by Pat Scales
A third-grade student once said to me, “I wish I could spend a whole day in the library and read all my favorite books one more time.” This student was an excellent reader, and I think she had the idea that once she became a fourth grader that she wouldn’t be allowed to read books that had delighted her during her first three years in school. Instead of asking students to give up their favorite books, we should ask them to hold on to them. This celebrates the power of books and the reading experience and offers clues about what titles to suggest next. There is also another side to this scenario. Teachers and librarians shouldn’t be so quick to give up old favorites either. Some books are just too good to miss, and many children or young adults may never find such literature without our guidance.
- Make your own “Too Good to Miss” list and post it on the school or library website.
- Ask readers to make a list of their favorite books from each of their school years.
- Allow readers to write a “Dear Reader” note on the end pages of their favorite books. Ask them to focus on why it’s their favorite book.
- Ask readers to write about a book they would most want in their personal library. How many titles does the library own?
- Suggest that readers make placemats about favorite books to be use in the school cafeteria on the first day of school. For example, have second-graders make placemats for first-graders, etc.
- School and public libraries should display favorite books so that other readers might discover them.
Here’s my “Too Good to Miss” and “One More Time” list from Random House:
- Anatole by Eve Titus
- And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street by Dr. Seuss
- Go, Dog. Go! by P.D. Eastman
- The Little Island by Margaret Wise Brown & illus. by Leonard Weisgard
- Frederick; Alexander and the Wind-Up Mouse; Inch by Inch; Swimmy by Leo Lionni
- Mirandy and Brother Wind by Patricia C. McKissack & illus. by Jerry Pinkney
- Song and Dance Man by Karen Ackerman & illus. by Stephen Gammell
- The Story of Babar by Jean De Brunhoff
- Tar Beach by Faith Ringgold
- Belle Prater’s Boy by Ruth White
- The Castle in the Attic by Elizabeth Winthrop
- Harriet the Spy by Louis Fitzhugh
- Holes by Louis Sachar
- Hoot by Carl Hiaasen
- Jump Ship to Freedom by James Lincoln Collier
- Kit’s Wilderness by David Almond
- Like Jake and Me by Mavis Jukes
- Liar and Spy by Rebecca Stead
- Lily’s Crossing by Patricia Reilly Giff
- Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy by Gary D. Schmidt
- The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster & illus. by Jules Feiffer
- Three Tales of My Father’s Dragon by Ruth Stiles Gannett
- Under the Blood-Red Sun by Graham Salisbury
- The Watsons Go to Birmingham – 1963 by Christopher Paul Curtis
- The Wolves of Willoughby Chase by Joan Aiken
- Wonder by R.J. Palacio
- Before We Were Free by Julia Alvarez
- The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
- The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier
- The Devil’s Paintbox by Victoria MxKwenN
- Farewell to Manzanar by Jean Wakatsuki Houston & James D. Houston
- Forgotten Fire by Adam Bagdasarian
- The Giver by Lois Lowry
- The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman
- Hattie Big Sky; Hattie Ever After by Kirby Larson
- Lord of the Nutcracker Men by Iain Lawrence
- Mexican Whiteboy by Matt De La Peña
- Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly
- The Ropemaker by Peter Dickinson
- Shabanu by Suzanne Fisher Staples
- Shane by Jack Schaefer
- The Spectacular Now by Tim Tharp