middle grade

My Semester in Books

The semester is nearly over, and I had to read 19 short stories, picture books, and novels for one class this semester. I thought it would be fun if I shared some of my favorites with y'all. 

I am so happy I chose Literature for Children as an elective. I haven't read some of these genres since I was a kid, and some of them, I had never read at all. I definitely went out of my reading comfort zone and I was pleasantly surprised.

I don't know why because good things normally come when I venture out of my reading comfort zone. Unlike when I try new things at favorite restaurants, but that's another topic altogether, so let's keep moving forward.

We had four modules in this class. The first module was all about picture books. I didn't have a lot of expectations, I'll be honest. I almost thought that since I hadn't read a picture book since like kindergarten or so, then what are the chances I'll enjoy it? How am I going to relate to whatever is happening? 

I had to read six picture books. One of them swept me off my feet. It was The Pout-Pout Fish Goes to School by Deborah Diesen and Pictures by Dan Hanna. It was simply adorable with illustrations that paid attention to all the little details. I was ridiculously tempted to find more of these books and read them while I was at the library that day.

In the second module, we had to read 4 books: a Modern Fantasy, a Multicultural Literature, and 2 types of Traditional Literature. My favorite of these was Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt. What a better class than one that gives you an excuse to read books that have been on your TBR for forever? This was a book where I got attached to the characters and was left wanting to see more of them. Always a good thing in my book (haha!).



Next, we had to read books that were award winners (or honor books) for the Belpre, King, Newbery, Printz, Caldecott, and one from either the NC Children's Book Award or the NC Young Adult Book Award.

Let me get a favorite out of the way first. I loved The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak. This was a book I had in my own personal collection that was waiting to be read and this gave me a reason to bump it up. Everyone needs to read this book. Just so good.


The other book I'll mention from this module was one that took me by surprise. It was Three Times Lucky by Sheila Turnage. I was kinda worried because I couldn't remember the last middle grade novel I read, so how do I know I'll enjoy this one? (This class made me realize while I'm generally openminded, I'm also SO skeptical, which I don't like.) This book was really good. It was funny, set in NC, and had a good little mystery. This is another one that made me want to keep reading the others in the series.

Lastly, we had to read an informational science book, an informational social studies book, a biography, a historical fiction, and a realistic fiction. Did those first two make you groan? It did me because science and social studies were never my friends in school. Yet, my favorite book from this module was Secrets of a Civil War Submarine by Sally M. Walker.

I'm still thinking about this book. It's just so interesting what happened with this submarine! There's also a museum for it in Charleston, SC, so you can guess where I'll eventually go. There was a compelling story, a mystery, and you get invested. What more do you need?

So, there you have it! Another semester in the books for me. Only one more to go. Have you read any of these books?

P.S. For my last semester, one of my electives is a class on Grimms' Fairy Tales. Should be interesting! 

The Pout-Pout Fish Goes to School by Deborah Diesen: Amazon, iBooks, Kobo, B&N 

Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt: Amazon, iBooks, Kobo, B&N 

The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak: Amazon, iBooks, Kobo, B&N 

Three Times Lucky by Sheila Turnage: Amazon, iBooks, Kobo, B&N 

Secrets of a Civil War Submarine by Sally M. Walker: AmazonB&N 

Top Ten Tuesday: Words/Topics That Will Make Me NOT Pick Up a Book

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

I'm usually pretty easy going when it comes to picking up books. If it sounds good, I'll give it a try. But there are some topics/words, that have me running the other way. It's either because of previous bad experiences or the fact that I have no interest in it at all. Here's my top ten in no particular order.
  • Zombies. I don't like watching them on TV, much less reading about them. I just can't do it.
  • Middle Grade. I didn't like reading MG books when I "should" have been reading them instead of my YA, Adult books.
  • Aliens. The thought of these make me shudder. I watched one alien movie when I was younger, got scared, and really rather not think about it.
  • Horror. No, thank you.
  • Fairytale Retellings. I don't think I've actually ever read a fairytale to start with. Watched the movies, sure, but I don't think I've read fairytales. Either way, I don't want to read a retelling of any kind.
  • Christian Fiction. There are a few exceptions to this one, of course. I have two authors that I will read from in this genre and that's it. Even then, I don't go out and buy all their books or actively search/wait for their books.
  • Classics. Eh. Yeah, there are a few that I would like to read, but the thought of reading something that has been deemed a "classic," is a little intimidating to me. 
  • "For Fans of ---." Often times, I don't see a connection to why if I liked that book, I would like this one as well. Sometimes, it's a paranormal, but with entirely different feels, different types of characters, etc. Can't books just be who they are without being attached to another book and its hype? Let this book build it's own fan base because of the story it holds and not because it's "similar" to another book. That makes sense, right? 
  • Faeries. I have some books on my shelf right now that are about these creatures. I have some on my to-read that I don't own yet. I'm not sure what it is about it, and obviously it won't keep me from picking up the book, but it definitely makes me hesitate. I don't know why this topic is different than others, but if I see it's about faeries, I might put it back down. Like it has a "Do Not Read Me" label. Makes no sense why I see this, immediately think I won't like it, and run, so let's just deem this one as a May Not Pick Up At This Time, type of book. I need to read a few more books (like the ones on my bookshelf) and then make a final decision as if it's for me or not. 
So close to ten! Nine will have to do. This was hard to come up with. After the first few topics, I had to really think about it. Sure, we all know what we will read and we can think of a few that we won't, but to think of ten? That's a little challenging. Especially since if the synopsis hooks me, I'll pick it up regardless. It happens sometimes.

Tell me. What words/topics would make your top ten?