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Inspiring women

women_krull_dolley madison

Krull, Kathleen Dolley Madison Illustrated by Steve Johnson and Lou Fancher Gr. 4–6     48 pp.     Bloomsbury Krull, Kathleen Judy Blume Illustrated by David Leonard Gr. 4–6     48 pp.     Bloomsbury Krull, Kathleen Sonia Sotomayor Illustrated by Angela Dominguez Gr. 4–6     48 pp.     Bloomsbury Women Who Broke the Rules series. Using the theme of rule-breaking to introduce […]

Field Notes: Escaping Series Mania

building our house

Last spring I worked, temporarily, as a school librarian, a position I hadn’t held since Reagan was president. There were lots of adjustments, some easier than others. But the biggest surprise of all was that in this elementary school in an affluent suburb in the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex, almost every child was really reading, with […]

Who should we follow?

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Now that Lauren’s adolescent lit class is over, I have a scant two weeks to put the finishing touches on my children’s lit module. Harvard has a new web tool, so I have to re-create my old links page from scratch, starting with social media recommendations. The problem is, I’m a bit of a dinosaur […]

New (and old) friends for beginning readers

new readers_depaola_when andy met sandy

Many beginning readers love visiting familiar characters. Here are two continuations of existing series; one spinoff of an old favorite; and the beginning of a series whose characters may quickly feel like old friends. Tomie dePaola and Jim Lewis debut a series for just-beginning readers, with entertaining, expressive illustrations by dePaola. In the first entry, […]

Let’s hear it for spring

spring_karas_on the farm

Winter is almost over! Time to head outdoors. Four very different picture books take readers outside, whether it’s on a working farm, in an imaginary tree fort, for a day out with two best friends (one is a bulldog), or going up on a mountaintop in search of a lost kite. On the Farm, at […]

Some audiobooks!

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Variously set long ago, far away and right here, right now, these audiobooks deeply engage middle-grade listeners in the struggles — and triumphs — of their protagonists. George, Alex Gino’s middle-grade novel about a transgender girl named George (who secretly thinks of herself as Melissa), gets a remarkable reading from narrator Jamie Clayton, herself transgender. […]

Her-stories

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March is Women’s History Month, and this is an especially noteworthy year for one of the subjects of these four YA biographies (and possible vindication for another one of them whose notorious reputation precedes her). Hillary Rodham Clinton: A Woman Living History by Karen Blumenthal offers a positive yet frank account of Clinton‘s life through […]

Last class | Class #6, 2016

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While different in content and audience, both books this week take an honest look at mistake-making and forgiveness. Rebecca Stead explores dearly held friendships at a time of tremendous growth and change (seventh grade!). In his confessional memoir for older readers, Jack Gantos opens up about a disastrous adolescent decision that ultimately leads to his […]

Hole in My Life | Class #6, 2016

Hole in My Life

A beloved author for children, Jack Gantos takes a risk in revealing his naïve involvement in drug smuggling and subsequent prison time as a young man. Is there value in engaging so honestly with young adult readers over controversial topics? How might they react to this work of nonfiction?

Goodbye Stranger | Class #6, 2016

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Stead seems to really get this age group, changing relationships, and the time when the wrong move can seem like the end of the world. How does she balance the drama of this experience with respect and care for her characters and readers?