Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Who I Read For

Every summer, I read lots of books. I mean lots! Yes, I read for pleasure because I truly love reading. However, I also read for my students. Students I haven't met. Lives I know nothing about. Struggles I have yet to hear. Joys I have yet to share. Children whose lives will soon become intertwined with mine. Names, faces, and hearts that will become part of my world. So, yes, I read books in the hope that I can find titles and stories that my students need. Books that I can put in their hands at just the right time. So far this summer, here's who I read for.

I read We All Looked Up for students who need to appreciate the little moments in life. Those who enjoy stories of the "what ifs" of catastrophic events. Those who have read books like Life as We Know it

I read Shooter for students who may have questions about gun control laws or who struggle with feelings of isolation. Those who like books written in a different format. Those who liked Nineteen Minutes.

I read Memory Key for fans of science fiction. Those who find government control of people's minds creepy, yet alluring. Fans of Bar Code Tattoo and Unwind.

I read Make Lemonade for students who like down-on-your-luck stories with a plucky main character. Those who need an "I can overcome obstacles" tale, especially one with a female lead.

I read Between the Lines for students who like Jodi Picoult books with teen main characters, like My Sister's Keeper and The Pact. Those who are interested in the idea of characters from a book interacting (and falling in love) with their readers. Those who are intrigued by the idea that book characters lead a different life when the book is shut. (The companion book, Off the Page, is on my book stack. I'm sure my students and I will enjoy it as well.)

I read Ignite Me and Unravel Me for students who read and loved the first book in the trilogy, Shatter Me. Those who wonder what it would be like to never be able to touch anyone, for fear of killing them. Those who fear the idea of the wrong people harnessing that power for evil.

I read This World We Live In, The Dead and the Gone, and The Shade of the Moon for students who loved Life as We Knew It. Those who want to hear other perspectives of a world where a meteor pushes the moon off its axis, causing havoc. Those who need other points of view to help make sense of a tragedy.

I read Blood Wounds for students who like Susan Beth Pfeffer and realistic fiction stories with characters who are either hunted or on the run. Also, for those who like a back story that the main character didn't see coming.

I read Blood Will Tell for students who (like me) love April Henry "Point Last Seen" mysteries. Those who would like to put themselves in the shoes of a teenage search and rescue team, and who love trying to solve the crime before the main character does. Those who think adults don't give kids enough credit.

I read Claim to Fame and House on the Gulf for fans of Margaret Peterson Haddix books (like Game Changer, Double Identity, Turnabout and Full Ride). Those who liked the Among the Hidden and The Missing series and who sometimes want a little science fiction mixed in with their realistic fiction. Those who want science fiction books with female main characters and not much romance or violence.

I read The Bunker Diary for students who like a good kidnapping/adventure story. Those who revel in ambiguity: who are ok with all the loose ends not necessarily being tied up. Those who like to analyze a criminal's motives.

I read What Waits in the Woods for students who like to get a little scared when they read. Those who think hiking in the woods with the feeling like someone is watching you is exciting and terrifying. Those who like scary movies.

I read The Five Stages of Andrew Brawley for students who like to root for the misunderstood or isolated kids. Those who may have trouble fitting in, or those who like family and relationship drama.

I read Bruiser for fans of Neal Shusterman (like me). For those who like science fiction with the emotional pull of realistic fiction. Those who appreciate a loner they will care deeply about within the first few pages. Those who love a good story of friendship.

I read Grasshopper Jungle for students who like gory science fiction-the more unrealistic, the better. Those who like a story written the way teenagers think, like Winger. Relatable, raw and real. (Excited to read and introduce students to Andrew Smith's new book Stand-Off, due out in September.)

I read Boys Don't Knit (in Public) for students who feel they need to keep their hobbies and interests secret for fear of ridicule. Those who are intrigued by the title and maybe even those who want to learn the ins and outs of the knitting world.

I read Challenger Deep for students who are ready for a fabulous ride through the mind of someone with mental illness. Those who love Neal Shusterman's writing and wonder how he can blend an adventure tale on the high seas a la Pirates of the Caribbean with teenage life in a mental hospital.

I read Lost in the Sun for students who feel for characters who can't catch a break. Those who relate to small incidents that seem to magnify in the middle school setting. Those who loved Fish in a Tree and Absolutely Almost.

I read 13 Story Treehouse for students who like series books. Those who appreciate lots of pictures in their chapter books. Those who like wild stories and creativity. Fans of Timmy Failure, My Life as a _____, and The Creature From My Closet books.

I read None of the Above for students who feel disconnected with their gender, for whatever reason. Those who are misunderstood, or those who need to understand others' differences. Those who love a great story of friendship and acceptance.

I read Me Being Me is Exactly as Insane as You Being You for students as intrigued as I was about a story told only in lists. Those who have a gay parent, friend or family member. Those who struggle with who they are supposed to be. Those who like stories with characters on a journey of self-discovery.

I read Call Me By My Name for students who seek to understand a time when the color of one's  skin directly affected friendships and opportunities. Those who need to read about characters who are brave in the face of hatred. Fans of The Lions of Little Rock. Those who like a good football glory story.

I read Vanishing Girls for students who are fans of Lauren Oliver books like Panic, Before I Fall, and the Delirium trilogy. Those who like a great teenage rebellion drama. Those who like mysterious circumstances and twists. (I can't wait to introduce students to her new MG book, Curiosity House: The Shrunken Head, out in September)

I read Be Not Afraid for students who like horror movies. Fans of supernatural and creepy stories. Those who can handle being scared out of their wits.

I read Awkward for students who love graphic novels. Those who worry about fitting into middle school and wonder if they would be upstanders or bystanders. Those who liked Drama, Sisters, Smile and Roller Girl.

I read A Handful of Stars for students who like a good dog story. Those who enjoy stories of unlikely friendships and characters who challenge norms and expectations. those who liked Because of Winn Dixie.

I read Pivot Point for students who have a tough time making decisions and would jump at the opportunity to search into the futures of both choices. Those who wonder what would happen if we could harness more of our brain's potential. (I am excited to recommend the sequel, Split Second, out earlier this year.)

I read Cut for students who struggle with self-injury. Those who are trying to understand a peer who cuts to escape the pain. Those who want to root for a character to find a way to deal with her mental illness.

I read By the Time You Read This, I'll Be Dead for any student either contemplating suicide or with symptoms of depression. Those who have been bullied and need to read about a character like themselves. Or those who seek to understand what goes on inside the heads of teens who think death is the only option. Fans of Thirteen Reasons Why would like this story.

I read Circus Mirandus for students who love magic, the circus, mean old aunts, and wonderfully mysterious old grandfathers. Those who enjoy unlikely friendships and fantastical journeys. Those who hope for a happy ending right up until the last page. Those who loved The Real Boy.

I read Extraordinary Means for students who are intrigued by the possibility of previously eradicated plagues resurfacing. Those who wonder what they would do if infected with tuberculosis. Those who loved John Green's The Fault in Our Stars.
I read Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief (graphic novel) for students who are not ready for the novels, but need a gateway. Those who like Greek mythology and/or other graphic novels.

Currently, I am reading I Become Shadow for students who love science fiction. Those who think the idea of people trained to be human weapons, protecting valuable citizens of the future, sounds right up their alley. Fans of Hunger Games and Divergent.

Next, I will read Tesla's Attic for students who love Neal Shusterman's books. (I guess I read a few books for these students. Yes, I am a Neal Shusterman fan.) Those who like the idea of a strange magnetic vortex in the attic, which causes objects to have extraordinary properties. Those interested in Nikola Tesla and a book with scientific details as explanations for wild occurrences.

I read for myself and my students. I'll keep reading on their behalf.

Maybe my next book will be the perfect one to recommend to a student who just hasn't found the right book. YET.

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