October 17

The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo: A Book Review in Verse by Oona Marie Abrams

At the age of ten I was told by the principal: Oona, you are a poet.  So, I wrote poems from that day forward, through seven snowy midwestern winters and summers on the shores of Lake Michigan.   I went to the Writer’s Club in high school because I had a (painfully obvious) crush on […]

October 16

Miracles by Kekla Magoon

“Styx Malone didn’t believe in miracles, but he was one,” begins my new middle grade novel, The Season of Styx Malone. Caleb Franklin is stuck feeling ordinary, trapped in his small town. He desperately wants to be special, particularly after his father tells him he’s not merely ordinary but “extra” ordinary. Caleb misunderstands, and is […]

October 15

Riddle Me This by Candice Watkins

Riddle me this readers…why do so many educators consider comic books second class literature?
   Comic books are books. The very word “book” is in the title of the genre.
   I recently asked a student who had just finished his novel in my reading intervention class what he was reading next. He shamefully showed […]

October 13

Rules and Roadkill by Heather L. Montgomery

The gravel crunches as I pull my red RAV 4 to a halt at the edge of a dusty highway. I can just imagine my car asking: “Why is she stopping? What is she doing now? And, how come she’s poking at that DEAD BODY?” Wait, . . . that’s not how a blog post […]

October 09

Let’s Indigenize Our Bookshelves & Fully Welcome Native Kids As Readers by Cynthia Leitich Smith

Abracadabra! I sought out how-to books about card tricks, guidebooks to seashells, and page-turning mysteries. Shortly after second grade, I’d begun perusing the Newbery Award shelf and won the summer reading contest at my local library in Grandview, Missouri.   It was my parents who, each in their own way, first introduced me to books. […]

October 08

A Big Helping of Poetry by Sylvia Vardell and Janet Wong

How can we serve up poetry in a fresh new way? This is the question we ask ourselves each time we start a project. In our early books in The Poetry Friday Anthology series, we provided a “Take 5” approach that emphasized participatory readings and skill connections; in the Poetry Friday Power Book series, we […]

October 06

Ten Great Mentor Sentences from a Middle Grade Text by Kris Barr Paquette

I love a great sentence. You know the ones that just grab you and make you say, whoa! One of the suggestions I always have for the teachers I work with is that they model sentences from these fantastic middle grade novels that we just love to teach grammar, editing, and revision. Jeff Anderson, also […]

October 05

COVER REVEAL: The Candle and the Flame by Nafiza Azad

“What’s in a name?” Shakespeare asked that very famously centuries ago in a play you might be familiar with. I always took umbrage at that question. You see, in many cultures, including mine, names have power, meaning, and functions beyond the obvious. The earliest version of The Candle and the Flame wound itself around Shakespeare’s […]

October 04

Cover Reveal: YORK: THE CLOCKWORK GHOST by Laura Ruby

It’s been eighteen months since I wrote this post about York: The Shadow Cipher—the first volume in my middle grade alternate history adventure—and my cancer diagnosis.  A lot has happened since then. I’ve gone through chemo, surgery and radiation. I lost my hair, grew a bunch back, and dyed it purple and blue. I got my nose pierced.  […]

October 03

THE RECKLESS CLUB / When adults are the bullies by Beth Vrabel

When my dad was eight years old, his greatest ambition was for his teacher, Miss Hagley*, to ignore him. “She just didn’t like me,” he says now, nearly 60 years later. “I don’t know why, but she just didn’t like me.”   “I can picture her now, walking toward me.” His shoulders hunch at the […]