On the last post of each month I’ll be featuring lists of twenty items. This post is middle grade novels I plan on reading in 2020. Not all of them are 2020 releases. Some of them are 2019 releases. For every pick, I share why I want to read it.
Leave a comment and let me know more titles I should add to my list. It would be great if we could get twenty new titles in the comments.
1. The Battle by Karuna Riazi
2. Black Brother, Black Brother by Jewell Parker Rhodes
3. The Bridge Home by Padma Venkatraman
4. Chirp by Kate Messner
5. The Dark Lord Clementine by Sarah Jean Horwitz
6. Disaster Days by Rebecca Behrens
7. Explorer by Katherine Rundell
8. Fly on the Wall by Remy Lai
9. From the Desk of Zoe Washington by Janae Marks
10. Gegeer the Robot Goes to School by Jarrett Lerner
11. Maybe He Just Likes You by Barbara Dee
12. Leaving Lymon by Lesa-Cline Ransome
13. The Line Tender by Kate Allen
14. The List of Things that Will Not Change by Rebecca Stead
15. The Only Black Girls in Town by Brandy Colbert
16. Parked by Danielle Svetcov
17. A Place at the Table by Saadia Faruqi and Laura Shovan
18. Shouting at the Rain by Lynda Mullaly Hunt
19. Strange Birds: A Field Guide to Ruffling Feathers by Celia Perez
20. Worse than Weird by Jody Little
Before I move full speed ahead into the new year, I want to look back on the blog in 2019 and figure out what interested you and what did not. Many thanks to Andy J. Pizza for urging his Creative Pep Talk listeners to take this step in episode 258-Exploit This Natural Law That Will Make 2020 Your Year. If you’re a creator and you don’t listen to Creative Pep Talk, I highly recommend it.
Interestingly, readers are still viewing the book trailers I posted two years ago. So, this summer in July and August I’ll post book trailers from 2019 and 2020 releases along with some ideas of how to use the book in the elementary classroom. Authors contact me and let me know if you have a book trailer for your new release. If I can envision using your book in an elementary classroom, I’ll feature it.
Please take a moment to fill out this survey. It will take less than a minute, and it will help me better meet your needs in 2020. Also, Jason from Tyngsboro, Massachusetts, please fill out the contact form on my website so you can receive the awesome books authors are sending me to send to you!
Thanks so much for helping me out!
First of all, Happy New Year, everyone! Congrats to Jason, who is a fifth-grade teacher in Tyngsboro, MA, for winning the writer's workshop book basket! Jason, please fill out the contact form on my website and be sure to include your school address so we can send the books.
There is no gift like time. December break provides time to sleep, time to be with loved ones, and for teachers who write, time to create.
This vacation was unexpectedly productive for me. I’m putting that in print because I spend way too much time thinking about goals I didn’t accomplish instead of celebrating goals I do accomplish. More on corraling negative thoughts another time!
Anyway, I finished a draft of a nonfiction manuscript I’ve been working on since early fall. I talked about the seed idea for this manuscript in my October 23rd post Get Angry. In order to be able to write the manuscript, I did a ton of research. Check out the photos below to see some of the sources I read.
Sometimes though, the information one is looking for, is hard to find. In National Geographic’s "Why Carrying Your Own Fork and Spoon Helps Solve the Plastic Crisis," they state the sobering fact that in the U.S. we throw away one million plastic utensils every day. But I’m not only focusing on the problem in my manuscript, I’m focusing on solutions.
One can research solutions forever because humans are constantly coming up with creative ways to solve problems. While researching creative solutions people have devised to cut down on consuming plastic utensils, I came across this article on two middle schools in Minnetonka, Minnesota. Since I’m a teacher and I’m from the blustery Midwest, my interest meter shot sky high.
The two schools wrote a grant to replace plastic cutlery and bowls with stainless steel utensils and reusable bowls. They saved their district $23,000 over a three-year period, prevented 6,712 pounds of trash, reduced greenhouse gases by 77% and decreased water consumption by tens of thousands of gallons. The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency awarded the grant.
Wheels whirring, I typed in Massachusetts Pollution Control Agency. That agency doesn’t exist but the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) does exist and guess what? They provide grants to schools that want to replace, “reusable dish-ware… to reduce single use service ware.” The grant is called the Reduce, Reuse, Repair Micro-Grant, and it awards up to $5,000 a year to non-profit organizations looking to make changes that benefit the environment.
I plan to apply for a 2020 micro-grant to replace our school’s plastic cutlery with reusable stainless steel flatware. In 2019, the DEP posted their grant guidelines in March. Hopefully, the DEP will post the 2020 guidelines in March as well which will give my class and me plenty of time to write the grant before the school year ends.
One day at the end of writer’s workshop, of my students who struggles with reading and writing stated, “I never liked writing before, but now I understand it has a purpose.”
Show your students writing has a purpose. Apply for a grant from your state’s department of environmental protection to replace your school’s plastic cutlery. If your state doesn’t have similar grants to those available in Minnesota and Massachusetts, write to your legislators asking them to make micro-grants available for your state.
Chalk + Ink
Chalk + Ink is a biweekly podcast that publishes on Fridays throughout the school year. Sign up for our monthly newsletter to get notified of new episodes. Download Chalk + Ink wherever you get your favorite podcasts. Feeling inspired, grateful, and generous?