Kellee’s NCTE/ALAN Top Books


Kellee's NCTE:ALAN Reflection

Part of what makes NCTE/ALAN so worthwhile and amazing is that I get introduced to new-to-me books and upcoming releases. Today I want to share with you some books I’m excited about and some books I’m excited to share with my students.

9 (+1) Books I Am Excited About Reading

This was a really, really hard list to make. There are so many I want to read! I had to just pick the ones that stuck with me the most; however, almost every book presented at ALAN is one I hope to read.

The Alex Crow (and the other Andrew Smith books I got) by Andrew Smith

alex crow

I loved Stick and Winger, so I want to read everything by him.

All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven

all the bright places

This was a must-get at ALAN, and I am so glad I got one. It is supposed to be amazing.

When I Was the Greatest by Jason Reynolds

when i was the greatest

Jason Reynolds was one of the most entrancing speakers at ALAN, so I don’t know how you wouldn’t want to read his books. Also, the line from the summary “a small misunderstanding can escalate into having a price on your head—even if you’re totally clean” just sucks me in.

King Dork Approximately (and King Dork) by Frank Portman

king dork approx

I wanted to read King Dork when it first came out and never got to it then when I saw the sequel at ALAN and heard Frank Portman speak (on the hilarious music panel), I knew I finally had to read it.

Like Water on Stone by Dana Walrath

like water on stone

Karen Hesse, one of my favorite authors, says it is a mix of The Book Thief and Between Shades of Gray. Sold.

Some Assembly Required by Arin Andrews

some assembly

Rethinking Normal by Katie Rain Hill


Arin and Katie’s books are on my list because of their panel and because I want to try to understand, be compassionate, and be empathetic towards every type of person. I cannot wait to read their stories.

Positive: A Memoir by Paige Rawl


Paige was born HIV positive, and this is her story.

The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski


I love Marie’s story about her book was inspired by the stock term where winning costs more than it was worth, so I am interested in learning about how she turned this into a high fantasy novel.

Honorary. The Porcupine of Truth by Bill Konigsberg
(Honorary because I didn’t get it at NCTE, but I want to read it so badly!)


Bill let me read the first page. Then he took the book. That was mean.

11 Books I Am Excited About Reading AND Sharing With My Students

These are all middle school books that I have not read and want to, and I also want to share them with my students because they sound so great!

Echo by Pam Munoz Ryan


Everyone who has read this loved it, and who is surprised? No one! It is Pam Munoz Ryan!

The Honest Truth by Dan Gemeinhart

honest truth

Twitterverse is atwitter about this book. Tissues are in my future.

The Art of Secrets by James Klise

The art of secrets

I met James Klise at ALAN, and he was such a pleasure. Also, the story of how this community rallies around a hate crime victim.

Kinda Like Brothers by Coe Booth

kinda like

I truly enjoy Coe Booth’s YA novel Bronxwood, so I am looking forward to reading her middle grade novel.

The Madman of Piney Woods by Christopher Paul Curtis


Christopher. Paul. Curtis.

Nnewts by Doug TenNapel


My students and I love Doug TenNapel. I already read this one, and I already have a student who wants it (and when others find out about it, there will be a waiting list). Doug TenNapel is so unique and fun!

The Crossover by Kwame Alexander

cross over

I am always looking for more well written sports books! Also, Kwame was such a pleasure to meet and was a favorite panelist.

Gameworld by C.J. Farley


My students love video games, so I am excited to read a book about video games.  Heir Apparent by Vivian Vande Velde was pretty popular a few years ago, so maybe I need to pull it and this one out together.

Knock Out Games by G. Neri


I love Ghetto Cowboy and Yummy, so I cannot wait to read/share this one.

How It Went Down by Kekla Magoon

how it went down

Trayvon Martin was shot and killed about 40 minutes from my school. It was a very close-to-home event. I love that this book would start a conversation about what happened and why.

Challenger Deep by Neal Shusterman

challenger deep

The summary sounds fascinating and leaves so much for me to speculate. I want to know! And Neal Shusterman’s novels are always well received, so I know this one will be too.

If you were at NCTE/ALAN, what books are you looking forward to reading? If you were not able to attend, what books are you looking forward to reading out of these? 


P.S. There are so many great books shared that I had already read or shared with my students, so they were not included on this list. These are all books that I hadn’t heard of, owned, or read before NCTE/ALAN. 

3 thoughts on “Kellee’s NCTE/ALAN Top Books”

Leave a Comment