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Welcome, new readers!

Willems_ThankYouBook

Four welcome books — two easy readers and two beginning chapter books — invite new readers in using humor and tried-and-true formats and structures. The Thank You Book is (sob!) the final entry in Mo Willems’s hugely popular series of easy readers featuring the free-spirited Piggie and her best friend, the reliable if sometimes officious […]

In the doghouse

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Barking. Digging. Breaking things. True, the pooch protagonists of these recent picture books may have some bad habits. But as it turns out, even not-so-great qualities can have upsides, and the pups are excellent at what really matters: being a kid’s best friend. (And cleaning the floor, of course.) In Excellent Ed, each of the […]

Women can be president, too!

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With the 2016 presidential election just a few months away, news from the campaign trail continues to dominate the headlines. Our students are thus very likely hearing names of candidates and snippets of information about politics and elections. While discussing politics in school is often viewed as taboo, the campaigns of Hillary Clinton and Carly […]

Scientists as dreamers

Earmuffs for Everyone!

Can scientists be dreamers? They not only can, but should! The imagination pushes the boundaries of what can be discovered or created. The picture book biographies of the three subjects below — well-known Carl Sagan, and lesser-known Chester Greenwood and Jean-Henri Fabre — are intriguing examples of scientists who let their imaginations run away with […]

Old-fashioned reading in modern times

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Literacy enthusiast that I am, I’ve always believed that the reading block in my class schedule should solely focus on, well, reading – reading long and strong, as well as reading across genres. Yet, there’s a third type of literacy that educators across the globe are acknowledging as increasingly important within a student’s repertoire. We […]

Apps to beat the summer slump

professor astro cat

These nonfiction apps introduce new information, and reinforce familiar concepts with a fresh approach, and strengthen developing skills to encourage engaged learning throughout summer — and all year long. In Professor Astro Cat’s Solar System (based on the 2013 nonfiction book Professor Astro Cat’s Frontiers of Space), cat cosmonaut Professor Astro Cat takes you on […]

“What are you doing after graduation?”

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What high-school senior doesn’t dread that question? Young adulthood is full of change and daunting decisions; even those with solid post-graduation plans may feel as much uncertainty as excitement. The protagonists of these new novels are on the cusp of similarly life-changing moments. In Bryan Bliss’s Meet Me Here, Thomas watches his classmates celebrate graduation […]

Preschool milestones

van lieshout_i use the potty

Learning to share is hard. So is learning to use the potty and how to ditch the pacifier. The following books will help encourage preschoolers to take the next steps (though IRL they won’t get there until they’re ready). In the Leslie Patricelli preschool-book mold, the Big Kid Power series by Maria van Lieshout discusses […]

The past made personal

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Here are four historical novels about kids living through difficult times in the past, all recommended for intermediate readers. Marc Tyler Nobleman’s epistolary novel Brave like My Brother explores ten-year-old Charlie’s home-front uncertainty and the challenges of war for his older brother Joe. Joe’s letters describe life as a soldier stationed in Europe without sounding […]

A trip to the library will make a new boy of me

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Last week I went over to the school across the street from my house to help school parent (and librarian and Horn Book Magazine reviewer) Pam Yosca as she worked to reopen its long-closed library. (More truthfully, “help.”) There is so much to do: the library has been closed for six years, and no new […]