Books that feature poets

The Vigilante Poets of Selwyn Academy

Recently some friends of mine from Brookline High — Mary Burchenal and Ric Calleja — were interviewed in the Boston Globe about whether poetry is starting to disappear from schools. I don’t really know, but I sure hope not. In lots of classrooms I visit, poetry is certainly a part of the curriculum. But I […]

What do I get if I read this?

Girls' bike

Despite a preponderance of research that shows that external motivators do not increase student engagement and motivation over the long-term, it still seems that you can’t find an elementary school where reading is not at some point tied to coupons to free food, stickers, certificates, or miscellaneous prizes. These gimmicks and contests do reiterate that […]

Happy birthday, Helen Keller!

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Today is Helen Keller’s birthday! She would have turned 133 today and her legacy lives on as an important figure in American history. While most remember her as a prominent individual with a disability, she was also an activist who advocated for people with disabilities as well as women’s suffrage and workers’ rights. And, she […]

Teaching perspective to first graders

Can We Save the Tiger?

Perspective is a thing so integral to understanding a story. It can even be the reason why an author thinks to lift a pencil and write a story. Yet perspective is a difficult concept, particularly for six-year-olds. As a first grade teacher, I have found that teaching about a character’s perspective is at times an […]

Playing catch-up

ala

Normally I’d upload a post bright and early on a Monday, but today…it just wasn’t gonna happen. Unlike most of the bloggers here, I don’t have end-of-school-year burnout excuse. It was just one of those weeks followed by a busy weekend followed by a Monday that came too soon. People here at the Horn Book […]

Yaqui Delgado and essential questions

medina_yaqui delgado

In a school world where text complexity seems to be all the rage, I am in a bunch of discussions about the place of YA literature in high schools moving forward.  My answer is I don’t always know, but I think YA has much potential to promote deep work to make meaning of text. During […]

Caught in Charlotte’s Web

Charlotte's Web

I teach ESL to adults and have often used children’s books as educational tools with these students who are trying to master English. I’ve read picture books to lower level classes, but the year I taught Advanced Conversation, I knew I needed something different. Having taught lower level classes, I can say that in comparison […]

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

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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 […]