The Bluestem Readers Choice Award is on it’s second year and I’m so excited about these books as I was last year. Students have to read 4 books out of the 20 on the list, a mix of older and newer books, nonfiction, fiction and even some graphic novels this year.
So, here is the list, I haven’t read all of them but I’ll chat a little about the ones I have.
14 Cows for America by Deedy, Carmen Agra
Adventures in Cartooning by Sturm, James
This was one awesome graphic novel. It describes to readers how to make a graphic novel while having a plot that is interweaved. I laughed hysterically while reading this and could not keep it on the shelves at school for long.
Animal Heroes: True Rescue Stories by Markle, Sandra
Bad news for outlaws: the Remarkable Life of Bass Reeves, Deputy U.S. Marshal by Nelson, Vaunda Micheaux
Bunnicula: a Rabbit Tale of Mystery by Howe, James
Dying to Meet You by Klise, Kate
I don’t believe I’ve actually read Kate Klise before, but this start to a new series really impressed me. It’s about an abandoned boy, a writer and a ghost and is quite a funny story that I will find the time to continue on with soon.
Extra Credit by Clements, Andrew
Faith, Hope and Ivy June by Naylor, Phyllis Reynolds
Flight of the Phoenix by LaFevers, R. L.
Another fun series that I hope will gain some popularity now that this is on a list. I enjoyed the adventure in this one and the discovery of such magical creatures. A boy finds out he comes from a long line of beastologists and embarks on his first adventure with his aunt to see a phoenix become reborn. They encounter trouble and he ends up having to protect the phoenix himself.
Just Grace by Harper, Charise
This is a super cute serious about a girl who is called Just Grace in school because there are too many girls named Grace in her class. It’s a bit along the lines of Ivy and Bean and Mallory and is already a series I can see hitting off with my girl readers.
Knucklehead: Tall Tales &Mostly True Stories by Scieszka, Jon
Passage to Freedom: the Sughihara story by Mochizuki, Ken
Riding Freedom by Ryan, Pam Munoz
Not only written by a fantastic storyteller, Riding Freedom is also illustrated by Brian Selznick, who is an amazing illustrator. I fell in love with this book about a girl who runs away from the stable, pretends to be a boy and successfully starts to run her own carriage business and become the first female to vote (although under the guise of a man). Definitely a fantastic piece of historical fiction that I hope the students love.
Rules by Lord, Cynthia
I read this one when it was up for the Rebecca Caudill nominee and loved it. It’s about a girl whose little brother is autistic and she goes with him to doctor’s appointments and meets a young man her age who can only speak through pictures. She is an artist and decides to make him more pictures for his book so he can better explain himself. Definitely a book that is moving and was surprisingly a big hit with the boys when it was up for the Caudill.
Secret Science Alliance & the Copycat Crook by Davis, Eleanor
Probably one of my favorite graphic novels. This one is about a new boy in town who is rather geeky and ends up getting taken under the wing of two very tough kids who are also way into science and experiments in their hidden laboratory. When a real scientist steals their ideas, it’s up to them to take them back.
Sideways Stories from Wayside School by Sachar, Louis
I read these books so long ago, it’s time for a reread. I do remember such wonders as the teacher who actually had eyes on the back of their head and the teacher with an ear on the top of her head. SO fun. These books never stay on the shelf, even as old as they are.
Sisters Grimm: the Fairy‐Tale Detectives by Buckley, Michael
I love this series. It’s full of mystery, hilarious moments, and some interesting fairy tale characters. Definitely a series you don’t want to miss.
Swindle by Korman, Gordon
World According to Humphrey by Birney, Betty
So, I’m about halfway there. A lot of the shorter ones I won’t read until school starts and I prep for my book talks for the 4th and 5th grade students on our program. Last year I had 30 students read 4 books and vote during our pizza party. It was hectic but fun and I can’t wait to do it again.
Have you read any of the ones I haven’t? What did you think of them?