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Writing for adults and adolescents

Untwine by Edwidge Danticat

Last January, I was at the annual meeting of the School Reform Initiative, a wonderful organization that works to help schools find ways to communicate and collaborate more effectively.  I was thrilled to find out that the keynote speaker was Edwidge Danticat, a Haitian-American novelist I’ve loved for a long time. She delivered an important […]

The past made present | class #3, spring 2017


Next Tuesday (February 7), the YA literature class will be discussing several books on the theme “The past made present,” considering both nonfiction and historical fiction. A number of these works address the topic of Civil Rights. One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia No Crystal Stair: A Documentary Novel of the Life and Work of Lewis […]

Refugee children

sanna_the journey

The following recently published picture books focus on very young children’s experiences as refugees — fleeing war, unspeakable violence, destruction of all they’ve known — and hoping against hope they’ll be welcomed into a new country where their families can find better lives. In a piercing first-person account, one of the two children in the […]

Introducing ancient Egypt


How can you introduce children to history in an exciting and engaging way? As an Egyptian parent, more specifically, how do you encourage your children to celebrate their heritage if their curriculum doesn’t and the general media is unreliable? Personally, my thirst for exploring the mysteries of my heritage was never fully quenched in my […]

Windows and mirrors | class #2 spring 2017


Please join the adolescent lit class at HGSE as we discuss two recent YA books for our second class on January 31. The students are required to comment on one of the readings, but we hope any of you who have read one of these will want to join our discussion. The Absolutely True Diary of a […]

Books mentioned in the January 2017 issue of Nonfiction Notes from the Horn Book

Young people making a difference Freedman, Russell  We Will Not Be Silent: The White Rose Student Resistance Movement That Defied Adolf Hitler Gr. 4–6, middle school     104 pp.     Clarion     2016 Trade ISBN 978-0-544-22379-0 Goodman, Susan E.  The First Step: How One Girl Put Segregation on Trial Illustrated by E. B. Lewis Gr. K–3, 4–6     40 […]

Our solar system and beyond

space_adamson_secrets of neptune

Adamson, Thomas K.  The Secrets of Neptune Gr. K–3, 4–6     32 pp.     Capstone Berne, Emma Carlson  The Secrets of Earth Gr. K–3, 4–6     32 pp.     Capstone Radomski, Kassandra  The Secrets of Saturn Gr. K–3, 4–6     32 pp.     Capstone Smithsonian: Planets series. These books for second through fourth graders include basic facts about planets in our […]

Architecture and engineering

architecture_corey_secret subway

Corey, Shana  The Secret Subway Gr. K–3, 4–6     40 pp.     Random/Schwartz & Wade Illustrated by Red Nose Studio. This tour de force tells of nineteenth-century inventor Alfred Ely Beach’s solution to New York City’s crowded streets: in 1870, he unveiled the first underground train, which went back and forth in a 294-foot tunnel. (Self-serving bigwigs […]

Farm to table

farm_barker_organic foods

Barker, David M.  Organic Foods Gr. 4–6, middle school     64 pp.     Lerner Hand, Carol  Urban Gardening Gr. 4–6, middle school          64 pp.     Lerner Mickelson, Trina  Free-Range Farming Gr. 4–6, middle school          64 pp.     Lerner Perdew, Laura  Eating Local Gr. 4–6, middle school          64 pp.     Lerner Growing Green series. This series for upper-middle-grades focusing on “green” […]

Civics and community

community_ancona_can we help

Ancona, George  Can We Help?: Kids Volunteering to Help Their Communities Gr. K–3     48 pp.     Candlewick Straightforward text describes various ways that children can help those in need: through knitting hats for the homeless, tending a community garden that donates its produce, etc. Young readers may find the text cumulatively leaden, but they’ll pore over […]