To be honest I very rarely give books as gifts. I don’t know why. Maybe because to really give an appropriate book you have to really know the person and know what they like. I always feel as if I don’t know other people well enough to buy them books. And what if they don’t like the book? Then I will feel rejected to the inner core of my being and spend many a day pouting.
But I do give each of my students a book every year. Because I have so few students that are “mine” I am able to individualize the book for each of them. I teach Learning Support (which is just another name for Special Education) so if it is available I also include the audible version of the book as well.
The One and Only Ivan
by Katherine Applegate
“Memories are precious ... they help tell us who we are.”
A gorilla and an elephant are kept in an enclosure in a mall. A baby elephant arrives, the janitors daughter starts to pay attention, and everything changes. I really like how many levels and ways this book can be read at. I think that if you had it as a child and reread it as a you grew up it would be amazing how new it would always seems.
Before I Fall
By Lauren Oliver
“So many things become beautiful when you really look.”
This is a novel that fully explores the far reaching effects of all of our choices no matter how insignificant they might seem. There are real lessons to be learned here and yet it is al managed without sacrificing writing, character development, or making things trivial.
Touching Spirit Bear
By Ben Mikasksen
“Why live if you can’t help others and make the world a better place?”
This is a story of redemption and becoming your true self. The premise (badly behaved boy is put on an empty Alaskan island as punishment) is kind of ridiculous but Cole’s journey is not. This is one angry kid.
By Sara Pennypacker
“Because I am exactly where I should be, doing exactly what I should be doing. That is peace. Eat.”
A fox is brought up by humans and returned to the wild. Pax struggles to find his boy again against the backdrop of war.
By R.j. Palacio
“Here’s what I think: the only reason I’m not ordinary is that no one else sees me that way.”
What is life like when your face is so our of the ordinary that it makes people stare? The magic of Auggie is that somehow he manages to still be a little boy. The magic of this book is that the reader is completely unsurprised by that. Right in the feels.
Fish in a Tree
By Lynda Mullaly Hunt
“She doesn't get it. Being funny when you don't mean to be is terrible. Having to laugh at yourself along with everyone else is humiliating.”
This book is entertaining and readable and I love Ally. She is an eleven year old girl having extreme difficulties at school who believes that she is stupid. Her discovery of her own strength and intelligence makes my heart happy every time.
Beauty: A Retelling of the Story of Beauty and the Beast
by Robin McKinley
“As I have said, you have no reason to trust me, and an excellent reason not to.”
This is a retelling of Beauty and the Beast. It isn’t really a reimagining as a novelization of the fairy tale. It is beautiful. I have some issues with the abruptness of the ending and yet it is still one of my favorite books of all time.
by LIsa Graff
“You should do something because you love it, not just because you’re good at it.”
It is so easy to feel as if the world is looking though you. Especially when you are in middle school. We so often define ourselves by what we are good at. This book asks the question: What if you are just average?
The Book Thief
By Markus Zusak
“A snowball in the face is surely the perfect beginning to a lasting friendship.”
I have said it before and I will say it again. This book is amazing and I am not going to shut up about it anytime soon. This is a story about WWII narrated by Death, and told from the point of view of a young German girl.