I really didn't think I could ever find a book with the same emotional punch to follow Wonder, so I had to really think hard about what I was going to choose after I finished it. This particular class was begging for me to read a new book (I'm kind of a guest reader in this class - not all the kids are my students) because they loved Wonder so much. I couldn't let them down! I have many tried and true read alouds (one of my favorites is The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate DiCamillo), but I wanted to pick something I knew none of them had read yet and would tug at their heart strings and make them laugh, cry, and think as much as Wonder. I loved The One and Only Ivan when I read it to myself last school year, but hadn't read it aloud yet, and thought it might fit all that criteria. I missed the Global Read Aloud activities since I was reading Wonder at that time. The verdict is still out, but the way the kids are responding to Ivan, Ruby, Bob, and Stella so far is seriously close to how they responded to Auggie, Jack, Summer, and Via. The empathy that both these books create in listeners and readers is beyond what a reading teacher could hope for and teach. Thank you, R.J. Palacio and Katherine Applegate for creating these unforgettable story lines and characters and making reading aloud such a pleasure.
Now that all the "Best of 2012" lists are coming out, I just want to say that 2012 has been my favorite book year ever. I think part of the reason is that it is the first year I've been as dedicated to reading as many new books as I can for mock Newbery and Caldecott clubs, but I honestly think another reason is that it was just a fantastic year for children's literature. I'm reading Capture the Flag by Kate Messner to two other classes, and they love it as well. Very soon I want to compile my own list and my classes' lists for our favorites. Until then, I look forward to reading more wonderful 2012 books and keeping my classes happy with great read alouds!