Wednesday, June 20, 2018

10 to 40 Book Challenge (School Year 2017 -18)

The Tayari Jones

This school year was the second year that I challenged my students and my Facebook friends to read 10 to 40 books from September to the last day of school which is mid-June. I got the idea for the book challenge from Donalyn Miller and her wonderful book, The Book Whispers. 

Y’all, it really is TRUE; we can develop new habits. The key is to stick to the habit. Last school year, I read forty-six books, and I could not stop and so I read fourteen books last summer while maintaining quite a busy summer schedule that included quite a bit of work travel.

I went into the school year 2017 -18 completely energized and with a new reading habit that I am completely addicted to. I read fifty-six books all while teaching, riding my bike, stalking writers, and consulting. We can and will make time for whatever is important: PERIOD!

Right now, the literary world is ON FIRE which helps to fuel my love... Y’all, some incredible books are out there in whatever genre that you prefer.

Here is a list of the books that I read this year, and I have tried to do some type of classification:

The Writer that I Just Can’t Enough Of: Roxane Gay. I love her honesty, rawness, the cleverness of her writing, the way that she has her thumb on the pulse of right now. Below are the books that I read that are written by Roxane, and I loved every, single one of them.

1. Bad Feminist: Excellent collection of essays that made me do a lot of thinking about Feminism.
2. Hunger: Memoir about Roxane’s body... This book made me think about a whole lot of things differently.
3. Difficult Women: Wonderful collection of short stories.

Non-Fiction Books that tremendously increased my knowledge base!

4. Moonless, Starless Sky by Alexis Okeowo: Courageous stories of women from the continent of Africa.
5. Promises to Keep by Sharon Robinson: The story of Jackie Robinson told by his daughter Sharon.
6. Evicted by Desmond Robinson: If you want to build your empathy for those who are struggling, read this book.
7. The Awakened Woman by Tererai Trent. You talking about a story of resilience and possibilities....WOW
8. A Long Way Gone by Ishmael Beah. A true story of a child soldier... heartbreaking!
9. When They Call You A Terrorist by Patrisse Khan-Cullors. This is a memoir about a courageous life... I realized from reading this book that The Black Lives Matter Movement is all about LOVE.
10. Revolutionary Suicide by Huey P. Newton: Gave great insight into the Black Panther Party.
11 and 12 Eloquent Rage by Brittney Cooper: Read it twice and will read it over and over. IT. IS. GOOD.
13. May We Forever Stand by Imani Perry: Excellent overview of an important song in the African American history.
14. The Origin of Others by Toni Morrison: What a good look at a different perspective on some of those “classic novels."
15. We Were Eight Years in Power by Ta-Nehisi Coates: Eight essays over the eight years of President Obama’s presidency.....AMAZING!
16. The Courage to Hope by Shirley Sherrod: This lady was wrongfully fired by the administration of President Obama. What a great story of courage; she should run for the office of President of the Unites States. REALLY!!!

Non-Fiction Books that read like novels:

17. Gucci Mane by Gucci Mane: This is a well-written, though-provoking memoir.
18. Born A Crime by Trevor Noah: Incredible, Incredible memoir.
19. The Sun Does Shine by Anthony Ray Hinton: Y’all, this man was on death row for thirty years for a crime he did not commit... Amazing.
20. Barracoon by Zora Neale Hurston: Love this story about the last living man who was turned into a slave: Cudjo Lewis.
21. Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mom by Amy Chua. Interesting story about parenting.

Self-Help Books:

22. The Will To Change by bell hooks: Great reminder that Black men and women NEED each other.
23. Getting the Love You Want by Harville Hendrix. Trying to make sure that I stay on track with getting the love that I want.
24. Rising Strong by Brene’ Brown: A book about vulnerability... How to “gracefully go through it.”

Fiction Books That Are Written In Verse:

25. Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur: Wonderful book about heartache and finding yourself. Teens love this book.
26. Electric Arches by Eve. L. Ewing: Collection of stories about Black girlhood and womanhood. I love this book with my whole heart.
27. Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds: Great story that will leave you wanting more.
28. The Good Braider by Terry Farish: Great, immigration story.
29. One Last Word by Nikki Grimes: A collection of poetry that gives a new look at some of the great voices of the Harlem Renaissance.
30. The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo: A coming of age novel that I think many young adults will absolutely love; it is completely relatable.

Some Good Old-Fashion Fiction Novels:

31. Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison: The most wonderful novel that is about so much but mainly love.
32. Sing Unburied Sing by Jesmyn Ward: This. Book. Is. A. Must. Read. Love those stories that are set in the American South.
33. An Unkindness of Ghosts by Rivers Solomon. A science-fiction novel about life on a slave ship.
34. An American Marriage by Tayari Jones: Contemporary story of the American life and its complexity.
35. Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng. A great story of how our lives are intertwined.
36. The King is Always Above the People by Daniel Alacron. A pretty, awesome collection of short stories.
37. Behold the Dreamers by Imbolo Mbue. A story of folks who immigrant to American and eventually realize that the American Dream may not be for everybody.
38. Augustown by Kei Miller: Amazing Carribean story.
39. Long Divison by Kiese Laymon: One of my students read this book and loved it so, I tried it. It is good. Laymon is a Mississippi writer who is putting a contemporary spin on many societal problems.
40. Underground Railroad  by Colson Whithead. A very good look at The Underground Railroad that is written in a very engaging manner.
41. The High Mountains of Portugal by Yann Martel: This book is all about LOVE.

Young Adult Novels:

42. Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown: A true story about boys trying to get the Olympic Gold in the 1936 Berlin Olympics.
43. Dear Martin by Nic Stone. This is a good look at the life of a teenage boy who wants to know “What would Martin do?"
44. The Brief and Wondrous Wife of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz: The protagonist in this story wants to fall in love.
45. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L’Engle: A science fiction novel about fighting a good fight.
46. Children of Blood and Bones by Tomi Adeyemi: This is Black folks Harry Potter and so much more.
47. After the Shot Drops by Randy Ribay: A book about friendship, basketball, and fitting in.
48. Black Panther by Ronald Smith: T’Challa is sent to The South Side of Chicago because of a conflict in Wakanda.

Graphic Novels:

49. Black Panther by Ta-Nehisi Coates: I read all three volumes and the images are AMAZING.
50. American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang: a story about identity and fitting in.
51. March One by John Lewis: A refreshing look at the Civil Rights Movement.

Professional Education Books:

52. Readicide by Kelly Gallagher: This book made me change the way that I teach novels...we don’t want to over-teach or under-teach.
53. Embarrassment by Thomas Newkirk: A great book on how embarrassment may be hindering people, particularly students.
54. No More Independent Reading Without Support by Barbara Moss and Debbie Miller. A good look at how to help students as they read independently.

Books I Could Have Skipped:

55. The Leavers by Lisa Ko: A mom leaves her eleven-year old son and the book SLOWLY unfolds.
56. We’re Going to Need More Wine by Gabrielle Union: A collection of stories about Union’s life which really did not tell much.

I hope that this list will inspire a whole bunch of folks to pick books from this list or a book from any other place and READ, READ, READ... and Inspire someone else to read.


Holler, if you want to know more about any of these books.

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