Education Opinion

No Apologies: Books Read This Fall

By Donalyn Miller — December 12, 2009 4 min read
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I have not posted a book list since school began, but I promise that I have been reading! You can tell a lot about a person by scanning the books they read. I am not sure what these 51 titles tell you about my reading habits or personality. My teenager would claim that I read weird books, but I prefer the term eclectic. I read what I want, for all sorts of purposes--expanding my teaching knowledge, looking for books to recommend or read to students, and most of all, enjoyment. I am grateful that at this stage in my life I don’t have to answer to anyone, but myself, about what I read. Channeling Pennac’s Rights of the Reader, I don’t defend my choices!

I wish this for my students, too. I want my students to become brazen, unapologetic readers who discover what they like, read what they want, and seek books that speak to their brains, their souls, their funny bones, whatever they need at the time.

Every book on this list meets the need of a reader somewhere--you know a reader who will love one of these books. Perhaps, that reader is you. Starred books indicate a special favorite.

Teaching Books

**13 Steps to Teacher Empowerment: Taking a More Active Role in Your School Community by Steven Zemelman and Harry Ross

**Creating Literacy-Rich Schools for Adolescents by Gay Ivey and Douglas Fisher

How to Read Literature Like a Professor: A Lively and Entertaining Guide to Reading Between the Lines by Thomas C. Foster

Strategic Spelling: Moving Beyond Word Memorization in the Middle Grades by Jonathan P. Wheatley

Adult Books

The 351 Books of Irma Arcuri by David Bajo (realistic fiction/ mystery)

The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein (realistic fiction)

**The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz (realistic fiction)

The Magicians by Lev Grossman (fantasy)

**The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley (historical fiction/ mystery)

High School

** Going Bovine by Libba Bray (fantasy? hard to say--read it yourself and decide!)

Let It Snow: Three Holiday Romances by John Green, Lauren Myracle, and Maureen Johnson (realistic fiction)

**Lips Touch: Three Times by Laini Taylor (fantasy/ science fiction)

**Marcelo in the Real World by Francisco X. Stork (realistic fiction)

**Rampant by Diane Peterfreund (fantasy)

**Shiver (The Wolves of Mercy Falls, #1) by Maggie Stiefvater (fantasy)

**Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher (realistic fiction)

Weetzie Bat by Francesca Lia Block (realistic fiction)

Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan (realistic fiction)

Middle School

The Boyfriend List: 15 Guys, 11 Shrink Appointments, 4 Ceramic Frogs and Me, Ruby Oliver by E. Lockhart (realistic fiction)

**Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins (science fiction)

**The Dead and the Gone (listened to audio) by Susan Beth Pfeffer (science fiction)

**The Demon King (Seven Realms, #1) by Cinda Williams Chima (fantasy)

**Fire by Kristin Cashore (fantasy)

How to Ditch Your Fairy by Justine Larbalestier (fantasy)

Hush: An Irish Princess’ Tale by Donna Jo Napoli (historical fiction)

**The Maze Runner by James Dashner (science fiction)

**North of Beautiful by Justina Chen Headley (realistic fiction)

Upper Elementary

Amulet: The Stonekeeper (Book #1) by Kazu Kibuishi (graphic novel)

Any Which Wall by Laurel Snyder (fantasy)

**Babymouse: Queen of the World by Jennifer L. Holm (graphic novel)

The Braid by Helen Frost (narrative poetry/ historical fiction)

Countdown to Summer: A Poem for Every Day of the School Year by Patrick J. Lewis (poetry)

A Crooked Kind of Perfect by Linda Urban (realistic fiction)

**Diamond Willow by Helen Frost (narrative poetry/ fantasy)

The Dragon’s Eye (Dragonology Chronicles, Vol. 1) by Dugald A. Steer (fantasy)

Eye of the Crow (The Boy Sherlock Holmes #1) by Shane Peacock (historical fiction/ mystery)

The Gollywhopper Games by Jody Feldman (realistic fiction)

How to Write Your Life Story by Ralph Fletcher (nonfiction)

Joey Fly, Private Eye in Creepy Crawly Crime by Aaron Reynolds and Neil Numberman (graphic novel)

**Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld (science fiction)

**The Maze of Bones (The 39 Clues, #1) by Rick Riordan (realistic fiction/ mystery)

**Mummies: The Newest, Coolest and Creepiest from Around the World by Shelley Tanaka (nonfiction)

My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George (realistic fiction)

Mysteries of the Mummy Kids by Kelly Milner Halls (nonfiction)

Pale Male: Citizen Hawk of New York City by Janet Schulman (picture book/ nonfiction)

**Operation Yes by Sara Lewis Holmes (realistic fiction)

Point Blank (Alex Rider, #2) by Anthony Horowitz (science fiction/ mystery) Reread.

**Rapunzel’s Revenge by Shannon Hale (graphic novel)

Road to Revolution by Stan Mack and Susan Champlin (graphic novel)

Sent by Margaret Peterson Haddix (science fiction)

Stormbreaker (Alex Rider, #1) by Anthony Horowitz (science fiction/ mystery) Reread.

What have you read this fall? Which books amazed you, shaped your thinking, or gave you a few hours of pleasure? Share your recent reads with us. The best source of book recommendations is fellow readers! Most of the books I read I discover from the suggestions of other readers--the colleagues, friends, reviewers, authors, and students who form my reading community.

The opinions expressed in The Book Whisperer are strictly those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Editorial Projects in Education, or any of its publications.