The Unexpecteds: 5 Sneakily Popular Books in Our K-3 School Library This Year
We’re nearing the end of the school year around here, which means it’s time to review the circulation statistics. Usually, these lists are full of books by the usual suspects: Dav Pilkey, Abby Hanlon (the Dory books are big here), Mo Willems – you know the names.
But sometimes, an unexpected book finds its way onto the list of the most checked out of the school year. Today I’m going to share five, and my guess as to why they were popular.
The Nosyhood by Tim Lahan
Where do I begin? Unique size and shape. Great spine. A completely ridiculous storyline. All that adds up to a book that gets checked out a lot.
Camping Catastrophe! (Ready, Freddy!) by Abby Klein
Series books are circulation champions (most of our most checked out titles are part of a series), but this one might be a surprise for folks to see. But I know the reason for the popularity surge: the most powerful tool in literacy: the teacher read aloud. Some teachers read Ready, Freddy! to their classes and kids instantly wanted to check them out of the library.
Knots (Show-How Guides) by Keith Zoo
This book was a classic case of “Hm, why don’t we try this new series and see how kids like them.” The result? A true grassroots, kid-led, word-of-mouth swell in popularity. We ended up getting more books in the Show How Guides series midway through the year due to student demand. The pocket-sized stature of these books only adds to their appeal.
On the Run by Clara Bourreau
For most of the books on this list, I have some sense of why they were popular this year. In the case of On the Run, I’m taking stabs in the dark. The cover? The title? The shelf placement? I’m not sure of the reason, but I know kids were drawn to this book.
My Chincoteague Pony by Susan Jeffers
Now before you get all “Wow, Travis, what a scoop! A horse book is popular! Never could have expected that!”, let me just say that I too don’t find the popularity of a horse picture book to be surprising. But I am surprised at the staying power of this book, which continues to be popular year after year despite newer, shinier options becoming available.
Filed under: Articles
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.
SLJ Blog Network
One Star Review, Guess Who? (#187)
Ellen Myrick Publisher Preview: Fall 2023/Winter 2024 (Part Five – Berbay, Cicada & Creston Books)
Recent Graphic Novel Deals, Late May 2023 | News
A Case for Fun and Games, a guest post by Andrew Auseon
The Classroom Bookshelf is Moving