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2016 Summer Reading List

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Need suggestions for beach reading or books to bring to summer camp? Here are our top ten books for different age ranges — including fiction, nonfiction, and poetry — all published 2015–2016 and ideal for the season.

Eureka!

carson_inside biosphere 2

Inspire middle-school readers with these true tales of intellectual inquiry, scientific advancement, and STEM trailblazers. In her latest Scientists in the Field series entry Inside Biosphere 2: Earth Science Under Glass, Mary Kay Carson takes readers into the research facility designed to be a self-sustaining model of Earth’s environments. The ability to control environmental conditions […]

Mock award results | Class #6, 2016

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The children’s lit class met for the last time last night and we held six (6!) mock book award deliberations. Each student chose which award they wanted to judge and had free reign to nominate any eligible book. I’m pretty sure every last one of them also brought snacks to fuel their discussions. You can […]

Audio for teens

shusterman_challenger deep audio

Who says teenagers never listen? The following YA audiobooks are so compelling that teens will be lost in the stories. The audiobook version of Challenger Deep, Neal Shusterman‘s novel about one young man’s battle with mental illness, reinforces both the disorienting confusion of the disease and the tenuous hopes for its treatment. Caden Bosch’s first-person […]

A little light fantasy

cushman_grayling's song

With historical, contemporary, and folkloric set-ups, this selection of new light fantasies has something for every middle-grade fantasy fan. Grayling’s Song is a moral tale with a simple lesson: it’s not magic but rather “courage, cleverness, imagination, good judgment, and good sense” that make for a hero who can overcome evil. When her wise-woman mother […]

Folktales redux

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Three recent picture books offer fresh takes on old tales from the likes of Grimm and Aesop; a fourth paints fairy-tale baddies in a more favorable, relatable light. Holly Hobbie’s handsome edition of Hansel & Gretel strikes just the right balance between scary and not-too. The deep green forest is mysterious but inviting, its darkness […]

Last children’s lit class in 2016

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It’s hard to believe that this half-semester module is finishing up in one week. Tonight the students are handing in their annotated bibliographies — the big written assignment in this course. Next, we head into the last class for a little fun. We are reading Charlotte’s Web for dessert but most of our last meeting […]

Charlotte’s Web | Class #6, 2016

Charlotte's Web

During our last class meeting, we will be holding six mock book award sessions. There are four Caldecott groups and one each for Geisel and Sibert. Check out the books they have nominated here and tell us which one would get your first vote. Charlotte’s Web has been my last class reading assignment for several […]

Mock book awards | Class #6, 2016

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During our last class, students will meet in mock award groups. We did this for the first time last year and it went surprisingly well. This year the class is larger, which means there will be four Caldecott committees instead of two. Like last year, we will follow the terms and criteria as outlined by […]

Recommended Poetry: Young Adult

block_how to uncage a girl

Block, Francesca Lia How to (Un)cage a Girl 119 pp. HarperCollins/Cotler 2008. ISBN 978-0-06-135836-4 Library binding ISBN 978-0-06-135837-1 This three-part collection includes forty-five autobiographical poems. Part one details Block’s teenage years; part two follows her as an adult; part three contains “Love Poems for Girls.” Readers will welcome advice from someone who not only understands […]