Favourites of 2018

While January 1st is all about looking ahead to a new year, it is also a day to gaze back. I am celebrating a year of reading that was not as vast as usual but full of quality and meaningful reads.

Which books stand out?  Which titles still enter my thoughts? Which books would I consider rereading? Which books have I read to multiple audiences? What are the books that spoke to me the loudest? Books full of wonder. Inspiration. Humanity. Sorrow and hope. Books I recommend highly. Books I am pleased to celebrate here.

The 18 books that made the final cut? I chose across multiple genres.

18 books and no more than 18 words of raving. This was my challenge last year with my Favourites of 2017. Each year it has been the same: Favourites of 2016 (16 books, 16 words)  Favourites of 2015 (15 books, 15 words), Favourites of 2014 (14 books, 14 words), Favourites of 2013 (13 books, 13 words) and (12 books, 12 words) with my 2012 Favourites. Each year, I get one more book and one more word to play with!

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

“Where did your name come from?” A wonderful way to learn so much.

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

No longer a home but definitely a house full of secrets, stories and imagined memories.

I Walk with Vanessa: A Story about a Simple Act of Kindness by Kerascoët 

Witness what it is to be an upstander. There are all kinds of ways to respond.

Julián is a Mermaid by Jessica Love 

Be who you are. Find your community. Feel loved. All the feels.

Julian is a mermaid

The Rabbit Listened by Cori Doerrfeld

Sometimes it is all about being heard.

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

A fantastic biography of a wonderfully creative individual and how she perceived the world.

Shaking Things Up: 14 Young Women Who Changed the World written by Susan Hood and illustrated by 13 extraordinary female illustrators

Nonfiction perfection – inspired poetry, additional information and incredible illustrations. Introducing readers to inspiring female role models.

The Truth as Told by Mason Buttle by Leslie Connor

Root for Mason Buttle as every kind of grief soaked kind of bad luck gets thrown at him.

The Night Diary by Veera Hiranandani

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

The Night Diary by Veera Hiranandani

Nowhere Boy by Katherine Marsh

Find hope, courage and an important reminder of what it is to be a citizen of the world. Outstanding.

Front Desk by Kelly Yang 

Immigration. The sacrifices of immigrant parents. Poverty. Discrimination. And the will and spirit of a one young girl.

Lousiana’s Way Home by Kate DiCamillo

Take an emotional walk alongside Louisiana Elefante as she tells her story. Served with chocolate marble cake please.

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

Ivy’s family survives a hurricane but that’s just the beginning. Family. Loss. New love. Amazing!

Ivy Aberdeen's Letter to the World

The Parker Inheritance by Varian Johnson

A testament to a racist & troubled history. Family ties. Beginning friendships. Modern day mystery is woven through history.

Resistance by Jennifer A. Nielsen

Chaya is a courier in the Jewish ghettos. Everything is about danger, life and death and unthinkable choices.

Resistance

No Fixed Address by Susin Nielsen

Such a story of friendship and family dynamics is told while exploring aspects of poverty, mental health & homelessness.

No Fixed Address

In Sight of Stars by Gae Polisner

Beautiful writing takes us through the hard and heartbreak of the grieving process – sometimes overwhelmingly muddled.

In Sight of Stars

A Very Large Expanse of Sea by Tahereh Mafi

When first love is complicated by the rest of the world and their racist and stereoptypical perspectives.

A Very Large Expanse of Sea

Please share your own favourites of the year . . .

Wishing everyone a 2019 full of new favourites and lots of reading!

 

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

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

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 Warga

OtherWordsHome

The Size of the Truth by Andrew Smith

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! 

 

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!

Monday August 27th, 2018

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

Each week I share at least one reading photo of the week. Since it is summer, I have no photos of little readers to share. But here is a pile of books, now sorted and back on the shelves waiting for a new room full of readers.

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.

Loved participating in #pb10for10 in early August with a list of titles to inspire world citizens.

pb10for102018

Books I loved

The Haunted House Next Door (Desmond Cole Ghost Patrol, #1) by Andres Miedosa

I have purchased the first few titles in this transitional chapter series and now would like to expand the collection. Spooky, scary adventure – ideal for young chapter book readers.

The Haunted House Next Door (Desmond Cole Ghost Patrol, #1)

Jasmine Toguchi, Mochi Queen  by Debbi Michiko Florence

This title is fantastic and I am excited that I have all four titles that have been published in this series. Excellent transitional chapter book series focussing on family dynamics, Japanese culture and being eight.

Lulu is Getting a Sister by Judith Viorst 

In order to prepare a reluctant Lulu for a new sibling, her parents send her to a camp to learn how to be a big sister. You can just imagine how that goes. Hilarious, as always.

You Go First by Erin Entrada Kelly

Friendship, or lack of it is such an issue for middle grade students. Loved how it was explored in this title.

Tyler Johnson Was Here by Jay Coles

Lots of important issues and cultural complexities and crimes explored in this young adult novel. I liked it but found I didn’t fully connect with the characters.

Ban This Book by Alan Gratz 

This book! Would definitely choose to do this as a read aloud if I were teaching Grade 4 or 5. This will be one of my book club selections for this fall. I loved the advocacy and book love in this book. So relatable, hard to put down. Highly, highly recommended.

Ivy Aberdeen’s Letter to theWorld by Ashley Herring Blake

A must have for an intermediate classroom library. 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.

Up next? I am reading Give Me Some Truth by Eric Gansworth

Reading Progress updates:

2018 Chapter Book Challenge: 34/60 complete

2018 Transitional Chapter books: 12/40 complete

Goodreads Challenge: 148/300 books read

Progress on challenge: 47 books behind schedule (Kind of hopeless progress . . . )

#MustReadin2018: 19/30 complete

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge: 19/40 titles

Diverse Books in 2018: 28/40 books read