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Background of #mustreadin2015 for those of you who missed the introductory post:

#mustreadin2015 is a challenge 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 2015. 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.”

These are our hopeful lists. Many are books we’ve been wanting to read for a long time, while others are books we just really want to read as of right now (January 2015), and lastly, some are books we really need to read because we’ve promised someone (or each other). Primarily, we included young adult and middle grade books because they are what we are going to try to read more of this year. As Carrie said, we will absolutely be reading many books not on this list! And don’t worry, we will still be reading the latest and greatest picture books to our boys.

Our full #mustreadin2015 book lists are available here

Ricki’s #mustreadin2015 Spring Update

 Completed as of April 2: 5 out of 25

I am a bit farther behind than I would like to be, but I know I am going to skyrocket ahead this summer. I have been reading books outside of my list (e.g. books for The ALAN Review), but I am back on track. I just started my 6th book this week, and I moved a few others to my nightstand. That is the first step, right? I’ve loved every book I read, and they ALL lived up to their respective hypes, so I am pretty happy I committed to this challenge.

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how it went down secret hum of daisy

*Please click the book covers above for full reviews.*

I loved the bravery and dogged determination of Clara in Audacity by Melanie Crowder. This book in verse impacted me in ways I cannot describe. It made me feel a sense of feminism and strength while teaching me about labor unions and the Orthodox Jewish faith. It belongs in classrooms, and it will empower young women.

Dreaming in Indianedited by Lisa Charleyboy and Mary Leatherdale, brims with stunning illustrations, photography, artwork, and words. The voices of the young people within this book will stick with me forever. It shows the connectedness of Native Americans while also showing the distinctness of tribes.

I wish I had written a full review for Pam Muñoz Ryan’s Esperanza RisingAt the time, I decided I would skip a lengthy review because many of the readers of this blog have likely read it. How silly of me! I am disappointed in myself because this was an unbelievable book that deserves a full review—regardless of how old it is. I got lost in Esperanza’s story–it is a book that kids will read and not realize how much they are learning because the story is so compelling.

Everyone seems to be talking about Kekla Magoon’s How It Went Down—and for good reason! Each chapter is short (a few pages) and the narrators shift as they tell about the shooting of a teenager. The reader is suspended in a feeling of disbelief as s/he tries to navigate the truth. It feels quite realistic to recent news stories which have horrified America—Treyvon Marton, Michael Brown, and many other young Black men. This would make for a great conversation starter in classrooms.

I asked my book club to read The Secret Hum of a Daisy by Tracy Holczer, and all four of us fell in love with the story. It is a quiet book about a young girl who loses her mother. Readers travel through a gamut of emotions while reading this book and experience the stages of grief right along with the narrator. This is an important book that would be a great resource for many teachers.

Kellee’s #mustreadin2015 Spring Update

Completed as of April 2: 9 out of 25

It seems like I am right on track to finishing my 25 books, and the best part is that I have enjoyed every single one.

never fall down the lions of little rock dungeoneers

betternate howtospeakdolphin secret hum of daisy

counting by 7s strangelibrary gabit

I am so glad that Ricki told me I needed to read Never Fall Down by Patricia McCormick. It is one of those books that sticks with you after you finish it, and you cannot help but talk about. I find myself mentioning it at least once a week in my classroom. It wrecks your heart. I am also so glad I learned about the Cambodian genocide. It makes me a better person. (Full review)

Lions of Little Rock by Kristin Levine is a book that I have been meaning to read since it came out, and I am so glad that I finally did. It is a different look at integration in the south during the late 50s. I got so invested in the story and was lucky enough to be reading the book at the same time as a student. It was so much fun to discuss it with her.

I loved Anderson’s novel Sidekicked, so when I read about The Dungeoneers by John David Anderson, I knew that I had to get my hands on it. It is a story filled with adventure, suspense, and mystery. I love that the main characters are underdogs and easy to connect with. I cannot wait to share my full review as it gets closer to the publication date.

Oh. My. Goodness. I love this book so much! I just finished it, and I immediately had to read the second one. Better Nate Than Ever by Tim Federle is more than just a funny book about a young boy auditioning for a Broadway musical. It is about a boy who doesn’t feel like he fits in at home because of who he is. There are so many young kids out there that will connect with this feeling. And the prejudice and bullying that Nate faces is so real for so many. However, this book has hope. He finds something he loves and it helps him find a place to be himself.

Ginny Rorby has written five novels, all of which I have loved. Her newest, How to Speak Dolphinlike her others deals with both animal and human issues. This book looks at autism, blindness, animal captivity, and much more–all important issues, but her book never feels like it is overloaded. Fans of Rules by Cynthia Lord will definitely love this one. (Full review)

Like Ricki said above, The Secret Hum of a Daisy by Tracy Holczer is a book that will definitely pull at your heart strings and become a favorite. It is an intense look at grief and family. (Full review)

Counting by 7s by Holly Goldberg Sloan‘s Willow Chance is one of the most amazing young woman I’ve ever encountered in a book. She is brilliant and somehow changes the lives of every person she encounters. And she is not the only well-crafted character in the book–everyone in the book is important and very well developed. This is a wonderful middle grade book that I now know why so many people love it.

My brother and father love Haruki Murakami‘s novels, so when a special edition novella came out, my mom got a copy for me and I got one for my brother and father. I am happy I read The Strange Library, so I can now see what the fuss is about. Murakami’s writing is riddled with metaphors and imagery. Although I still don’t know if I understand it all, it was quite interesting.

The voice of Gabi in Gabi, A Girl in Pieces by Isabel Quintero is one of the best in any YA I’ve read recently. She is so real, and I found Gabi to be a book that so many teens will connect with. I not only loved the truth in her story, I adored the unique format  and the cast of characters. (Full review)

Do you have a #mustreadin2015 list?
What are your #mustreadin2015 books?
Share your update below!

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9 Responses to Kellee and Ricki’s #MustReadIn2015 Spring Update!

  1. Linda Baie says:

    I haven’t done nearly as well, only one of my list! I’ve read quite a few of yours, however, but now there are others that need to be on “some” list from those you raved about. Happy Reading!

  2. I’ve read and agree with everything you’ve said about them. Never Fall Down is a book that grabbed me and won’t let go. It felt like I was bearing witness to the horrors of the time. Dreaming in Indian and Gabi, a Girl in Pieces are books I’m really looking forward to reading!

  3. Michele says:

    It’s so funny, overtime I’ve seen someone’s list tonight, I think “oh, that book should go on my list too”!! So many good books are out there right now, I wish I had time to get through them all. Who needs sleep, right?

  4. Earl says:

    I just finished PMR’s Echo and I’m sure I’ll end up reading Esperanza Rising. I’m also listening to Counting by 7’s and I can’t believe I hadn’t read it sooner!

  5. So enjoying these update posts – although my TBR list is growing. I am excited that I am about to dive into Gabi – I have heard a lot of love for this novel as of late. It isn’t on my #mustreadin2015 list but I moved it to the top of the TBR list. How it Went Down and Lions of Little Rock are both titles that I recommend often. Glad to see them on this update! Happy Reading to you both and thanks for participating!

  6. Ricki, I’m embarrassed to admit that I am one (of only about 10 I’m guessing!) person who hasn’t yet read Esperanza Rising. You may be the reason I finally pick it up!

    Kellee, you have a few on your list that I, too, have had on my TBR list for some time, but haven’t gotten to yet. The Lions of Little Rock and Counting by 7s are the main ones. I just got How to Speak Dolphin, and the kids in my room are really excited about that one. I TOTALLY agree with you about Five, Six, Seven, Nate! I love, love, love that book! So funny, but so important.

    Thanks to you both for sharing your lists!

  7. How It Went Down is also on my list: you’ve hooked me on reading it soon by promising short chapters! LOL. Ricki, I’ve never read Esperanza Rising either. Since you’ve now finished it, I may be the last person in the world left who hasn’t read it! I have FOUR copies of it on my office shelf, too. I should read and booktalk! Every time you mention Ginny Rorty, Kellee, I want to read her books. They sound so terrific.

  8. Lorna says:

    Secret Hum of Daisy is on my list this year, too. I’m looking forward to it. And, Kellee The Lions of Little Rock is one of my very favorites. Marlee is right up there on the Character Hall of Fame shelf with Atticus Finch. Happy reading!

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