Best Books in 2013: Planning for 2014

stack of books
Image from Public domain images website

You might consider having your students answer the question, “What was the best book you read in 2013?” and explain the book’s appeal. They can discuss and/or create book walls or websites to feature their students’ selections.

Cris Crissman cited the prompt used by NC State/Wake County Libraries for the ReadSmart program, its prompt and the website that includes titles and explanations:  “The Best Book I Read This Year” and


If you search, you find many lists of recommended children’s books.

NY Times listed notable books:

NY Times also produced a slideshow of picture books. The last is an illustration from Kadir Nelson’s book on Nelson Mandela:

North Carolina children’s book reviewer, Susie Wilde, listed favorite 2013 books, including Jack Gantos’ latest release.


Reading councils in North Carolina work with bookstores in their areas. Examples are Flyleaf Bookstore in Chapel Hill, Quail Ridge Books in Raleigh and Country Bookshop in Moore County. Area bookstores serve as sites for meetings, provide speakers, offer books, collaborate on project grants and host authors and other literacy celebrations.

On its website, Quail Ridge Books ( lists children’s books recommended by employees at the bookstore. Here are some books relevant to reading; many are written by authors who have supported the NC Reading Association:

  1. Patricia Polacco writes a second personal story about growing up with a learning disability. In THE JUNKYARD WONDERS, as in THANK YOU, MR. FALKER, she pays tribute to a teacher. For ages 6 and up.
  2. In her latest book, OUT OF THE EASY, Ruta Septys creates a strong heroine in her book about New Orleans. Ages 14+.
  3. Walter Dean Myers’ ALL THE RIGHT STUFF, set in Harlem, is another choice. For ages 13+.
  4. Quail Ridge recommends THE GHOST OF TUPELO LANDING, the latest book by NC author and Newbery Honor Book Award winner, Sheila Turnage, whose book was a Teachers as Readers selection in 2013 and conducted sessions at the last two reading conferences. Ages 9-12.
  5. Carol Moyer, the head of the children’s department at Quail Ridge Bookstore, says she looks forward to adding another book to NC’s shelf of authors in 2014. Sheila Moses’ book, SITTIN’ UP will be released in April.  The book, set in 1940, deals with a wake for a former slave. Grades 4-7.

Next, share your and/or your students’ favorite books and those selections will be featured in blogs.