Tuesday, March 8, 2016

TTT: Classroom Library Book Goals

This week's topic over at The Broke and the Bookish is ten characters you like but others hate, or visa versa.  I didn't have anything compelling to say about that, so I'm coming up with my own topic, entirely unrelated.

I buy books for my classroom.  I buy books kids have requested.  I buy books I love.  I buy books that have won awards, and I buy books that I think will appeal to kids of various tastes and reading levels.  Kids will often ask me, "Have you read all of these?"  I haven't, but I've read a lot of them, and have a reasonably clear idea of many others.

But there are books I buy for the library that I haven't read yet, but really, really want to.  They are on my TBR, and it makes me a little crazy that I have spent money on them, but haven't yet read them.  (Well, occasionally my school has spent money on them, but I buy books independently when I can, because that makes me feel like I can weed them as I see fit, and if I ever leave this school, I can take the books with me.)  Other books are not necessarily that  appealing to me, but I suspect they would be to certain students, so I want to develop enough familiarity with them to recommend them more effectively.

These are ten books that are in my classroom library that I want to read soon.

1. Leviathan by Scott Westerfield.  I liked Uglies and lot, but grew bored with the follow ups.  I liked Afterworlds quite a bit.  I'm not drawn to steam punk, which is what Leviathan's cover looks like, and my students tend to prefer realistic fiction (or horror) overall.  But when I took one class to the book fair, and Juan, who is a reading powerhouse when it comes to books with names like Street Pharm and Homeboyz, told me Leviathan was really good and I should add it to my library--well, I had to.  And I've been meaning to read it ever since.

2.  Stars Above by Marissa Meyer is totally a book I bought for myself while justifying it because it's housed at school.  I attended a book signing by Ms. Meyer and everything.  It's been sitting on my desk ever since.  I won't let any kids read it until I have, but it's one of those books that I'm so excited about that I'm afraid to read.

3.  The Tequila Worm by Viola Canales comes highly recommended and sounds like a great read for my Latino students, but the word "tequila" makes them giggle and the word "worm" grosses them out.  I need to read this so I can do it justice when trying to pique their interest.

4.  One student begged me to get Love Letters to the Dead by Ava Dellaira.  As soon as I get it back from her, I want to read it too!

5.  One of my most stubborn reading-refusers borrowed One Came Home by Amy Timberlake in September.  I ask her to bring it back every few days.  She smiles enigmatically and says she will.  I really wish I'd had a chance to read it
before it went away with her.

6.  Matt de la Peña is one of my favorites, as I may have mentioned once or twice.  The trouble is, my students feel the same way.  I want to read We Were Here as well as The Living and its sequel, The Hunted, but my copies are continually checked out.  I finally went to the library to get a copy of We Were Here that I can read and hope to start it next week.

7.  Last fall I won  Barry Lyga's Blood of my Blood, the third book in his series that begins with I Hunt Killers.  Then I used grant money to get the first two books, because, duh.  Now I want to read the first book and possibly continue.  It's just kind of big, and if I feel that way, I can only imagine what my students think when they look at it.

8.  I finally got Noelle Stevenson's Nimona.  I haven't read it yet, and so I haven't been able to sell any kids on it yet.  I know it's won all sorts of praise and awards--and it's a graphic novel, so I could read it on my lunch break.  I just need to DO IT.

9.  Another Day by David Levithan is Another Book that students keep borrowing before I can get to it.  I love Levithan's voice, although some of his books fall flat for me.  Every Day was terrific, and I'm super curious about the companion novel.  C'mon, Jessica and Emily, finish up!

10.  When I saw The Dumbest Idea Ever by Jimmy Gownley, I was immediately attracted by the idea of a graphic novelist's memoir, a la Raina Telgemeier's Smile and Sisters.  This is another one I have no excuse for not plowing through quickly.  I also suspect that
once a few kids read it and get the word out, I'll lose my chance, so I better read it soon.

Have you read any of these?  Which should I start with?  


  1. This entire post makes me so sad that I gave up on being a middle school English teacher! You have such power, the ability to give kids a love of the written word, and I am so glad to see that you don't take that for granted! Too many of my English teachers didn't care about getting us to read outside of the mandated curriculum, so it's nice when there are teachers who go out of their way to make sure that it is possible.

    My TTT.

  2. I'd recommend Matt de la Pena, partly because I just spent a Saturday in his workshops and began reading Mexican Whiteboy. The Ball Don't Lie is the sequel. He's got a great story style, writing out of his experience and creating characters like the kids I know on the east side.

  3. I always do my own topic when I'm not feeling the one they chose for the week. I still need to read Winter, but I'm not sure I'm going to read Stars Above. Hope you get a chance to read some of these soon.

    Sandy @ Somewhere Only We Know
    Also, I have a giveaway going on for my 5th Blogoversary.


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