Harry Potter read-alikes

duane_so you want to be a wizard

These titles — all recommended by The Horn Book Magazine — offer a mix of magic, adventure, humor, and suspense that will enchant Harry Potter fans. So You Want to Be a Wizard by Diane Duane [Young Wizards series] (Delacorte, 1983; reissued by Harcourt, 2003) A splendid, unusual fantasy tells of the efforts of two […]

The Very Hungry Caterpillar & Friends – Play & Explore app review

very hungry caterpillar menu

Digital reproductions of beautiful watercolor-painted collages from some of Eric Carle’s most popular picture books take center stage as “3D pop-ups” in a new, colorful app, The Very Hungry CaterpillarTM & Friends – Play & Explore (StoryToys, 2014). Though this activity app for the youngest users does not contain any of Carle’s stories, readers familiar […]

Why are we doing any of this?

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Every teacher has heard it before: if you’re teaching students to succeed on the Test, then you’re teaching them the skills they’ll need to succeed in college and beyond. And if you’re like me, you’ve either inwardly or outwardly scoffed at this claim. As I use the summer to reflect on this past school year […]

Chicks ‘n ducks ‘n geese

WONDERFUL_FARM_HARPER

We’re off tomorrow to spend a few days with the Sendak Fellows, Nora Krug and Harry Bliss, at a farm Maurice owned in upstate New York. (Why did he need a farm? Did he need a place to get away from it all from his place to get away from it all in the wilds […]

Summertime books for middle school boys

lieberman_boys_all

Earlier this summer, my middle school colleagues and I worked on a curriculum project in our district’s comprehensive high school — a busy place during the summer. On one of those days, literally hundreds of our students lined up to participate in a teen summer job fair. As they patiently waited in line, they chatted […]

Reading about WWI

freedman_war to end all wars

One hundred years ago today, the first shots of World War I were fired. These books about the WWI era — fiction and nonfiction for a range of ages — are all recommended by The Horn Book Magazine and The Horn Book Guide. Picture Books The text of Timothy Decker’s unusual picture book The Letter […]

Why Can’t the English?

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We saw Dawn of the Planet of the Apes last night–ehh. Some the intra- and inter-species encounters were quite moving and dramatic but the plot was on automatic and the fabulously watchable Judy Greer was wasted (she could have been completely blotto given that all she had to do was lie there with a suffering […]

Frog Fridays booklist

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Leapin’ lizards! (Oh, wait.) Here are some nonfiction books and picture books about our “phavorite” amphibians. Nonfiction Arnosky, Jim All About Frogs 32 pp. Scholastic 2002. ISBN 0-590-48164-9 (Gr. K-3) This book informs with a definition of amphibians, the differences between frogs and toads, identifying markings on various species, anatomical features, habits, and how frog […]

Shout Science! app review

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Shout Science! (Scott Dubois, 2013) is a comic-style nonfiction app that tells three stories of figures from the European Scientific Revolution. The first biography follows Maria Sybilla Merian (1647-1717), a watercolor painter and insect collector in Frankfurt, Germany. Merian observed the life cycle of butterflies, including metamorphosis, and documented it in two books she wrote […]

He must have been pissed.

http://www.carolinefontenot.com/idioms-episode-xi/

In hunting down a quote in the June 1972 issue of the Magazine, I happened upon a note that resonates with the recent debate over the ALA awards and confidentiality. Under “Staff Notes,” in the Hunt Breakfast (yesteryear’s Impromptu column) the first entry is: “Paul Heins [the then-Editor of HB], as one of the three […]