I recorded 170 titles in Goodreads for 2015, but that barely scratches the surface (as my local librarians can attest). Those were the titles that I liked enough to review, were getting lots of “buzz,” or for which I needed to flesh some thoughts out before an official review. In other words, those 170 were theoretically the books I spent more time thinking about. And yet, when I look at my year in review on the Goodreads site, I don’t even remember reading some of them!
- books I reread multiple times,
- an imminently practical work I immediately applied to my life,
- books that were relevant to me personally,
- books I read because I chose them (as opposed to being “assigned” them)
- and books I read over the course of a long time because they were meaty and required my full attention (the grown-up nonfiction books all fall into this category!).
We would do well as parents and teachers to remember these types of categories when we encourage the children in our lives to read. Quality is more important than quantity, even though quantity can provide excellent entertainment in its own way. The following is not a list of recommendations so much as the 10 most memorable books I, personally, read in 2015.
Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus by Nabeel Q’reshi. Fascinating read of a Muslim’s conversion to Christianity. True story. Adult.
The White Cascade by Gary Krist. The deadliest avalanche in U.S. history happened just north of where I currently live in Washington state. The story takes place during the same time period as the Titanic shipwreck, and has the same “gripping” feel in parts since the reader knows disaster is imminent. Adult.
Finding Winnie by Lindsay Mattock and illustrated by Sophie Blackall. This year’s Caldecott winner! A charming bed-time read about the real Winnie-the-Pooh (written by the granddaughter of the soldier who first found Winnie). Picture Book and a true story. Win win.
The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown. (The Young Readers Edition) Wow. I have nothing to complain about. Nothing. And I’m a wimp. These guys are heroes. (I hear the grown-up version is even better!) Middle grades/Young Adult.
The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind by William Kamkwamba. (Young Readers Edition) Terrific story of a young inventor, persevering against cultural, academic, and socio-economic obstacles. Middle grades.
Goodbye, Stranger by Rebecca Stead. This book will resonate with all who work with middle schoolers–particularly in today’s tech-savvy culture. See my review for a caution. Middle grades.
Roller Girl by Victoria Jamieson. One of this year’s Newbery honors. I read this book a year ago, and I still remember much of it vividly. A fun read. Middle grades graphic novel.
Keeping House: the Litany of Everyday Life by Margaret Kim Peterson. A wonderful reflection on why we keep house more than a “how to.” Perfect for us philosophical types who need motivation for the practical.
Do More Better by Tim Challies. A great counterpoint to the secular productivity titles out there. Worth a read if you enjoy those sorts of books!