The school year has ended. Tomorrow the 8th grade students will make their graduation speeches, cake will be eaten, pictures taken, and the classroom pets will move to their summer vacation homes. My library colleague and I have been checking books in all week, including a few that were due this past October! Oh well – they are always welcome back. As I looked at the towering stacks of returns, I decided to look at the most popular books during the past school year. Here are the results:
1. Rapunzel’s Revenge by Shannon and Dean Hale. Not the title you expected to be number one, right? I love this graphic novel, but have to admit that I’m always amazed by its extraordinary popularity at Inly. A student asks to borrow it almost daily. We’ve replaced it twice – this year. Rapunzel’s Revenge is popular because it fits into two of our students’ favorite categories: mixed-up fairy tales and graphic novels. Set in the wild west, Rapunzel uses her long hair to escape, but rather than joining the prince, she joins forces with Jack – as in Jack and the Beanstalk.
2. Mo Willems – no specific title. Literally I can pull any book by Mo Willems from our special Mo Shelf and am guaranteed a group of happy, attentive listeners. The pigeon, Elephant and Piggie, Knuffle Bunny – our students aren’t picky. Equal love for all things Mo!
3. Ivy and Bean. Yes, our 2nd grade readers love Clementine and Judy Moody and Stella Batts and all of the other stars of early chapter books, but the appealing and fun stories by Annie Barrows are passed around, talked about, and renewed….
4. The Lunch Lady series by Jarrett Krosoczka. Energetic, funny graphic novels featuring a lunch lady as superheroine and her sidekick, Betty. There are students who will stop by the library before lunch and borrow a book to read while they eat. I think it’s awesome that they are reading about lunch while eating it!
5. Rick Riordan. Percy Jackson. The Kane Chronicles. The Heroes of Olympus. Some of our readers “graduate” from the early chapter book section and proceed directly to the R section of the fiction area where they start with The Lightning Thief and move straight through the shelf.
Of course, lots of other books are loved and popular and read and re-read until they fall apart. The Magic Tree House series and Pete the Cat come to mind. And just the other day, I encouraged a 3rd grade girl to break the mold by checking out a book that is not part of a series. It was a risk, but she boldy accepted the challenge and checked out The Hundred Dresses by Eleanor Estes. Her verdict……two thumbs up!