Some of my favorites are below:
- Historical Fiction: Paper Wishes by Lois Sepahban. Manami's story broke my heart. I really had not read or learned much about Japanese prison camps until very recently, and this is a touching book. Full Cicada Moon by Marilyn Hilton, which is written in verse, is an amazing story about Mimi, who stands up for herself during the late sixties. My student readers who have taken this book have loved it! Chains, by Laurie Halse Anderson, was another book that showed me a new perspective. Isabelle and her sister Ruth, who are slaves during the American Revolution, face cruel treatment and horrible living conditions after their owner dies and they are sold.
- Beautiful Writing: The Key to Extraordinary by Natalie Lloyd. I was fortunate to be part of a group that read this book while adding short notes about our thoughts on it as we went. Then we passed the book on to the next person through the mail. It was an amazing journey, and made a beautiful book even more special while sharing it with friends.
- Best Audio Book(s): Masterminds: Criminal Destiny by Gordon Kormon. I love this story, and in this audio version, I believe the different voices make it even better if possible. It is full of mystery and action. I will also say that even though I thought I had it all figured out, it still threw me for a loop! Five, Six, Seven, Nate! by Tim Federle is another excellent audiobook, narrated by the author himself, and he really brings Nate's character to life.
- Books I Expected to Be Great: Booked by Kwame Alexander. I loved The Crossover, and this one did not disappoint! I enjoyed the format and the story, and I think kids are going to fall hard for it too! Pax by Sarah Pennypacker made my day one Saturday when an ARC arrived by surprise in the mail. I could not put it down! As a dog owner and lover, this one touched my heart.
- One of My Favorite Characters: All Rise for the Honorable Perry T. Cook by Leslie Connor. I adore Perry and his friendship with Zoey. What a wise young man!
- Great Read Aloud: Save Me a Seat by Sarah Weeks. This book alternates between two narrators, Joe and Ravi. I was really drawn into both of their stories and liked watching them become woven together. We will be getting a copy of this book for each of our intermediate grade classrooms at school for the 2016-17 school year.
- Biggest Surprise: Death By Toilet Paper by Donna Gephart. While this book contains some humor, the storyline is much more serious than the cover may lead you to believe. Ben and his mother are facing hard times financially as they try to recover from the impact of the death of his father.