Sketch11319220 August 01

An Open Letter to the Class by Brett Vogelsinger

November 2013: Three months into my first time teaching a new curriculum in a new grade.  You’ve been there, so you know the moment when you’ve run the beginning-of-the-year energy well dry and suddenly winter break seems a long way off.  Still, I knew that part of my own goal in switching grade levels from […]

revolution July 31

Tales of a Fourth Grade Librarian or How I Came to Love Realistic Fiction by Alpha Selene DeLap

I came to librarianship in my fourth decade though in many ways I have been a librarian my entire life. Cut to the 1970s in a lower Manhattan (NYC) in a mixed-use loft apartment where in the far corner, across from my mother’s canvas stretchers and windowpanes of oil paint; I had a room full […]

the maze runner July 30

The Maze Runner: Hooking Teachers and Reluctant Readers Since 2009 – Review by Sarah Krajewski

When The Maze Runner was published in October of 2009, it was one of the few points in my life that I was too busy to notice new books. The reason? On October 25th, I gave birth to my first child, my son Ryan. Over the next few months, I concentrated on being a new […]

my teacher is a monster July 29

Regarding Monster Teachers by Peter Brown

As an author and illustrator of children’s books, I spend a lot of time thinking about my own childhood. And when I look back, some of my most vivid memories involve teachers. My teachers had a wide variety of personalities and teaching styles, and they all contributed to my development in their own unique way. […]

Sketch113194837 July 28

Traveling Companions by Sarah Powley

Was there ever a trip I took that didn’t involve a book—or a stack of books? I don’t think so. When I was a child, my family journeyed every summer from our home in Illinois to our grandparents’ summer cottage in northern Wisconsin—loaned to us by them for six weeks in June and July. We […]

wonder July 27

Saved by the Read-Aloud by Ryan M. Hanna

This is a simple story. A small reflection. But, it has weighed heavily on my mind and heart since the end of last school year, and what better day to share it than on Surprise Sunday?   One of the most common pieces of advice that I received from my mentors and professors when I […]

knock knock July 26

A Top Ten Featuring the Coretta Scott King Book Awards by Monica Edinger

On a Sunday morning this past June I was sitting in a Las Vegas ballroom with tears in my eyes. Not because I had just trudged through multiple casinos full of fake Roman decor to get there, but because I was listening and watching as one recipient after another gave a heartfelt speech in response […]

battle of the books July 25

Battle of the Books by Sherry Gick

Five years ago, on my very first day in my new position as middle/high school librarian, our Agriculture teacher came into the library and told me we needed to start a Battle of the Books program at our school.  I immediately said, “Sounds great! Let’s do it!”  Followed by, “What is it?”  (Those of you […]

zombie baseball beatdown July 24

Zombie Baseball Beatdown by Paolo Bacigalupi – Review by Irene Kistler

Have you ever taught, or parented, an always-moving, sports-loving, book-avoiding elementary child? Have I got a treat for you! Paolo Bacigalupi’s Zombie Baseball Beatdown was inspired by his wife’s 5th grade classroom and her boys who hated to read. In the spirit of If you read it, they will come, Paolo Bacigalupi wrote a gore-appropriate […]

complicit July 23

Complicit by Stephanie Kuehn – Review by William Polking

Many think pieces have been written this summer (I’m defining “summer” as any point after my school year ended, which was May 20—don’t hate me) about young adult (YA) fiction. Pieces trying to define the genre, pieces addressing a lack of diversity within the genre, pieces analyzing the popularity of the genre, pieces asking whether […]