Review of The Emperor of Any Place

wynne-jones_emperor of any place

The Emperor of Any Place by Tim Wynne-Jones High School   Candlewick   328 pp. 10/15   978-0-7636-6973-7   $17.99 “So much of grief is unlearning,” observes Wynne-Jones in this perceptive and 
multi-layered page-turner. When Evan’s single father, Clifford, dies suddenly, the high-schooler must work through his own grief while dealing with Clifford’s estranged father Griff, a military man […]

Five questions for Tim Wynne-Jones


At the start of Tim Wynne-Jones’s The Emperor of Any Place (Candlewick, 14 years and up), Evan, reeling from the death of his single father, has no choice but to contact his paternal grandfather, Griff — whom Evan’s dad called a murderer. A gripping story-within-the-story unfolds about a WWII Japanese soldier stranded on a haunted […]

Boys to remember

reynolds_all american boys

Four novels featuring teenage boys — in both contemporary and historical settings — take on big issues, with memorable results. All American Boys by Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely is a ripped-from-the-headlines story written with nuance, sharp humor, and devastating honesty. When a quick stop at the corner store suddenly escalates into a terrifying scene […]

Review of All American Boys

reynolds_all american boys

All American Boys by Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely High School   Dlouhy/Atheneum   316 pp. 9/15   978-1-4814-6333-1   $17.99 e-book ed. 978-1-4814-6335-5   $9.99 Teens Rashad (who is African American) and Quinn (who is white) are high school classmates and not much more — neither even knows the other’s name. But when a quick stop at the corner […]

Is the Internet killing reading?

Call Me Ishmael

Well, IMHO, no… One of the questions I am asked most often in classes and in trainings with teachers is about the Internet’s impact on students’ reading. It usually goes something like this… “Do you think the internet is killing reading?” I usually wonder silently if using the word “killing” means the asker has already […]

Review of The Trouble in Me

gantos_trouble in me

The Trouble in Me by Jack Gantos Middle School, High School   Farrar   208 pp. 9/15   978-0-374-37995-7   $17.99   g By the summer before eighth grade, young Jack Gantos didn’t think much of himself. He had the “milky physique of a very soft boy” and looked like a “boneless squid.” His “mouth bully” of a father called […]

Review of The Rest of Us Just Live Here


The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness High School   HarperTeen   320 pp. 10/15   978-0-06-240316-2   $17.99   g e-book ed. 978-0-06-240318-6   $10.99 Ness’s latest offering is a fantasy novel — and simultaneously a fantasy-novel send-up — whose true focus is on its cast of innocent bystanders. Mikey’s town is “just like your town,” except […]

Telling and choosing our own stories

myers_darius & twig

For this year’s Boston University/Boston Green Academy Summer Institute (which I’ve blogged about before), we decided to change up our usual routine of reading one book, and this year we chose two – Darius and Twig by Walter Dean Myers and Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson. Our essential question for our rising ninth and […]

Pick your poison

tucholke_slasher girls & monster boys

A chilling short story collection, two suspenseful novels, and one book that’s a bit of both: there’s something here for every young adult horror fan. Each of the fourteen short tales of horror in Slasher Girls & Monster Boys, selected by April Genevieve Tucholke, is inspired by at least one other story, film, or song: […]

The schools that need libraries the most


A few months ago, fellow Lolly’s Classroom blogger Randy Ribay made a compelling argument about why schools still need libraries and the wonderful librarians who keep them running smoothly. I agree wholeheartedly with his conclusion that “a school without a library is like a body without a soul.” Further, I believe that lack of access […]