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Review of You Can Fly: The Tuskegee Airmen

weatherford_you can fly

You Can Fly: The Tuskegee Airmen by Carole Boston Weatherford; 
illus. by Jeffery Boston Weatherford Intermediate, Middle School    Atheneum    82 pp. 5/16    978-1-4814-4938-0    $16.99 e-book ed.  978-1-4814-4940-3    $10.99 Thirty-two poems written in the second person bring to life the experiences of the Tuskegee Airmen during World War II. Pilots, bombardiers, instructors, maintenance workers, and navigators […]

Review of Sabotage: The Mission to Destroy Hitler’s Atomic Bomb

bascomb_sabotage

Sabotage: The Mission to Destroy 
Hitler’s Atomic Bomb by Neal Bascomb Middle School, High School    Levine/Scholastic    
306 pp. 6/16    978-0-545-73243-7    $17.99    g e-book ed.  978-0-545-73533-9    $17.99 In this young readers’ edition of The Winter Fortress, Bascomb (The Nazi Hunters, rev. 9/13) turns his attention to a single, crucial Allied operation of WWII: the disruption of […]

Review of As Brave As You

reynolds_as brave as you

As Brave As You by Jason Reynolds Intermediate, Middle School    Dlouhy/Atheneum    415 pp. 5/16    978-1-4814-1590-3​    $16.99 e-book ed.  978-1-4814-1592-7    $10.99 Reynolds (The Boy in the Black Suit, rev. 3/15; with Brendan Kiely, All American Boys, rev. 11/15) delivers an emotionally resonant middle-grade story of an African American family working to overcome its tumultuous past in […]

Five questions for Lauren Wolk

lauren wolk

When twelve-year-old Annabelle’s small town is terrorized by a series of vicious attacks, many townsfolk blame World War I veteran and vagabond Toby. Only Annabelle knows that new girl Betty is actually responsible for the cruelty. Adult author and poet Lauren Wolk makes her (stunning!) middle-grade debut with the powerful historical novel Wolf Hollow (Dutton, […]

Review of Wolf Hollow

wolk_wolf hollow

Wolf Hollow by Lauren Wolk Intermediate, Middle School    Dutton    294 pp. 4/16    978-1-101-99482-5    $16.99    g Two story lines wind around each other in this novel set in rural Pennsylvania in the 1940s. The narrator, twelve-year-old Annabelle, is one of the objects of vicious attacks by new girl Betty, who has inexplicably but relentlessly taken against […]

“What are you doing after graduation?”

bliss_meet me here

What high-school senior doesn’t dread that question? Young adulthood is full of change and daunting decisions; even those with solid post-graduation plans may feel as much uncertainty as excitement. The protagonists of these new novels are on the cusp of similarly life-changing moments. In Bryan Bliss’s Meet Me Here, Thomas watches his classmates celebrate graduation […]

Review of The Great White Shark Scientist

montgomery_great white shark scientist

The Great White Shark Scientist [Scientists in the Field] by Sy Montgomery;
 photos by Keith Ellenbogen Intermediate, Middle School    Houghton    70 pp. 6/16    978-0-544-35298-8    $18.99 Biologist Greg Skomal studies great white sharks off the coast of Cape Cod, using a variety of technologies, including video and telemetry, to document their burgeoning population as the marine […]

Recommended Page-Turners: Middle School Fiction and Nonfiction

bancks_on the run

Bancks, Tristan  On the Run 229 pp.     Farrar/Ferguson     2015     ISBN 978-0-374-30153-8 On the run from police, twelve-year-old Ben’s parents leave him and younger sister Olive on their own in a cabin in the Australian bush. Ben finds a copy of My Side of the Mountain, appropriate — and useful — reading since he and Olive […]

Five questions for Elizabeth Wein

Photo: David Ho

As two-time Boston Globe–Horn Book honoree Elizabeth Wein reminds us below, a page-turner isn’t necessarily about plot twists and cliffhangers. For more books you can’t put down, see our 2016 Summer Reading recommendations. 1. Your books give readers the impulse to both turn pages quickly (what’s going to happen?!) and linger on the descriptions. How […]

High reader, low motivation

The Invention of Hugo Cabret

In retrospect, I realize now that I have been extremely lucky. My students have always been highly motivated to read. Obviously, I’ve encountered the spectrum when it comes to low to excellent readers, but nonetheless, my students needed only minimal encouragement to read. When students lost interest, a graphic novel always did the trick (I’m […]