Rot and Ruin (Published 2010) by Jonathan Maberry
Shared by Monte Vista High School Teacher Librarian Laura Preble
In my first couple of years as a librarian, I made it a mission to get authors to come to my school. I found out that Jonathan Maberry had just moved to Del Mar, so I contacted him via Facebook, just on a whim. He agreed to come to our school and speak to kids about writing, and he was so generous and great that he came back two more times! Kids who have graduated still post comments about those visits and about how great it was to meet a real author. We also had an adopt-a-zombie project where students wrote a paragraph on their zombie of choice (I had ‘snapshots’ of different ones lined up on the counter, and kids grabbed them. ) Jonathan read the entries and picked three for awards! Jonathan currently has the top Netflix series, V-Wars, that is based on one of his books.
The Fault in Our Stars (Published 2012) by John Green
Shared by Grossmont High School Teacher Librarian Jodie Boeger
To this day, I cannot keep this book on the shelf. Both boys and girls want to check it out. When it isn’t available, I offer them a different John Green book which always works. The reading continues...
Milk and Honey (Published 2014) by Rupi Kaur
Shared by Mount Miguel High School Teacher Librarian Amie Wilson
I had never even heard of this poetry collection or this author until students started coming in to request the book. They were hearing about it online and seeing Twitter and Instagram posts of little snippets of the poetry. As any good librarian would do, I quickly bought a copy. That grew to 4 or 5 copies since I always had a long waiting list. Students whom I had never seen check out a book before were eager to read this collection. The poems deal with tough subjects and are sometimes gritty & raw. The girls identified with the author and felt they could commit to a short book of poems. Since then, I have continued to add contemporary poetry by this author and similar authors, and young ladies who did not think of themselves as readers expanded to reading the other poetry books and then short novels with similar themes.
My Hero Academia series (Published 2014-ongoing) by Kohei Horikoshi
Shared by El Capitan Teacher Librarian Chansamone O'Meara
This is one of many popular manga series that students come into the library to check out. Adults sometimes wonder if comics should count for reading, but as I observe in the library, they can be a really powerful way for students to connect with reading. Our graphic novels and manga are prominently featured when you walk into our library, because they are some of the most popular books that students seek out. They are always excited that they are able to find these books to check out and will come back regularly (sometimes every single day) to get more. This particular series features a character who is able to become a hero despite being bullied and this theme seems to resonate with a number of students in an empowering way.
Scythe (Published 2016) by Neal Shusterman
Shared by El Cajon Valley High School Teacher Librarian Anthony Devine
I have had a lot of fun sharing this book with students. There are many unanswered ethical questions about how artificial intelligence is being developed, and this book shows one possible future for how a superhuman artificial intelligence might impact how we live our lives. I ordered 10 copies for our literature circle collection, and when students can choose their own books for their groups they are often drawn to this one. When students do read this I mention that it’s part of a trilogy and we now have all 3 books!
The Hate U Give (Published 2017) by Angie Thomas
Shared by Granite Hills High School Teacher Librarian Lynn Kraszewski
This book has been popular across the country and that’s been the case at Granite, too! Students have come in requesting the book and have often recommended it to one another. Even with the movie out, students ACTUALLY read the book still and LOVE it. Students have commented that they see themselves in the community reflected in the story and so it’s a book they can relate to and connect with easily. Sometimes people think that teenagers won’t read, but a lot of times it’s just that they’re forced to read books that don’t interest them. This books shows how students WILL read a book they like!
The Inexplicable Logic of My Life (Published 2017) by Benjamin Alire Sáenz
Shared by Santana High School Teacher Librarian Carolyn Teschler
A student came in asking for direction to “a good book.” He confessed that he actually did enjoy reading, and had been a solid reader in the past, but had just grown out of the habit over the last few years. After handing him a selection of books before this one (The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-time Indian, Deadline, Last Exit To Normal, Fat Kid Rules the World), all of which he had read and enjoyed, I gave him his first Sáenz book. I confessed to him that I LOOOOVE Sáenz! The next time I saw him, my now heavily-reading young man gushed that THIS WAS INDEED his top choice thus far of all the other books he had read and that he was really looking forward to his next Sáenz book, Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe!
A Long Way Down (Published 2017) by Jason Reynolds
Shared by West Hills High School Teacher Librarian Suzanne Sannwald
A student came in requesting a book recommendation. He said he hadn’t read in a long time, because he can’t ever find anything that’s “real.” He said he’s had a tough life and he wanted something that he can relate to and thought perhaps some nonfiction about gang violence or juvenile justice would be good. He tried a couple of those, but he couldn’t get through them and so I told him that I just got in a new book that might be a good fit. I rush processed A Long Way Down so that it was ready for the student the next morning. He came in to check it out bright and early, and by the break a few hours later, he walked by updating me that he loves it! Of note, this book is written in verse form and that is often popular with and helpful for many students who might have trouble getting into traditional novels.
Educated: A Memoir (Published 2018) by Tara Westover
Shared by Valhalla High School Teacher Librarian Stephanie Macceca
The 9th grade honors English teacher added Educated to her Literature Circles books, and since then it has almost always been checked out. I finally read it and I invited a Campus Supervisor to join me with the last group of students, and we had many lively discussions about shocking scenes and Westover’s way of calling into question her own memories and how they differ from other people in her family. Our campus supervisor really thinks Tara’s abuse was worse than what was characterized, and it is so interesting to hear everyone’s perspective on it. We even researched the family business and found it and videos online.