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Thank a teacher 2019

It’s National Teacher Appreciation Week (May 5–11), and we know we speak for most parents when we say how grateful we are for these vital members of our village. Teachers’ work on the front lines has a profound impact on our children — in small and big ways. Kitty’s fourth grader has a gift-of-a-teacher who […]

Review of We Don’t Eat Our Classmates

We Don’t Eat Our Classmates by Ryan T. Higgins; illus. by the author Preschool, Primary    Disney-Hyperion    48 pp. 6/18    978-1-368-00355-1    $17.99 The first day of school is tough enough; imagine you’re a wee Tyrannosaurus rex and it turns out that your classmates are, of all things, human. Penelope Rex does what any nervous dino would […]

Review of Lena’s Shoes Are Nervous: A First-Day-of-School Dilemma

Lena’s Shoes Are Nervous: A First-Day-of-School Dilemma by Keith Calabrese; illus. by Juana Medina Preschool, Primary    Atheneum    40 pp. 7/18    978-1-5344-0894-4    $17.99 e-book ed.  978-1-5344-0895-1    $10.99 Young Lena is totally prepared, and excited to start kindergarten. She’s not nervous…but her shoes are. Lena enlists her headband (who is “friends with everybody” and “a good listener”) […]

Review of Dear Substitute

Dear Substitute by Liz Garton Scanlon and Audrey Vernick; illus. by Chris Raschka Primary    Disney-Hyperion    40 pp. 6/18    978-1-4847-5022-3    $17.99 With her regular teacher out sick (we glimpse a feverish Mrs. Giordano on the copyright page), a little girl in brown pigtails writes a series of letters throughout her school day, beginning: “Dear Substitute, / Wow. […]

From the Editor – August 2016

Perhaps it was only ever a fantasy of mine that every child in America started the school year on the same day I always did (the Tuesday after Labor Day) but now, all over the map, it’s all over the map. And for those unfortunates who attend “year-round school” — do they still get a […]

Books mentioned in the August 2016 issue of What Makes a Good…?

What Makes a Good School Story? Picture Books Bean, Jonathan This Is My Home, This Is My School 48 pp.     Farrar     2015     ISBN 978-0-374-38020-5 Bell, Cece Chuck and Woodchuck 32 pp.     Candlewick     2016     ISBN 978-0-7636-7524-0 Bottner, Barbara Miss Brooks Loves Books! (and I don’t) Illustrated by Michael Emberley 32 pp.     Knopf     2010     ISBN 978-0-375-84682-3 Library […]

Five Questions for Adam Rex and Christian Robinson

School’s First Day of School (Roaring Brook/Porter, 2016) by Adam Rex, illustrated by Christian Robinson, provides a new perspective on the first day of school — that of the building itself. From worry and anticipation to excitement, jealousy, and, finally, contentment and eagerness for the next day, the school’s childlike reactions will be understood by […]

Recommended School Stories: High School

Alsenas, Linas Beyond Clueless 249 pp. Abrams/Amulet 2015. ISBN 978-1-4197-1496-2 Ever since fifth grade, Martha “Marty” Sullivan has been happy with just one friend: flamboyantly gay Jimmy. But now she’s attending an all-girls’ Catholic high school, which expands her social horizons both among girls (rebellious new friend Xiang) and guys. This mostly light comedy of […]

Recommended School Stories: Middle School

Alexander, Kwame Booked 314 pp. Houghton 2016. ISBN 978-0-544-57098-6 Nick is a wordsmith, thanks to his linguistics-professor father, but he would rather be shining on the soccer field. He’s blindsided when his parents separate; things worsen at school, too, as he and best friend Coby are targeted by the racist Eggleston twins. With accessible forms […]

Recommended School Stories: Intermediate

Barnett, Mac and John, Jory The Terrible Two 220 pp. Abrams/Amulet 2015. ISBN 978-1-4197-1491-7 Ebook ISBN 978-1-61312-763-6 Illustrated by Kevin Cornell. Forced to leave behind his proud reputation as class prankster, Miles Murphy dreads starting over in a new town. Miles finds himself paired up with do-gooder Niles at Yawnee Valley Science and Letters Academy […]