Author Archives: CBethM

how it went down July 29

How Did It Go Down? by Kara Rosenberg

How It Went Down by Kekla Magoon starts with an all-too-familiar scenario: a black teenager, Tariq, is shot by a white man in a poor, urban neighborhood that could take place in any city in America at any point in the recent (or not-so-recent) past. The novel begins with what seems like a straightforward police […]

Over in the Wetlands July 28

Resilience and Restoration — Over in the Wetlands: A Hurricane-on-the-Bayou Story by Caroline Starr Rose and Rob Dunlavey

I moved to Terrebonne Parish, Louisiana in 2007, a few months short of Hurricane Katrina’s second anniversary. To see the marks of devastation New Orleans still carried, to hear the daily conversations, it was clear Katrina, “the single most catastrophic natural disaster in U.S. history,” had left a lasting impact on countless lives.   What […]

Sketch11319220 July 27

Of Gender, Growth, and Change by Michael M. Guevara

Years ago, I had what I called my summer of chick lit. I read some Alice Seabold, Lisa See, and Nicholas Sparks. I teased and joked about it to others before they could pass judgment on my reading selections. When I read Gone Girl recently, I also thwarted any unwanted criticism by announcing to anyone […]

marvels July 26

Selznick’s Secret Doorways by Jason Griffith

The neat thing about seeing Van Gogh’s paintings live and in-person is that you can clearly see the brush strokes in the texture of the paint. It only takes a little imagination to picture Van Gogh madly dashing and dabbing his way across the canvas. In June, I visited the Metropolitan Museum of Art for […]

10-Should I Share My Ice Cream July 25

Top Ten Lessons Elephant & Piggie Have Taught Us by Jen Terry & Jacquie Eckert

Elephant & Piggie books are favorites amongst our classrooms of readers. They are picked up and read and shared and shared again each day. Not only do Elephant & Piggie books make us laugh out loud, they also cleverly teach us lessons. Children’s picture books are a key component in helping kids connect to authentic […]

Attachment One July 24

Avoiding the Summer Slide: Pain or Pleasure? by Valinda Kimmel

We have also confirmed that students can make impressive progress in literacy without massive amounts of direct instruction, without endless dull workbooks and vocabulary lists. We have confirmed that the most effective way is also the most pleasant way. —Fay H. Shin and Stephen Krashen, Summer Reading Program and Evidence   Summer slide affects many […]

shatter me July 23

Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi – Retro Review by Mollye Oze

Shatter Me is a young adult dystopian novel. It takes place in a world where the clouds are the wrong color and the birds no longer fly. The cruel Reestablishment claims to bring salvage to the people but actually leaves them hungry. They throw Juliette Ferrars into an asylum on the account of her strange […]

roller girl July 22

When Good Characters Make Bad Friends by Amy Estersohn

The land of middle grade literature is filled with characters so one-dimensional they’re almost cartoonish.  It shouldn’t be a surprise that the cartoons — ahem, graphic novels — capture complex characters.   Take, for example, Astrid, the main character in Victoria Jamieson’s delightful graphic novel Roller Girl.  When Astrid, her best friend, Nicole, and her […]

princess juniper July 21


Have you ever heard of the bowerbird? Native to Australia and New Guinea, this bird isn’t particularly special in appearance, in size, or in shape—it’s pretty typical, in fact, in just every way but one. The special thing about the bowerbird is not what it is, but what it does. Namely? It collects things. Pretty […]

Sketch11319220 July 20

Growing Up Gifted by Melissa Sears

I’m fairly convinced that the reason that I love reading so much is because my mom read to me all of the time when I was a kid.  It amazes me that she did it because she doesn’t consider herself to be a highly intellectual person.  The reason why she did it was because she […]