May 25

The Power of a Name: A Top Ten List by Amber McMath

On the first day of school while students are reading silently around the room, I scoot around to each one and we introduce ourselves. I left my interaction with Shouacua feeling defeated because, even after listening to her say her name several times, she said I wasn’t pronouncing it correctly.  I was one of at […]

May 24

Be Yourself, with Silliness and Self-love by Aidan Cassie

I love myself, just as I am.   Well, okay, maybe not everything about myself…   I mean, I wish I weren’t such a talented procrastinator (yup, just got sidetracked “researching” TED talks on procrastination), I’m not too fond being diabetic (I’m slightly “bionic,” but not in the cool, Six Million Dollar Man kinda way), […]

May 23

Echo by Pam Munoz Ryan – Review by Shilpa Mehta

Echo by Pam Munoz Ryan is a compilation of stories tied together in a timeless thread by the power of music. The harmonica, featured prominently on the cover and the book’s spine, travels through time and across continents and oceans through the hands of three magnanimous children, and brings to each comfort and the confidence […]

May 21


I always took chocolate for granted. As a child growing up in the Ivory Coast, we always had a chocolate bar or two nestled in the cold of the refrigerator door away from the tropical heat. We made cupcakes and chocolate mousse just for fun: “gateaux au chocolat” on special occasions and “pains au chocolat” […]

May 20


It happened on a plane. On a plane! I tend to board at the end when I have an assigned seat. Less time on the crowded plane feels right to me, and I rarely need overhead storage. A bearded man next to me had the same idea. “Why spend more time on a crowded plane,” […]

May 17

Turning Readers into Writers by Carrie Rodusky

I stumbled upon this rock while walking my dog through the woods. It is about to be a creative writing prompt for my upper elementary students. Who knows where it will go.     As an ELA teacher I have to find a way to include reading, grammar, language, and writing in a 60 minute […]

May 16

Forward Me Back to You by Mitali Perkins – Review by Kacy Smith Paterson

Farrar Straus Giroux/FSG Books for Young Readers 432 Pages, Ages 14-18   Mitali Perkin’s new novel, Forward Me Back to You, is an epic and layered read of identity and family, similar to her earlier works, such as You Bring the Distant Near and Tiger Boy. The narrative encompasses multiple characters, families and countries, which […]

May 15

After the Russians Came – Turning my Father’s Story into Fiction by Monika Schröder

My first novel, THE DOG IN THE WOOD, comes out in paperback on May 14th. I feel fortunate that the story continues to be available for young readers and I am grateful to the Nerdy Book Club for giving me the opportunity to tell a bit about its backstory. The novel, set in a small […]

May 14

The Clockwork Ghost or Who Lives, Who Dies, Who Tells Your Story by Laura Ruby

Sometime last fall, a friend asked me if I wanted to go to Greece* in April.   “Of course I want to go to Greece,” I said. “Who doesn’t want to go to Greece?” Except that I didn’t have time to go to Greece. I mean, I barely had time to go to the bathroom. […]

May 12

Impossible Heroes by Jess Keating

It started in Kiev. I watched with my heart in my throat as two undercover American agents interrogated a Russian man who believes he’s murdered a member of the IMF. They do their job, the adventure begins and then that infamous match is struck. A fuse is lit, racing across the screen, as that ubiquitous […]