In the world of books: 25 boys who stand out

I read a lot. As in hundreds and hundreds of books a year. Many, yes, are picture books. But many are novels. 95% of these are middle grade and young adult novels. So, in some ways, I can say I “meet” a lot of young people. Some make me cry. Some leave me laughing. Some inspire. I have a myriad of emotions as I read about each of these young fictional lives: confusion, hope, worry, relief, upset, happiness . . .

These characters often stay with me. And because they do, I want to honour them here. These boys*, in the pages of the books where they live, impressed me in notable ways. I admire so many of them for their honesty, their growth, their vulnerability, their hard choices, their loyalty, their mistakes, their learning and their endurance.

In their own way, each is brave and real. Meeting them will enrich every reader.

 In the world of books: 25 boys who stand out There's a Book for That

Doug Swieteck in Okay for Now written by Gary D. Schmidt

Okay for Now  In the world of books: 25 boys who stand out There's a Book for That

Miguel in We Were Here written by Matt de la Peña

We Were Here  In the world of books: 25 boys who stand out There's a Book for That

Nate Foster in Better Nate than Ever written by Tim Federle

Better Nate than Ever  In the world of books: 25 boys who stand out There's a Book for That,

Jack in Dead End in Norvelt written by Jack Gantos

 Dead End in Norvelt  In the world of books: 25 boys who stand out There's a Book for That

Ben in Half Brother written by Kenneth Oppel

 Half Brother  In the world of books: 25 boys who stand out There's a Book for That

Travis in Blue Fish written by Pat Schmatz

bluefish  In the world of books: 25 boys who stand out There's a Book for That

Fadi in Shooting Kabul written by N.H. Senzai

Shooting-Kabul-Senzai  In the world of books: 25 boys who stand out There's a Book for That

Matt in The Boy in the Black Suit written by Jason Reynolds

boy in the black suit  In the world of books: 25 boys who stand out There's a Book for That

Moon in Alabama Moon written by Watt Key

 Alabama Moon  In the world of books: 25 boys who stand out There's a Book for That

Holling Hoodhood in The Wednesday Wars written by Gary D. Schmidt

 The Wednesday Wars  In the world of books: 25 boys who stand out There's a Book for That

Lucky Linderman in Everybody Sees the Ants written by A.S. King

 Everybody Sees the Ants  In the world of books: 25 boys who stand out There's a Book for That

Oscar in The Real Boy written by Anne Ursu

 The Real Boy  In the world of books: 25 boys who stand out There's a Book for That

Moses in Crow written by Barbara Wright

Crow  In the world of books: 25 boys who stand out There's a Book for That

 Victor (a.k.a. “Little Man”) in Paperboy by Vince Vawter

 Paperboy  In the world of books: 25 boys who stand out There's a Book for That

Julian in Twerp written by Mark Goldblatt

twerp  In the world of books: 25 boys who stand out There's a Book for That

Josh in Living with Jackie Chan by Jo Knowles

 Living with Jackie Chan  In the world of books: 25 boys who stand out There's a Book for ThatJoey in Nest written by Esther Ehrlich

Nest  In the world of books: 25 boys who stand out There's a Book for That

Ali in When I Was the Greatest written by Jason Reynolds 

when I was the greatest  In the world of books: 25 boys who stand out There's a Book for That

Albert in Fish in a Tree written by Lynda Mullaly Hunt

Fish In A Tree  In the world of books: 25 boys who stand out There's a Book for That

Albie in Absolutely Almost by Lisa Graff

Absolutely Almost  In the world of books: 25 boys who stand out There's a Book for That

Junior in The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian written by Sherman Alexie

absolutely true  In the world of books: 25 boys who stand out There's a Book for That

Jack in Small as an Elephant by Jennifer Richard Jacobson 

Small_as_an_Elephant  In the world of books: 25 boys who stand out There's a Book for That

Ryan Dean West in Winger written by Andrew Smith

Winger  In the world of books: 25 boys who stand out There's a Book for That

Peter Stone in Wish Girl written by Nikki Loftin

Wish Girl  In the world of books: 25 boys who stand out There's a Book for That

Steven in Drums Girls & Dangerous Pie written by Jordan Sonnenblick

Drums Girls & Dangerous Pie by Jordan Sonnenblick  In the world of books: 25 boys who stand out There's a Book for That

Which characters would make your list? 

*Coming soon: In the world of books: 25 girls who stand out

Must Read Titles in 2014: Summer Update

As of April 1st 2014, I had read 13/30 of my #MustReadin2014 list Three months later, I have read about 20 novels but only four of them have been from my list. I am planning to remedy this during the summer and hope to enter the fall with just a handful of titles remaining. As of today though, I have read 17 titles. The first thirteen I discussed in my Spring Update post.

must-read-in-2014-challenge

I know some people keep making their original lists longer. Instead, I have started a #MustReadin2015 draft list! That way, I can ensure I really do get to complete all thirty titles from my list without always getting distracted by new books. For everything I have read in terms of novels during 2014, see this list.

What have I read since April from my #mustreadin2014 list? These four titles (all well worth reading!):

Threatened by Eliot Schrefer  (Read April 18th, 2014) Rating: 5/5 YA title

Set in the jungles of Gabon, this novel is about a boy and his relationships with chimpanzees. No doubt, there are messages of conservation that come through loud and clear. But this book is also about being alone, finding connection, chasing dreams and finding home.

Must Read Titles in 2014: Summer Update There's a Book for That

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie (Read April 20th, 2014) Rating: 5/5 YA title

All kinds of amazing. I loved pretty much everything about it. The characters. The honesty and vulnerability of the narrator. The family dynamics. The truths. The humour. Wow, wow, wow. READ this book, if you haven’t already!

Must Read Titles in 2014: Summer Update There's a Book for That

Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy by Karen Foxlee  (Read May15th, 2014) Rating: 5/5 MG title

Vulnerable. Beautiful. Sad and full of grief while at the same time magical and full of hope. What a story.

Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy Must Read Titles in 2014: Summer Update There's a Book for That

Jinx’s Magic by Sage Blackwood   (Read June 22nd, 2014) Rating: 4/5 MG title

Just plain awesome fantasy with a plucky character, plot twist and turns and a fascinating setting – the Urwarld forest. Full of humour, drama and great writing. I read this aloud to my children and we are all enchanted! Anxiously awaiting the next title: Jinx’s Fire.

Must Read Titles in 2014: Summer Update There's a Book for That

I am currently part way through another title from my list: Cress (Lunar Chronicles #3) by Marissa Meyer  

How is your To Be Read list treating you?

If you have been participating in #MustReadin2014 and written an update post, link up below and share on twitter using the #MustReadin2014 hashtag!

Want to know more about #MustReadin2014? Read here This post also includes links to all of the bloggers who wrote Must Read lists.

Monday April 28th, 2014

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

IMWAYR

Because last Monday I was away (and technology free) reading and walking the beach with my family, I am sharing two weeks of reading in this post. Warning: it’s a little long!

#IMWAYR There's a Book for That

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. The best way to grow your TBR list!

I read some fantastic picture books, both fiction and nonfiction. Here are my favourites:

Nassredine written by Odile Weulersse and illustrated by Rébecca Dautremer

What an important story to share with children to illustrate so perfectly the message that we can’t please everyone and in fact, there is often someone, no matter what, who will be critical of what we do. So much to this story: patience of a wise father, sensitivity in young Nasreddine and the gossipy judgement of “others.” Even though this tale is set in another place and time, it is very relevant to children today. The illustrations are absolutely stunning.

Nasreddine #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

The Mermaid and the Shoe by K. G. Campbell

Enter the beautiful undersea world of little Minnow, one of King Neptune’s fifty daughters. Minnow, unlike her sisters, seems not to have a special gift or talent.  But her persistence and curiosity allow her to discover the story behind the strange and wonderful object that she found and to share it with all who want to find out more. A longer story, perfect for children who love fairy tales and fantasy elements.

The Mermaid and the Shoe #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Orani My Father’s Village by Claire A. Nivola 

This beautiful book tells the story of Nivola’s visits to Orani, the tiny Sardinian village where her father was born. A special place – full of memories, community, simplicity. A gorgeous celebration of family history. The author’s note in the back is well worth reading.

Orani #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Highest Number in the World written by Roy MacGregor and illustrated by Geneviève Després

One of my students says it best: “This is a really good book because Gabe’s grandmother saved the day. She did this by convincing Gabe that she was lucky.” Hockey, wise grandmothers and sports heroes. Quite the book. My students have written reviews of this title that I hope to blog soon. It was very popular with boys and girls alike but I really liked that our little hockey loving heroine was a girl!

 the highest number in the world Roy MacGregor

Flight of the HoneyBee by Raymond Huber and illustrated by Brian Lovelock

A fantastic introduction to bees – told as one scout’s story. The pages are incredibly illustrated – the bees look like they are dusted in gold dust. Learn about pollination, how bees dance, life in the hive, etc. Gorgeous nonfiction title for the elementary classroom.

#IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Big Blue Whale written by Nicola Davies and illustrated by Nick Maland

All about the blue whale. As always, Nicola Davies manages to deliver a lot of information in such lyrical text. The illustrations by Maland are really interesting and add to the feel of the book. Such majestic creatures, blue whales.

big blue whale #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Jazz Baby written by Lisa Wheeler and illustrated by R Gregory Christie

What fun this would be to read aloud with little ones. Music sings out via the rhythm of the words. Energy, movement, fun!

#IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Dog Loves Counting by Louise Yates

Just so much fun. Help a little dog who can’t sleep count things – like three toed sloths and five-lined skinks and the seven stripes on the racoon’s tail. Playful, clever and sweet. Would make a very interactive story time for little ones or be the perfect book for buddy reading with Kindergartens.

#IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Guinea Dog by Patrick Jennings (young MG)

One of the most entertaining “wants a dog, parent says no” books out there. And Fido is certainly some pet. Hilarious. Spirited. Perfect for those students ready to handle longer chapter books. I am reading this with my Jr. Book Club (Grades 2 and 3).

#IMWAYR There's a Book for That

With a Name Like Love by Tess Hilmo (MG)

I read this book in one early morning sitting with some strong coffee and lots of tears. It has so much that I love – true humanity, history, truth and sentimental simplicity. Not is any sappy or overly dramatic way. Just a true story told. Good people are sometimes hard to find. This book has a collection

with a name like love #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Threatened by Eliot Schrefer (YA)

Wow. Hard to find words to describe the intensity and interesting aspects of this story. Set in the jungles of Gabon, this novel is about a boy and his relationships with chimpanzees. No doubt, there are messages of conservation that come through loud and clear. But this book is also about being alone, finding connection, chasing dreams and finding home. Days after I finished reading this book, I wanted a chance just to peek again at the characters – human and chimp to see how they were faring. It was that real to me.

#IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Golden by Jessi Kirby (YA)

I often see books categorized as a “coming of age” story and this truly is that. What is it like to be on the brink of your future? How do our choices define what lies ahead and how connected are we to where we come from? This book has a lot to it – mystery, soul searching, family and friendship connections. Much of it bittersweet.

#IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Dr. Bird’s Advice for Sad Poets by Evan Roskos (YA)

An interesting title – one that deals with mental health issues, abusive families and an amusing look at teenage life. More about character than plot. The search for self and meaning through the muddy waters of family dysfunction and depression. Complex. Painful. Well done.

#IMWAYR There's a Book for That

The Absolutely True Story of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie (YA)

This book has been sitting on my shelf for ages and so I put it on my #MustReadin2014 list. What took me so long to pick it up? It was all kinds of amazing. I loved pretty much everything about it. The characters. The honesty and vulnerability of the narrator. The family dynamics. The truths. The humour. Wow, wow, wow. READ this book, if you haven’t already!

#IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Countdown by Deborah Wiles (MG)

I am more and more impressed with Wiles with every title I read. This is the first novel in her Sixties trilogy and it is fantastic. It is everything a middle grade novel should be. Preteen  everyday issues (family and friendship drama) in the context of this time in history – the Cuban Missile Crisis. So well written and full of nonfiction elements – songs, ads, headlines, photographs. The reader steps right into the life and times of these characters and lives their fear over world events and conflict. Highly recommended. My eleven year old daughter is now reading this book.

#IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Next up? I continue reading Jinx’s Magic by Sage Blackwood to my own children. I am starting All That’s Missing by Sarah Sullivan and have a number of nonfiction titles I picked up from the library that I’m eager to read.

Reading Goal updates:

2014 Chapter Book Challenge: 35/100 novels complete

Goodeads Challenge: 213/650 books read

#MustReadin2014: 15/30 complete

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge: 56/65 complete