I, Joy Kirr, am a middle school teacher, author, and speaker. My 7th grade ELA (English Language Arts) classes are working to improve their lives through student-directed learning - without marks throughout the year. This is a log of my learning experiences... Want to have me speak with your staff or facilitate a workshop? Here is my PORTFOLIO.

Monday, December 30, 2019

Best Books of 2019

My list is not extensive by any means, but I need to share out my favorites from 2019 like I have the past five years. I read a bit for myself this year, along with many books I thought my 7th graders would enjoy or books they recommended for me.
     2018 Favorites
     2017 Favorites
     2016 Favorites
     2015 Favorites
     2014 Favorites

Here are the books I would most recommend from my list of 88 books I've read this year... I tried to whittle it down to one or two per genre, but I read some genres more than others! I'm not going to describe them for you - you can check out the complete list with my thoughts for this year here. Another note: One of my goals (that didn't start until this summer) was to read many more books by authors who are not White.

Biography / Autobiography / Memoir
     My husband and I lost a friend to pancreatic cancer this year. Breakthrough was one I had to purchase and share with my students at the start of 2019. Let's get his early detection test into the world!!

     I listened to Children of Blood and Bone x 1.5 speed on a Playaway device from my library. WOW. Just WOW. The second is ready for me to listen to when 2020 begins!
     And I had to read the sequel (#2 or #3?) to Everyday - Someday MIGHT have been even better than the first...

Graphic Novel
     I feel as if everyone read New Kid before I did... I know why now!

Historical Fiction
     I read a ton of historical fiction (compared to previous years) in preparation for our historical fiction book clubs in seventh grade. My favorites (for various reasons) include The War that Saved My Life, Grenade, The Night Diary, A Night Divided, and Between Shades of Gray.

"How to"
     I only read one: How to Be an Antiracist Here are my notes for this book. I will soon have a blog post out solely to share some ideas that came from this book.

      I only read one YA book and one adult book. By far, Where the Crawdads Sing is my favorite.

     My focus this year was on my Whiteness, so here are my favorites: We Are Not Yet EqualThis Promise of Change: One Girl’s Story in the Fight for School Equality, and graphic novel Unwanted: Stories of the Syrian Refugees.

     I read eleven this year... If I had to choose one that I believe would help MOST educators, it's Fewer Things, Better: The Courage to focus on what matters most

Realistic Fiction
     Oh, so many! I've chosen five... The Benefits of Being an OctopusA Very Large Expanse of SeaA Good Kind of TroubleWild Bird, and Genesis Begins Again.

Science Fiction
     I didn't read a ton of science fiction this year, but without a doubt my favorite was The Toll (#3 in the Scythe series).

Short Stories
     Although some of the stories in Black Enough: Stories of Being Young and Black in America were too mature for my seventh graders, I loved these: "Half a Moon," "Black Enough," "Warning," "Sampson & the Delilahs," "Stop Playing," and "Woah!"

     I was introduced to Cherub: Mission 1 The Recruit  by a student who's read ALL of them in the series, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. This is a new genre for me, as well.

My reading gap this year? I didn't read ANY sports books unless you count Lu by Jason Reynolds. I don't have a ton of kids interested in the sports genre this year, either.

What awesome books have I missed? Please share your favorites in the comments below!

For the quotes I love, check out this slideshow that I update with each quote that touches my heart or soul:

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