Year End Update: #MustReadin2017

In January, I had 30 titles on my #MustReadin2017 list and the intention to read at least 20 of these books. Distractions always happen and sometimes certain books are not to be read. Some books are in the pile and just haven’t been read yet. The year isn’t over – perhaps I will be updating this update in the next few days!

Making a list like this is about being enthused about a year of reading ahead. It is also about building community. 30 other bloggers joined me in making #MustReadin2017 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.

I started teaching Grade 3 again this fall and ended up reading numerous transitional chapter books which pulled me away from MG and YA novel reading but I still finished 25 out of the 30 titles on my list!

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 early September. I finished these four titles since that date.

Wish by Barbara O’Connor

So much here – this books explores the amazing and the challenging about family and friendships and allows us to question what matters when it comes to home and security. What is important enough to wish for? As always, I adore Barbara O’Connor.

A Tale Dark and Grimm by Adam Gidwitz

Oh my goodness me. This book is fantastic. Creepy. Gruesome. Lots of blood and gore but lots of suspense and great story telling (and retelling) Despite the creepy and violent parts, this is definite middle grade material! Fairy tale sharing at its finest.

Mighty Jack and the Goblin King by Ben Hatke

I was so excited to finally have the chance to read this book and I couldn’t put it down. It was full of surprises and the ending just about knocked me over. I now feel like my students who read Mighty Jack last year and then whined all year about the second in the series not yet being published. Just wondering . . . when is Book 3 coming?


Snow White: A Graphic Novel by Matt Phelan

This book is beautiful and really quite brilliant. I loved hearing Matt Phelan talk about this title in Bellingham last spring and treasure that my copy happens to be signed. A fairy tale retelling like you would never have imagined. Set in New York City during the 1920s, this is Snow White like you have never seen.

snow-whiteWant to know more about #MustReadin2017? Read here This post also includes links to all of the bloggers who wrote Must Read in 2017 lists.

Thinking about joining us for 2018? 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 2nd 2018! Please join in using the twitter hashtag #mustreadin2018 or by leaving me a comment on this blog (when the post is up) and I will add your list.

Must Read in 2017: Fall update

It’s time for the fall #MustReadin2017 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 is to read most of them. When I made the list, I hoped to read at least 20. I can almost guarantee that I might not get to at least 5 titles just because that’s how things often happen. Other books became priorities. I wasn’t in the mood to read a specific book when my library hold was due. I ran out of time. Reading things. Life things. At the Spring update in April, I had read 10 titles.

I am thrilled to report that I have now read  21 titles. Since April, I have completed these titles and am again sharing my thoughts and impressions:

Terror at Bottle Creek by Watt Key

An incredible adventure story that will have you on the edge of your seat. A Gulf Coast Hurricane creates conditions absolutely terrifying for 13 year old Cort and his two neighbours he is trying to keep safe. This story was very much in my thoughts watching the footage of all of the flooding and devastation in Texas.

Matylda, Bright and Tender by Holly M. McGhee

This little book is all kinds of tender indeed. It holds you up through the heartbreaking and consoles you through all the hard. A beautiful middle grade read about friendship and grief and all the many ways to hope.

American Street by Ibi Zoboi

This YA novel is hard to put down. Fabiola Toussaint joins her aunt and female cousins in Detroit. Newly arrived from Haiti without her mother who has been detained by immigration, Fabiola has much to navigate in this new world full of dangers and threats and uncertain security.

Piecing me Together by Renée Watson 

Jade is a black student on scholarship at a mostly white private school. She questions the supports and opportunities offered to her as she struggles to figure out what she wants in her future. This title explores so many relationships: family, friendships, mentor/mentee, student/teacher. Jade’s voice is one that will weave questions into your head that will remain there for some time. Loved all of the things this book made me think about.

Hello, Universe by Erin Estrada Kelly

This might be my favourite title so far by Kelly. Four main characters and some delightful supporting roles (love Virgil’s Lola). Unique characters here. Individual. Lonely. Determined. A highly, highly recommended middle grade read.

Lucky Broken Girl  by Ruth Behar

Based on the author’s childhood. One of the best MG titles I have read this year! Ruthie Mizrahi and her family have come to New York from Cuba and slowly Ruthie is adjusting. Then a car accident lands her in a body cast and isolates her from her new world. Full of poetry, art and beautiful relationships. I can see some kids getting lost in this story and connecting to the deeply personal reflections.

The Many Reflections of Miss Jane Deming by J. Anderson Coats

Fantastic historical fiction set in the Pacific Northwest. The Mercer expedition brings war widows and young women west and Jane comes along with her father’s young widow and her younger brother. Washington is vastly different than what was expected. Adventure, a strong female character and lots of interesting history!


Blooming at the Texas Sunrise Motel by Kimberly Willis Holt 

This novel has so many elements I love – a connection between the generations, interesting family dynamics, introspective musings. Well written, emotional realistic fiction for MG readers.

The Someday Birds by Sally J. Pla

I absolutely adored Charlie. His journey is a must read experience.It has been weeks since I have completed this story and I keep thinking about Charlie and his family. There is some beautiful hope in this book.

Orphan Island by Laurel Snyder

This is a book that you can’t really write about except in vague ways if you don’t want to give away plot points. Writing any specific details won’t work. I can say this. This book is a celebration of childhood. It is real and honest while being magical and mysterious. Full of wonder. Full of questions. Amazing.


Walking with Miss Millie by Tamara Bundy

Oh Miss Millie. I wish that I could come along for these walks. I loved the pace of this book. That it is quiet. Personal. Emotional.


If you have been participating in #MustReadin2017 and written an update post, please share using the #MustReadin2017 hashtag!

Leave your link in the comments if you have written a post. Please try to visit a few of the other #MustReadin2017 bloggers/readers and get inspired!

Want to know more about #MustReadin2017? 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 final update will be on December 28th 2017.


Spring Update #MustReadin2017

It’s time for our first #MustReadin2017 update!

How are you doing with your list? Making progress? Only read a few? Distracted by other titles? Please share!

Like, last year, I made a list of 30 titles and made a commitment to try and read most of them. Ideally, at least 20 is my plan. My #mustread lists serves as launch pad for my reading year. I am happy to revisit the list when I am in a reading slump or not sure of what to read next. Other times, new titles are on my radar and I don’t even think twice about the list. When I need it though, it’s there full of reading inspiration.

I am happy to report that four months into 2017, I have read ten titles. So, it looks like I am exactly on track – a third of the way into the year and I have read one third of my list.

Here are the titles I have completed with a little bit of raving about each one.

Garvey’s Choice by Nikki Grimes (MG)

Celebrate as Garvey is able to find himself and move beyond the self-doubt, the teasing and bullying and the pressure of his father’s expectations. A novel in verse.

Saving Red by Sonya Sones  (YA)

YA. A novel in verse. Many themes are covered. Mental health, homelessness, family.

The Inquisitor’s Tale by Adam Gidwitz (MG)

Incredibly researched, full of magical and historical details. Not surprised this title was honoured when the Newbery honor titles were announced.

Every Single Second by Tricia Springstubb  (MG)

So many things are explored: trust, loyalty, commitment, forgiveness, judgement, prejudice, love. A powerful middle grade read.


The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon  (YA)

This book is a story of being ridiculously human. About hope and faith and choices and kindness. About family and responsibility and dreams.


Finding Perfect by Elly Swartz (MG)

An emotional MG read about one young girl’s OCD that begins to spin out of control. Highly recommended.


It Ain’t So Awful, Falafel by Firoozeh Dumas (MG)

This book explores the Iranian Hostage Crisis, dealing with middle school while still figuring out America and all of the complexities of family and friendship a 12 year old girl from Iran might experience. And it’s super funny and touching and so wonderfully written!


Scar Island by Dan Gemeinhart (MG)

Dramatic and hard to put down. There were parts of this story I found absolutely creepy. Kids who love action driven books will love this story. Kids are devouring this book in my class. They pass it back to me and agree, “Some parts were creepy!”

Short by Holly Goldberg Sloan (MG)

Holly Goldberg Sloan has a way of showcasing characters in stories that we don’t always see together.  Short is a story all about friendships between generations. It’s also about a play and all of the wonderful behind the scenes preparations. I fell in love with the characters here. A must read middle grade novel!

The Scourge by Jennifer A. Nielsen (MG)

This middle grade novel will keep readers on the edge of their seat. Weevil and Ani are very likeable characters and it is easy to cheer for them. Mystery, adventure and interesting character dynamics.

I also read and loved Unusual Chickens for the Exceptional Poultry Farmer by Kelly Jones which was on my #MustReadin2016 list and I never got to it. Placing these books on a list like this really does help me keep them in mind!

If you have been participating in #MustReadin2017 and written an update post, please share using the #MustReadin2017 hashtag!

Leave your link in the comments if you have written a post. Please try to visit a few of the other #MustReadin2017 bloggers/readers and get inspired! And of course, everyone loves comments to know that you have visited!

Want to know more about #MustReadin2017? Read here This post also includes links to all of the bloggers who wrote Must Read lists. This is a community of inspiring readers!

Next update will be on September 7th 2017!




For anyone out there with a To Be Read list that seems like it will never end, this challenge is for you! This is all about making your own personal list of books 5? 10? 20? 30? more? that you want to commit to reading in 2017.

Books can be published in any year, be from any genre, and from any category: adult, YA, MG, Graphics, NF, etc titles.  All that matters is that they are books you want to be sure not to forget as that TBR list continues to grow! These aren’t the only titles you will read over the year, but a list to help guide your reading. A list to lure you back to a reading path you have set for yourself. Many, many new books will tempt you! Go ahead and read them but having a list like this ensures you will not forget some titles you were determined to read.

#MustReadin2017 There's a book for that

If you would like to create and share a list, contact me on twitter (@CarrieGelson) or leave a link in the comments and I will add your list to the #MustReadin2017 lists below. Everyone is welcome! I will update regularly so if you are just seeing this now – go make a list! We’ll be waiting for you.

If you want to use the image above in your sidebar, here is the image URL code:

Someone asked me about the image for this year – this was taken in my classroom early one morning. Two students were scanning the shelves adding to their To Read lists as they talked titles, authors and genres. I thought this perfectly represented how each of us has been searching on-line and actual book shelves, book blogs and book lists to create  personal #MustReadin2017 lists!

Three updates seemed to work for us this year. If you also leave me your twitter handle (if you are on twitter) I will send you a reminder. For those not on twitter, please mark these dates in your calendar. Update posts can be shared on or around these dates – just leave your link in the comment section of my post and share it on twitter using #MustReadin2017

Spring update: Thursday April 6th, 2017

Fall update: Thursday September 7th, 2017

Year end update: Thursday December 28th, 2017

Update posts are purely optional!

They can take whatever format you wish: highlighting your favourites, reasons for not reading, simply a list of what you have read, etc. Here are last year’s update posts on my blog as an example: spring, fall, year-end. Other bloggers do much more creative things than me.

Ready for some inspiration?

Check out the lists.

Mine (Carrie Gelson) is here: My Must Read novels of 2017

Linda Baie‘s list is here: #MustReadin2017

Leigh Anne Eck is going through her boxes: #MustReadin2017

Michele Knot shares her list here: #mustreadin2017

Lisa Maucione joins us this year and shares her list: #MustReadin2017

Hannahlily Angus has 51 titles on her #MustReadin2017 list

Kellee and Ricki from Unleashing Readers provide us with two Must Read lists! Find them here

Bev Baird shares her list here: #MustReadin2017

Tricia Pfell put 40 titles on her #Mustreadin2017 list

Cheriee Weichel split her list into fiction and nonfiction titles! #MustReadin2017

Earl Dizon has a wonderful list shared here:#MustReadin2017

Sarah Valter joins us this year from aheartfullofbooks & shares her list here: #MustReadin2017

Julie Johnson joins us and shares her list here: #MustReadin2017

Virginia Pratt shares her list of “Must Read” Books of 2017

Akilah from The Englishist embeds her Must read list in her Goals for 2017

Welcome to Tara Smith and her #MustReadin2017 list

Kimberley Moran has a book a month plan. Her list is here: #MustReadin2017

Margaret Simon joins in this year with her list: #MustReadin2017

Aaron Cleaveley‘s list includes picture books through adult reads: #MustReadin2017

Cathy Mere is taking her list a month at a time: It’s All about a Plan #MustReadin2017

Holly Mueller shares her list here: #MustReadin2017

Michelle Simpson shares her 35 titles: #MustReadin2017

Elisabeth Ellington made her list by adding titles from all of ours: #MustReadin2017: An Experiment in Crowd Sourcing my Reading Life

Kendra Limback joins us this year. Here’s her list: #MustReadin2017

Crystal Brunelle shares 24 wonderful titles on her #MustReadin2017 list

Deb Frazier joins in to start to take control of her To Be Read Shelf. Her list is here.

Amy Warntz shares her list here: #MustReadin2017

Jill Merkle joins us this year. Here is her list: #MustReadin2017

Jill Swanson adds her list here: #MustReadin2017

Ramona, from Pleasures from the Page shares her list here: Must Read in 2017

My Must Read novels of 2017

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!

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

There are so many books and limited time.

New books distract us from other books.

A must read list ensures not all are forgotten!

mustreadin2017list There's a Book for That

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

#mustreadin2017 There's a Book for That

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. This list is 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.

Making a list like this – a To Read list – also allows us to reflect on the reading that we want to do. I ask myself questions like: Am I reading widely over various genres? Do I have a mix of GN, MG and YA reads? Do the novels I read include diverse characters that reflect the students I teach?  The world I don’t know? The experiences I need to know more about?

This year I split my list in two. Half of these books are titles published in 2016 or earlier and half are published in 2017. Hopefully, this will be a nice balance of newly published titles and titles that I have discovered from my fantastic PLN as not to be missed.

As I am now teaching a Grade 4 & 5 class, I wanted to have a lot of Middle Grade titles on this list. So 23/30 books (more than 75%) are MG reads.

Published in 2016 or earlier:

Saving Red by Sonya Sones (2016) YA Read January 8th 2017 5/5 stars


Every Single Second by Tricia Springstubb (2016) MG Read February 5th 2017 5/5 stars


Garvey’s Choice by Nikki Grimes (2016) MG Read January 1st 2017 4/5 stars


Still Life with Tornado by A.S. King (2016) YA


Terror at Bottle Creek by Watt Key (2016) MG Read April 9th 2017 4/5 stars


Wish by Barbara O’Connor (2016) MG Read September 10th 2017 5/5 stars


Snow White by Matt Phelan (2016) MG Read December 27th 2017 5/5 stars


The Scourge by Jennifer A. Nielsen (2016) MG Read March 2nd 2017 4/5 stars


The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon (2016) YA Read February 7th 2017 5/5 stars


What Elephants Know by Eric Dinerstein (2016) MG


The Inquisitor’s Tale by Adam Gidwitz (2016) MG Read January 28th 2017 4/5 stars


Girl in the Blue Coat by Monica Hesse (2016) YA


 A Tale Dark and Grimm by Adam Gidwitz (2010) MG Read October 1st 2017 5/5 stars


Finding Perfect by Elly Swartz (2016) MG Read February 13th 2017 5/5 stars


It Ain’t so Awful Falafal by Firoozeh Dumas (2016) MG Read February 19th 2017 5/5 stars


Published in 2017

The Someday Birds by Sally J. Pla (2017) MG Read August 13th 2017 5/5 stars


Walking with Miss Millie by Tamara Bundy (2017) MG Read August 29th 2017 5/5 stars


Short by Holly Goldberg Sloan (2017) MG Read March 23rd 2017 5/5 stars


Orphan Island by Laurel Snyder (2017) MG Read August 26th 2017 5/5 stars


Mighty Jack and the Goblin King by Ben Hatke (2017) MG Read October 7th 2017 5/5 stars


This Would Make a Good Story Someday by Dana Alison Levy (2017) MG


The Inexplicable Logic of My Life by Benjamin Alire Sáenz (2017) YA


The Many Reflections of Miss Jane Deming by J. Anderson Coats (2017) MG Read July 4th 2017 4/5 stars


American Street by Ibi Zoboi (2017) YA Read May 21st 2017 4/5 starsamerican-street

Hello, Universe by Erin Estrada Kelly (2017) MG Read May 21st 2017 5/5 stars


Scar Island by Dan Gemeinhart (2017) MG Read March 18th 2017 4/5 stars


Lucky Broken Girl  by Ruth Behar (2017) MG Read July 5th 2017 5/5 stars


Matylda, Bright and Tender by Holly M. McGhee (2017) MG Read April 16th 2017 5/5 stars

matylda-bright-and-tenderBlooming at the Texas Sunrise Motel by Kimberly Willis Holt (2017) MG Read July 3rd 2017 4/5 stars


Piecing me Together by Renée Watson (2017) YA Read April 14th 2017 5/5 stars


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