Falling head over heels for reading is a magical experience, and when certain books whisk your students away to another world, you can’t help but share in the joy—especially if your young readers won’t stop talking about it! 

We asked teachers what books their students talk about endlessly. From contemporary graphic novels to beloved chapter books, these are their top picks. 

Animals on Adventures

A lovable animal embarking on a zany adventure is a tried-and-true storyline that captivates young readers. Often misunderstood and always hilarious, these star characters show students just how fun reading can be!

Dog Man is always one of the most talked-about graphic novel series among students. This action-packed series has pawed its way into the hearts of countless students and stars a half-dog, half-man character who sniffs out crime to save the world. 

The Bad Guys series is also beloved in the classroom; teachers find the laughs to be contagious, and the series’ rich vocabulary primes class discussion. Students, of course, can’t get enough of Bad Guy characters — Big Bad Wolf, Shark, Snake, and Piranha — and love incorporating different voices for each, which builds even greater reading fluency, especially among reluctant readers. 

"I can't have enough of those books,” Melissa Miller, a first-grade teacher in Tennessee, told us previously. 

Another goofy animal favorite: Hotdog! In this story, Hotdog and his friend try to help a baby bird find its mom, but have to face dirty diapers and karate-chopping roosters along the way.

Spark Lively Debate

When it comes to books that inspire class discussion, a clear choice is the I Survived series. It blends action and adventure with real events from history (through the eys of kids), and your students will be eager to discuss the characters that bring the stories to life. 

To spark even more lively debate, Front Desk and the Who Would Win? series are also great choices. In Front Desk, a young girl navigates life as an immigrant living and working at a motel with her family. This book not only helps build compassion and empathy, but is also a great way to encourage honest discussion about important topics relevant to your students. 

When real-life creatures go head-to-head in the Who Would Win? series, students can’t help but jump in and make their own predictions and arguments. Teachers find that these books inspire friendly debates, which boost reading momentum. 

“Children of all reading levels love these books,” Kristen McGonagle, a second-grade teacher in Massachusetts, explained previously. “They love the comparison of animals doing tasks — and the conversations that come from this will help get readers wanting to read more and more of these!” 

Movie Magic

Another book students talk about endlessly: The One and Only Ivan. They not only love talking about how it’s inspired by a true story, but they also love discussing the movie. Film adaptations of books are a great way for students to learn how to visualize the stories they read and learn even more about character and plot development. 

Students also love to point out the differences between the book and the movie, which is a great lead-in to deeper class discussions about storytelling.  

“Middle school students not only love this book, but you should see their faces when I tell them it was inspired by the true story of a silverback gorilla who spent 27 years intimidating children at a shopping mall in Tacoma, Washington,” Kris Hart, a middle school library specialist in Iowa, told us previously.

And, of course, once your students finally read The Hunger Games and Harry Potter, then relish in each series’ respective movie magic, you can expect non-stop classroom conversation.

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