Monday, May 6, 2013

The Five Best First Paragraphs
I’ve Read this Month

by Susan Berger

I’m back to reading Children’s and YA books. These first paragraphs are from my April favorites. The books link to Goodreads because their listings also include links to independent bookstores and libraries.

It was a sunny spring morning, but there was murder in the air. Jordon Johnston was killing  Pomp and Circumstance. Actually the whole elementary school orchestra was involved. It was a musical massacre.

About Average by Andrew Clements

The minute I read the first paragraph, I checked out the book. Andrew Clements is best known for Frindle His books don't stay on the shelves in the libraries. Kids love him and I do too.  I would have linked you to Frindle, but Blogger is strange and irritable today and will not let me do so.

Whenever Castle Glower became bored, it would grow a new room or two. It usually happened on Tuesdays when King Glower was hearing petitions, so it was the duty of the guards at the front gates to tell petitioners the only two rules the Castle seemed to follow.

Tuesdays at the Castle by Jessica Day George

I picked up this book because last year I read her book DragonSkin Slippers and loved it. I’m looking forward to the sequel, Wednesdays in the Tower which will be released May 7th.  I also read The Princess trilogy by Jessica Day George this month. This trilogy is based on The Twelve Dancing Princesses, one of my favorite fairy tales.

I’m going to give you the whole first page on this next one:

I have had not so good of a week.

Well, Monday was a pretty good day, if you don’t count Hamburger Surprise at lunch and Margaret’s mother coming to get her. Or the stuff that happened in the Principal’s office when I got sent there to explain that Margaret’s hair was not by fault and besides she looks okay without it, but I couldn’t because Principal Rice was gone, trying to calm down Margaret’s mother.

Someone should tell you not to answer the phone in the Principal’s office if that’s a rule.

Okay, fine, Monday was not so good of a day.

Clementine  by Sarah Pennypacker, Illustrations by Marla Frazee

I'd already read Clementine, but I checked it out to read to my seven year old granddaughter. I read her the first chapter and she decided to take it home with her and read it herself.


Prince Charming is afraid of old ladies. Didn’t know that did you? Don’t worry. There’s a lot you don’t know about Prince Charming. Prince Charming has no idea how to use a sword; Prince Charming has no patience for dwarfs; Prince Charming has an irrational hatred of capes. Some of you may not even realize that there’s more than one Prince Charming. And that none of them are actually named Charming. No one is. Charming isn’t a name; it’s an adjective.

The Hero’s Guide to Saving Your Kingdom by Christopher Healy Illustrated by Todd Harris

This is my favorite funny read for April. I picked it up because May is Fantasy month at Reading for Kids, a group I volunteer with, and this was the fourth Grade title. I cannot WAIT to read this with them next week. I loved it so much that I pre-ordered the sequel, A Hero's Guide to Storming the Castle.

Prologue: May 22, 1950

HE HAD A FEW MORE MINUTES to destroy seventeen years of evidence, Still in pajamas, Harry Gold raced around his cluttered bedroom, pulling out desk drawers, tossing boxes out of the closet, and yanking books from the shelves. He was horrified. Everywhere he looked were incriminating papers-a plane ticket stub, a secret report, a letter from a fellow spy.

Bomb The Race to build and steal the world’s most DangerousWeapon by Steve Sheinkin

I mentioned this book in my last first Lines post. I read it in April and WOW!!!  A fascinating look at the players in this history. I bookmarked all the pictures as I went back frequently to reference their faces. He did a brilliant job with the book.

Bomb won the Robert F. Sibert Informational Book Award for most distinguished informational book for children, Newbery Honor and YALSA Award for Excellence in Nonfiction for Young Adults: 

Hope one of these books strikes your fancy.  Happy Reading.


  1. These are a great selection! I particularly like Clementine...

    Thanks for picking and sharing!

    1. You are welcome Nancy. Glad you enjoyed them. Clementine is now a series. If you have a seven year old around, I recommend it. (Or there's me. I'm only 7 in my head.

  2. You've found some goodies Sue! "Bomb" for Tommy and "Heroes Guide..." for me. Thanks for sharing.

    1. And don't forget I have the hero's sequel when you finish.

  3. Thanks Susan, I loved Clementine. Someone should tell you not to answer the phone in the principals office if that is an actual rule. How else would you Know after all?

  4. Every time I read your first paragraphs post my to-read pile grows. Heroes Guide sounds great as does Tuesdays in the Castle.

    Thanks for the recs, Sue.

    1. You are most Welcome, Kai. I know you will love them both. I jest finished Jessica's Dragonskin slippers trilogy and loved those too. Now I'm reading the sequel to Hero's Guide.

  5. These are awesome examples!! That opening is sooooo important!

  6. Thank you, Lisa. I want to try your firstfivepages workshop and improve my own.

  7. I LOVE "Clementine." I often re-read the first chapter for inspiration. :)

    I must check out the others here! (Maybe "check out" from the library... ha!)

    1. That's what I did. I just returned my virtual copy of A Hero's Guide. Think I need to buy that one.

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