Teaching English is one of those things where you ask yourself which came first – the book or the English teacher. I have always loved reading and writing. I have always loved finding new stories. I have always loved discussing new stories with people. A likely progression to this love was to share these interests with students. And so here we are. This page will serve as a recommendation page of sorts, listing books that I have loved (some that I may not have loved so much), and those that are must reads. Many will fall into the young adult category.
Please comment with your favorites, recommendations, and thoughts.
El Deafo by Cece Bell
This book is one of my school’s 2016 summer reading books. It was a very quick read, but I am so happy that I picked it up as my first pick for the summer. It is full of everything you want in a book – friendship, love, heartache, and color. Yes, that’s right, this book has color; it is, after all, a graphic novel. Following Cece’s childhood growing up after losing her hearing, this heartwarming story shows that even though you may be different from everyone else, you can still have fun and be a superhero.
Hear Cece Bell talk about her book here.
The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey
Many of my students read this book during the 2015-2016 school year, and there was recently a movie produced, so of course I had to read it. Rick Yancey captivated my attention from the first page until the last. His story is told from several different points of view, making this one you won’t want to put down, especially in the last 100 pages. Cassie’s quest to find her brother in among the the alien invasion – the so called “5th Wave” – is a new take on alien stories, while it did remind me of others such as Ender’s Game. Although this book was widely read this year in my own classroom, and I thoroughly enjoyed it, be aware of instances of strong language, violence, and adult themes. This book would be better suited for more mature classrooms, high school and up. That being said, I cannot wait to read the sequels and see the movie.
Read more about The 5th Wave, watch book trailers, and view accolades on Rick Yancey’s website.
A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle
Find my musings on this 1962 YA science fiction/fantasy novel here. In three words: adventurous, thoughtful, slow.
Road Trip by Gary Paulsen and Jim Paulsen
Read about the many uses of Road Trip in an ELA classroom here. In three words: adventurous, intriguing, family.
Land of Stories: Wishing Spell by Chris Colfer
Read about the best fantasy book I’ve read in a while here. In three words: magical, whimsical, adventurous.