The value of the graphic novel

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This year, I’ve really pushed my students to embrace graphic novels. It’s helped my low readers to access the same information as their peers, and although some students read it because it’s “easier,” they’re reading. What I find myself conflicted with now is that my school is part of the Accelerated Reader (AR) program, where […]

Why schools still need libraries (and librarians)

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I felt like a scavenger. There I was, in a prestigious private school’s library, picking through books they were getting rid of in order to make space for a new tech area. The staff was extremely kind, but I still resented what their students had and mine didn’t. As I’ve explained in previous posts, the […]

Review of Nimona

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Nimona by Noelle Stevenson; illus. by the author Middle School, High School   HarperTeen   266 pp. 5/15   978-0-06-227823-4   $17.99 Paper ed. 978-0-06-227822-7   $12.99 Ballister Blackheart — ex-knight and current 
supervillain — is focused on the destruction of the Institute of Law Enforcement and Heroics. He also wouldn’t mind getting even with Sir Ambrosius Goldenloin, a knight-school […]

Review of Untamed

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Untamed: The Wild Life of Jane Goodall by Anita Silvey Intermediate, Middle School   National Geographic   
96 pp. 6/15   978-1-4263-1518-3   $18.99 Library ed. 978-1-4263-1519-0   $28.90   g Jane Goodall has spent a lifetime dedicated to understanding and protecting chimpanzees. This accessible account of her life (with a foreword by Goodall herself) emphasizes the qualities that will likely […]

Five questions for Ann Bausum

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Ann Bausum has written nonfiction about U.S. presidents and first ladies, muckrakers, Freedom Riders, suffragists, immigrants, and world wars. Her latest book Stonewall: Breaking Out in the Fight for Gay Rights (Viking, 11–15 years) focuses on the 1969 Stonewall riots, which helped kick things off (spectacularly; there was a kick-line) in NYC and galvanize the […]

Lives and times

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The settings of these narrative nonfiction titles span decades and geography — from WWII Denmark to contemporary Malawi — but the issues they explore are incredibly timely. When heavy rains, then drought, devastated his country of Malawi and the corrupt government didn’t respond, young William Kamkwamba used his scientific ingenuity to help people in need. […]

Listen, laugh, and learn

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Some stories can be at their funniest — and most poignant — when read aloud. The following audiobooks, recommended for intermediate and middle-school listeners, offer lots of laughs and lots to learn. Lynne Rae Perkins’s Nuts to You tells the wacky story of a trio of industrious young squirrels saving their respective colonies from the […]

At the museum

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Museums are great places to experience fun, learning, and often even hints of mystery. They spark the imagination and make us question things we have never considered before. As such, they make a great setting for stories that can inspire a love of museums, history, and art. Perhaps because the middle school years often include […]

Review of March: Book Two

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March: Book Two by John Lewis and Andrew Aydin; illus. by Nate Powell Middle School, High School   Top Shelf Productions   192 pp. 1/15   978-1-60309-400-9   $19.95   g Lewis and Aydin begin this second volume of the graphic memoir trilogy in Washington, DC, on January 20, 2009 (President Obama’s first inauguration), then they move back in time […]

2015 Summer Reading from The Horn Book: Middle School

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Need suggestions for beach reading or books to bring to summer camp? Here are our top ten books for different age ranges — including fiction, nonfiction, and poetry — all published 2014–2015 and ideal for the season. Grade levels are only suggestions; the individual child is the real criterion. For a handy take-along list of […]