Books for School- They Can Be Top Notch, Too!

I recently watched my son struggle to get through Pride and Prejudice these past few weeks. He couldn’t connect. He complained every day. And I get it. Not every genre or every title is going to please the masses. But I couldn’t help but wonder if teachers kept the same sorts of books and curriculum year after year because they truly loved the stories and lessons– or was it more of a lack of funding to buy new material– or was it a lack of imagination to find what might deliver the same results but with something that could connect the students to reading in a better way?

I have taught many different ages. I have taught preschool. I have taught middle school. And now, I teach elementary age students. One thing I never stop doing, is looking for new literature to spark interest and conversation. Don’t get me wrong, I keep “oldies but goodies” in my closet and teach them with just as much vigor as the bright and shiny new books, but I try to make sure I stay true to showing my students different genres that push boundaries of topics of conversation and still stay relatable. It’s hard to please everyone.  Some books transcend time- they are loved no matter who reads them and their themes are universal and poignant. I have yet to find a student who didn’t get their heart in their throat when reading On My Honor, or Bridge to Terabithia. But I also saw them moved when reading A Long Walk to Water, or I Am Malala.

Maybe it doesn’t matter what book it is, if the teacher can bring emotion and purpose to the reading, it will engage the students strictly by modeling great reading habits. Whether teaching old books, or new, students need to feel they can relate. They need to feel purpose, and they need to learn empathy so that they can put themselves in the place of the many characters they come into contact with. What books do you find connect with our students today? What sparks conversation, debate, joy, and true emotion? I try to get all of those things from my first graders with simple picture books. I love a great picture book!

Post and comment your favorite books you think should be taught in school. Are they books from your school year memories? Books you teach? Books you wished were taught? Is there a book that changed your life, or at the very least, your perspective about the world we live in? That’s all I’m looking for. I want kids reading so that their hearts are full of all the possibilities of the world, and so that they know- with a book- they are never alone.

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New Year- New You

Everyone has their New Year’s Resolution. But I am ready to commit to a new kind of resolution. And that is to read a variety of genres this year. I typically steer toward historical fiction (hence- my time travel series), but I feel the need to expand my horizons. I would like to include some nonfiction entries, a sci-fi, and maybe…just maybe… a fantasy. That will be a hard reach for me. I am currently enjoying some fictions reads from my goodreads list that I make based off of my book club suggestions and word of mouth..but I would love to hear some suggestions of well loved books from the genres I just listed.

I also have the goal to start writing again, and I have a few ideas floating around in my head. Of course, all are so different that I have no idea which way to go. I have dystopian, young adult, and a little “based on a true story” going around as well as a good old survival story. Dystopians have flooded the market and I may have missed the boat on that one…Young adult is always a fun place to be, but the older I get, the less I feel I can fully relate. And the true story is a little close to home and may not be received well by all…Hmmmmm..Leaning toward a good old fashioned fun survival story so far. Thoughts?

Hope your new year is starting off well!  Stay healthy! Stay safe! Keep reading!


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