Sunday, November 29, 2015

YA Favorites: Fall Term 2015

From my reading this summer & fall -- here are my 16 favorites (fiction and non-fiction) for the classroom (otherwise known as the ones that never stay long on the shelves in our classroom library!)!!


Another Kind of Hurricane
by Tamara Ellis Smith
Another Kind of Hurricane tells the story of ten year old Zavion, a black boy who loses his home in Hurricane Katrina, and Henry, a ten year old white boy from Vermont whose best friend Wayne just died. A marble connects these two boys from opposite sides of the East Coast as they each are on their own journey of healing. Inspired by Hurricane Irene and the wreckage of that hurricane along with Katrina, this beautifully braided narrative inspires reflection, hope and courage in the reader.

Auggie & Me: Three Wonder Stories
by R.J. Palacio
Auggie & Me was a beautiful, beautiful continuation of the story so many of us know and love, Wonder. The way he pulls out characters, especially, Julian, who we think is so terrible makes you think more not just about the story, but about how the characters are so much deeper than we may ever see! Absolutely so many good lessons and themes in this story - plan on reading aloud and using in my classroom! Fabulous, once again from R.J. Palacio.

Blue Gold
by Elizabeth Stewart
A stunningly written braided narrative from three teenage girl's perspective, Blue Gold, while a fictional story will leave the reader questioning the daily devices they use, and if they are part of this disgusting cycle of exploitation, hate, and cruelty. Sylvie is a refugee from the Congo in a Tanzanian refugee camp who is faced with pursuing her dreams or giving into cyclical intimidation by the local warlord. Laiping is a young Chinese teen who lies about her age to work in the city's factories to earn money for her rural family. And Fiona is a Canadian teen who finds herself in the middle of both stories, as she tries to write her own. Cannot say enough about how great this text is! For teachers -- upper middle/high school -- recommend with caution -- detailed description of drinking/sex/sexual assault.

Fish in a Tree 
by Lynda Mullaly Hunt
Fish In a Tree delicately addresses the common fear of any child who has ever felt out of place in school through the incredibly courageous sixth grader, Ally. Ally describes having been at seven different schools and takes you through her routine of just trying to make it through her school day without being picked on by teachers and her classmates. With an older brother she idolizes, and a hard-working mom trying to keep things afloat while her dad is deployed, Ally wins the heart of the reader fast. She's a creative, spirited, spunky girl, who with the help of a new teacher, Mr. Daniels, and her new trio of friends, is getting ready to conquer her previously undiagnosed dyslexia and social fears. Charming and uplifting!