This is the sixth installment in a series of posts with ideas and suggestions for running effective literacy circles or book clubs with students from second grade through high school. You can read the others in this series here.
As stated in earlier posts on this topic, not just any novel works for a book club. The following list identifies novels that have the potential to bring about great discussions and challenge students’ thinking. This list is very short; I am sure there are thousands of other great titles to use in book clubs. The only rule is that the book leads to great thinking and discussions.
- Because of Winn Dixie by Kate DiCamillo. (Many of her other titles are excellent choices for book clubs.)
- When I Crossed No-Bob by Margaret McMullan
- Stone Fox by John Reynolds Gardiner
- Each Little Bird That Sings by Deborah Wiles
- Love, Ruby Lavender by Deborah Wiles
- The Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robinson
- The Magic Finger by Roald Dahl (very easy)
- I Survived Series by Lauren Tarshis
- The One and Only Ivan by Avi
- Poppy books by Avi
- This Journal Belongs to Ratchet by Nancy J. Cavanaugh
- Maybe a Fox by Allison McGhee and Kathi Appelt
- Tangerine by Edward Bloor
- Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card
- North of Beautiful by Justina Chen Headley
- Weeping Under the Same Moon by Jana Laiz
- Heat and other titles by Mike Lupica (great for sports fans)
- Freak the Mighty by Rodman Philbrick
- The Wednesday Wars by Gary D. Schmidt
- Wonder by R.J. Palacio
The following list is a list of recently published titles perfect for fourth and fifth grade on-level readers; this list was compiled by my dear friend and master teacher, Denise Vetromile. Thanks, Denise!
- Crack in the Sea (2017) – three stories woven into one… a set of twins, a slave ship from the late 1700s, a Vietnamese refugee family, and one more that I don’t want to act as a spoiler for. The structure makes this a complex read.
- A Night Divided (2015) – historical fiction – Berlin in the mid-60s… one of the best books I’ve ever read! Great history lesson with many discussion possibilities.
- Masterminds (2015) – a three-book series. Cloning, nature versus nurture, very exciting!
- Last Panther (2017) – being published in August. Futuristic, dystopian, environmental. Love this Colorado author!
- Echo (2015) – Historical fiction that follows a harmonica through three different time periods and situations (WWII, Mexican immigrants in California).
- War That Saved My Life (2015) – Historical fiction that takes place during the bombing of London during WW II. There is a sequel coming out.
- Some Kind of Courage (2016) – historical fiction. Takes place in the western US during the late 1800s. GREAT voice!
- Save Me a Seat (2016) – realistic fiction. Story of two Asian (Indian) boys, one born in the US, the other an immigrant. Great discussion possibilities about perspective, family, immigration.
- Beyond the Bright Sea (2017) – realistic/historical fiction about an orphan, looking for herself her history, and the meaning of family. (Same author as Wolf Hollow.)
Denise’s Titles of recently published books on topics better suited for middle school students:
- Midnight Without a Moon (2017) – historical fiction, Mississippi in the mid-50’s. Beautifully written.
- Bitter Side of Sweet (2016) – realistic fiction about farming African cacao.
- Wolf Hollow (2016) – realistic fiction, takes place after some undisclosed war (WW I?). Beautifully written, sociopathic bullying, PTSD “soldier” – lots of discussion potential.
- 15 (2017) – futuristic (borderline dystopian?), leaves the reader with LOTS of questions that would make for great discussion!