Science in your backyard

burns_handle with care

Outdoor play can double as an opportunity for learning about the natural world. These four nonfiction picture books may inspire readers to look more closely at the wildlife in their own neighborhoods. In Handle with Care: An Unusual Butterfly Journey, author Loree Griffin Burns explores the life cycle of butterflies alongside the work of a […]

Dog days of summer

stanton_monday, wednesday, and every other weekend

Dogs, cats, and…a sloth. These picture books showcase the comfort, companionship, aggravation, upheaval, and education that pets can bring into a family’s life. In Karen Stanton’s Monday, Wednesday, and Every Other Weekend, Henry and his dog Pomegranate live with Mama on Mondays, Wednesdays, and alternating weekends and with Papa the rest of the time. Rich, […]

Middle-school capers

hilmo_skies like these

Middle school can be a time when kids broaden their horizons, explore new talents, and form more grown-up opinions. But it can also be a time for mischievous adventure, social snafus, rule-breaking, and guerilla-style activism — and these middle-school capers abound with such madcap antics. Twelve-year-old Jade, star of Tess Hilmo’s Skies like These, would […]

Two Arthurs

Arthur now

Here in Boston we are getting ready for a sideswipe by Hurricane Arthur. They’ve even moved the Boston Pops and fireworks festivities to tonight instead of tomorrow. Meanwhile, Arthur is headed for the southeast coast here in the US today. It’s pretty rare for that first storm of the season — the one named with […]

Books that feature poets

The Vigilante Poets of Selwyn Academy

Recently some friends of mine from Brookline High — Mary Burchenal and Ric Calleja — were interviewed in the Boston Globe about whether poetry is starting to disappear from schools. I don’t really know, but I sure hope not. In lots of classrooms I visit, poetry is certainly a part of the curriculum. But I […]

What do I get if I read this?

Girls' bike

Despite a preponderance of research that shows that external motivators do not increase student engagement and motivation over the long-term, it still seems that you can’t find an elementary school where reading is not at some point tied to coupons to free food, stickers, certificates, or miscellaneous prizes. These gimmicks and contests do reiterate that […]

Happy birthday, Helen Keller!

birthday_manycandles_300x274

Today is Helen Keller’s birthday! She would have turned 133 today and her legacy lives on as an important figure in American history. While most remember her as a prominent individual with a disability, she was also an activist who advocated for people with disabilities as well as women’s suffrage and workers’ rights. And, she […]

Teaching perspective to first graders

Can We Save the Tiger?

Perspective is a thing so integral to understanding a story. It can even be the reason why an author thinks to lift a pencil and write a story. Yet perspective is a difficult concept, particularly for six-year-olds. As a first grade teacher, I have found that teaching about a character’s perspective is at times an […]

Playing catch-up

ala

Normally I’d upload a post bright and early on a Monday, but today…it just wasn’t gonna happen. Unlike most of the bloggers here, I don’t have end-of-school-year burnout excuse. It was just one of those weeks followed by a busy weekend followed by a Monday that came too soon. People here at the Horn Book […]

Yaqui Delgado and essential questions

medina_yaqui delgado

In a school world where text complexity seems to be all the rage, I am in a bunch of discussions about the place of YA literature in high schools moving forward.  My answer is I don’t always know, but I think YA has much potential to promote deep work to make meaning of text. During […]