#MustReadin2017 Update #1 The Longest Winter Ever (Plus a tiny bit of Spring)

Thanks to Carrie Gelson at There’s a Book for That for organizing this  great challenge. I started the year with a list of 66 books. After three months, I was hoping to have read between a quarter and a third of the total number of books (17-22). Last year I did a great job (if I do say so myself) in the first three months and then really lost focus so I was hoping to get off to a good start and read about 20 of my books. Turns out I have read exactly 20!

Here are the books that I have read:

Middle Grade and Young Adult Novels

Horizon (Horizon, Book 1)ScytheCounting on HopeScar IslandSamurai Rising: The Epic Life of Minamoto Yoshitsune

These are the most recent five that I read. I am evaluating books for a Lit Circle unit and Battle of the Books that I do each year. Counting on Hope and Samurai Rising are on the long list for next year. I like the setting and curricular ties for Counting on Hope and the fact that Samurai Rising is non-fiction (although a tad violent for grade 5). I read Scar Island because we are using The Honest Truth this year, and I know kids will love the action of that book. Horizon was a book we discussed at our school when Jennifer Nielsen visited. She is writing book two of the series. Scythe was a book I won on Goodreads, and it was super interesting. A very grim topic, but I think some of my mature grade seven students (I see them in library and was their classroom teacher last year) would enjoy it.

The Seventh WishWrath of the Storm (Mark of the Thief #3)Auggie & Me: Three Wonder StoriesAn Ember in the Ashes (An Ember in the Ashes, #1)The Inquisitor's Tale: Or, The Three Magical Children and Their Holy Dog

The Seventh Wish was a book I wanted to read for possible use in my Lit Circle/Battle of the Books next year. I think it is a strong contender, but it may get selected for Global Read Aloud, in which case I would not use it. It handled a relevant subject in a great way. I had to read Wrath of the Storm to finish the exciting Mark of the Thief series by Jennifer Nielsen. Auggie & Me was recommended last year by students and I was happy to read the back story of Julian in particular. I don’t read as much YA as I did when I was at a middle school, but Ember in the Ashes was a book I kept seeing online and I really enjoyed the plot and setting. I am not racing for book two only because I can’t see a place for it in my elementary setting and also the love triangle aspect of some YA just seems a little forced. The Inquisitor’s Tale is one of my favourite books right now. I am not sure how it is going to work with for grades 5/6. It will be a challenging read, but rewarding for those with high ability or perseverance.

Early Chapter/Emerging Readers:

This is an area I am trying to focus on a little more. My oldest kind of skipped this stage with the exception of Magic Treehouse, so I am hoping to build a better knowledge of these books.

Weekends with Max and His DadThe Princess in Black Takes a VacationDory FantasmagoryRescue on the Oregon Trail (Ranger in Time, #1)Never Glue Your Friends to Chairs (Roscoe Riley Rules, #1)

I really enjoyed all of these books. Most of them are first in a series except The Princess in Black, which is the fourth. I have read the previous three with my youngest, who at six is just starting to read some of these books on her own. She read all of The Princess in Black Takes a Vacation to me (a first for us, and so this is officially one of my favourite books ever). Weekends with Max and His Dad is, I think, a stand alone and a good addition to any library. Roscoe Riley and Dory are really funny characters and I have been able to hand Roscoe to a number of students already. I very much want to read more in these series with my children and students. I have been really enjoying Kate Messner’s writing lately and the Ranger in Time series is no exception. I am handing it to lots of late primary students.

Picture Books:

You Don't Want a Unicorn!Up in the Garden and Down in the DirtBorn in the Wild: Baby Mammals and Their ParentsIf I Had a Gryphon

You Don’t Want a Unicorn was one of the funniest picture books I have read for a while. My grade five/six class really enjoyed it (they saw me cataloging it for the library and insisted that I read it to them). If I Had a Gryphon is similar and attracts readers as well. Up and Down in the Garden and Down in the Dirt is the third Kate Messner book on this list, and I really love this whole series and they way the books explore nature with readers. Born in the Wild is a second NF picture book (another area that I do not feel I have read enough) and it is really good, but I enjoyed Lita Judge’s How Big Are Dinosaurs? a little more.

Graphic Novels:

The Stonekeeper (Amulet, #1)

This is a series I really should have checked out sooner. I have never had to sell this to students because they always recommend it to each other, so I hadn’t picked up until recently. My oldest was amazed that I had not read it yet, and that was another reason. I really enjoyed it, and read the second as well. I not dying to read the rest of the series like many of our students, but I am interested enough to pick one up when I want a quick read.

Progress to Date 20/66

Likely to read soon:

The Whispering Skull (Lockwood and Co. #2)

Me and Marvin Gardens

Snow White

Wolf Hollow


These are either student recommended or potential Lit Circle books for next year.

Here is a link to my full list if you have any recommendations for what I should not miss out on. Thanks for reading!



10 thoughts on “#MustReadin2017 Update #1 The Longest Winter Ever (Plus a tiny bit of Spring)

  1. 66 books is a really ambitious list! I like how yours represents so many different ages and reflects the needs of so many different readers. Writing my update this morning reminded me just how impressed I was with The Inquisitor’s Tale. I despair of ever getting a single one of my (college!) students to read it, though. I just don’t know how to sell this one, though I expect I do have a handful of students that it would be a “just right” book for. Samurai Rising is also on my list–hoping to get to it soon.


    1. I feel the same way about Gidwitz’s book. I loved it, but how many others will stretch themselves to get through it. I think he wrote something similar about the book, thanking people for trusting that their readers can do it.


  2. Interesting to read your conversation about The Inquisitor’s Tale. I enjoyed it very much, but is it too hard, or too complex? I love the Kate Messner books, too, thought The Seventh Wish was so skillfully done.I just read Over & Under The Pond, another good one! Thanks for the recommendations for All The Answers. If I had to recommend any of your “to do” books, it would be Maybe A Fox, a magical journey with great points of view. Thanks for sharing so much, Aaron!


  3. I am not sure with The Inquisitor’s Tale. I am going to find some grade sevens to read it. Most teachers are thinking that students without a religious or historical background might struggle, however I have a few readers who loved Adam Gidwitz’s Grimm series and they might give it a shot. I am looking forward to having the budget in my library to purchase Over & Under the Pond, and thanks for the recommendation of Maybe a Fox!


  4. The #mustreadin2017 community is just what I needed this spring! I was peeking at your original list, my 12 year old is reading the Unwanteds series. I am fascinated by what he is telling me, and I think I’m going to have to grab these this summer. Thanks for sharing.


    1. It is a great little group to be sure. The Unwanteds is one of those books, it looks like something I would have read a while ago, and yet… no. My 9 year old says the same thing. No one we know in person has read it though, so it is easy for it to stay in a pile in the house/classroom/library. When one of us finally “discovers” it, it will be quite a find as we will have seven books to read.


  5. We do have some matching titles! And I agree with what you said – I find myself on a roll with getting my books read, but then it slowly, well, slows down!


  6. I am impressed as heck that you have finished 20 of the books on your list of 66. Just Wow! I love that you have organized them to meet the needs of the readers at your school and your own children at home. I think that The Seventh Wish would make an excellent lit circle book.
    I was raised Catholic and think my knowledge of the history of the church helped me understand and become absorbed by The Inquisitor’s Tale.
    Good Luck with the rest of your list!


  7. Wow, what a list! I’m inspired! I like the way your have your list organized too. I keep seeing The Inquisitor’s List popping up again and again. I feel like I need to check it out. I couldn’t agree with you more about Amulet. My readers go ga-ga over it. I can’t keep it on the shelves! I also can’t wait to read Scar Island. I read Some Kind of Courage and loved it! I really enjoyed reading your post. Thanks for sharing! ~Amy


  8. I also like your variation. Maybe I should put some younger chapter books on my list next year. I do like keeping up with these titles and do my best to do it. One series I love is Piper Green and the Fairy Tree. The Seventh Wish is such a fantastic title. I am hoping this one begins to take off in my room. Right now, there is a lot of Jennifer Nielsen hype! The Scourge is highly sought after!


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