Review of The Madman of Piney Woods

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The Madman of Piney Woods by Christopher Paul Curtis Intermediate, Middle School   Scholastic    370 pp. 9/14    978-0-545-15664-6    $16.99    g e-book ed.  978-0-545-63376-5    $16.99 In this companion to Newbery Honor Book Elijah of Buxton (rev. 11/07), it is now 1901, and for thirteen-year-old Benji Alston of Buxton, Ontario, the American Civil War is ancient history — […]

Frankly, tired of reading Anne Frank

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I’ve hit an academic dilemma at summer camp this year. For the past three years at this gifted students’ camp, my lead instructor has chosen to teach The Diary of a Young Girl (Anne Frank). Yes, the book provides an entryway into a very difficult historical topic; yes, it’s pretty amazing to watch Anne’s growth; […]

Review of At Home in Her Tomb

liu-perkins_at home in her tomb

At Home in Her Tomb: Lady Dai and the Ancient Chinese Treasures of Mawangdui by Christine Liu-Perkins; 
illus. by Sarah S. Brannen Intermediate, Middle School    Charlesbridge    80 pp. 4/14    978-1-58089-370-1    $19.95 e-book ed.  978-1-60734-615-9    $9.99 Late in 1971, workers digging an air-raid shelter in Hunan Province found three tombs of a noble family from early […]

Who’s doing the thinking?

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Over the summer, I’ve been doing some literacy work with an educational consulting group here in Boston — we’re taking some of their existing professional development (PD) and classroom tools and modifying them to better address the Common Core. Last week, I went with some other members of the team to a PD session for […]

Review of Park Scientists

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Park Scientists: Gila Monsters, Geysers, and Grizzly Bears in America’s Own Backyard 
[Scientists in the Field] by Mary Kay Carson; 
photos by Tom Uhlman Intermediate, Middle School    Houghton    75 pp. 5/14    978-0-547-79268-2    $18.99 Although most of us think about our national parks in terms of their stunning natural vistas and opportunities for outdoor adventures, they […]

Review of Two Girls Staring at the Ceiling

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Two Girls Staring at the Ceiling by Lucy Frank Middle School, High School    Schwartz & Wade/Random    261 pp. 8/14    978-0-307-97974-2    $16.99 Library ed.  978-0-307-97975-9    $19.99    g e-book ed.  978-0-307-97976-6    $9.99 A high-strung teenager faces the emotional consequences of chronic illness in this poignant novel in verse. Narrator Francesca is having a magical night with a […]

Summertime books for middle school boys

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Earlier this summer, my middle school colleagues and I worked on a curriculum project in our district’s comprehensive high school — a busy place during the summer. On one of those days, literally hundreds of our students lined up to participate in a teen summer job fair. As they patiently waited in line, they chatted […]

Review of Like No Other

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Like No Other by Una LaMarche Middle School, High School    Razorbill/Penguin    347 pp. 7/14    978-1-59514-674-8    $17.99    g How’s this for a meet cute? New York teens Devorah and Jaxon get stuck in a hospital elevator during a hurricane. Though their encounter is a fairly brief one, it’s also intense, and both come away with that […]

Review of The Family Romanov

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The Family Romanov: Murder, Rebellion, and 
the Fall of Imperial Russia by Candace Fleming Middle School, High School    
Schwartz & Wade/Random    287 pp. 7/14    978-0-375-86782-8    $18.99 Library ed.  978-0-375-96782-5    $21.99    g e-book ed.  978-0-375-89864-8    $10.99 Marrying the intimate family portrait of Heiligman’s Charles and Emma (rev. 1/09) with the politics and intrigue of Sheinkin’s Bomb […]

The Animal Book e-book review

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Steve Jenkins’s 2014 Boston Globe-Horn Book Nonfiction Honor Book The Animal Book: A Collection of the Fastest, Fiercest, Toughest, Cleverest, Shyest — and Most Surprising — Animals on Earth is available in an enhanced e-book edition (HMH, 2013). An introduction describes the book’s features: Animal Fact Pop-Up Boxes provide more information about select creatures’ sizes, […]