Jen Vincent at Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee Moye and Ricki Ginsburg at Unleashing Readers cohost It's Monday! What are You Reading? weekly on their blogs. To see what others are reading and recommending each Monday, or to participate, be sure to head over to these blogs.
Over the summer, I did a lot of writing, so I was constantly on the hunt for books that developed strong plots with memorable characters. What I have realized, and it really intimidates me as a writer, is that most of the books that I admire have more than one plot, with several stories intersecting and intertwining.
The Secret Hum of a Daisy by Tracy Holczer is a beautiful book about a 12 year-old coming to terms, as much as anyone can, with her mother's death. Thank you to Tara Smith for the recommendation! The characters are complex and developed, with quirks, hobbies, secrets, talents, and passions and they are all so likable and memorable. Voice is critically important in middle grade fiction, and the first person narrative is packed full of preteen insights, emotions, and humor. This would be a very long read-aloud, but a great book for strong upper elementary readers.
Listening for Lucca by Suzanne LaFleur surprised me with sub-plots I was not expecting and elements of magic within what seemed at first to be realistic fiction. Because the main character, Siena, is such a strong and insightful narrator, readers learn a lot about the writing process through her experiences, as well as about struggles with moving, making friends, and guilt. As a writer, this book inspired me to think about how to weave stories together, but it also inspired me to learn more about selective mutism and I could also see it inspire students to want to learn more about war and what some American soldiers experienced when fighting overseas.