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Music makers

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Deans, Karen  Swing Sisters: The Story of the International Sweethearts of Rhythm Gr. K–3     32 pp.     Holiday Illustrated by Joe Cepeda. This book recounts the highs (performing for soldiers overseas) and lows (dealing with Jim Crow laws in the South) for the Sweethearts, an all-female jazz band started in 1939 at a school for African […]

Psychology and empowerment

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Cain, Susan  Quiet Power: The Secret Strengths of Introverts Gr. 4–6     259 pp.     Dial Illustrated by Grant Snider. With Gregory Mone and Erica Moroz. This distillation of the concepts in Cain’s adult book Quiet focuses on situations likely to affect kids and teens, with anecdotes from young introverts. Quiet Power discusses the challenges of introversion […]

Feminism

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Braun, Eric  Loretta Lynch: First African American Woman Attorney General Gr. 4–6     48 pp.     Lerner Roland, James  Ruth Bader Ginsburg: Iconic Supreme Court Justice Gr. 4–6     48 pp.     Lerner Gateway Biographies series. Two high-achieving women are portrayed fairly, with equal attention paid to their personal and professional lives. Ginsburg’s story spans her childhood in Brooklyn […]

American immigration

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Coy, John  Their Great Gift: Courage, Sacrifice, and Hope in a New Land Gr. K–3, 4–6, middle school     32 pp.     Carolrhoda Photographs by Wing Young Huie. A short poetic text focuses on both the difficulties and rewards of immigrant life. Poignant black-and-white and color photos, taken over thirty years in Huie’s home state of Minnesota […]

Native American Heritage Month

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Behnke, Alison  A Timeline History of the Trail of Tears Gr. K–3     48 pp.     Lerner Timeline Trackers: Westward Expansion series. This entry in the approachable series examines events surrounding the forced removal of the Cherokee people from their land. From the arrival of the first Europeans through the Trail of Tears and after, this well-organized […]

Charlotte’s Web | Class #6, fall 2016

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Our class won’t meet next Wednesday because of Thanksgiving, so this post is going up early. During our last class meeting (November 30), we will be holding five mock book award sessions. There are three Caldecott groups and one each for Geisel and Sibert. Check out the books they have nominated here [link to come] […]

Books in the Home: “Mommy, Do I Have White Skin?”: Skin Color, Family, and Picture Books

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When my son was five, he was watching TV when a commercial came on that showed a woman slathering her peach-colored arms with lotion. He glanced down at his own brown arm. After poking it with a finger, he asked: “Mommy, do I have white skin?” It was a moment that seemed straight out of […]

Teaching poetry

Poetrees

In a short 6-week module like the one I teach at Harvard Ed School, time is the enemy. My quixotic goal for this too-short class is to expose students to all aspects of children’s literature, in breadth and in depth. Of course, every year and there is something I wish we had discussed in more […]

Folklore and poetry | Class #5, fall 2016

Folklore and poetry

For our class on November 16, we are reading four books and one article. I like combining these two genres because both need to be read aloud in order to really appreciate them. Folklore has to have a strong voice, as it comes from an oral tradition where storytellers have individual styles, just as today’s […]

Wonderfall!

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Bid goodbye to summer, embrace the natural beauty and coziness of autumn, and prepare for the coming cold with these seasonally appropriate new picture books. Kenard Pak‘s Goodbye Summer, Hello Autumn offers a warm welcome to fall. “Hello, late summer morning,” says a young girl in a red scarf as she leaves her house on […]