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Kelsey Green, Reading Queen
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Kelsey Green, Reading Queen

4.7 4
by Claudia Mills, Rob Shepperson (Illustrator)

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Kelsey Green is the best reader in the third grade--well, maybe tied for best with know-it-all Simon Ellis. When the principal Mr. Boone announces a school-wide reading contest, complete with a pizza party for the winning class and a special certificate for the top readers in each grade, she knows she's just the person to lead Mrs. Molina's third graders to victory


Kelsey Green is the best reader in the third grade--well, maybe tied for best with know-it-all Simon Ellis. When the principal Mr. Boone announces a school-wide reading contest, complete with a pizza party for the winning class and a special certificate for the top readers in each grade, she knows she's just the person to lead Mrs. Molina's third graders to victory. But how can they win when her classmate Cody Harmon doesn't want to read anything, and even Kelsey's best friends Annika and Izzy don't live up to her expectations? And could Simon possibly be reading all of those books that he claims he is, or is he lying to steal Kelsey's rightful spot at the top?
Kelsey Green, Reading Queen is the first book in Claudia Mills's Franklin School Friends series.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“This new series shows a lot of promise.” —Kirkus Reviews

“First in a new series, the chapter book explores Mills's favorite subject--everyday life with a side of ethical examination.” —The Horn Book

“Sure to be enjoyed by fans of Clementine, Ivy and Bean, and Judy Moody.” —School Library Journal

Publishers Weekly
When the principal of Kelsey’s school announces a month-long reading contest, Kelsey is positive she will lead her third-grade class to victory. Kelsey loves books like her best friends, Annika and Izzy, love math and running, and nothing is going to stop her class from winning—or stop Kelsey from reading the most books. Except, maybe, for Simon, who reads as voraciously as Kelsey, or Kelsey’s parents, who insist she miss reading time to attend her siblings’ various functions (“Her mother called it ‘being a family’ ”). Certain that Simon is cheating, Kelsey enlists Annika and Izzy to help spy on him. Single-minded and a tad selfish, Kelsey isn’t always the most pleasant of third-graders—but she’s 100% realistic. And although Kelsey’s excitement about the reading contest skews her priorities, she redeems herself (and shares her love of books) when she helps out a classmate who struggles with reading. Shepperson’s (The Memory Bank) lively pencil illustrations capture the upbeat mood of this excellent first book in the Franklin School Friends series. Author’s agent: Stephen Fraser, Jennifer DeChiara Literary Agency. Ages 7–10. (June)
Children's Literature - Maria Lamattina
Do school reading contests promote positive reading behaviors? In this charming story, third grade book lover, Kelsey Kline, experiences both the positives and negatives. When her school's principal announces a contest in which both the class and individual who do the most reading will be rewarded, Kelsey becomes determined to win — on both levels. There's just one problem — Simon Ellis. Off to a big lead, Kelsey becomes suspicious about the amount of reading Simon claims to be doing and, along with two of her friends, Kelsey sets out to spy on Simon and determine whether or not her suspicions are justified. Focused on winning, Kelsey also becomes annoyed with her friend, Annika, who is not a strong reader. Kelsey is reminded, however, that different people have different interests and strengths (Annika is a bit of a math whiz, a subject that Kelsey struggles with). As she becomes concerned about another classmate, Cody, holding her class back (Cody isn't reading any books for the contest), Kelsey selects books for, and even reads with, Cody. Although she uses up some of her own valuable reading time in the process, she feels justified when Cody not only reads quite a number of books, but also improves as a reader in the process. Things turn out just as Kelsey hopes, but more important than winning the contest, she learns some important life lessons about respecting differences. Reviewer: Maria Lamattina
School Library Journal
Gr 2–4—Third-grader Kelsey Green reads constantly-even during math class. When the principal calls for a reading contest, Kelsey's obsession with books increases and her competitive spirit kicks in-but not in positive ways. First, she becomes suspicious that another student is lying about how many books he's read because she can't bear to think about coming in second. Next, she takes on tutoring a student struggling with his reading skills. Her motivation is to push him to read in order to further their class goal: to read the most books and be the winners of the pizza party. After some missteps and struggles, however, Kelsey comes to realize that she loves reading for reading's sake-not just to win a contest. She further realizes that if she can help someone improve his skills, that is reward enough. This is the first of a promising series. As she did in Fractions = Trouble! (2011), 7 x 9 = Trouble (2002, both Farrar), and other titles, Mills incorporates realistic school situations with everyday challenges with which kids can identify. Kelsey's reading list makes a great bibliography and a way to engage readers. Occasional full-page drawings enhance the story. Sure to be enjoyed by fans of Clementine, Ivy and Bean, and Judy Moody.—Tina Martin, Arlington Heights Memorial Library, IL
Kirkus Reviews
Can a third-grader like to read too much? Principal Boone throws down the gauntlet: He will shave his beard if the students at Franklin School read 2,000 books in a month. Kelsey Green is excited. After all, she is the best reader in her class. Kelsey doesn't care if the winning class wins a pizza party or if the principal shaves his beard or kisses a pig, but she does care if she beats classmate Simon Ellis, therefore securing her name on a plaque. Kelsey's competitive nature exposes the dark side to such contests: She figures out that short books (poetry, Junie B. Jones, etc.) will move her closer to her goal, even though they are not the books she usually reads. She assumes that Simon is cheating and sets off to prove it. She begins to dread family events since they take time away from reading for the contest. But Cody, a boy in her class, is not reading. Kelsey finally discovers what is really important when she helps him learn to read. Though Kelsey is borderline unlikable for most of the contest, Mills allows for redemption when Kelsey realizes that Simon is not cheating and that Cody has a lot to offer the class. Sprinkled with titles even new readers will likely recognize, this new series shows a lot of promise. Lesson learned: Read for fun, not for competition. (Fiction. 6-9)

Product Details

Square Fish
Publication date:
Franklin School Friends Series , #1
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.00(w) x 7.40(h) x 0.50(d)
Age Range:
7 - 10 Years

Read an Excerpt



Kelsey Green no longer heard any of the voices in her third-grade classroom. All her attention was focused on the book spread open beneath her desk.

Would the old key that had been buried in the earth for the last ten years open the locked door to the hidden garden?

Drawing in her breath, Kelsey waited as the key fitted into the keyhole.

The key turned.

Then with a squeak, the door opened slowly … slowly.


The sound of her name startled her. The voice was cross, as if it had been calling her name without success for some time.

She looked up from The Secret Garden. Mrs. Molina was glaring at her from the front of the classroom.

“Kelsey, the rest of us are focusing on page 163 in our math books. The rest of us are not staring down at our laps lost in a daydream. The rest of us are doing fractions.”

Kelsey felt sorry for the rest of them. But now she also felt sorry for herself. She knew Mrs. Molina was waiting for her to turn her full attention to her math book—the one book in the whole world that Kelsey did not love, or even like, but actually hated.

“Question fourteen,” Mrs. Molina said. “What is one-eighth plus one-eighth?”

Kelsey had no idea. She wasn’t completely sure what an eighth was.

Luckily, one of her two best friends, Annika Riz, sat right behind her. Annika whispered the answer, loud enough that Kelsey could hear, but not loud enough that Mrs. Molina could hear.

“Two-eighths,” Kelsey said.

“And two-eighths reduces to?”

Annika whispered the answer again.

“One-fourth,” Kelsey said.

Next to her, Kelsey’s other best friend, Izzy Barr, started to giggle, but stopped herself in time. Both Kelsey and Izzy were glad to be best friends with the third-grade math queen. Izzy would rather be out running than doing math. Kelsey would rather be reading than doing math. Annika loved math the way that Izzy loved running and Kelsey loved reading.

Mrs. Molina shot Kelsey a suspicious look, but called on someone else for question fifteen.

With Mrs. Molina’s attention directed elsewhere, Kelsey allowed herself to glance down at the book on her lap and finish the next few lines. Mary Lennox was finally standing inside the secret garden at Misselthwaite Manor! Kelsey didn’t dare turn the page to start the next chapter.

Instead, she listened as Simon Ellis got question sixteen right; Simon was good at everything. And as Cody Harmon got question seventeen wrong; Cody was bad at everything, or at least bad at math, spelling, reading, writing, science, and social studies.

Just as someone else was trying to answer question eighteen, the classroom door opened. In came the principal, Mr. Boone. Mrs. Molina’s voice turned friendlier as she welcomed him into the room. She saved her stern, math-fact-quizzing voice for her third graders. But even though her voice sounded friendlier, her face didn’t look any friendlier.

Mr. Boone settled himself on Mrs. Molina’s desk. Kelsey could tell from the way Mrs. Molina snatched a stack of papers out of his way that she didn’t approve of principals sitting on teachers’ desks. Mr. Boone was large, and he took up a lot of room. Mrs. Molina moved her coffee cup far away.

The best thing about Mr. Boone was his big, booming laugh. Kelsey had never been sent to the principal’s office; she wondered if Mr. Boone laughed even when naughty kids were sent to him for talking back to teachers or fighting on the playground. He would have to be strict and scolding sometimes if he was a principal, but it was hard to imagine. Mrs. Molina should be the principal, and Mr. Boone should be a third-grade teacher, preferably Kelsey’s third-grade teacher.

The second best thing about Mr. Boone was his beard—a thick, bushy Santa Claus beard, but black instead of white. A pirate beard, maybe, for a jolly, good-natured pirate.

“Good morning, third graders!” Mr. Boone shouted. He gave his big, booming laugh, even though he hadn’t yet said anything funny.

“I’ve heard that there are a lot of excellent readers in this class,” Mr. Boone said.

Kelsey sat up straighter in her seat. She quickly checked to see if everyone was looking at her, but they were all busy looking at Mr. Boone. She was definitely the best reader in the class—well, except for Simon Ellis. But even though Simon read a lot of books, long ones, too, Kelsey didn’t think he loved books the way she did. Nobody could love books the way she did.

“You’re going to get a chance over the next month to show me exactly how excellent,” Mr. Boone went on.

Kelsey sat up even straighter.

“We are going to have our first-ever all-school reading contest!” Mr. Boone laughed. Kelsey knew he didn’t think the reading contest was a joke; he was laughing because he thought it was a gloriously happy thing.

She did, too.

“Starting tomorrow, April first, we’re going to keep track of how many books each class reads. The class that reads the most books will have a pizza party with me—all the pizza you can eat. And if the whole school reads two thousand books by the end of April—two thousand books—I’ll…”

He paused for emphasis, until the class was completely silent, before he finished his sentence.

“I’ll shave off my beard!”

The class whooped and hollered.

“Any questions?”

Kelsey didn’t want to be the only one raising her hand, but she had to ask. “What about the person who reads the most books? Does she get a prize, too?”

Simon turned around and stared at her. She stared right back.

“Yes! I’m glad you asked! The person who reads the most books in each class will get his or her name on a permanent plaque in the school library, as well as a special signed certificate to take home. And, of course, you’ll help your class win the pizza party. And you’ll help me lose my beard.”

He laughed again, but the laugh was less big and booming this time.

Maybe he was hoping that Franklin School couldn’t read two thousand books in a month. If so, he was wrong. Kelsey could practically read two thousand books all by herself. Mrs. Molina’s class had as good as won the pizza party, thanks to Kelsey Green, reading queen. She could already see her name engraved on the library plaque, for future generations of Franklin School students to behold with admiration.

“Okay?” Mr. Boone asked the class.

“Okay!” they shouted, Kelsey loudest of all.

He hoisted himself off Mrs. Molina’s desk, and she quickly moved her stack of papers back into place.

Kelsey closed The Secret Garden and tucked it inside her desk. It would be book number one. One down; one thousand, nine hundred ninety-nine to go.

“All right, third graders!” Mr. Boone called to them as he headed out the door. “Ready, set, read!”


Text copyright © 2013 by Claudia Mills

Meet the Author

Claudia Mills is the acclaimed author of many books for children. She lives in Boulder, Colorado.
Rob Shepperson's recent books include The Memory Bank, a collaboration with Carolyn Coman. He lives in Croton on Hudson, New York.

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Kelsey Green, Reading Queen 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Good book
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was a good book. Not everyones cup of tea but good for some