personal quest. When she discovers mysterious bottle messages under one of the village’s 300-year-old bridges, she can’t help but wonder who’s leaving them, what they mean, and, most importantly…could the messages be for her? Along with best friend Crash and a mystery-loving newcomer full of suspicious theories, Minna is determined to discover whether the bottles are miraculously leading her toward the long-lost answers she’s been looking for, or drawing her into a disaster of historic proportions.

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