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The Unexpecteds: 5 Sneakily Popular Books in Our K-4 School Library This Year

Towards the end of the year I like to look at the circulation stats and see if anything unexpected pops up. Amid the swarms of Pilkey, Renee Russell, and Willems, a few books that I didn’t expect got checked out a whole lot this school year. Here they are, along with my guesses on why they were popular.

A Dog’s Life: An Autobiography of a Stray by Ann M. Martin

It’s the same situation for most of the book on this list – I never heard a word about them all school year. I wasn’t asked about them, they weren’t put on hold, they just quietly got checked out a bunch. This one looks like a simple case of a dog book that looks like it might tug on the heart strings.

10 Eggs in a Nest by Marilyn Sadler, illustrated by Michael Fleming

Huh! Didn’t think this one would be on this list. Well, I could see the cover drawing readers in.

This Book is Out of Control! by Richard Byrne

I do see more and more books in this series getting checked out (all of them are good read alouds, by the way), but didn’t expect one to end up near the top of our circs list.

The Monsterator by Keith Graves

You know how when enough kids ask for a certain book, and it’s an author you were previously unfamiliar with, you realize you better commit the first three letters of that author’s last name to memory because kids are going to continue asking for it? I now have E GRA committed to memory. This book is on this list because A) it’s spooky, and B) it contains a section where you can create your own monster.

No Matter What by Debi Gliori

Look, I’m just as surprised as you. I barely remember seeing the cover of this book and come to find out it’s been checked out like crazy this year. Something always slips through the cracks and this book was definitely it for me this year.

Any surprises at your school library?

About Travis Jonker

Travis Jonker is an elementary school librarian in Michigan. He writes reviews (and the occasional article or two) for School Library Journal and is a member of the 2014 Caldecott committee. You can email Travis at scopenotes@gmail.com, or follow him on Twitter: @100scopenotes.


  1. Christine says:

    I’m K-8 rather than K-4, but our copy of THE NERDY NUMMIES COOKBOOK is now 60% repair tape, 35% glue, and 5% crossed fingers. It was off the shelf the entire year.