IMWAYR: 12.30.19

IMWAYR 20152017.png

It's been a crazy holiday break in Ohio. With temps in the 50s and 60s we've spent a lot of time outside. As the weather cools this week I hope to get in some major reading. I have 10 titles I'd like to finish before I return to school on Jan. 6. What are your reading plans for the rest of break?


A Reading Year in Review!

2019 is coming to a close and I can honestly say there have been some amazing books that have hit the shelves this year. If you follow me and my lovely crew on Instagram or Twitter, or if you have been a loyal reader here on our blog, you have seen the books we have been crushing over all year. 

This year I have spent a lot of time gathering and reading books that have characters of color and are written by authors of color. I have shared many of these books with you all here and via social media. I have also shared these titles with my students. I feel that it is so important to open our students eyes to the beautiful colors of the world! 

I hope that you all have loved reading about all our reading adventures (good and bad) and about all the amazing authors we had a chance to meet and interview. I would also like to thank all of those authors for taking the time out of their busy writing schedules to talk with us and bring our readers inside information about the process of writing a book!

With that being said, here are some of our favorite reads from 2019....

What have you been reading and loving this year? Comment some of your favorite book from 2019, or head over to twitter and follow the conversation and gather a list of amazing 2019 releases!

Thanks for stopping by and as always happy reading!


Most Popular Books this Year...and What to Read Next

This is not a definitive list of "best" books. With so many MG and YA books out there, it's truly impossible to narrow down our favorite reads of the first half of the school year. This list is focused on YA books that have been most frequently checked out of our classroom library. It doesn't include great MG titles like Barbara Dee's Maybe He Just Likes You or Raina Telgemeier's newest graphic novel, Guts.  Or stunning debuts like Kate Allen's The Line Tender. Or even Jason Reynolds' brilliant novel in ten blocks, Look Both Ways.

This list also doesn't include tried and true YA titles such as:
  • All the Bright Places
  • The Hate U Give
  • Gym Candy
  • The Memory of Things
  • Children of Blood and Bone
  • Scythe
  • Heroine
  • Refugee
  • Hearts Unbroken
  • The Crossover
In short, there are a lot of brillant MG and YA books out there. And there are a lot more coming in 2020. I've paired some class favorites with soon-to-be-released titles. I hope you find something that looks intriguing!


Most Popular Titles in My 5th far :)

Every year is much more different than the last. Each student comes in their own, their own stories, their own memories, their own emotions. They find the stories that either help them escape these. They search for stories to help them not feel alone. Or they find those stories that help them to understand what their friends or other classmates are going through. As a lover of books, I choose what I read aloud wisely. Basing our read alouds primarily this year off of Project Lit - we started with Ghost by Jason Reynolds. Not long after students were fighting for Patina, then Sunny, and then Lu. You could say that introducing them to a series was definitely successful. Then we moved to A Long Walk to Water to review empathy and understanding of those that we may not always come into contact with. Students developed a deeper understanding in that moment about how good their life truly is in comparison to others. Our last read aloud was Forget Me Not by Ellie Terry. Having their own classmate with Tourette's, Forget Me Not brought awareness to my students of what their classmate may be going through. Then we had the opportunity to Skype with Ellie and they truly were able to develop that empathy even deeper. 

I decided to ask each of my 54 students this year SO FAR what's their TOP book choice. This in no way will be the final choice, I am sure of that, and it may even change tomorrow, but I think this is so interesting! 

Drop below in the comments what your students are reading and LOVING:) 


Dare To Be You: Inspirational Advice for Girls

Growing up, I was a big reader of Chicken Soup for the Teenage Soul. I needed to be reminded of things that I would start to feel self conscious about as a young girl living in a world where judgement was everywhere. Luckily, I didn't grow up in the time where social media was so prominent, but I did grow up when it was first beginning. I remember MSN Messenger fights with girls, I remember chat rooms starting to become popular and people in the world were realizing that others weren't nice when behind a computer screen, I also grew up in a time when cell phones weren't full of easy access to anything and everything, but we did have three way calling and that could tear a girl down in a heartbeat. Luckily, I read, and when I did read learning about others experiencing things I felt - it helped to know I wasn't alone. Which is exactly what Dare To Be You does. It is just that, Inspirational Advice for Girls on Finding Your Voice, Leading Fearlessly, and Making a Difference. 

While there’s no shortage of inspiring books for women coming out in the next few months, there aren’t many that target young girls in particular. And that’s a problem because it’s when girls are young that they develop their self-worth and their confidence. Amidst a society that still belittles women and wants young girls to be “good girls,” prim, proper, and silent, what they really need is advice from trailblazing women who have come before them. So how can teachers contribute to a young girl’s confidence and self-worth through education? 

Veteran journalist Marianne Schnall (who has 2 daughters of her own and wrote What Will It Take to Make a Woman President? which Beyoncé recommended during the ‘16 presidential race) combed through her hundreds of exclusive interviews with people like Gloria Steinem, Demi Lovato, Stacey Abrams, Amy Poehler, Sophia Bush, Jane Goodall, Billie Jean King, Natalie Portman, Kerry Washington, and more, pulling quotes that celebrate and amplify all that girls and women bring to leadership. DARE TO BE YOU: Inspirational Advice for Girls on Finding Your Voice, Leading Fearlessly, and Making a Difference is an inspirational book that provides guidance and encouragement, and advocates for girls to realize their true potential, be authentic, and inspires confidence so that they are able to see themselves as leaders from an early age.

Always with a finger on the pulse of societal shifts (she founded the website in 1995,) Marianne Schnall has had a knack for extracting the most interesting, thoughtful, and sometimes surprising anecdotes from people most of us put on a pedestal, showing us how these women leaders struggled with their own obstacles, doubts, and failures just like us. Schall’s inspirational books will allow for girls to realize their own value and uniqueness, showing just how powerful they can be when they all work together, thus providing inspiration for teachers on how to encourage the girls in their class to realize these important traits within themselves.

This would be a great gift for the young woman in your life who may need a little reassurance that everything is going to be just fine, as well as what exactly they can do to make that difference they are so passionate about! 

*Click image to purchase! 


Eve 2.0 Blog Tour

Welcome to the Teachers Who Read blog! Today we're featuring Eve 2.0, a new gaming novel sure to appeal to fans of Ready Player One or anyone who likes to game!
Eve 2.0: The Ultimate Gaming Experience (The Gamer Series Book 1) by [Lawrence, Winter]


Just when Gwen thought she could beat any video game hands down, her boyfriend goes and gets her stuck in a top-secret government simulator named Eve 2.0. Being trapped within a couple of her favorite video games doesn’t seem so bad at first, but as time becomes a factor and the A.I. program begins to get smarter, Gwen soon realizes that winning or losing isn’t just about pride anymore; it’s about making it out alive.

My Take:

Can you imagine being stuck in a video game? Some kids dream of that. In fact, 10-year-old me would've given anything to play a real-life version of Super Mario. And given that gaming is anticipated to be a 230 billion market by 2022 (New Zoo), I bet there's a few students you know who would appreciate this gaming novel.

The first in a series, Eve 2.0 features suspense, government conspiracies, and even a love triangle. As Gwen and her ex-boyfriend(!) navigate the gaming world in order to rescue her brother, people in the real world realize Gwen may reveal government secrets. 

While I don't consider myself to be a gamer, other than the occasional game of The SIMS, this book was easy to follow. You don't have to be an avid gamer to appreciate the story arcs.

Winter Lawrence
About Winter Lawrence
Winter lives in the moment and loves nothing more than being surrounded by her family, her fur-babies, and a ton of great reads! When she doesn’t have her nose stuck in a book, she’s usually thinking up far away, fantastical worlds or she’s cooking up a storm in the kitchen! Because of her love for all things literary, Winter pursued a Master of Arts degree in English Literature and Creative Writing. Professionally, she is a manuscript editor and, in her spare time, she enjoys hosting author spotlights, posting book reviews, and teaching workshops. In her private time, she is an avid reader of science fiction, fantasy, and paranormal romances, and one day she hopes to inspire young readers in the same way her favorite authors continue to inspire her today.Find out more about Winter at her website and connect with her on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.

IMWAYR 10.21.19

IMWAYR 20152017.png

It's Monday! There are not enough hours in a day. I had 10 books on hold at our library and four of them came in on the same day. Of course, within a few days, all of my Netgalley requests were approved. I'm going to finish Jackpot (so good!) tonight so I can focus all my attention to some 2020 releases! 

Happy reading,


22 Days of Anti-Racist Resources for Teachers: Teaching Identity in Middle Grades

This post is one of the series: It's Time to Talk Racism: 22 Days of Anti-Racist Resources for Teachers. Check out the complete campaign here. 

Often times in schools, students aren't able to celebrate who they are and what makes them unique and special. It is unintentionally at times overlooked. Celebrating who we are and our difference can by the first step to breaking the bias we and our students have. 

I start by discussing with my student what is identity and things that make up our identities. At times it may be hard for even my fourth graders to understand with identity is. I love the lesson from Being the Change to also help to teach and help my students understand identity. After we talk about the meaning, we start to look at ourselves and our own identities. My students do this writing on a piece of paper about how they identify themselves (boy, girl, black, white, student, teacher, sister, mother, brother, etc). Next, we talk about why is it important to know their identity and to share that with others.  

I love bringing in picture books to help grow and extend our conversations and understanding. Sulwe was published at the beginning of October and I had to have it to help foster conversations with my students about this topic. This book teaches about colorism, self-esteem, and how true beauty comes from within. *See summary below.

The next book is The Proudest Blue. The book works perfectly when teaching about identity. Just like Sulwe it also teaches to be confident with yourself and your culture. 

I love hove both of these books give my students insight into other cultures and what trials they may go through.

(Teaching Tolerance Lesson on Identity)
I have used this lesson to help teach my students about identity. For more information visit the Teaching Tolerance Website.

In the essay "Magic Carpet," Mitali Perkins writes about learning to see her rich heritage through critical colonial eyes as a young girl in New York and her struggle to reclaim her history as an adult 

Get Started

1. Download the essay, "Magic Carpet," and distribute a copy to each class member.
2. Explain that the essay describes the author’s experience of boundaries within her own identity.
3. Use the following discussion questions and writing activities to help your students explore identity and assimilation in the essay and their own lives.
 Discussion Questions
  1. Describe the author’s childhood experience of cultural boundaries. How did she respond to these boundaries? How would she respond differently now? What might have happened to cause her to write about these experiences? 
  2. Have you ever been made fun of because of a cultural trait, such as your home language or traditional clothing or food? Describe the experience. 
  3. Have you ever made fun of someone — or witnessed others doing so — because of a cultural trait? Describe the experience. 
  4. What situations can you think of that force or encourage people to give up parts of their identity? Explain. 
  5. What does the author mean by "magic carpet"? 
  6. Do you have a "magic carpet" that you and only a few others share? What are the qualities of that "magic carpet"? With whom do you share it? What would enable you to share this secret part of your identity with more people?
 Writing Activities
  1. Share the essay with a parent, grandparent or other elder and discuss questions 1-6 with them. Prepare a written report on what you discover. 
  2. Choose one of these two topics:
    1. Have you ever tried to hide your home language, religion or any other aspect of your family’s culture from your friends or classmates? If so, why? Write an essay describing the experience, how it felt, and what, if anything, about the situation you would change if you could. 
    2. Have you ever discovered that one of your friends or classmates has been hiding some part of his or her cultural identity from you? If so, write an essay describing how the discovery felt, how you responded, and what, if anything, about the situation you would change if you could. 
  3. Imagine that a trait you "disown" now (a physical feature, a custom, a bit of family history, personal ties) will be gone forever at the end of today. Write a story, song or poem to say goodbye to this part of yourself. What do you remember about "it" and its role in your life? Describe your feelings. What advice would you offer to someone who feels forced to give up a part of his or her identity?

The post is dedicated to Alexander Gerhard Hoffman. He was a German national who was shot and killed in the tragic shooting in El Paso. 

Thanks for stopping by :)