IMWAYR: Last Two of 2019

This is it. The last two days — and two books — of 2019. Happy New Year!

The Wonder of Wildflowers by Anne Staniszewski (coming February 2020)

Smack Dab in the Middle of Maybe by Jo Watson Hackl

As I look ahead to 2020, I forecast MUCH MORE reading. It’s Monday! What are YOU reading?

It’s Monday! What are you Reading? is a meme hosted by Kathryn at Book Date. It is a great way to recap what you read and/or reviewed the previous week and to plan out your reading and reviews for the upcoming week. It’s also a great chance to see what others are reading right now…you just might discover your next “must-read” book!

Kellee Moye, of Unleashing Readers, and Kathryn decided to give “It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?” a kidlit focus. If you read and review books in children’s literature – picture books, chapter books, middle grade novels, young adult novels, anything in the world of kidlit – join us! We love this meme and think you will, too. We encourage everyone who participates to visit at least three of the other kidlit book bloggers that link up and leave comments for them.

Best Books of 2019 – What a Year of Reading!

Here it is! The Best Books of 2019! What a Year of Reading!

I pored over my book lists and reviewed my book stacks to create this “Best of 2019” list. I found it difficult to decide which books are “best,” since I (pretty much) like everything I read. I’m also a reader who reads what my friends recommend, and as a middle-school teacher-librarian, I read many #kidlit books, which makes this particular list different from some others I’ve seen. I’ll explain briefly. My criteria for this “Best Books List” 2019:

  • Book was published in 2019
  • Book was rated “5 Stars” on my Goodreads account
  • Book meant something special to me as a reader
  • This is my list as a teacher-librarian/reader, not influenced by other readers or reviewers.

This list is of books is organized by release date. I did not rank the books other than their “5-Star status.”

January 7, 2019 — The Art of Comprehension, by Trevor A. Bryan

January 8, 2019 — What is Given From the Heart, by Patricia C. McKissack

January 29, 2019 — Cicada, by Shaun Tan

February 5, 2019 — Bloom Boom! by April Pulley Sayre

February 5, 2019 — Song For a Whale, by Lynne Kelly

February 12, 2019 —How I Became a Spy, by Deborah Hopkinson

March 5, 2019 — When You Are Brave, by Pat Zietlow Miller

March 12, 2019 — Shout! by Laurie Halse Anderson

March 12, 2019 — Just Like Rube Goldberg, by Sarah Aronson

March 19, 2019 — Internment, by Samira Ahmed

March 21, 2019 — Reading to Make a Difference, by Lester Laminack and Katie Kelly

March 22, 2019 — Carl and the Meaning of Life, by Deborah Freedman

April 1, 2019 — Carter Reads the Newspaper, by Deborah Hopkinson

April 2, 2019 — The Undefeated, by Kwame Alexander

May 7, 2019 — Other Words for Home, by Jasmine Warga

May 14, 2019 — My Papi Has a Motorcycle, by Isabel Quintero

June 4, 2019 — On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous, by Ocean Vuong

June 4, 2019  — Where Are You From? by Yamile Saied Méndez

June 18, 2019 — How to Read a Book, by Kwame Alexander

September 3, 2019 —White Bird, by R. J. Palacio

September 3, 2019 — More To the Story, by Hena Khan

September 17, 2019 — At the Mountain’s Base, by Traci Sorell

September 17, 2019 — Stormy, by Guojing

October 1, 2019 — Maybe He Just Likes You, by Barbara Dee

October 1, 2019 — The Tornado, by Jake Burt

October 1, 2019 — I Can Make This Promise, by Christine Day

October 8, 2019 — Ordinary Hazards, by Nikki Grimes

October 8, 2019 — Look Both Ways: A Tale Told in Ten Blocks, by Jason Reynolds

October 15, 2019 — Give and Take, by Elly Swartz

November 5, 2019 — Every Stolen Breath, by Kimberly Gabriel

What were YOUR favorite books of 2019?

TOP TEN Circulated Books in the Middle School Library – 2019 (Semester 1)

Here’s the TOP TEN Circulated Books for the First Semester in the Library – 2019:

Number 10! Awkward, by Svetlana Chmakova

Number 9! Claudia and Mean Janine: A Graphic Novel, by Raina Telgemeier

Number 8! Stop That Bull, Theseus! (Myth-O-Mania Series), by Kate McMullan

Number 7! The Lightning Thief (Percy Jackson, Book 1), by Rick Riordan

Number 6! Other Words for Home, by Jasmine Warga

Number 5! Hey, Kiddo, by Jarrett Krosoczka

Number 4 ! Guts, by Raina Telgemeier (Also the fastest circulating book, going to a new student every 2 days on average since its release!)

Number 3! The Voyage of Lucy P. Simmons, by Barbara Mariconda

Number 2! Wonder, by R.J. Palacio

And the Number ONE circulated book for the First Semester in the Library – 2019 is…

El Deafo, by Cece Bell!

We look forward to another semester of reading — See you in January, 2020, when I will challenge students to read even more.

 

 

Book Thoughts: White Bird by R.J. Palacio

After reading Wonder for the “ump-teenth” time, I was adding it to my list of “Books of the Decade” today and I WONDERED how this book has stayed at the top of “kids’ favorites” lists for so long. Of course, it’s the story, which is universal and “real” for students in schools (and their parents and teachers). I was thinking about my top books of 2019 this week. Yesterday, I had a student run into the library. (What? No running!) He slammed White Bird (by R.J. Palacio) down on the counter (What? Why slam the book?) and pushed it towards me. (Hey! Are you okay?)

“This is the BEST BOOK I EVER READ!” I was stunned. This particular student reads a lot. White Bird has been on my “To-Be-Read” list for a while, but I never really looked at it much while it was circulating in the library. It has been popular since its recent release and a “Want to Read” title on my Goodreads account, so I said, “I’ll read it next. Thanks for the recommendation.”

I’m glad I read this book now. This year. This week.

White Bird tells the story of Julian’s grandmother (from Auggie & Me/Wonder), who hid from the Nazis during World War II. Julian has some schoolwork to do for class, so he calls Grandmère to learn more about his family history. What he learned took his breath away. (From Goodreads: “This is Grandmère’s story as a young Jewish girl hidden away by a family in Nazi-occupied France during World War II told in graphic novel form.”)

My thoughts: This book is a call for kindness, good deeds, and love of humanity – we really do need to take care of each other in this world. We must not let others steal our light; we must be a light for others. (I think this is true for any human, religious or not. #weareALLhuman)

Although it’s fictional (but historically accurate – see back matter), White Bird is a heart-wrenching tale of a survivor and the people who helped her survive. It’s about loving your neighbor. It’s also a warning and a prophecy: “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” (George Santayana) The quotes throughout the book hit me like a “ton of bricks,” as the saying goes. In 2019, we need these messages (and we need to act!) more than ever before (in my lifetime, anyway).

White Bird by R.J. Palacio is an important book with strong, not subtle, messages about the world we all live in. I’m giving the book 5 stars and adding it to my “Best Books of the Year” list tonight. If you haven’t read it yet, take my student’s advice: Read it now.

 

Book Review: 7 Ate 9 by Tara Lazar

I just love using picture books for my middle school classroom! This book will help both math and reading teachers spread the book love. This is 7 Ate 9: The Untold Story, by Tara Lazar, and illustrated by Ross MacDonald, and it is comic genius in picture book form. 

Private I tells the story of his newest case: 6 banged on the detective’s door, scared that 7 is coming to get him. Private I took the odd case and started looking for the root of the problem. But 7 cannot be found for questioning. There are a number of suspects, and quite a few witnesses to interview, too. Private I’s work seems to multiply as the case moves forward. Can he solve the case in time, or will the numbers be subtracted, one by one?

If you’re looking for a twisted mystery, Tara Lazar provides the narrative. If you’re looking for some math vocabulary to add to your lesson plans, this book is a positive addition to your library. If you want to read a beautifully-illustrated picture book during your child’s bedtime routine, Ross MacDonald serves up the cake — I mean, pi.

Have fun reading 7 Ate 9 soon!

IMWAYR: Roll With It — Rolling Towards Winter Break

Continuing the push to winter break, I read…

ROLL WITH IT by Jamie Sumner

This is the story of Ellie (Lily, actually), the girl with cerebral palsy who won’t let her wheelchair slow her down. She’s got some attitude and mad baking skills for her age, and wants everything in her family to be okay, even though they need her now more than ever. Mom is overworked and has taken a leave of absence to travel to Oklahoma and take care of her ailing dad (Grandpa has dementia), without telling her mother she’s coming to stay for more than a visit. When grandma finds out, she’s upset (of course), but wants to make the best of things — she DOES get to see her granddaughter more.

Grandma’s neighbor, a girl Ellie’s age, is happy to have a new friend, but Ellie isn’t too sure about the friendship at first. Ellie’s motives change when she finds out about the baking competition in town and she just knows she can make it as a professional baker IF things go just right. She’s doing better with her medical needs (she even got to throw away the seizure medicine!) and with her new life in Oklahoma. New friends make all the hardships at school and home a little easier to handle, but Ellie’s got to keep it together to meet her goals.

This story is full of heart — a struggling family with characters as real as my own family. “Rolling with it” comes with the territory, literally and figuratively. Read this one as soon as possible; you might even be left hungry for more.

 

More Bruce books! We love Ryan T. Higgins and Bruce, the grumpy bear.

 

 

 

It’s Monday! What are YOU reading?

It’s Monday! What are you Reading? is a meme hosted by Kathryn at Book Date. It is a great way to recap what you read and/or reviewed the previous week and to plan out your reading and reviews for the upcoming week. It’s also a great chance to see what others are reading right now…you just might discover your next “must-read” book!

Kellee Moye, of Unleashing Readers, and Kathryn decided to give “It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?” a kidlit focus. If you read and review books in children’s literature – picture books, chapter books, middle grade novels, young adult novels, anything in the world of kidlit – join us! We love this meme and think you will, too. We encourage everyone who participates to visit at least three of the other kidlit book bloggers that link up and leave comments for them.

IMWAYR: Various Titles Until Winter Break

This is a busy week at school with concerts, doctor’s appointments, and programs leading up to winter break. I’m trying to read as much as I can of the titles on my TBR list (To Be Read) so I can get through until vacation. This week I read…

At the Mountain’s Base by Traci Sorell

I love this progressive tale of a family who waits for a loved one to come back from war. Based on true accounts of WWII pilot Ola Mildred “Millie” Rexroat and other female Cherokee pilots who risked their lives far from home. Fabulous read!

Black Brother, Black Brother by Jewell Parker Rhodes (due March, 2020. Cover not revealed.)

Donte is Trey’s black brother. Confused. Multiracial. Bullied. Arrested. When Donte is arrested at his mostly white prep school, he tries to tell his story (he didn’t do anything!), but no one is listening. Even Trey, his lighter-skinned older brother asked, “What did you do?” Donte knows who the real culprit is…and needs to find a way to get revenge.

But revenge isn’t the easiest thing for Donte. He’ll have to train, become an athlete, and keep his cool. Good thing there’s someone in town who can help – a former Olympian fencer who works at the Boys and Girls Club. Learning to fence could be the way Donte gets back at everyone…and finds himself.

This is a perfect middle grade novel and a needed voice for all of us.

Up Next…

The List of Things That Will Not Change by Rebecca Stead (due April, 2020)

White Bird by R.J. Palacio

It’s Monday! What are YOU reading?

It’s Monday! What are you Reading? is a meme hosted by Kathryn at Book Date. It is a great way to recap what you read and/or reviewed the previous week and to plan out your reading and reviews for the upcoming week. It’s also a great chance to see what others are reading right now…you just might discover your next “must-read” book!

Kellee Moye, of Unleashing Readers, and Kathryn decided to give “It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?” a kidlit focus. If you read and review books in children’s literature – picture books, chapter books, middle grade novels, young adult novels, anything in the world of kidlit – join us! We love this meme and think you will, too. We encourage everyone who participates to visit at least three of the other kidlit book bloggers that link up and leave comments for them.

Book PREview: All of a Sudden and Forever by Chris Barton

I was reading some new Net Galley titles tonight, and I came across Chris Barton’s upcoming, All of a Sudden and Forever: Help and Healing After the Oklahoma City Bombing (due February 2020). I felt compelled to write, since the Oklahoma City bombing happened while I was in labor with my second daughter. I remember watching the news story unfold between ice chips and contractions almost 25 years ago; now this book captures the day to be remembered in a creative picture book.

This book is a lovely way to honor those affected by the events of April 19,1995. These words by Barton are perfect (especially repeating “not all at once,” to reinforce that healing takes time) and Nicole Xu’s faceless-and-yet-totally-descriptive characters add so much to the story of the Survivor Tree. I hope every child gets a chance to read this book and learn more about how to take care of each other in this world, especially after tragedy.

Add this book to your preorder list now. Share the story. Feel the love.

IMWAYR: Post-NCTE Reading

I’ve been reading articles and posts from the attendees of #NCTE19 and my mind is full of thoughts, reflections, and joy. I’ve also read…

Clean Getaway, by Nic Stone (due to publish January 7, 2020).

I just love Scoob and his G’ma! This duo take off in G’ma’s Winnebago (she sold her house!) and travel to places in G’Pop’s old Green Book that G’ma was never allowed to go to. Scoob’s on punishment for a school “issue” and left his phone on the table when he left home (on purpose?) so Dad won’t be able to ask questions, and G’ma’s got some secrets of her own. You’re going to want to read this adventure story with a purpose. Preorder it now.

I’m currently reading…

Jackpot, by Nic Stone.

I haven’t actually started this one yet, but I love Nic Stone’s books, and I’m sure this one will be fabulous, too. I was going to start it tonight, but I got sidetracked by…

the loss of Andrew Clements. RIP, Mr. Clements. Thank you for keeping me reading as a child and as an adult teacher. Frindle and Lunch Money were read-aloud favorites in 5th grade. I’m so sad. I’ll be rereading these two titles this week to remember a great writer.

 

It’s Monday! What are YOU reading?

It’s Monday! What are you Reading? is a meme hosted by Kathryn at Book Date. It is a great way to recap what you read and/or reviewed the previous week and to plan out your reading and reviews for the upcoming week. It’s also a great chance to see what others are reading right now…you just might discover your next “must-read” book!

Kellee Moye, of Unleashing Readers, and Kathryn decided to give “It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?” a kidlit focus. If you read and review books in children’s literature – picture books, chapter books, middle grade novels, young adult novels, anything in the world of kidlit – join us! We love this meme and think you will, too. We encourage everyone who participates to visit at least three of the other kidlit book bloggers that link up and leave comments for them.

IMWAYR: Gifts

I’m spending this week with books I received as gifts and giveaways. Thank you to Kathy at The Brain Lair Bookstore and Jennifer LaGarde, librarian extraordinarie. I appreciate your generosity!

I finished Stargazing by Jen Wang (see my review from yesterday) and Thirteen Doorways: Wolves Behind Them All by Laura Ruby (audio on Libro.fm).

This week I have The Year We Fell From Space by Amy Sarig King and Something Rotten: A Fresh Look at Roadkill by Heather L. Montgomery. The title is the best, don’t you think? It’s my nonfiction fix — I haven’t read nonfiction for a while.

Next week I travel to NCTE’s Annual Conference, so I’m not sure what I’ll read next. I look forward to seeing many of my literacy friends again.

It’s Monday! What are YOU reading?

It’s Monday! What are you Reading? is a meme hosted by Kathryn at Book Date. It is a great way to recap what you read and/or reviewed the previous week and to plan out your reading and reviews for the upcoming week. It’s also a great chance to see what others are reading right now…you just might discover your next “must-read” book!

Kellee Moye, of Unleashing Readers, and Kathryn decided to give “It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?” a kidlit focus. If you read and review books in children’s literature – picture books, chapter books, middle grade novels, young adult novels, anything in the world of kidlit – join us! We love this meme and think you will, too. We encourage everyone who participates to visit at least three of the other kidlit book bloggers that link up and leave comments for them.