Meet the Newest Contender for Global Read Aloud 2015

Much like the magic within its pages, this book seemed to come to me via magic.  A Twitter conversation or two and all of a sudden I was the very lucky recipient of an ARC of this incredible book.  Yes, incredible.  It has been a long time since a book that has magic in its pages has carried me away in such a deep way.  The author’s use of words is magnificent, while the fantastical yet so very simple story unfolds.  I wanted to read this book in one night but was glad when my tired eyes closed the first night with pages left to read because it meant that the magic did not have to end just yet.  What a book.

As with any Global Read Aloud contender, because yes, this is our newest one, I could hear the conversations and the wonder that this book would inspire.  The projects that would be invented, the connections that would transpire all from this book.  The only downside now is that this book does not get released until June.  Just trust me this once; pre-order it now, this book will be talked about.

From Goodreads:

Do you believe in magic?
Micah Tuttle does.

Even though his awful Great-Aunt Gertrudis doesn’t approve, Micah believes in the stories his dying Grandpa Ephraim tells him of the magical Circus Mirandus: the invisible tiger guarding the gates, the beautiful flying birdwoman, and the magician more powerful than any other—the Man Who Bends Light. Finally, Grandpa Ephraim offers proof. The Circus is real. And the Lightbender owes Ephraim a miracle. With his friend Jenny Mendoza in tow, Micah sets out to find the Circus and the man he believes will save his grandfather.

The only problem is, the Lightbender doesn’t want to keep his promise. And now it’s up to Micah to get the miracle he came for.

I am a passionate teacher in Oregon, Wisconsin, USA but originally from Denmark,  who has taught 4th, 5th, and 7th grade.  Proud techy geek, and mass consumer of incredible books. Creator of the Global Read Aloud Project, Co-founder of EdCamp MadWI, and believer in all children. I have no awards or accolades except for the lightbulbs that go off in my students’ heads every day.  The second edition of my first book “Passionate Learners – Giving Our Classrooms Back to Our Students” will be published by Routledge in the fall.   Second book“Empowered Schools, Empowered Students – Creating Connected and Invested Learners” is out now from Corwin Press.  Join our Passionate Learners community on Facebook and follow me on Twitter @PernilleRipp.

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A Few Global Read Aloud Contenders So Far #GRA15

It never gets any easier it seems; picking just the right book and author for the Global Read Aloud year after year.  The problem, and it is a great one indeed, is that there are so many worthwhile books out there, so many incredible stories being written by authors who would love for their books to be read aloud.  So while I continue to update my contenders page as soon as I read something worthy, there are a few new additions I want to highlight so far.

One of the books that has stuck with me the longest has been Lisa Graff’s Absolutely Almost.  As I read this book I couldn’t help but hear the conversations that would occur in classrooms around the world, and why this has to be read by as many people as possible, why?  From my review, “Because it takes what could be a fairly simple story and brings us right into it.  The main character Albie is not extraordinary and in it is here that story’s power lies.  We can relate.  We can feel the joy and the pain.  We are right there navigating with him.  We cheer for him and we hope for him.  This story will be recommended to all kids I meet and I teach.”

Another book, for middle school/high school read aloud being considered is All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven. As I rote in my review of it, “I don’t know how the author took such a hard topic, and one that many of us have experienced firsthand, and spun a beautiful story around it, but she did, and my reading life is better because of it.”  This book is a game changer, no matter whether it becomes the GRA pick or not.  This book needs to be read, discussed, and shared.  My only problem at the moment is that my copy has disappeared.

Also for middle school/high school is the powerful punch of a story written by Meg Medina called Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass.  As I said in my review of it, “This book, with its story line that is all too familiar and yet brings such a new perspective to what it means to be bullied and the debate that surrounds us daily in our school.  This book, with its characters that are real and make no excuses.  With its events that could have been lifted from so many lives.  This book should be in every middle school classroom and up.”  Think of how students would connect and the difference they could make!

Returning to the younger grades, a book that has stayed with me is Rain Reign by Ann M. Martin.  As I said in my review, “Rain Reign seems simple enough, this isn’t a book with a lot of action but it is within this more delicate story that its power lies.  I couldn’t help but wonder what Rose would say next, how she would react, and what would become of her.  I read this book in one night and was truly sad when it ended.  Not because of the ending, but because the story was finished, I would no longer be a part of Rose’s life and that was sad.”  The conversations, connections, and empathy this book would create cannot be denied.

Also for 4th grade and up is the new book being released by Lynda Mullaly Hunt called Fish In A Tree.  While the GRA has never had an author be repeated, this is the book that may change that, as I said in my review, “You are sucked into Ally’s story and the emotional connection you make with her, Keisha, and Albert cannot be denied.  As I read it, I couldn’t help but think of the incredible connections and conversations this book would spark.  How so many of my students would find themselves within the pages, how so many of my students would find hope within the story.”  And that is exactly the type of book the GRA thrives on.

And finally, I have been asking for international book submissions and have slowly been ordering them as I can afford it.  One of the books that I loved reading was Fish by L.S. Matthews.  A small book that had a big story, or as I said in my review, “Throughout the book I could hear the conversations this book would prompt, how it would keep students at the edge of their seats wondering what would be around the next corner, on the next page.  I also knew that this is a gateway book; one that can lead to a wealth of discovery about the world and the history of Africa and other continents.”

As you can see, the field of books being considered is already filled with incredible books, but the decision is far from made.  The next 4 months will be spent reading as many books as I possibly can and thinking very hard about the conversations they could inspire.  It is not too early to sign up to become a part of the 2015 Global Read Aloud, nor is it too late to suggest a book.  If you are an author and you would like your book to be considered, please see here for more information.