Classroom Book Club Giveaway!

There’s a great movement among teachers these days to put books in students’ hands that students want to read, not just books that adults admire. It’s the best way to ensure students’ love of reading. I’ve been thrilled to hear about student choice like this happening all over the country.

But I know that it can be hard for teachers to be aware of all the incredible new books out there. Often, stellar novels that would be great for the classroom—and favorites too—are missed.

A group of middle grade and young adult authors are joining me for a massive giveaway to bring discussion-worthy books across genres into the classroom. We’re offering three groups of middle grade books, one of upper middle grade, and one of young adult (five books in each) to teachers and school librarians in the U.S. (sorry to restrict, but this helps with mailing costs). These are books published in 2018 and in 2019 that we all think could have a strong place in future classroom book clubs.

Below, I’ve posted a list of all the books, in order of their groups, with themes we think teachers would find useful, author websites, and, where available, teacher and discussion guides.

But first, here are the giveaway instructions:

1. Choose which group of books would be best for your classroom or school library: middle grade group A, B, or C (for grades 3 through 6), upper middle grade (grades 6 through 8), or young adult (grades 8 through 12). Retweet the post, and tell us which category’s giveaway you’d like to enter.

2. Follow all the authors in your chosen category.

3. Retweet before Monday, November 4, 2019. We’ll be drawing winners for each category on that day.

And now for the books! Be sure to scroll to the end to see the amazing upper MG and YA contributions!


Skylark and Wallcreeper (Little Bee Books, October 2018)

Anne O’Brien Carelli,

Themes: Understanding and respecting contributions of elders; persevering under challenging circumstances; and girls can be clever, strong, and brave

Discussion Guide



Unwritten (Jolly Fish Press/North Star Editions, October 2018)

Tara Gilboy,

Themes: Finding your own identity, sometimes good people do bad things/forgiving yourself and others, controlling your own destiny




The Three Rules of Everyday Magic (Boyds Mills and Kane, September 2018)

Amanda Rawson Hill,

Themes: Kindness, mental health, music, dementia and multigenerational relationships

Discussion Questions



If This Were a Story (Simon and Schuster Books for Young Readers, August 2018)

Beth Turley,

Themes: Friendship, bullying, speaking up, grief; there are also elements of magical realism




Spin the Golden Lightbulb (Amberjack Publishing, January 2018)

Jackie Yeager,

Themes: This is a STEM/ STEAM type book (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math) that promotes teamwork, creative problem solving, and pursuing dreams in the face of huge obstacles.




Everlasting Nora (Starscape, A Tom Doherty Associates Book, Macmillan Publishers, October 2018)

Marie Cruz,

Themes: What does home mean to you? Building empathy for how people live in other parts of the world. How does empathy play a role in how we treat each other? What is perseverance?

A discussion guide is in the back of the book.



The Key of Lost Things (Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, September 2019)

Sean Easley,

Themes: Listen to others. Everyone is just as valuable as you. Asking for help is not weakness. Don’t lose yourself while trying to be what others want you to be.



The Cryptid Catcher (Farrar, Straus & Giroux (BYR), August 2018)

Lija Fisher,

Themes: Friendship, learning to trust yourself, protecting our natural world

Research Game



The Hunt for the Mad Wolf’s Daughter (Kathy Dawson Books/Penguin Young Readers, March 2019)

Diane Magras,

Themes: Determining your own identity, challenging expectations of birth and gender, standing up to those in power, living with the consequences of mistakes, seeking ways to heal, forgiveness, and gender equality

Teachers Guide and Discussion Questions



A Swirl of Ocean (Knopf Books for Young Readers, August 2019)

Melissa Sarno,

Themes: Choosing family, discovering connections to the natural world, learning to let others in, accepting that friendships and families change.





Where the Watermelons Grow (Harper Collins, July 2018)

Cindy Baldwin,

Themes: Tolerance/acceptance of differences, resilience, community, and disability

Teaching Guide





The Serpent’s Secret (Scholastic, February 2018)

Sayantani Dasgupta,

Themes: Bengali/Indian folktales, string theory/astronomy/space, immigration and immigrant identities, prejudice and discrimination, oppression, parent-child relationships, girl power



The Battle of Junk Mountain (Running Press Kids, April 2018)

Lauren Abbey Greenberg,

Themes: Dealing with change as we grow up and get older; intergenerational relationships; how our attachments to things, places, and even people can sometimes affect our well-being; showing empathy towards mental illness

Study Guide



The Fang of Bonfire Crossing (Henry Holt for Young Readers, February 2019)

Brad McLelland and Louis Sylvester,

Themes: Teamwork, friendship, justice versus revenge, family





The Spinner of Dreams (Harper Collins, August 2018)

K.A. Reynolds,

Themes: Mental health, courage, empathy, and identity





Tiny Infinities (Chronicle, May 2018)

J.H. Diehl,

Themes: Family: How a young teen finds resilience to cope with family trauma (a parent with mental illness, parents separating, a child with challenging developmental delays);    Friendship: How the good friends we make – and sometimes the most unexpected friends we make – can help us to grow up; STEM: Math concepts of Pi and infinity, and the science of fireflies; Sports: Competitive swimming, and, more generally, the learning experience of participating on a team.

Teacher’s Guide


Up for Air (Amulet Books/Abrams, May 2019)

Laurie Morrison,

Themes: Honoring your unique intelligence and strength, developing self-esteem that’s not tied to external validation, managing the emotional and physical changes of puberty, the social pressures of having older friends

Teacher’s Guide



Good Enough (Macmillan/Feiwel & Friends, February 2019)

Jen Petro-Roy,

Themes: Self-esteem, body image, mental health, self discovery

Teachers Guide and Discussion Questions




The Prophet Calls
(Yellow Jacket/S&S, November 2018)

Melanie Sumrow,

Themes: Figuring out who you are and what you believe, female empowerment, toxic masculinity

Discussion Guide



The Woods (September, 2019)

Rachel Toalson,

Themes: Family, loss, grief, escape






What the Woods Keep (Imprint (Macmillan), September 2018)

Katya de Becerra,

Themes and Discussion Guide




Sanctuary (Simon Pulse, July 2018)

Caryn Lix,

Themes: Personal identity, corporate power in the world, prejudice, thinking for yourself





Nothing But Sky (Flux, March 2018)

Amy Trueblood,

Themes: History, found family, chasing your dreams, risk vs. reward.

Classroom Discussion Questions



Paper Girl (Entangled Teen, December 2018)

Cindy Wilson,

Themes: Inner strength and courage and overcoming fears. The book talks heavily about anxiety as the MC is agoraphobic. Also, homelessness and substance abuse.



The Seven Torments of Amy and Craig (Hyperion, October 2018)

Don Zolidis,

Themes: 1. Break-ups, 2. Learning how to see people for who they are, 3. Family struggles, 4. Funny animal stories




Thanks for participating in this giveaway, and good luck!

12 Responses to “Classroom Book Club Giveaway!”

  1. Linda Mitchell

    Wow! Great giveaway. I’m a middle school librarian and would love MG Group B. Will boost this on our twitter feed. @librarymiddle

  2. Cindy Babich

    MG – group A. What a wonderful collection, I would love to share with my 4th and 5th graders❤️

    • Diane

      Thank you for entering! And for the form by which I’m keeping track of all this, what’s your Twitter handle? Many thanks!

  3. Joyce Zitkovich

    I would absolutely love for my students to have the YA collection! Myself, I’m obsessed with Drest…and everything Scottish! What’s the chance that Drest’s story continues in a YA story in the future?! 😃

    • Diane

      Thanks so much for entering! And thanks too for your kind words.

      We’ll see if Drest ever has more adventures in print. It’s up to my publisher, but I certainly have ways in the back of my mind for her to grow (and funny you’d mention it, but there’s certainly a version that could border on YA…). For now, though, I’m working on something else (but it takes place in Scotland, so no worries about my leaving *that* obsession any time soon!). I hope readers enjoy the new characters. I’m having a lot of fun with them.

  4. Anne Orenick

    Would love mg c for our student led book club I just started. Kids love to read if you allow them the choice of what to read.

  5. Michele Edgley

    Amazing choices!! I would choose group B to boost our amazing girls stories and because they are diverse. We are reading around the world in library this year!! Thank you for doing giveaways!

  6. Tracy Mitchell

    This is amazing! Thank you for the opportunity to bring wonderful new reads to our students. Honestly, any of the middle grade choices would make my readers happy. I will select group A as I don’t have any of those titles in our library yet. Thank you again!

    • Diane

      Aww, thanks. But it ended yesterday! This post went out too late since it was such a short giveaway. Yet I hope people will still enjoy reading about the books.


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