fish in a tree - final cover March 01

Who is Travis Nickerson from Fish in a Tree? by Lynda Mullaly Hunt

Fish in a Tree is about a sixth grader named Ally Nickerson who thinks she’s dumb. She isn’t dumb, but she does have undiagnosed dyslexia until she meets Mr. Daniels, her new teacher. Ally learns that, although dyslexia poses some challenges, it also has some special gifts wrapped up inside of it as well. She […]

how it went down February 28

Books That Make Us Cry (Part Two) Collected by Donalyn Miller

Grab a tissue. We pick up where we left off in yesterday’s post–sharing our sad book favorites. And We Stay by Jenny Hubbard I bought And We Stay last summer because it earned a starred review somewhere. Knowing that the book was a tear-jerker, I never seemed in the right mood to go into the […]

bridge to terabithia February 27

Books That Make Us Cry (Part One) Collected by Donalyn Miller

Last spring, one of my fifth-graders, Heavenly, spent all of recess sitting under a tree finishing the final chapters of Lynda Mullaly Hunt’s One for the Murphys. Strolling around the playground, I gave Heavenly a wide berth when I walked near her reading spot. I knew where Heavenly was in the story and I didn’t […]

sad authors February 26

SAD, DARK AND TWISTY MIDDLE GRADE – TWO AUTHORS’ PERSPECTIVES by Tracy Holczer and Nikki Loftin

When I was a kid, I used to dress up in my mother’s nightgowns, layers and layers of lace and silky chiffon, draped across my shoulders, sometimes veiling my face, but always trailing behind me like the train of a wedding gown. I would play “Peter and the Wolf” and “Arabian Nights” on the record […]

titanic making of a doomed ship February 25

“I Need a Book about the Titanic” by Lucretia Brattin

One subject in history has it all:  tragedy, mystery, mayhem, social classes, celebrities, science and romance.  I am referring to the story of the Titanic. In our school the “official” study of the Titanic begins in the fourth grade reading anthology.  Students read the short story Finding the Titanic by Robert D. Ballard.  This story […]

I Don't Want to be a Frog February 24

Finding the Words by Dev Petty

Sometimes I read posts here with a bit of envy. I read about people who went to their school library at recess and curled up with a book at every opportunity. I read about people who knew from birth that words and language and books would define their life, as a writer or a librarian […]

edward tulane February 23

Teacher with Tissues: Showing Students How Books Tug at Your Heart by Kathleen Sokolowski

“Are you crying?” one of my third grade students asks incredulously, as the rest of them look on, wide-eyed and silent. I sniffle, too choked up to answer.  I was, indeed, crying, surprised by my emotions as the tears spilled over.  Reading aloud Kate DiCamillo’s brilliant book The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane, I’d anticipated struggling […]

wish girl February 22

Magical Places by Nikki Loftin

Sometimes it’s people who stay with you forever. And sometimes it’s places. When I was a girl, I spent many summers running wild in the Texas hill country. My parents were building a ramshackle house from scratch and junk timber at the top of a hill, and my older sister and I were free to […]

MORPHEUS February 21

Top Ten Book Boyfriends by Karin Perry

I was lucky enough to be a part of the Nerdy Book Club presentation at NCTE last November. What a fun group of people to work with. You can go back in the archives and find the post recapping the presentation on the blog. My part of the presentation was to talk about the Saturday […]

Exclusive Cover Reveal for Katherine Applegate’s Crenshaw + A Bonus Guest Post

One of the first questions an author hears at school visits is, “Where do you get your ideas?” (followed by “Do you know J.K. Rowling?” and “Will you autograph my sneakers?”). My answers, for the record: —I just ask “What if?” and record what happens. —No, but if she wants me to stop by the castle […]