The 40 Book Challenge Revisited | Donalyn Miller

Next week I begin another school year as a library media specialist in an elementary school. I am changing schools. I am excited about the possibilities and a little nervous too. I can’t wait to connect with another community of readers. It is my desire to help students love reading and grow as readers. 

I read about the 40 Book Challenge in The Book Whisperer by Donalyn Miller. I love how the challenge helps each student grow as a reader. I long to help my new students reach personally set reading goals that will help them become lifelong readers. I found this article, The 40 Book Challenge Revisited, to be a thoughtful response to misuses of Mrs. Miller’s original intention. I hope you find it thought provoking too. Happy reading!

PicCollage: Bowling’s ‘Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus’ (Sterling Kids, 2017)

This is a picture collage (#PicCollage) of things I thought were important in Dusti Bowling’s debut middle grade fiction, ‘Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus’ (Sterling Kids, September 2017). I hope to teach students how to create picture collages as a form of notetaking in the Fall. 

I received this book as part of my #bookexcursion group so Aven will continue on the journey to the next educational leader in the group. BookExcursion is a group of 9 educational leaders who read PB through YA titles and share on social media. Authors receive publicity and book buzz while we become better equipped to provide reader’s advisory services to the students and families we serve.  We think it’s a win-win proposition. 

Also, this is the first book completed as part of my #24in48 readathon challenge, July 22-23, 2017.

2014 NetGalley and Edelweiss Reading Challenge, hosted by Falling For YA


Hello, NetGalley. Hey, Edelweiss. Dear friends.

I actually wondered the other day if it was possible to have *too many* e-books on my Nook tablet.

Is it conceivable that the Kindle app on my Nook could explode if I keep feeding my reader? These days, there are so many excellent pre-release e-books available to librarians that I seem to have gorged myself on the awesome buffet provided by top-notch publishers and authors via NetGalley and Edelweiss. Thankfully, Falling For YA blog is hosting a challenge that sounds like a perfect solution to my dilemma. Here’s how they put it:

Have you ever logged on to Edelweiss or Netgalley with the intention of “Just Looking” and then logging off  having requested 5 new titles even though your TBR is a mile long? Inspired by Netgalley November the 2014 Netgalley & Edelweiss Reading Challenge will (hopefully) give you the incentive to tackle your review books, stumble upon new ones, and get your Netgalley percentage to the desired 80%!

Now that sounds like a good plan. The rules are simple. As long as you accessed the title from either NetGalley or Edelweiss you can count it toward your total goal. There will be monthly roundup posts and giveaways for participants. I’m a little less nervous about selecting a level for this Challenge because the rules permit moving up or down levels as you feel the need. Here are the levels:


Aluminum – 5 books
Bronze – 10 books
Silver – 25 books

Gold – 50 books <– I’m going for the *Gold*! I mean, I am reading these books. That hasn’t been a problem. All I have to do is tackle my review pile. I can ‘book talk’ all day long, but I’ve somewhat neglected putting my reviews in writing. However, 2014 provides a golden opportunity to set new goals and accept new challenges. For me, this one will mean tackling my review pile.

Platinum – 75 books
Diamond– 100 books

What about you? Are you in the same situation as the rest of us? Why don’t you join us? Just head over to Falling For YA‘s blog to sign up. If I hurry, I’ll be participant #120.

Adventures Through Awkwardness: Fantasy February

Adventures Through Awkwardness banner

Fantasy February!

February is the second month in the 2014 Adventures Through Awkwardness Middle Grade Challenge. The Challenge is co-hosted by Lisa at Lisa Is Busy Nerding and Amy at Tripping Over Books. The general idea is to read more Middle Grade books in 2014. These books feature a main character between the ages of 8-12. There are no publication date restrictions so pick books you want to read, whether they were released yesterday or ten years ago. You can participate every month or just jump in on the months with a theme that appeals to you. Hey, our main goal is to have more MG reading fun in 2014!

Monthly Themes:
January – Contemporary: Lisa
February – Fantasy: Amy
March – Mythology: Lisa
April – Historical: Amy
May – Reader’s Choice: Lisa
June – Male Main Character: Amy
July – Classic: Lisa
August – Graphic Novel: Amy
September – Magic: Lisa
October – Dystopian: Amy
November – Female Main Character: Lisa
December – 2014 Debut: Amy

Several of the challenge participants are offering title suggestions so I’ll add mine to the list. I have not read all of these titles but have become aware of them through the helpful reader’s advisory services of my library’s youth services librarian and through some of my Twitter followers. If none of these appeal to you check out the suggestions on the related posts listed below or grab a title of your own choosing. If you do pick something else, please toss the name and author information in the comment section. Maybe I’ll fancy your choice and read that one too.

My February MG Fantasy Title Recommendations

Gregor the Overlander: Underland Chronicles, Book 1 by Suzanne Collins (summary from Goodreads)
224005_Sch_GregorJkt_0.tifGregor 11 follows sister Boots 2 through a laundry room grate to the dark Underland below NYC. Transparent-skinned humans dwell beside giant talking spiders, bats, cockroaches, and rats – but the fragile peace is about to fall apart. Six centuries before, the Earl of Sandwich prophesied a quest, Gregor seeking his father, gone for two years.
House of Secrets by Chris Columbus and Ned Vizzini (summary from Goodreads)
House of Secrets House of Secrets 1 by Christ Columbus and Ned VizziniThe Walker kids had it all: loving parents, a big house in San Francisco, all the latest video games . . . but everything changed when their father lost his job as a result of an inexplicable transgression. Now the family is moving into Kristoff House, a mysterious place built nearly a century earlier by Denver Kristoff, a troubled writer with a penchant for the occult.Suddenly the siblings find themselves launched on an epic journey into a mash-up world born of Kristoff’s dangerous imagination, to retrieve a dark book of untold power, uncover the Walker family’s secret history and save their parents . . . and maybe even the world.
Rise of the Darklings: Invisible Order, Book 1 by Paul Crilley (summary from Goodreads)
 Rise of the Darklings The Invisible Order 1 by Paul CrilleyEmily Snow is twelve years old, supporting herself and her younger brother on the streets of Victorian England by selling watercress. One early winter morning on her way to buy supplies, she encounters a piskie–a small but very sarcastic fey creature that has been cornered by a group of the Black Sidhe, piskies from an opposing clan. She rescues him and unknowingly becomes involved in a war between the Seelie and the Unseelie, two opposing factions of fairies that have been battling each other throughout the long centuries of human history, with London–and England itself–as the ultimate prize.When the Invisible Order–a centuries-old secret society of humans that has protected mankind from the fey’s interference–gets involved, things really start to get complicated.Now she is the central figure in this ancient war that could permanently change Earth. With no one to trust, Emily must rely on her own instincts and guile to make the right choices that could save her family and all of mankind.
Ghost Knight by Cornelia Funke (summary from Goodreads)
 Ghost Knight by Cornelia FunkeFrom international phenomenon Cornelia Funke, the bestselling author of Reckless and Inkheart.Eleven-year-old Jon Whitcroft never expected to enjoy boarding school. Then again, he never expected to be confronted by a pack of vengeful ghosts, either. And then he meets Ella, a quirky new friend with a taste for adventure…Together, Jon and Ella must work to uncover the secrets of a centuries-old murder while being haunted by terrifying spirits, their bloodless faces set on revenge. So when Jon summons the ghost of the late knight Longspee for his protection, there’s just one question: Can Longspee truly be trusted?
Fly by Night: Fly by Night, Book 1 by Frances Hardinge (summary from Goodreads)
Fly by Night Fly by Night 1 by Frances HardingeTwelve-year-old Mosca Mye hasn’t got much. Her cruel uncle keeps her locked up in his mill, and her only friend is her pet goose, Saracen, who’ll bite anything that crosses his path. But she does have one small, rare thing: the ability to read. She doesn’t know it yet, but in a world where books are dangerous things, this gift will change her life.Enter Eponymous Clent, a smooth-talking con man who seems to love words nearly as much as Mosca herself. Soon Mosca and Clent are living a life of deceit and danger — discovering secret societies, following shady characters onto floating coffeehouses, and entangling themselves with crazed dukes and double-crossing racketeers. It would be exactly the kind of tale Mosca has always longed to take part in, until she learns that her one true love — words — may be the death of her.Fly by Night is astonishingly original, a grand feat of the imagination from a masterful new storyteller.
The Wizard of Dark Street: Oona Crate Mystery, Book 1 by Shawn Thomas Odyssey (summary from Goodreads)
 The Wizard of Dark Street Oona Crate Mystery 1 by Shawn Thomas Odyssey**A 2012 Edgar Award nominee** and **A 2011 Agatha Award Nominee**
Oona Crate was born to be the Wizard’s apprentice, but she has another destiny in mind.Despite possessing the rare gift of natural magic, Oona wants to be a detective. Eager for a case to prove herself, she wants to show her uncle—the Wizard of Dark Street—that logic is as powerful as magic. But when someone attacks the Wizard, Oona must delve even deeper into the world of magic to discover who wanted her uncle dead.Full of magic, odd characters, evil henchmen, and a street where nothing is normal, The Wizard of Dark Street will have you guessing until the very end.
The Golden Door: The Three Doors Trilogy, Book 1 by Emily Rodda (summary from Goodreads)
The Golden Door Three Doors Trilogy 1 by Emily RoddaThe start of a stirring fantasy trilogy from Emily Rodda, the internationally bestselling author of Dragons of Deltora.The walled city of Weld is under attck from ferocious flying creatures that raid in the night, bringing death and destruction. The Warden calls for Volunteers to find and destroy the Enemy sending invaders, and the heroes of Weld answer the call one by one, never to return. Rye is oficially too young to go, but his brothers are among the lost and he must find them. What terrors await him beyond the Wall?
The Key to Rondo by Emily Rodda (summary from Goodreads)
0-545-03535-XA new realm of magic from Emily Rodda, the New York Times bestselling author of the Deltora books.There are three rules to the old painted, music box: Wind the box three times only. Never shut the box when the music is playing. Never move the box before the music stops.Leo wouldn’t dream of breaking these rules, but does his stubborn cousin Mimi listen? She winds the box four times — and suddenly the paintings on its side come to life and a powerful witch is released. Now its up to Leo and Mimi to stop the witch, if only they can find the key to the music box — and the magical world it controls.
Magyk: Septimus Heap, Book 1 by Angie Sage (summary from Goodreads)
Magyk Septimus Heap 1 by Angie SageThe seventh son of the seventh son, aptly named Septimus Heap, is stolen the night he is born by a midwife who pronounces him dead. That same night, the baby’s father, Silas Heap, comes across a bundle in the snow containing a new born girl with violet eyes. The Heaps take this helpless newborn into their home, name her Jenna, and raise her as their own. But who is this mysterious baby girl, and what really happened to their beloved son Septimus?
The first book in this enthralling new series by Angie Sage leads readers on a fantastic journey filled with quirky characters and magykal charms, potions, and spells. Magyk is an original story of lost and rediscovered identities, rich with humor and heart.
The Emerald Atlas: The Books of Beginning, Book 1 by John Stephens (summary from Goodreads)
The Emerald Atlas by John Stephens Kate, Michael, and Emma have been in one orphanage after another for the last ten years, passed along like lost baggage.
Yet these unwanted children are more remarkable than they could possibly imagine. Ripped from their parents as babies, they are being protected from a horrible evil of devastating power, an evil they know nothing about.
Until now.
Before long, Kate, Michael, and Emma are on a journey to dangerous and secret corners of the world…a journey of allies and enemies, of magic and mayhem.  And—if an ancient prophesy is correct—what they do can change history, and it is up to them to set things right.
The Emerald Atlas brims with humor and action as it charts Kate, Michael, and Emma’s extraordinary adventures through an unforgettable, enchanted world.

Well, those are mine. Show me yours.


Related posts:

2014 TBR Pile Reading Challenge, hosted by BOOKISH

2014 TBR Pile Reading Challenge header

My ToBeRead pile grows and grows. What’s a girl to do? I discovered the 2014 TBR Pile Reading Challenge at the BOOKISH blog. I’ve decided a little friendly parallel play will help me read some of the wonderful books in my current TBR pile. I’m determined to accept the challenge so I can draw from the great encouragement that the Bookish Team is offering to provide throughout the year.

I’m a little hesitant on picking a goal because the rules say you can increase your goal but you can’t decrease it. The Challenge disallows all books published in 2014 so, although I’ll be reading 2014 books for the many fantastic publishers who give me DRCs and ARCs, I can’t include them in my total for this challenge. Here are the different levels (how many books you’re planning to read for this challenge in 2014):

1-10 – A Firm Handshake
11-20 – A Friendly Hug
21-30 – First Kiss
31-40 – Sweet Summer Fling
41-50 – Could this be love?
50+ – Married With Children

I’m posting the guidelines here for my reference. You have to go to the BOOKISH blog to sign up.

I hope you’ll join me! The more the merrier.

Challenge Guidelines (from BOOKISH):
  1. This challenge will run from Jan 1, 2014 – Dec 31, 2014.
  2. Anyone can enter! You don’t have to be a blogger, as long as you review the book you’ve read! (On your blog, Amazon, Random Buzzers or Goodreads/Shelfari!)
  3. Any genre, length or format of book counts, as long as it is a book that’s been sitting on your shelf for some time now. Short stories and novellas are OK, too! Only books released in 2013 and earlier! NO  2014 ARCs and 2014 fresh-off-the-press releases allowed!
  4. You can list your books in advance or just put them in a wrap-up post. If you list them, feel free to change them as the mood takes you.
  5. When you sign up in the linky, put the direct link to your post about joining the 2013 TBRPILE Reading Challenge. (If you don’t have a blog, post about it on Facebook or Tweet!)
  6. You can move up levels, but no moving down.
  7. Sign-ups will be open until Dec 15, 2014, so feel free to join at any time throughout the year.
  8. On the 25th of each month we will post a wrap-up post, here, on BOOKISH. Every wrap-up will have it’s unique theme, a mini-challenge, a giveaway and place for you to link up your reviews from this monthFor each review you link up, you will get one entry in a drawing of one book of choice from Book Depository. It’s open to INTERNATIONALS. The giveaway will be open until the next wrap up post goes up! (i.e. the entire month)
  9. If you miss a wrap-up post + giveaway, you can link up your reviews next month. Do not, however, try to link up one review twice – we will be checking 😉
  10. December is a wrap-up for the whole year. All the book reviews you linked up January-November + the ones you’ll link up in December will be entered into a GRAND PRIZE giveaway.
  11. You don’t have to follow Bookish Blog to join the challenge, but you do have to follow us to be entered in giveaways!
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