March’s update went out the window with Spring Break, but I’m back for our beginning of April check-in! As of this morning, I have read 66 books this year. I’m feeling good about that number and my progress toward my student challenge of 100 books by the end of the school year. I know that as the weather gets nicer, my reading will probably slow down a bit – who can resist walking in the sunshine in the Spring?? – so I’m glad I’ve got a good start toward that goal!
Variety has been the name of the game again these last few months, both to increase student interest in a wide range of books and to keep myself interested. When I get into a pattern with reading, I can find myself feeling like I’m reading the same book over and over again – especially if I stick with my default genre, realistic fiction. To avoid a slump, I’ve branched out to include more nonfiction and fantasy, as well as books for a wide age range, and lots of different formats (mostly traditional books, ebooks, audiobooks, and graphic novels).
An unexpected favorite this month was The Notorious RGB, recommended by a sixth grade student. With small font and lots of legal terms, I expected this one to be a struggle – but Ruth Bader Ginsburg has had such an interesting life, and the book itself was so well written, that I actually sped through it! Also a surprise was Alan Gratz’s middle grade novel, Ban This Book. Gratz’s novels are normally not my favorite due to the writing style, but I was totally captivated by this story of a young girl standing up to censorship in her school library. On the Edge of Gone was a dystopian young adult novel whose herione is on the autism spectrum, and her unique thinking and communication style made the story feel totally fresh and unexpected.
Some unsurprising favorites include Kate Messner’s new title, The Exact Location of Home (I love almost everything she writes!), Chasing Space by Leland Melvin (he’s amazing!), Bliss by Kathryn Littlewood, and All’s Faire in Middle School, the newest graphic novel by Victoria Jamieson.
This month wasn’t all favorites. I didn’t love Hello, Universe , the 2017 Newbery winner, as much as I expected to; and the similarly themed The Girl in the Well is Me didn’t captivate me, either. One of Us is Lying, the big YA murder mystery of the year, just made me feel sad and icky. The graphic novel interpretation of A Wrinkle in Time crawled by for me, and young adult mystery Chasing Dreamland was also a challenge. I was surprised when I read my first Big Nate book – What’s a Little Noogie Between Friends – to find that I’m not a Big Nate fan! He was so meanspirited with his friends and family, and that didn’t change at all throughout the story. I see students read it all the time, but had never read one myself until this March. I’m glad I did, but I don’t think I’ll pick up another!
What have you been reading so far in 2018? Have you read any of the titles I listed above? Any books that I’m missing that I should pick up right away? I’d love to see your reading logs!