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Another school year is in the books! Time to celebrate and reflect!
And I know this is a long post, but I hope you’ll take the time to check out my students’ points of view and their reading choices 🙂

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:

This is about the same as last year. I did change my status check to only weekly instead of daily to see how it went (some kids were saying asking every day made it seem more of a chore), but I really think by not asking daily, I didn’t keep up with my students’ progress and conference correctly. Back to daily-ish next year!

This is a big deal for me because it is the first year that 100% of the answers were yes or yes, a small one! Yay!!

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

  • Yes. The library has a huge variety of genres of great books that even people who aren’t avid readers can enjoy. The library helped me reach my personal goal of reading 10 books this school year.
  • YASSSSSSSSSSSS. I used to love fiction and I still do but I have also expanded my likes because of all of the genres in your mini library.
  • Of course! I was able to expand my reading options knowing that I can get a book quick and easy.
  • Of course, you can find any books in Mrs Moye’s library and there are so many kinds of books that everybody would enjoy, its like a second resource for anybody who could not find the book they wanted in the Media Center can find it in Mrs Moye’s library, or even find something better.
  • It does because it gives them a way to develop their reading love and your system makes it easier. You also have many great books and you give many great recommendations based on our interests.
  • You classroom definitely benefits students. It benefited me this year by giving me a wide variety of books to choose from.
  • It does benefit students. It provides a wide arrangement of books that can satisfy the interests of students as well as providing new books and find new reading interests.
  • Yes. It started my love of reading.

What would you say to someone that says that a classroom library is a waste of money?
I started asking this question after a friend of mine, on a post of hers, had a comment that said a classroom library was a waste of money.

  • You are incorrect, goodbye. *turns and walks away*
  • I would respect their opinion but I would say “I think it is not a waste of money because just 20 minutes of reading a day makes you very smart.”
  • I would say that they have obviously not had a good one and they don’t know what there talking about.
  • I would say the person who said that is wrong because yes it is a lot of money but in my opinion the benefits outweigh the cost.
  • “Man, you are sure wrong”
  • It’s not! It’s a major benefit for students and lets them be able to explore more reading options. Also, if the library or other book source doesn’t have a specific book, that classroom library might save the day.
  • It really isn’t. A classroom library makes it much easier to check out and return books. Especially when they belong to a teacher who you see almost everyday, while the school library is sometimes closed and can’t always be reached.
  • I would say that a classroom library isn’t a waste of money because it shows how much that teacher loves to read and how much they care about our education as readers.
  • I would start a whole argument about books (as usual…).
  • that they need to take this class
  • That they are wrong because with books you can block the real world and explore different worlds and enjoy it.
  • I would say that a classroom library is actually useful because it helps students find books they want to read easily and allows a lot of options, and may motivate some students to read more.
  • I disagree because throughout the year while there was a library that is easy to have access to, I have been able to read more book than ever before (19 books)
  • I would bring up lots of evidence to show the benefits of reading and why it is more needed
  • I would tell them that they don’t really understand classroom libraries. Classroom libraries are there to provide books. Books help to broaden people’s vocabulary and imagination.

Do you like how the classroom library was organized? Explain.
I ask this question because I used to organize by genre but did not find success with it, so I switched it back to A-Z but with genre stickers. This question helps me ensure that the way it is organized meets the needs of my readers. 100% of student said they do like how it is organized–yay! Here are some examples:

  • I love how the classroom library is organized and it makes books really easy to find.
  • I think it’s nice but they really should give you a bigger room to fill with books.
  • I did like how the classroom library was organized. It was pretty easy to find books based on the last name of the author. It was also nice to have the stickers showing what genre it was and whether or not it was YA.

What would you say to a teacher who says independent reading is a waste of class time?

  • Maybe it’s just you who doesn’t like reading.
  • I would say that they need to understand that it’s a proven fact that the time spent reading is in direct correlation to higher test scores.
  • I would say to the teacher that they are wrong because independent reading have kids learn and have fun at the same time.
  • I would tell them they are wrong because there has been many studies done to prove that reading is fundamental.
  • This also is not a waste of time. It’s proven that kids who read around 20 minutes a day get in the 90% percentile on tests. Reading only benefits kids.
  • It’s actually the opposite. Independent reading, or just reading in general, can help with brain growth and increase skills that you may not even know you possess. Not reading doesn’t really effect you, but it can definitely benefit you a lot more than just reading 2 or 3 books in class with a teacher.
  • That they are really wrong, that reading is such a good thing for your body and mind, by reading you can explore and create a world of fiction, fantasy and more, and it’s better for you cause people don’t disturb you while you are reading, which is one of the worse things that happens in life. (for me)
  • “Shut your face.” (say it in my head because I don’t want to be rude)
  • Have you tried it?
  • Independent reading helps students to form ideas and inferences on their own. They can also learn more vocabulary if they have to figure it out themselves rather than being told.

What do you think the benefit of taking advanced reading is?
I want to make sure that my class is benefiting my students!

  • It’s a life altering class. So some of the benefits are well, everything.
  • You get to have fun with reading instead of reading something boring you don’t care about.
  • The benefit of taking advanced reading is that you get to know things that other kids who are not in advanced reading don’t know.
  • You read more, you get to learn about real life controversies and every side of it, and your language arts skills will improve.
  • I think the benefit of taking advanced reading is knowledge. By using the tools, resources, and skills Mrs. Moye has taught us, we are able to use this and put it into the work we do. We will forever be able to use affixes when reading, to compare/contrast a play and a text, and so much more.
  • Kids who don’t usually read can be exposed to a wormhole of books in your class and it can really become something different for them. So I think the biggest benefit of being in an advanced reading class is just, being given the chance to read.
  • I think the benefits of taking advanced reading is so you can be around books (duh ;P) and you get to have an extra class that’s related to language art (so when the teacher calls on you, you’ll be like “WOW ME!”). Also, your vocabulary will get better (which is REALLY helpful.)
  • You get to read more!
  • The benefit of taking advanced reading is that it really helps with reading and writing skills.
  • Advanced reading gives you the tools to think for yourself while reading and doing other activities.

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

  • That I’m able to do things that I didn’t know I could do.
  • I think is that I should trust myself more with what I do and not second guess myself.
  • I use more advanced vocabulary than most my age.
  • I learned that I can do more things that I have thought if I really try.
  • I have learned that sometimes you just have to try stuff, even if it isn’t your favorite, because you’ll never know what might happen. I did some things that weren’t exactly my favorite, and I ended up loving them.
  • I learned that I should start reading more and to try harder.
  • That I sometimes need to push myself harder but that’s alright.
  • That I am a hard working and I should never give up and doubt myself.
  • That I can achieve greater things with reading and reading can make you happier and smarter.

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

  • I really liked the book trailers; it let me express my feelings about the books that I love.
  • My favorite assignment that we did was the Pygmalion myth play and musical analysis one pager. This was my favorite because it was a great story and the one pager allowed me to be creative while also pushing me to dig deeper and pull out the important things.
  • My favorite activity was probably the weird but true facts. I learned a lot of weird facts and it was overall a really fun project that incorporated research.
  • I really enjoyed when we did the thought logs in class. It pushed me to read an entire book of which I wasn’t entirely that interested in. And once we finished the books and the logs, it became one of my favorites. As well as the fact that I was in a group with two other students who I had never really spoken to before then.
  • The book club because it was fun sharing yours and others people opinion of the same book that we were reading.
  • My favorite assignment or activity was the Civil Rights Timeline. It was fun to work with all the classes to create one big timeline we can all view. It was also fun to research our topics and learn about all the other topics.
  • Probably when we made the affixes to hang in the hallway to share with everyone.
  • The one where we had to guess who did that speech in a high school and it ended up being Obama.

Favorite Books My Students Read This Year

My students read A LOT again this year! My 47 Advanced Reading students read 1,657 books! That is an average of 35 books per student! I am so proud of them!

Here are the titles they listed as their favorites on our end of year survey:

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. Now, 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 and my lunch book club as well as my classes use my classroom library.

1. Smile series by Raina Telgemeier
2. Drama by Raina Telgemeier
3. The Ascendance Trilogy by Jennifer A. Nielsen
4. Ghosts by Raina Telgemeier
5. Amulet series by Kazu Kibuishi

T-6. Track series by Jason Reynolds
T-6. Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney
T-8. Embassy Row series by Ally Carter
T-8. The Honest Truth by Dan Gemeinhart
10. Dog Man series by Dav Pilkey

T-11. Divergent series by Veronica Roth
T-11. House Arrest series by K.A. Holt
T-11. Arc of a Scythe series by Neal Shusterman
14. Rhyme Schemer by K.A. Holt

T-15. Legend series by Marie Lu
T-15. Renegades series by Marissa Meyer
T-15. The Young Elites series by Marie Lu
T-15. War Cross duology by Marie Lu

T-19. Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds
T-19. Resistance by Jennifer A. Nielsen
T-19. The Crossover by Kwame Alexander

Note 1: If a book is in a series, I placed the series at the spot of the highest ranked book from the series. This allows me to highlight more checked out books instead of listing all the different books from a series.

Note 2: I use Booksource’s Classroom Library to track my book checkouts, and my book checkout history does not reset yearly. Instead it counts for any student in the system. Since I have students that check out from me for up to 3 years, sometimes a book they checked out in 6th grade will still be counted when they are in 8th grade. I figure all of this will even out as 8th graders are removed each year since there is no way to change this setting.

Note 3: These series/books account for the top 40 checked out books of my classroom library!

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

P.S. Please continue to stop by on Tuesdays during summer as I share my STUDENT VOICES series of blog posts written by my students. 

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I cannot believe my boy is five and will be entering elementary school next year. He is everything anyone would want in a kid including kind, respectful, empathetic, and smart. And not to mention, a kid who loves books!

According to Goodreads, where I try to keep as accurate as possible statistics on what Trent reads with us, he read 146 books in this year taking his total to 577 books in his life time!

Today, I am going to share with you his current favorite reads and his reasons why he loves them. He chose these books for me to include and the reasons why are in his own words:

Dog Man series by Dav Pilkey

“They have fliporamas! They show us cool stuff. Petey lets everyone go in their underpants. Dog Man is funny!”

Nibbles books by Emma Yarlett

“I like how Nibbles chomps stuff. I like that he gets away.”

Winnie-the-Pooh by A.A. Milne

“I like how Pooh talks, and he finds a balloon. Eeyore is my favorite. I like how Eeyore talks and sits. Bei Bei (Trent’s stuffed Panda) sits like him, too.”

Beep and Bob by Jonathan Roth

“It is funny. Bob’s tongue gets stuck on Pluto. Pluto is cold and has a lot of ice. It’s the smallest planet and is in our solar system, but his new name is dwarf planet. Beep is an alien.”

Pete the Cat books by James Dean

“Pete makes a robot who is his friend robot Pete. Robot Pete does whatever Pete says to do. And Pete loves bananas though he ate a rotten one, so his mom tries to give him every food that there is.”

Dragons Love Tacos by Adam Rubin

“I like about Dragons Love Tacos that they eat so much tacos. If there is salsa in the tacos, they will spit fire all over the place. It makes me scared, but I like it because it is cool.”

Kitten’s First Full Moon by Kevin Henkes

“The kitten thinks the moon is a bowl of milk. The kitten is sad because he can’t find milk. But the book ends okay when he goes to his house. The kitten is cute.”

Earth! and Sun! by Stacy McAnulty

“I want to be an astronaut when I grow up and study space, so I like these two books because they help me learn about space.”

Tinyville Town books by Brian Biggs

“I like how they build a new bridge and everyone helps. Everyone has a job in Tinyville Town.”

The Lost House by B.B. Cronin

“Grandpa promised to take the grandchildren to the park, but he lost some things, and I like finding things for him.”

Life on Mars by Jon Agee

“He tries to find life on planet Mars. He found a flower, but he didn’t see the big cat person. I want to go to Mars.”

Ella and Owen series by Jaden Kent

“I like how they go in a cave. They are dragons. I want to get the third book to see what it’s about. I think they’re going to find their mom and dad.”

Race Car Count by Rebecca Kai Dotlich

“I like how they honk. I like how they count.”

Penguinaut! by Marcie Colleen

“I like how he misses friends when he is on the moon, and I like how he puts his flag on the moon. And I like how he runs on the moon. I like penguins. And I like astronauts.”

Off & Away by Cale Atkinson

“I like how Jo sees that her dad is sick, so she tries to help him. She thinks the ocean has monsters, but it doesn’t. It has beautiful things and some islands.”

Ryan T. Higgins’s Books

“I like how Bruce goes BRUGH, and Bruce always says bad things to the other animals, but Bruce isn’t bad. I like Be Quiet because I think is funny and I think the other one is funny too because the dinosaur eats her classmates.”

Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See by Bill Martin, Jr.

“I like how we slide the things over to see the animals. I like that I can read it by myself.”

Duck, Duck, Porcupine Books by Salina Yoon

“I like how they do different things like how they have a lemonade stand and how they get their things stuck in the tree and use a ladder to get their stuff. Everyone tries to get Little Duck’s kite. But all of their things get stuck in the tree. Even the ladder got stuck in the tree, too. I think they are good stories.”

Pigeon books by Mo Willems

“I like how the Pigeon doesn’t do what he’s supposed to like take a bath. The Pigeon is grumpy which is funny.”

Bob Books!

“I like how I know how to read them!”

Happy birthday and happy reading, Trent!


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Must Read lists were a challenge started by Carrie at There is a Book for That. She shares on her 2019 intro post:

“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 that you want to commit to reading in 2019.

10? 20? 30? more? It’s up to you

Books can be published in any year, be from any genre, and from any category: adult, YA, MG, Graphics, NF, etc. .  All that matters is that they are books you want to be sure not to forget as that TBR list continues to grow! These aren’t the only titles you will read over the year, but a list to help guide your reading. A list to lure you back to a reading path you have set for yourself. Many, many new books will tempt you! Go ahead and read them but having a list like this ensures you will not forget some titles you were determined to read. That’s the intention and spirit of this challenge.”

Here at Unleashing Readers, we focus on novels and call our Must Read lists our HOPE TO lists 🙂

Without further adieu, here are our lists!


The 57 Bus by Dashka Slater

The Belles by Dhonielle Clayton

Darius the Great Is Not Okay by Adib Khorram

Hey, Kiddo by Jarrett J. Krosoczka Completed February 3, 2019

Hurricane Child by Kheryn Callender

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

A Land of Permanent Goodbyes by Atia Abawi Completed January 27, 2019

The Love & Lies of Rukhsana Ali by Sabina Khan

The Marrow Thieves by Cherie Dimaline

Odd One Out by Nic Stone

On the Come Up by Angie Thomas

Sadie by Courtney Summers

Shout by Laurie Halse Anderson

They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera Completed February 19, 2019

Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech

We Are Okay by Nina LaCour

Read: 3 of 16


I may have gone a bit crazy this year, and I know that I probably won’t get to all of these amazing titles, but I couldn’t cut any once I made this list. (Anyone who has been an UR reader for a while knows that I am not good at narrowing down lists.) This led to my list having FIFTY titles. I cultivated titles from my Kindle, my students, and my Goodreads TBR to complete the list. We’ll see what I can do this year!

Update: Since I made this list, I had the honor of accepting a spot on an ALA Book Award Jury, so plans have changed a bit 🙂 

The 57 Bus: A True Story of Two Teenagers and the Crime That Changed Their Lives by Dashka Slater

The Blood of Olympus by Rick Riordan

Chomp (and other Hiaasen books) by Carl Hiaasen

Comics Will Break Your Heart by Faith Erin Hicks

Dash and Lilly’s Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan

Disappearance of Sloane Sullivan by Gia Cribbs Completed 1/13/19

Downsiders by Neal Shusterman
Read Shadow Club, The Schwa Was Here, and Dark Side of Nowhere instead
Completed 4/21/19, 4/27/19, 5/14/19

Dragon Pearl by Yoon Ha Lee

Fallout by Todd Strasser

First Rule of Punk by Celia C. Pérez

Immoral Code by Lillian Clark

Inkling by Kenneth Oppel Completed 1/19/19

I Survived books by Lauren Tarshis

Killing November by Adriana Mather

Land of Permanent Goodbyes by Atia Abawi

Land of Stories: The Wishing Spell (and its sequels) by Chris Colfer
The Wishing Spell Completed 1/12/19
The Enchantress Returns Completed 2/9/19
A Grimm Warning Completed 4/9/19
Beyond the Kingdoms Completed 5/1/19
An Author’s Odyssey Completed 5/28/19

The Lost Girl by Anne Ursu Completed 2/4/19

Love Sugar Magic: A Dash of Trouble by Anna Meriano

Marcus Vega Doesn’t Speak by Pablo Cartaya

Merci Suárez Changes Gears by Meg Medina Completed 2/10/19

#MurderFunding by Gretchen McNeil Completed 3/28/19

Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart

Nevertheless, We Persisted: 48 Voices of Defiance, Strength, and Courage by 48 Authors

Over the Moon by Natalie Lloyd

Parker Inheritance by Varian Johnson

Piecing Me Together by Renée Watson

The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo Completed 2/8/19

Puddin’ by Julie Murphy

Rayne & Delilah’s Midnite Matinee by Jeff Zentner

Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard
Red Queen Completed 2/16/19

Remarkable Journey of Coyote Sunrise by Dan Gemeinhart

Right As Rain by Lindsey Stoddard

Rowling’s Novellas and Short Stories from Pottermore

Rules of the Road (and other Bauer books recommended to me by a student) by Joan Bauer

The Seasons of Styx Malone by Kekla Magoon

The Selection (and its sequels) by Kiera Cass

The Selkie of San Francisco by Todd Calgi Gallicano

Shout by Laurie Halse Anderson Completed 5/23/19

Shouting at the Rain by Lynda Mullaly Hunt

Surface Tension by Mike Mullin

Survivor’s Club: The True Story of a Very Young Prisoner of Auschwitz by Michael Bornstein and Debbie Bornstein Holinstat

Swing by Kwame Alexander and Mary Rand Hess

Tight by Torrey Maldonado

To Night Owl from Dogfish by Holly Goldberg Sloan and Meg Wolitzner

Tradition by Brendan Kiely

Two Can Keep a Secret by Kerry M. McManus Completed 4/2/19

Warcross (and Wildcard) by Marie Lu
Warcross Completed 1/26/19
Wildcard Completed 2/24/19

Watch Us Rise by Renée Watson and Ellen Hagan

We Say #NeverAgain: Reporting by the Parkland Student Journalists

What If It’s Us by Becky Albertalli and Adam Silvera.

Read: 12 of 50

What are your #mustreadin2019 titles? 


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#MustReadIn2018 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.”

To see our complete lists and our rationale, see our original post, and to see our other updates visit our Spring and Fall posts. Today we’re happy to share our final update on our 2018 lists!

Kellee’s #mustreadin2018

I have not read any from the list since our Fall Update so no reviews today, but I am still so happy with my progress this year!

Laurie Halse Anderson
Vet Volunteers #1: Fight for Life 6/14/2018
Vet Volunteers #2: Homeless 6/19/18
Vet Volunteers #3: Trickster 6/19/18
Twisted 6/20/18
Vet Volunteers #4: Manatee Blues
Vet Volunteers #5: Say Goodbye 
Vet Volunteers #6: Storm Rescue 7/27/18
Vet Volunteers #7: Teacher’s Pet 7/27/18
Vet Volunteers #8: Trapped 8/5/18

Joseph Bruchac
Chester Nez and the Unbreakable Code: A Navajo Code Talker’s Story 7/21/18
“Choke” from Guys Read: Sports Pages 7/21/18

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

Dan Gemeinhart
Some Kind of Courage 
Good Dog 4/28/2018

Alan Gratz
Prisoner B-3087 2/8/2018

Mitali Perkins
Open Mic edited by Mitali Perkins including her story “Three-Pointer” 3/17/2018
Tiger Boy 5/15/2018
Rickshaw Girl 5/13/2018

Gae Polisner
The Memory of Things 1/22/2018

Rick Riordan
Reread The Lost Hero 7/13/18
Son of Neptune 7/29/18
Mark of Athena 8/16/18
House of Hades 9/1/18

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

Eliot Schrefer
The Deadly Sister  2/11/2018
Mez’s Magic 2/25/2018
Orphaned 7/6/18

Laurel Snyder
Swan 1/6/2018
The Longest Night 1/6/2018
Forever Garden 1/11/2018
Baxter, the Pig Who Wanted to be Kosher
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

Amal Unbound by Aisha Saeed 7/19/18

Amina’s Voice by Hena Khan 7/15/18

Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy 8/12/18

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

The Land of Stories series by Chris Colfer
Started, but then my library loan expired. Will continue listening as soon as it is available.

Rebels by Accident by Patricia Dunn 1/27/2018

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

Serpent’s Secret by Sayantani Dasgupta
Decided to wait until more of the series is out.

Solo by Kwame Alexander 8/18/2018

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

Thunderhead by Neal Shusterman 1/5/2018

What Girls are Made of by Elana K. Arnold 7/25/18

Young Elites trilogy by Marie Lu
Young Elites 9/27/18

Completed: 22 out of 33

Ricki’s #mustreadin2018

There’s a chance that my brother-in-law won’t read this post for the third year in a row and make fun of me for over-promising and underdelivering on my must read list. Ha!

When I create a list like this, I have a hard time reading the books because they feel like requirements. It really helps remind me that requiring reading (even of ourselves) is not the best practice. Instead, I end up circling around the books and reading other books instead. The funny part? For eight of the books on the list, I read half of the book. The eight books are still on my nightstand. I enjoyed them and was forced to read a different book that I assigned my students that week for classes.

The good news is that next semester, I am not teaching my YAL course, so I have much more time that I won’t need to reread YA texts that I love. Instead, I will be able to focus on the books I add to my #mustreadin2019 list! I am terrible at this list!

I read and loved Blood Water Paint and Ghost Boys since the final update. Perhaps I need to finish the others because I know I will love them. There are three or four that I will be moving to my next list. I am still sticking with 16, and I think I’ll actually make it this time. Other authors need to avoid publishing enticing books, please.

Blood Water Paint by Joy McCullough December 2018

Ghost Boys by Jewell Parker Rhodes December 2018

Completed: 2 out of 16

Have you read any of these titles? What’s on your #mustreadin2018 list?


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Happy 2019! 

This year, I reread more books than any previous year. I am not including the billions of pictures books that I reread to my children in that statistic, either. 🙂 But for this list, I am focusing on my favorite reads of 2018. These are books that will stick to my bones for years to come!


Favorite Books Marketed Toward Young Adults

#NotYourPrincess: Voices of Native American Women, Edited by Lisa Charleyboy and Mary Beth Leatherdale

Americanized: Rebel Without a Green Card by Sara Saedi

The Astonishing Color of After by Cynthia Leitich Smith

Hearts Unbroken by Cynthia Leitich Smith

Mary’s Monster by Lita Judge

Piecing Me Together by Renée Watson

The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo

Pride by Ibi Zoboi


Favorite Books Marketed Toward Upper Elementary and Middle Grade

Amal Unbound by Aisha Saeed

Bob by Wendy Mass and Rebecca Stead

Marcus Vega Doesn’t Speak Spanish by Pablo Cartaya


Favorite Picture Books

The Day You Begin by Jacqueline Woodson

Drawn Together by Minh Lê

Dreamers by Yuyi Morales

I Walk With Vanessa by Kerascoët

Julián is a Mermaid by Jessica Love

The Wall in the Middle of the Book by John Agee

We Are Grateful: Otsaliheliga by Traci Sorrell


Which were your favorite reads of 2018?

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Happy 2019! 

I had one of my best reading years ever! My GoodReads goal was 300 which I exceeded!

I read 415 books this year!
(Though I will admit GoodReads adding the ability to add rereads really helped with the total; however, I was quite inconsistent with it– I marked re-reads sometimes and other times I didn’t, so I don’t know how accurate the count is, specifically picture books…)


It was almost exactly split between picture books and non-picture books with my novel, etc. total being a bit over 200.
My average rating for the year is 4.2 and my top shelves were: realistic fiction, nonfiction, Unleashing Readers, Trent 4-5 years, middle grade, audiobook, mg-ya picture books, picture book, and read to Trent. 

Today, I want to highlight my favorite reads from the year by sharing my 5 star reads from 2018
(the visual includes all while the list includes only newly read in 2018 books): 

Click on the photo above to see my 2018 Goodreads shelf to learn about any of these titles. If I’ve reviewed the book on Unleashing Readers, I’ve also hyperlinked it in the list. 

Picture Books & Early Readers (nonfiction & fiction)

Wolf in the Snow by Matthew Cordell
Windows by Julia Denos
Little Fox in the Forest by Stephanie Graegin
Grand Canyon by Jason Chin
Lights! Camera! Alice!: The Trilling True Adventures of the First Woman Filmmaker by Mara Rockliff
Crown: An Ode to the Fresh Cut by Derrick Barnes
My Kite is Stuck! And Other Stories by Salina Yoon
Duck, Duck, Porcupine! by Salina Yoon
Lost in the Library: A Story of Patience and Fortitude by Josh Funk
Be a King: Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr’s Dream and You by Carole Boston Weatherford
Square by Mac Barnett
Her Right Foot by Dave Eggers
Mission Defrostable by Josh Funk 
What Can a Citizen Do? by Dave Eggers
Masterpiece Robot and the Ferocious Valerie Knick-Knack by Frank Tra
Dreamers by Yuyi Morales
Drawn Together by Minh Lê
The Very Last Castle by Travis Jonker
The Day You Begin by Jacqueline Woodson
I Walk with Vanessa by Kerascoët
A Place for Pluto by Stef Wade
Cute as an Axolotl: Discovering the Worlds Most Adorable Animals by Jess Keating
Turning Pages: My Life Story by Sonia Sotomayor
All Are Welcome by Alexandra Penfold
One of a Kind by Chris Gorman
The Dinosaur Expert by Margaret McNamara
Memphis, Martin, and Mountaintop: The Sanitation Strike of 1968 by Alice Faye Duncan
A Friend for Henry by Jenn Bailey
Ruby’s Sword by Jacqueline Veissid
Brave Molly by Brooke Boynton Hughes
Santa Bruce by Ryan T. Higgins
We Can’t Eat our Classmates by Ryan T. Higgins
Be Quiet! by Ryan T. Higgins
Earthrise: Apollo 8 and the Photo That Changed the World by James Gladstone
Sun!: One in a Billion by Stacy McAnulty
The Sun is Kind of a Big Deal by Nick Seluk
Thank You, Earth by April Pulley Sayred
Meet Yasmin! by Saadia Faruqi

Middle Grade

False Prince trilogy by Jennifer A. Nielsen
Granted by John David Anderson
Sugar by Jewell Parker Rhodes
Bat & the Waiting Game by Elana K. Arnold
Track Series: Sunny & Lu by Jason Reynolds
Breakout by Kate Messner
Good Dog by Dan Gemeinhart
Tiger Boy by Mitali Perkins
Harbor Me by Jacqueline Woodson
Wonderland by Barbara O’Connor
Front Desk by Kelly Yang
Some Kind of Courage by Dan Gemeinhart
Louisiana’s Way Home by Kate DiCamillo
Running on the Roof of the World by Jess Butterworth
Orphaned by Eliot Schrefer
The Epic Fail of Arturo Zamura by Pablo Cartaya
Amina’s Voice by Hena Khan
Ghost Boys by Jewell Parker Rhodes
Amal Unbound by Aisha Saeed
Journey of the Pale Bear by Susan Fletcher
Garbage Island by Fred Koehler
The Dollar Kids by Jennifer Richard Jacobson
Escape from Aleppo by N.H. Senzai
Just Like Jackie by Lindsey Stoddard
A Night Divided by Jennifer A. Nielsen
Redwood and Ponytail by K.A. Holt
Stella Diaz Has Something to Say by Angela Dominguez

Young Adult

American Street by Ibi Zoboi
Thunderhead by Neal Shusterman
The Cheerleaders by Kara Thomas
The Memory of Things by Gae Polisner
Fresh Ink: An Anthology edited by Lamar Giles
Tyler Johnson was Here by Jay Coles
Prisoner B-3087 by Alan Gratz
Jefferson’s Sons by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley
Anger is a Gift by Mark Oshiro
What Girls are Made of by Elana K. Arnold
Sadie by Courtney Summers
Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy
Here to Stay by Sara Farizan
One of Us is Lying by Karen McManus
Resistance by Jennifer A. Nielsen
This Adventure Ends by Emma Mills
Internment by Samira Ahmed
Famous in a Small Town by Emma Mills
Odd One Out by Nic Stone
Dry by Neal Shusterman
Another Day by David Levithan

Graphic Novels

The Prince and the Dressmaker by Jen Wang
The Divided Earth by Erin Faith Hicks
I Am Ghandi: A Graphic Biography of a Hero edited by Brad Meltzer
Illegal by Eoin Colfer
Hey Kiddo by Jarrett J. Krosoczka
Monsters Beware by Jorge Aguirre
Kitten Construction Company: Meet the House Kittens by John Green
HiLo #4: Waking the Monsters by Judd Winick
Peter & Ernesto: A Tale of Two Sloths by Graham Annable
Peter & Ernesto: The Lost Sloths by Graham Annable
Be Prepared by Vera Brosgol
Fox & Chick: The Party and Other Stories by Sergio Ruzzier


Chasing Lincoln’s Killer by James L. Swanson
Chasing King’s Killer by James L. Swanson
Vincent and Theo: The Van Gogh Brothers by Deborah Heiligman
Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood by Trevor Noah
Two Truths and a Lie: Histories and Mysteries by Ammi-Joan Paquette
Eavesdropping on Elephants: How Listening Helps Conservation by Patricia Newman
The Great Rhino Rescue by Patricia Newman
National Geographic: History’s Mysteries: Curious Clues, Cold Cases, and Puzzles from the Past by Kitson Jazynka

All of these books are highly recommended by me, so if you haven’t read them and they interest you, they won’t let you down 🙂 Happy reading!

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