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Challenge your students to activism

I was too young in the 1960s to join the activist movement, and the narrow-minded family in which I grew up wouldn’t have tolerated it. But I feel as if I’ve been given a second chance. Today’s political and social atmosphere simply won’t let me be silent to the injustices I see being committed all […]

Unprecedented daring: awe-inspiring picture book biographies

Are you a daredevil at heart? Ready to take on a challenge? Are you passionate about causes and willing to jump in when you see injustice, even in the face of possible danger? If you answered “yes” to any of these, you’ll find a kindred spirit in the subjects of these two books. If you […]

Share your summer reading lists

With schools finished for the season, most have posted summer reading lists. Back in my school days, I remember two kinds of lists: the ones with required reading (classics to be read before grade 9) and the much-preferred lists of books we were encouraged to read just for fun. At the Horn Book, we create […]

Using picture books to teach adolescents about genre

I teach a course every spring about methods in teaching writing, and one topic we learn about is teaching genre. Adolescents need a fairly broad understanding of a variety of genres, both reading and writing them, though often English classrooms focus heavily on reading novels and writing analytical essays. So every year, I make the […]

War and refugees

Given the world we live in, where a picture of a kid who is dazed after a bombing is becoming normal, our children are exposed more and more to the topics of war and refugees from war. Even when we live in safe homes, neighborhoods or countries, we must expose our children to these topics. […]

Harry Potter and the Travel Ban

“Oh, really? You don’t act like an only child!” Growing up and entering adulthood, I have heard this phrase many a time. I take comfort knowing that I am not suffering from the dreaded “only child syndrome” of those who are spoiled or self-involved. I’d be lying, however, if I didn’t admit that as a […]

Last class | class #6, spring 2017

When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead Changing friendships, New York City, time travel. Mysterious notes and everyday sixth grade life. How does Rebecca Stead weave all these strands into a coherent whole? Which catch you as a reader? In addition to your comments on our final text, please share any other thoughts as we […]

Pictures and visual literacy | class #5, spring 2017

The next adolescent lit class (February 28, 2017) focuses on visual literacy: pictures in young adult literature, in works of both fiction and nonfiction. The prompts below address the role of these books in the classroom; you might also respond to the interplay of text and pictures (or wordlessness), or to whatever engages you most […]

Life lessons in “best friend” easy readers

As a Pre-K teacher, I want to help my students learn to socialize and make friends. Inevitably, children often pair off and become best friends as the year progresses. These relationships involve playing and experiencing great joy together. But best friends can also fight, argue, annoy, and experience sadness. I want to help children in […]

Beyond the world we know | class #4, spring 2017

This week’s topic is “Beyond the world we know” — a category that encompasses an extensive range of books, from magical realism to science fiction to the far away places of other worlds. Jane Langton’s classic piece on fantasy from the 1973 Horn Book, “The Weak Place in the Cloth” provides an apt and lovely […]