Sunday, December 31, 2017

Some Books that Changed My Heart and Mind in 2017

I just went to see Wonder, the movie. So good. I read the book as an ARC years ago and loved it immediately. We just finished reading it aloud in our classroom two weeks ago. The conversations changed our community, I think. Needless to say I was TOTALLY unprepared to see RJ Palacio just sitting in the audience of Auggie's graduation scene near the end of the movie. Like totally unprepared. I got so teary (okay crying) --I was so happy to see her sitting there being part of this next phase of Auggie's journey-so thankful to her for this story. And then I realized how lucky we are to be part of this community of teachers, authors, publishers, children. RJ in that final scene reminded me of the impact one story can have on a world and how lucky we are to be people who share stories like this with children, not knowing how they will change their lives.  

That scene with RJ reminded me how much books and stories can change lives. I was lucky to be part of the NCTE Charlotte Huck Committee for 3 years. During that time I read with a specific lens based on the award criteria. The Charlotte Huck Award "recognizes fiction that has the potential to transform children’s lives by inviting compassion, imagination, and wonder."  So as I read for this award I was always looking for books that had the potential to transform a child's life in some way.  I am no longer on the Charlotte Huck Award Committee but that lens seems to be a part of the way I sometimes reflect on my reading.  Seeing Wonder today and thinking about the power of a single story in a life,  made me think a bit about my 2017 reading and those books in my reading life that really changed me in some way. I believe almost every book changes the reader in some way, but some books stand out a bit.

So seeing Wonder and being so thankful for authors like RJ Palacio, I went back through my reading life this year and found so many books that changed my heart or mind. Here are those that stood out to me--some books that transformed my heart or mind in some way in 2017. 

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