Thursday, July 9, 2015

Top 10 Class Reads of 2014-2015!

Each year there are certain books especially loved by that particular class. These are the titles that have long waiting lists to check them out, titles that capture the imaginations of students, titles that get passed around the classroom, and leave us wanting to know everything there is to know about that author and the world they created for us.  Here were our books for this past year.  And please share yours in the comments!

Our Top 10 Books of 2014-2015

#1 Wonder (R. J. Palacio)
This book kicked off our year with a sweet, funny, (and sometimes sad) story about August Pullman - a boy with severe facial deformities who is transitioning from home-schooling to his first year as a 5th grader in a public school. With each section narrated by a different characters, this was a fabulous audio book, and we were totally immersed into the world of Auggie, his sister Via, and their friends. The later discovery of the released Julian Chapter was announced one morning amid screeches and scrambles to the nearest computer!

#2  43 Old Cemetery Road Series: Dying to Meet You (Kate Klise)
Sometimes a book seems to take off out of nowhere and that is precisely what happened with this series. I'd had this title in our classroom library for several years and it got little attention until I randomly grabbed it off the shelf one Friday afternoon when I needed to have something to read that weekend and then stayed up all night to finish it. But it wouldn't have taken off unless one of our avid readers borrowed it after my recommendation, had the same experience, and then it spread like wildfire on her recommendation. A quick novel of letters, Dying to Meet You had a quiet creepiness that fit our October mood perfectly. Our class copy just barely made it to the end of the year with rubber bands and tape.

#3 Smile (Raina Telgemeier)
This full color graphic novel was an instant hit in our class after a book talk by our Scholastic Book Fair organizer, Mrs. Coolbeth.  Clearly an avid and knowledgable YA reader herself, my students hang on her words with reading journals in laps to jot down the titles she shares.

#4 Sisters (Raina Telgemeier)
After the whirlwind of Smile, our class was obviously eager to read Sisters and after an emergency trip to the bookstore to get extra copies, we finally had enough supply for the demand.  Despite the title, this (and Smile) were both books that the guys in my class read almost as eagerly as the gals. We can all relate to long car trips with family, sibling conflict, and family drama.

#5 The One and Only Ivan (Katherine Applegate)
This title had a slow start - but mainly because I resisted "letting it loose" to the class until I heard whether it was going to be added as an official 5th grade title. Whenever the reading teacher popped into our class, we chatted a few seconds about the book and ratcheted up the cryptic teasers until a few in the class were begging to borrow it.  (Sneaky devils we are...)  The plight of Ivan, Ruby, and Stella had us rethinking the role of zoos and their story touched us beyond our time spent reading it.

#6 I Funny (James Patterson)
This book was sparked by one of my least confident readers - but of our most confident kids. He was drawn to its humor and middle school aged main character. So when a kid who doesn't read a lot endorses a book and jumps into its sequel - that is heard loud and clear by the rest of us!

#7 Big Nate In a Class By Himself (Lincoln Peirce) 
This title became popular due to our own Nate who devoured it and its sequels throughout the year. He became our class expert on all things Big Nate and offered up his own copies when our class and school libraries came up short.

#8 Where the Sidewalk Ends  (Shel Silverstein)
One young man single-handedly made this title *the* poetry anthology to read this year.  I'll admit that Silverstein is a gap author for me - somehow I've never read one of his books.  (I know, I know!!) But somehow my dusty classroom copy of this classic made the rounds this year. And yes - it's on my summer TBR list now...

#9 El Deafo (Cece Bell)
El Deafo came to us by way of our middle school librarian extraordinaire, Mrs. Kowalski. She featured this book as part of Bookapalooza 2015, our annual district/community read.  We simply adored Cece Bell's graphic memoir. I had to purchase 4 copies of this one keep up with demand this year!

#10 Backlash (Sarah Darer Littman)
A book that begins with an attempted suicide is probably not one that I would have recommended, but this YA novel about the perils of social media and the pressures to fit in captured a truth that spoke to many of the girls in my class this year.

Those were our top ten books that made us laugh, made us think, and brought us together as a community of readers. What titles made your list this year? Comment below or connect with me on Twitter!

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  1. Wonder is always a favorite followed up by Elvis and the Underdogs by Jenny Lee. Several of the boys this year were really into the Alex Rider series. I agreed with your picks this year for your class.
    Rockin' and Lovin' Learnin'

    1. I'll have to check out Elvis and the Underdogs - what genre is that?

  2. El Deafo is just wonderful. I really regret buying it for my Kindle, because now I need it for my classroom library also. The favorite for my class this year had to be the Crossover. My students LOVED all of the basketball trash talk! I just added Backlash to my amazon cart. The dangers of social media are become a bigger issue for younger and younger children.

    Thanks for the recommendations!

    1. Yes - El Deafo was wonderful! I read it with my 8 and 6 year old daughters the weekend before turning it loose in our class. I hope Cece Bell writes more graphic novels.

    2. Oh - and I just started The Crossover this morning - amazing!! I had to text the parent of one of my students to recommend it to him since I know he'd love it so much. I need more $$ to buy classroom books... sigh....

  3. I love the whole idea behind this post! My 4th graders enjoyed many of these books as well. I just picked up El Deafo from the library this week and I can't wait to read it.

    1. Thanks, Amanda! And glad to connect with you again. :-) It's nice to be back to blogging more regularly again.


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