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Our Top Ten Favorite Authors by Duda V. and Angelina D. (6th grade)

Rick Riordan
Rick Riordan is the author of many series like Percy Jackson and Heroes of Olympus. He is in the process of writing The Trials of Apollo series as well. His writing brings mythology to the modern world with hilarity. With twisting plots and schemes and a lot of hair-raising action, it leaves readers begging for more.

J.K. Rowling
J.K. Rowling is the author of the ever popular Harry Potter series which is most definitely well-known with theme parks, movies, games, and its own official website, her books are without a doubt well-loved and appreciated. Popularity however is not the reason we put her on our list. She has created a world intertwined with ours, full of magic we can only dream about. Not only have we watched the characters grow, but we have grown with them.

Caroline Carlson
Caroline Carlson is the author of the hilarious series The Very Nearly Honorable League of Pirates. It centers around a girl who wants to become a pirate but her parents don’t want her to. Caroline has created a fantasy world where piracy is normal yet still illegal. The series includes three books, each one demonstrating a sense of bravery and adventure as well as hilariousness that I’m sure will make you laugh your head off!

Chris Colfer
Chris Colfer is the author of the bestselling series The Land of Stories. It’s a fictional series about the adventure of two twins, Alex and Connor. Chris Colfer has written six books in the series, and they all take place in a world that Chris Colfer has created around fairy tales like Little Red Riding Hood and Sleeping Beauty. Chris Colfer books are amazing!

Ally Carter
Ally Carter is the author of several series including Embassy Row, Heist Society, and Gallagher Girls. Her books are thrilling and have a unique take on the classic good guy/bad guy scheme with the bad guys being more an antagonist than a villain. Even with all the adventurous moment, she still finds time to add sweet moments.

Lemony Snicket
Lemony Snicket is the author of the Series of Unfortunate Events, thirteen books with witty definitions and a plot that has readers on the edge of their seats. However, we did want to add that we don’t agree with his recent comments. We just think that his series is amazing.

Neal Shusterman
Neal Shusterman is an amazing author who has written many series including the Unwind Dystology and the Dark Fusion series. He also wrote Scythe which is about Citra and Rowan and the challenges they have to overcome. Neal Shusterman is a New York Time Bestselling author, winner of the National Book Award for Young People’s Literature, Golden Kite Award for Fiction, and more. Many of his books are fascinating because of his unique writing style.

Dan Gemeinhart
Dan Gemeinhart is the author of multiple books including Scar Island, Some Kind of Courage, and The Honest Truth. His writing is heartfelt and gripping. He uses a perfect mix of emotions and plot guaranteed to have readers anxious for the next page.

Gordon Korman
Gordon Korman is the author of multiple series including Masterminds, Swindle, Hypnotists, and so many more series and stand alone books. He is also part of the 39 Clues series. His work is action packed and full of gripping moments. His books are always real page-turners.

Arthur Conan Doyle
Arthur Conan Doyle is the author of The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes which is a collection of short stories. The stories are about the fictional detective Sherlock Holmes who goes to solve cases that are usually murder cases. The book was originally published in 1892 and has been turned into movies and TV shows.

Top Ten Amazing Authors You May Not Know But Should by Duda V. and Angelina D. (6th grade)

David Liss
David LIss is the author of Randoms, a 2017-18 Sunshine State Young Reader book. SSYRA books are chosen in Florida and recommended for kids and often show up in schools. Despite not being really well known, he should be. If you enjoy thriling sci-fi novels, his books are for you. And don’t worry, it is just the first of an epic series.

Sayantani Dasugupta
Sayantani Dasgupta is an Indian American author who has written The Demon Slayers, Bengali Folk Tales, and The Serpent’s Secret. She is a physician-scholar in addition to a writer. The Serpent’s Secret is about Kiranmala, a regular sixth grader until her twelfth birthday. Sayantani Dasgupta is an amazing author who can make you feel like you are in the book yourself.

Joseph Bruchac
Joseph Bruchac is the amazing author of Wolf Mark as well as so many others. With a twisting plot and well-written details, it is every bit as good as expected, as are his other books. There are no words to describe it!

Adam Rex
Adam Rex is the author of The True Meaning of Smekday, the book Home was based on. Despite this fact, many people do not know that. If you have ever watched a movie based on a book, you know that they never get the details right (but it is a bit fun to see the changes). Adam Rex’s writing is funny and well-thought out and planned.

Julia Keller
Julia Keller is an American novelist that has written many adult books and her newest is for young adults, The Dark Intercept which is the first book in a series. The Dark Intercept is a personal favorite; it is an amazing book about two worlds, Old and New Earth, and the mysteries about New Earth, the world that Violet Crowley’s father has created. Julia Keller has won awards including a Pulitzer Prize, and she is an amazing author that writes science fiction, adventure, crime, and many more.

Lynne Jonell
Lynne Jonell is the author of Emmy and the Incredible Shrinking Rat and other titles. Her writing is fun and mysterious and it increases with the plot. What starts as a seemingly realistic fiction book is soon easily classified as pure fantasy.

Firoozeh Dumas
Firoozeh Dumas is the author of It Ain’t So Awful, Falafal, which was a 2017-18 Sunshine State Young Reader Award book. Firoozeh Dumas has also written many other books including Funny in Farsi and Laughing without an AccentAin’t So Awful, Falafel is a funny book about Zomorod (aka Cindy) that just moved to Newport Beach. Firoozeh has been nominated for many awards including the Turber Prize for American Humor. Her books are hilarious because of her unique style of writing.

Soman Chainani
Soman Chainani is known for his series The School for Good and Evil. The story revolves around best friends, Agatha and Sophie, who face challenges and overcome them. The series consists of four books (right now), and I appreciate it for its sense of magic, friendship, and love. Soman has created a world full of fantasy with fairy tales including Cinderella and King Arthur. This series isn’t too well known but after you read the first one, you can’t stop reading because of the magic it brings.

Suzanne Nelson
Suzanne Nelson is an author that writes heart-taking, loveable, and amazing books. She has written many different books including Macaroons at Midnight and Cake Pop Crush. Both of these books feature delicious recipes in the end as well. Suzanne Nelson has been able to create books that can make you understand that love can be a beautiful thing because her books are mostly about love and sweetness. Suzanne Nelson is an author that is just as amazing as any author you already know and love.

J.J. Howard
J.J. Howard is an author that writes books that have challenges and love between two characters including her book Pug and Kisses which features an adorable pug. The books are amazing realistic fiction stories because it displays real life trouble, mostly love problems, which can be overcome with happy endings. J.J. Howard is an amazing author who writes books that will bring a smile to your face.

Thank you to my wonderful students, Duda and Angelina, for sharing your favorite authors!

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Reading Non-Fiction Books Are Not as Horrible as You Might Think! by Lorenza M. (7th grade)

At the beginning of the year, Mrs. Moye announced that our next unit would include reading an informational non-fiction book. I was a little disappointed because in my mind non-fiction meant huge, boring books that my dad likes to read. However, I was proven wrong.

Our first task was to choose the book we wanted to read. We had countless books to pick from that covered a vast variety of topics. I’ve always been interested in medicine and the human body, so I chose The Book of Blood.

In the weeks to come, I became obsessed with my book. I learned more from reading that book than any anatomy lesson I’ve ever had in science. I also made it my life’s goal to tell all my friends and teachers the nastiest facts about blood.

Our final project for the unit, after we finished our books, was to created a presentation about the topic we learned. From watching my peers’ presentation, I learned about plenty of topics I had no knowledge about, and it was super fun sharing what I’d learned with my class.

Reading a non-fiction book taught me never to judge a book by its genre, and neither should you! The book I read for this unit was one of the best and most resourceful books I’ve ever read, and I plan to continue reading non-fiction books even if I don’t have to.

Dos and Don’ts When Picking Out a Book by Clara A. (8th grade)


  • DO get out of your comfort zone!
    • Reading different genres exposes you to different situations, types of characters, and points of view. Plus, you won’t know if you like a certain genre if you have never tried it.
  • DO ask someone for recommendations.
    • There are many books in the world. You won’t read them all, so ask for help. Your friends probably know great books that you’ve never heard of.
  • DO read the next book of the series as soon as possible.
    • If you read the 2nd book of the series a long time after reading the 1st book, it may be very confusing if you don’t remember the 1st book.


  • DON’T judge a book by its cover!
    • While the saying may be cliche, it is true. Saying a book is bad because it looks bad is similar to saying a jacket does not keep you warm just because it has a bad design on the front. It just isn’t right!
  • DON’T not read a book just because you don’t know the author.
    • If you don’t read Long Way Down because you don’t know Jason Reynolds, then you are missing out on a great book. And that is just one example. There are many authors you don’t know that have great books.
  • DON’T judge a book by its movie.
    • There are so many great books with horrible movies (ex. City of Ember). Many directors have to change the book’s details, and this ends up making the movie worse than the book! Trust me, books are always better than the movie!

If You Liked… by Tulsi M. and Stanley T. (8th grade)

  • If you like Percy Jackson by Rick Riordan, you’ll love The Young Elites by Marie Lu.
  • If you like Ready Player One by Ernest Cline, you’ll love Warcross by Marie Lu.
  • If you like Scythe by Neal Shusterman, you’ll love Renegades by Marissa Meyer.
  • If you like Rescued by Eliot Schrefer, you’ll love Hurt Go Happy by Ginny Rorby.
  • If you like Heroes of Olympus by Rick Riordan, you’ll love Magnus Chase by Rick Riordan.
  • If you like The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas, you’ll love Dear Martin by Nic Stone.
  • If you like the movie Tarzan, you’ll love Rescued by Eliot Schrefer.
  • If you like the movie 9/11, you’ll love The Memory of Things by Gae Polisner.
  • If you like the T.V. show Steven Universe, you’ll love Upside Down Magic by Sarah Mlynowski, Emily Jenkins, and Lauren Myracle.
  • If you like the T.V. show Star Wars: The Clone Wars, you’ll love Star Wars: Ahsoka by E.K. Johnston.

Thank you to my wonderful students, Lorenza, Clara, Tulsi, and Stanley, for sharing your advice!

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Today is July 4. It is a day to celebrate our country; however, for us, it is also a day of reflection. We have spent a great deal of time reflecting about our country, and part of that reflection involves being empathetic and listening to the stories of others. For today’s post, in light of the recent events and in support of our neighbors, we want to feature some powerful books we loved that share the stories of immigrants and refugees. We feel that sharing these stories will help readers understand those who have immigrated or are finding refuge in the United States.

Not all of the texts are connected with the United States of America, but all of the characters resonated with us and taught us a great deal. They all share stories that have become a piece of us and have added to our understanding of the immigrant or refugee experience. Please share your favorite stories about immigrants or refugees in the comments below. We’d love to hear about the books that have made a great impact on your lives.

As always, while the books are divided by the audience they are marketed toward, each of the books listed transcends reader age. Adults, for instance, will likely find all of these books to be compelling.

A Different Pond by Bao Phi

Dreamers by Yuyi Morales

Mango, Abuela, and Me by Meg Medina

Migrant: The Journey of a Mexican Worker by José Manuel Mateo

The Name Jar by Yangsook Choi

Pancho Rabbit and the Coyote by Duncan Tonatiuh

A Thirst for Home by Christine Ieronimo

Two White Rabbits by Jairo Buitrago

The Distance Between Us: Young Readers Edition by Reyna Grande

Enchanted Air: Two Cultures, Two Wings by Margarita Engle

Escape from Aleppo by N.H. Senzai

Esperanza Rising by Pam Muñoz Ryan

Front Desk by Kelly Yang

Harbor Me by Jacqueline Woodson

Inside Out and Back Again by Thanhha Lai

Kiki and Jacques by Susan Ross

La Linea by Ann Jaramillo

A Long Walk to Water by Linda Sue Park

Making Friends with Billy Wong by Augusta Scattergood

Maya Running by Anjali Banerjee

Refugee by Alan Gratz

Return to Sender by Julia Alvarez

Save Me a Seat by Sarah Weeks and Gita Varadarajan

Shooting Kabul by N. H. Senzai

Trino’s Choice by Diane Gonzales Bertrand

American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang

Americanized: Rebel Without a Green Card by Sara Saedi

American Street by Ibi Zoboi

The Arrival by Shaun Tan

Ask Me No Questions by Marina Budhos

The Border by Steve Schafer

Enrique’s Journey: The True Story of a Boy Determined to Reunite with His Mother by Sonia Nazario

Gabi, A Girl in Pieces by Isabel Quintero

The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros

I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter by Erika L. Sánchez

Illegal by Eoin Colfer

A Land of Permanent Goodbyes by Atia Abawi

The Lines We Cross by Randa Abdel-Fattah

The Milk of  Birds by Sylvia Whitman

Never Fall Down by Patricia McCormick

Now is the Time for Running by Michael Williams

Out of Nowhere by Maria Padian

Picture Us in the Light by Kelly Loy Gilbert

The Secret Side of Empty by Maria E. Andreu

Something in Between by Melissa de la Cruz

The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon

Under the Mesquite by Guadalupe Garcia McCall

Water in May by Ismée Williams

You Bring the Distant Near by Mitali Perkins

Americanah by Chimamanda Adichie

Distance Between Us by Reyna Grande

The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini

The Jungle by Upton Sinclair

Which books are we missing? Which books made a great impact on you?


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Top Ten Books That We Love That Should Be More Popular by Morgan M. and Jordan K. (6th grade)

Evermore by Alyson Noël
Evermore is a teen romance novel with action!

Scar Island by Dan Gemeinhart
Scar Island is a realistic fiction book with a great plot twist that is going to make you gasp!

Cinder by Marissa Meyer
Cinder is the classic Cinderella story plus action, action, action!

The Future of Us by Carolyn Mackler & Jay Asher
This book is about how our future is already being planned by technology that doesn’t even exist yet.

Illusive by Emily Lloyd-Jones
Illusive is a futuristic novel that gives a sampler of a possible Earth future.

Doll Bones by Holly Black
This book looks creepy and is, and it is even more adventure!

City of Ember by Jeanne DuPrau
City of Ember is a futuristic sci-fi book that gives the idea of how some things could go wrong.

Two Naomis by Olugbemisola Rhuday-Perkovich & Audrey Vernick
A very cheerful book with plot twists. I recommend it highly!

Ponies of  Chiconteague by Catherine Hapka
This book is a realistic fiction story about girls and their love for horses.

Ghosts by Raina Telgemeier
A graphic novel that celebrates Dia de los Muertos and sisterhood.

Top Ten Books We Can’t Wait To Read by Vanessa W. and Alexandra N. (7th grade)


Bears of Ice by Kathryn Lasky
It is a fiction book about animals, and it is by an author that we really like.

The Enchantress Returns by Chris Colfer
I (Alexandra) read The Wishing Spell, and it was really good!

Orphan Island by Laurel Snyder
This book has an interesting concept and many people have recommended it to me (Alexandra).

Stung by Bethany Wiggins
This book has an interesting concept and many people have recommended it to us.

Frost by M.P. Kozlowsky
I (Vanessa) learned about this book from a book path and have wanted to read it ever since.

The Selection by Kiera Cass
So many people have recommended this book to us, so we need to read it!

The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer
I (Vanessa) bought this series, and I cannot wait to read it.

Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine
We watched the movie and now want to read the book.

The Thing about Jellyfish by Ali Benjamin
We find this book summary interesting, and we plan to read it soon.

The Girl Who Could Not Dream by Sarah Beth Durst
This book is an SSYRA book for next year, and we have read and enjoyed other books by this author.

Top Ten Books That Need a Better Movie by Morgan M. and Jordan K. (6th grade)

City of Ember
Problems: casting, plot

Maximum Ride
Problems: animation, plot

Problems: plot

Maze Runner
Problems: casting, plot

Diary of a Wimpy Kid
Problems: invention of a character, plot

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children
Problem: plot

Spiderwick Chronicles
Problem: details incorrect

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
Problem: details incorrect

Percy Jackson: The Sea of Monsters
Problem: plot (way off!)

Percy Jackson: The Lightning Thief
Problems: Everything!, casting, storyline

Thank you to my wonderful students, Morgan, Jordan, Vanessa, and Alexandra, for all their book lists!

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Another school year is in the books! This was a special year. I’ve now been teaching advanced reading for 3 years, so there were 5 kids who were in my class for all 3 years of this elective. I’ll never forget all of my students, but these 5 will always be special because of that.

End of Year Survey

At the end of each year, I give my students a survey to help me grown and learn as a teacher but also for them to reflect on the year. Here are some answers from the survey:

I need to reflect on this one because most of the kids who chose the same or less are 8th graders. I saw a huge drop for my readers between 7th and 8th grade. Why?

Does my classroom library benefit students? How did it benefit you this year? 

  • I think that your classroom library does benefit students. It benefited me because there’s a lot of books. So many different types books makes it easier for me to find something that interests me. It also benefited me because having books in your classroom makes it easier to find books when I can’t buy some or can’t go to the school or public library.
  • I think that it does because students are able to have a wide selection of books.
  • Yes! Your classroom library benefited me this year by allowing me access to multiple books. It exposed me to multiple genres, authors, and adventures.
  • I definitely believe that it benefits students because since you’re usually here and we can kind of get some help on what to get by telling you our interests and things that we like to read about. Then you can help us find a book and it makes students feel like they have somewhere to go when they’re wondering what book to read.
  • Yes, by having a reading class that has an actual private library is very good for getting students to read because of this easy environment to get to books. By having this library situated right in the classroom allowed me to instantly check out another book anytime I’m done with one, allowing me to read more and more instead of having to plan about when to go to the library and having that planning becoming potentially postponed resulting in less reading.

What would you say to someone that says that a classroom library is a waste of money?

  • I would say it is not. It’s not because the teacher is helping students and providing them with books to help them in their classes.
  • It is really not. Being a in classroom full of books pushes the students to read more. Also, since the library is inside the classroom all the books are titles students are interested in.
  • It’s not a waste of money it is a preserve of knowledge.
  • I think that a classroom library as cool to have because kids have interesting books right at their fingertips since it’s in their classroom.
  • I would say they have to learn to appreciate the love of reading kids have because without a library in a classroom kids will have a harder time being encouraged to read.
  • I would, politely, tell them that they’re wrong. Classroom libraries help people get books easily. Students can find things that interest them in classroom libraries. Besides, you learn things while reading books.
  • I would have said that it doesn’t matter, the more books the more learning. The learning can improve students in their language.

Do you like how the classroom library was organized? Explain.

  • Yes because it was very quick and easy to find a book by just looking up the last name of the author.
  • I liked how the classroom was organized because it made things easier to find. For example, if an author wrote two series that are completely different genres it would be much harder to find because they wouldn’t be in the same place. But since you organized it in alphabetical order you could see all the different series written by the same author.
  • Yes because I can find books by my favorite author or genre.
  • Yes, it’s because not only is there a system given to us to find books of our interest, we could also stroll around the class searching for books that are there in a shelf organized by genre and finding books that we mostly likely wouldn’t find as fast in the systems.

What do you think the benefit of taking advanced reading is?

  • It helps me read more and it makes me be a completely different (in a good way) person.
  • You can find authors that you can follow for the rest of your life.
  • I think the greatest benefit of taking advanced reading it that we are really pushed to read more, and that improves our progress in language arts and all other subjects.
  • You’re vocabulary definitely expands because once you read enough books, you start to see a bunch of new words and you’ll get to learn what they mean as you read.
  • It helps with close reading and deeper thinking.
  • The benefit of advanced reading is that you get to read more for pleasure.
  • You learn more and it helps you become a better reader and writer and helps you a lot, I believe, in the real world.

What have you learned about yourself through the assignments in this class?

  • That I can do more than what I am capable of doing. I’ve learned a lot about myself for the past 3 years in this class.
  • I have learned that I need to stay more focused, and that I should pay attention to the news more often about other countries.
  • I learned that I actually enjoy non-fiction books even though I don’t read them often. When we did the non-fiction unit I enjoyed learning about animals and the Titanic.
  • I learned that nobody is perfect and that we should always strive to be a better person instead of flawless.
  • I have learned that I still have a lot of books I can’t wait to read.
  • I’ve learned about myself that I am a bookworm. I didn’t think I would be, but I am.
  • I’ve learned that I can be a very determined and hardworking person. 
  • Some things that I have learned about myself through the assignments is that I could do many things that I really didn’t enjoy in other years and now I do them nearly everyday now. Also I learned about things that I didn’t think I was good at and now that I know how to use them they are easy to use.

What was your favorite assignment or activity we did in class? Why?

  • The Rescued book was my favorite because of what Raja had went through, how it has to do with real events, and the Center for Great Apes.
  • Book trailers because I was able to tell people about a book that i really like and recommended it to many people.
  • I’d say book clubs because we get a chance to step into an unfamiliar genre that we aren’t used to reading but we get to read it along with our classmates allowing us to discuss details about the book, identifying the facts of it whether the book is more interesting than we think.
  • I think the nonfiction unit we did was very fun because it showed me that there are interesting nonfiction books and that not all of them are just boring facts.
  • My favorite assignment we did in class were word parts because it helped me a lot when I’m reading other books with a hard vocabulary.

Favorite Books My Students Read This Year

My students read A LOT this year! 1,514 books read by 41 students in my Advanced Reading class. That is an average of 37 books per student! I am so proud of them!

Here are the titles they listed as their favorites on our end of year survey
(click on either image to enlarge):

If you don’t have any of these, you definitely should get them:

Top Checked Out Books from my Classroom Library

Yearly, starting with 2012-2013 (and excluding 2013-2014), I have shared the most popular books in my classroom library:

From 2011-2013, I taught an intensive reading class with students who had not been successful on the state reading test; however, since 2014, I switched to teaching advanced reading, an elective that students choose to be in (and I still get to work with my striving readers through being reading coach–a win/win!). Students from all intervention reading classes as well as my class use my classroom library.

1. Ghosts by Raina Telgemeier
2. See How They Run by Ally Carter
T3. Ghost by Jason Reynolds
T3. Sisters by Raina Telgemeier
T3. Take the Key and Lock Her Up by Ally Carter


T6. All Fall Down by Ally Carter
T6. The Honest Truth by Dan Gemeinhart
T8. Drama by Raina Telgemeier
T8. The Stonekeeper by Kazu Kibuishi
T10. Double Down by Jeff Kinney
T10. Smile by Raina Telgemeier
T10. Sunny Side Up by Jennifer L. Holm

T13. House Arrest by K.A. Holt
T13. How to (Almost) Ruin Your Summer by Taryn Sounders
T13. Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds
T13. Prince of Elves by Kazu Kibuishi
T13. Scythe by Neal Shusterman
T13. Swing It, Sunny by Jennifer L. Holm
T13. The Crossover by Kwame Alexander
T13. The Girl in the Well is Me by Karen Rivers
T13. The Stonekeeper’s Curse by Kazu Kibuishi

Happy summer to all of my fellow teachers, and here’s to another awesome school year in the books!

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Recommended Books for Lit Circles/Book Clubs in the Middle School Classroom

As a teacher, I am always working to grow professionally to give my students the best possible instruction in the classroom, but one practice that has been a common theme throughout all twelve of my years teaching is literature circles or in-class book clubs. Although the way I implement them have DRASTICALLY changed over the years, the idea of CHOICE of text, COLLABORATIVE discussion about the text, and COLLECTING thoughts about a text have been consistent.

Over the years I moved from calling what we did in class lit circles to in-class book clubs because I no longer assign students jobs and the students in general have more freedom. Here is how our in-class book clubs go now:

  • I book talk the options for book choices and have students list their top 3 on an index card with their name.
    • I have this process be completely silent because I really want students to pick the book they want to read not what their friend wants to read.
  • I then take the index cards and group them into groups of three to five depending on what books were chosen.
  • The next day, I have the students sit in their book clubs, and I give them the task of determining their reading schedule.
    • I give them the time period and ask the to come up with a schedule of pages to read by each book club meeting. Most groups then come up with a daily reading goal too, but they don’t have to.
  • I then give reading time every day, but we also do other class activities every day except on book club day on Mondays (I like to give the weekend before our meetings).
  • One thing I didn’t like about lit circles in my classroom was the unevenness of “jobs” during lit circles and how only one student was responsible for the ongoing conversation during meetings. So because of this my students have one simple task while reading: Come up with 5 open ended discussion questions or topics that they want to talk about during the meeting.
    • I also like to make a student-created word wall, so I ask them to write down any words that they find that they don’t know and figure out what they mean. They then share those in their group also and discuss them then put them on our word wall.
  • Some groups have a harder time chatting during group meetings, so I also have generic questions that will work with any book.
    • I also read along with them, so I can help with some chatting as well.
  • At the end of the unit, I will have them answer a few standards-based text-dependent questions about their specific book.
    • I share the standards ahead of time, and they are what we are working on and focusing on during class when we’re not doing book clubs.

Today, I want to share with you seven titles that have also been consistently successful for my students and eight new titles I added over the last couple of years that were hits. I highly recommend any of these for middle school lit circles or in-class book clubs (or classroom libraries!):

Red Kayak by Priscilla Cummings

Flight #116 is Down by Caroline B. Cooney

Stormbreaker by Anthony Horowitz

City of Ember by Jeanne DuPrau

Kimchi and Calamari by Rose Kent

Kingdom Keepers by Ridley Pearson

Jeremy Fink and the Meaning of Life by Wendy Mass

Wig in the Window by Kristen Kittscher

Save Me a Seat by Sarah Weeks & Gita Varadarajan

Ms. Bixby’s Last Day by John David Anderson

Touching Spirit Bear by Ben Mikaelsen

Dark Life by Kat Falls

Wolf Hollow by Lauren Wolk

Trino’s Choice by Diane Gonzales Bertrand

Locomotion by Jacqueline Woodson

Do you do lit circles or in-class book clubs in your classroom?
What do they look like for you and your students?
What books do you recommend? 

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#MustReadIn2018 is hosted by Carrie Gelson at There Is A Book For That:

My #mustreadin2018 list is super ambitious this year including series and authors instead of just a list of titles, but so much of what I put on there are books/authors/series that I am so excited to read. As I explained when we first debuted the list:

“First, I have a few authors that I am going to try to read multiple books from because I either love their work, haven’t read anything by them, or am Skyping with them with my book club, so I just listed the author. Then, I made a list of books I really want to read either because my students love them or I just have wanted to read it for a while. Finally, I added a few copies of books that my students asked me to add to the list. All of this equaled a crazy list that I may not get through, but I love it!”

Without further adieu, here is my update!!!

I am super proud to say that as of today, I have read 12 out of 33 on my list: 

Eric Gansworth
“Don’t Pass Me By” from Fresh Ink 2/26/2018

I loved this anthology–it is a must get!

Alan Gratz
Prisoner B-3087 2/8/2018

Alan Gratz just knows what he is doing! He really breaths life into historical fiction.

Mitali Perkins
Open Mic edited by Mitali Perkins including her story “Three-Pointer” 3/17/2018

Another great anthology!

Gae Polisner
The Memory of Things 1/22/2018

I now know why everyone loves Polisner’s writing so much–beautiful!

Olugbemisola Rhuday-Perkovich
“Confessions of a Black Geek” from Open Mic 3/17/2018
Two Naomis 3/27/2018

Two Naomis was a great story of dealing with change, and my book club and I cannot wait for the sequel!

Eliot Schrefer
The Deadly Sister  2/11/2018
Mez’s Magic 2/25/2018

Both of these are so different than the other Screfer books I’ve read, but they are both just as good!

Laurel Snyder
Swan 1/6/2018
The Longest Night 1/6/2018
Forever Garden 1/11/2018
Any Which Wall 1/13/2018
Seven Stories Up 1/14/2018
Bigger Than a Breadbox (reread) 1/15/2018
Good night, laila tov 1/16/2018
Orphan Island 1/17/2018


If you cannot tell, I really like Snyder’s stories. All kinds of them. I’m so glad I read even more of them because they just fill my heart.

The False Prince trilogy by Jennifer A. Nielsen
The False Prince 3/4/2018
The Runaway King 3/13/2018
The Shadow Throne 4/3/2018

I LOVED this trilogy! I am pretty much forcing it on students now (luckily they like it!) because I need someone to talk to about all of the twists and turns. So good!

Rebels by Accident by Patricia Dunn

My student said this was the first book where she saw her life reflected in a book, so I was happy to read it and talk to her about it. And it gave such great insight into my Egyptian students’ lives.

A Series of Unfortunate Events series by Lemony Snicket
The Bad Beginning 2/14/2018

I read this because my students LOVE it, but it just wasn’t for me. Made me so cringy because everything was so unfortunate!

Stung series by Bethany Wiggins
Stung 4/1/2018
Cured 4/4/2018

Such a fascinating post apocalyptic series!

Thunderhead by Neal Shusterman

I CANNOT wait for number 3!!! This series is definitely a favorite!

How is your #mustreadin2018 list progress going? What book do you most look forward to?


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