Using Books

Bringing books and people together.

The value of the graphic novel

eldeafo

This year, I’ve really pushed my students to embrace graphic novels. It’s helped my low readers to access the same information as their peers, and although some students read it because it’s “easier,” they’re reading. What I find myself conflicted with now is that my school is part of the Accelerated Reader (AR) program, where […]

Why schools still need libraries (and librarians)

ribay_whyneedlibraries

I felt like a scavenger. There I was, in a prestigious private school’s library, picking through books they were getting rid of in order to make space for a new tech area. The staff was extremely kind, but I still resented what their students had and mine didn’t. As I’ve explained in previous posts, the […]

A sense of place

Maine picture books

“Doesn’t this book make you think of Rockport, of being down at the beach and feeling the waves?” one of my students asks me, holding up our classroom’s copy of Andre by Fran Hodgkins. “It does remind me of that,” I tell my student. “Why don’t you read what is says on the seal’s collar […]

Teaching and reading in a YA movie world

The Giver movie poster

The first time I read The Giver, I was astounded. I got to the last page, sat for a moment in wonder, and then flipped back to page 1 to begin again, in the hopes I could hold that moment for just a little longer. The images that the book conjured for me were permanent, even today, many years and reads later.

Picture books under the sea

Life in the Ocean

With water covering around 70% of the world’s surface and playing home to some of the most fascinating creatures on earth, it is not surprising that it is a perennially popular topic for young children. And, this ongoing popularity means that there are plenty of books available on this topic to encourage students to pursue […]

Lives and times

kamkwamba_boy who harnessed the wind

The settings of these narrative nonfiction titles span decades and geography — from WWII Denmark to contemporary Malawi — but the issues they explore are incredibly timely. When heavy rains, then drought, devastated his country of Malawi and the corrupt government didn’t respond, young William Kamkwamba used his scientific ingenuity to help people in need. […]

Hoppy for Poppy

stein_tad and dad

Perfect for Father’s Day read-alouds, these picture books show a variety of dads — from those on lily pads to those in eucalyptus forests, from fantasy kingdoms to suburban parks — raising, teaching, and loving their children. In David Ezra Stein’s Tad and Dad, little frog Tad loves his father so much that he can […]

Listen, laugh, and learn

perkins_nuts to you audio

Some stories can be at their funniest — and most poignant — when read aloud. The following audiobooks, recommended for intermediate and middle-school listeners, offer lots of laughs and lots to learn. Lynne Rae Perkins’s Nuts to You tells the wacky story of a trio of industrious young squirrels saving their respective colonies from the […]

In summer

spiegelman_lost in nyc

Anna and Kristoff. Olaf and Sven. Pablo and Alicia. The following books for young independent readers feature unlikely pairs palling around in the big city, the ‘burbs…and contemporary Norway. (Is that close to Arendelle? It is!) At the start of Nadja Spiegelman’s lively graphic-novel picture book Lost in NYC: A Subway Adventure, new-kid Pablo’s class […]

We need (more) diverse authors

#WNMDB

In the Age of Testing, it seems creativity is often left by the wayside. Professional development for teachers these days focuses on practices that supposedly raise test scores. Practice questions. Test-prep software. Data analysis. Incentives. To make room for these practices, it seems that many high schools no longer teach creative writing. We teach reading […]