Hot Books in February

As I am frantically trying to pack and prepare for my fellowship (I leave for Mexico on Saturday morning!), I realized I better get my Hot Books list posted before I leave. Without further ado, here are the most popular books in my classroom over the last month.

Avalon High: Coronation Volume 1: The Merlin Prophecy by Meg Cabot: This graphic novel has been a huge hit. Interestingly, the majority of readers are boys. The book has been passed from one boy to the next since it arrived from Scholastic a few weeks ago, and the buzz is slowly building.

Gathering Blue and Messenger by Lois Lowry: We recently finished our science-fiction unit of study. As a class, we studied Lois Lowry’s The Giver and my students loved it. They were very excited to learn that Lowry had written more books in the “trilogy” (I’m never sure what to call it….It’s not technically a trilogy if all 3 books can stand alone!) and that the books included answers. A few have finished “Gathering Blue” already and are moving on to “Messenger”. Every day someone comes up to my desk to share their excitement. “We finally know what happened to Jonas and Gabe!”. Kids like answers- they hate books that leave them hanging. At least my kids do! They are very happy to find out the answers and I am thrilled to see them reading more and more.

Lush by Natasha Friend: Realistic fiction is the most popular genre in my library and my students love to read books about other kids who struggle with realistic problems. “Lush” has been making the rounds through my girls and they are all raving about it. Also popular, Natasha Friend’s Perfect: A Novel and Bounce.

Life As We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer:  Since my booktalk, this has not been on my shelf at all.  My students, especially my reluctant readers, are loving this book.  At least once per day a student comes up to me in the hall saying, “It can’t get any worse.  Can it?!”  The students who have finished the book definitely have a new appreciation for running water, heat, and air conditioning!

So, what books are popular in your classroom or library right now?

Hot Books in the New Year

It’s time for my monthly installment of books that I currently can’t keep in my classroom library. Some of these I have booktalked, to get the ball rolling, while others are strictly gaining popularity based on 6th grade word of mouth!  

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rulesby Jeff Kinney: As I said in my review, this was the most hotly-anticipated new title of the year in my classroom. The waiting list is currently 25 students long (of my 42) and includes both boys and girls, advanced and reluctant readers. It has also kicked off a resurgence of popularity for the first Diary of a Wimpy Kid, as you must have read #1 to get on the waiting list. Hopefully, when I receive my next two copies from Scholastic this week, I can get this into the hands of more readers! 

Twilight (The Twilight Saga, Book 1)by Stephenie Meyer: This one baffles me. I adore this entire series, and have plenty of coworkers who can’t keep it in their classroom library. For some reason, it wasn’t attracting readers in my room. But, right before the holidays one of my girls decided to give it a try. She came back this month begging for New Moon (Twilight, Book 2). Because she liked the novel, I saw a friend of hers take it out this past week. We shall see! 

Albino Animalsby Kelly Milner Halls: When I booktalked this book, 5 hands immediately shot into the air asking if they could have it first. I think it is a combination of the subject matter, the amazing pictures, and the fun facts. A definite must for any classroom library! 

A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray: I recommended this series to my students who enjoy Lois Duncan and other paranormal stories. So far, they like it better than some of Duncan’s weaker works. Bray writes wonderful historical fiction without slamming them over the head with information. Plus, who wouldn’t want to have visions and be in control of the realms? 

The Periodic Tableby Adrian Dingles: My students just finished a unit on chemistry in their science class, where they focused on the periodic table. They’ve been laughing over this great book ever since! I have caught them reading different elemental descriptions out loud to each other, or sharing them even after they have read the book. The information is funny and accurate, so they remember it! I found about this book through the Cybil nominations a few months ago and I can not recommend it enough. 

Last Shot: A Final Four Mystery by John Feinstein: My sports enthusiasts love this novel. As one of my students said, “I won a writing contest once, like the main character. But I didn’t get a trip to the Final Four!”. It has everything- mystery, sports, platonic friendships, and a male and female main character.

Hot Gift Books for Middle Grade Students

About a month ago, I posted my first “Hot Books in My Classroom” list. For this months list, I will be making a list of books that are currently popular in my classroom, along with books that were popular earlier this year. These are books my 6th grade students love, and run the gamut of levels and genres.

For the Middle Grade Student Dreading Middle School:

Middle School Is Worse Than Meatloaf: A Year Told Through Stuff: Told through a year of “stuff”- notes, 1C785909-3E2D-4FE4-A1BA-2C2F6FE28EB7.jpgassignments, lists, cards, receipts, postcards, articles, and comics, my students can’t put this book down. Over the past 2 weeks, I have seen my single copy in a different student’s hands each day. This novel appeals mostly to girls, who identify with Ginny’s desire to finally have a great year at school (and actually have a decent school picture, “for once!”). A great book for girls who are reluctant readers. This hardcover edition also makes a perfect present.

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: I have not seen B2508F29-2851-468F-A870-2F4E2DA693C5.jpgany of my 3 copies of this book since October. Boys and girls alike are devouring this illustrated novel about Greg’s middle school adventures (and misadventures!). Perfect for reluctant readers of either gender, this is a must-have!

Shopaholics (and shopaholic wannabees!):

The Clique: Too young for Gossip Girl, but still love 73C2ECD8-B888-4F86-B5E1-7594EDB33604.jpgthe idea of wealth and unlimited shopping in a middle school age group? My girls are eating these books up. This is another series that is being passed around my classroom like candy. Series are a great way to hook a lot of kids into reading!

Wannabe Detectives:

The Face on the Milk Carton: I remember reading Caroline Cooney’s Janie series when I was in middle 537F76F7-FA83-4119-B296-DB297B0C9213.jpgschool. Scholastic began offering the books this year and my boys and girls alike are fascinated by Janie’s life. A good series for kids who are interested in mysteries and adventure. Janie’s story is exciting and keeps you on the edge of your seat. I have had more than one student who completed the first book in the series tell me that they have gone looking for their own baby pictures, “Just to make sure”!

Double Identity: If they love Haddix’s other books, “Double Identity” is a great mystery for middle grade readers. A quick read with a slight 4D786681-4A7E-4680-8D6E-ED7C98EC252D.jpgsci-fi overtone. 2 thumbs up from my class! Not unlike her The Shadow Children Boxed Set series, this novel is more realistic to many readers.

Fantastic Fantasy:

Tuck Everlasting: The DA49DC5F-F9FD-4071-AE0A-50F1CE0CBD39.jpggreatest children’s book ever written, my students have fallen in love with Babbitt’s beautiful story. Every child should have the opportunity to read this fantastic love, life, and family story.

Eragon (Inheritance, Book 1): My boys have started reading “Eragon” and “Eldest” over the last E16448AB-62BE-497B-AB43-70245DE2A9EF.jpgfew weeks. They have been reading them from cover to cover and comparing notes. Paolini draws a rich and vivid fantasy world that immediately draws in the reader. A nice addition to any fantasy collection.

Realistic Fiction for Realistic Kids:

Rules (Newbery Honor Book): Cynthia Lord’s story of a pre-teen girl and her struggle to come to terms with her brother’s autism is a story that will bring a tear to the eyes of many readers. This novel has quietly 0003E06B-0F4A-4BD4-8EFF-E78D0C4CD719.jpgbeen making waves in my classroom, rarely gathering dust on the bookshelf. Many of the same students who enjoy this book also enjoy Ida B: . . . and Her Plans to Maximize Fun, Avoid Disaster, and (Possibly) Save the World.

This is by no means a complete list- hopefully, this list and my prior Hot Books list have given you some good ideas for your middle grade reader this holiday season!

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