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Recommended School Stories: Easy Readers and Chapter Books

Cheng, Andrea The Year of the Book 148 pp. Houghton 2012. ISBN 978-0-547-68463-5 Illustrated by Abigail Halpin. Nine-year-old Anna, who always has her head stuck in a book, sometimes uses reading as a shield against social exclusion (of the specialized fourth-grade-girl kind) and her own lack of confidence. Cheng’s telling is as straightforward yet sympathetic […]

From The Guide: First-Day-of-School Picture Books

The first day of school is a momentous event, one often anticipated with a mix of worry and excitement. School’s First Day of School by Adam Rex, illustrated by Christian Robinson, is one of our recent favorites and received a starred review in the March/April 2016 Magazine. The following picture books, recommended in the spring […]

Recommended School Stories: Picture Books

Bean, Jonathan This Is My Home, This Is My School 48 pp. Farrar 2015. ISBN 978-0-374-38020-5 The boy from Building Our House welcomes readers back into his home — and school. Our narrator — the author/illustrator’s stand-in — gives a whirlwind tour of homeschooling life, and the warmhearted, cheerfully cluttered illustrations show how home and […]

Field Notes: Loud in the Library: Creating Social Activists at School

I am the librarian in an elementary school in Cambridge, Massachusetts. It’s a city of socioeconomic extremes, but dedicated to the mission of equity in public education; every classroom in each of the twelve public elementary schools maintains a 60/40 ratio between paid and free lunch students. In addition to being the home of Harvard […]

Extracurriculars

Albee, Sarah Why’d They Wear That? Middle school, high school    192 pp.     National Geographic    2015 Albee comprehensively and conversationally examines how fashion has shaped history, and vice versa. Organized chronologically, the text explains how a trend or clothing item originated and what function it served, with numerous accompanying illustrations and photos; side boxes provide […]

Field Notes: “This Is Too Much!” Why Verse Novels Work for Reluctant Readers

Novels in verse have earned their place in the mainstream of children’s and young adult literature — Exhibit A: Kwame Alexander’s The Crossover winning the Newbery Medal — and this is good news for reluctant readers, especially reluctant middle-grade and middle-school readers. Compared to a conventional novel, a novel in verse has perhaps half the […]

Summer and Children and Birds and Animals and Flowers and Trees and Bees and Books

by Jean C. George In the sunny frame of our kitchen door last summer stood our eight-year-old daughter, Twig. Her excitement was so great that there were no words — just wide misty eyes and a trembling chin, for cupped in her hands was a tiny bird. The bright-eyed nestling was still covered with puffs […]

Independence Day: What Makes a Good First-Day-of-School Book?

According to the old adage, death and taxes are the two things in life we can’t avoid. Children know about a third: school. In the United States, youngsters of a certain age must attend school, receiving state-mandated instruction at home or in public, private, boarding, or parochial institutions. School is a child’s introduction to inevitability, […]