Everything I Read in 2021

If you read my last blog post, then you know that I blew my 2021 reading goal out of the water and read a total of 172 books last year. If you’re wondering how in the world I did that, head back there for all of my tips, tricks, and hacks for reading more than ever before. As promised, here is a round-up of every single book I read, along with ratings and one-sentence reviews. I don’t have time for anything else…because I have books to read! For your convenience, I’ve divided this round up into nine different categories, so you can skip to whatever type of book recs you need. 🙂

You’ll notice that I read very few adult books…that’s because I started a passion project: middle and high school book recommendation brochures! You can read more about the book brochures HERE, check out my middle school bundle HERE, and check back HERE for updates on my work-in-progress high school collection.

A round-up of every book I read in 2021
Everything I read in 2021

ADULT FICTION

  1. Ask Again, Yes by Mary Beth Keane: Get tissues ready for the end of this book that explores love, family, friendship, and mental health. 5/5 stars.
  2. Then She Was Gone by Lisa Jewell: Couldn’t put this thrilling mystery down! 5/5 stars.
  3. The Family Upstairs by Lisa Jewell: Decent, but not nearly as good as Then She Was Gone. 3.5/5 stars.

ADULT NONFICTION

  1. Ordinary Hazards by Nikki Grimes: Emotional and beautifully written memoir in verse! 5/5 stars.
  2. Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die by Chip Heath: Fascinating, engaging read about the science of ideas, memory, and communication. Highly applicable to teaching! 5/5 stars.
  3. Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain: This was chicken soup for my introverted soul. I actually blogged about the book and how to apply it to my teaching practices HERE. 5/5 stars.

EDUCATION NONFICTION

  1. Make it Stick: The Science of Successful Learning by Peter C. Brown: Informative, interesting read for educators looking to apply cognitive science to their teaching practices. 4/5 stars.
  2. We Want to Do More Than Survive by Bettina L. Love: An important, necessary read for teachers wanting to fight back against systemic racism in the educational system.
  3. A Novel Approach: Whole-Class Novels, Student-Centered Teaching, and Choice by Kate Roberts: A game-changer in my reading instruction. Every ELA teacher needs this! 5/5 stars.

YOUNG ADULT FICTION

  1. The Selection by Kiera Cass: Fluffy and addicting, like cotton candy for the YA reader’s soul. Perfect for middle and high school readers. 5/5 stars.
  2. The Elite by Kiera Cass: Just as good as the first book in the series. But it goes downhill after this. 5/5 stars.
  3. City of Saints & Thieves by Natalie C. Anderson: Fast-paced, well-developed murder mystery set in Kenya. 5/5 stars.
  4. Want by Cindy Pon: A mix of sci-fi and dystopia, set in a futuristic Taipei. Interesting and full of action! 4/5 stars.
  5. The Dead and the Dark by Courtney Gould: Delightfully creepy horror story that’s sure to please young adult readers. 5/5 stars.
  6. I Am Still Alive by Kate Alice Marshall: Gripping survival story, the female/YA equivalent of Hatchet. 5/5 stars.
  7. The Project by Courtney Summers: Interesting premise about a cult, but this one fell short compared to what I was expecting from Summers. 3.5/5 stars.
  8. Contagion by Erin Bowman: Action-packed blend of sci-fi and horror, set on an abandoned and contaminated planet. 4/5 stars.
  9. House of Hollow by Krystal Sutherland: Spooky, atmospheric horror featuring a trio of mysterious sisters. 4/5 stars.
  10. Crank by Ellen Hopkins: This novel in verse about a teen who becomes addicted to crystal meth is a wild ride for readers! 5/5 stars. 
  11. Horrid by Katrina Leno: Another atmospheric, creepy mash-up of mystery and horror. 5/5 stars.
  12. Me (Moth) by Amber McBride: Unique YA novel in verse sprinkled with magical realism. 4/5 stars.
  13. When We Make It by Elisabet Velasquez: New YA novel in verse perfect for fans of Elizabeth Acevedo. A must-read! 5/5 stars.
  14. Burden Falls by Kat Ellis: Spooky thriller/horror story about a cursed waterfall. Good, but nothing spectacular. 4/5 stars.
  15. Home of Not A Country by Safia Elhillo: Another incredible novel in verse reminiscent of Acevedo’s Clap When You Land. 5/5 stars.
  16. Solo by Kwame Alexander: Engaging, unique, and accessible novel in verse for fans of realistic fiction. 5/5 stars.
  17. Three Things I Know Are True by Betty Culley: Emotional novel in verse that explores grief and friendship. 4/5 stars.
  18. White Rose by Kip Wilson: Powerful novel in verse based on the true story of Sophie Scholl and student resistance against the WWII Nazi regmine. 5/5 stars. 
  19. Chlorine Sky by Mahogony L. Browne. Important coming-of-age novel in verse about friendship. 4/5 stars.
  20. Moonrise by Sarah Crossan: Emotional and thought-provoking novel in verse about a boy whose brother is awaiting execution on death row. 5/5 stars.
  21. The Truth Project by Dante Medema: Compelling, powerful novel in verse about a girl whose DNA results are not what she thinks. 5/5 stars.
  22. Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo: Stunningly written novel in verse that explores grief, identity, and family. A must-read! 5/5 stars.
  23. Bad Girls Don’t Die by Katie Alender: Entertaining YA horror. Not the best, not the worst. 4/5 stars.
  24. Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake: The creepiest YA horror I’ve read this year. (It still wasn’t that creepy, because I don’t get too creeped out). 4/5 stars.
  25. Asylum by Madeleine Roux: There’s better YA horror out there, but this might appeal to reluctant readers. 3.5/5 stars.
  26. Clown in a Cornfield by Adam Cesare: Fast-paced, slasher-style horror that takes readers on a thrilling ride. 4.5/5 stars. 
  27. When You Look Like Us by Pamela N. Harris: Finally, a diverse YA mystery! Add this one to your classroom libraries ASAP. 5/5 stars.
  28. Rules for Vanishing by Kate Alice Marshall: Blair Witch-style YA horror that fell flat for me, but may appeal to teen readers looking for something unique. 3/5 stars.
  29. I Killed Zoe Spanos by Kit Frick: Fast-paced mystery/thriller, perfect for fans of Sadie and A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder. 5/5 stars.
  30. White Smoke by Tiffany D. Jackson: A haunting, slow-burn horror story that does not shy away from serious issues. 4/5 stars. 
  31. Sadie by Courtney Summers: Raw, gritty mystery with unique format: half narrative, half podcast transcript. 5/5 stars.
  32. The Cheerleaders by Kara Thomas: Compelling mystery about a squad of cheerleaders who mysteriously died during one single season. 5/5 stars.
  33. The Girl from the Well by Rin Chupeco: Creepy horror about a spirit who haunts and kills murderers. 4/5 stars.
  34. Punching the Air by Ibi Zoboi: Important novel in verse about a young man wrongfully convicted of a crime. 4/5 stars.
  35. There’s Someone Inside Your House by Stephanie Perkins: A thrilling slasher-style horror story about a murderer on the loose in a small town. 4.5/5 stars.
  36. Dry by Neal Shusterman: Finally, another dystopia that’s *almost* as good as Scythe. 5/5 stars.
  37. Delirium by Lauren Oliver: Intriguing dystopia set in a world where love is considered to be a dangerous disease. 4.5/5 stars.
  38. Hope and Other Punchlines by Julie Buxbaum: Stunning, memorable story of two teens impacted by the 9/11 terrorist attacks. 5/5 stars.
  39. This Is My America by Kim Johnson: Incredible and relevant realistic fiction that deserves a spot among books like The Hate U Give and Dear Martin. A must-read! 5/5 stars.
  40. Cinder by Marrisa Meyer: This sci-fi dystopia wasn’t my cup of tea, but it has its place in middle and high school libraries for sure. 3.5/5 stars.
  41. Monday’s Not Coming by Tiffany D. Jackson: A gripping, heavy mystery about a missing girl. Be prepared for Jackson’s signature plot twists! 5/5 stars. 
  42. A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder by Holly Jackson: The PERFECT YA murder mystery. There, I said it. 5/5 stars.
  43. I Am Number Four by Pittacus Lore: Not my favorite genre, but a sci-fi staple for middle and high school libraries. 4/5 stars.
  44. Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys. Have tissues ready for this heart-wrenching historical fiction. 5/5 stars.
  45. Angel of Greenwood by Randi Pink: Timely, powerful, and gut-wrenching historical fiction explores the Tulsa Race Massacre.
  46. How to Hang a Witch by Adriana Mather: The Crucible fan in me appreciated this book described as “the Salem Witch Trials meets Mean Girls” on Goodreads. 4/5 stars.
  47. Wild Bird by Wendelin Van Draanen: Engaging realistic fiction about a teen who is yanked from her life to attend a wilderness therapy camp. 4/5 stars.
  48. Sanctuary by Paola Mendoza & Abby Sher: A gripping near-future dystopia where citizens are microchipped and undocumented immigrants are hunted by government officials. 5/5 stars.
  49. The Maze Runner by James Dashner: Action-packed sci-fi dystopia that keeps readers on their toes. 4/5 stars.
  50. Uglies by Scott Westerfield: Unique dystopia with an interesting premise of a perfect, pretty society. 5/5 stars.
  51. Matched by Allie Condie: Fluffy but engaging dystopia with a bit of romance, a hit in my middle school classroom. 4/5 stars.
  52. Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard: I hate fantasy, but I didn’t hate this, probably because it’s fantasy with a dystopian twist. 4/5 stars.
  53. Allegedly by Tiffany D. Jackson: Gritty and disturbing mystery that you won’t be able to put down! 5/5 stars.
  54. The Running Dream by Wendelin Van Draanen: Inspiring realistic fiction perfect for runners or sports fans. 4/5 stars.
  55. The Way the Light Bends by Cordelia Jensen: Gorgeously written novel in verse about twin sisters. 5/5 stars.
  56. The Smell of Other People’s Houses by Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock: Absolutely delightful historical fiction that intertwines the stories of four teens in Alaska. One of my favorite reads of the year! 5/5 stars.
  57. Aurora Rising by Amie Kaufman: Again, I just don’t like sci-fi, so this was okay. 3/5 stars.
  58. Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds: PHENOMENAL! Why didn’t I read this novel in verse sooner? 5/5 stars.
  59. Genuine Fraud by E. Lockhart: Genuinely was expecting more from the author of We Were Liars. Plenty of other better YA mysteries. 3/5 stars.

YOUNG ADULT NONFICTION

  1. Call Me American: The Extraordinary True Story of a Young Somali Immigrant by Abdi Nor Iftin: Inspiring, accessible survival story about a Somali refugee growing up amidst war. 5/5 stars.
  2. Discovering Wes Moore by Wes Moore: An accessible YA adaptation of the original The Other Wes Moore. 4/5 stars.
  3. Americanized: Rebel Without A Green Card: Hilarious memoir of an undocumented Iranian immigrant growing up in California. 5/5 stars.
  4. The Bite of the Mango by Mariatu Kamara: Harrowing survival story about a young girl whose village is attacked by rebel soldiers in Sierra Leone. 5/5 stars.
  5. Black Birds in the Sky by Brandy Colbert: Important, necessary read about the historical context of the Tulsa Race Massacre. 5/5 stars.
  6. The Far Away Brothers by Lauren Markham: Compelling account of two twin brothers who flee El Salvador in search of safety in the US, perfect for fans of Enrique’s Journey. 5/5 stars.
  7. Every Falling Star by Sungju Lee: Captivating memoir of a young boy growing up on the streets of North Korea and eventually escaping to South Korea. 5/5 stars.
  8. The Borden Murders: Lizzie Borden and the Trial of the Century by Sarah Miller: Juicy, well-researched true crime perfect for both middle and high school readers. 5/5 stars.
  9. The 57 Bus by Dashka Slater: Masterfully written nonfiction about a 2013 hate crime that changed the lives of two teens forever. A must-read! 5/5 stars.
  10. How Dare the Sun Rise by Sandra Uwiringiyimana: Gripping memoir about a young refugee from the Democratic Republic of Congo and her inspiring survival story. 5/5 stars.
  11. Enrique’s Journey (YA adaptation) by Sonia Nazario: Engaging narrative nonfiction that follows a young Honduran boy’s journey to find his mother in the United States. 5/5 stars.
  12. Unbroken (YA adaptation) by Laura Hillenbrand: Compelling and inspiring survival story of Olympic athlete and WWII prisoner of war, perfect for middle and high school. 5/5 stars.

MIDDLE GRADE FICTION

  1. No Fixed Address by Susin Nielsen: Highly engaging story that explores homelessness, an enjoyable read among my middle school book group kiddos. 5/5 stars.
  2. A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness: A heartbreaking tale about the scariest monster of all: grief. Another book club read! 5/5 stars.
  3. Fighting Words by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley: A powerful, memorable story that somehow manages to address the tough topic of sexual abuse in a middle-grade friendly way. 5/5 stars.
  4. The Hero Next Door Anthology: Jam-packed, diverse collection of middle grade short stories. My favorite story was “Home” by Hena Khan. 5/5 stars.
  5. Up From the Sea by Leza Lowitz: Heartfelt novel in verse about the 2011 tsunami in Japan. 4/5 stars.
  6. Nine, Ten: A September 11 Story by Nora Raleigh Baskin: Captivating story about how 9/11 affected 4 middle schoolers across the country. 5/5 stars.
  7. Flying Lessons & Other Stories Anthology: Impressive anthology of diverse middle grade fiction. My favorite story was “Main Street” by Jacqueline Woodson. 5/5 stars.
  8. Son by Lois Lowry: A thoroughly satisfying conclusion to The Giver quartet. 5/5 stars.
  9. Messenger by Lois Lowry: Slightly better than Gathering Blue, but still nowhere near as enjoyable as The Giver. 4/5 stars.
  10. Gathering Blue By Lois Lowry: An interesting companion to The Giver, but one that left me wanting more. 4/5 stars.
  11. The Giver by Lois Lowry: The ORIGINAL YA dystopia. I fell in love with it all over again and enjoyed teaching it to my students. You can read more about teaching ideas for The Giver HERE. 5/5 stars.
  12. Dress Coded by Carrie Firestone: Empowering tale of young girls who stand up against an unfair dress code policy. 5/5 stars.
  13. Insignificant Events in the Life of A Cactus by Dusti Bowling: Adorable tale of an armless girl determined to solve a big mystery out in the desert. 4/5 stars.
  14. MiNRS by Kevin Sylvester: Action-packed sci-fi that’s “just right” for middle school readers. 4/5 stars.
  15. From the Desk of Zoe Washington by Janae Marks: Realistic fiction with a bit of mystery that hits the sweet spot of “engaging and important.” 5/5 stars.
  16. The Parker Inheritance by Varian Johnson: A well-layered blend of history and mystery for readers who love puzzles. 4/5 stars.
  17. Framed! By James Ponti: Adventurous, fun mystery about a middle schooler working for the FBI. 4/5 stars.
  18. Bloom by Kenneth Oppel: Thrilling blend of sci-fi with a touch of horror. 4/5 stars.
  19. Life As We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer: Engaging post-apocalyptic survival story written as a series of journal entries. 5/5 stars.
  20. The Jumbies by Tracey Baptiste: Engaging spooky story inspired by Caribbean folklore, perfect for younger readers. 4/5 stars.
  21. The Truth As Told by Mason Buttle by Leslie Connor: Heartfelt realistic fiction about a young boy whose friend goes missing. 4/5 stars.
  22. Girl, Stolen by April Henry: Intense, thrilling tale about a kidnapping. 4/5 stars.
  23. The Girl I Used to Be by April Henry: Interesting mystery about a girl whose parents were killed years ago. 4/5 stars.
  24. Every Missing Piece by Melanie Conklin: High-interest realistic fiction/mystery that explores grief and mental health. 5/5 stars.
  25. Chirp by Kate Messner: An important, well-written mystery that explores mature topics in an accessible way. 5/5 stars.
  26. The Darkdeep by Allie Condie: Adventurous and spooky story that follows a group of kids who discover a mysterious island and ancient force that unlocks their deepest fears. 4/5 stars.
  27. Hoodoo by Ronald L. Smith: Entertaining tale of folk magic, more fun than spooky. 4/5 stars.
  28. Took: A Ghost Story by Mary Downing Hahn: Creepy middle grade ghost story, a favorite among my students. 4/5 stars.
  29. The Night Gardener by Jonathan Auxier: Spooky, atmospheric read with Poe vibes. 5/5 stars.
  30. Hide and Seeker by Daka Hermon: Middle grade horror at its absolute best. Stranger Things vibes! 5/5 stars.
  31. Midnight Without a Moon by Linda Williams Jackson: Stunning historical fiction about a young Black girl growing up in 1955 Mississippi. 5/5 stars.
  32. Spirit Hunters by Ellen Oh: A refreshing twist on the typical haunted house story, written by the founder of We Need Diverse Books. 5/5 stars.
  33. Small Spaces by Katherin Arden: Spooky, but not too scary, tale that will please middle grade readers looking for some creepy fun. 4/5 stars.
  34. Prisoner B-3087 by Alan Gratz: WWII Historical fiction based on the compelling true story of Jack Gruener, perfect for reluctant readers. 5/5 stars.
  35. We Dream of Space by Erin Entrada Kelly: Engaging historical fiction that follows the lives of three kids growing up as the Challenger prepares to launch in 1986. 5/5 stars.
  36. The Places We Sleep by Caroline Brooks DuBois: Heartfelt novel in verse about growing up in the wake of 9/11. 4/5 stars. 
  37. Starfish by Lisa Fipps: Incredible, authentic novel in verse about a young girl learning to embrace her body and self. One of my favorites of the year. 5/5 stars.
  38. Jefferson’s Sons by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley: Interesting perspective, but one I’d prefer to read from a Black author. 3.5/5 stars.
  39. The Night Diary by Veera Hirandani: Heartfelt story about a half-Hindu, half-Muslim girl forced to leave her home during India’s partition. 5/5 stars.
  40. The Blackbird Girls by Anne Blankman: Stunning historical fiction that follows 2 enemies who must flee their homes together after the Chernobyl explosion. One of my favorite middle grade reads of the year! 5/5 stars.
  41. Red, White, and Whole by Rajani LaRocca: Moving novel in verse about a girl whose mom is battling cancer. 5/5 stars.
  42. Kira-Kira by Cynthia Kadohata: Emotional historical fiction about a Japanese-American family facing racism in the south. 5/5 stars.
  43. Code Talker by Joseph Bruchac: Important, accessible story of a young Navajo boy who becomes a WWII code talker. 5/5 stars.
  44. The City of Ember by Jeanna DuPrau: Accessible story about a mysterious, crumbling, and dark city, perfect for reluctant readers who want to dip their toes into dystopia. 4/5 stars.
  45. Legend by Marie Lu: Action-packed blend of post-apocalyptic dystopia and science fiction, a favorite in my middle school classroom. 4/5 stars. 
  46. Orbiting Jupiter by Gary D. Schmidt: Emotional realistic fiction about a teen father desperate to meet his daughter. Have tissues ready. 5/5 stars.
  47. Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky by Kwame Mbalia: Fun, adventurous fantasy for fans of Riordan’s works. 4/5 stars.
  48. The False Prince by Jennifer A. Nielsen: Fast-paced fantasy full of plot twists, perfect for reluctant readers. 5/5
  49. Akata Witch by Nnedi Okorafor: Dubbed the “Nigerian Harry Potter,” this one is sure to please the fantasy fans in your classroom. 4/5 stars.
  50. Ghost by Jason Reynolds: Reynolds can do no wrong, and Ghost is no exception. Perfect for sports fans and reluctant readers. 5/5 stars.
  51. The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill: You know how I hate fantasy? I actually adored this one, swamp monsters, talking dragons, and all! 5/5 stars.
  52. Black Brother, Black Brother by Jewell Parker Rhodes: This powerful story of black twin brothers, one light-skinned and one dark-skinned, is a must-read! 5/5 stars.
  53. The Canyon’s Edge by Dusti Bowling: Moving novel in verse desert survival story that explores grief, gun violence, and mental health. 5/5 stars.
  54. Lifeboat 12 by Susan Hood: Historical fiction novel in verse about the sinking of the SS City of Benares during WWII. 4/5 stars.
  55. Before the Ever After by Jacqueline Woodson: Stunning novel in verse about a young boy whose dad begins to experience the tragic effects of CTE. Teaching this as a whole class novel this year! 5/5 stars.
  56. Salt by Helen Frost: Short historical fiction in verse about two unlikely friends living in the Indiana Territory in 1812. 3.5/5 stars.
  57. Loving vs. Virginia by Patricia Hruby Powell: Powerful and important “documentary style” novel in verse about the landmark court case that legalized interracial marriage. 5/5 stars.
  58. Home of the Brave by Katherine Applegate: Accessible novel in verse about a Sudanese refugee living in America. 5/5 stars.
  59. Full Cicada Moon by Marilyn Hilton: Powerful historical fiction novel in verse perfect for fans of Brown Girl Dreaming. 4/5 stars.
  60. Hidden by Helen Frost: Super short novel in verse about an accidental kidnapping, perfect for reluctant readers. 4/5 stars.
  61. House Arrest by K.A. Holt: Accessible & engaging novel in verse about a kid on house arrest. One of my top 5 recommendations for reluctant readers! 5/5 stars.
  62. Clean Getaway by Nic Stone: Engaging, relevant story that takes readers on a journey (and literal road trip) through Black history. 4/5 stars.

MIDDLE GRADE NONFICTION

  1. Popular: Vintage Wisdom for a Modern Geek by Maya Van Wagenen: Emotional, unique memoir about one teen’s social experiment and quest to become popular. 4/5 stars.
  2. The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind by William Kamkwamba: Inspiring, accessible nonfiction about a boy determined to bring electricity to his village. 4/5 stars.
  3. Reaching for the Moon by Katherine G. Johnson: Empowering, fascinating autobiography for all young readers, especially those interested in math! 4/5 stars.
  4. Sachiko: A Nagasaki Bomb Survivor’s Story by Caren Stelson: Reading about the Nagasaki bombing from the eyes of a child is just as heartbreaking as you can imagine. A must-read. 5/5 stars.
  5. Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice by Phillip Hoose: Very informative, inspiring account of the teenager who refused to give up her seat months before Rosa Parks did the same. 5/5 stars.
  6. All Thirteen: The Incredible Cave Rescue of the Thai Boys’ Soccer Team: The perfect nonfiction book DOES exist, and it will please all of the sports/survival story fans in your classroom! 5/5 stars.
  7. The Radium Girls (YA) by Kate Moore: Weirdly enough, I read this book at the beach. It was so gripping and horrifying that I couldn’t put it down, which is impressive for nonfiction. 5/5 stars.
  8. I Am Malala (YA) by Malala Yousafzai: An accessible, empowering adaptation that’s perfect for middle school readers. 5/5 stars.
  9. It’s Trevor Noah: Born a Crime by Trevor Noah: One of my favorite reads of the entire year. It’s eye-opening, entertaining, and powerful! 5/5 stars.
  10. The Boy on the Wooden Box by Leon Leyson: Powerful memoir that reveals the horrors of the Holocaust through a child’s eyes. 5/5 stars.
  11. Free Lunch by Rex Ogle: A compelling, honest memoir about one kid’s experience growing up in poverty. 5/5 stars.
  12. The Boys in the Boat (YA adaptation) by Gregory Mone: Surprisingly engaging story of a rowing team that beat the odds, perfect for fans of Unbroken. 5/5 stars.

YOUNG ADULT GRAPHIC NOVELS

  1. March: Book One by John Lewis: Insightful, vivid autobiographical graphic novel that chronicles the first part of Lewis’s life and involvement in the civil rights movement. 5/5 stars. 
  2. Displacement by Kiku Hughes: Unique historical fiction about a girl who travels back in time to WWII internment camps. 4/5 stars.
  3. Almost American Girl by Robin Ha: Compelling memoir of one girl’s experience as a Korean immigrant living in Alabama. 5/5 stars
  4. Pumpkinheads by Rainbow Rowell: Graphic novel romance just doesn’t get any more adorable than this! 5/5 stars.
  5. Kent State: Four Dead in Ohio by Dert Backderf: Well-researched, masterfully presented graphic history of the 1970 Kent State shootings. 4/5 stars.
  6. I Am Alfonso Jones by Tony Medina: Powerful #BlackLivesMatter story with a side of Hamlet, one that will resonate with fans of The Hate U Give and Dear Martin. 4/5 stars.
  7. Illegal by Eoin Colfer: A quick but powerful graphic novel about one refugee boy’s journey to Europe, perfect for fans of When Stars Are Scattered. 5/5 stars.
  8. The Unwanted: Stories of the Syrian Refugees by Don Brown: Short but important graphic exploration of the Syrian refugee crisis. 4/5 stars.
  9. Becoming Muhammad Ali by James Patterson: A secret weapon to recommend to reluctant middle school readers! 5/5 stars.
  10. Dancing at the Pity Party: A Dead Mom Graphic Memoir by Tyler Feder: Absolutely heartbreaking, but also somehow hilarious at times. You just have to read it. 5/5 stars.
  11. They Called Us Enemy by George Takei: Phenomenal look at George Takei’s experience growing up in WWII internment camps. 5/5 stars.
  12. Hey, Kiddo by Jarrett J. Krosoczka: Compelling memoir about one kid’s experience growing up in a family affected by addiction. 5/5 stars.

MIDDLE GRADE GRAPHIC NOVELS

  1. Sugar Falls: A Residential School Story by David Alexander Robertson: Super short but powerful story to teach young readers about residential schools in Canada (and the US). 5/5 stars.
  2. Allergic by Megan Wagner Lloyd: Cute graphic novel that will certainly resonate with fellow allergic readers! 4/5 stars.
  3. The Graveyard Book Graphic Novel by P. Craig Russell: Entertaining gem of a graphic novel about a boy who grows up in a graveyard. 4/5 stars.
  4. The Stonekeeper by Kazu Kibuishi: Not my personal cup of tea (fantasy), but a fun, adventurous graphic novel series for middle grade readers. 3/5 stars.
  5. Invisible Emmie by Terry Libenson: Adorable graphic novel with an important message! 4/5 stars.
  6. When Stars Are Scattered by Victoria Jamieson & Omar Mohamed: A heartbreaking, hopeful must-read. By far one of the most popular books in my classroom library! 5/5 stars.

I hope you’ve found this giant list of books helpful for your personal to-read lists AND your classroom libraries. For ideas on how to recommend better books to your students and cultivate a love for reading in the classroom, check out the following blog posts:

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