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#MustReadIn2017 is hosted by Carrie Gelson at There Is A Book For That:

“For anyone out there with a To Be Read list that seems like it will never end, this challenge is for you! This is all about making your own personal list of books (5? 10? 20? 30? more?) that you commit to reading in 2016. Books can be published in any year, be from any genre, and be from any category (adult, YA, MG, Graphics, NF, etc.).  As your TBR list grows, you promise you will get to the books on this list.”

Our (hopeful) #mustreadin2017 Lists:

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mustreadin2017

Ricki

Whew. I have not been doing a good job. Similar to Kellee, below, I have had some major obligations. I wrote a 280-page dissertation! I am hoping to fly through some of these books right after I graduate next month. 🙂

March by John Lewis

This book. If you haven’t gotten to it yet, read it. It’s simply incredible

Kellee’s Review from July 12, 2017

Highly Illogical Behavior by John Corey Whaley

Yes, yes, yes. I learned so much about agoraphobia, but I also learned so much about friendship and what it means to be human.

Reviewed on June 29, 2017

The Great American Whatever by Tim Federle

This book is phenomenal. I feel fortunate to have read it. After Quinn’s sister passes away, he holes himself up in his house. This book is raw, and it feels real. Tim Federle also manages to add a lot of humor in the text.

Kellee

Since our Spring Update five months ago, I have been able to put a significant dent in my #mustreadin2017 list! I still don’t know if I am going to finish them all, but I am proud of where I am: I’ve read 9 out of 20!

Belzhar by Meg Wolitzer

Belzhar is so brilliantly crafted and is a fascinating look at the teenage mind, love, guilt, depression/mental illness, friendship, and literature, and I am so glad that I read it (FINALLY, as Jessica Moore would say).

Highly Illogical Behavior by John Corey Whaley

Oh man. The feels that this book gave me! Sol will always have a special place in my heart! And the audiobook was really quite well done.

The Hunted by Matt de la Peña

I am so mad at myself for waiting so long to read The Hunted! I loved The Living, and I loved The Hunted. It is interesting though because they are two very different dystopian/post-apocalyptic stories because they deal with two different conflicts, but you really need to read both to understand the full devastation you are just introduced to in The Living.

March by Jon Lewis and Andrew Aydin

Reviewed on July 12, 2017

This series meant to much to me! Please read my review because I lay it all out. AND I GOT TO MEET JON LEWIS!!!

Posted by John David Anderson

Reviewed April 21, 2017

Posted is a must-have for middle school libraries and classrooms. It is funny yet leaves you with a really important message.

Simon vs. the Homo Sapien Agenda by Becky Albertalli

Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda is just a perfect high school story. It has the right bits of snark and romance and drama.

The Sun is Also a Star by Nicole Yoon

The Sun is Also a Star is a love story. But it is also a story of how people affect those around them. And it is a story about parents’ impacts on their kids’ lives. It is a entanglement of feelings that leaves you satisfied at the end.

Wolf by Wolf by Ryan Gaudin

WHOA! This is such a messed up series! But so good. As soon as I finished the first one, I had to read the second one. It is terrifying to think about a world where Hitler still rules but it is even more terrifying to think how our world actually fits some of they dystopian tones of a fiction story with that plot line.

What have you read from your #mustreadin2017 list so far?

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Thank you to Cathy Mere and Mandy Robek for hosting the Picture Book 10 for 10 (#PB10for10).

The rules are simple:

What:  10 picture books you can’t live without
Hashtag:  #PB10for10
Who:  Anyone who is interested—educators, authors, media specialists, librarians, parents, and book lovers.
When:  Thursday, August 10, 2017
Where:  All posts will be linked on the Picture Book 10 for 10 Google Community Site.


Our 2017 Topic: Favorite Picture Books to Use in the Secondary Classroom

Freedom Summer by Deborah Wiles (Aladdin, 2005).
(Ricki’s Review  |  Kellee’s Review)

Ricki: This book is beautifully written and the characterization is wonderfully done. I enjoy reading this book to discuss the intricacy of picture books and their application within units. This books reminds older students that picture books aren’t just for young kids.

Kellee: I feel that this picture book portrays a part of the Civil Rights Movement that most kids don’t know about unless they’ve been explicitly talked to about it. Freedom Summer gives me a way to start the conversation.

Red: A Crayon’s Story by Michael Hall (Greenwillow, 2015).

Ricki: We use this book when we talk about identity. I love reading this text aloud and then asking students about the author’s purpose. Many think that he is discussing disability and others argue that he is discussing gender identity. The interpretations remind us how texts give different interpretations, and this is a very good thing.

Kellee: Identity is something that everyone is struggling with in middle school, and I loved reading this book with my students and listening to their conversation about the crayons. When they begin to connect it to human identity, some really fascinating discussions break out.

Each Kindness by Jacqueline Woodson (Nancy Paulsen, 2012).
(Ricki’s Review  |  Kellee’s Review)

Ricki: I love to read this book on the first day or on any day that I am noticing classroom tensions. What I love about this book is that it teaches kindness without being didactic. The story goes beyond the theme of kindness and reminds readers about regret. This is a beautiful book that earns its place in classrooms of all levels.

Kellee: I begin every year with this book, and my students make kindness goals for the year to help ripple kindness throughout the school.

Locomotive by Brian Floca (Atheneum, 2013). 

Ricki: I love to show this book right before a research project/paper. It shows an example of high quality research and reminds readers that a lot of research is required in order to present a high quality product.

Tomás and the Library Lady by Pat Mora (Knopf, 1997). 

Ricki: This is a great book to start a conversation about being culturally responsive to other people. The library lady is very sensitive to Tomás, and the book makes readers want to be better people. My bilingual education teacher read this to my class, and I think of it often. I always enjoy reading it aloud.

The Dot by Peter H. Reynolds (Candlewick, 2003).

Kellee: I love to participate in Dot Day because it truly shows kids the range of what art is and the importance of creativity. I use The Dot to introduce this discussion then every student makes their own dot that symbolizes them.

Ricki: This is a fantastic book to discuss imagination. I show this book when I am trying to kickstart ideas about projects. Because I make strong attempts to allow a lot of flexibility in projects, this book is great to simply inspire students to examine ideas differently.

Last Stop on Market Street by Matt de la Peña (Putnam, 2015).
(Kellee & Ricki’s Review)

Kellee: I wrote a whole post just on using this book with my middle school students because students really found the depth and beauty in this amazing picture book.

Ricki: This book reminds us that picture books are anything but simple. I love to use this book to talk about themes and hidden messages in writing. Then, we apply this idea to our own writing. Reading this book reminds us to look at writing more deeply.

The Day the Crayons Quit by Drew Daywelt (Philomel, 2013).

Kellee: This is another superb crayon text that uses the idea of crayons being expected to act or do one thing really stunting the creativity and identity of the crayons. Also, the book is written in

Ricki: This book is funny, creative, and cleverly written. I’ve had students use this book for readers’ theater, and their performance was hysterical. Each student took the time to memorize their speech, and we talked about all of the qualities of a good speech.

Normal Norman by Tara Lazar (Sterling, 2016).
(Kellee & Ricki’s Review)

Kellee: I love the discussions of normal that this book brings up. You’ll notice, a lot of the picture books I read with my students discuss identity and kindness because picture books are such a perfect way to get conversations about tough subjects started. Norman shows us that what you think is normal may not be what another person thinks is normal, and being abnormal doesn’t mean anything is wrong.

Ricki: This is a great book to talk about what it means to be “normal.” I love to use this book to kick off discussions that queer the concept of normalcy.

Dear Dragon by Josh Funk (Viking, 2016).
(Kellee & Ricki’s Review)

Kellee: I am going to use Dear Dragon in my classroom for the first time this year! I want to get my student pen pals, and I am going to use Dear Dragon as an introduction to the idea. I’m not sure how I’m going to execute the pen pals yet, but there is also the theme of first impressions and judging based on looks that is perfect for our discussion on themes!

Ricki: Yes, Kellee! I have yet to use this book, but it would be a phenomenal text to start a student pen pal program! You might also use this book to talk about expectations and judgment.


What are your favorite books to use in the secondary classroom? 

Don’t forget to check out all of the other #PB10for10 posts by visiting the Google community site or searching on Twitter!

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Eighty More Favorite Books From Ten More of Kellee’s 2016-17 Middle School Students

(Don’t forget to check out the Seventy Favorite Books I shared last week!)


Favorite Sci Fi and Fantasy Books from Ariana M., 6th Grade

1. Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

This is by far my favorite fantasy book series of all time!

2. Young Elites series by Marie Lu

This is a great book. It is interesting that the main character is not necessarily good.

3. Cinder by Marissa Meyer

This is the most sci-fi book I’ve read. It is a twisted fairy tale.

4. Graceling by Kristin Cashore

Her grace is killing–what an adventure!

5. Delirium by Lauren Oliver

In a world where love is a disease… You can see why I love this book!

6. Black Mage series by Racheal E. Carter

My second favorite fantasy series of all time.

7. Storm Siren by Mary Weber

Best independent woman ever!

8. Slave, Warrior, Queen by Morgan Rice

A roman style fantasy where a slave becomes a hero.

9. Gone series by Michael Grant

Intense! There’s no other word to describe it except amazing.

10. Heartless by Marissa Meyer

Had me crying from page 1, but it was really good.

Favorite Sci Fi and Fantasy Books from Samuel B. (1-5) & Sevian M. (6-10), 7th Grade

 

1. Nimona by Noelle Stevenson

This book is my favorite graphic novel because of all the craziness!

2. The Red Pyramid by Rick Riordan

This book is amazing with the action and story. This is my favorite book.

3. The Cleopatra in Space series by Mike Maihack

My second favorite series because of the plot and cool action.

4. The Amulet series by Kazu Kibuishi

This series was one that’s just great to read because it just sucks you into it and you cannot stop reading them all.

5. The Percy Jackson series by Rick Riordan

This series is one of my top five because I read it over and over. I like it for the Greek mythology.

6. Lost Stars by Claudia Gray

I like it because IT IS STAR WARS!

7. Wings of Fire series by Tui T. Sutherland

This is my favorite book series! My favorite book is Escaping Peril. 

8. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

It is an interesting story and has lots of adventure.

9. Divergent by Veronica Roth 

It is so mysterious and suspenseful.

10. The Maze Runner by James Dashner

This book has a lot of action and suspense, and it is one of my favorite books to read.

Favorite Dystopian Books from Emily P., 7th Grade

1. Bot Wars by J.V. Kade

This book is so amazing and interesting! Some sappy parts made me keep reading for hours on end!

2. Insignia by S.J. Kincaid

This book is so hilarious, and if you love sci-fi, you will love this book.

3. Maze Runner by James Dashner

Maze Runner is so amazing. It is written very detailed, and you’ll want to read the whole series to learn about the characters and setting.

4. The Fifth Wave by Rick Yancey

I cannot stress this enough: This book is so addicting! This book is one of the best dystopian books out there.

5. Divergent by Veronica Roth

This thrilling book is so fast paced and great! This book is so amazing!

6. The Testing by Joelle Charbonneau

This book puts a new perspective on testing anxiety, and it is very action-packed.

7. The Neptune Project by Polly Holyoke

This aquatic adventure book is so interesting and caught my attention immediately.

8. The Eighth Day by Dianne K. Salerni

This book is so good! The setting and something unique makes this book impossible to put down.

9. Eye of the Storm by Kate Messner 

Eye of the Storm is an action book with huge tornadoes ripping through a city. And there is a secret!

10. Stung by Bethany Wiggins

Bees with a lethal virus are ravaging through the world. This book is placed in a ruined setting, making this book amazing!

Favorite Fiction-Action Books from Lucas D. & Aiden S., 7th Grade

1. The Maze Runner by James Dashner

I recommend this book because of the plot. I like it because you think you know what is going to happen but then you get surprised.

2. Nightmare Escape (Dream Jumper #1) by Greg Grunberg

I like how this book takes place in someone’s dream, but what happens in the dream is more realistic than a normal dream. I highly recommend this book.

3. Nimona by Noelle Stevenson

This book has so much action because of the killing and rivalry throughout the story.

4. Insignia by S.J. Kincaid

Insignia is a story about a boy who plays video games for money. I recommend it because the whole story is about a war that takes place in outer space, and the boy who plays for money is drafted into the military.

5. Giants Beware by Jorge Aguirre

This book was very adventurous, and the main character has the drive to KILL! (Dun, dun, duuuuuuuun!)

6. Firefight by Brandon Sanderson

Firefight is a book about people who gained amazing powers, and a random star showed up in the sky. There is a group called the Reckonners who try to eliminate different superhumans. This is why I recommend this book.

7. Rutabaga by Eric Colossal

Rutabaga is really funny but also includes many adventures. His pot is his best friend, and the pot helps Rutabaga. As he travels around the land, he finds challenges like giants spiders and a mother dragon.

8. Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling

I recommend the Harry Potter series because it is full of mystery and also lots of fights. Harry potter is trying to take down the most evil wizard of all time, so there is no limit to the action.

9. Mighty Jack by Ben Hatke

Mighty Jack buys beans from a mysterious vendor, but what he doesn’t know is that the plants are killing machines! As he wanders through his garden, he discovers a growing darkness.

10. Nnewts by Doug TenNapel

As a child who could not walk yet, Herk was defenseless against his intruders because his dad was away. This begins the action.

Favorite Mystery Books from Nicholas F., 7th Grade

1. Masterminds by Gordon Korman

I picked this book because I like how kids find out something and keep going until they solve all of it.

2. The Maze Runner by James Dashner

I picked this book because I like how peopel are stuck in a maze and trying to get out, and no one knows why they are there.

3. Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling

I picked this book because I like how Harry Potter is finding out more and more as the books go.

4. Percy Jackson series by Rick Riordan

I picked this book because I like how normal people find out they have something special about them after years of not knowing.

5. The Scorch Trials by James Dashner

I picked this book because I like when people are saved but still decide to fight their enemy.

6. Frenzy by Robert Lettrick

I picked this book because I like how kids just go into a forest and find out that every animals is crazy and eating humans.

7. Worst Class Trip Ever by Dave Barry

I picked this book because I like when kids find something and know it is dangerous but want to keep going to find everything out.

8. Crossover by Kwame Alexander

I picked this book because I like basketball and how the characters find out things about his parents that he never knew.

9. The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate 

I picked this book because I like how you don’t know what is going to happen to Ivan, but it is a happy ending.

10. Holes by Louis Sachar

I picked this book because I like how even though the character was forced into a camp with no water, he keeps trying to escape.

Favorite Books Series from Edwin C., 6th Grade

1. Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney

I loved these books because of its humor and how I could relate to it.

2. Geronimo Stilton by Geronimo Stilton

I loved this series as a kid because of all the adventure and comedy.

3. Dork Diaries by Rachel Renee Russell

I loved this series because of all the drama that happens in the books.

4. Magic Tree House by Mary Pop Osborne

May people, including me, love this series because of the history.

5. Dr. Seuss books

How can you not love Dr. Seuss books!

6. Amulet by Kazu Kibuishi

I loved this series because of the mystery.

7. Bone by Jeff Smith

I loved this series because of the action.

8. Kingdom Keepers by Ridley Pearson

I loved this series because of the inclusion of Disney and the mystery and action.

9. Smile and Sisters by Raina Telgemeier

I loved these books because of their comedy.

10. Wonder by R.J. Palacio

I loved this book because it was sad and touching.

Favorite Book Series from Brad D. (1-5) & Chris G. (6-10), 8th Grade

1. The Heroes of Olympus series by Rick Riordan

This is an awesome series. Riordan gets the reader’s attention and the books stay climactic throughout which makes the series interesting, and it keeps you reading it nonstop.

2. Loot series by Jude Watson

This series by Watson is really great, and I recommend it to everyone. It has many ups and down moments, and it keeps getting better and better.

3. Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling

Rowling created a magnificent series with Harry Potter. She build this series by adding crazy and fantastic ideas that made the series be well-loved!

4. Unwind series by Neal Shusterman

This series has had a lot of success, and it is breathtaking! It is about a dystopian world that has many massive problems that cause a huge wave.

5. Dark Life series by Kat Falls

This series is fantastic! It has a lot of adventure and deep water moments. The best thing is you cannot predict what is going to happen.

6. Chronicles of Nick series by Sherrilyn Kenyon

This is an amazing series–one of the best I’ve ever read. Join Nick on his adventure to keep himself from becoming something very deadly.

7. The Maze Runner series by James Dashner

This series is great! It has a couple of good movies, too, but we all know that the books are always better. See if you can escape the maze…

8. The Ranger’s Apprentice series by John Flanagan

Flanagan made this magnificent series. I like this book because it is very different from most books I have read because it takes place sometime before the dark ages.

9. Magisterium series by Holly Black

This is an interesting series I read about a boy named Callum who has been told his whole life, by his father, that magic is evil. He wasn’t wrong.

10. Artemis Fowl series by Eoin Colfer

This is a book about a boy genius who discoveres things that could change the world because he made a very dangerous deal that could destroy everything he loved.

Thank you Ariana, Sevian, Samuel, Emily, Aiden, Lucas, Nicholas, Edwin, Brad, and Chris!

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Seventy Favorite Books From Ten of Kellee’s 2016-17 Middle School Students


From Lucas B., 7th Grade

1. The Giver by Lois Lowry

The Giver is one of the best books I have read because of the character Jonas and how he handles his problems. This book definitely tops my list.

2. Legend series by Marie Lu

The Legend series was one of my favorites series because of the action that takes place in the book

3. The Compound by S.A. Bodeen

The Compound is one not to forget! The mystery of what happened to the characters and what they had to experience being locked up for years and not being able to get out.

4. The Honest Truth by Dan Gemeinhart

This book was one of my favorites though it was a sad book. But it was victorious in the end!

5. Fish in a Tree by Linda Mullaly Hunt

It shows that anybody can be anything. The main character has dyslexia, so she thinks she can’t do anything but a teacher influences her to do great things and she does!

6. The Way We Fall by Megan Crewe

This is book is an exciting book that I will never forget. This book made me feel emotional because of the things that they were going through.

7. Trapped by Michael Northrop

This book is amazing with the pressure of just a few people turned them all upside down and they have to try to figure a way to get out of the mess they’re in.

8. Nine, Ten by Nora Raskin Baleigh

This book is a favorite because it put my heart in an emotional state, and it really hit home for me.

9. Wig in the Window by Kristen Kittscher

This is one of my favorite books because the genre is mystery, and the book is just action-packed and filled with adventures.

10. Hurt Go Happy by Ginny Rorby

I loved reading this book in class. It was very emotional and made me think a lot.

From Jayden R., 6th grade

1. Divergent by Veronica Roth

There is a weird society that has lots of action in this dystopian world.

2. Scorch Trials by James Dashner

There is a lot of action and a little bit of mystery.

3. The Lightning Thief by Percy Jackson

The first Riordan book I read that made me want to read all of his books.

4. Jeremy Fink and the Meaning of Life by Wendy Mass

A huge mystery is in this book and it has a cool ending.

5. Hurt Go Happy by Ginny Rorby

This is a sad and emotional book.

6. Legend by Marie Lu

There is action, a mystery, and some sad parts.

7. Freak the Mighty by Rodman Philbrick

This book is very sad and interesting.

8. Trials of Apollo by Rick Riordan

I like this book because it is different from Riordan’s other books because it is in the POV of a god.

9. Lost Heroes by Rick Riordan

Lots of action, and there are some plot twists.

10. The Hunger Game series by Suzanne Collins

So much action!

From Ethan F. (1-5) & Omar B. (6-10), 6th Grade

1. The Living by Matt de la Peña

This book is my all-time favorite with so many twists and turns! It’s great!

2. Framed by James Ponti

This is a great crime book. It leads you one way and takes you the other way.

3. Turn Left at the Cow by Lisa Bullard

I am a big crime fan, and this is another good one.

4. 23 Minutes by Vivian Vande Velde

This book is another crime book, and it messes with you.

5. Masterminds by Gordon Korman

This book is amazing, and it also messes with your mind.

6. The Terrible Two by Jory John & Mac Barnett

I like this book because it was funny, and it showed how anyone can be friends.

7. Kimchi and Calamari by Rose Kent

I like this book because it was really dramatic.

8. Wonder by RJ Palacio

I liked this book because it is about a kid working to to make friends.

9. Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney

I like this book because it is funny how Greg does things.

10. Last Kids on Earth by Max Brallier

I like this book because it was funny.

From Varun J. (1-5) & Yassine M. (6-10), 6th Grade

1. Legend by Marie Lu

It is an action-packed adventure.

2. Warcross by Marie Lu

This book reveals something really unexpected.

3. The Young Elites by Marie Lu 

This series messes with your mind.

4. Variant by Robison Wells

Very intense book.

5. Masterminds by Gordon Korman

This series is a shocking piece of mystery writing.

6. Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney

It is a humorous piece of writing.

7. Kimchi and Calamari by Rose Kent

A very intense story.

8. Dog Man by Dav Pilkey

So funny and well-thought out.

9. Poptropica by Jack Chabert

This story is a really funny adventure.

10. Freak the Mighty by Rodman Philbrick 

A really intense book!

From Celina R., 6th Grade

1. Wonder by RJ Palacio

This is my favorite book because it touches on an important lesson about a boy in the world where looks do matter for people, so Augie, the boy, has to overcome the whispers when he enters for the first time into school.

2. Stones on a Grave by Kathy Kacer

This is one of my favorite books because it talks about a girl, Sara, who is an orphan and tries to go to Germany to find information about her father and mother, only to find out something devastating.

3. Fish in a Tree by Linda Mullaly Hunt

This talks about Ally, a girl who has a hard time in school who meets a new teacher that discovers her way of learning may just be different from other kids, and he helps her through the ups and downs of kids in her school.

4. Hurt Go Happy by Ginny Rorby

This book is on my list since it is an encouraging book that teaches people to over come obstacles. Joey, the main character, meets a chimp and her owner, and together they try to be free of Joey’s mom’s strict rules.

5. Serafina’s Promise by Ann E. Burg

This book is one of my favorites since it talks about a girl going through poverty and a family, who along the way, teaches Serafina to have a heart of gold no matter what.

6. Augie and Me by RJ Palacio

This book is a sequel to Wonder, and it talks about the kids and their viewpoints on Augie. This book explains why and how they act the way they do towards Augie.

7. nine, ten by Nora Raleigh Baskin

This book talks about four kids and their story about the day before and right after 9/11. It talks about how the day looked and how their parents were close to a horrible tragedy.

8. Juniper Berry by MP Kozlowsky

This book talks about a girl and how her parents became instantly famous and how she finds a boy who she instantly becomes friends with, and they try to figure out the mystery on why her parents stop paying attention to them.

9. Death of a Kleptomaniac by Kristen Tracy

This book is about a girl who had everything but gave it up after she was caught stealing.

10. Towers Falling by Jewell Parker Rhodes

This book talks about a girl who’s father won’t let her listen when the teacher talks about 9/11 because of a secret he is hiding from them.

From Bryson P., 8th Grade

1. Percy Jackson series by Rick Riordan

Lots of action and Greek mythology.

2. Unwind dystology by Neal Shusterman

Full of action and mysterious.

3. Ghost by Jason Reynolds

Overall a well written and good book.

4. Out of My Mind by Sharon Draper 

Very well written and addicting.

5. Wonder by RJ Palacio

A very good book! Similar to Out of My Mind.

6. Scythe by Neal Shusterman

Interesting and is hard to put down.

7. Amulet series by Kazu Kibuishi

Great graphic novel series that is well written and illustrated.

8. The Worst Class Trip Ever by Dave Barry

Fun to read and is funny.

9. Shadow Children series by Margaret Peterson Haddix

Good overall series; well put together.

10. Endangered by Eliot Schrefer 

Great book about apes, and is hard to put down!

From Cristhel G. & Seif A., 8th Grade

1. The Honest Truth by Dan Gemeinhart

It is a stunning and heartbreaking story.

2. The Sweet Evil series by Wendy Higgins

It is an amazing and eye-opening series.

3. The Breathing series by Rebecca Donovan

It will make you cry from page 1!

4. The Percy Jackson series by Rick Riordan

A wonderful series full of adventure.

5. The Fault in our Stars by John Green

A sad love story that will make you cry.

6. The Hush Hush series by Becca Fitzpatrick

A magical, beautiful story.

7. Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

A heart-wrenching story that will be guaranteed to make you cry.

8. Out of my Mind by Sharon Draper

An unexpected story about a girl just trying to be normal.

9. April Henry books

Amazing, suspenseful, and mysterious books.

10. All Fall Down series by Ally Carter

Adventurous yet sad and amazing with cliffhangers.

Thank you Lucas, Jayden, Ethan, Omar, Varun, Yassine, Celina, Bryson, Cristhel, and Seif! 

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Yearly, starting with 2012-2013 (and excluding 2013-2014), I have shared the most popular books in my classroom library:
2012-2013
2014-2015
2015-2016

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!). In the past, I shared the top books from all students who checked out from my classroom library which included my class as well as students from the three intensive reading teachers; however, I really wanted to see what the top books my students checked out this year, so I pulled a report showing just that. I currently have 3,428 titles in my classroom library, and 623 of them were checked out this year. Today, I am happy to share with you…

The most checked out books of 2016-2017 from my 6th-8th grade classroom library
**My Mock Newbery/Lunch Book Club did not check out through the same system. To see what they read, check out their posts:
Mock Newbery | Lunch Book Club**
**My students also didn’t check out from my library for their  in-class book clubs at the end of the year. They books they chose to read were:
The Maze RunnerSave Me a Seat, Stormbreaker, Point Blank, Locomotion, Trino’s Choice, Dark Life, Wolf Hollow, Jeremy Fink an the Meaning of Life, Kimchi & Calamari, City of Ember, Ms. Bixby’s Last Day, Charmed Children of Rookskill Castle, Touching Spirit Bear, and Wig in the Window**

15. The Last Council by Kazu Kibuishi

14. nine, ten by Nora Raleigh Baskins

13. The Tapper Twins go to War by Geoff Rodkey

12. The Stonekeeper’s Curse by Kazu Kibuishi

11. Sunny Side Up by Jennifer Holm

10. Old School by Jeff Kinney

9. HiLo: The Great Big Boom by Judd Winick

8. HiLo: Saving the Whole Wide World by Judd Winick

7. All Fall Down by Ally Carter

6. The Stonekeeper by Kazu Kibuishi

5. The Crossover by Kwame Alexander

4. HiLo: The Boy Who Crashed to Earth by Judd Winick

3. Dog Man by Dav Pilkey

2. Ghosts by Raina Telgemeier

1. The Honest Truth by Dan Gemeinhart

I’d also like to share the #16-27 titles because they were all tied!

16-27.
Escape from Lucien by Kazu Kibuishi

Double Down by Jeff Kinney
Dream Jumper: Nightmare Escape by Greg Gunberg
Prince of Elves by Kazu Kibuishi
Teen Boat!: The Race for Boatlantis by Dave Roman
The Wig in the Window by Kristen Kittscher
The Worst Class Trip Ever by Dave Barry
Bot Wars by J.V. Kade
Legend by Marie Lu
See How They Run by Ally Carter
Wonder by R.J. Palacios
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling

What an interesting mix this year! I always love pulling the stats because even though I do status of the class consistently, I can never guess all of the top checked out books. I knew the Amulet series, HiLo series, Dog Man, and The Honest Truth would be on here though–they were passed around! Numbers 13, 7, 5, and 1 were also on our state list (SSYRA), so it was not a surprise to see them.

I also love seeing graphic novels on the list. Graphic novels are very popular with ALL of my readers. I think it is a myth that only nonreaders or struggling readers read them. So many of my students adore reading them (as do I!). I think there are many reasons why graphic novels are favorites: helps students visualize, fun to read as many of these students have only found reading to be a horrible chore, and colorful! Graphic novels are something I truly believe will help students love reading more and become better readers, and if you look at how much these students are reading and increasing in their reading ability, I think they back me up. (To see more research about the importance of graphic novels, check out my graphic novel teaching guide with Abrams.)

What books/series do you find to be most popular with your middle school readers?
Have you found success with the books I listed above?
Have you read any of the books I’ve listed? Did you enjoy them?

I hope this list of books helps point you in the direction of some texts that your readers will truly love!

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Kwame Alexander Named 2017 Summer Reading Champion for Nationwide Campaign

Newbery Medalist, poet, educator, and New York Times bestselling author Kwame Alexander has been named the 2017 National Summer Reading Champion for the Collaborative Summer Library Program (CSLP).

“Serving as Summer Reading Champion gives me the opportunity to reach more teachers, more librarians and more parents, and share what I feel is one of the secrets to the success of the future: the mind of an adult begins with the imagination of a child,” Alexander says. “Books open up doors of possibility and potential and purpose—and allow children to imagine a better world for themselves and for us.”

CSLP is a nonprofit consortium of states that work together to provide an annual unified summer reading theme and professionally created,  evidence-based materials for member libraries to enable them to provide high-quality summer reading programs to their communities at the lowest possible cost. They reach approximately 16,000 member libraries nationwide, representing the District of Columbia and all fifty states, plus American Samoa, Bermuda, the Cayman Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Guam, and the Mariana Islands.

The 2017 theme is “Build a Better World.™” CSLP has created a comprehensive array of resources for libraries to use in their summer reading programs,  including program ideas, booklists, posters, clip art, and activities for four age groups, from babies to adults. The early literacy manual is available in both English and Spanish, and the slogan is also promoted in Spanish (“Construye un mundo mejor”™). Alexander plans to provide a top ten list of reasons to join a library summer reading program and will also create a list of his favorite recommended summer reads for 2017.

“Being a poet as well as an author, Kwame Alexander’s words are energetic and rhythmic and I don’t know of any reader, young or old, who isn’t spellbound and totally engaged by his books,” says Sharon Rawlins, CSLP President. “We’re absolutely thrilled to have Kwame Alexander as our  champion. He really knows the power that words have to transform readers. His quotes are so inspiring, too. One of my favorites is: ‘Books are amusement parks and you have to let kids choose the rides.’”

A regular speaker at schools and conferences throughout the U.S., Alexander is the author of 24 books, including Booked and The Crossover, which  received the 2015 John Newbery Medal for the Most Distinguished Contribution to American literature for Children, the Coretta Scott King Author Award Honor, The NCTE Charlotte Huck Honor, the Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Award, and the Paterson Poetry Prize. Kwame Alexander writes for children of all ages.

Award-winning author Kate DiCamillo served as Summer Reading Champion previously, in 2015 and 2016.

Teacher/Parent PSA Video:

Student PSA Video 1: 

Student PSA Video 2: 

Happy Reading! 

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top ten tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish. The feature was created because The Broke and Bookish are particularly fond of lists (as are we!). Each week a new Top Ten list topic is given and bloggers can participate.

 Today’s Topic: Unique Books I Recommend

Check out our 2014 post on the same topic: http://www.unleashingreaders.com/?p=2639

Kellee

Some of these books are unique in story, others are unique in format, but they are all great reads.

1. Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness

The combination of unique science fiction setting and story and the character’s ability to hear thoughts that cloud their mind makes this one of the most unique and brilliant books I’ve read.

2. Inquisitor’s Tale by Adam Gidwitz

Adam Gidwitz’s story is not only unique (with magical god dogs and farting dragons) but he set it up as a story that is being told to a character. Each chapter gives a different point of view.

3. Brad Meltzer’s Ordinary People Who Change the World Biographies

I love nonfiction that switches it up and helps students find interest in our history. Meltzer’s series mixes graphic novel and narrative nonfiction to give kids a wonderful introduction to such a diverse group of people.

Review of I Am Lucille Ball

Review of I am Jackie Robinson

4. Meatloaf is Worth than Middle School by Jennifer Holm

Jenni Holm tells the story of middle school with so much truth in this book yet it isn’t told in prose–it is told in stuff. All the stuff that a middle schooler accumulates. But that stuff shows one of the most truthful depictions of middle school of any book.

5. Why We Broke Up by Daniel Handler

The book begins with the end- Min and Ed have broken up and Min delivers (threw actually) a box onto Ed’s door with all of the “treasures” from their whirlwind relationship. Each section begins with an illustration of the object painted beautifully by Maira Kalman and then the story of the object within their relationship unfolds.

6. History News books

These nonfiction texts are set up as newspapers making history news again!

7. Color Monster by Anna Llenas

This pop-up book is one of our favorite picture books here at UR because of its message and its beautiful artwork. The personification (monsterfication?) of the emotions were so well done. Llenas did a beautiful job making entire scenes and monsters that embodied the emotions. I also liked the uniqueness of the pop ups. They were multimedia with collage and rope.

Review of The Color Monster

8. The Book with No Pictures by B.J. Novak

There are a couple of books out there that make the narrator say funny things (We’re in a Book by Mo Willems for example), but this one is unique in that the whole premise revolves around that idea. It is hilarious!

9. Hervé Tullet books

Hervé Tullet is the original when it comes to interactive (using your imagination) books!

Review of Press Here

Review of Mix it Up

10. Oliver Jeffers books

Um, if you have not read any Oliver Jeffers books, do so now. His picture books are some of my favorites because they are not stereotypical in any way. He just has these amazing ideas that are brilliant and smart and well executed. I also love his illustration style–just a bit funky 🙂

Review of A Child of Books

Review of Once Upon an Alphabet

Which unique books do you love?

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