About carriegelson

Elementary teacher passionate about all things literacy.

My Must Read Titles for 2019

For those readers and list makers, nothing is more exciting than January! The time to make an amazing list of books to read for the year!

Where will our reading lives take us? What adventures and emotions will we experience through the books we read? Always, there are endless possibilities.

So many books. Limited time.

New books to distract us from other books.

A must read list ensures not all are forgotten!

#MustReadin2019

Join the #MustReadin2019 community!

To read more about the challenge and add your list, read here.

MustReadnovels

Here are the 30 titles I am going to try and read over this year. As always these titles will represent only a portion of my reading. My goal? To read most of these. I use this list like a road map of where to turn next when I come to a pause in my reading choices. It is always waiting to guide me. But it also waits patiently when I am distracted by new books. Often, I am.

Making a list like this – a To Read list – also allows us to reflect on the reading that we want to do. I know I want to emphasize middle grade novels. I didn’t read as much as I usually do in 2018 so my list has more titles that are published in 2018 or earlier (19 titles) and fewer 2019 releases (11 titles).

Here is my list:

Published in 2018 or earlier

The Soul of an Octopus by Sy Montgomery

The Soul of an Octopus

Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi

Homegoing

After Zero by Christina Collins

After Zero

Hey, Kiddo by Jarrett J. Krosoczka Read April 7th 2019 5 stars

Hey, Kiddo

The Dollar Kids by Jennifer Richard Jacobson Read April 19th 2019 5 stars

The Dollar Kids

Wonderland by Barbara O’Connor
Wonderland by Barbara O'Connor

Harbour Me by Jacqueline Woodson Read January 6th 2019 5 stars

Harbour Me by Jacqueline Woodson

A Girl Like That by Tanaz Bhathena  Read February 11th 2019 4 stars

A Girl Like That

Far from the Tree by Robin Benway Read February 17th 2019 5 stars

Far from the Tree

The Benefits of Being an Octopus by Ann Braden  Read March 19th 2019 5 stars

The Benefits of Being an Octopus

Lu by Jason Reynolds

Lu

All That I Can Fix by Crystal Chan Read January 22nd 2019 4 stars

All that I can fix, chan

From You to Me by K.A. Holt

Girl sitting on pier and lookingat the river

Sweep The Story of a Girl and her Monster by Jonathan Auxier  Read March 24th 2019 5 stars

Sweep

Tight by Torrey Maldonado

Tight

Wild Blues by Beth Kephart Read January 29th 2019 5 stars

Wild Blues

(Time Castaways #1) The Mona Lisa Key by Liesl Shurtliff

The Mona lisa key

The Last (Endling #1) by Katherine Applegate

The Last (Endling #1) by Katherine Applegate

The Prince and the Dressmaker by Jen Wang  Read March 2nd 2019 5 stars

The Prince and the Dressmaker

Published in 2019 

The Bridge Home by Padma Venkatraman Read June 16th 2019 5 stars

Padma Venkatraman The Bridge Home

The Lost Girl by Anne Ursu Read May 12th 2019 5 stars

The Lost Girl

The Remarkable Journey of Coyote Sunrise by Dan Gemeinhart  Read July 2nd 2019 5 stars

Remarkable Journey of Coyote Sunrise

Dig by A.S. King

Dig, King

Song for A Whale by Lynne Kelly

Song for A Whale

Shouting at the Rain by Lynda Mullaly Hunt Read March 7th 2019 4 stars

Shouting at the Rain

Other Words for Home by Jasmine Wargather Read September 17th 2019 5 stars

 

OtherWordsHome

The Size of the Truth by Andrew Smith Read June 16th 2019 5 stars

Size of the Truth by Andrew Smith

To Night Owl from Dogfish by Holly Goldberg Sloan and Meg Wolitzer

To Night Owl from Dogfish

Where the Heart is by Jo Knowles

Where the Heart is

The Mighty Heart of Sunny St James by Ashley Herring Blake

The Mighty Heart of Sunny St James

What novels are at the top of your TBR list? Please share! 

 

Year End Update: #MustReadin2018

In January, I had 30 titles on my #MustReadin2018 list and a plan: read at least 20 books on the list.  Permission to read most of the titles makes for a more enjoyable year of reading. I still have unread titles on my list. Some I likely will not read and some just haven’t been read yet. The year isn’t over – perhaps I will be updating this post in the next few days!

MustReadin2018

Making a list like this is about being enthused about a year of reading ahead. It is also about building community. 24 other bloggers joined me in making #MustReadin2018 lists of their own. Many people remained connected all year, posting (purely optional always) updates.  Others only occasionally glanced at their lists. It doesn’t matter. It’s all about being excited about an ever growing and changing book list. And sometimes, just making the list signifies a commitment to being a reader even if you don’t read a single title from your list! Other reading happens.

MustReadin2018

This year, I finished 23 out of the 30 titles. I am very pleased with this as I feel like my reading “volume” has slipped a lot this year. I am working hard to have work life balance and while reading is definitely in the “life” not “work” category, other things have pulled me away from being constantly lost in a book. Like dance classes. My family. The garden. I can read while folding laundry but don’t think I will ever figure out how to read and still tap dance!I have posted updates all year so will include just a few words about the last books on this list that I finished. Our last update was in September. I finished these four titles since that date.

Grump: The (Fairly) True Tale of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves by Liesl ShurtliffI

I was so very pleasantly surprised that I was able to fall into this story so fully and be transported to the imaginative fairy tale world that Shurtliff can build so wonderfully. I still love Rump the best, but this title is a close second. Can’t wait to see where Liesl Shurtliff goes next!

Grump- The (Fairly) True Tale of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves

Sunny by Jason Reynolds

I so loved Ghost, the first title in the Track series. Through first Patina and now Sunny, we have been able to read about the other characters in depth. It was hard to sit still while reading this book (now I understand why the audio edition is so highly recommended). The reader needs to bounce, tap, shimmy and shake while reading. Sunny is a must meet character.

Sunny Jason Reynolds

Breakout by Kate Messner

Whoa. This book has so much going on beyond a prison break in a small town. It tackles a myriad of themes: friendship, systemic racism, small town dynamics, growing up. It is told through a collection of pieces meant for a time capsule: news articles, journal entries, text messages, transcribed recordings and some pretty incredible poetry (with hat tips to some sensational writers like Jacqueline Woodson, Nikki Grimes and Lin Manuel-Miranda), One main character has a brother in the prison, one has a family member soon to be named as a suspect and one has a father who is the superintendent  of the town’s maximum security prison. Highly recommended.

Breakout Kate Messner

Vincent and Theo by Deborah Heiligman

Such a read. Walk through Vincent and Theo Van Gogh’s lives as though walking through a museum. Stop and enjoy a scene from their childhood. Marvel at their supportive connections. Shake your head at their many intense quarrels. Peek at their relationships – often unrequited, hidden or secretive and never ending in happiness. watch as Vincent settles into the life as artist. It is far from easy. But each step is fascinating. An emotional, beautifully written, well-researched story of the lives of Vincent and his brother, Theo Van Gogh.

Vincent and Theo- The Van Gogh Brothers

Want to know more about #MustReadin2018? Read here This post also includes links to all of the bloggers who wrote Must Read in 2018 lists.

Thinking about joining us for 2019? Please do! Make a list and read some, none or all of the titles on it. Reading is amazing but reading plans are pretty wonderful too! Just reading all of the lists is a great reason to pour a big cup of coffee and do some book dreaming! I am always in awe of the creative ways people plan and think about their reading lives.

We will be sharing lists beginning January 1st 2019! Please join in using the twitter hashtag #mustreadin2019 or by leaving me a comment on this blog (when the post is up) and I will add your list.

 

 

 

Monday November 19th, 2018

It’s Monday! What are you reading? 

Some reading photos to share:

This one is of a very devoted little reader who had a captive audience well before 9 a.m.

Love that the books being shared during buddy reading were books our class had written!

#classroombookaday titles from the last month have included many themes.

Gardens.

Spooky stories.

Talking about peace and the impact of war.

Refugees and seeking peace and a new home.

Classroom Highlights 

Follow along with us through our classroom twitter account @CuriosityRacers

Some highlights from our last month of learning:

We have loved learning about the brain and each drew a labelled diagram.

Busy drawing in the Art and Discovery studio after we finished our prints.

The printmaking process was incredible and the insect prints turned out to be truly amazing!

Story Workshop continues to be a highlight of our week with so many incredible stories being shared!

A large part of math exploring has been around larger numbers – building and stretching numbers into the hundreds.

We are well on our way to creating our second “published” books – monster handbooks called The Monstore. Some incredible monsters are on display inside these pages!

Students have been discussing, drawing about and writing about peace.

Join Jen from Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee and Ricki from Unleashing Readers and share all of the reading you have done over the week from picture books to young adult novels. Follow the links to read about all of the amazing books the #IMWAYR community has read. It’s the best way to discover what to read next.

Books I read:

I Am Human: A Book of Empathy by Susan Verde with illustrations by Peter H. Reynolds

Another incredible collaboration between Verde and Reynolds. I love the emphasis on compassion, celebrating mistakes and being wonderfully imperfect.

Carmela Full of Wishes written by Matt de la Peña and illustrated by Christian Robinson

Carmella wants to be big enough to follow her big brother on his daily errands and chores. Finally she is! A story of siblings family and community. Quite lovely.

The Day You Begin by Jacqueline Woodson with illustrations by Rafael López

Ah this book! The power of our differences and individuality and the worry that we aren’t going to be included when we feel different from others. All of these feelings are celebrated, honoured and explored in this title.

Boo Who? by Ben Clanton

Awfully cute for Halloween.

Misunderstood Shark written by Ame Dyckman and illustrated by Scott Magoon

Wonderfully amusing! Prepare for lots of giggles.

Polar Bear Island written by Lindsay Bonilla and illustrated by Cinta Villalobos

What happens when a little penguin arrives on an island exclusive to polar bears? A cute little story celebrating new friendships.

The Night Diary by Veera Hiranandani

Just a beautiful, heart wrenching title. Written as a diary to a mother that died in childbirth. A must read title.

Where the Watermelons Grow by Cindy Baldwin

A tough story about a young girl trying to manage at home with a tiresome but loveable little sibling, a father overwhelmed by a failing farm in a hot, dry summer and a mother with mental illness that is getting worse and nowhere close to better. Della’s feelings of responsibility make it all too much. An amazing read for middle grade students.

Nowhere Boy by Katherine Marsh

In this beautifully written story find hope, courage and an important reminder of what it is to be a citizen of the world . Highly recommended. An absolutely incredible read. I cried through the last 20 minutes of reading this book.

Up next? I am reading Sunny by Jason Reynolds

Monday October 22nd 2018

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

I haven’t posted for 3 weeks so have many reading photos to share! Narrowed it to 3. Here is a keen little reader who has discovered Robert Munsch books for himself as an independent reader! He couldn’t stop reading all day!

“This book is really long and really hard and I can read it!”

Ah the joy of buddy reading!

#classroombookaday titles have included themes of stories, characters creatively solving problems and interacting with monsters.

Classroom Highlights 

Follow along with us through our classroom twitter account @CuriosityRacers

We have been diving into the Story Workshop experience on Tuesday afternoons creating stories with loose parts and natural objects and then drawing, documenting and writing about these stories. Often stories are also shared orally between students. Want to know more about Story Workshop? Look up Opal School in Portland, Oregon.

In the Art and Discovery studio with Maggie, we have begun to explore and create imaginative creatures that might live in the garden.

Join Jen from Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee and Ricki from Unleashing Readers and share all of the reading you have done over the week from picture books to young adult novels. Follow the links to read about all of the amazing books the #IMWAYR community has read. It’s the best way to discover what to read next.

Books I loved:

Bloom: A Story of Fashion Designer Elsa Schiaparelli written by Kyo Maclear and illustrated by Julie Morstad

Wow. Wow and more wow. Such an incredible story and that cover! A fantastic biography of a wonderfully creative individual and how she perceived the world.

I Lost My Tooth! by Mo Willems

So I read this and liked it. But I knew that kid testing was going to be the true measure. My students ADORED this one. It’s a delightful read aloud experience and students have been continuously picking it up to read on their own. Their only complaint? Where are the rest of the titles? These children are used to a full shelf of Elephant and Piggie and can’t fathom waiting and waiting as the next titles in this series are published!

Up the Mountain Path by Marianne Dubuc

Oh what a delightful little title that teaches the love of nature and the cycles of life. Follow along as old Mrs. Badger takes a weekly journey up to the top of Sugarloaf Peak.The illustrations!

Sterling, Best Dog Ever by Aidan Cassie

Very adorable. Sterling sends himself out to a family’s home as part of a new cutlery shipment and tries to be the best fork ever! Of course, his fork like abilities are limited. But his dog nature is a lot more valued than he ever thought possible.

Your Fantastic Elastic Brain: Stretch It, Shape It written by JoAnne Deak and illustrated by Sarah Ackerley

This is the BEST book for classroom teachers teaching about growth mindset! I am using this title to support our understanding of the brain as part of the Mind Up curriculum.

Merci Suárez Changes Gears by Meg Medina

Merci and her older brother are scholarship students at a private school in Florida. Her busy family life full of hard work, shared family responsibilities and grandparents, aunts and annoying younger cousins feels dramatically different than the lives her classmates seem to lead. Merci struggles to understand the changes in her beloved Lolo as he begins to act more and more strangely and seems to forget things all the time. A powerful middle grade novel about growing up, family and figuring out it all out.

Grump: The (Fairly) True Tale of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves  (MG) by Liesl Shurtliff

I was so very pleasantly surprised that I was able to fall into this story so fully and be transported to the imaginative fairy tale world that Shurtliff can build so wonderfully. I still love Rump the best, but this title is a close second. Can’t wait to see where Liesl Shurtliff goes next!

Tilly by Moniqu Gray Smith

This novel is really about what it says on the cover – hope and resistance. Based on the author’s own life, this is the story of a young Indigenous woman growing up in the 70s and 80s in British Columbia. I learned a lot.

Up next? I am reading The Night Diary by Veera Hiranandani

 

Monday October 1st, 2018

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

Each week I share at least one reading photo of the week. This week I am fully celebrating the joy of buddy reading with our younger K buddies.

#classroombookaday titles from 2 weeks ago were all about the changing season.

Last week we read about kind acts and gestures. And going beyond because we want to be giving and caring.

Classroom Highlights 

Follow along with us through our classroom twitter account @CuriosityRacers

I had to share our completed dot art completed for International Dot Day.

I have already tweeted this but had to share here too. This was one of my favourite comments from last week – when we brainstormed what we noticed about all of these titles, someone shared, ” They have characters and creatures that are real if you believe in them.” Still smiling.

The incredible title Goodbye Summer, Hello Autumn by Kenard Pak has inspired us to create our own mini books. Front and back covers are complete. Stay tuned for more.

In morning math explorations we investigated square tiles and pentominoes.

Days later this group requested to use the materials again during free choice time. 🙂

Join Jen from Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee and Ricki from Unleashing Readers and share all of the reading you have done over the week from picture books to young adult novels. Follow the links to read about all of the amazing books the #IMWAYR community has read. It’s the best way to discover what to read next.

Books I loved:

Mixed: A Colorful Story by Arree Chung

Reds, Yellows and Blues each think they are the best. But then, some mixing occurs and everyone gets a much brighter, more colourful perspective.

Pancho Rabbit and the Coyote: A Migrant’s Tale by Duncan Tonatiuh 

Papa Rabbit had to go North to find work when the rains didn’t come. A big party is organized for his return, but Papa still doesn’t come home. So Pancho Rabbit sets out to find his father. An allegorical tale that speaks to the challenges and struggles faced by families illegally crossing borders hoping for a better life for their families.

A House That Once Was written by Julie Fogliano with illustrations by Lane Smith

I can’t decide if the text or the illustrations are more beautiful here. Both are truly incredible. This will be part of our Mock Caldecott list – can’t wait to share it in January with my class.

Alma and How She Got Her Name by Juana Martinez-Neal

I love everything about this book. I kind of want to carry it around and read it to everyone I meet. Imagine all the conversations that could be shared asking “Where did your name come from??

Come with Me by Holly M. McGhee with illustrations by Pascal Lemaitre

Oh this little book has a lot to say about how to be in the world.

On a Magical Do-Nothing Day by Beatrice Alemagna

Love the illustrations – this crazy orange colour and those incredible snails. Essential themes for our times – looking closely, getting lost in nature, unstructured play, losing our devices (here, quite literally).
A Boy, a Mouse, and a Spider–The Story of E. B. White by Barbara Herkert with illustrations by Lauren Castillo

Wow. A beautiful biography.

Older Not Wiser (Bad Nana) by Sophie Henn

An illustrated chapter book with lots of humour. The British expressions may require a little bit of assistance navigating but this one has high kid appeal.

Up next? I am still reading Merci Suárez Changes Gears by Meg Medina

Reading Progress updates:

2018 Chapter Book Challenge: 36/60 complete

2018 Transitional Chapter books: 14/40 complete

Goodreads Challenge: 168/300 books read

Progress on challenge: 55 books behind schedule

#MustReadin2018: 19/30 complete

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge: 21/40 titles

Diverse Books in 2018: 31/40 books read

Monday September 17th, 2018

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

Each week I share at least one reading photo of the week. Now that we are back to school and I have my new class, I have some photos to share.

I love this one: “I found a big WOW!”

One reader with a big pile of books.

Reading is better with a friend.

Ks came to buddy read!

#classroombookaday titles on the theme of friendship. We learned that sometimes we find friends in unexpected ways.

Classroom Highlights 

Dot day art making was a lot of fun!

Join Jen from Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee and Ricki from Unleashing Readers and share all of the reading you have done over the week from picture books to young adult novels. Follow the links to read about all of the amazing books the #IMWAYR community has read. It’s the best way to discover what to read next.

Books I loved:

The Big Umbrella by Amy June Bates, co written with Juniper Bates 

A big message – we all belong and there is room for all of us. Wow, is this one timely. Gorgeous.

Let Me Finish! written by Minh Lé and illustrated by Isabel Roxas

A clever way to send the message – don’t spoil the story! Would pair wonderfully with How to Read a Story and Interrupting Chicken. Excited to share this one with my class.

Full of Fall by April Pulley Sayre. 

A seasonal stunner. Going to be first up tomorrow and will lead the way for a number of other books celebrating autumn. Photographs and poetic text are purely spectacular.

Mission Defrostable (Lady Pancake & Sir French Toast #3) written by Josh Funk with illustrations byBrendan Kearney

Another rhyming escapade full of adventure in the fridge (and now freezer). This one has a whole lot of humour and some mysterious surprises.  Huge kid appeal.

The Itchy Book! (An Elephant and Piggie Like Reading book) by LeUyen Pham

Is it possible to read this book aloud and not get itchy? Not smirk if not out and out giggle? Nope.

A True Home (Heartwood Hotel #1) by Kallie George

I finally got to read the first book in this series (a little longer than many transitional chapter titles but still a lovely balance between text and illustrations). It is definitely sweet and engaging. Lots of adventure but also real character development. Can see young readers loving this one.

Front Desk by Kelly Yang 

I was kind of blown away by this one – partly because so many story events were based on Yang’s actual childhood. A book that examines immigration, the sacrifices of immigrant parents, poverty, discrimination and the incredible will and spirit of a pretty incredible character – Mia. I have been recommending this widely.

Lousiana’s Way Home by Kate DiCamillo

I read this in one sitting and I am in love. DiCamillo is some kind of writer. This story is  absolutely beautifully written. Take an emotional walk alongside Louisiana Elefante as she tells her story. What a story! I could listen to this girl all day. Especially if I won one of those deliciously described cakes in the betty Allen Cake Raffle. Chocolate marble please. Cake, coffee and this story. Perfection.

Up next? I am reading Merci Suárez Changes Gears by Meg Medina

Reading Progress updates:

2018 Chapter Book Challenge: 36/60 complete

2018 Transitional Chapter books: 13/40 complete

Goodreads Challenge: 159/300 books read

Progress on challenge: 53 books behind schedule

#MustReadin2018: 19/30 complete

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge: 20/40 titles

Diverse Books in 2018: 29/40 books read

Fall update: #Mustreadin2018

It’s time for the fall #MustReadin2018 update!

How are you doing with your list? Which titles have been favourites? What other books might have distracted you? It’s time to share!

I have 30 titles on my list this year and my goal, like last year, is to read most of them. At least 20 and then, I feel like it is progress! At the spring update in April I had read 9 titles. Now I’ve completed 19! So I am well on my way.

Since April, I have completed these titles and am again sharing my brief thoughts and impressions:

Jane Unlimited by Kristin Cashore 

This is the one title I had to work hard to complete. I wanted to love this YA novel. And I really liked aspects of it. But, it was just not for me. Multiple possible endings. And realities? Just too much.I was such a Graceling fan so I was disappointed that I didn’t really enjoy this book.

Ivy Aberdeen’s Letter to the World by Ashley Herring Blake

Now this book! LOVED!! Ivy’s family survives a hurricane but then she must navigate cramped family quarters, less attention from her busy Mom overwhelmed with caring for baby twins, feelings of love that are new and unexpected. I thoroughly enjoyed this story and have quite the soft spot for Ivy. I would instantly place this title in my classroom library if I was teaching Grade 5 or higher.

Ghost Boys by Jewell Parker Rhodes

I finished this book more than a month ago and I still think of it every few days. Truly haunting. A story of ghosts – dead black boys who have been killed in ridiculously unnecessary ways. Blurs history with fiction. Such a read. Would make an incredible read aloud in a middle school classroom.

In Sight of Stars by Gae Polisner

Beautiful writing takes us through the hard and heartbreak of the grieving process – sometimes so muddy and muddled we need a lot of guidance getting through. Loved Klee and all of those guiding him through. Polisner is one of my favourite YA authors. I will read anything she writes!

Loser’s Bracket by Chris Crutcher 

This book I really liked. Such an exploration of family. If you love YA realistic fiction that is real and true and gritty, I highly recommend this one! I was waking up before 6 a.m. to sneak in pages.

Amal Unbound by Aisha Saeed

Completely engaging. What a wonderful choice for the Global Read Aloud. Amal is an incredibly courageous and compassionate character. I couldn’t put this one down.

The Truth as Told by Mason Buttle by Leslie Connor 

Middle grade perfection. Connor just keeps getting better and better. I dare you not to want to root for Mason Buttle as every kind of grief soaked kind of bad luck gets thrown at him. This story has so many layers. Would be a fantastic read aloud in a middle grade classroom. (Grade 5 and up). A character I will not forget.

A Land of Permanent Goodbyes by Atia Abawi 

This young adult novel does not shy away from any of the harrowing details that are part of a refugee’s journey. Follow Tareq and his family as he leaves Syria in search of safety and hope.

Escape from Aleppo by N. H. Senzai 

I learned so much about the Syrian crisis in this book about Nadia and her desperate search to become reunited with her family as her city is being bombed. This is a middle grade read.

Bob by Wendy Mass and Rebecca Stead 

Sweet and endearing. Loved this title full of magic and affection. Sometimes weird books are just weird – this one is weirdly wonderful.

If you have been participating in #MustReadin2018 and written an update post, please share using the #MustReadin2018 hashtag!

Leave your link in the comments if you have written a post. Please try to visit a few of the other #MustReadin2018 bloggers/readers to get inspired and leave a comment.

Want to know more about #MustReadin2018? Read here This post also includes links to all of the bloggers who wrote Must Read lists. This is a community of inspiring readers!

Our year end update will be on December 27th 2018!

HAPPY READING EVERYONE!