Photo: The High Interest Book Cart
We’re going high interest today. Adjectives like “subtle”, “timeless”, or “quiet beauty”? Check them at the door. Plain and simple, here’s a selection of recently purchased books that I don’t think I’ll see back on the shelf until the end of the year.
The Science of Sports series
Play Like the Pros series
Few areas of the collection see more traffic than sports. This also happens to be a section that is difficult to keep current, what with trades and new stars emerging every year. These two series look at professional sports with a wide view that won’t go out of date as quickly as some others.
Wild Outdoors series
I work in a smaller school district in Michigan, and the outdoors is always a topic that kids are into. Due to student demand, I’ve been on the lookout for some decent hunting/fishing/camping books – this series looks like it will do the trick.
Big Air series
Let us not forget the extreme sport aficionados out there. Snowboarding, BMX, books on these topics are in constant circulation. Here are a couple more.
Ultimate Pro Team Guides series
One of the beautiful things about a high interest/low reading level sports book is that it can appeal to a broader age range than fiction or some other nonfiction topics. These Ultimate Guides would work with a fourth grader or a middle schooler – a pretty rare feat.
Learning Musical Instruments series
I’ve talked about this series in the past. These books are for my 5th and 6th grade school and this is an age when kids really start to get into instruments – be it band, orchestra, or picking up the guitar.
The Gun: A Visual History
Like it or not, books about weapons are as high interest as it gets. Can anyone show me a copy of Arms and Armor that doesn’t look like it’s been through a war? This visual history will likely follow the same path.
Show Off by Sarah Hines Stephens
Probably the surest sign that a book is a high interest champ is when it has to be replaced due to nonstop circs. Such is the case here. This step-by-step guide to doing cool stuff gets a lot of love from our students.
Research for the Social Improvement and General Betterment of Lydia Goldblatt and Julie Graham-Chang (The Popularity Papers, #1) by Amy Ignatow
No, wait – the surest sign of a high-interest champ is when you have to get multiple copies to keep up with demand. Such is the case here. It’s already on our shelves, but more are needed. This illustrated novel just refuses to not be checked out. The same goes for its sequels.
Trackers (Trackers, #1) by Patrick Carman
The Raven (Skeleton Creek, #4) by Patrick Carman
The Crossbones (Skeleton Creek, #3) by Patrick Carman
Patrick Carman seems to have the spooky-page-turner-meets-web-video market cornered at this point in time, and all of his books are seeing massive checkouts. Since I had to read/watch the first Skeleton Creek book in the middle of the day with all the lights on (you could say I’m “a huge wimp about scary stuff”), I’ll take students on their word that these are more of the same.
Sons of Destiny (Cirque Du Freak, #12) by Darren Shan
When I first heard the name of this series back in 2003, I think my response was “come again?” But lo and behold, nearly a decade later, Darren Shan’s series is still going strong in my school library.
The Ghost of Crutchfield Hall by Mary Downing Hahn
My 5th and 6th grade students love them some Mary Downing Hahn. Spooky and high interest always seem to go hand in hand. This is her most recent book, and I don’t see it getting much shelf time.
Charlie Joe Jackson’s Guide to Not Reading by Tommy Greenwald
This is a second copy. I’ve had interesting discussions with other educators about this book. The perspective of an unapologetic book hater can be hard for teachers and librarians (you know, people who want to cry when they hear a kid say they don’t like reading) to swallow. But you can’t say it isn’t funny. And if it reaches kids that other books can’t, I’m all for it.
Bone: Quest for the Spark #1 by Thomas E. Sniegoski
Every now and then, one falls through the cracks. This novel (I repeat, not graphic novel) never made it to the shelf. And now I see book two is out this month! The Bone series has been checked out more than anything else over the past few years, so this book will be met with eager readers.
Attack of the Fluffy Bunnies by Andrea Beaty
Screwball sells itself, and this bit of odd hilarity is no different. This one was a student request and I think it’s going to make the rounds nicely.
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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 firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow him on Twitter: @100scopenotes.
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