Thanks to Carrie Gelson at There’s a Book for That for hosting this fun little challenge once again. I started this year with a list of 66 books for my challenge. Realistically, I felt I would most likely read just over 40, and that has pretty much been the case. I have just a few pages left in my 47th book. I am going to likely read a 48th before the end of the year. I am pretty satisfied with that.
So, 19 books on the list got passed over. Why? Life. Also, I got distracted by signing up for NetGalley this year, re-reading books for our district Battle of the Books, and extra picture and early chapter books. As a K-7 librarian (part-time) I need to read more of this type of book so I am perfectly fine with that. As a grade 5/6 teacher (and former middle school teacher), I am most likely to read novels for MG readers and to have them on MustRead lists. The books that I missed out on tend to be YA, or Adult, books that relate less to the work that I do with students and the reading I do with my own children. Again, I am okay with that, but part of the point of this for me is to stretch a little in certain areas of my reading, so I might try to have less MG for next year on the list.
Here are very short notes on some of the MustReadin2017 books that I have read lately, a visual representation of the books that I have read and then not read (let me know if there are any that you think I should add to my list for 2018, which currently sits at 29).
Me and Marvin Gardens by Amy Sarig King- I have read several YAs by this writer, penned as A.S. King and love them, so I was excited to see what an MG book from her would look like. I am almost finished and it has many of the same things I loved in her YA: introspective characters thinking about important topics, and the relationships are always key.
Half Brother by Kenneth Oppel– This book is from several years ago and is set in the 1970s. Two scientists conduct an experiment raising a chimp as part of their family to see if they can teach it language. Its written from the perspective of their child and it feels like this boy is learning about how things in the world often go awry, both in the experiment and his relationships with friends and family. There are a couple of swear words and some kissing scenes that would not play well in my grade five class but a very interesting plot.
Princess Academy by Shannon Hale- A Newbery Honor from several years ago about a community that lives on a mountain far away from royalty and the seats of power. Events conspire to make the capital interested in this community and its girls are sequestered to a school to teach them how to integrate into the capital if one of them is selected to become the next princess. They end up learning so much about the world, their attachment to their community and more. Its a great book with very good world building.
The Whispering Skull (Lockwood and Co. #2) by Jonathan Stroud- My ten year old was crazy for this series and is always pushing my wife and I to read more of them. It took me a while to get to #2 but it was an exciting, chilling read. These tales of an agency that works in London on The Problem (the prevalence of ghosts in an steampunky kind of world the author created) are filled with action and characters that continue to develop.
Maybe a Fox by Kathi Appelt and Alison McGhee- There was lots to like in this book which would be a great read with all the snow many of us are seeing right now. The weather is in fact a character for part of the book and snow is a big part of it. There is a lot of mystery and strong connection to nature too. This was a short and slightly sad read that sticks with you.
The Unwanteds by Lisa McMann- I had a student eating this series up so I read the first one and found it to be a satisfying tween dystopian read. The premise of kids being separated by those that are creative and those that are not as a tool of social control worked for me and I may go back and read more in this series at a later date.
Read the Book Lemmings by Ame Dyckman illustrated by Zachariah O’Hora- Another hilarious hit for this picture book duo of Wolfie the Bunny and Horrible Bear fame. Just read the book, you’ll see.
Drums, Girls and Dangerous Pie by Jordan Sonnenblink– This is an author that I just missed out on reading for quite a while and I had pledged to make sure I read one of his books this year. I really enjoyed his first novel and should move on to more. This stirred up some of the same thoughts I had when reading more recent titles like Counting Thyme and House Arrest.
The Mighty Odds by Amy Ignatow- A very subtle story that builds to a satisfying conclusion but slow at the beginning as tweens find out about some less-than-super superpowers. Kind of like a tween version of Zeroes.
The Hammer of Thor (Magnus Chase #2) by Rick Riordan- More zany thrills in Norse mythology. I would likely fit better with the heroes from The Mighty Odds but this group is a hoot to watch. Starting book 3 soon, I have two readers spurring me on.
Books I Finished from the list:
Books I missed out on:
Three of these books I still do not have access to at school, in my classroom, at home, or the public library and those are The Left Handed Fate, The Magic Mirror Concerning a Lonely Princess, a Foundling Girl, a Scheming King and a Pickpocket Squirrel and finally, Still Life with a Tornado. Sophie Quire got popular in the library the last few months and I really had no access to that one either. I may read Challenger Deep before the end of the year still (or Into the Wild- my then nine year old’s pick for me this year, although she switched to The Whispering Skull). Some (but not all) of these should make it to next year’s list. Let me know which ones you think I really missed the boat on.
Thanks for reading about my MustReadin2017 journey. Tour over to one of the best book blogs going, There’s a Book for That to see the others. This is a great community of readers that will always keep your to-be-read list full.