Review of Strike!

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Strike!: The Farm Workers’ 
Fight for Their Rights by Larry Dane Brimner Intermediate, Middle School    Calkins Creek/Boyds Mills    172 pp. 10/14    978-1-59078-997-1    $16.95 Brimner turns his attention from one part of the 1960s — the civil rights movement in the South (Black & White) — to another, a parallel movement among migrant farm workers in […]

Review of Into the Grey

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Into the Grey by Celine Kiernan Middle School, High School    Candlewick    295 pp. 8/14    978-0-7636-7061-0    $16.99 e-book ed.  978-0-7636-7409-0    $16.99 When their home burns down, twin teens Patrick and Dominick move with their family to the shabby seaside cottage where they usually spend summer holidays. Almost at once, Pat sees that Dom is being haunted […]

Windows and mirrors book discussion

oct27readings

Lauren had her first adolescent lit class last night at HGSE (Harvard Graduate School of Education). For last night’s class we talked about How I Live Now by Meg Rosoff. I love this part of a course when the students go from names and faces on a roster to real people with opinions about books. […]

The Thing About Luck

The Thing About Luck

In The Thing about Luck by Cynthia Kadohata, Summer has important duties to fulfill as the daughter and granddaughter of migrant harvest workers, and she must also meet the daily demands of her traditional Japanese grandparents. Summer’s multi-generational family and their lives as agricultural workers are facets of contemporary American culture that may be unfamiliar […]

The value of re-reading

The Secret of the Wooden Lady (Nancy Drew)

I was recently privy to a conversation that I have participated in countless times in my twenty-plus years in education. It was a version of “The 8th grade teachers are stealing the 9th grade teachers’ books” discussion. You know that one, right? Of course, it does not reside exclusively in the domain of middle or […]

Review of Clariel

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Clariel: The Lost Abhorsen by Garth Nix Middle School, High School    Harper/HarperCollins    383 pp. 10/14    978-0-06-156155-9    $18.99    g e-book ed.  978-0-06-221680-9    $10.99 Six centuries before the events of Sabriel (rev. 1/97), Lirael (rev. 7/01), and Abhorsen (rev. 3/03), circumstances in the Old Kingdom are vastly different: the addled king refuses to rule; the Abhorsen neglects […]

El Deafo

eldeafo

This week, I was lucky enough to have a thirty-minute window when I could pop into my favorite independent bookstore in Los Angeles. They have a large children’s section on the second floor that I love perusing because they do an excellent job at getting new books. On one of their displays sat El Deafo […]

Same theme, different level

The Skin I'm In

It’s a new year with new kids! I’m working with the same population, but the way this school deals with the social and emotional components of learning is amazing. With that said, I have a group of 8th graders who are very low-level readers. It was a bit surprising because most of them are articulate […]

Review of Nest

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Nest by Esther Ehrlich Intermediate, Middle School    Lamb/Random    330 pp. 9/14    978-0-385-38607-4    $16.99 Library ed.  978-0-385-38608-1    $19.99    g e-book ed.  978-0-385-38609-8    $9.99 In this debut novel set in the late 1960s, Naomi “Chirp” Orenstein’s sixth-grade teacher tells her, “Your mom is a very lucky lady to have such a responsible girl.” Chirp is very responsible, […]

Blasting the canon

The Red Badge of Courage

As a new English department chair, I’ve already been faced with decisions about book orders. Our high school opened in 2007, but our middle school just opened with a sixth grade class last year. This means it was time for us to create a seventh grade curriculum. I believe in leadership through structured freedom, so […]