Author Archives: CBethM

ruby lee and me July 28

Middle Grade Books Serve As Windows and Mirrors by Shannon Hitchcock

I first thought about Middle Grade books as windows and mirrors when listening to Grace Lin’s TED Talk, “The Windows and Mirrors of Your Child’s Bookshelf.” Grace says kids need to see themselves in books, like looking in a mirror. On the flip side, kids need to read about children whose lives don’t resemble theirs, […]

we are the ants July 27

We Are the Ants by Shaun Hutchinson: An Appraisal by Travis Crowder

Shaun Hutchinson’s novel is one of the most honest, heartfelt novels I have read for young adults in the past year. He captures the voice of a disenchanted teen so well that readers of all backgrounds will find familiarity in Henry Denton, the novel’s main character.  For many years, Henry has been the victim of […]

Star Crossed jpeg final July 26

STAR-CROSSED Cover Reveal by Barbara Dee

I’m a straight woman, long and happily married to my college boyfriend. But when I was in middle school, I had a crush on my best friend. Who was a girl. There, I said it. I couldn’t say it back in middle school, because…well, you just didn’t. Even if the crushee knew (and in my […]

going places July 25

My Reading Journey: I’m Going Places by Jennifer Sniadecki

  There are considerable and significant journeys readers take as they travel through life. Readers of fiction travel far and wide – places like the beach, the city, Narnia, Panem, and Oz. Readers who navigate towards nonfiction swim with sharks, design skyscrapers, and fly to the Rose Bowl in the Goodyear Blimp. Writer Rachel Anders […]

story of seeds July 23

STEM Girls – Ten Books Featuring Girls Rocking Science by Nancy Castaldo

Yes, I was a science geek.  I was a girl who looked under rocks, couldn’t wait for dissections in biology class, and was the president of my college science club. That didn’t mean I didn’t love to read, like most girls. I did. In fact, I entered college as a duel Bio/English major. It wasn’t […]

A Classroom Culture’s Impact on Students’ Reading Success by Emily Visness

​Inspiring students to read can be challenging. Yes, I realize that is a gross understatement. Middle school students have a reputation for not wanting to do much of anything except socialize with each other and exhibit Great Disdain for adult humans.  However, middle school students are not always disaffected, malcontent, and divisive. At least, not […]

wp-1468981707463.jpg July 21

GAGAS: Goblins and Goblets Avoidance Syndrome by Jeff Anderson

If you came to me looking for a fantasy book, you could be safe knowing anything with goblins or goblets in the title would always be available to loan because I sure wouldn’t be reading them. (And yes, that includes Harry Potter.) I own The Wizard of Earthsea and Harry Potter, but I haven’t read […]

wp-1468980940916.jpg July 20

The Case for the Undiscovered Reading Self by Tracy Edward Wymer

Growing up, I was not a reader. The only thing that even slightly captured my attention was a ball. Any kind of ball. Basketball. Baseball. Football. Soccer ball. Heck, even playing kickball at recess was more fun than reading a book. I especially liked tennis balls. Give me a tennis ball and a cinder block […]

wp-1468920213332.jpg July 19

Essay Question: Social Media and the Middle School Lunchroom – Compare and Contrast by  Denis Markell 

​You know scene in countless movies and middle grade books, of the ‘new kid’ entering the lunchroom at school for the first time? That’s how I felt when I first joined Twitter. Walking furtively with my metaphoric tray, I was overwhelmed with the sense that everyone else seemed to know each other already. There were […]

wp-1468839796571.jpg July 18

Why Reading With Kids Matters, At Home And In The Classroom by Annie Thoms

When I was twelve, my father read me Ursula K. LeGuin’s story “The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas.” In this fable, LeGuin imagines a utopian society with a dark secret. Every inhabitant of the beautiful city of Omelas is happy, but their happiness is dependent on the existence of one utterly miserable child, who […]