A Top Ten Tuesday post is probably the last thing I should be publishing today, considering how behind I am on reviewing books. But, yeah. I just couldn't resist today's topic since it's a freebie. Yay!
My friend messaged me a bookish question on Facebook yesterday and I thought a Top Ten list would be the perfect way to answer her query. She will be starting her first year of teaching this Fall. As she's trying to collect books for her classroom library, she asked which titles I would recommend stocking for her upcoming 6th graders. This is a little tricky as kids this age want to read more mature books, but (in my opinion, anyway) they're not necessarily ready for hard-core YA novels yet. In fact, there's been a bit of a brouhaha at my kids' elementary school about the recent availability of teen books in the library. So, in thinking of volumes for a 6th grade classroom, I tried to come up with stories that are exciting/complex enough to hold an older reader's attention, while still being appropriate, especially for a school library. Be sure to let me know whether you agree or disagree with my choices and what additional books you would suggest to my friend. I'm sure she'd appreciate as much feedback as possible.
Before we get to that, though, why don't you join in the Top Ten Tuesday fun? It's super easy. Just go on over to The Broke and the Bookish, read the easy-peasy instructions, and jump on the bandwagon. It's a good time, I promise.
Now, on to my list. First of all, I would make sure I stocked lots of great classic lit, like The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien, The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis, The Diary of Anne Frank, To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, the Anne of Green Gables books by L.M. Montgomery, etc.
Assuming I already had those on hand, these are the Top Ten Books/Series I Would Buy for a Sixth Grade Classroom Library:
1. Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling—Most kids discover the wonders of Harry Potter long before sixth grade. If they haven't, they need to. This is also a series that kids (and adults!) love to re-read, so the more copies of the books a school has, the better.
2. The Hunger Games series by Suzanne Collins—Although these books are pretty violent and grim, it's a YA series that definitely appeals to middle grade readers. While it doesn't provide the most uplifting reading in the world, the series features books with tight prose, lots of action, and thought-provoking moral questions.
3. The Percy Jackson series (and spin-offs) by Rick Riordan—These books are popular with readers of all ages. Sixth graders love them as much as fourth graders do. Also, watch for Riordan's new series based on Norse mythology—the first book will be coming out in October, I believe.
4. The Lunar Chronicles series by Marissa Meyer—Although this is a YA series, it's squeaky clean. It's also got memorable characters, vivid writing, plenty of action/adventure, and a sci fi twist that makes it stand out from the crowd. Sure, the books are "re-booted" fairy tales, but there's plenty for both girls and boys to love about this series.
5. The Alex Rider series by Anthony Horowitz—When my son was in 5th and 6th grade, these books were his absolute favorite. Alex Rider is sort of a young James Bond. I haven't read any of the novels, but they're very popular at my kids' elementary school and come highly recommended by my son.
6. The Maze Runner series by James Dashner—Like #5, these books will appeal to reluctant readers, especially those of the male variety. With dystopian elements, a mystery, and lots of action/adventure, this series is another really popular one.
7. The Gallagher Girls series by Ally Carter—I don't know how much literary merit these books have, but who cares? They're clever, upbeat, and tons of fun. My 13-year-old daughter and I both adore this series.
8. The Unwind series and, really, anything by Neal Shusterman—If you read this blog on any kind of a regular basis, you already now that I'm a huge Shusterman fangirl. His books are complex, imaginative, and thought-provoking. I love the Unwind series best of all, but I also really recommend his Skinjacker series.
9. Anything by Margaret Peterson Haddix—Haddix is another author who will appeal to reluctant readers. Most of her novels are short, quick reads that still manage to be suspenseful, exciting, and thought-provoking. Every 6th grade library needs a little Haddix in it.
10. The Al Capone books by Gennifer Choldenko—I adore this trilogy about families living on Alcatraz Island during the time it housed a working prison (and a very famous inmate). It's a fascinating historical series that is unique, interesting and full of heart. I love it.
I could seriously go on and on about this subject! So, what do you think of my choices? Which books/series would you buy/not buy for a 6th grade classroom? I'd love to hear your answers and I know my friend would, too.
My mountain of review books grows daily. To see a list of those currently in my possession (physical copies only—e-copies are not listed), click here.
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How the Light Gets In by Louise Penny
Harry Potter and The Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling
Baby Steps to Understanding
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2017 Modern Mrs. Darcy Reading Challenge
1. A book you choose for the cover—The Secret Ingredient of Wishes by Susan Bishop Crispell 2. A book with a reputation for being un-put-down-able—The Missing Hours by Emma Kavanagh 3. A book set somewhere you've never been, but would like to visit - The Beautiful Mystery by Louise Penny 4. A book you've already read—Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling 5. A juicy memoir—My Story by Elizabeth Smart 6. A book about books or reading—The Bookshop on the Corner by Jenny Colgan 7. A book in a genre you usually avoid—Maus by Art Spiegelman 8. A book you don't want to admit you're dying to read—Talking As Fast As I Can by Lauren Graham 9. A book you were excited to buy or borrow but haven't read yet—The Worst Hard Time by Timothy Egan 10. A book about a topic or subject you already love—Trials of the Earth by Mary Mann Hamilton
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2017 Dystopia Reading Challenge
1. Ready Player One by Ernest Cline 2. Wool by Hugh Howey 3. The Heart Goes Last by Margaret Atwood 4. Tomorrow, When the War Began by John Marsden 5. One Second After by William R. Forstchen 6. Across the Universe by Beth Revis 7. Awaken by Katie Kacvinsky 8. Born by Tara Brown 9. An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir 10. Red Rising by Pierce Brown 11. Consider by Kristy Acevedo 12. Bluescreen by Dan Wells 13. Starflight by Melissa Landers 14. Frost by M.P. Kozlowsky 15. Vicarious by Paula Stokes 16. Replica by Lauren Oliver