I work hard to find books that meet the interests of my 7th and 8th grade students. This spring I participated in Y’All Stay At Home an online (because of the pandemic) book festival. After hearing authors pitch their books, I pre-ordered a couple. As a teacher who has to pinch every penny, I am reluctant to pre-order books. I want to make sure that the money is well spent. Often, I will pre-order a book knowing that the author has previous well-loved books, there’s a pre-order incentive (stickers, pins, posters, etc. make excellent prizes for a classroom), a trusted friend has read and recommended it, and/or the book has the potential to be a meaningful addition to my curriculum (dealing with current events). With that being said, these are the books that I currently have pre-ordered for my classroom:
Lobizona (Wolves of No World 1) by Romina Garber (August 4th 2020)
Why did I pre-order? Romina Garber seems like a fantastic individual, and after watching her Y’All Stay At Home Zoom, I quickly added Lobizona to my cart. The protagonist has to deal with ICE, as well as, werewolves which makes me believe that this book will be intriguing, action-packed, and meaningful.
Summary: Manuela Azul has been crammed into an existence that feels too small for her. As an undocumented immigrant who’s on the run from her father’s Argentine crime-family, Manu is confined to a small apartment and a small life in Miami, Florida. Until Manu’s protective bubble is shattered. Her surrogate grandmother is attacked, lifelong lies are exposed, and her mother is arrested by ICE. Without a home, without answers, and finally without shackles, Manu investigates the only clue she has about her past–a mysterious “Z” emblem—which leads her to a secret world buried within our own. A world connected to her dead father and his criminal past. A world straight out of Argentine folklore, where the seventh consecutive daughter is born a bruja and the seventh consecutive son is a lobizón, a werewolf. A world where her unusual eyes allow her to belong. As Manu uncovers her own story and traces her real heritage all the way back to a cursed city in Argentina, she learns it’s not just her U.S. residency that’s illegal. . . .it’s her entire existence.
Letters from Cuba by Ruth Behar (August 25th, 2020)
Why did I pre-order? I unequivocally pre-ordered this book because a trusted friend recommended it (after reading an advanced reader copy). I can’t think of a book that I’ve read set in Cuba. Letters from Cuba is winning awards already, and if you read the summary below, I think that you will want it in your cart, too!
Summary: The situation is getting dire for Jews in Poland on the eve of World War II. Esther’s father has fled to Cuba, and she is the first one to join him. It’s heartbreaking to be separated from her beloved sister, so Esther promises to write down everything that happens until they’re reunited. And she does, recording both the good–the kindness of the Cuban people and her discovery of a valuable hidden talent–and the bad: the fact that Nazism has found a foothold even in Cuba. Esther’s evocative letters are full of her appreciation for life and reveal a resourceful, determined girl with a rare ability to bring people together, all the while striving to get the rest of their family out of Poland before it’s too late.
The Other Side of the Sky by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner (September 8, 2020)
Why did I pre-order? Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner have collaborated on some fantastic serieses – Unearthed and Starbound- both of which I have loved. In the #bookstagram community, they’re on my auto-buy list (meaning that I automatically buy/read everything they produce). Before this new book comes out, I highly recommend checking out their previous collaborations.
Summary: Prince North’s home is in the sky, in a gleaming city held aloft by intricate engines, powered by technology. Nimh is the living goddess of her people on the Surface, responsible for providing answers, direction—hope.
North’s and Nimh’s lives are entwined—though their hearts can never be. Linked by a terrifying prophecy and caught between duty and fate, they must choose between saving their people or succumbing to the bond that is forbidden between them.
Broken Wish (Mirror #1) by Julie C. Dao (October 6, 2020)
Why did I pre-order? An article about Disney Hyperion’s series caught my eye. The line-up of fantastic authors and intriguing settings made me think that I needed to get into this series from the beginning.
“Centering on an intricate family curse—and a magical mirror—the multi-generational series starts up in October with Julie C. Dao’s Broken Wish, set in 1800s Germany. Following a nine-month publishing plan, The Mirror will continue with Shattered Midnight by Dhonielle Clayton (July 2021), unfolding in 1920s New Orleans; Fractured Path by J.C. Cervantes (Apr. 2022), which transports readers to San Francisco in the 1960s; and L.L. McKinney’s Splintered Magic (Jan. 2023), set in New York City during the early 2000s.”
Summary: 1865, Hanau, Germany
Sixteen-year-old Elva has a secret. She has visions and strange powers that she will do anything to hide. She knows the warnings about what happens to witches in their small village of Hanau. She’s heard the terrible things people say about the Witch of the North Woods, and the malicious hunts that follow. But when Elva accidentally witnesses a devastating vision of the future, she decides she has to do everything she can to prevent it. Tapping into her powers for the first time, Elva discovers a magical mirror and its owner—none other than the Witch of the North Woods herself. As Elva learns more about her burgeoning magic, and the lines between hero and villain start to blur, she must find a way to right past wrongs before it’s too late.
Poisoned by Jennifer Donnelly (October 20, 2020)
Why did I pre-order? Jennifer Donnelly is another fantastic individual that I watched on the Y’All Stay At Home Zoom. This will be my first Jennifer Donnelly book, but my students have loved her other books, especially Stepsister. I am sure this will be a much coveted book in my classroom and money well spent!
Summary: Snow White’s stepmother wanted to get rid of the beautiful stepdaughter who was challenging her title of ‘most beautiful’ – by any means necessary. Was Snow White poisoned? What happens to the poisoned, and the poisoner?
Overall, If I want a book for myself (alone), I will often check it out from the library or buy an e-copy; I don’t want to clutter my house with something only I will read. I don’t know what’s going to happen this Fall, due to COVID-19. Will these physical books have to stay in my house? Maybe. However, in the past, a physical hardcover book has been the best way to share books with my students. Do I wish that I could get my students all e-readers and e-copies of books? Of course. Will my students even be able to read these books in 2020? I am not sure. What I do know is that in pre-ordering these books, I am supporting an author, and I have hope that they will eventually be able to get their hands on them. What about you guys? Do you preorder books or manga? What is on your list for this fall? Let’s talk about it!