As a teacher, I realize I have something different to add to the kidlitosphere. Like a librarian, I am surrounded by kids all day long. That’s right, real live kid readers! I have decided to start publishing a monthly (or thereabouts) list of books my students are loving. Hopefully, this will help others choose books for middle grade readers.Right now, here are the books that my “real live readers” are just eating up in the classroom:
Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney- Boys and girls alike are reading this. They are booktalking it to each other, too! My single copy has been passed from student to student, along with the multiple copies they bought from Scholastic and the book fair. All my students are eagerly awaiting the next book. I am asked at least once a week when the sequel will be out and usually another student (who previously asked the same question) will launch into an explanation about the title of the book and when it will be published. Needless to say, I can’t get my hands on this soon enough!
Uglies (Uglies Trilogy, Book 1) (Pretties (Uglies Trilogy, Book 2) and Specials (Uglies) by Scott Westerfeld- I didn’t even have to booktalk this series. Two of my students came into school as huge fans and they spread the word. My classroom library has 3 copies of each book and they are rarely on the shelves for more than a day before being checked out by the next person. We have even had the media center order a few extra copies to make sure there is always one available. Also, other dystopian books have become very popular once I explained that Westerfeld’s books are considered dystopian by many critics.
Cirque Du Freak #1: A Living Nightmare: Book 1 in the Saga of Darren Shan (Cirque Du Freak: The Saga of Darren Shan) by Darren Shan- I briefly booktalked this series (seriously, for about 2 minutes before lunch one day). One student chose to take the first book home that night. Before I knew it, I was besieged by requests for the rest of the series! Apparently, the book was passed around and my boys are completely obsessed. Of course, there are 12 books and I can’t afford them all right now! The boys are getting pretty impatient.
The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick- When I booktalked this book, I knew the appeal to most students was the fact that it has a lot of pictures. However, at least 3 students have read it since and they all enjoyed the story. They also enjoy the fact that such a ‘nice’ book is allowed to be taken home. I think they are used to hardcover books, especially ones with gorgeous illustrations, having special rules. Those rules usually involve keeping the books in school and not allowing them to go home.
Emma Jean Lazarus Fell Out of a Tree by Lauren Tarshis- This is our current read-aloud. My students all know that my goal is to read the Newbery before it is chosen and I told them this is one book I think has a shot at the medal. They asked to read it together and they are loving it! They beg to read it everyday and are definitely identifying with Emma-Jean and Colleen.
These are the books I can think of off the top of my head. I’ll have to update this every so often and keep the blogosphere updated on my students’ choices. Again, I hope that this post helps someone find more books for their children or students.