This summer, in the quiet moments after my kids go to bed and before they wake up in the morning, I have committed to the #bookaday challenge. Some of my absolute favorites from the past few weeks include:
- Booked, by Kwame Alexander. I loved The Crossover, and this one was just as fantastic. Nick, the main character, juggles his love for soccer with stresses in his home and academic life. As his father’s love for words seems to push him away from books, a unique librarian changes his perspective.
- Nine, Ten: A September 11th Story, by Nora Raleigh Baskin. One of the most bittersweet moments every fall is when I look into the faces of the elementary students I work with and realize that September 11th is nothing more than something they read about as a part of history. This book keeps the emotions and life-changing impact of September 11th in focus as Baskin weaves together the lives of 4 middle school students from very different places and backgrounds in the moments leading up to September 11th. This book is powerful and beautifully written and I can’t wait to see it in the hands of upper elementary students.
- The Seventh Wish, by Kate Messner. This book touched me on so many different levels. Part fantasy, part harsh reality, this story about drug addition leaves the reader with a deeper understanding of the impact of drug addition on families. Although drug addiction is something we always wish is a never conversation for upper elementary students, this book gracefully acknowledges that for so many of our students it is a reality that must be dealt with every day. Another beautifully written book that needs to find its way into the lives of students who are dealing with the fear and unwarranted shame of loving someone with an addiction.
- Lily and Dunkin, by Donna Gephart. This book stands out both because of the themes and the characters. Lily, a transgender child who is trying to embrace and develop her identity in middle school, meets Dunkin, a transfer student with bipolar disorder who is dealing with demons of his own. The paths of these two unique characters continue crossing as each tries to understand the other. The themes in this book handled so realistically throughout the book, providing readers with a deep feeling of empathy for these two characters.
- Maybe a Fox, by Kathi Appelt and Alison McGhee. This story takes grief to the deepest level as Jules, the main character, comes to terms with the loss of her sister. A beautiful blend of nature and raw emotion, this book is a fantastic companion to Sara Pennypacker’s Pax.
This has also been a summer filled with reading book after book with my own two children snuggled up on my lap. Our current favorites are:
- Anything in the Elephant and Piggie series, by Mo Willems, but especially Watch Me Throw the Ball! Even after our sixth read in a single day, my 4-year-old howled with laughter throughout the book like it was the first time he’d ever heard it. A close second is I Am Going!, which inspired a makeshift picnic on our living room floor last week.
- The Gruffalo, by Julia Donaldson. Another book we have on repeat at our house, my kids absolutely love the bold characters in this book.
- Mortimer and The Paper Bag Princess, by Robert Munsch. We have the board book versions of these books, and my kids spontaneously quote both on a daily basis.
Only three weeks of summer left–looking forward to adding several more titles to my growing list of favorites to share when the new school year starts!