Kellee’s 2023 Reading Round Up: Statistics, Favorite Reads, #mustreadin2023 End-of-Year Check In, & 2024 Reading Goals

Share

Here is my 2023 Reading Round Up!


And just for fun: here is Trent’s 2023 Year in Books!


Here are my five star reads from 2023!

I also did a 2023 Reading Bracket!


I introduced my #mustreadin2023 list last January–here is my end-of-year summary:


I am not sure if there is going to be a #mustreadin2024 challenge, but if there is, I am setting my goal to read the 29 2024 Project Lit books that I haven’t read (red checkmarks = I’ve already read).


Happy reading in 2024, friends!!!
To see all the books I’m reading, visit my READ Goodreads shelf and feel free to follow 📖💙

Signature

Recent, High Interest, Engaging Graphic Novels Your Elementary and Middle School Students Will Love

Share

Recently, a few of my very close friends (incredible parents who I could not survive without) asked for book recommendations. Because recommending books is the thing that brings me the most joy, I am going to share a few upper elementary and middle grade titles that my kids have enjoyed recently. I will share the age that the books are marketed towards, but I won’t share reading levels because I don’t believe in them (see this article or this post).

Every family is different. Please pre-read the texts if you are nervous about content. I feel comfortable giving any of these books to my 1st and 4th graders, but I am okay with giving them anything that doesn’t have strong/graphic sexual content or graphic violence. Please be sure to talk with your child about the books, too, to unpack themes and ideas they are reading.

In most cases, I posted the first book’s name within the series to make it easier to search for book one.

The Titles Are In No Particular Order


FANTASY/SCI FI

Zita the Spacegirl series by Ben Hatke, Marketed ages 8-12.

Zita’s life took a cosmic left turn in the blink of an eye.

When her best friend is abducted by an alien doomsday cult, Zita leaps to the rescue and finds herself a stranger on a strange planet. Humanoid chickens and neurotic robots are shocking enough as new experiences go, but Zita is even more surprised to find herself taking on the role of intergalactic hero. Before long, aliens in all shapes and sizes don’t even phase her. Neither do ancient prophecies, doomed planets, or even a friendly con man who takes a mysterious interest in Zita’s quest.

Zita the Spacegirl is a fun, captivating tale of friendship and redemption from Flight veteran Ben Hatke. It also has more whimsical, eye-catching, Miyazaki-esque monsters than you can shake a stick at.

HiLo series by Judd Winick, Marketed Ages 8-12

Take off on an action packed adventure with HILO Book 1! Dog Man meets Big Nate in this hilarious New York Times bestselling graphic novel series that kids love!

BOOM! CLANG! CRASH! D.J. and Gina are totally ordinary kids. But Hilo isn’t! Hilo just fell out of the sky and doesn’t know where he came from, or what he’s doing on Earth. (Or why going to school in only your underwear is a BAD idea!) . . . But UH-OH, what if Hilo wasn’t the only thing to fall to our planet? Can the trio unlock the secrets of Hilo’s past? Can Hilo survive a day at school? Find out in HILO-a laugh-out-loud, epic story of friendship! Adventure! (And the occasionaly mutant space robot).

Wings of Fire series by Tui T. Sutherland, Marketed Ages 8-12

(Also in novel form.) The New York Times and USA Today bestselling series soars to even greater heights with a new prophecy and five new dragonets ready to claim their destiny! Daring mission… or deadly mistake?Winter has been a disappointment to his royal IceWing family his whole life. When his sister, Icicle, runs away from Jade Mountain Academy, fleeing terrible crimes and possibly planning to commit more, Winter knows that they both need a second chance to make things right — if only he can find her. Winter’s new clawmates, Moon, Qibli, and Kinkajou, won’t let him make this dangerous journey alone. They don’t seem to understand that IceWings, the most superior of all dragon tribes, can fix their own problems. When their search leads the dragonets straight into Queen Scarlet’s vicious talons, Winter is grateful to have some help. But even the bravest dragons can’t follow him to the Ice Kingdom, where he’ll have to face the greatest threat of all: his own family.

Guardians of Horsa series by Roan Black, Marketed Ages 5-9

In the first installment of the action-packed Guardians of Horsa graphic novel series, four young horses from clashing herds must join forces to solve a mystery and save magic.

Welcome to the realm of Horsa, a world of magic, wild horses, and danger. The four elemental herds of Horsa live in uncertain peace, which is to stay out of each other’s way and all will be fine. But when signs of a mysterious prophecy about a yearling with untold magical powers appear, four young horses from each herd are called to action. Now these elemental enemies must work together to solve the prophecy, find the yearling, and restore balance to Horsa.

Giants Beware series by Rafael Rosado and Jorge Aguirre, Marketed ages 6-9

Make way for Claudette the giant slayer in this delightful, fantastical adventure!

Claudette’s fondest wish is to slay a giant.But her village is so safe and quiet! What’s a future giant slayer to do?

With her best friend Marie (an aspiring princess), and her brother Gaston (a pastry-chef-to-be), Claudette embarks on a super-secret quest to find a giant—without parental permission. Can they find and defeat the giant before their parents find them and drag them back home?

Giants Beware! offers up a wondrous, self-contained world in the tradition of the very best of Pixar. Claudette and her friends will have you laughing out loud from page one.

Barb the Last Berzerker series by Dan Abdo and Jason Patterson, Marketed ages 6-8

The action of Moana meets the humor of books like Dog Man in this sidesplitting graphic novel about a young Berzerker who has to rescue her fellow warriors from the evil villain Witch Head before he destroys the world!

Barb is a Berzerker, one of a group of warriors sworn to protect the land of Bailiwick from the scourge of monsters that plagues it. But the fearsome crew seem to have met their match in the nefarious Witch Head. Using power from his magical sword, he tricked the Zerks and took them captive. Only Barb was able to escape—and she took Witch Head’s Shadow Blade with her.

Now it’s up to Barb to free her fellow warriors so they can stop Witch Head from taking over Bailiwick. On the way, she’ll battle vampire goat fiends, snot goblins, and a giant with serious foot odor issues (but don’t mention that to him—he’s very sensitive about it). Luckily, she’s got her best friend, Porkchop the yeti, to help her.

But the power of the Shadow Blade has a mind of its own, and the deeper Barb gets into her quest, the harder it is to keep the blade’s awesome power under control.

City of Dragons series by Jaimal Yogis & Vivian Truong, Marketed ages 8-12

Grace and her friends must protect a newly hatched dragon from mysterious evildoers.

When Grace moves to Hong Kong with her mom and new stepdad, her biggest concern is making friends at her fancy new boarding school. But when a mysterious old woman gifts her a dragon egg during a field trip, Grace discovers that the wonderful stories of dragons she heard when she was a young girl might actually be real–especially when the egg hatches overnight.

The dragon has immense powers that Grace has yet to understand. And that puts them both in danger from mysterious forces intent on abusing the dragon’s power. And now it’s up to Grace and her school friends to uncover the sinister plot threatening the entire city!

Aru Shah and the End of Time series by Roshani Chokshi, Marketed ages 8-12

(Also available in novel form) Best-selling author Rick Riordan introduces this adventure by Roshani Chokshi about twelve-year-old Aru Shah, who has a tendency to stretch the truth in order to fit in at school. While her classmates are jetting off to family vacations in exotic locales, she’ll be spending her autumn break at home, in the Museum of Ancient Indian Art and Culture, waiting for her mom to return from her latest archeological trip. Is it any wonder that Aru makes up stories about being royalty, traveling to Paris, and having a chauffeur? One day, three schoolmates show up at Aru’s doorstep to catch her in a lie. They don’t believe her claim that the museum’s Lamp of Bharata is cursed, and they dare Aru to prove it. Just a quick light, Aru thinks. Then she can get herself out of this mess and never ever fib again. But lighting the lamp has dire consequences. She unwittingly frees the Sleeper, an ancient demon whose duty it is to awaken the God of Destruction. Her classmates and beloved mother are frozen in time, and it’s up to Aru to save them. The only way to stop the demon is to find the reincarnations of the five legendary Pandava brothers, protagonists of the Hindu epic poem, the Mahabharata, and journey through the Kingdom of Death. But how is one girl in Spider-Man pajamas supposed to do all that?

The Cardboard Kingdom by Chad Sell, Marketed ages 8-12

Grace and her friends must protect a newly hatched dragon from mysterious evildoers.

When Grace moves to Hong Kong with her mom and new stepdad, her biggest concern is making friends at her fancy new boarding school. But when a mysterious old woman gifts her a dragon egg during a field trip, Grace discovers that the wonderful stories of dragons she heard when she was a young girl might actually be real–especially when the egg hatches overnight.

The dragon has immense powers that Grace has yet to understand. And that puts them both in danger from mysterious forces intent on abusing the dragon’s power. And now it’s up to Grace and her school friends to uncover the sinister plot threatening the entire city!

The Sand Warrior series by Mark Siegel, Alexis Siegel, Xanthe BoumaMatt Rockefeller, and Boya Sun, Marketed ages 8-12

Think Star Wars meets Avatar: The Last Airbender!

The Five Worlds are on the brink of extinction unless five ancient and mysterious beacons are lit. When war erupts, three unlikely heroes will discover there’s more to themselves—and more to their worlds—than meets the eye. . . .

Oona Lee, the clumsiest student at the Sand Dancer Academy, is a fighter with a destiny bigger than she could ever imagine.

An Tzu, a boy from the poorest slums, has a surprising gift and a knack for getting out of sticky situations.

Jax Amboy is the star athlete who is beloved by an entire galaxy, but what good is that when he has no real friends?

When these three kids are forced to team up on an epic quest, it will take not one, not two, but 5 WORLDS to contain all the magic and adventure!


REALISTIC FICTION

Two Tribes by Emily Bowen Cohen, Marketed ages 8-12

In her poignant debut graphic novel inspired by her own life, Emily Bowen Cohen embraces the complexity, meaning, and deep love that comes from being part of two vibrant tribes. Mia is still getting used to living with her mom and stepfather, and to the new role their Jewish identity plays in their home. Feeling out of place at home and at her Jewish day school, Mia finds herself thinking more and more about her Muscogee father, who lives with his new family in Oklahoma. Her mother doesn’t want to talk about him, but Mia can’t help but feel like she’s missing a part of herself without him in her life. Soon, Mia makes a plan to use the gifts from her bat mitzvah to take a bus to Oklahoma—without telling her mom—to visit her dad and find the connection to her Muscogee side she knows is just as important as her Jewish side. This graphic novel by Muscogee-Jewish writer and artist Emily Bowen Cohen is perfect for fans of American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang. It is published by Heartdrum, an imprint that centers stories about contemporary Indigenous young people.

Doodleville series by Chad Sell, Marketed ages 8-12

For fans of Svetlana Chmakova’s Awkward and Raina Telgemeier’s Smile comes an inventive new story from Cardboard Kingdom creator Chad Sell about a group of young artists who must work together when one of their own creations becomes a monster.

Levi won’t be easily tamed, and it seems there is a link between the monster’s bad behavior and Drew’s feelings. With the help of her loyal art club friends, will she be able to save Doodleville–and Levi–before it’s too late?

Drew is just a regular artist. But there’s nothing ordinary about her art. Her doodles are mischievous . . . and rarely do they stay in Doodleville, the world she’s created in her sketchbook. Instead, Drew’s doodles prefer to explore the world outside. But after an inspiring class trip to the Art Institute of Chicago–where the doodles cause a bit too much trouble–Drew decides it’s time to take her artistic talents to the next level.
Enter the Leviathan–Levi, for short. He’s bigger and better than anything Drew has ever created before. He’s a monster, but a friendly one. That is, until Levi begins to wreak havoc on Drew’s other doodles–and on the heroes her classmates have dreamt up.

Squished by Megan Wagner Lloyd and Michelle Mee Nutter, Marketed for ages 8-12

From the Eisner-nominated duo behind the instant bestseller Allergic comes a fun new graphic novel about finding your own space… especially when you’re in a family of nine!

Eleven-year-old Avery Lee loves living in Hickory Valley, Maryland. She loves her neighborhood, school, and the end-of-summer fair she always goes to with her two best friends. But she’s tired of feeling squished by her six siblings! They’re noisy and chaotic and the younger kids love her a little too much. All Avery wants is her own room — her own space to be alone and make art. So she’s furious when Theo, her grumpy older brother, gets his own room instead, and her wild baby brother, Max, moves into the room she already shares with her clinging sister Pearl! Avery hatches a plan to finally get her own room, all while trying to get Max to sleep at night, navigating changes in her friendships, and working on an art entry for the fair. And when Avery finds out that her family might move across the country, things get even more complicated.

Megan Wagner Lloyd and Michelle Mee Nutter have once again teamed up to tell a funny, heartfelt, and charming story of family, friendship, and growing up.

Roller Girl by Victoria Jamieson, Marketed for ages 8-12

For fans of Raina Telgemeier’s Smile, a heartwarming graphic novel about friendship and surviving junior high through the power of roller derby.

Twelve-year-old Astrid has always done everything with her best friend Nicole. So when Astrid signs up for roller derby camp, she assumes Nicole will too. But Nicole signs up for dance camp with a new friend instead, and so begins the toughest summer of Astrid’s life. There are bumps and bruises as Astrid learns who she is without Nicole…and what it takes to be a strong, tough roller girl.

Swim Team by Johnnie Christmas, Marketed for ages 8-12

Bree can’t wait for her first day at her new middle school, Enith Brigitha, home to the Mighty Manatees–until she’s stuck with the only elective that fits her schedule, the dreaded Swim 101. The thought of swimming makes Bree more than a little queasy, yet she’s forced to dive headfirst into one of her greatest fears. Lucky for her, Etta, an elderly occupant of her apartment building and former swim team captain, is willing to help.

With Etta’s training and a lot of hard work, Bree suddenly finds her swim-crazed community counting on her to turn the school’s failing team around. But that’s easier said than done, especially when their rival, the prestigious Holyoke Prep, has everything they need to leave the Mighty Manatees in their wake.

Can Bree defy the odds and guide her team to a state championship, or have the Manatees swum their last lap–for good?

Hoops by Matt Tavares, Marketed for ages 8-12

A work of fiction inspired by a true story, Matt Tavares’s debut graphic novel dramatizes the historic struggle for gender equality in high school sports.

It is 1975 in Indiana, and the Wilkins Regional High School girls’ basketball team is in their rookie season. Despite being undefeated, they practice at night in the elementary school and play to empty bleachers. Unlike the boys’ team, the Lady Bears have no buses to deliver them to away games and no uniforms, much less a laundry service. They make their own uniforms out of T-shirts and electrical tape. And with help from a committed female coach, they push through to improbable victory after improbable victory. Illustrated in full color, this story about the ongoing battle of women striving for equality in sports rings with honesty, bravery, and heart.

When Stars Are Scattered by Victoria Jamieson and Omar Mohamed, Marketed for ages 9-13

Heartbreak and hope exist together in this remarkable graphic novel about growing up in a refugee camp, as told by a Somali refugee to the Newbery Honor-winning creator of Roller Girl.

Omar and his younger brother, Hassan, have spent most of their lives in Dadaab, a refugee camp in Kenya. Life is hard there: never enough food, achingly dull, and without access to the medical care Omar knows his nonverbal brother needs. So when Omar has the opportunity to go to school, he knows it might be a chance to change their future . . . but it would also mean leaving his brother, the only family member he has left, every day.

Heartbreak, hope, and gentle humor exist together in this graphic novel about a childhood spent waiting, and a young man who is able to create a sense of family and home in the most difficult of settings. It’s an intimate, important, unforgettable look at the day-to-day life of a refugee, as told to New York Times Bestselling author/artist Victoria Jamieson by Omar Mohamed, the Somali man who lived the story.

Twins by Varian Johnson and Shannon Wright, Marketed for ages 8-12

Coretta Scott King Honor author Varian Johnson teams up with rising cartoonist Shannon Wright for a delightful middle-grade graphic novel!

Maureen and Francine Carter are twins and best friends. They participate in the same clubs, enjoy the same foods, and are partners on all their school projects. But just before the girls start sixth grade, Francine becomes Fran — a girl who wants to join the chorus, run for class president, and dress in fashionable outfits that set her apart from Maureen. A girl who seems happy to share only two classes with her sister!

Maureen and Francine are growing apart and there’s nothing Maureen can do to stop it. Are sisters really forever? Or will middle school change things for good?

Play Like a Girl by Misty Wilson and David Wilson, Marketed for ages 8-12

Debut author Misty Wilson chronicles her seventh-grade experience as the only girl on her town’s football team in this empowering graphic memoir about teamwork, friendship, crushes, and touchdowns.

Misty never shies away from a challenge, on or off the field. So when the boys tell her she can’t play football, there’s only one thing to do: join their team and show them what she’s got.

But the training is rougher than she thought—and so are the other guys, who aren’t thrilled about having a girl on their team.

Middle school isn’t so easy, either. Misty wants to fit in with the popular kids, but they think a girl playing football is “weird.” Even her best friend doesn’t get it.

El Deafo by Cece Bell, Marketed for ages 8-12

Starting at a new school is scary, even more so with a giant hearing aid strapped to your chest! At her old school, everyone in Cece’s class was deaf. Here she is different. She is sure the kids are staring at the Phonic Ear, the powerful aid that will help her hear her teacher. Too bad it also seems certain to repel potential friends.

Then Cece makes a startling discovery. With the Phonic Ear she can hear her teacher not just in the classroom, but anywhere her teacher is in school — in the hallway… in the teacher’s lounge… in the bathroom! This is power. Maybe even superpower! Cece is on her way to becoming El Deafo, Listener for All. But the funny thing about being a superhero is that it’s just another way of feeling different… and lonely. Can Cece channel her powers into finding the thing she wants most, a true friend?

This funny perceptive graphic novel memoir about growing up hearing impaired is also an unforgettable book about growing up, and all the super and super embarrassing moments along the way.

Sunny Side Up series by Jennifer L. Holm and Matthew Holm, Marketed for ages 8-12

When is a summer vacation not really a summer vacation? Sunny Lewin has been packed off to Florida to live with her grandfather for the summer. At first she thought Florida might be fun — it is the home of Disney World, after all. But the place where Gramps lives is no amusement park. It’s full of . . . old people. Really old people.Luckily, Sunny isn’t the only kid around. She meets Buzz, a boy who is completely obsessed with comic books, and soon they’re having adventures of their facing off against golfball-eating alligators, runaway cats, and mysteriously disappearing neighbors. But the question remains — why is Sunny down in Florida in the first place? The answer lies in a family secret that won’t be secret to Sunny much longer. . .

Drama by Raina Telgemeier, Marketed for ages 10-14

PLACES, EVERYONE!

Callie loves theater. And while she would totally try out for her middle school’s production of Moon Over Mississippi, she can’t really sing. Instead she’s the set designer for the drama department stage crew, and this year she’s determined to create a set worthy of Broadway on a middle-school budget. But how can she, when she doesn’t know much about carpentry, ticket sales are down, and the crew members are having trouble working together? Not to mention the onstage AND offstage drama that occurs once the actors are chosen. And when two cute brothers enter the picture, things get even crazier!

The Smile series by Raina Telgemeier, Marketed for ages 8-12

Raina just wants to be a normal sixth grader. But one night after Girl Scouts she trips and falls, severely injuring her two front teeth, and what follows is a long and frustrating journey with on-again, off-again braces, surgery, embarrassing headgear, and even a retainer with fake teeth attached. And on top of all that, there’s still more to deal with: a major earthquake, boy confusion, and friends who turn out to be not so friendly. This coming-of-age true story is sure to resonate with anyone who has ever been in middle school, and especially those who have ever had a bit of their own dental drama.

Measuring Up by Lily LaMatte and Ann Xu, Marketed for ages 8-12

Twelve-year-old Cici has just moved from Taiwan to Seattle, and the only thing she wants more than to fit in at her new school is to celebrate her grandmother, A-má’s, seventieth birthday together.

Since she can’t go to A-má, Cici cooks up a plan to bring A-má to her by winning the grand prize in a kids’ cooking contest to pay for A-má’s plane ticket! There’s just one problem: Cici only knows how to cook Taiwanese food.

And after her pickled cucumber debacle at lunch, she’s determined to channel her inner Julia Child. Can Cici find a winning recipe to reunite with A-má, a way to fit in with her new friends, and somehow find herself too?

Katie the Catsitter series by Colleen AF Venable and Stephanie Yue, Marketed for ages 8-12

A new middle-grade graphic novel series about growing up, friendship, heroes, and cats (lots of cats!).

Katie is dreading the boring summer ahead while her best friends are all away at camp–something that’s way out of Katie and her mom’s budget, UNLESS Katie can figure out a way earn the money for camp herself. But when Katie gets a job catsitting for her mysterious upstairs neighbor, life get interesting.

First, Madeline has 217 cats (!) and they’re not exactly . . . normal cats. Also, why is Madeline always out EXACTLY when the city’s most notorious villain commits crimes?! Is it possible that Katie’s upstairs neighbor is really a super villain?

Can Katie wrangle a whole lot of wayward cats, save a best friendship (why is Beth barely writing back? And who’s this boy she keeps talking about?!), AND crack the biggest story in the city’s history? Some heroes have capes . . . Katie has cats!

The New Kid series by Jerry Craft, Marketed for ages 8-12

A graphic novel about starting over at a new school where diversity is low and the struggle to fit in is real.

Seventh grader Jordan Banks loves nothing more than drawing cartoons about his life. But instead of sending him to the art school of his dreams, his parents enroll him in a prestigious private school known for its academics, where Jordan is one of the few kids of color in his entire grade.

As he makes the daily trip from his Washington Heights apartment to the upscale Riverdale Academy Day School, Jordan soon finds himself torn between two worlds—and not really fitting into either one. Can Jordan learn to navigate his new school culture while keeping his neighborhood friends and staying true to himself?

Invisible by Christina Diaz Gonzalez and Gabriela Epstein, Marketed for ages 8-12

For fans of Twins and Allergic, a must-have graphic novel about five very different students who are forced together by their school to complete community service… and may just have more in common than they thought.

How can you be yourself when no one sees the real you?

Five students meet in the school cafeteria when they’re forced to complete their school community service hours.

There’s Jorge: the brain

Sara: the loner

Dayara: the tough kid

Nico: the rich kid

And Miguel: the athlete

They immediately know that they have nothing in common with each other… even though their school administration has decided that they all belong together.

None of the kids wants to be there, and each has their own issues they’re dealing with in their life outside of school. But when they encounter someone who truly needs their help, they might just be able to come together to work as a team—and help their community—after all.

Christina Diaz Gonzalez, award-winning author of The Red Umbrella, and Gaby Epstein, illustrator of the Baby-Sitters Club graphic novel adaptations, have created a vibrant and relatable graphic novel about unexpected friendships and being seen for who you really are.

Awkward series by Svetlana Chmakova, Marketed for ages 10+

Cardinal rule #1 for surviving school: Don’t get noticed by the mean kids.

Cardinal rule #2 for surviving school: Seek out groups with similar interests and join them.

On her first day at her new school, Penelope–Peppi–Torres reminds herself of these basics. But when she trips into a quiet boy in the hall, Jaime Thompson, she’s already broken the first rule, and the mean kids start calling her the “nerder girlfriend.” How does she handle this crisis? By shoving poor Jaime and running away!

Falling back on rule two and surrounding herself with new friends in the art club, Peppi still can’t help feeling ashamed about the way she treated Jaime. Things are already awkward enough between the two, but to make matters worse, he’s a member of her own club’s archrivals–the science club! And when the two clubs go to war, Peppi realizes that sometimes you have to break the rules to survive middle school!

I’ll continue to add books to this list as more are released! Let me know if I missed one of your favorites in the comments section, and I’ll add it! Happy Reading!

Student Voices: Book Recommendations from Anja K., Meghan K., & Teresa Z., 7th graders, and Silvia S., 8th grader

Share

Book Recommendations

“Top Ten Books I Recommend” by Anja K., 2022-23 7th grade


This book is so good; I really don’t get why people don’t read it! It is about a girl that goes to school in Paris and meets a boy that she really thinks is cute. I really thought it was a cute moment when St. Clair took Anna to his secret spot!! So Romantic!!! I REALLY RECOMMEND!!


This book is such a great book!! It is about 4 kids that are in suspicion for killing a young man in the same grade. I REALLY RECOMMEND!! (I definitely recommend it for people that are interested in mystery!!) 


This book is SO GOOD! It has a lot of action and a bit of blood, but if you like action, this book is for you! It is about students that go to a school and learn how to be heroes. Great! Amazing! Recommend!!


I think this book was a really cute book!! It is about this girl that found a smelly pet and does not know what it is so she tries to find out what the animal is and how it got there. This was a very interesting and funny book to read!! Really recommend for people that like funny content!!


This series is so good!! I am trying to finish the series and you can get some of the books in the HCMS library!! This series is about a boy named Tanjiro and his sister which turns into a demon and fights with him in the Demon Slayer Corps. 


 I really recommend this book it is so good!! It has a nice theme to it about twins, their competitiveness, and how they live!! It was a cute little book!!


This book is such a good book!! I totally recommend this!! It is about a girl that is allergic to mainly dogs and all animals with fur so she tries to get a pet, and it does not work out so well. 


This book is about kids that learn how to do Yo-Yo tricks and dancing. I really recommend this book for kids that like graphic novels that have dancing in it. This book is a little different from others though.


A Silent Voice is about a girl that is deaf and a boy that makes fun of her and how he tries to make up with her in High School after Middle School. I really loved how it had a cute message to it!! If you like this summary, I totally recommend this book for you!! 


I really loved how this book had 2 twins that wanted to be different and not the same as the other twin because people kept on messing up there identities I really recommend!!

“Ten Favorite Books” by Meghan K., 2022-23 7th grade


A girl who wants to play football with the boys but everyone is judging her….She does not care what people think and she follows her dream. I recommend this book because girls can do anything boys can do. Also, this book made me really happy to read because I was in a similar situation when I started playing football with the boys.


A family moves to a new town, They meet this boy and he claims the town is haunted, Only to their surprise he is right….. I recommend this book because it was interesting! I could not stop reading it.


A girl named Pip thinks Sal did not murder Andie Bell. Will she find the real murderer. I LOVE this book!! SO many twist and turns. Always kept me interested. 


A girl who does not want to have a Quince. Her family convinced her but it went differently for what she suspected. I really like this book because the mom finally realizes that the girl should wear what she likes and do what she likes.

A girl who wanted a pet dog until she found out she was ALLERGIC… So she decided to get a rat, still allergic. Ends up finding a way to keep her cute little rat friends. I Love Allergic! Definitely a 5 out of 5. Amazing book. I Understand because I have a lot of pets and I thought I was Allergic to my cat and I was sooo sad. But it ended up that I was not!


A girl who wants to be just like her dream Tik Toker. One day she wished for her to be 22 just like the famous Tik Tok star she wanted to be. Really good book! Kept me interested. Definitely worth reading. I loved it!


A big family has to share a tiny house. Second oldest child is not too happy with her older brother because he does not have to share a room, so they find a solution. I can relate to this book because my middle sister got the biggest room and I always wanted it but when she moved out I got it! Definitely miss my sister though.


When girls were brought down because they wanted to do other things besides chores. Jane Goodall did not care and did what she loved…Studying chimpanzees. I love reading books where women do what they want to do and do not let people judge them!! Pretty good book.


A young Otter learns to follow his mothers footsteps and be just as good as her. I like this book a lot because as family you always need to stick together even through ups and downs. 


Stacy has to go to babysit this family… They go to the beach and Stacy falls in love. How does Marry Anne feel about having to watch over all the kids by herself while Stacy is off with this guy. I recommend this book because it shows that you should stick with your friends over a guy! Don’t just push your BFF over a guy you just met. 

“Ten Books I Enjoyed from my School Library” by Teresa Z., 2022-23 7th grade


This book is really good. I enjoyed it!


It was about a kid that just went to a new school which has rich kids and more bullying involved with it but I thought it was really good!!


I love this book because it teaches you how to reach your goals.


I like this book. Overall it’s good, but it is really dark.


This book is so good. I love how they learned how to overcome their differences and be friends.


I love this book–it’s so good! I love love stories!


I love this book it teaches how to go through stuff, and it’s so fun to read. 


This book is good; it teaches a really good lesson.


This book is really good, and it’s really fast to read. I love it so much!


This book is really good–I 100% recommend this book.

“Recommended: The Clique by Lisi Harrison” by Silvia S., 2022-23 8th grade

The Clique books felt exclusive and special. I truly enjoyed the drama and how Lisi Harrison created their own slang and inside jokes with hidden meanings. Reading the clique allowed me to live a fantasy quite similar to Mean Girls with girls my age with real insecurities. I do wish the clique continues and that some of the characters undergo some character development. The Clique will always be a series I recommend because it deserves every star it gets. I hope that you are as interested in the clique as I was. 

Ever dream of that fashionista and luxurious lifestyle with the perfect friend group? Meet The Pretty Committee comprised of 4 girls Massie, Alicia, Dylan, and Kristen. Massie the girl meant to lead and conquer with her miu miu lace cami, who can turn any fashion-don’t into a fashion-yes. Alicia is the exotically beautiful and stylish runner-up that can get any boy with a hair flip. Dylan the polished redhead daughter of a tv star surrounded by cameras and all you can hear of clicks and flashes. Kristen is the smartest and sportiest girl in the pretty committee with her secret double life. 

On the night of the nationwide New Year Yve’s party where everything comes to place by the drop of a handbag. Massie Block trapped as a beta in The Ahnnabeees (the wanna-be clique) at Presbyterian Middle, has amazing ideas for them but is neglected. Alicia Rivera eager to guide and lead her dance studio squad with their caption on vacation, gets her one in a lifetime to shine and perform at Merri-Lee Marvil’s New Year Yves party. Dylan Marvil always sweet-talked because of her mother’s fame she has had no one ever bother standing up to her. Kristen Gregory needs to leave planet loser and change up her life this year. Claire Lynons the sweet naive Orlando girl psyched to win a last-minute invite to the New Year Yves party but has to sneak out before the countdown to midnight ends. 

Massie goes to a physics telling her she will now be the leader and connect 5 gems by midnight and she should have purple because royals like Massie always had purple. Alicia with her determination “offends” one of her teammates and gets in great trouble but who can let a chance of being the next star go like that? But it’s not meant for her; she trips on a bracelet charm. Claire was held in a room before getting her first kiss from a star until her parents come in to take her out after seeing her on tv. Dylan struggling to fit in her size 2 pants doesn’t know her mother’s stylist has put skinning mirrors is told the truth by Massie and wonders who that girl is. Massie after telling a girl her pants are not going to fit no matter what bumps into someone and her charms come falling out.

Kristen who happened to come in and sees Dylan out asking to switch clothe seems rich enough to enter the party sees a girl looking for something and goes to help. Each girl finds a charm and goes to Massie to give her the charm and they realize they are meant for each other after discussing how each of their lives is missing something. Massie and Alicia decide to move schools to Octavian Day and The Clique begins. But where is the last gem? 

Thank you so much to my student voices today and their recommendations!

Author Guest Post: “After the Little House Books” by Susan Lynn Meyer, Author of A Sky Full of Song

Share

“After the Little House Books”

Maybe you have a child or student who absolutely loved Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House books and who feels forlorn at reaching the end of the series.  Or maybe you’re wary about introducing these books into your house or classroom, given recent critiques of the books’ representation of Native and Black people, attitudes particularly voiced by Ma.

What other books can you turn to?

Here are some other middle-grade novels about this period in history from a variety of different perspectives that you might want to have in your classroom or library to hand to a young reader.

PRAIRIE LOTUS by Linda Sue Park (Boston: Clarion Books, 2020).

Linda Sue Park grew up loving the Little House books but wishing that she could see herself in them, as she explains in her author’s note.  The result was this novel, in which she imagines a way that a half-white, half-Chinese (or in fact, as Hanna later learns, one-fourth Chinese, one-fourth Korean) girl could have ended up in DeSmet, South Dakota.  Park’s main character, fourteen-year-old Hanna, has come from California in 1880 with her father to the small town of LaForge, where he opens a dry good shop.  Hanna dreams of getting her diploma and then becoming a dressmaker in her father’s shop—but she must struggle against her father’s resistance and the biases of the townspeople to achieve her dreams.

BIRCHBARK HOUSE by Louise Erdrich (NY: Hyperion, 1999).

An Ojibwa girl, seven-year-old Omakayas, lives contentedly with her family on Turtle Island in Lake Superior in the 1840s, learning in detail the everyday ways of her people.  When a white fur trader, passing through, brings smallpox to their community, her people are devastated by the disease—and through the devastation, Omakayas finds herself in the role of healer and also learns the grievous story of her past.  The narrative continues in later books in the series.  Perfect for students who want another series of novels.

FOLLOW ME DOWN TO NICODEMUS TOWN by A. LaFaye, illustrated by Nicole Tadgell (Albert Whitman, 2019).

Not a middle-grade novel, but a longer picture book, this one tells the story of Dede, who sees a notice offering land to Black people in Kansas.  She and her parents leave their life of sharecropping in the South and head to Nicodemus, Kansas, a town founded in the 1870s by formerly enslaved people, where they stake a claim and achieve a home of their own for the first time.

MAY B. by Caroline Starr Rose (NY: Random House, 2012).

This verse novel tells the dramatic and somber story of twelve-year old May B. in nineteen-century Kansas.  May B. struggles in school and her parents, in need of money, arrange for her to live as a hired girl with the Oblingers, a young couple homesteading in an isolated dugout fifteen miles from May’s home.  When the depressed young wife flees and Mr. Oblinger heads off to find her, May finds herself alone and struggling to survive for months until her father returns to bring her home for Christmas.  This verse novel is perfect for struggling readers, as it is about a girl with reading challenges and because it tells its story in few words.

A dear friend of mine, a severely dyslexic poet / college professor, once told me that she turned to poetry as a young person because you got more meaning out of it per word—the struggle over each word had a bigger payoff.  Poetry or verse novels may be perfect for a dyslexic reader you know

And my book:

A SKY FULL OF SONG by Susan Lynn Meyer (NY: Union Square Kids, 2023).

Eleven-year old Shoshana and her large family flee the persecution they face as Jews in the Russian Empire and come to North Dakota in 1906 where they struggle to farm the land while living in a dugout.  Shoshana takes a fierce joy in the beauty of the prairie and in her family’s new animals, but her beloved older sister Libke misses their Ukrainian village and has a harder time learning English and making friends.  Soon the sisters are at odds for the first time ever.  Shoshana finds herself hiding her Jewish identity in the face of prejudice, while Libke insists on preserving it.  Shoshana has to look deep within herself to realize that her family’s difference is their greatest strength.  By listening to the music that has lived in her heart all along, Shoshana finds new meaning in the Jewish expression all beginnings are difficult, as well as in the resilience and traditions her people have brought all the way to the North Dakota prairie.

Praise: 

“A different kind of prairie story has arisen, one that seeks in some manner to correct the past.”—The Wall Street Journal

“Meyer layers richly detailed depictions of Jewish traditions, stunning descriptions of the landscape, and a highly sympathetic narrator to convey an underreported historical arc.”—Publishers Weekly

“Frequent parallels to the Little House series accentuate how different Shoshana’s experience is from the White, Christian, mythically American lives of her classmates . . . . A moving, gently kind coming-to-America story.”—Kirkus Reviews


Possible read-alike exercises for students:

If your students read a Wilder novel paired with one of the read-alike books above, or if your students instead read two of the books above, it might be fun (as former teacher Stephanie Fitzgerald suggests on Goodreads—thank you!) to have them create Venn diagrams of the two books.

Draw two large, overlapping circles.  In the overlapping space, list what the two books have in common.  In the rest of each circle list elements that are different in the two books.  Color in each circle or add drawings for an extra element of fun!

About the Author: Susan Lynn Meyer is the author of two previous middle-grade historical novels—Black Radishes, a Sydney Taylor Honor Award winner, and Skating with the Statue of Liberty—as well as three picture books. Her works have won the Jane Addams Peace Association Children’s Book Award and the New York State Charlotte Award, as well as many other honors. Her novels have been chosen as Junior Library Guild and PJ Our Way selections, included among Bank Street College of Education’s Best Children’s Books of the Year, and translated into German and Chinese. She is Professor of English and Creative Writing at Wellesley College and lives outside Boston.

Thank you, Susan, for this read-alike list!

Student Voices: Author Spotlights from Kamari L., 8th grader, and Hala B. & Trinity P., 7th graders

Share

Author Spotlights

“Judy Blume” by Kamari L., 2022-23 8th grader

Judy Blume’s books have been a staple of young adult literature for decades for a good reason. Her ability to capture the struggles and triumphs of being a young adult has resonated with readers for generations. One of her most beloved books that I will talk about today is Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret. 

In this timeless classic, Mrs Blume follows the journey of Margaret Simon as she navigates the challenges of growing up. From dealing with her parent’s divorce to trying to fit in with a new group of friends, Margaret’s experiences are both relatable and heartwarming. One of the reasons I loved this book is because I could relate to Margaret’s struggles. Like her, I was trying to figure out my place in the world and understand my changing body. Reading about Margaret’s experiences made me feel less alone and gave me a sense of comfort and understanding. 

I love the way it tackles complex issues with honesty and sensitivity. The novel deals with topics like religion, menstruation, and peer pressure in a way that is approachable for teenagers. I appreciated that the book didn’t talk down to its readers, like some adults tend to, but instead treated them as intelligent and capable of understanding these important issues. Something about Blume’s writing style is honest and straightforward, which makes the book accessible to readers of all ages. Her ability to tackle important topics like puberty and religion with sensitivity and humor is what sets her apart from other authors in the genre. That’s something I love. 

Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret remains a must-read for anyone going through the ups and downs of being a teenager, which isn’t always easy. Blume’s ability to capture the complexities of growing up is a testament to her talent as a writer and her deep understanding of what it means to be a teenager. It’s a classic for a reason and deserves a place on every bookshelf. It’s a personal favorite!

“Jerry Craft” by Hala B., 2022-23 7th grade

Jerry Craft is an all time favorite author-illustrator who has made a name for himself in the world of children’s literature. He has created multiple books, including the graphic novel series New Kid, which has won many great awards. The reason his books are amazing is because of the fact that he uses his life stories and experiences to add on to life created in the books full of creative and adventurous journeys.

Jerry Craft’s work is known for its ability to reach compound problems in a way that is both appealing and obtainable for young readers. They are told through the eyes of the characters he created that are relatable to others and showed amazing characteristics. He is a talented and important voice in the world of children’s literature. His work is entertaining and really well thought out, he also has the power to inspire and encourage young readers to think cautiously about the world they have around them and how to acknowledge the different situations that may happen.

Jerry Craft is a great author because he uses his life experiences to achieve an amazing story that is worthy of being told. The books he writes about reflects on my middle school in many ways like showing students that are having a hard time that they are not alone and that their problems always have solutions.

Why I chose to write about Jerry Craft 

The reason I wrote about this topic is because I think that Jerry Craft’s story should be shared and read by multiple people that may be influenced by it. These books allows others to get another perspective on the life issues people have been through, I love the way he stretches his story to a whole new world of experiences and adventures with challenges and solutions and I know if other people read his books they would feel that way as well.

Jerry Craft’s school visit

I am really excited that Jerry Craft is coming for a school visit on February, I think that meeting the amazing person behind the awesome books will be an interesting and fun-filled time. These school visits teach a lot of things about authors like how they are also people who are not different from anyone else. Their minds intrigue stories that come to life and have an impact on their readers. An author takes a lot of time coming up with these ideas, it is hard and not easy, yet, they still manage to impress everyone that has come across their books. Recently, we had Christina Diaz Gonzalez come to visit our school which was very exciting and fulfilling to watch. The reason these school visits are memorable is because of the hard work given from these authors to provide all the students with honest answers to their questions and allowing the students to get to know the author by sharing their stories and adventures with them.

“Katherine Applegate’s Books” by Trinity P., 2022-23 7th grade

Throughout the years, I have read books by Katherine Applegate, and let me tell you those books are amazing! I will only review the books that I have read or am excited about reading soon there are still more amazing books that she created that I have not read yet. 

She is most recognized by the book The One And Only Ivan, somewhat based on a true story about a gorilla named Ivan living in a small circus in the Exit 8 Big Top Mall and Video Arcade. It is a very amazing book with lovable characters which I love. 

The One And Only Bob which takes place after The One And Only Ivan, Bob used to be a stray, living on the streets that stumbled into the Exit 8 Big Top Mall and Video Arcade and met Ivan and ever since they have been best pals, now he has a new home and family and still sees Ivan but then a storm came and he has to go on an adventure, finding lost family, saving lives, and making new friends. Definitely recommend it to people who have read The One and Only Ivan because it is so fun and great. 

I have not read The One And Only Ruby yet, but I will and I am so excited, that it came out that I ordered it a day later and would probably read it this summer. 

The Endling series is an amazing fictional story with mythical animals and magic. It is about a Dairne named Byx who is convinced that she is the last of her kind after her species is said to be extended. She makes friends and sets off for somewhere where she might be safe and hopefully find other Dairnes. This is probably of my favorite books because of all of the excitement and adventures.

Wishtree is a very touching and sweet story of a tree where people in the neighborhood has a tradition, they write their wishes on a strip of fabric, paper, etc, and tie it to the branches. The tree also protects animals that call it home. What’s interesting is that it is told from the perspective of the tree and its feelings and interactions with the surroundings. It is beautiful and very heartwarming and would recommend it to people. 

Odder is about an otter named Odder and her life from living in the ocean to losing her mother and being rescued, then being released back into the ocean, and later she was in a devastating accident with a shark. It has more information about the animals which is a little different but still quite interesting.

Thank you so much to my student voices today and their look at these three amazing authors!

Author Guest Post: “All Readers Benefit from Sad Stories” by Saira Mir, Author of Always Sisters

Share

“All Readers Benefit from Sad Stories”

Often times picture books with sad storylines are seen only as tools for children who have suffered loss, but they serve a vital role for opening up conversations about compassion and kindness for all readers. A safe window into grief fosters empathy and bravery. It allows readers to build recognition of struggle and a comforting vocabulary.

Sad stories also explore the beautiful relationship between love and loss. In Kate DeCamillo’s Time Magazine essay, Why Children’s Books Should Be a Little Sad she wrote, “I think our job is to trust our readers. I think our job is to see and to let ourselves be seen. I think our job is to love the world.” That is what my book, Always Sisters: A Story of Loss and Love aims to do. Raya eagerly anticipates a sibling who is not yet born. Her hopes are crushed when her parents experience a pregnancy loss. Readers witness a love so strong that it grew before Raya met her sister and will continue long after. Raya learns to heal by honoring the love for her sister. In one spread, she speaks to classmates who’ve also recently lost loved ones and she feels less alone.

Readers can gain so much from sad stories: feel seen, appreciate the relationship between love and loss, and learn to care for heartache better, together.

Here are beautiful, sad picture book recommendations that can help all readers:

SATURDAYS ARE FOR STELLA
By Candy Wellins, Illustrated by Charlie Eve Ryan

George loves Saturdays.

That’s because Saturdays mean time with Grandma Stella. The two of them love going on adventures downtown to visit the dinosaur museum and ride on the carousel! Even when they stay in, George and Stella have fun together, making cinnamon rolls without popping open a tube and sharing the biggest, best hugs.

Then one day Stella is gone, and George is ready to cancel Saturdays. But when a new addition to the family arrives, George finds a way to celebrate the priceless memories he made with his grandma―while making new ones too.

THE END OF SOMETHING WONDERFUL
By Stephanie V.W. Lucianovic, Illustrated by George Ermos

With gentle humor and quirkiness, this sympathetic book demonstrates how to say goodbye to a beloved pet and give it a proper sendoff. The End of Something Wonderful helps kids handle their feelings when they’re hurting and can’t find all the right words. In a warm, understanding, sometimes funny way, it guides children as they plan a backyard funeral to say goodbye, from choosing a box and a burial spot to giving a eulogy and wiping away tears.

JENNY MEI IS SAD
By Tracy Subisak

With this educational and entertaining picture book, learn how to approach difficult emotions with compassion and understanding—and be the best friend you can be.

My friend Jenny Mei is sad. But you might not be able to tell.

Jenny Mei still smiles a lot. She makes everyone laugh. And she still likes blue Popsicles the best. But, her friend knows that Jenny Mei is sad, and does her best to be there to support her.

This beautifully illustrated book is perfect for introducing kids to the complexity of sadness, and to show them that the best way to be a good friend, especially to someone sad, is by being there for the fun, the not-fun, and everything in between.

THE YELLOW SUITCASE
By Meera Sriram, Illustrated by Meera Sethi

In The Yellow Suitcase, Asha travels with her parents from America to India to mourn her grandmother’s passing. Asha’s grief and anger are compounded by the empty yellow suitcase usually reserved for gifts to and from Grandma, but when she discovers a gift left behind just for her, Asha realizes that the memory of her grandmother will live on inside her, no matter where she lives.

Always Sisters: A Story of Loss and Love
Author: Saira Mir
Illustrator: Shahrzad Maydani
Published August 22nd, 2023 by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers

About the Book: This much-needed picture book about navigating the difficult experience of pregnancy loss meets young readers at their level to offer a tender look at grieving someone who never entered the world.

Raya can’t wait for her baby sister to arrive. She’s already got a name—Nura—and Raya is certain they’ll be best friends. She’s got all kinds of plans for things they’ll do together like run through the sprinklers, play dress-up, and give piggyback rides.

But one day, Mama returns from the doctor with tears in her eyes. Nura won’t be coming home after all. Raya feels confused and sad, like all the love she has for Nura is trapped inside her. With the help of family, friends, and her school counselor, though, Raya finds a way to grieve this loss and to share the love she’ll always feel for her sister.

About the Author: Saira Mir is a physician and author of the award-winning picture book Muslim Girls Rise, which she wrote for her daughter and other children to have Muslim feminist role models. As an OB-GYN, she has cared for many families through pregnancy loss, but could not find the book she needed to help support her daughter through grief over her own family’s loss, which inspired her to write Always Sisters. She lives in the DC area with her kids and is always on the hunt for the next best playground and bubble tea. Learn more on her Instagram @sairamirbooks or her website www.sairamir.com.

Thank you, Saira, for this important reminder and recommendations!

Student Voices: Character Reflection from Luci S., Caeden S., & Anna D., 7th graders, and Elisa, 6th grader

Share

Character Reflections

“5 Books That Would’ve Been Better from the Villain’s Point of View” by Luci S., 2022-23 7th grade

I did not dislike any of these books; however, I think they would have been intriguing from the villain’s point of view.

Shatter Me Book Summary – The Advocate

  • Shatter Me would have undoubtedly become more captivating and alluring if it had been presented from the perspective of the villain. By delving into the depths of the antagonist’s mind, readers would be exposed to a complex and intriguing character with multifaceted motivations and a compelling backstory. Exploring the world through the villain’s eyes would provide a fresh and unique perspective, allowing us to witness the evolution of their sinister plans and the meticulous strategies they employ to achieve their goals. Understanding their fears, desires, and the circumstances that shaped them would not only add depth to the narrative but also blur the lines between good and evil, creating a morally ambiguous landscape where the reader is constantly questioning their own loyalties. By immersing ourselves in the villain’s point of view, ‘Shatter Me’ would have been transformed into a captivating tale of twisted emotions, gray morality, and a truly unforgettable antagonist.

Avatar: The Last Airbender: Volume 1 (Avatar: The Last Airbender) – Author  Random House – Random House Children's Books

  • Avatar: The Last Airbender would have taken on a mesmerizing and thought-provoking dimension if it had been narrated from the perspective of the anti-hero’s. By peering into the inner workings of the antagonist’s mind, readers would gain profound insights into their motivations, fears, and struggles. The story would transcend the conventional battle of good versus evil, providing a  exploration of the villains’ personal journeys and the circumstances that led them down their dark path. This shift in perspective would challenge our preconceived notions and force us to question the very nature of morality. We would witness the conflicts within the villains themselves as they grapple with their actions, delving into their complex emotions and understanding their reasons for pursuing power. The Last Airbender would become an enthralling tale of redemption, empathy, and the exploration of the human capacity for change, blurring the boundaries between heroes and villains in a way that resonates deeply with readers.

Cleopatra in Space - Wikipedia

  • Cleopatra in Space would have taken on a fascinating and captivating dimension if it had been narrated from the perspective of the villains. By delving into the minds of the antagonists, readers would be introduced to a rich and complex world of intergalactic politics and power struggles. Exploring the story through the eyes of the villains would provide a unique insight into their motivations, their twisted ideologies, and the intricate web of alliances and betrayals they weave. It would offer a fresh perspective on Cleopatra’s journey through space and time, as we witness the villains’ relentless pursuit of dominance and their relentless efforts to thwart her mission. This shift in perspective would add depth and complexity to the narrative, introducing morally ambiguous characters with their own personal struggles and conflicts. “Cleopatra in Space” would become a gripping tale of conflicting loyalties, blurred lines between good and evil/ Backstabbing characters, and the intricacies of power dynamics in an interstellar realm.

The Stonekeeper (Amulet Series #1) by Kazu Kibuishi, Paperback | Barnes &  Noble®

  • Amulet would have taken on an enthralling and captivating twist if it had been narrated from the perspective of the villains. By immersing readers in the minds of the antagonists, we would gain a deep understanding of their motives, fears, and the darkness that drives them. Exploring the story through the eyes of the villains would provide a fresh and intriguing perspective, allowing us to witness their intricate plans, cunning strategies, and the inner conflicts they grapple with. It would offer a fascinating exploration of the villains’ backstory, their troubled pasts, and the events that shaped them into formidable adversaries. This shift in perspective would add depth and complexity to the narrative, blurring the lines between good and evil and prompting readers to question their own allegiances. ‘Amulet’ would become a spellbinding tale of moral ambiguity, showcasing the intricate dance between light and shadow, and revealing the intricate layers of the villains’ motivations and inner struggles.

The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan | Goodreads

  • The Lightning Thief would have gained a mesmerizing and captivating allure if it had been presented from the perspective of the villains. By delving into the minds of the antagonists, readers would be introduced to a complex and layered world of deities and mythical creatures. Exploring the story through the eyes of the villains would allow us to witness their relentless pursuit of power, their through plans, and their relentless determination to thwart the protagonist’s journey. Understanding the villains’ motivations, their troubled pasts, and the circumstances that led them to the dark side would not only add depth to the narrative but also blur the lines between good and evil. This shift in perspective would provide a fresh and thrilling angle, highlighting the complexities of the supernatural realm and prompting readers to question their perceptions of right and wrong. ‘The Lightning Thief’ would transform into an enthralling tale of conflicting loyalties, moral ambiguity, and the pursuit of power, offering a truly unforgettable exploration of the mythological universe.

“Characters That Would (or would not) Make the World a Better Place if They Were Real” by Caeden S., 2022-23 7th grade

4 characters that WOULD make the world a better place

  • Annabeth Chase-The Percy Jackson series and the Heroes of Olympus series: Annabeth is known for being the daughter of Athena, the goddess of wisdom, so of course she would be able to make the right decisions. I think she would find an accurate solution to world hunger, fix our economy, solve political issues and also be fair to all of the people that she would help.

  • Starflight- The Wings of Fire SeriesStarflight is the Nightwing in the Dragonet Prophecy and helps to save the dragon world, Pyrrhia. He would probably be fair to all of the world (Granted he is a dragon, so we as humans would be afraid of him, as shown in the books.) Because he’s seen what war did to his world, maybe he’ll try to help our world solve disputes as well.

  • Katnnis Everdeen- The Hunger GamesKatniss is known for being the girl from The Hunger Games who wins for District 12 in the first book. She then helps to spike and uprising and then goes back to the games and wins. I think that she’d be excellent at the food crisis, if war breaks out, she’d find an excellent way to defeat the enemy and bring peace again. 

  • Link- The Legend of Zelda Twilight Princess Manga We all know about Link. From the Manga to the Games, he’s changed worlds there. But what about in real life? I think that he would make sure that all our peace was peace, and I think he would make sure to defend the world while also keeping the peace in the world.

4 characters that WOULD NOT make the world a better place

  • Nico Di Angelo-The Percy Jackson Series, The Heroes of OlympusNico is the child of Hades who helped in the battle of Manhattan and helped to transport the Athena Parthenos to save Camp Half Blood. However, I think that he would unpurposefully act upon the trauma that he suffered in the books. He would try to help people, but he might scare or traumatize them, causing the world more problems. 

  • Moon- The Wings of Fire seriesMoon is the Nightwing from the second prophecy. I think that she is like Nico, in the sense that she would try to help people, but end up hurting them. She would try to help teach people about the dangers, but end up causing them. (Also again, she’s a dragon, so she would scare people.)

  • Peeta Mellark-The Hunger GamesPeeta is the other tribute who survives the games. But I think because of what he did to Katniss, with the trickery and everything, he would make the world worse. He would try to scheme his way into powerful positions, and may end up hurting some people. 

  • Zant, The Usupur King- Legend of Zelda: The Twilight Princess manga Zant is the big bad of this manga in the twilight realm. Link has to defeat him with the help of the twilight princess, and manages too. From what I’ve read of the series, Zant seems to always be power hungry, looking for ways to exploit people, or just causing disaster. He would not try to even be nice to people if he existed. He would just try to end the world. 

“Characters I Feel I Could Open Up To” by Anna D., 2022-23 7th grade

Smile by Raina Telgemeier | The Scholastic Teacher Store

  • Raina– Raina is a wonderful character from the book Smile by Raina Telgemeier. She is a relatable and endearing protagonist, and I feel like I could talk to her about anything. Her struggles with braces, friends, and crushes are all things that many of us can relate to. I admire her resilience and positive attitude, even when things get tough. If I could talk to Raina, I would tell her how much I appreciate her story and how it has helped me feel less alone in my own struggles.

Sylvie GN (2021 Walker Books US) 1-1ST NM

  • Sylvie– Sylvie is a fascinating character from the book Sylvie by Sylvie Kantorovitz. She is creative, curious, and has a unique perspective on the world around her. I believe that Sylvie can achieve anything she sets her mind to. Whether she wants to talk about her latest artistic creation, her favorite book, or her thoughts on the world, I am here to listen and provide helpful insights. She could really inspire me.

Numb to This: Memoir of a Mass Shooting: 9780316462099: Neely, Kindra:  Books - Amazon.com

  • Kindra- Have you met Kindra? She’s a captivating character from the book Numb to This: Memoirs of a Mass Shooting by Kindra Neely. I find her to be quite intriguing with her unique perspective on life and the world around her. I’m sure I could have some stimulating conversations with Kindra about anything that she finds fascinating. As she has experienced things that many can relate to. She’s a captivating character with a unique perspective on life.

Bridge City Comics - Click GN Vol 01 Places Everyone

  • Olive-
    There are many reasons why I could freely talk to Olive from the book Click by Kayla Miller. For starters, Olive is a relatable and likable character who is easy to connect with. Additionally, the book conveys important themes such as friendship, self-discovery, and identity, which makes it a great conversation starter. I also find that talking about Olive and her experiences would help me gain a deeper understanding of my own feelings and experiences. Overall, there are plenty of good reasons to chat about Olive and her story, I wouldn’t hesitate to share my thoughts and feelings with her.

Awkward (Berrybrook Middle School, #1) by Svetlana Chmakova | Goodreads

  • Jaime- There are a number of reasons why I feel comfortable discussing Jaime from the book Awkward by Svetlana Chmakova. Jaime is a relatable character who many readers will be able to connect with, as he struggles with fitting in and finding his place in a new school. Also, Awkward explores important themes such as bullying, friendship, and self-expression, which makes it a great starting point for discussions on these topics. I find that talking about Jaimes and his experiences could help me better understand my own feelings and experiences, and can even inspire me to be more confident in myself. Overall, there are many good reasons to talk about Jaime and his story with others, so I wouldn’t hesitate to share my thoughts and feelings with him.

Drama : Telgemeier, Raina: Amazon.co.uk: Books

  • Callie-
    There are a couple reasons as to why I feel like I could open up freely to Callie from the book Drama by Raina Telgemeier. Callie is a determined character who has high hopes, many readers could connect with the fact that she had to be flexible with roles in the play. I feel like I could talk to her about how she handled the situation and learn from her. Callie is also not a judgmental person, she is very kind, which proves why I could talk to her freely. Additionally, the book Drama conveys important themes such as perseverance and being flexible with ideas, which would make a great thing to talk about with her because she has more firsthand experience. Overall, I feel that talking to her would be entertaining and easy. 

“My Favorite and Least Favorite Characters” by Elisa M., 2022-23 6th grade

Dork Diaries English Set of 14

Dork Diaries Series

Dork Diaries is one of my favorite series. I love everything about it. Niki is the main character with her two best friends by her side. Her biggest enemy is Mackenzie because both Niki and Mackenzie are in love with a boy. In every book Niki is always getting herself into crazy situations.

Favorite character

Mackenzie-  Mackenzie is one of my favorite characters. She was one of the main villains in the series. I liked how she never changed in any of the books and definitely has the best comebacks and sass in the book. I wish to have her confidence and comebacks one day.

Least favorite character

Niki- Niki was definitely my least favorite character. She always made problems for herself when she could have fixed it if she told someone. She would keep things to herself and avoid the problem which created confusion and anger with others. Like Brandon, and her two best friends. She also acted like a pick me and always pitied herself.

Sylvie GN (2021 Walker Books US) 1-1ST NM

Sylvie

Sylvie lives in a school in France. As a young child, Sylvie and her brother explore this most unusual kingdom, full of small mysteries. But in middle and high school, life grows more complicated with school, parents, family, and love life.

Favorite character

Sylvie-  Sylvie was an amazing character . She was the main character of the book. I could really relate to everything she was going through throughout the story.  I loved how she was creative and that she expresses herself through art.

Least favorite character

Slyvie mom- I disliked her mom very much. You don’t really realize that she is the villain in the story but she is the one who caused Sylvie biggest problem in the book. She always wanted everything perfect and made Sylvie clean constantly and didn’t let Sylvie follow her dreams. Slyvie always felt like she wasn’t good enough for her mother and caused her to almost not follow her dream and do what her mother said. She was always on constant stress because her mom would always seem mad.

THE PROMISED NEVERLAND VOL. 1 - 1ªED.(2018) - Kaiu Shirai - Livro

The Promised Neverland Volumes 1-2

This is one of my favorite series. Three gifted kids at an isolated orphanage discover the secret purpose they were raised for. They look for a way to escape from their evil mother and try to escape and try to get everyone out of there.

Favorite character

Mother- I loved Mother so much!  She is basically the main villain in the story but she was forced to do everything or else she would end up dead . She was smart with every move she played and was always 1 step ahead.

Least favorite character

Ray- I liked all the characters but Ray I liked a little less during the second book. He was being selfish and only thinking about himself. While planning the escape the whole time Ray was a traitor. He was still on the good side but was being selfish not wanting to help the other children escape leaving them behind.

JUN198619 - CAMP GN NEW PTG - Previews World

Camp

Kayla and Willow the main characters go to a camp for the summer. They go through difficult situations throughout the book and overcome their fears.                        

Favorite character

Kayla- Kayla is the main character in the story. She is nice and pretty funny. She tries so hard to make no problems and tries to please everyone. I could really relate to her character which is a very big reason she is my favorite character.

Least favorite character

Willow- Willow was very annoying. She always created problems and would be mad at her best friend constantly just for hanging out with other people other than her. In the other books she was the exact same way and did not have a character

Thank you so much to my student voices today and their look at some characters in their favorite books!