I am so behind the times. Ever since Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows was published and then TSUBASA: RESERvoir CHRoNiCLES finished English-language serialization, I haven’t really kept up with what’s coming out next.
But since my job involves reading for Sakura Medal nominations, I should do a better job of following new releases. I just feel like there’s so much to read already, especially considering all the great stuff that came out during the great big reading gap of 2007-2013, when I just did not read much fiction – or anything at all, really.
But here are the books I’m looking forward to in 2015 – not for me, personally, but for my library collection.
- Listen, Slowly Every year, fifth grade starts off with a historical fiction reading and writing unit, and one of the books that leaves a lasting impression is Thanha Lai’s Inside Out & Back Again. Now she has another novel, this one about a protagonist going the other way – from the USA to Vietnam – and I can’t wait to get it. At an international school, my students understand the push and pull between two (or more) countries and cultures and I want them to see that in our stories.
- Jack: The True Story of Jack and the Beanstalk Liesl Shurtliff’s Rumplestiltskin retelling, Rump, is one of the most popular Sakura Medal books so far this year, based on student enthusiasm. It’s flying off the shelves, handed from one student to another, placed on my desk with an emphatic thwak to punctuate the statement, “This is so good!” How can I turn down another story in the same series?
- The Island of Dr. Libris Another Sakura Medal 2015 follow-up for another one of the most popular books so far this year, Escape from Dr. Lemoncello’s Library. I’ve tried to read Dr. Lemoncello about ten times now, but every time students see it on my desk, they want to take it home, and of course I won’t say “no.” This one is bound to please.
- The Blossoming Universe of Violet Diamond (paperback) The hardcover was released this year in January, but the paperback comes out next month, and that’s the edition I’ll get for my library. I think this will be a great addition to our collection, and I can already think of students who might enjoy this story.
- Eddie Red Undercover: Mystery on Museum Mile (paperback) My students love books like Jack Stalwart, so why not support their budding interest in action thrillers with an exciting story about a protagonist of color? This is another book that’s already out in hardcover, but I’m waiting for the paperback.
- The Honest Truth With The Fault in Our Stars hitting theaters here in February (yes, February 2015), I’m sure I’ll have students in the Elementary Library asking to read the book. Unfortunately, the book lives across campus in the high school library, but from the blurb, this could be a good readalike for my older students.
- R.S.V.P. My students love tales of best friendship. This sounds like it has potential for kids who are growing out of Critter Club but maybe aren’t quite ready for the secondary library’s Dear Dumb Diary series. It reminds me of the Beacon Street Girls books in the fifth grade classroom libraries.
- The Stolen Moon (and the already released first book in the series, The Lost Planet) Remember what I said about Jack Stalwart? Those same readers love Zac Power, too. This looks like it has strong readalike potential, and I know our library collection could use more action/adventure titles… in space!
- From the Notebooks of a Middle School Princess There are two genres perennially popular with my students: epistolary novels, and princesses. As this seems to combine both of those interests in one series – by Princess Diaries author Megan Cabot, no less – I can already see it’s place on my library shelves… left open, because I have a feeling it will just always be checked out.
- The Sword of Summer Percy Jackson is still going strong, so a new book series by the same author featuring Norse gods is an obvious choice to add to the collection, especially for the kids who come in asking for Avengers books. With Age of Ultron coming out in April here (yes, April 2015), I’m sure I’ll have students asking, and while it’s not exactly the same, I think they’ll see the connection.