March 25

Let’s hear it for young readers editions by Alicia Abdul

  It wasn’t until a decade ago that I truly dove headfirst in to middle grade and young adult nonfiction because I felt stuck in fiction. But I can tell you that I haven’t looked back since. In part, a thirst for knowledge that’s different from watching a documentary, plus engaging with events and people […]

March 23

Confessions of a Reformed Non-Reader by Jeff Downs

I was that teacher. You remember the type. Stodgy, uncreative, skewed towards rude. I pushed Caesar over Christopher Paolini, As I Lay Dying over Ally Condie. What does John Green know about unrequited love? Read Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter to really see what that looks like. Why should a kid read Hunger Games when to really […]

March 21

Spy Runner by Eugene Yelchin

  Spy Runner is a noir thriller for middle-graders. Chases, crashes, shootouts, and cliffhangers at the end of each chapter will keep even the reluctant readers turning the pages. Unbeknownst to them, they will be learning about Cold War. At that time, certain politicians exploited the communist threat against democracy by dividing American people. Nationalistic […]

March 19


When my daughter was eleven, she decided to learn Esperanto. We had watched a video about it called The Universal Language, and in twenty minutes, she was hooked. A cool secret language spoken all around the world by a special few—and yet, easy to learn? Sign her up!   I was intrigued by the fact […]

March 18

Why Share Wordless Picture Books? by Carrie Rodusky

A colleague recently brought me a donated pile of books to see if I could use any in my 4th grade classroom. One of the books was a wordless picture book. I cannot remember the title, but it was very abstract and I thought it would be a great addition to the 7th or 8th […]

March 16

Ten Picture Book Biographies You Can’t Experience in a Textbook by Kirsten Leestma

I’m a firm believer in learning about our world by learning about the people who have left their mark on it. The problem is that there are too many people that get overlooked. There are countless scientists, activists, writers, inventors, and dreamers that never get mentioned in a textbook. In second grade, we learn about […]

March 14

The Art of Being Uncomfortable And Still Inspiring Hope In YA & Middle Grade Lit by e.E. Charlton-Trujillo

It was a few weeks before Thanksgiving in rural south Texas when my parents’ bubble gum pink, wall rotary phone rang. It’s the ringing I remember more than the homework I’d been rushing to finish. It was a vivid, piercing sound I can hear to this day. My cousin had committed suicide. Too much drugs. […]

March 13

It’s All in the Names by Lynda Mullaly Hunt

The second I saw him I knew who he was. Through the eyes of my main character, Delsie in Shouting at the Rain, I watched him. He wore black jeans and a black, long-sleeved shirt on a hot July day. And, he stood on the edge of the ocean in the middle of a lightning […]

March 12

Through the Woods: On the Magic Of the Outdoors by Ashley Benham Yazdani

    As a child growing up in the suburbs north of Manhattan, I had the best of both worlds: a bustling metropolis was a short train ride away, but back home my own tree-filled backyard stretched out into relatively undisturbed forest. The city was an accessible electric dreamscape, but the forests that I was […]

March 11

Practicing What I Preach by Heather Del Piano

As a middle school reading teacher, I completely support  the idea of giving students a choice in what they read and modeling reading behavior for them. Since I love reading, it is easy for me to do my own independent reading every day; I even take notes on my reading. I enjoy  writing down quotes […]