Must Read in 2016 is hosted by Carrie Gelson at There’s a Book for That. This is my first year participating in this very welcoming community and it has been great to focus some of my reading for the year and keep me committed to certain authors and books that seem to always find their way to be third of fourth in one of my piles of books, never to move up to currently reading status.
I made the rookie mistake, depending on your outlook, of making a list that was far too big. 73 books! Of course I will not read all of them, but in the first quarter of the year it looked like I would get really close, as I had read 28 of the 73 by April 6. However, when I was busy re-reading all of the Battle of the Books titles for my district in order to write questions to ask student contestants, and immersed in the general mayhem of May and June for a teacher, I was not making much progress. In the summer, things improved for a while. Then, I began selecting titles for our 2nd Annual Battle of the Books and those titles were not really on my radar when I made the original list of 73.
So, there are always many distractions for the busy reader (look that new Kenneth Oppel/Raina Telgeimer/Kevin Sands/Jennifer Nielsen book is out this month, I don’t care that it is not on my list!!!) but here is a summary of the progress I have made since April 6:
Masterminds by Gordon Korman
The War That Saved My Life by Kim Brubaker Bradley
Orbiting Jupiter by Gary D. Schmidt
Thunder Boy Jr. by Sherman Alexie
Sunny Side Up by Jennifer Holm
Winger by Andrew Smith
Seveneves by Neal Stephenson
The Fourteenth Goldfish by Jennifer Holm
Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library by Chris Grabenstein
Moving Target by Chrstina Diaz Gonzalez
All Fall Down by Ally Carter
These eleven books read give my a total of 39. I did very well in the first three months and not so well in the last five. However, I did read the longest book by far on the list (Seveneves) and I can see myself getting close to 60 now that I am not re-reading for Battle of the Books. I am picking the books that we will use in the spring of 2017 and a few are on this list such as The War That Saved My Life (a lock), and Masterminds (on the short list). I should finish that job next week. Basically, we look for books that are best suited for 6/7 but could be read by a mature 5, and the exceptional grade 4 student. Books should be ones that really need conversation. I believe that all books benefit from it, but for some books it is really necessary. For me, Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library was fun, but does not really meet that description. Would love to hear if others have thoughts! We pick six books and I use them as literature circle books.
In the next few months, I have 34 books left on the list and some that I can see myself reading soon include:
Francine Poulet Meets the Ghost Racoon by Kate DiCamillo (I want to wait until I have read all the Mercy Watson books with my six year old)
Cinder by Marissa Meyer
Counting by Sevens by Holly Goldberg Sloan
Clementine by Sara Pennypacker (before Global Read Aloud starts in Oct)
The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick
All-American Boys by Jason Reynolds (I finally bought it as none of the libraries in my area were doing so… I might read it and gift it to them, that will show them)
The Screaming Staircase by Jonathan Stroud (My nine year old read it and has been bugging me ever since)
A Tale Dark and Grimm by Adam Gidwitz (Currently reading and will likely finish tomorrow)
Princess Academy by Shannon Hale
Challenger Deep by Neal Shusterman
Home of the Brave by Katherine Applegate
I have several others but I would say these are the highest priority. If you have seen anything here that I am crazy not to have read already this year. Let me know! Thanks for reading my list(s). Happy Must-Reading! Finish Strong!