Tuesday, January 03, 2012

2011: A Year of 305 Books

Mary Lee has always been my reading idol.  We were in a book club together 20+ years ago and I was always amazed at how much she read.  She was the one who encouraged me to keep a log of my reading.  Blogging with her for the past 6 years has made me realize how lucky I am to have friends who read and how important that is to my reading life.

This year, it's not so much the books I read, but more the habits I started:

As I look at my 2011 reading, Goodreads changed my life. I had used it a bit before 2010, but decided to be diligent about tracking my reading carefully in 2011. Really, I had no idea how I kept track before.  Goodreads helps me track, reflect, find book to recommend, connect with friends, choose books, etc.  It has helped me in my own reading but has also helped me become a better resource for students and teachers looking for books. LOVE IT!  I also set a reading challenge for myself on Goodreads and met it.  I was part of a Mock Newbery group and a few others that kept me up to date on the books getting the most buzz. And it was so fun to hear everyone's opinions as we read monthly books.

I also found that groups/events like Titletalk, The Nerdy Book Club and the Facebook Centurions of 2011 group were important for me as I read throughout the year. They each provided a different type of support. And I read so many amazing books because of these networks.

And, thanks to Kevin Hodsgon's recent post reflecting on his 2011 reading, I realized that Goodreads will let me view fun stats about my year of reading. How fun is this!

Here are some reading highlights. Fifty or so books I LOVED in 2011.
January-40 books
Kakapo Rescue-NONFICTION
Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place by Maryrose Wood-MIDDLE GRADE

February-13 books
How I, Nicky Flynn, Get a Life (and a Dog) by Art Corriveau-MIDDLE GRADE
Okay for Now by Gary Schmidt-MIDDLE GRADE

March-24 books
Mother Goose Picture Puzzles by Will Hillenbrand-PICTURE BOOK/POETRY
Can We Save the Tiger? by Martin Jenkins-NONFICTION
Inside Out and Back Again by Thanhha Lai-MIDDLE GRADE
Emma Dilemma: Big Sister Poems by Kristine O'Donnell George-POETRY

April-27 books
Chime by Franny Billingsley-YOUNG ADULT
Bigger Than a Breadbox by Laurel Snyder-MIDDLE GRADE
Little Chicken's Big Day by Katie Davis and Jerry Davis-PICTURE BOOK
Also Known as Rowan Pohi by Ralph Fletcher-YOUNG ADULT

May-22 books
The Absolute Value of Mike by Kathryn Erskine-YOUNG ADULT
The Pull of Gravity by Gae Polisner-YOUNG ADULT
A Ball for Daisy by Chris Raschka-WORDLESS PICTURE BOOK
Babymouse Mad Scientist and Squish by Jennifer Holm and Matthew Holm-GRAPHIC NOVEL
Real Revision by Kate Messner-PROFESSIONAL BOOK

June-43 books
Time to Eat/Time to Sleep by Steve Jenkins-NONFICTION
Queen of the Falls by Chris Van Allsburg-PICTURE BOOK BIOGRAPHY
Breadcrumbs by Anne Ursu-MIDDLE GRADE
The Friendship Doll by Kirby Larson-MIDDLE GRADE
Big Brothers Don't Take Naps by Louise Borden-PICTURE BOOK
Hidden by Helen Frost-MIDDLE GRADE
Should I Share My Ice Cream by Mo Willems-PICTURE BOOK
Wonderstruck by Brian Selznick-MIDDLE GRADE
State of Wonder by Ann Patchett-ADULT NOVEL

July-28 books
Toys Come Home by Emily Jenkins-EARLY CHAPTER BOOK
Latasha and the Red Tornado by Michael Scotto-MIDDLE GRADE
Shine by Lauren Myracle-YOUNG ADULT
A Million Miles from Boston by Karen Day-MIDDLE GRADE

August-37 books
The One and Only Stuey Lewis by Jane Schoenberg-EARLY CHAPTER BOOK
Press Here by Herve Tullet-PICTURE BOOK
Leisl and Po by Lauren Olive-MIDDLE GRADE
Tuesdays at the Castle by Jessica Day George-MIDDLE GRADE
The Gingerbread Man Loose in the School by Laura Murray-PICTURE BOOK

September-16 books
The Other Wes More: One Name, Two Fates by Wes Moore-ADULT NONFICTION
Waiting for Magic by Patricia MacLachlan-EARLY CHAPTER BOOK/MIDDLE GRADE
Amelia Lost by Candace Fleming-NONFICTION
Otis and the Tornado by Loren Long-PICTURE BOOK
A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness-YOUNG ADULT
You Will be My Friend by Peter Brown-PICTURE BOOK

October-12 Books
Happy Pig Day! by Mo Willems-PICTURE BOOK
I Want My Hat Back by Jon Klassen-PICTURE BOOK

November-15 books
Balloons Over Broadway by Melissa Sweet-PICTURE BOOK BIOGRAPHY
The Duckling Gets a Cookie!? by Mo Willems-PICTURE BOOK (2012)
The Unwanteds by Lisa McMann-MIDDLE GRADE
BookSpeak! by Laura Purdie Salas-POETRY
The Trouble With May Amelia by Jennifer Holm-MIDDLE GRADE
Ghetto Cowboy by G. Neri-MIDDLE GRADE
The Great Wall of Lucy Wu by Wendy Wan-Long Shang-MIDDLE GRADE

December-28 books
Sparrow Road by Sheila O'Connor-MIDDLE GRADE
The Aviary by Kathleen O'Dell-MIDDLE GRADE
Sir Gawain the True by Gerald Morris-EARLY CHAPTER/MIDDLE GRADE
The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate-MIDDLE GRADE (2012)
Eye of the Storm by Kate Messner-MIDDLE GRADE (2012)
How to Save a Life by Sara Zarr-YOUNG ADULT


  1. What a great list. I still haven't invested much time in Goodreads-- I should take another look at that!

  2. Franki, great post! I started using Goodreads about a year and a half ago, and it's so nice to be able to have cues to help me remember what I read! I read tons, but can never say, if someone asks, "What books did you like this past year?" or "Have you read ____________?" Unless it's a very recent book, I usually am not sure. I read ABOUT books so much that a title can be familiar without my having actually read it!

    Anyway, thanks for including BOOKSPEAK--I'm so glad you liked it! And I'm going to be hunting down the picture books you loved that I haven't actually read yet. And...I'm off to get that Goodreads gizmo. Cool!

    Happy 2012!

  3. P.S. Can you share how you got that table? I can't quite figure it out...how to get it sorted by stars and only include my 2011 books.

  4. Go to "My Books". Then, on the left-hand side (way at the bottom) there is a tag for "stats". That gets you to these things.

  5. Wow! You AND Mary Lee are my reading idols. And your table is way cool! I started using Goodreads last year (probably because I read about it on your website) but I wasn't consistent. Some months I tracked, and some I didn't. Ineed to more diligent this year. Thanks, as always, for all of your great thinking and sharing!

  6. Love how you broke down your favorite books by month, very cool! It was great to read through the list and nod at books I knew and quickly add books to my "to read" list that I didn't. My goal this year is 300 books, I read 264 this year and am shooting just a bit higher. :)

  7. Thanks, Franki. That's what I had tried, but I couldn't separate them out by stars or get an image I could copy like yours. Oh well--maybe next year:>)

  8. Oh...I think I just saw it. Went back for one more try (even though one of my 2012 goals is to be more efficient online and not get too caught up in stuff like nifty widgets and such:>)


  9. Is goodreads appropriate for upper elementary students to use to keep track of their reading? Today while talking with a student I realized that she would be inspired to keep track of her reading this way, then I realized I have many students who would love this. What do you think? Thanks!

  10. Anonymous7:57 PM

    Great post! I love your lists and again in 2011 used you and Mary Lee 's suggestions to select new books!


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