Monday, December 31, 2018

My Favorite Reads of 2018

I feel like this year went by both really fast and super slow. I follow politics and so often I would read a story and it felt like that had happened months ago but it was only a week. I can't believe however, that it's already 2019!

I wanted to share some of my favorite reads from this year.

Children's Books:

The protagonist in this story gets upset and different animals react differently. Some want him/her to get angry and scream. Some to cry. But the rabbit just listened.  A great lesson for students about how they can deal with friends who are upset.

I love reading books and learning about stories from history that I was unaware of. Reckless was a horse who helped us win a battle. My favorite part is when he figures out who the cook is and sticks his nose in that tent every morning begging for breakfast.

Jim Key was a leader in the movement to protect animals from cruelty and neglect. He had a horse who could add, identify presidents and to spell. Just an incredible story!

I LOVE finding wordless books-but especially ones that the students can relate to.

I expected this story to touch my heart, I didn't expect it to also be about discovering reading. The author uses events that shaped her life to write about how dreams in America can come true. Her library card gave her the freedom to learn English for free.

We teach about writing about small moments. This author takes the seemingly unimportant idea of a haircut and elevates it to a life experience. Giving a boy confidence, seeing powerful men also getting a haircut in the same barbershop. A truly beautiful story.

I have actually seen the Statue of Liberty and I didn't know her feet indicate motion. A great story that tells how the statue came to be and what it stands for.

Chapter books for kids:

Winslow is a donkey that no one thought would survive. A boy decides he will nurse him back to heath. At the same time there is a parallel story about the boy's brother who is a soldier serving overseas. An easy read, great for teaching empathy.

I love this story as a read-aloud! Wedgie is a Corgi who believes he's the superhero protector of the family. Gizmo is a guinea pig who wants to take over the world. It's funny and the author captures the voices of these animals perfectly!

A great read-aloud for older primary students. It's all about how sometimes the universe works in our favor and it seems like fate has a hand in our destinies. Kelly is the first Filipino-American to win the Newberry Award!

Middle grade/YA/grownup reads:

This book reminded me a lot of Esperanza Rising, but it was set in the Middle East. Amal is forced to work as a servant for a powerful family. It's about standing up for what you believe and being brave when you have to be.

I don't usually read books over 400 pages. I just don't have a good attention span. It takes me a long time to read. So I'm pretty proud of myself for getting through this one. An epic story about the life of a boy who loses his mother in a museum explosion and ends up with one of the paintings. He meets many characters as he tries to survive. I can't wait to see the movie they make from it.

I was really intrigued at the concept of this book. A man finds things that have been lost and his life goal is to return them to the proper owner. I thought this was a really beautiful story about our purpose in life.

We used this book as our first fiction staff book club read. A mystery that also has cultural relevance.

I read a lot of mysteries. I wanted to shake the main character of this story a few times in the choices she makes-I mean has she never seen an episode of Law and Order?! But it was an interesting premise. A couple vacationing find a bag of money in the water-do they keep it? Will the people who lost it come looking for them? A real page-turner.

This memoir really stuck with me. Tara was born into a family with very different views of the world. Her father was always prepared for the apocalypse and had his own interpretation of religion and its principles. They "homeschooled" the children but there was no actual schooling involved-they just worked a very dangerous job for their father.

This story was pretty bleak and depressing but I think it needed to be told. Based on true events-a little girl gets dared to steal something at Woolworth's, she takes a 5 cent composition book. A man sees her and tells her that he works for the FBI and now he has to do what he says. Her family looked for her for years. I googled her story after I finished reading it. It just stuck with me. Every choice we make in life can change our destinies.

What were your favorite reads of 2018?

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