Staff (& Student) Picks


2016 Bartlett ISD Staff Picks!!!

The Secret Lives of Bees

by Sue Monk Kidd

This is a delightful book for summer reading. Ask any 8th grader from school who read this beautiful book, full of mystery, emotional drama, prejudices and racism during the 1960's in Georgia. If you read this book, you will become addicted and not want to put it down because you will want to see what happens next. Also, learning about bees and what they do is symbolic of our human lives.

-Debbie Caldwell

I read this book one summer overlooking the bay. Walked into the house, handed it to my daughter and said, "Read this." It's To Kill a Mockingbird meets The Color Purple.

-Rebecca Beam

The Adventures of Tom Sawyer

by Mark Twain

One of my favorite books and friends were the characters of Tom Sawyer. When I was in the 8th grade, I checked this book out of the Bartlett Public Library and was entertained with the "master of manipulation", Tom, who had his friends doing his work for him. Mark Twain uses amazing figurative language, great themes, and fantastic plot development. This is a great read for the summer especially for all ages.

-Debbie Caldwell


Lord of the Flies

by William Golding

If you enjoy books about survival, this is the book for you. A group of young boys are stranded on a deserted island after a plane crash. Gangs exist with the protagonist and antagonist as their leaders. The language and savagery are for mature readers, but William Golding does an amazing job of how the "survival of the fittest" applies. Are the boys rescued before it is too late? Read the book and find out.

-Debbie Caldwell

Pete the Cat by James Dean

This is a delightful book series for beginner readers! Any student who reads these wonderfully entertaining books, full of music & rhyme, instantly falls in love with Pete. You will become addicted and not want to put them down. Thankfully, it's a series, so you can keep up with Pete and all of his comical antics and songs.

-Marie Stephens 

Ender’s Game

by Orson Scott Card

Are you good at video games? What if every video game you played was designed to test your mental ability to command an army? Young Ender Wiggin has been recruited for battle school, but the “game” he must play and master here is preparing him to defend the entire human race from an impending alien invasion!!! Card’s Sci-Fi masterpiece is fun, inventive, and full of twists!

-Ryan Lopez


The Call of the Wild by Jack London

I read Call Of The Wild by Jack London for the first time when I was in Kindergarten. My mom was teaching it in her curriculum with her 8th graders and had copies in the back seat. I started it and was hooked by the end of chapter one. Since then, I have read it at least 10 times. I love London's ability to use descriptive language to paint vivid images in the reader's head. He writes the novel from the perspective of Buck a civilized dog from the Santa Clara Valley who is thrown into the primitive world of Gold Rush Alaska. He embarks on an epic journey crisscrossing across Alaska and learning how to survive and eventually thrive.

-Ryla Beam

The Chronicles of Narnia

by C. S. Lewis

Talking animals, witches, dragons, dwarfs, and more--normal children from our world stumble into Narnia, a realm of magic and adventure! These are the books that taught me to love reading! They were in a sense my own magic wardrobe that opened my imagination to a new world of possibilities! Although written as children’s fairy tales, even as an adult these fantastic stories entertain, intrigue, and at times, move me to tears.

-Ryan Lopez

The Hobbit

by J. R. R. Tolkien

When I was still a young boy, my father read The Hobbit to my brothers and me. I will always remember sitting wide-eyed on the floor as he described Bilbo’s wild adventure with a stubborn clan a dwarfs and a meddlesome wizard to help them steal back their treasure from a fierce and terrible dragon! Explore news lands, meet the mysterious elves, face giant spiders and crude trolls and vicious goblins, discover a magic ring and a glowing sword--get swept away with Bilbo on his dangerous journey in Tolkien’s classic fantasy adventure story!

-Ryan Lopez

Nancy Drew Mystery Stories

by Carolyn Keene

My favorite series when I was young. I loved the mystery, intrigue and journey that I knew would take place with every book. I remember reading T he Hidden Staircase cover to cover in one day. I just could not put it down! Don’t let the cover, and old school attire throw you off – these books are about Nancy, a tough, problem-solving female who is absolutely fearless. My generation of girl power books. I read them all and even saved the hardbacks to pass down to my grandkids. I am so excited that I now have two little granddaughters that I hope read them one day and for them to enjoy the stories like I did.

-Lisa Spain

The Wizard of Oz

by L. Frank Baum

This is a book for all ages. As Dorothy moves through a magical world with her friends the Scarecrow, the Tin Woodman and the Cowardly Lion, what author L. Frank Baum does with the development of the characters endears the reader to their insecurities and lack of self-confidence. This is an incredible journey down a yellow brick road of wonder, joy and happy endings. For the avid reader that wants to go a little deeper in their reads, this book is a must-read for lovers of political allegories. The symbolism at every page turn is a major reason why The Wizard of Oz is one of my favorite reads.

-Lisa Spain

by Elie Wiesel

In all fairness, historical novels are some of my favorites, but even if they were not, I would have a deep respect and appreciation of this book. Night is a tough, dark book to read about a really difficult topic, but the author connects his story and really moves the reader. It is a short, intense read that is a first hand account of the Holocaust. One cannot read this book and not come out the other side without actually being forced to remember, which I believe is directly the intent of the author, Wiesel.

-Lisa Spain