Here's my list - 32 strong! (Not that quantity matters - it's all about quality in my book...) -->
1) "The Hobbit" (finished 1/1/15) - Fantasy (for school)
2) "Moon Over Manifest" (1/17/15) - Historical YA Fiction
3) "Eight Keys" (2/2/15) - Realistic YA Fiction
4) "Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring" (4/19/15) - Fantasy
5) "Elephant Talk" (4/25/15) - Nonfiction (for school)
6) "Into the Unknown" (4/25/15) - Nonfiction (for school)
7) "Shooting Kabul" (5/13/15) - Historical YA Fiction (for school)
8) "The Cay" (5/17/15) - Historical YA Fiction (for school)
9) "Fish in a Tree" (5/23/15) - Realistic YA Fiction
10) "Under the Egg" (5/25/15) - Historical YA Fiction
11) "Data Wise" (6/13/15) - Professional Development
12) "Brown Girl Dreaming" (6/14/15) - Memoir/Poetry
13) "The Return of the Prodigal Son" (7/6/15) - Spiritual/Religious Nonfiction
14) "Paper Things" (7/12/15) - Realistic YA Fiction
15) "One for the Murphys" (7/24/15) - Realistic YA Fiction
16) "Real Kids, Real Stories, Real Change" (7/25/15) - Nonfiction YA (for school)
17) "Crenshaw" (7/25/15) - YA Fiction
18) "Teaching Reading in Middle School" (7/27/15) - Professional Development
19) "Sondheim: The Man Who Changed Musical Theater" (7/28/15) - Nonfiction YA
20) "In Defense of Read Aloud" (7/28/15) - Professional Development
21) "Echo" (7/29/15) - Historical YA Fiction
22) "Stargirl" (7/30/15) - Realistic YA Fiction
23) "The Classroom Management Book" (7/31/15) - Professional Development
24) "Be Always Little: Christian Fables for Young and Old" (8/3/15) - Spiritual
25) "Small as an Elephant" (8/5/15) - Realistic YA Fiction
26) "Escape from Mr Lemoncello's Library" (8/22/15) - Mystery YA
27) "Stella by Starlight" (9/10/15) - Historical YA Fiction
28) "Unbroken" (audio) (10/25/15) - Nonfiction
29) "The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto" (11/23/15) - Fiction (with historical figures)
30) "I Will Always Write Back: How One Letter Changed Two Lives" (11/28/15) - memoir (dual) YA nonfiction
31) "The Hobbit" (12/14/15) - Fantasy (for school --> re-read)
32) "Just Mercy" (12/27/15) - Nonfiction
(Technically, the titles listed should all be underlined or italicized, but I kept this list on my phone, and I didn't really have the energy (or patience) to go back and change them all. I apologize to all of you grammar lovers out there.)
Now, I would award the books I read as follows (not that my awards matter - it's more fun this way, though):
BEST OVERALL ADULT READ: Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson (a story about the corruption within the US prison & judicial systems as well as one man's fight to bring justice)
BEST OVERALL YA READ: Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli (a story about being true to yourself and the effects of peer pressure/group acceptance in a high school setting)
MOST MEMORABLE READ: The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto by Mitch Albom (a fictional story of a musician set within the context of real world events; told from the perspective of music as the narrator)
MOST LIFE-CHANGING/APPLICABLE TO LIFE: The Return of the Prodigal Son by Henri Nouwen (a wonderful read about mercy and multiple perspectives on the oft-heard Bible passage)
Some other highlights (or comments of note):
*I enjoyed Lord of the Rings #1 more than I thought I would. I was interested in reading the second book in the trilogy, but I felt I could not commit another two months (which is the length of time it took me to read book 1) to it at the time. Maybe one day I will finish the trilogy and finally see the movies!
*A number of the books I read hold potential for teachers to use as read alouds or books studies to draw attention to issues such as homelessness (Crenshaw, Paper Things), poverty & current events (I Will Always Write Back), and being true to oneself/accepting others who are different (Stargirl, Paper Things). One for the Murphys deals with going through the foster care system, and Fish in a Tree gives light to the idea that all children have different gifts and learn in different ways.
*I remembered reading The Cay in 6th grade, so I obtained copies for students to read in our historical fiction unit this spring. I firmly believe that every middle school student should read this book because of how it deals with prejudice, courage, and hope.
*Echo was amazingly crafted by Pam Munoz Ryan - the way she wove all the stories together so seamlessly left me in awe. Though it is a long read, it is worth your time!
*Unbroken blew my mind - Hearing about the torture and various events Louis Zamperini lived through and how faith ultimately saved his life was very inspiring.
As you might guess, I could go on and on, but, unfortunately, I still have quite a bit of student work to grade and some lesson planning to accomplish, so I must bring this year-end book review to its close.