Sunday, December 20, 2015

Books for Students

I just love to get new books for the classroom to share with students. This fall, I've worked to expand my collection of graphic novels and ratchet up the difficulty level of my library to engage sixth grade readers. My sons are both comic book fans, so I spend lots of time in comic book shops browsing for new books.

Here are some of my favorites:

Roller Girl  by Victoria Jamieson
    I don't always have the opportunity to read with students during independent reading time. Too often I'm working on attendance, finding my papers for the day, or helping students write summaries for our weekly narrative homework. However, last week I just had to sit and finish Roller Girl while my students were reading. It didn't disappoint! If your students have loved Smile and Sisters, this book will be a perfect addition to the shelves.

The Graveyard Book Graphic Novels
by Neil Gaiman and P. Craig Russell
     Okay, this one isn't in the book orders. A student who has been devouring graphic novels asked for something "spooky" and "mysterious". I knew that The Graveyard Book would be just the thing, and luckily my fifth-grader son is awesome and sometimes shares books from his personal collection. Once I saw how much students liked this, I knew I had to get my own copies for the classroom.
    At first, I thought that the value of graphic novel adaptations of novels was to make compelling stories accessible to students who may not have the skill or patience required to read the novel form. But now I see that, when done well, graphic novel adaptations can add a new layer of richness to an already rich text. Even a reader who has already read or plans to read the novel version can enjoy and learn from the graphic novel form.

Space Dumplins by Craig Thompson
Whale diarrhea. In space. This is often enough to get readers to pick up Space Dumplins! I like it because it shows a different view of space life than many other books, and its bright, bold colors make it stand out from other graphic novels. Its a thicker book than many other graphic novels, which makes some readers nervous at first, but once they glance through the pages they see that they want to take on the challenge.

...and my students don't know it yet, but they are also getting copies of Hatchet as a gift before our holiday break! Here is a little poem that I wrote to accompany the gift:

As you get ready for the break (or maybe you are already on it, in which case I am a little jealous!), I hope that you take some time to read and relax as well. Have a wonderful holiday!


  1. I love that poem you created. What a great idea!

  2. Thank you so much! At the time I think the kids were more impressed by the glow bracelets I put in the bags with the books...such is life at school on December 23! Hopefully they'll learn to love the books once the bracelet stops glowing...