Update #3 — Year End Wrap Up: My Must Read Books in 2015

Hello, fellow #MustReadin2015 readers! It’s time for my second check in of the year for what I’ve been reading from my list. In a nutshell, not a whole lot of reading checked off on this list but progress is progress! You can see what else I’ve been reading and enjoying here.

Thanks to encouragement from Carrie, at There’s a Book for That, I created a list of books I really want to read during 2015. My list below does not include any 2015 published works, just 2014 or before. These of course won’t be the only books I read this year. There will be plenty of detours along the way and certainly lots of stopping to check out much praised books of 2015, but it’s a great place to start! To see what I’ve read so far this year, look for titles that have been crossed out–blue means I finished those prior to our first check-in and red means I’ve read those since our last check-in. If I really enjoyed the book, I added an asterisk after the title. So far in 2015, I’ve read some gems!

We’d love to have you join us! Happy reading! Follow along on Twitter with the hashtag #mustreadin2015 .

My Must Read Books in 2015

Books read to date: 9/25 

Books for Adults

orchardist1  boysintheboat1

  • The Orchardist by Amanda Coplin – finished in August:  I liked this, but it won’t be for everyone. It felt very Steinbeck-like for me with a plot driven by flawed characters, set in Washington State.
  • The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown ** – finished in January

Middle Grade Titles

absolutelyalmost1 crookedkind1 deathbytoilet

  • Absolutely Almost by Lisa Graff** – finished in January
  • A Crooked Kind of Perfect by Linda Urban** — finished in September
  • Death by Toilet Paper by Donna Gephart** – finished in February

dory1 evolutionofcapurnia glorybe1

  • Dory Fantasmagroy by Abby Hanlon** – finished in February
  • The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate by Jacqueline Kelly
  • Glory Be by Augusta Scattergood — finished in December; I liked this, but I probably prefer Revolution by Deborah Wiles for stories of a similar theme.

goneaway1 guysreadother1 mathilda1

  • Gone-Away Lake by Elizabeth Enright
  • Guys Read: Other Worlds edited by Jon Scieszka — finished in December
  • Mathilda by Roald Dahl** – finished in February

meaningofmaggie1 mrterupt1 nest1

  • The Meaning of Maggie by Megan Jean Sovern** – finished in March
  • Because of Mr. Terupt by Rob Buyea** – finished in March on audio
  • Nest by Esther Ehrlich 

onecrazysummer1 rainreign1 secrethum1

  • One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia
  • Rain Reign by Ann M. Martin
  • Secret Hum of Daisy by Tracy Holczer

titanic1 undertheegg1 westofthemoon

  • Titanic: Voices from the Disaster by Deborah Hopkinson
  • Under the Egg by Laura Mars Fitzgerald
  • West of the Moon by Margi Preus

Graphic Novel

amulet1

  • Amulet: The Stonekeeper by Kazu Kibuishi

Young Adult Titles

aristotledante1 ifistay

  • Aristotle and Dante by Benjamin Alire Saenz – finished in July: I loved this touching, often heart-breaking coming of age story.
  • If I Stay by Gayle Forman – finished in November

roseunderfire tsoflg1

  • Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein — finished in December
  • The Summer of Letting Go by Gae Polisner — finished in September

 

 

 

Update #2: My Must Read Books in 2015

Hello, fellow #MustReadin2015 readers! It’s time for my second check in of the year for what I’ve been reading from my list. In a nutshell, not a whole lot of reading checked off on this list but progress is progress! You can see what else I’ve been reading and enjoying here.

Thanks to encouragement from Carrie, at There’s a Book for That, I created a list of books I really want to read during 2015. My list below does not include any 2015 published works, just 2014 or before. These of course won’t be the only books I read this year. There will be plenty of detours along the way and certainly lots of stopping to check out much praised books of 2015, but it’s a great place to start! To see what I’ve read so far this year, look for titles that have been crossed out–blue means I finished those prior to our first check-in and red means I’ve read those since our last check-in. If I really enjoyed the book, I added an asterisk after the title. So far in 2015, I’ve read some gems!

We’d love to have you join us! Happy reading! Follow along on Twitter with the hashtag #mustreadin2015 .

My Must Read Books in 2015

Books read to date: 9/25 

Books for Adults

orchardist1  boysintheboat1

  • The Orchardist by Amanda Coplin – finished in August:  I liked this, but it won’t be for everyone. It felt very Steinbeck-like for me with a plot driven by flawed characters, set in Washington State.
  • The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown ** – finished in January

Middle Grade Titles

absolutelyalmost1 crookedkind1 deathbytoilet

  • Absolutely Almost by Lisa Graff** – finished in January
  • A Crooked Kind of Perfect by Linda Urban — currently listening to this on audio
  • Death by Toilet Paper by Donna Gephart** – finished in February

dory1 evolutionofcapurnia glorybe1

  • Dory Fantasmagroy by Abby Hanlon** – finished in February
  • The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate by Jacqueline Kelly
  • Glory Be by Augusta Scattergood — currently listening to this title

goneaway1 guysreadother1 mathilda1

  • Gone-Away Lake by Elizabeth Enright
  • Guys Read: Other Worlds edited by Jon Scieszka
  • Mathilda by Roald Dahl** – finished in February

meaningofmaggie1 mrterupt1 nest1

  • The Meaning of Maggie by Megan Jean Sovern** – finished in March
  • Because of Mr. Terupt by Rob Buyea** – finished in March on audio
  • Nest by Esther Ehrlich 

onecrazysummer1 rainreign1 secrethum1

  • One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia
  • Rain Reign by Ann M. Martin
  • Secret Hum of Daisy by Tracy Holczer

titanic1 undertheegg1 westofthemoon

  • Titanic: Voices from the Disaster by Deborah Hopkinson
  • Under the Egg by Laura Mars Fitzgerald
  • West of the Moon by Margi Preus

Graphic Novel

amulet1

  • Amulet: The Stonekeeper by Kazu Kibuishi

Young Adult Titles

aristotledante1 ifistay

  • Aristotle and Dante by Benjamin Alire Saenz – finished in July: I loved this touching, often heart-breaking coming of age story.
  • If I Stay by Gayle Forman

roseunderfire tsoflg1

  • Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein
  • The Summer of Letting Go by Gae Polisner

 

 

 

Update #1: My Must Read Books in 2015

Happy Spring, fellow readers! I don’t know about you, but I’m looking forward to warmer, sunnier days that might even permit some outside reading time! Thanks to encouragement from Carrie, at There’s a Book for That, I created a list of books I really want to read during 2015. My list below does not include any 2015 published works, just 2014 or before. These of course won’t be the only books I read this year. There will be plenty of detours along the way and certainly lots of stopping to check out much praised books of 2015, but it’s a great place to start! To see what I’ve read so far this year, look for titles that have been crossed out and are now in red. If I really enjoyed the book, I added an asterisk after the title. So far in 2015, I’ve read some gems!

We’d love to have you join us! Happy reading! Follow along on Twitter with the hashtag #mustreadin2015 .

My Must Read Books in 2015

Books read to date: 7/25 

Books for Adults

orchardist1  boysintheboat1

  • The Orchardist by Amanda Coplin
  • The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown **

Middle Grade Titles

absolutelyalmost1 crookedkind1 deathbytoilet

  • Absolutely Almost by Lisa Graff**
  • A Crooked Kind of Perfect by Linda Urban
  • Death by Toilet Paper by Donna Gephart**

dory1 evolutionofcapurnia glorybe1

  • Dory Fantasmagroy by Abby Hanlon**
  • The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate by Jacqueline Kelly
  • Glory Be by Augusta Scattergood (currently listening to this title)

goneaway1 guysreadother1 mathilda1

  • Gone-Away Lake by Elizabeth Enright
  • Guys Read: Other Worlds edited by Jon Scieszka
  • Mathilda by Roald Dahl**

meaningofmaggie1 mrterupt1 nest1

  • The Meaning of Maggie by Megan Jean Sovern**
  • Because of Mr. Terupt by Rob Buyea**
  • Nest by Esther Ehrlich 

onecrazysummer1 rainreign1 secrethum1

  • One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia
  • Rain Reign by Ann M. Martin
  • Secret Hum of Daisy by Tracy Holczer

titanic1 undertheegg1 westofthemoon

  • Titanic: Voices from the Disaster by Deborah Hopkinson
  • Under the Egg by Laura Mars Fitzgerald
  • West of the Moon by Margi Preus

Graphic Novel

amulet1

  • Amulet: The Stonekeeper by Kazu Kibuishi

Young Adult Titles

aristotledante1 ifistay

  • Aristotle and Dante by Benjamin Alire Saenz
  • If I Stay by Gayle Forman

roseunderfire tsoflg1

  • Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein
  • The Summer of Letting Go by Gae Polisner

 

 

 

My Must Read Books in 2015

Happy New Year! I found last year it was quite helpful to have a plan, a guide, if you will, to my reading intentions for the year. With a to-be-read list of over 1,000 books, choosing what to read next can be rather overwhelming. Thanks to encouragement from Carrie, at There’s a Book for That, I created a list of books I really wanted to get to during 2014. Those of us sharing our progress used the hashtag #MustReadin2014.  I finished 29/38 books from my list last year. I’m doing it again here and you can check out Carrie’s post with links to others who have posted their #MustReadin2015 lists. Unlike last year, there are no books published in the current year, just 2014 or before. These of course won’t be the only books I read this year. There will be plenty of detours along the way and certainly lots of stopping to check out much praised books of 2015, but it’s a great place to start. We’d love to have you join us! Happy reading!

My Must Read Books in 2015

Books for Adults

orchardist1  boysintheboat1

  • The Orchardist by Amanda Coplin
  • The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown

Middle Grade Titles

absolutelyalmost1 crookedkind1 deathbytoilet

  • Absolutely Almost by Lisa Graff
  • A Crooked Kind of Perfect by Linda Urban
  • Death by Toilet Paper by Dnna Gephart

dory1 evolutionofcapurnia glorybe1

  • Dory Fantasmagroy by Abby Hanlon
  • The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate by Jacqueline Kelly
  • Glory Be by Augusta Scattergood

goneaway1 guysreadother1 mathilda1

  • Gone-Away Lake by Elizabeth Enright
  • Guys Read: Other Worlds edited by Jon Scieszka
  • Mathilda by Roald Dahl

meaningofmaggie1 mrterupt1 nest1

  • The Meaning of Maggie by Megan Jean Sovern
  • Because of Mr. Terupt by Rob Buyea
  • Nest by Esther Ehrlich 

onecrazysummer1 rainreign1 secrethum1

  • One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia
  • Rain Reign by Ann M. Martin
  • Secret Hum of Daisy by Tracy Holczer

titanic1 undertheegg1 westofthemoon

  • Titanic: Voices from the Disaster by Deborah Hopkinson
  • Under the Egg by Laura Mars Fitzgerald
  • West of the Moon by Margi Preus

Graphic Novel

amulet1

  • Amulet: The Stonekeeper by Kazu Kibuishi

Young Adult Titles

aristotledante1 ifistay

  • Aristotle and Dante by Benjamin Alire Saenz
  • If I Stay by Gayle Forman

roseunderfire tsoflg1

  • Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein
  • The Summer of Letting Go by Gae Polisner

 

 

 

Must Read in 2014 – Final Update

As 2014 draws to a close, it’s time for me to do my final wrap up on my 2014 reading challenge, known as the Must Read in 2014 (#mustreadin2014), over on Twitter. Many thanks to Carrie who got us all organized with this challenge and is graciously hosting our updates, so be sure to head over to her blog for the official link up. Below is the list of books I initially posted about in January that I wanted to read during 2014. It is mix of older titles, 2013 titles, and new 2014 titles. I’ve crossed out the books I have read to date. 

So, how did I do? Of my 38 titles listed, I finished 29 titles and sadly abandoned one additional title. Books I’ve finished since the last update in mid-October are marked in red; previously completed titles are noted in blue. Ones that I especially adored and recommend are marked with double asterisks, **.

Newbery Challenge goals–I wanted to read 12 books. I read 9 titles.

Caldecott Challenge g0als–I pretty much went nowhere with that one.

Did I bite off more than I can chew for my 2014 goals? Probably. I find I’m to easily distracted by all the shiny new books that everyone is talking about, but I’m glad I had this as a rough guide to encourage me not to forget these other titles. 

If you’ve done an update for this challenge, please share the link in the comments. I’d love to come check out what you’ve enjoyed, too! Happy Reading!

 

Must Read Books in 2014

Read 29/38

Abandoned to date 1/38

Not Read 8/38

Books for Adults

adultbooks

Unaccustomed Earth by Jhumpa Lahiri Read October 2014**
In the Garden of Beasts by Erik Larson Read April 2014
Delancey by Molly Wizenberg Read in June 2014**
 

Middle Grade Novels

mg2013_1

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Runaway King (Ascendance Trilogy #2) by Jennifer Nielsen (2013)
Hold Fast by Blue Balliett (2013) 
Better Nate Than Ever by Tim Federle (2013) Read January 2014 **
The Year of Shadows by Claire LeGrand (2013)

mg2013_2

The Apprentices (The Apothecary #2) by Maile Meloy (2013) ABANDONED November 2014 (I found it very disorganized and jumpy)
Beholding Bee by Kimberly Newton (2013) Read October 2014
Rump by Liesl Shurtliff (2013) | Read January 2014 **
Zebra Forest by Adina Rishe Gewirtz (2013) Read January 2014

oldermg1

May B. by Caroline Starr Rose (2012) Read in May 2014**
Titanic: Voices from the Disaster by Deborah Hopkinson (2012)
Inside Out & Back Again by Thanhha Lai (2011) Read in May 2014**
 
oldermg2
A Dog Called Homeless by Sarah Lean (2012) Read in August 2014**
Out of My Mind by Sharon M. Draper (2010) Read in November 2014**
The 13-Story Treehouse by Andy Griffiths (2011) Read January 2014
 
oldermg3
Al Capone Shines My Shoes by Gennifer Choldenko (2009) Read in August 2014**
Al Capone Does My Homework  by Gennifer Choldenko (2013) Read in September 2014**
Temple Grandin by Sy Montgomery (2012)
 

Young Adult Titles

ya2013

Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein (2013)
Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell (2013) Read January 2014 **
The Living by Matt de la Pena (2013) Read January 2014 **
 
olderya1
The Pull of Gravity by Gae Polisner (2011)  Read in August 2014**
The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie (2007) Read in May 2014**
Aristotle and Dante by Benjamin Alire Saenz (2012)

olderya2

Me Earl and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews Read in July 2014**
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
Jumping Off Swings by Jo Knowles Read in August 2014**

Graphic Novels

GN

Drama by Raina Telgemeier (2012) Read in May 2014**
The Great American Dust Bowl by Dan Brown (2013) Read January 2014 **

2014 Titles I’m most looking forward to reading:

2014_1

2014_2

Princess Labelmaker to the Rescue by Tom Angleberger Read in May 2014**
The Spy Catchers of Maple Hill by Megan Frazer Blakemore Read in June 2014**
Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy by Karen Foxlee Read in February 2014 **
Five, Six, Seven, Nate! by Tim Federle Read in February 2014 **
The 26-Story Tree House by Andy Griffiths Read in April 2014 **
Marty McGuire Has Too Many Pets!by Kate Messner Read in March 2014 **
The Fourteenth Goldfish by Jennifer L. Holm Read in October 2014**

_____________________

Newbery Challenge Goal

Read to date: 9/12

King of the Wind by Marguerite Henry, Newbery Medal 1949 Read in February 2014

The Door in the Wall by Marguerite de Angeli, Newbery Medal 1950 Read in March 2014

Amos Fortune, Free Man by Elizabeth Yates, Newbery Medal 1951 Read in May 2014

Ginger Pye by Eleanor Estes, Newbery Medal 1952 Read in May 2014

Secret of the Andes by Ann Nolan Clark, Newbery Medal 1953 Read in June 2014

And Now Miguel . . . by Joseph Crumhold, Newbery Medal 1954 Read in August 2014

Dear Mr. Henshaw by Beverly Cleary, Newbery Medal 1984 Read in August 2014**

Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech, Newbery Medal 1995 Read in August 2014**

Julie of the Wolves by Jean Craighead George, Newbery Medal Read in October 2014

My goal was 12 books, or an average of one per month. I’m grateful to have fellow blogger, Elisabeth, from The Dirigible Plum along for the ride as we slowly plug through the challenging middle years of the Newbery Challenge.

 

 

_____________________

Caldecott Challenge Goal

Progress to date : Meh

I’m aiming to get through all Caldecott Medal and Honor winners through 1979. I found I really got weighed down in the 1950s, but I’m hoping to get back some steam for the Caldecott Challenge.

No real progress made here . . .

 

_____________________

Cheers and may your 2014 be filled with many wonderful reading memories!

Must Read in 2014 – Update #3

It is mid-way through October and we are now more than three-fourths the way through 2014. How am I doing on my reading goals for the year? This is part of my 2014 reading challenge, known fondly on Twitter as the #MustReadIn2014 Challenge. Carrie got us all organized to do this, so be sure to head over to her blog for the official link up. My pace of reading titles from this list have slowed a bit, but I’m steadily chipping away at it. Below is the list of books I initially posted about in January that I wanted to read during 2014. It is mix of older titles, 2013 titles, and new 2014 titles. I’ve crossed out the books I have read to date. I’m still reading plenty of other books too, but this is a sort of check list to books I am hoping to get to by year’s end. Books I’ve finished in the last three months or am currently reading are marked in red; previously completed titles are denoted in blue. Ones that I especially adored and recommend are marked with double asterisks, **. That Caldecott Challenge? Hmm . . . not so good on that one. Maybe next year? And as for the thirteen remaining titles on my list, plus my goal of four more Newbery titles by December 31 means only one thing. Must. Read. Faster.

If you’ve done an update for this challenge, please share the link in the comments. I’d love to come check out what you’ve enjoyed, too! Happy Reading and happy summer reading!

 

Must Read Books in 2014

Read to date 25/38

Books for Adults

adultbooks

Unaccustomed Earth by Jhumpa Lahiri Currently Reading
In the Garden of Beasts by Erik Larson Read April 2014
Delancey by Molly Wizenberg Read in June 2014**
 

Middle Grade Novels

mg2013_1

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Runaway King (Ascendance Trilogy #2) by Jennifer Nielsen (2013)
Hold Fast by Blue Balliett (2013) 
Better Nate Than Ever by Tim Federle (2013) Read January 2014 **
The Year of Shadows by Claire LeGrand (2013)

mg2013_2

The Apprentices (The Apothecary #2) by Maile Meloy (2013)
Beholding Bee by Kimberly Newton (2013) Currently “reading with my ears”
Rump by Liesl Shurtliff (2013) | Read January 2014 **
Zebra Forest by Adina Rishe Gewirtz (2013) Read January 2014

oldermg1

May B. by Caroline Starr Rose (2012) Read in May 2014**
Titanic: Voices from the Disaster by Deborah Hopkinson (2012)
Inside Out & Back Again by Thanhha Lai (2011) Read in May 2014**
 
oldermg2
A Dog Called Homeless by Sarah Lean (2012) Read in August 2014**
Out of My Mind by Sharon M. Draper (2010)
The 13-Story Treehouse by Andy Griffiths (2011) Read January 2014
 
oldermg3
Al Capone Shines My Shoes by Gennifer Choldenko (2009) Read in August 2014**
Al Capone Does My Homework  by Gennifer Choldenko (2013) Read in September 2014**
Temple Grandin by Sy Montgomery (2012)
 

Young Adult Titles

ya2013

Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein (2013)
Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell (2013) Read January 2014 **
The Living by Matt de la Pena (2013) Read January 2014 **
 
olderya1
The Pull of Gravity by Gae Polisner (2011)  Read in August 2014**
The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie (2007) Read in May 2014**
Aristotle and Dante by Benjamin Alire Saenz (2012)

olderya2

Me Earl and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews Read in July 2014**
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
Jumping Off Swings by Jo Knowles Read in August 2014**

Graphic Novels

GN

Drama by Raina Telgemeier (2012) Read in May 2014**
The Great American Dust Bowl by Dan Brown (2013) Read January 2014 **

2014 Titles I’m most looking forward to reading:

2014_1

2014_2

Princess Labelmaker to the Rescue by Tom Angleberger Read in May 2014**
The Spy Catchers of Maple Hill by Megan Frazer Blakemore Read in June 2014**
Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy by Karen Foxlee Read in February 2014 **
Five, Six, Seven, Nate! by Tim Federle Read in February 2014 **
The 26-Story Tree House by Andy Griffiths Read in April 2014 **
Marty McGuire Has Too Many Pets!by Kate Messner Read in March 2014 **
The Fourteenth Goldfish by Jennifer L. Holm

_____________________

Newbery Challenge Goal

Read to date: 8/12

King of the Wind by Marguerite Henry, Newbery Medal 1949 Read in February 2014

The Door in the Wall by Marguerite de Angeli, Newbery Medal 1950 Read in March 2014

Amos Fortune, Free Man by Elizabeth Yates, Newbery Medal 1951 Read in May 2014

Ginger Pye by Eleanor Estes, Newbery Medal 1952 Read in May 2014

Secret of the Andes by Ann Nolan Clark, Newbery Medal 1953 Read in June 2014

And Now Miguel . . . by Joseph Crumhold, Newbery Medal 1954 Read in August 2014

Dear Mr. Henshaw by Beverly Cleary, Newbery Medal 1984 Read in August 2014**

Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech, Newbery Medal 1995 Read in August 2014**

Julie of the Wolves by Jean Craighead George, Newbery Medal Currently Reading

I’m shooting for 12 books, or an average of one per month. I’m grateful to have fellow blogger, Elisabeth, from The Dirigible Plum along for the ride as we slowly plug through the challenging middle years of the Newbery Challenge.

 

 

_____________________

Caldecott Challenge Goal

Progress to date : Meh

I’m aiming to get through all Caldecott Medal and Honor winners through 1979. I found I really got weighed down in the 1950s, but I’m hoping to get back some steam for the Caldecott Challenge.

 

_____________________

Cheers and may your 2014 be filled with many wonderful reading memories!

Summer Break Reading: 2014 Book-a-Day Wrap Up

This year, I again participated in Donalyn Miller’s Book-A-Day challenge. My goal was pretty simple, I aimed to read at least a book per day over my kids’ summer vacation. I love summer reading as the less structured schedule allows lots of here-and-there time to enjoy a book. This year, their break was 75 days long and today is their first day back, so it seemed a great time to look back at what I read. Keep in mind that well over half of my books were picture books, but all books count–fiction, nonfiction, adult, picture books, graphic novels. Below, I’ve highlighted some of my favorites. 

My goal: 75 books

Actually read: 85 books

Hopefully summer time meant plenty of reading time for you, too! I’d love to hear what you enjoyed this summer!

_________________________________________

  picturebooks

My favorite picture books of the bunch . . .

Emily’s Blue Period by Cathleen Daly and illustrated by Lisa Brown >> This is a touching look at divorce and the many worries that young kids have around the technical parts of divorce. I loved the Picasso facts sprinkled throughout the story, which is divided into smaller chapters.

Little Elliott, Big City by Mike Curato >> Adorable Elliott is feeling quite incompetent but soon finds a friend who needs his help. Together they make quite a pair. I’m certain Elliott and Ella the Elegant Elephant from Carmela and Steve D’amico.

Flashlight by Lizi Boyd>>A wordless look at nighttime with one boy’s flashlight. I loved it, though wonder if the cutouts really are necessary.

The Troublemaker by Lauren Castillo>> I adore Castillo’s illustration style and look forward to more of her work. One young boy causing trouble encounters another creature making mischief of his own.

Gaston by Kelly DiPucchio and illustrated by Christian Robinson >> Sometimes we feel out of sorts, even in our own family. Gaston wonders if there has been some sort of mix up. His attempts to find out, just might prove him wrong. Funny with a heartfelt message at the same time.

The Midnight Library by Kazuno Kohara >> I probably loved the art more than the story on this one, but it is fun to think that animals need books, too!

Dog Days of School by Kelly DiPucchio and Brian Biggs >> I loved this funny “Freaky Friday” style mix up with a boy and his dog. I predict younger kids will find this hysterical.

A Piece of Cake by LeUyen Pham >> Sweet tale of friendship with darling illustrations.

_________________________________________

nonfiction

My favorite non-fiction titles . . .

The Pilot and the Little Prince by Peter Sis >> A super interesting look at the life of author (and adventurer) Antoine de Saint-Exupery. I did a have a few qualms about the book design that made the flow of reading choppy or difficult when you had to read very tiny text presented in a circular format.

Goal by Sean Taylor and Caio Vilela >> A marvelous photographic look at soccer (or football!) as it is enjoyed around the world. Each page spread is focuses on a different country and some soccer related facts on that sport in that country.

A Boy and a Jaguar by Alan Rabinowitz and illustrated by Catia Chen >> An autobiographical look at the author’s own struggles to overcome stuttering  in tandem with developing a career devoted to animal conservation. Great illustrations!

Edward Hopper by Robert Burleigh and illustrated by Wendell Minor >> I’ve always been a fan of Hopper’s work, so I found this to be a fascinating look at his creative process and influences. The notes in the back on some of his famous works provide some thought provoking prompts.

How to Make a Planet by Scott Forbes and illustrated by Jean Camden>> A thorough look at the creation of planets and our galaxy. Pretty complex stuff, but it is presented in an accessible way with some great illustrations and analogies. It’s longer format makes it best suited for upper elementary or even middle school readers.

 _________________________________________

mgbookaday

My Favorite Novels and Graphic Novels for Middle Grades . . .

Aside from . . . And Now Miguel, these titles were all really great reads! Here I will focus on the novels I read. It seems I’ve been drawn to a number stories with deeply sad plotlines. Hmm . . .

Al Capone Shines My Shoes by Gennifer Choldenko >> I loved this, the second book in this historical fiction series, almost as much as the first one. Lots of suspense will keep the readers turning the pages.

The Great Greene Heist by Varian Johnson >> A fun buddy-caper story that might appeal to fans of Kim Baker’s Pickle or Chris Rylander’s The Fourth Stall series.

Circa Now by Amber McRee Turner >> The well crafted story of Circa’s challenges after her beloved father’s death. I loved her for determined hopefulness through even her darkest moments. I too wanted to believe. It reminded me in many ways of Sharon Creech’s Walk Two Moons.

Revolution by Deborah Wiles >> I’m fascinated by the social-political-economic firestorm of the 1960s, so I was just riveted by this book. Wiles masterfully combines primary source material with an engaging, page turning story.

Manhunt by Kate Messner >> A highly entertaining mystery in the Silver Jaguar Society series with likable tween characters. Messner has such a great touch for research that really shows in the Paris setting for this book.

A Dog Called Homeless by Sarah Lean >> In this Schneider Award winning story, Cally tries to carry on after the death of her mother. Her own dad is emotionally absent and struggling with his role as a single parent. Cally finds comfort and insight in the friendship she forms with a blind/deaf neighbor boy and the sudden appearance of stray dog with a story of his own.

Nightingale’s Nest by Nikki Loftin >> A haunting tale of loss and love infused with a touch of magic. The plot has undertones of urgency but is slow to crescendo to a heartfelt ending. I think it would make for a thoughtful read aloud and I’m curious to hear how kids might respond to this one.

Dear Mr. Henshaw by Beverly Cleary >> (Newbery Medal 1984) A quick but heartfelt read aloud with my fifth grader. Beverly Cleary perfectly captures the tumultuous emotions of Leigh, a sixth grade boy, dealing with a new divorce and a move. The mix of his letters to his favorite author and diary entries are the perfect insight to his feelings. Despite it’s age, it holds up well with only a few dated references.

How to Outrun a Crocodile When Your Shoes Are Untied by Jess Keating >> This is a great book from debut novelist Jess Keating that will be a hit with upper grade school and middle school readers. Ana, a seventh grader, deals with many relatable issues around changing dynamics with friends, crushes, and being true to yourself. I love Ana’s honest sounding voice and the humor that fills the pages along with these heartfelt issues. I’m glad there will more Ana stories coming!

Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech >> (Newbery Medal 1995) Ack, Ms. Creech! You broke my heart a plenty with this marvelous story. Great characters that you find yourself rooting for immensely.

Where the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin >> (Newbery Honor 2010) I am not normally drawn to fantasy stories, but this is a lovely blend of fantasy and Chinese folktales wrapped up in a wonderful story of friendship. It was lovely to share as a read aloud with my 10-year old.

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 yabooks

Young Adult titles . . . 

None of these titles were horrible, but there were several I just didn’t seem to enjoy as much as other bloggers and reviewers I know. Just goes to show every book is not for every body!

My favorites from the pile:

We Were Liars by E. Lockhart >> A title who’s plot is best not discussed, but it did indeed left me with my jaw hanging wide open. Probably a book that readers will love or hate.

Rules of the Road by Joan Bauer >> A great read aloud with my now seventh grader. Jenna hasn’t ever really fit in and in many ways has been forced to grow up quickly. Great characters emerge as Jenna decides to take a cross-country road trip with her boss in a last ditch effort to save a family business.

Jumping Off Swings by Jo Knowles >> A emotionally powerful look at how a teenage pregnancy affects four friends.

The Pull of Gravity by Gae Polisner >> An enjoyable young adult title, with a likable main character in Nick. With another mutual friend, Nick goes on a quest to fulfill a dying friend’s last wish. I wish I could have gone deeper into the motivations of some of the characters like Nick’s friend Scooter and Nick’s dad, but those gaps would make for good discussions. Light romance between the characters stays along the lines of first kisses. I loved all the references to Of Mice and Men.