Best of 2016 Booktalks

The end of the year is approaching, and in the spirit of best-books-of-the-year lists, I’ve gathered together 16 standout titles from my school booktalks in 2016. Out of the 75 titles that I shared with upper elementary and middle school classrooms this year, these are the titles that students were most often clamoring to read. It’s not surprising to find thrillers by Gordon Korman and Margaret Peterson Haddix on a list Read More …

Booktalk for A Night Divided by Jennifer Nielsen

August 13, 1961. Gerta will never forget that date as long as she lives. Barbed wired Sunday, people start calling it. It’s the date that a wall goes up around communist East Berlin. The wall isn’t for keeping other people out, but for keeping the East Germans in. For Gerta, it is also the date that her family gets torn Read More …

Booktalk for The Seventh Most Important Thing by Shelley Pearsall

On a cold November day in 1963, thirteen-year-old Arthur Owens picks up a brick and flings it at an old man’s head. Luckily, Arthur’s aim isn’t perfect, and the old trash picker leans over to straighten his cart at exactly the right moment—still, the brick slams into the Junk Man’s shoulder, and he has to be rushed to the hospital. Read More …

Booktalk for Saving Lucas Biggs by Marisa de los Santos and David Teague

Margaret’s family has an odd quirk that has been passed down generation to generation: The ability to travel back in time. But time travel is dangerous and Margaret’s father makes her swear not to use the gift. She promises she never will. Then something happens that makes Margaret want to forget the risks and forget her vow: Her father gets sentenced Read More …