As I psyched up for another MUF post, I decided to take a glance back at my previous posts, hoping to find some form of inspiration awaiting me. Surprisingly, it actually worked. And it’s all because of how I name my computer files.
You see, whenever I hammer out a MUF post and save it to my computer, I name the file by starting with the year-month-day date. So when I went to sift through my old posts, the very first file caught my eye: “2012-7-20…”
July 2012. . . .
July 2015. . . .
This month is my triple MUFiversary!
I’m a bit of an expert on anniversaries. In fact, I’ve been forgetting them until the last minute for 20 years. (Though I made up for it just last month when my wife and I celebrated our 20th anniversary via some mutual de-bucket-listing and jumped out of an airplane while 13,000 feet above the ground. She made me go first. But I’ve forgiven her.)
Anyway, the important anniversaries don’t stop there! Digging still deeper into my anniversary theme, I realized this is the 5th year for MUF, which was launched in 2010. So . . . with my wife and me celebrating 20 years of marriage, MUF celebrating its 5th MUFiversary, and my personal celebration of three years of MUFhood, I decided to weave those three anniversaries together and see what I got.
The result? . . . A 20 year journey back through the world of children’s publishing, using a series of 5-year leaps, with each leap including three if-you-haven’t-read-these-you-really-need-to books.
5 YEARS AGO (2010):
- BECAUSE OF MR. TERUPT by Rob Buyea. The story shifts between seven different narrators—each providing a unique voice and perspective as the story unfolds.
- OUT OF MY MIND by Sharon Draper. The main character can’t walk. She can’t talk. But she has a brilliant mind that refuses to stay hidden.
- MOON OVER MANIFEST by Clare Vanderpool. I don’t read much historical fiction—I’m more of a contemporary-fiction guy. But I made an exception for this debut historical novel. And I’m sure glad I did.
10 YEARS AGO (2005):
- THE PENULTIMATE PERIL by Lemony Snicket. The 12th (and penultimate) novel in the 13-book Series of Unfortunate Events. Who knew having the narrator constantly defining words for the reader could be so much fun?
- HARRY POTTER AND THE HALF-BLOOD PRINCE by J. K. Rowling. Another penultimate story that finally confirmed it—Severus Snape was clearly a bad guy. . . . Wasn’t he?
- THE LIGHTNING THIEF by Rick Riordan. Yeah, another series book (but not the penultimate one). This middle-grade novel kicks off the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series, which my 13-year-old daughter has read approximately 23.5 million times.
15 YEARS AGO (2000):
- STARGIRL by Jerry Spinelli. Not to brag or anything, but I’ve got a signed copy of Stargirl on my bookshelf. A. Signed. Copy. You may now be jealous. But don’t overdo it.
- BECAUSE OF WINN-DIXIE by Kate DiCamillo. How could you not love a novel containing a large, ugly dog named after a grocery store?
- SCHOOLED by Gordon Korman. I had to include this book because it contains an opening paragraph that makes me want to keep reading every time:
I was thirteen the first time I saw a police officer up close. He was arresting me for driving without a license. At the time, I didn’t even know what a license was. I wasn’t too clear on what being arrested meant either.
20 YEARS AGO (1995):
- WAYSIDE SCHOOL GETS A LITTLE STRANGER by Louis Sachar. The third and final chapter book in the rather wacky Wayside School series still makes for a terrifically fun read-aloud even a couple of decades after publication.
- THE WATSONS GO TO BIRMINGHAM – 1963 by Christopher Paul Curtis. A powerful historical novel that you simply need to read. Because.
- WALK TWO MOONS by Sharon Creech. Okay, I cheated. Walk Two Moons was actually published in 1994. But it won the Newbery Medal in 1995. Since it remains one of my favorite books of all time, I decided that was close enough.
Have a favorite, must-read book published in 1995, 2000, 2005, or 2010? Leave a comment and share the title!
Along with his MUF posts, T. P. Jagger can be found at www.tpjagger.com, where he provides brief how-to writing-tip videos as The 3-Minute Writing Teacher plus original readers’ theatre scripts for middle-grade teachers. He also has a 10-lesson, video-based creative writing course available at Curious.com.