Author Archives: CBethM

October 20

Finding Where I Belonged by Katie Zhao

There’s something magical about Chinatown: The bustling streets crowded with diverse populations, the air filled with the smells of potstickers and rice, the loud conversations held in many different Chinese dialects. As a young girl, I felt visiting Chinatown was like being transported to a pocket of home — or rather, the place that might […]

October 17

Adding My Voice to the Chorus of Thanks by Jake Burt

This summer, I spoke to a room full of librarians and children’s literature advocates at ALA in Washington, DC. I used this opportunity to thank them for the work they do – yes, for putting great stories into the hands of the children who need them, for supporting educators in our classrooms, and for tirelessly […]

October 16

Look No Further- Review of Look Both Ways by Jason Reynolds – Review by Amy Watkins

When Jason Reynolds said that he wrote Look Both Ways with teachers in mind, he wasn’t lying. I have never taken so many notes while reading a YA book trying to capture all of the ways I could picture using it in my classroom, nor have so many characters carved their way into my heart […]

October 13

In Defense of Graphic Novels and Those Who Read Them by Liesl Shurtliff

It happened at a school visit. I was between presentations, sitting in the library. A few students were quietly searching for books. A boy, maybe nine or ten-years-old, came into my view, scanning the shelves. He seemed a bit lost and overwhelmed. One of my greatest joys is helping children find books they will love, […]

October 09

PRIVATE: DO NOT READ THIS! The Magic of a Secret Notebook by Jamie Michalak

David Sedaris Frida Kahlo Leonardo da Vinci Isaac Newton Agatha Christie Ernest Hemingway George Lucas Joan Didion Pablo Picasso Harriet M. Welsch   What do all of these people have in common? They’ve all carried a pocket or secret notebook.   Agatha Christie went through 73 secret notebooks. Beatrix Potter wrote in hers using a […]

October 08

Getting the Hell Out by Rafi Mittlefehldt

The first time I took my husband home to Clear Lake, we went for a walk. There’s a path near my parents’ house that runs alongside a creek. The neighborhood association calls it a greenbelt, so I grew up thinking that greenbelts were manicured sidewalks, lined by carefully placed pine trees and mown grass, running […]

October 07

Remembering, Reimagining, and Revitalizing the Work of Edgar Allan Poe by Dahlia Adler

I can’t watch scary movies. It’s one of my biggest fears, that I’ll internalize the images on the screen and turn them into nightmares, making me vulnerable while I’m asleep and can’t control or understand what I see. No matter what kind of horror we’re talking about, it’s a no go. That doesn’t sound like […]

October 05

Top Ten Quick-Start Books for Middle School by Cindy Christiansen

“Mrs. Christiansen, I need a book that starts fast!  Can you help me?”  I heard that request from my sixth graders many times last year.  They want to be hooked right away when they begin reading, and this is especially true for my reluctant readers.  My students and I created the following list of our […]

October 04

SCBWI’s Third Annual Literacy Initiative Gives Books, Builds Dreams, and Offers Hope to Readers In Need

Children’s Book Creators Join Forces to Provide High Quality Books Plus a Literary Celebration for the MADISON READING PROJECT    The members of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators join forces once again as part of the organization’s 3rd Annual SCBWI Books For Readers book drive and literacy event to collect, curate, and […]

October 03

Reading Along the Border – New Perspectives, New Understandings by Jennifer Sniadecki

I’ve spent the last few years learning and growing my own reading life, and although I like to think of myself as a reader of diverse books, I have a long way to go. Last year I spoke with several students about their needs and interests as readers with the purpose of rebuilding our middle […]