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Jump Start your Class Library

I often hear teachers ask what books they should borrow, buy or just recommend to their students. After many years following along with my students’ tastes and trying to put the right book in every hand, I have built a list of superstars. These are wonderful books to have in your classroom. I loaned them out as part of my outside reading program, but you could also just make them available to interested readers if you aren’t doing outside reading (I’ll be trying to convince you to start though, in another blog post before long!).

You may have money from your school available for classroom expenses, in which case you can order some of these books each year and slowly build your library. I usually just spent my own money (rrgh, but I couldn’t help myself) and picked them up at Goodwill or used from Powell’s. You can look for stray books on old classroom shelves, invite students to bring in their old favorites to share, shop rummage sales, eBay or library sales. It’s always the right time to start building an amazing bookshelf for your amazing readers!  I’m just going to put the list here, and assure you that these have been vetted by my students. But if you’d like to see their actual reviews, check out some of their reading blogs from past years here and here.

The List.

Go Ask Alice, Anonymous

The Chronicles of Narnia, C.S. Lewis

The Da Vinci Code, Dan Brown

The Outsiders, by S.E. Hinton

The Perks of Being a Wallflower, by Steven Chbosky

The Alchemist, Paulo Coelho

The Count of Monte Cristo, Alexandre Dumas

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Lewis Carroll

The Hound of the Baskervilles, Arthur Conan Doyle

Animal Farm, George Orwell

Into the Wild, Jon Krakauer

Slam, Nick Hornby

The Kite Runner, Khaled Hosseini

The Shining, Stephen King

Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Truman Capote

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time, Mark
HaddonChocolat, Joanne Harris

Nine Stories, J.D. Salinger

Tuesdays with Morrie,  Mitch Albom
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, Betty Smith

The Devil Wears Prada, Lauren Weisberger

Speak, by Laurie Halse Anderson

Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief, Rick Riordan

The Book Thief, Markus Zucak

The Time Traveler’s Wife, Audrey Niffenegger

Born to Run, Christopher McDougall

The History of Love, Nicole Krauss

Perks of Being a Wallflower, Stephen Chbosky

Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, Ann Brashares

Foundation Series, Isaac Asimov

Ender’s Game Series, Orson Scott Card

Golden Compass Series, Phillip Pullman

Harry Potter Series, J.K. Rowling

The Hobbit Series, J.R.R. Tolkien

Eragon Series, Christopher Paolini

Memoirs of a Geisha, Arthur Golden

Anne of Green Gables, L.M. Montgomery

Little Women, Louisa May Alcott

The Secret Garden, Frances Hodges Burnett

Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Douglas Adams

Maus, Art Spiegelman

Persepolis, Marjane Sartropi

The Fountainhead, Ayn Rand

My Life in France, Julia Child

Divergent, Veronica Roth

Uglies by Scott Westerfield

Did you know you can learn about all your wish list ELA strategies on your daily commute or walk with The Spark Creativity Teacher Podcast? Explore one-pagers, escape rooms, sketchnotes, creative annotation options, research projects, poetry workshops, and much more through over a hundred quick episodes waiting for you on your favorite podcast player!


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I'm Betsy

I’ll help you find the creative ELA strategies that will light up your classroom. Get ready for joyful teaching!





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