Last adolescent lit class

The Fault in our Stars

For our last class, students are reading The Fault in Our Stars, which I offer as a “dessert book” after their hard work this term, and also as a comparison love story to Eleanor and Park from our second week. The class will also read Katrina and Rachel’s take on “What Makes a Good Love […]

Being a White Guy in Children’s Books

BadBeginning

Don’t get me wrong. White guys working in children’s books have it good. In fact, it would be fair to say we have it pretty much made. But in the wake of host Daniel Handler’s remarks at Wednesday’s National Book Awards, I find myself thinking about the privileged but peculiar position white guys have in […]

OMG

rapture

Here are two new YA books about the Rapture, starring teen girls. “It’s the end of the world as we know it / And Vivian Apple and Abigail feel fiiiine.”   

Jump See Farm app review

jump see farm menu

New educational app Jump See Farm (JUMPSEEWOW, October 2014) introduces preschool and primary-age kids to life on several independent rural farms as well as an urban apiary (Best Bees, right here in Boston!). From the main menu, tap on an icon to explore one of six subjects: pig, sheep, dairy cow, chicken, tractor, and bees. […]

The Hug Machine: a guest post by Thom Barthelmess

hug machine

My choice for Caldecott 2015 consideration is Scott Campbell’s delightful, infectious, and secretly sophisticated Hug Machine. This is the kind of book that is easy to miss because it is disguised as a romp. It doesn’t pretend to be serious, and so doesn’t signal our serious attention. It’s up to us to apply that attention. […]

Using comics in your classroom

Marek Bennet panel from Multiple Intelligences

Last month, I was fortunate to be able to attend several sessions at the Comics and the Classroom symposium offered as part of the Massachusetts Independent Comics Expo (MICE) on October 5th. The symposium, which was the first of what they hope will become an annual event as part of MICE, brought together a number […]

The Baby Tree

The Baby Tree

Sophie Blackall’s The Baby Tree was named to the NYT Best Illustrated List this year. Last year Blackall wowed us with her innovative, almost-3D pictures for The Mighty Lalouche — which fact is of course irrelevant to this discussion, since books from previous years are absolutely not allowed on the Caldecott table, literally or figuratively. But one […]

Steampunk queen: An interview with Gail Carriger

carriger_waistcoats and weaponry

Gail Carriger introduced readers to her alternate Victorian London — chock-full of steampunk technology and supernatural characters — in 2009 with Soulless, the first volume of her five-book adult series The Parasol Protectorate. The Finishing School series, a YA prequel series set in the same world, soon followed, beginning with Curtsies & Conspiracies. Espionage lessons, […]

Pictures (adolescent lit class #5)

Pictures week

This week’s class (Nov. 24, 2014) focuses on visual literacy: pictures in young adult literature, in works of both fiction and nonfiction. I offer some questions in the individual posts about the role of these books in the classroom; as always, feel free to respond in other ways with your thoughts on any of this […]

Two picture books

sis_tree of life

      The Arrival by Shaun Tan (Scholastic, 2007) The Tree of Life: Charles Darwin by Peter Sís (Farrar, 2003) Illustrated books can be easily overlooked for and by adolescents, who may see picture books as the domain of small children only. Sophisticated titles such as Shaun Tan’s The Arrival or elaborate, finely detailed works […]