Each year Ken Stamatis, professor at Harding University, compiles a list of his 50 best young adult reads of the past year. The list represents a variety of authors, genres, interests, and ability levels.
If you have the privilege of hearing Ken present his list each summer, you are in for one of the most worthwhile professional development days. As you listen to each description you begin mentally placing the books around your classroom, you write them in as anchor texts in your minilessons, and you nudge them in the hands of students you haven’t even met yet but already know will need that particular story. Ken also throws in bonus material like conversations he’s had with the authors or tie-ins you could make with other novels or content areas.
This is a the 2017 list which includes the following for all 53 books:
- Title (organized alphabetically by title)
- Author (Last name, First name)
- Designation as fiction or nonfiction
- Grade level: determined primarily by the age of the protagonist not necessarily the precise age it would be appropriate for (The may have a 14-year-old protagonist but be enjoyed by high school readers.)
- Short description based off the notes I took during the presentation
- Any teacher tips he added.
If you access the Google Sheets document, you may Make A Copy and then organize it to your liking.
Below are PDF lists from Ken’s website of lists from prior years. The yearly book list is only one of many services he provides to districts around the country. Along with raising up the next generation of reading teachers at Harding, he has personalized PD and coaching that will truly transform your school or district into being literacy minded.