Feathers | Class #4, 2015

stewart_feathers not just for flying

Birds are great animals to study because they are found everywhere, not just in rural areas. I love looking at books about birds around this time of year here in New England. The snow is starting to melt and — if you listen carefully early in the morning — you can hear new birds who […]

Dave the Potter | Class #4, 2015

Dave the Potter

Here’s a biography of someone we really know very little about. What do you make of Hill’s poem? Do you want to learn more? Do Collier’s illustrations fill in some gaps? The information at the end tells us more, but in fact we are still left with a mystery. Do Collier’s collages match the tone […]

Three articles about Dave the Potter | Class #4, 2015

Bryan Collier

In addition to the four information books we’re reading this week, there are also three articles from the July/August 2011 Horn Book Magazine related to Dave the Potter: Bryan Collier’s Coretta Scott King Award acceptance speech Profile of Bryan Collier by Marcia Wernick “Dave the Potter and Stevie the Reader” by Megan Lambert Personally, I […]

Truth, lies, and secrets

angel_things I'll never say

Adolescence is a time of self-discovery — and of deciding how much of that self to reveal to others. These new YA books explore themes of honesty and dishonesty, secret selves and public personas. When compiling the book Things I’ll Never Say: Stories About Our Secret Selves, editor Ann Angel asked contributors to write “about […]

Have you heard?

alexander_crossover audiobook

Audiobook versions of these intermediate and middle-school books — two in verse, one incorporating archival materials, and one light family story — give listeners a whole new way to immerse themselves in their engrossing tales. The Crossover‘s protagonist, Josh “Filthy McNasty” Bell, is a star basketball player along with his twin brother JB. JB’s romance […]

Women’s History Month 2015

mccully_queen of the diamond

In these picture-book biographies perfect for Women’s History Month, young women blaze trails and battle bigotry. From baseball and art to environmentalism and education, these leaders and their triumphs are to be celebrated. Emily Arnold McCully’s Queen of the Diamond: The Lizzie Murphy Story introduces a young woman who, at the beginning of the twentieth […]

Sibling rivalry

dunrea_gemma and gus

As every big sibling knows, having a little brother or sister can be…complicated. One minute they’re acting “slippery as a snake’s belly in a mudslide,” the next they’re protecting you from things that go bump in the night. The following picture books capture this ever-shifting sibling dynamic. Gemma & Gus welcomes two new goslings into […]

Chapter books | Class #3, 2015

julian_joey_omakayas

This week we are reading three chapter books — The Stories Julian Tells by Ann Cameron, Joey Pigza Swallowed the Key by Jack Gantos, and The Birchbark House by Louise Erdrich. Each is the first book in a series and each has a strong central character, an element that I think is essential in early […]

The Stories Julian Tells | Class #3, 2015

The Stories Julian Tells

The Stories Julian Tells is the first book in an ongoing series about brothers Julian and Hughie, and their neighbor Gloria. This is an early chapter book for readers who have acquired some fluency but aren’t ready to tackle longer books yet. The chapters are fairly short, there’s lots of conversation, the plot is easy […]

Joey Pigza Swallowed the Key | Class #3, 2015

joey pigza

The Joey Pigza books are hugely popular with upper elementary kids. Joey Pigza is the first of the series and while it’s not spelled out, I think it’s pretty obvious that Joey has ADHD. I like sharing this book with teachers because they tend to look at the situations described in the book completely differently […]