But where to start? When building a digital library, it’s important to curate with intention. Keep in mind how these titles can support curriculum, standards, usage and classroom engagement. But of course, you can’t skip the popular titles your students can’t get enough of! After all, developing a lifelong love of reading in your students starts with choice. Keep reading to check out the must-have titles your eBook collection shouldn’t skip.
The One and Only Bob
By Katherine Applegate
For your kids that couldn’t put down The One and Only Ivan, this sequel focuses on Bob the dog’s point of view. Helped by his friends Ivan and Ruby, Bob sets out on an adventure to find his long-lost sister. As a hurricane approaches, Bob finds courage he never knew he had, as well as the true meaning of friendship and family. Outsider stories like this one can resonate with young readers, not to mention the recent big screen adaptation of the original story is sure to generate interest.
This story follows seventh grader Jordan Banks as he is transported to a prestigious private school instead of the art school of his dreams. Jordan finds himself torn between two worlds, trying to survive in his new environment while grappling with his own identity. New Kid is an illuminating perspective that can work as a mirror and a window to young readers, and its rich themes of race, racism and acting as an ally are perfect for group discussion.
Chances are you already know all about The Hate U Give. It’s a critical story that has kicked off conversations about racism, police brutality and Black Lives Matter in schools across the country. Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter moves between two worlds: the poor neighborhood where she lives and the fancy suburban prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend, Khalil, at the hands of a police officer. Khalil was unarmed. Soon afterward, his death is a national headline. Some are calling him a thug, maybe even a drug dealer and a gangbanger. Protesters are taking to the streets in Khalil's name. Some cops and the local drug lord try to intimidate Starr and her family. What everyone wants to know is: what really went down that night? And the only person alive who can answer that is Starr. But what Starr does – or does not – say could upend her community. It could also endanger her life.
In the summer of 1968, after traveling from Brooklyn to Oakland, California, to spend a month with the mother they barely know, eleven-year-old Delphine and her two younger sisters arrive to a cold welcome as they discover that their mother, a dedicated poet and printer, is resentful of the intrusion of their visit and wants them to attend a nearby Black Panther summer camp. The story addresses some of the most complicated issues of the time and place and does it with incredible awareness through unique perspectives.
Sixteen-year-old Aza never intended to pursue the mystery of fugitive billionaire Russell Pickett, but there’s a hundred-thousand-dollar reward at stake, and her Best and Most Fearless Friend, Daisy, is eager to investigate. So together they navigate the short distance and broad divides that separate them from Russell Pickett’s son, Davis. Aza is trying. She is trying to be a good daughter, a good friend, a good student and maybe even a good detective, while also living within the ever-tightening spiral of her own thoughts. No one else writes like John Green, and this story won’t fail to make an impact on young readers, particularly for its rich examination of mental illness.
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