5 Must Read Books (May) #SparksInTheDark


I started this “series” of posts back in February, and then my life got flipped upside down and I haven’t posted since then.  So, it’s back! My plan is to post once a month with 5 recommendations of books I’ve finished recently. These will be books that touched my heart, moved my spirit, taught me something, or introduced me to new ideas and/or worlds.  These won’t be Professional Development (PD) books. We all get enough recommendations of those. And honestly, sometimes I learn more from fiction books then I do from the best PD books! So without further ado, here goes!

Endling #1: The Last

by Katherine Applegate

I am a huge Katherine Applegate fan. If you know anything about me, you know that her Animorphs series is the entire reason I fell in love with reading.

Katherine has been on a roll lately with fantastic books.  From The One and Only Ivan, to Wishtree, and now to Endling.  I loved this little fantasy journey about a creature who is believed to be the last of her kind (an endling) and her quest to see if the rumors are true about others being alive as well.  She partners up with the most unlikely of allies and learns the meaning of friendship and family along the way.

** would be a great book for 4th grade and above (in my opinion)


by: Nidhi Chanani

I must admit, I have never read a graphic novel. Until Pashmina! And I love it! Pashmina is the story of a little girl named Priyanka, told in black and white. Until Priyanka puts on a magical pashmina that she found hidden away in her mother’s things. When she puts on the pashmina, she’s transported to magical world full of colors and imagination.

I loved the journey that Priyanka took to learn about her mother’s upbringing and what happened to her father.

This was a great story about culture, family history, and how we never really quite know the full story.

** this would be a great book for 3rd graders and above (in my opinion)

You Go First

by: Erin Entrada Kelly

I’m a sucker for books where the lead character is different. An outcast. Someone who stands out from the crowd.  In You Go First, Erin Entrada Kelly introduces us to two unique characters who’s stories take place in different places, at the same time, with characters who are connected in unique and sometimes unexpected ways (and always around Scrabble).  Public humiliation, bullying, divorce, and so much more is addressed in this wonderful story.

** this would be a great book for 4th graders and above (in my opinion)

Goodbye Days

by: Jeff Zentner

I love Jeff Zentner.  I think he is a brilliant author and the way he writes from the perspective of teenagers is amazing. His book, The Scorpion King, is one of my all time favorite books and when I found out how much everyone was ranting and raving about Goodbye Days, I knew I had to read it.  This story is a harrowing tale of mistakes, honesty, consequences, and the risk of texting and driving.  I was on the edge of my seat most of the book and brought to tears a few times.  I can’t recommend this book enough.

** this would be a great book for middle and high school students (in my opinion)


by: Kwame Alexander

Booked and Crossover by Kwame were the two books that had me fall in love with poetry. Before those books I never enjoyed reading poetry. But Rebound takes it to a whole new level.  This book couldn’t have come at a more personal time for me and I found myself weeping through several of the pages.  I could relate so much to the character Chuck as he deals with understanding his grief of losing a parent.  It’s a brilliantly written prequel to Booked and Crossover.

** This would be a great book for 5th graders and above (in my opinion)

I know at the top of this post I said I wasn’t going to recommend any professional development books, but I wanted to take a few minutes to tell you about two that I released this year 🙂

Sparks in the Dark was co-written with my friend Travis Crowder.  It’s filled the to the brim with ideas, resources, and lessons to help anyone fall in love with reading and writing and build that passion in others.


Stories from Webb is my family on the page. My school family that is. This book is chock full of ideas, team building activities, heart, and pure honesty. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, and you’ll find yourself nodding your head as you read anecdotes from educators in the field practicing every day. Whether that’s the nurse, counselor, instructional aide, teacher, principal, or even the assistant superintendent.


Happy reading! Share your favorite books with the hashtag #SparksInTheDark

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.