This week I have been deeply immersed in writing summer reading lists. It’s kind of an unexpected challenge. When I started, I didn’t realize how daunting it might be. I’m required to have an annotated list of 20-25 suggestions for each grade.
I’ve been on a state book award committee before so I know what a challenge it is to balance a list. It’s just as difficult with 25 titles for one grade as it is for 12 choices for a range of grades in an entire state.
I started with last year’s list. Which I didn’t write, but was left for me. I’m glad it was, but I did scrap 90% of the suggestions. Pretty much everything older than 2000 was taken off the list. I know there are a lot of great books from the 70s, 80s, and 90s. But there are also great books from the aughts! I think we can’t stick too much to “classics” and overlook what might a current hot title and a potential future classic. There’s so much good stuff out there!
I added the books from our upcoming children’s book award list first. I added 2-3 titles to each grade level so they are all included and each grade sees a few featured. Then I started combing the State Children’s Book Award lists from across the nation. It was time consuming, but worth it. I really needed to find nonfiction choices. I think it’s more challenging to keep those on a list over time. When I think back to my childhood I remember reading about topics, but specific titles don’t stick with me. Not like the fiction titles do.
I checked out a lot of books from the public library. I have to make sure the books are available as well as actually read as many as possible.
I thought about topics that might be popular this summer. I tried to put a title about the Olympics on every list.
I added in a few of my favorites.
I checked with an inspiring reader, fellow teacher, and friend and was assured that my sentimental choice of My Side of the Mountain was okay, even if its 1975 copyright date looks startling among all of the ‘aughts’ on my list. I do so love that book!
Now that the lists are done and I can’t wait to change them again! It’s like placing a large order for new books and the next day realizing that there are dozens more you should have also ordered. How do I choose?
|Summer Lists @ Google Drive|
If you need summer lists, or lists by grade in general, you’re welcome to use these.
I really want to add this book because it just looks so interesting! I had never heard of the Great Molasses Flood before! Go (now) to the Children’s Book-a-Day Almanac and check it out! If you’ve never been to the site, bookmark it and check it often. It’s another great resource for finding recommendations.
Even though my list is ready and ‘fresh’ (as I was told by a reviewer) it’s going to be even harder next year…..how will I ever decide which books to pull off to make room for new ones?! Yikes.