Boxing Up the Class Library

School ends at noon tomorrow–days later than usual this year due to a bunch of make-up days for winter snow, windstorms, and power outages! It was a tough winter in the Northwest!


Since my Leave of Absence will continue through next year, I am now in the process of boxing up 20 years worth of teaching materials and my Class Library, and moving it all to storage to make room for a new 6th grade teacher.

My Class Library has so far filled 8 boxes, and there’s still more to pack after the kids leave. It’s an amazing collection, and if I had the room (which I don’t) I’d bring all those books home to read or reread. I’ve been collecting these books for years, and it’s amazing how they have survived being read by so many students. (Most of my classes have taken really good care of them, obviously!) Yes, some of them have been read to death, but what a noble death for a book! I don’t mind tossing them, when they’re literally falling apart because so many kids have loved them. And, of course, I’ve always replaced those special ones.

So, in case you’re curious about which books have been my 6th graders’ favorites over the years, here’s a partial list:

I find fewer reluctant readers in 6th grade these days. The literature for this age group has always been rich and wonderful, but I think it just keeps getting even better! I’ve read many, many of the books in my Class Library, but there are still so many more I want to read.

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21 thoughts on “Boxing Up the Class Library

  1. Gentle Reader

    Your kids have great taste, I agree with Maggie. And so does my oldest son, because his bookshelf and list of things he’s read looks a lot like your list! He’s going into 6th grade this coming school year πŸ™‚

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  2. Robin

    Thanks, Maggie and Gentle Reader! GR, I hope your son loves 6th grade. He’s definitely prepared with all the reading he’s done!

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  3. CdnReader

    Fascinating list, Robin! It intrigues me how many of the titles come from the fantasy genre. Just goes to show how much this age group appreciates the art of imagination. πŸ™‚

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  4. tanabata

    I remember reading From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler when I was a kid. Fun to see that it’s still popular. So many of these I haven’t read as a child or an adult. I do have a few around here somewhere though. πŸ™‚

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  5. Melissa

    Thanks for the list; I’m going to pass it on to my almost 6th grader. She’s always looking for new books to read.

    I totally agree, too, with the quality of the literature for this age. It’s just wonderful.

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  6. Bookfool

    Our kids had a week off after Hurricane Katrina and then another day or two off for storms and that year they still got out the same as expected. I think something hinky is going on when they don’t extend the year to make up for missed days.

    The Cay and From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler are two books my kids and I are all crazy about (and a good portion of the rest you mentioned are also faves – those two are just extra special). Your students were lucky to have a book-loving teacher.

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  7. Robin

    Hi Donna, You said it really well–this age group truly does appreciate the art of imagination. That’s exactly why I’ve loved teaching this grade level for so long.

    Hi Tanabata, I love it that some of the older ones are still the perennial favorites. And the thing that’s great about introducing these wonderful books to kids this age is that they remember their favorites when they get older!

    Hi Melissa, I’m pleased that you’ll share my list of class favorites with your daughter. The one book on the list that we read as a whole class and processed it together was Shipwreck at the Bottom of the World, which is the amazing story of Ernest Shackleton and his trip to Antarctica. It’s a tougher book for 6th graders to read on their own, but they absolutely loved it when we read it together and did projects. So I had to include it because they have voted it a favorite for quite a few years in a row now.

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  8. Robin

    MyUtopia, Yes!! It’s an awesome trilogy! Gathering Blue appears to be completely separate from story of The Giver (at first), but takes place in another dystopia. It has a wonderful female main character, and deals more with the ideas of how important ART is in a society. Then Messenger ties both books together, focuses on environmental concerns, and answers some of the questions left at the end of The Giver! The three books together are a powerful experience, especially for kids. I love using the 3 of them in the classroom because the kids can’t control their excitement when they starting putting things together. They spark the most amazing insights and discussions. It’s a wonderful experience. Go right out and get them. You’ll love them!

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  9. jenclair

    Many of these were my favorites as a child or favorites my children loved. I’m in the process of creating a library for my grandchildren…an enjoyable endeavor, as I get to read old favorites and find new ones.

    You’ve listed some titles that I need to look into: Shipwreck at the Bottom of the World, Holes, The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle, and Walk Two Moons. Thanks!

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  10. mom

    When myutopia said: “Where have I been? that very thought was racing through my head. I had not logged on to Robin’s blog for several days thinking her schedule was too full to possibly get to her blog. What a big mistake.
    Catching up…
    mom

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  11. Nan -

    I love this line:
    “Yes, some of them have been read to death, but what a noble death for a book!”
    Just as it should be. Kind of like the Velveteen Rabbit.
    You’re so right about the literature for this age group being “rich.” Those books just before all the “problem” ya books about sometimes horrific subjects are my favorites. My husband teaches 7th and 8th, and he says his students also read all those books.

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  12. Ted

    Nice blog! I could read the books on that list over and over again!!
    I would love any tips you have on how to get a 17 year old who has not formed a habit for or a love of reading to at least try it a bit.

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  13. Matt

    I remember reading Ronald Dahl when I was middle-school-bound. This is indeed a wonderful list of literature, although I’m not familiar with some of the authors. I can identify C. S. Lewis! πŸ™‚

    Growing up in the then colonized British Hong Kong, the schools made us read lots of Shakespeare and Dickens, of course, they were either abridged or re-told by someone else.

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  14. Robin

    Hi Jill. I hope the list will guide some new teacher or librarian. At the end of every school year my students and I discuss the books we’ve shared throughout the year, and I’m always so impressed with their reasons for why they love certain books.
    Thanks for stopping by!

    Jenclair, isn’t it nice to kmow that kids still read and love the older books, too? I think you’d like each of those books you mentioned. Holes was such an unusual book and would have been a great read for the Once Upon a Time challenge because it’s got the feel of myth to it. And The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle has such a wonderful, strong female main character. Great reads.

    Hi Mom, I’m glad you’re getting caught up. It’s these few days here at the end of school that are so busy…boxing up the materials and the books. I’m almost done!

    Thanks, Nan. My students read those “problem” ya books, too, but when there are such good choices in the class library, they end up getting caught by some of the really good books and series. That delights me, year after year.

    Hi Ted. Thanks for stopping by! I DO read many of those books over and over, and I never get tired of them. I love them more each time. Your question about how to get a 17-year old reluctant reader interested in reading is an excellent one. I’d like to think about it before I answer, so I’ll get back to you with some thoughts. I’d also be interested in putting that question out there for other bloggers to respond to because I think we’d hear some great ideas.

    Matt, my students love Roald Dahl’s humor, and so do I! Your British Hong Kong schooling sounds very interesting. I’ve always had an aversion to reading the abridged version of books. That’s why I don’t much like teaching out of a basal reader. Why read just part of a book when you can read the whole book and love it?!

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  15. Robin

    Thanks, Bookfool! I missed your comment in the middle there! Sorry about that. They must have made some special arrangements for schools after Katrina because it was so horrific. Otherwise, I can’t imagine why those days wouldn’t have been made up. We were afraid we’d be in school this year until the 4th of July!

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  16. Ted

    I will be so interested in what you and your readers have to say. Idiotically (well, wonderfully really), I’m on vacation over the next week to ten days, so please don’t think me rude if you don’t ready my comments in response before then! I’ll look forward to that conversation.

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  17. Bellezza

    I feel badly that school is still in session where you are; we didn’t get out until June 11 due to two extra snow days, and I thought that was excessive! I have a similar classroom library as yours. One year, a parent with whom I feel quite close gave me two enormous bookcases from her garage sale, and now I’m planning on bringing over a bookcase from our family room when it gets redecorated. One can never have enough storage for books, although the rest of my room I keep deliberately simple. By the way, I dearly love Walk Two Moons. It’s probably one of my favorites from your list, although I can’t really read it to my third graders. I did once, with an exceptionally mature class, but I felt that was pushing it.

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  18. Robin

    Ted, have a nice vacation and we’ll continue this conversation when you get back!

    Hi Bellezza! I love Walk Two Moons, too, although it’s a very difficult book to read aloud because I always cry in front of my students…of course many of them cry, too. Beautifully written! And yes, I’m so relieved to have school finally over and to have my things packed up and moved to storage now. What a huge job!

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