I will be posting BOOK REVIEWS of Upper Elementary, Middle Grade, and Young Adult novels/memoirs that I have recently read and, in many cases, are recently published or ARCs (Advanced Reading Copies). My reading goal is to read, review, and recommend novels that feature diverse authors, characters, settings, reading levels, interest levels, and formats—prose, verse, graphic, and multi-formatted. In this sense "diversity" refers to culture, race, ethnicity, nationality, geography, age, physical abilities, neurodiversities, gender identification, and sexual preference.
Books will usually be grouped in my reviews by themes—organized by topics, characters, settings, genres, writing formats, and authors—because I am a strong advocate for Book Club reading; however, any books posted and reviewed can be read as a whole-class text or as individual, self-selected reading.
Each thematic post will be individually accessible in a pull-down menu from this header "BOOK REVIEWS." To date,reviews have been posted on the following topics (click for links):
Why am I such an advocate for BOOK CLUB reading? When students read novels with similarities, they are able to discuss their reading with other readers, resulting in building a Reading Community. In Book Clubs commonalities encourage not only small-group collaborative discussions but Inter-Book Club comparison conversations.
BOOK CLUBS offer countless advantages:
supportive—readers can read more complex text with support of peers
deeper discussions—with more participation and multiple perspectives and a safe space for those important conversations
collaboration—to learn and practice social skills necessary in the real world
increased reading and employment of skills–-reading required to participate
motivation to read—to participate in club discussions and activities; peer pressure
a way to meet listening and speaking standards
differentiation—class can read at multiple reading levels; students can read at individual reading and interest levels
choice—students can choose books of interest = motivation
a small safe community to discuss sensitive issues
A class can read multiple formats at the same time: prose, verse novels, graphic novels, or multiple topics/titles within a genre or format
Readers learn about 4-5 other novels; after-reading Book Club presentations introduce books to entire class
Book Clubs also provide a bridge between whole-class reading and independent reading.
Below are 44 graphic lists as examples for grouping novels/memoirs for Book Club reading (or for individual self-selected reading on a class topic, genre, format, or author). The novels/memoirs are grouped by topics, characters, genres, and formats and are comprised of books I have read in recent years as examples; many novels may be listed in multiple categories, illustrating different ways to group titles.
Also see my article for Middle School Journal on my journey from teaching texts to reaching readers through Reading Workshop "Losing the Fear of Sharing Control." More on Reading Workshop will be addressed in upcoming blogs.