May 26

Happy Book Birthday to Hello from Renn Lake by Michele Weber Hurwitz

Over the past few months, as we’ve all navigated the “new normal” (although there’s nothing normal about this), you’ve probably seen countless memes, videos, anecdotes, and words of hope, sorrow, and humor posted online. I admit the amount of virtual chatter has been a little overwhelming, but one post stuck in my mind – meant […]

May 24

An Indie Bookstore During a Pandemic w/ Joanna Parzakonis by Colby Sharp

My favorite independent bookstore is Bookbug in Kalamazoo, Michigan. I’ve had the opportunity to get to know the owners Joanna and Derek over the years, as I worked closely with them during each Nerd Camp Michigan. The work that they do is inspiring. With the state of Michigan being pretty much shutdown the last couple […]

May 22

Why Book Clubs Prevail In Any Type Of Learning Environment by Lorraine Radice

One the literacy courses I teach at my university is for pre-service and current teachers in a secondary content-area program.  The course invites education majors in various disciplines like social studies, business, TESOL, chemistry, English, and beyond to think about themselves as contributors to the literacy lives of students through a content-area lens.  I love […]

May 17

WHY BOOKS ABOUT HARD TOPICS ARE ESSENTIAL by Donna Gephart

            I had a secret fear when I attended Solis-Cohen Elementary School, which I carried with me every day, along with my books. My classmates, I was convinced, would tease me for wearing the same thing to school every day because I owned only two pair of pants and a few tops. Then I borrowed […]

May 14

Kick Me Under the Table All You Want (I Won’t Shut Up)*: The Making of York #3, The Map of Stars by Laura Ruby

Back in November of 1991, my family’s Thanksgiving dinner table was filled with talk of Anita Hill’s Senate testimony. Members of my extended family discussed Hill’s allegations that she’d been harassed by Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas, declared them ridiculous and impossible to believe, and insisted that Hill must be in it for the fame […]

May 12

IN THE ROOM WHERE IT HAPPENS by Susan Kuklin

Back in the early sixties, I was given a most wonderful gift. It was a book, of course, called The Family of Man, created by Edward Steichen. The turning of pages and pages of evocative photographs roused my curiosity. The diverse group of people revealed in the photographs seemed very far away from my sleepy […]

May 10

ON BEYOND GRAMMAR: MY DEFENSE OF THE ARTS by Paul Fleischman

My English instruction in school was standard-issue: reading-comprehension questions that seemed to come from a hostile D.A., rules for the punctuation marks we’d been issued, dour warnings against run-on sentences.  All good to know, but it was all we knew.  Then I opened Alastair Reid’s Ounce Dice Trice.   Inside were lists of names suitable […]

May 08

Helping Kids Cope During Scary Times by Kris Barr Paquette

As we slowly watched the Covid 19 virus spread across the world until it affected our state, our county, our town we held out hope that by some miracle our little community would go on as normal.  Our state governor called a state of emergency as the virus began to spread through Michigan communities.  She […]

May 05

On Dragons, Mismatched Socks, and Magic Librarians by Maggie Tokuda-Hall

A lot of people have been the new kid. By the time I was in seventh grade, I’d already been a few times (we moved a lot). But up until that point it had always been easy— I’d make friends during recess on the handball court, or in art class, or at Girl Scouts. Moving […]

May 04

Life is Like a Round of Mini Golf by John David Anderson

Malcom Greeley has no control. His parents’ marriage is starting to unravel. He hears voices inside of his head telling him he’ll never be good enough and voices outside of his head prodding him to be better. He tiptoes through life, certain he’s about to take a wrong step, causing everything to blow. And then […]