Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Six Books to Preorder .... Now!

Being a part of a special book club like #BookJourney has allowed me to read some absolutely amazing ARCs. I can't say thank you enough to the authors, publishers, Twitter friends, and my Book Journey crew for sending and sharing so many great books! I'm so lucky to be able to share all these great reads with my students next year.

Since my last post featured books you could load into your Amazon cart right now, I thought I'd feature a few books that aren't released yet but you'll definitely want to preorder or request at your local library. Why preorder?  Preorders are important to authors because all sales go towards their first week sales. Therefore, helping to increase and maximize their book release sales and hopefully getting them closer to the best seller list. So, if you seen an author you admire, do them a favor and preorder their book to show your love and support.

Links are included for Amazon preorder for all books. Bonus: Amazon is amazing because preorders are guaranteed to arrive the day books are released! All of these books below are perfect for our middle grade 4th-6th grade readers (IMO) and although they tackle some tough subjects the authors do so with an appropriate lens for younger readers.

Alright, get those shopping carts ready... 

Who else is a HUGE Haddix fan? If you're a fan of Margaret Peterson Haddix or science-fiction, you'll love her newest series, Children of Exile. I dare say this may be my favorite Haddix to date. The writing is suspenseful and begs to be read aloud! There is literally a cliffhanger at the end of every chapter that keeps readers engaged and engrossed! I.COULD.NOT.PUT.THIS.BOOK.DOWN. I only stopped to Vox with my book club group about my thoughts and reactions as I was reading. This book is completely suitable for middle grade readers (4th-6th) yet I think older students would also enjoy this book as well. I loved that unlike the YA Hunger Games and Divergent, this book was written with middle grade dystopian fans in mind. This book still packs a suspenseful punch but without the mature content. I've already ordered several copies of this book because I know it will be SUPER popular! It's a fast read and would be perfect to help convert your reluctant readers. The only downside is waiting for the sequel.

Children of Exile will be released on September 13th, 2016.
{My Rating: Five Stars}

You can check out more review on Goodreads and the book summary on Amazon

I can not say enough wonderful things about the book Wish by Barbara O'Connor. I loved this book so much, I'm adding Wish to my Mock Newbery book club for next year. This book is filled with some of my favorite characters. Students will instantly identify with main character Charlie as she tries to settle into a new town and a new life. Charlie doesn't want to get too attach to anyone or anything, as she's just visiting until her mama can get "back on her feet." Although, against her better judgement Charlie starts to enjoy her new surroundings and even creates a plan to catch a local stray so she can finally have a dog to call own.

Charlie's friends and family will have readers wanting to take a trip to the Carolina Blue Ridge Mountains. As I was reading this story, I could feel Barbara O'Connor's love for North Carolina. This story literally transports readers to Aunt Bertha's kitchen and Uncle Gus' garden. Themes of family and friendship run deep in this story. Through Charlie's story readers also learn about hope and the power of a wish. Fans of Because of  Winn Dixie, Touch Blue, and Rain, Reign will love this story.

Wish will be released on August 30th, 2016. 
{My rating: Five Stars}

You can check out more review on Goodreads and the book summary on Amazon

Sharon Creech fans will not be disappointed with her latest verse novel. Moo follows the story of a family that chooses to leave the big city for life in rural Maine. Knowing nothing about farming and leaving their friends behind, Reena and her family must learn to get used to the lifestyle, pace, and cold weather associated with Maine living. At times, I felt like I was in Maine with the characters due to Creech's observant and precise writing. Like Love that Dog and Hate that Cat, the characters are charming, funny and learning to love. This "moo-ving" story about Reena's quest to train and show a troublesome cow named Zora, will have students laughing out loud and learning about grit and dedication. Filled with lots of cow patties and a charging pig named Paulie, animal antics alone, is sure to win over many middle grade readers.

I did think this story was quite a bit long even written in verse for some of my striving readers. However, I was thankful for the white space and changes in font style and craft to help break up this 275+ novel. That being said, this book would be a great stretch for students wanting to tackle a "longer" book since it is not nearly as dense as other nearly 300 page reads. The story was well told and I felt like I was really able to get to know each character including Zora the cow!

Moo will be released on August 30th, 2016.
{My rating: Four Stars}

You can check out more review on Goodreads and the book summary on Amazon

This book has quite the possibly the most powerful first line of any book I've read. For students that need that "instant" hook -- just read them the first sentence of Maxi's Secrets. This book has been on my Mock Newbery list and there is a reason. This book is a powerful read full of wisdom, friendship, and love. So much more than a dog book, this story follows a family's move to Maine and their life with a new puppy, Maxi. Each chapter ends with a thoughtful life lesson that the main character Timminy has learned from his dog Maxi. Due to its unique style and craft, I believe this story is a top contender for the Newbery. I laughed and cried and didn't want this story to end. Whether is a crazy dog person (like myself) or not, this book filled with honesty and wisdom that goes beyond owning a pet. This story teaches students about patience, love, forgiveness and friendship.

I know my students will be more empathetic and better people after reading this novel. I can't wait to book talk and share this beautiful story with my students. Students who love The Honest Truth, Rules, and Love that Dog will devour this story! This story is a #heartprint book for me and one that I will carry with me for a very long time. For teachers, this book would be great in a theme or character unit of study. It would also make an excellent read aloud as each chapter is fairly short and closes with a wonderful lesson to wrap the day's reading.

Maxi's Secrets will be released on August 23rd, 2016.
{My rating: Five Stars}

You can check out more review on Goodreads and the book summary on Amazon

This story is a the sequel to Phil Bildner's first Rip and Red novel, A Whole New Ballgame. I would highly recommend reading the first book before reading Rookie of the Year since lots of character development does take place in the first novel. However, the first few chapters give enough background that this could be a stand alone novel IMO.

Rookie of the Year, follows Rip and Red as they get ready to start a new basketball season with their favorite teacher and coach Mr. Acevedo! New to the school and team, Tiki tries out for the team and teaches Rip about teamwork and good sportsmen ship. Phil Bildner crafts an exceptional story about
5th graders dealing with real fifth grade problems! This story is fun and will pull in both boy and girl sports lovers. However, enough this story may initially appeal to sports fans, the story goes beyond basketball to tackle issues like school budget cuts and project collaboration. Fans of Dan Gutman's Baseball Card Adventures and Kwame Alexander's Booked & The Crossover, will love this series!

Rookie of the Year will be released on July 12th, 2016.
{My rating: Four Stars}

You can check out more review on Goodreads and the book summary on Amazon

This book fills a void in my classroom and hit a personal note with me. Tackling the issues of OCD, anxiety, and perfectionism, Finding Perfect asks kids some tough questions. This debut from author Elly Swartz, had me questioning my own habits and routines. For anyone that has perfectionism tendencies this book is a thoughtful mirror filled with authentic characters and voice. After reading this story, I immediately made a list of students that could benefit from having this story in their life. Teaching in upper middle class school district that is HIGHLY competitive in both academics and sports, I see more and more cases of anxiety and perfectionism each year. I know  many students (and teachers) that can relate to Molly and her struggle with "finding perfect."

This book deserves so many "Mr. Shu" book hugs from teachers and students alike! I can't wait to add this book to my interpretation (theme) book club. I know students will love the characters and story and find a bit of themselves within Molly. Although a fast read, I found that this story really did give a glimpse into the mind of someone struggling with issues of control and order. I hope to work this novel into my read aloud rotation for next school because it's THAT amazing! Molly's voice is strong and real and I didn't want to put this story down! Afterward, you'll want to share with teachers and students alike after reading this powerful book. This book great for realistic fiction fans of novels like Rules, Ruby on the Outside, and Raymie Nightingale

Finding Perfect will be released on October 18th, 2016.
{My rating: Five Stars}

You can check out more review on Goodreads and the book summary on Amazon
Thank you to all the wonderful authors. You've been gracious and kind, I've loved connecting with you all on Twitter. As teacher, your words will greatly help my fifth graders feel connected to each other, the world, and hopefully develop empathy for others unlike themselves. I'm so grateful to be part of this golden age of kidlit. 

Happy Reading,

Disclaimer: I take no responsibility in the accumulation or cost of books in your Amazon cart!


  1. You are too funny about your disclaimer! I am very excited for these, especially Margaret Peterson Haddix. She is always a student favorite and a favorite of mine (she can do no wrong)! Thanks for the recommendations, off to fill my cart!

  2. How do you get invited to this club? I would love this. These sound like some amazing reads....I can't wait.

  3. Found your vlog via haddix's facebook post. She said she wants to read all the others you listed, as do I now. Great job reviewing!

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