Kellee and Ricki’s #MustReadIn2015: It’s the End of the Year!



#mustreadin2015 is a challenged 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 were our hopeful lists, and we did not achieve as many books as we wanted, but this challenge did lead us to read so many more books than we would have read without the challenge! Next year, we may not do 25 books. 🙂 Many are books were texts that we wanted to read for a long time, others were books we just really wanted to read in 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 were what we were going to try to read more in 2015. We read many books not on this list, and that is, perhaps, why we didn’t completely finish our lists! Our sons wanted picture books, too, so we couldn’t say no to them!

Our full, original #mustreadin2015 book lists are available here

You can also read our updates:
Kellee & Ricki’s #MustReadin2015 Spring Update
Kellee & Ricki’s #MustReadin2015 Summer Update

Ricki’s #mustreadin2015 Final Update

 Completed: 14 out of 25

I did not meet my goal because I got a bit caught up in new releases, but I am strangely satisfied by the number of books that I finished. Many of these books were on my TBR list for a long time, so I am happy I made some progress on the older part of that list. Next year, I am going to be a bit more realistic.

gracefully like water on stone longwalk out of my mind wonderstruck

Gracefully Grayson by Ami Polonsky is a beautifully written story about a character named Grayson who was born male but has always felt like she was a female. I have read many books about gender identity, and this one stands out. Grayson felt very real to me, and I felt like I was going on a roller coaster ride right along with her as she confronted the daily challenges with gender. This is a text that is marketed more toward the middle grades, which is refreshing to me. Many (but not all) books about gender identity are geared toward the high school level, and while this is great, I believe we need more books about this important topic for younger readers.

Like Water on Stone by Dana Walrath is a fantastic book in verse that is set in the Ottoman Empire during the 1910s. It blends genres of magical realism and historical fiction. The point of view alternates with each poem, so I came to understand the differing perspectives of the family depicted in the text. The horrific genocide against Armenians is not common in literature, and this text sheds light on a time period that should be depicted more often. The strength of the children in this book will be inspirational to readers.

A Long Walk to Water by Linda Sue Park is based on the true story of Salva Dut, a Lost Boy of Sudan. I would love to teach this book alongside Ishmael Beah’s A Long Way Gone because there are many parallels across the story—and yet, there are also differences that would provide rich discussions. This is a book that made me want to be a middle school or elementary school teacher. I would love to do the Water for South Sudan challenge with my students. This sort of advocacy would be very empowering for students.

Out of my Mind by Sharon Draper. I could not put this book down. I don’t think I will ever forget Melody. She is a fifth grader who has cerebral palsy and has never spoken a word. Melody has such a strong spirit, and she is hysterical. Despite so many setbacks and frustrations, she is such a powerful force. Not only does this book teach empathy, but it makes me want to be a better person. The ways Melody is able to perceive others will teach readers a lot about being human. This is going on my favorites list!

Wonderstruck by Brian Selznick is another book I’ve wanted to read for quite some time. Everyone raves about Brian Selznick, and now I understand why! I loved the way he layers illustrations with story. The book follows two characters (many years apart), and the parallels in their story make this book quite powerful. This is my first Brian Selznick book, but it most definitely will not be my last.

Kellee’s #mustreadin2015 Final Update

Completed: 17 out of 25

I love having a #mustread list because it really pushes me to read books that others have recommended or that I’ve been meaning to read for many years. Many of my 8 that I didn’t read will be moved to my 2016 list.

Here are the books I’ve finished since our summer update:

how it went down readbetween hook's revenge tyrell

How It Wend Down by Kekla Magoon is a book that I think should be read and discussed by all teens. It looks into prejudice, point of view, gangs, love, abuse, and so much more. Mostly in this time where more and more black men are being shot, we really need to be talking to young people about why and look at our prejudices and how to stop this from continuing. Kekla Magoon brilliantly intertwines all of the stories and truly makes you look at Tariq’s murder.

Read Between the Lines by Jo Knowles is another brilliant text by Jo Knowles. Her ability to find the truth in so many different types of teens is just incredible. This book has a whole other aspect that I am so impressed with: the way the stories intertwine and all revolve around the middle finger but all in different ways. I definitely recommend this and all of Knowles’s books.

Heidi Schulz must have read my mind when writing Hook’s Revenge because I’ve always felt that Hook was the most interesting character in the Peter Pan stories (Peter himself is actually a bit obnoxious), and I wanted to know what ever happened to him. These books tell me not only that, but also the story of his feisty daughter. Jocelyn overcomes so much to finally become a pirate then, once in Neverland, she goes on quite an epic journey to avenge her father’s honor. Jocelyn is a spit fire and is ready to lead her crew on an adventure of her lifetime.

I am so glad that Ricki told me that I must read Tyrell by Coe Booth. I had read Bronxwood years ago, but it wasn’t until I read Tyrell that I really understood the context of Bronxwood and really found the love for Tyrell. Actually after reading Tyrell, I went back and reread Bronxwood and also read Kendra because I just didn’t want to leave the world. Coe Booth’s voices in her novels are so real and her stories are heart-wrenching and authentic.

Did you have a #mustreadin2015 list?
Share your final update below!
And don’t forget to share your #mustreadin2016 lists next Tuesday!

Signature andRickiSig

8 thoughts on “Kellee and Ricki’s #MustReadIn2015: It’s the End of the Year!”

  1. Everyone I’ve read didn’t finish, but I know that the ones newly out are so, so enticing. I think I’ll return to all the posts, and choose a few for my coming list in 2016. Each post is a reminder of those we don’t want to miss. Happy New Year to you both!

  2. I didn’t finish mine either. 🙂

    It was still a great challenge and helped me get a few off of my TBR.

    You all go to many great books. Hook’s Revenge is the only one here that I haven’t read yet. Maybe I will make time for it this year.

  3. I love that the lists worked for both of you! I feel the same – it really ensures that some titles that really are must reads don’t get missed with the hype of new books. But reading with those beautiful boys always comes first! Growing little readers is top priority! Thanks for being part of the challenge!I read and loved A Long Walk to Water and How it Went Down this year as well.

  4. I love that I shared a title or two from my must read list with you. Not completely surprised!
    Kellee, I see one of the books you read will be going on my list for 2016.
    Can’t wait to see what you choose for next year’s list.

  5. Happy New Year! Progress is progress on these lists, isn’t it? 🙂

    Ricki-I enjoyed Long Walk to Water, Out of My Mind and Wonderstruck (he is so talented!).

    Kellee-several of your highlighted books are on my to-read list, so I’m glad they will be worth the wait!

    My wrap-up post:

  6. I enjoyed seeing both of your updates. I agree wholeheartedly that making this list pushed me to read some books I had been “planning” to read for a very long time. That was probably one of the greatest things about making a “Must Read” list. The BEST part was seeing all the ideas and reading the thoughts of everyone else who participated. I LOVE reading, and don’t have very many friends/ colleagues who get into it as much as I do, so my online reading community IS my community. Thanks for sharing your updates, and for doing all you both do to keep all of us connected in our reading worlds! Happy New Year!

  7. This sounds like a great challenge – maybe I will join in 2016! I have a TBR list with almost 700 books on it (an Excel spreadsheet that just keeps growing!), so I need to choose some must-reads. I did some of that at the end of this year, but I would like to focus even more on my TBR list…and more importantly, my actual TBR bookshelves (I have an entire bookcase waiting to be read!) Yup, I’m out of control.

    Glad you both enjoyed the challenge last year!


    Book By Book


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