Saturday, December 31, 2016

#MustReadin2016 Update and Favorite Books of the Year

       Thanks to Carrie Gelson, I make a #MustRead post at the beginning of the year.  She asks us to reflect upon our lists at the end of the year.  You can read my #MustReadin2016 post here.  I didn't read every book on my list, but I read a good amount.  Here is my update:

1.  PAX by Sara Pennypacker  Read March, 2016
This was one of my favorites of the year! I read it for our staff middle grade book club, and also as a read aloud during the Global Read Aloud this year.  My 5th graders LOVED it.  It's also my pick for the 2017 Newbery Award.  It's loaded with amazing writing - symbolism, interesting points of view, layered characters, beautiful imagery, deep themes, intriguing structure and plot lines.  It's got it all!

2.  See How They Run by Ally Carter Didn't read.

Raymie Nightingale
3.  Raymie Nightingale by Kate DiCamillo Read May 28,  2016
I didn't realize how much I loved this book until the last line.  It kind of snuck up on me!  This was one of our middle grade staff book club picks.

4.  Audacity Jones to the Rescue by Kirby Larson  In Progress
I got a chance to meet Kirby at NCTE because she was on an historical fiction panel I chaired.  She's fantastic!
Hour of the Bees

5. Hour of the Bees by Lindsay Eager  Read April 8, 2016
So, so good!  Another of our staff middle grade book club books.  We had a great discussion, and it's been a hit with my students.

Carry On
6.  Carry On by Rainbow Rowell  Read March 6
I enjoyed this one - full of witty humor and a compelling story.  LOVED meeting  Rainbow at OCTELA in February!

7.  Lily and Dunkin by Donna Gephart Currently listening to the audio

P.S. Be Eleven (Gaither Sisters, #2)
8.  P.S Be Eleven by Rita Williams-Garcia  Read Feb. 6
This is a great series!  I got to meet Rita at NCTE, also, because she was on my panel along with Kirby (and Janet Frost, Linda Sue Park, and Augusta Scattergood - I lucky am I?!).  Rita is so smart and funny.  Loved hearing her talk about her writing process and philosophies.

9.  One Crazy Summer by Rita William-Garcia Read Feb. 16

10.  Boy in the Black Suit by Jason Reynolds Haven't read yet, but I DID read Ghost and As Brave As You this year, and I got to see Jason on an NCTE panel with Laurie Halse Anderson.  Man, did I love listening to them!!

11. Out of Darkness by Ashley Hope Perez  Didn't read.

12.  The Ghosts of Heaven by Marcus Sedgwick  Didn't read.

The Boys Who Challenged Hitler: Knud Pedersen and the Churchill Club
13.  The Boys Who Challenged Hitler by Phillip Hoose Read Feb. 21
I listened to the audio of this, loved it, and then decided to read it aloud to my 6th graders during our social responsibility unit.  It was a big hit, and we wrote arguments about freedom vs. safety.

Turning 15 on the Road to Freedom: My Story of the Selma Voting Rights March
14.  Turning 15 On the Road to Freedom by Lynda Blackmon Lowery and Elspeth Leacock  Read Feb. 6
This is another one I read on my own first, and then decided it would make a great read aloud.  I was right!

15.  George by Alex Gino  Read Feb. 5

16.  The Porcupine of Truth by Bill Konigsberg   Didn't read.

17.  Simon vs. the Homo-Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli  Read March 31

18. Most Dangerous by Steve Sheinkin  Didn't read.

19.  The Unlikely Hero of Room 13B  by Teresa Roten  Didn't read.

20.  Booked by Kwame Alexander  Read April 25
While this one didn't impact me as much as Crossover, it's still good, and some of my kids like it even better.

21.  Red:  The True Story of Red Riding Hood by Liesl Shurtliff   In progress.

22.  Salt to the Sea by Ruth Sepetys  Didn't read.

23.  The Rose Society by Marie Lu  Didn't read.

All the Light We Cannot See
24.  All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr   Read May 31
Wow - this one was beautiful and a masterpiece!

25.  My Grandmother Asked Me To Tell You I'm Sorry by Fredrik Backman  Didn't read.

26.  Me Before You by Jojo Moyes Read March 28
I was scarred when I read the book, and then I scarred myself again when I saw the movie!

The Husband's Secret

27.  The Husband's Secret by Liane Moriarty Read July 15
I love Moriarty's books - they're all intriguing and compelling! Read the newest one recently, as well - Truly Madly Guilty.  I liked it, as well.  My favorite of hers is Big Little Lies, but I haven't read What Alice Forgot.  Maybe I'll put that on my 2017 list!

28.  Catalog of Unabashed Gratitude by Ross Gay  In Progress

29.  The Lake House by Kate Morton  Didn't read.  Will put on 2017 list, though.

30. Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates  Didn't read.

31.  The Soul of an Octopus by Sy Montgomery  Didn't read.

32.  Mechanically Inclined by Jeff Anderson  This is a book that I started, loved, skipped around in, etc.  I'm considering it In Progress, but can't really count it as read yet.  Love Anderson's ideas!! I enjoyed meeting him and learning from him at All Write this past summer.

33.  Writing with Mentors by Allison Marchetti and Rebekah O'Dell Didn't read, but I did attend a session they led at one of the literacy conferences I went to this year and really enjoyed it.  I'll be reading this eventually!

34.  Writers are Readers by Lester Laminack and Reba Wadsworth  Didn't read.

35.  Making Nonfiction from Scratch by Ralph Fletcher  Didn't read.  Yikes!  I didn't read the professional books I wanted to.  I DID read The Journey is Everything  by Katherine Bomer, and got a ton out of it.  Still trying to process how to incorporate her ideas into how  I teach essay writing.  I also read both Notice & Note books by Kylene Beers and Robert Probst and have been incorporating them into my teaching.  I love their strategies! 14 out of 35.  A few in progress.  Not quite half.  Oh well.  Some of these will go on my #MustReadin2017 list that I'll publish next week, and some I will let go.

Now, my favorite books of 2016 - I met my Goodreads goal of 200, and these books stood out:


1.  PAX by Sara Pennypacker

Some Writer!: The Story of E.B. White

2.  Some Writer!: The Story of E.B. White by Melissa Sweet
3.  Wish by Barbara O'Connor
4.  Some Kind of Courage by Dan Gemeinhart
5.  Wolf Hollow by Lauren Wolk
6.  Hour of the Bees by Lindsay Eager


The Uncorker of Ocean Bottles
1.  The Uncorker of Ocean Bottles by Michelle Cuevas, illustrated by Erin Stead
2.  Ida, Always by Caron Levis, Charles Santoso
3.  They All Saw a Cat by Brendan Wenzel

Return Cover
4.  Return by Aaron Becker
5.  The Airport Book by Lisa Brown


Ada's Violin: The Story of the Recycled Orchestra of Paraguay
1.  Ada's Violin: The Story of the Recycled Orchestra of Paraguay by Susan Hood, Sally Wern Comport
2.  Some Writer!: The Story of E.B. White by Melissa Sweet (putting this in two categories - it HAS to win an award in January!!)
3.  Cloth Lullaby: The Woven Life of Louise Bourgeois by Amy Novesky, Isabelle Arsenault
4.  My Book of Birds by Geraldo Valerio
5.  Pink is For Blobfish by Jess Keating


The Serpent King
1.  The Serpent King by Jeff Zentner
2.  The Memory of Things by Gae Polisner
3.  The Boys Who Challenged Hitler: Knud Pedersen and the Churchill Club by Phillip Hoose


1.  All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

A Mother's Reckoning: Living in the Aftermath of Tragedy
2.  A Mother's Reckoning:  Living in the Aftermath of Tragedy by Sue Klebold

BEST POETRY (Picture books)

A Poem for Peter
1.  A Poem for Peter by Andrea Davis Pinkney
2.  When Green Becomes Tomatoes: Poems for All Seasons by Julie Fogliano
3.  Before Morning by Joyce Sidman, Beth Krommes
4.  Daniel Finds a Poem by Micha Archer
5.  Freedom in Congo Square by Carole Boston Weatherford, R. Gregory Christie


Save Me a Seat Cover
1.  Save Me a Seat by Sarah Weeks, Gita Varadarajin
2.  Ms. Bixby's Last Day by John David Anderson
3.  The Key to Extraordinary by Natalie Lloyd
4.  The Charmed Children of Rookskill Castle by Janet Fox
5.  The Trumpet of the Swan by E.B. White (even though this isn't a 2016 book, I had to include it because I was inspired to listen to it after I read Some Writer!, and it's narrated by E.B. White.  Wonderful!!!

Looking  forward to what 2017 brings in books!!