My Favorite Things

If you are looking for a fresh approach to celebrating reading in your classroom or library, consider a “Favorite Things” theme.  Begin by having readers make a list of their “favorite things.”    Then send them searching for books that best represents their “favorite things.”   For example, if someone likes chocolate, send them looking for cookbooks that have recipes for fudge, brownies, or chocolate chip cookies.  If a person names baseball, then they may search in the nonfiction section of the library for a book about baseball; the biography section for a book about a famous baseball player; the fiction section for a story about the game of baseball.   Many library users love crafts.  Lead them to books like The Golden Book of Family Fun (all ages) by Peggy Brown and Ill. By David Sheldon.  Readers will celebrate the idea that there is something in the library that satisfies their interests.  Other suggestions for a “Favorite Things” theme include:

Have readers make a list of favorite books in specific genres.  Such genres and books may include the following from Random House:

Favorite Historical Novels

The Book Thief (ages 12-up) by Marcus Zusak

Bud, Not Buddy (ages 9-12) by Christopher Paul Curtis

Counting on Grace (ages 9-12) by Elizabeth Winthrop

Moon Over Manifest (ages 9-12) by Clare Vauderpool

Nory Ryan’s Song (ages 9-12) by Patricia Reilly Giff

North by Night (ages 12-up) by Katherine Ayers

Rodzina (ages 9-12) by Karen Cushman


Favorite Humorous Novels

Junie B. Jones series (ages 6-8) by Barbara Park

Almost Starring Skinnybones (ages 8-12) by Barbara Park

Alvin Ho series (ages 7-9) by Lenore Look & illus. by Lellyen Pham

Imogene’s Last Stand (ages 6-8) by Candace Fleming & illus. by Nancy Carpenter

How to Survive Middle School (ages 9-12) by Donna Gephart

10 Things to Do Before I Die (ages 12-up) by Daniel Ehrenhaft


Favorite Fantasy and science fiction

Ace: The Very Important Pig (ages 6-8) by Dick King-Smith & illus. by Lynette Hemmant

100 Cupboards (ages 8-12) by N.D. Wilson

The Diamond of Darkhold (ages 9-12) by Jeanne DuPrau

Ashling (ages 12-up) by Isobelle Carmody

His Dark Materials Trilogy (ages 12-up) by Philip Pullman

Brain Jack (ages 12-up) by Brian Falkner

Emerald Atlas (ages 12-up) by John Stephens


Favorite Mystery Novels

The Amazing Ghost Detectives (ages 4-8) by Daniel San Souci

The Case of the Cool Itch Kid (ages 6-9) by Patricia Reilly Giff

The Case of the Elevator Duck (ages 6-9) by Polly Berrien Berends

The Black Heart Crypt (ages 9-12) by Chris Grabenstein

Boom! (ages 10-up) by Mark Haddon

Acceleration (ages 12-up) by Graham McNamee

Bad Taste in Boys (ages 12-up) by Carrie Harris

If the Witness Lied (ages 12-up) by Caroline B. Cooney

Favorite Classic

Alexander the Wind-Up Mouse (ages 4-6) by Leo Lionni

Are You My Mother? (ages 3-6) by P.D. Eastman

Go, Dog, Go! (ages 3-6) by P.D. Eastman

The 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins (ages 6-9) by Dr. Seuss

The Phantom Tollbooth (ages 8-up) by Norton Juster & illus. by Jules Feiffer

Harriet the Spy (ages 10-up) by Louise Fitzhugh

The Black Stallion (ages 10-14) by Walter Farley

The Chocolate War (ages 12-up) by Robert Cormier

Encourage readers to think about favorite book characters and write about that character’s favorite things.  Then ask them to suggest books that the character would enjoy reading.  Examples from Random House include:

  •  Jack Catcher, one of the main characters in All the Earth, Thrown to the Sky (ages 9-12) by Joe R. Lansdale dreams of being a hero.  Have readers make a list of novels about heroes that he may like.
  • Wahoo Cray, the main character of Carl Hiaasen’s Chomp (ages 9-12) loves   animals and the Florida Everglades.  What books would he enjoy reading?
  • Maybe readers will choose Deza Malone, the main character of The Mighty Miss Malone (ages 9-12) by Christopher Paul Curtis; Brick and Mariel in All the Way Home (ages 9-12) by Patricia Reilly Giff; Brendan Buckley in Brendan Buckley’s Universe (ages 8-12) by Sundae Frazier; and Andi Alpers in Revolution (ages 14-up) by Jennifer Donnelly.

Suggest that families volunteer their favorite read aloud books, and post a list of the books on the school or library’s website.

Random House Teachers and Librarians