Mystery and metaphor

lockhart_we were liars

It isn’t so often that I’m dying to read a book the second it comes out. But I got up in the wee hours of the morning the other day to read We Were Liars, by E. Lockhart as soon as humanly possible. I love her books, and this one, though very different from her […]

Curious George Gets High

Curious George Takes a Job

I try to read quality new picture books to my Pre-K students, often using Horn Book recommendations as a guide (shameless plug). That being said, classic stories and characters are still highly popular among the children and thus get read frequently as well. Often we find things in classic literature that we don’t come across […]

Graphic novels for middle schoolers

faulkner_gaijin

From poignant historical fiction to introspective coming-of-age tale, hilarious space caper to action-packed superhero story, four new graphic novels for middle schoolers showcase the range of the graphic novel format. In Gaijin: American Prisoner of War, thirteen-year-old Koji Miyamoto is living in San Francisco with his (white) mother when Japan attacks Pearl Harbor. Despite being […]

To infinity and beyond!

mass_space taxi

Inquisitive intermediate readers travel into the great unknown with these four new sci-fi offerings (two of which are series openers) involving space exploration, inventions gone berserk, and UFOs. In Wendy Mass and Michael Brawer’s Space Taxi: Archie Takes Flight, eight-year-old Archie learns, on “Take Your Kid to Work Day,” that his plain old dad is […]

To sleep, perchance to dream

zoboli_big book of slumber

A lyrical bedtime reverie; an open-only-at-night library run by a little librarian; a toddler’s pre-dawn escapades; and a kooky bedtime cruise: four new picture books help smooth the way from daytime activity to bedtime quiet. Simona Mulazzani’s lush folk art in cozy nighttime colors lends a magical, drowsy atmosphere to Giovanna Zoboli’s The Big Book […]

Freedom Summer and Black History

rubin_freedom summer

This year marks the fiftieth anniversary of Freedom Summer, a touchstone in the civil rights movement. The following nonfiction books highlight important turning points in African American history. And for more on Freedom Summer, read Kathleen T. Horning’s Five Questions interview with Don Mitchell (author of the new The Freedom Summer Murders, Scholastic, 14–17 years) […]

#Weneeddiversebooks

weneeddiversebooks_300x290

I was having a passing conversation recently with a high school senior in a humanities classroom, and he said he hated “school books.” I asked why, and he said the only time black people are in books at school, they are slaves. It made me want to cry. Or maybe scream. Then I thought of […]

Confront and question

Things Fall Apart

A man decapitates someone and then hangs himself. A young man learns to return hate with hate. A powerful leader is assassinated via stabbing. An entire people group is nearly annihilated. A girl’s parents and two sisters die because of a corrupt government. A boy is raped in an alleyway, and his friend does nothing […]

Text sets for summer reading

Hatch

A few weeks ago, literacy coaches and librarians in my district gathered to plan for summer reading. We are well aware of the research that cites summer reading as critical for maintaining reading muscle and avoiding the slide that can harm our most vulnerable readers. Book-loving adults in our district care deeply about setting kids […]

Mr. Tiger love at last!

brown_mr tiger goes wild

Readers of Calling Caldecott — and all my students — will understand my joy at hearing the Boston Globe–Horn Book Awards announced Saturday. FINALLY some award love for Mr. Tiger Goes Wild! You can read the press release and reviews of the winning books here. We’ll put up photos from the announcement soon and you […]