Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Guest Post: Top 10ish #summerthrowdown 2012 List

For my second in the series Top Ten Book Read Guest Post by #summerthrowdown participants, I'm welcoming Jessica Walsh, a 7th grade language arts teacher who blogs at Stories Told in Stick Figures. Jessica is visiting to share her top books she read this summer.

Top 10ish #summerthrowdown 2012 List

10. Ish by Peter H. Reynolds
What better way to start an “ish” list than with a book that tells you it’s okay to think “ishly”? I’m so glad I picked up this picture book recommendation as a companion to Wonder by R.J. Palacio from a Nerdy Book Club post. What student (or adult) doesn’t freak out at the thought of standing out?  The idea of thinking “ishly” lets us see that putting our own unique spin on life makes everything way more interesting!

9. Temple Grandin: How the Girl Who Loved Cows Embraced Autism and Changed the World by Sy Montgomery
You know you’re on to something when a book keeps you from taking a dip in Lake Michigan on a 90 degree June day. This book is a fascinating mix of informative and narrative written for young readers (and 30ish sunbathers). The chapters alternate between facts about autism and stories of Temple dealing with society’s misconceptions about her. Get to know Temple and the impact she has made on our world.   

8. The Secret of the Fortune Wookie by Tom Angleberger
I love The Strange Case of Origami Yoda series and its blend of hijinks and hilarious sketches. This newest installment is definitely one of the first book talks I’m doing this year. I know my kiddos from last year will be excited to get their hands on it after waiting all summer since Darth Paper Strikes Back came out. In the spirit of Origami Yoda: A copy you must find!

7. Smile by Raina Telgemeier
Is it crazy of me to say that when I was younger I WISHED I had braces? Seriously. I actually envied the girls who commiserated over getting their braces tightened and complained about busted rubber bands. Regardless of being Team Braces or not, this graphic novel is for everyone! Smile is about the author’s years of dental surgery and growing pains that many young people experience, told in a painfully hilarious way. I loved Telgemeier’s references to 90s pop culture, making the setting true to her experience, reminding you that yes, these things happen to real people, and yes, you will survive. You may even become a successful graphic novelist! I can’t wait to do this as a read aloud this year (with Elmo assistance!)

6. Fever by Lauren DeStefano
Dystopian YA is my go-to genre. Plus, could this cover be any more beautiful? The sequel to Wither takes Rhine out of the mansion and into the crazy world. This is a completely ethereal and enthralling read for upper grades. The final book in the trilogy, Sever can’t get here soon enough

5. Legend by Marie Lu
Looking for something to read now that you’re done with The Hunger Games and waiting for the next installment in the Divergent series? Pick up a copy of Legend and satisfy that action/dystopia craving.

4. 13 Little Blue Envelopes & The Last Little Blue Envelope by Maureen Johnson  If you don’t follow @maureenjohnson on Twitter, you are missing out on some hilarity. I knew TwitterMaureen before I knew AuthorMaureen, and I adore them both equally. 13 Little Blue Envelopes and its sequel share a spot on this list for taking me on my only international trip this summer. No passport necessary.

3. The Junkyard Wonders by Patricia Polacco
Patricia Polacco and Kleenex go hand in hand with me, and The Junkyard Wonders definitely requires a handful. My words can’t even do justice to the power behind this book. All I can say is, if you are looking for a book to remind you what a difference you can make in the life of a child, this is it.  

2. Divergent & Insurgent by Veronica Roth
This series is the new “it” series in YA. They were at the top of my TBR pile the day after school got out simply because it was the first time they were back in my possession since book-talking them with my kids! Let’s just say I went all Golem from Lord of the Rings with these until I finished them. My apologies to my husband.

1. The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate
There is only one spot I could have possibly placed this book on my Top 10ish list. If you haven’t heard of this book, let me tell you: The One and Only Ivan is not an independent reader book. It’s not a MG book. It’s not a YA book. It’s an E book, to borrow a rating from video games. In other words, an Everyone book. I definitely joined the bandwagon on loving this book, and boy, I’m glad I did. My life is better for having read this book. 

Thanks so much for visiting, Jessica!
Don't forget to check out the entire series of #summerthrowdown guest posts on all four blogs.


  1. What a great list! I've never heard of ISH, but it sounds really cute. I've only read one Maureen Johnson book (THE NAME OF THE STAR), which I really liked, so I'll have to try these books too.

  2. I re-read Divergent before Insurgent and disappeared too! I love when family members allow you time to read - even if that means days!