About Christine McDonnell

Christine McDonnell is an author and the librarian at the Edward Devotion School in Brookline, Massachusetts. Her latest book is Dog Wants to Play (Viking), illustrated by Jeff Mack.

What Makes a Good Read–Aloud for Middle Graders?

cleary_ramona the pest

Back in the fifties, in my crowded parochial elementary school, the highest form of good luck landed you in Mrs. Sheeran’s fourth-grade class. The fact that Mrs. Sheeran wasn’t a nun marked her instantly as different. But more significant than her street clothes and married name were two admirable practices. First, every day at 10:30 […]

Safe Passages: What Makes a Good Early-Expert-Reader Book?

lattimore_little pear

“Mommy, what does mere mean?” a friend’s four-year-old asked, puzzled by a sentence — “Mere minutes later” — in the Superman comic he was looking at. He didn’t recognize mere as a number, and he couldn’t figure it out by himself. But his question revealed that this preschooler had learned to read. Most children learn […]