Author Archives: CBethM

June 10

Top Ten Books My Students Use to Question, Discover, Wonder, and Wish by Alison Daniels

It’s a Friday morning. I sit down with my 6th graders, floating from group to group, getting lost in their conversations. The barrier between teacher voice and student voice disappears until we are just a table of readers. As a table of readers, each of us possessing agency, we discover and rediscover, we see and […]

June 09

THE WEIGHT OF A LIFE by Jess Keating

I’ve always thought the term nonfiction was a bit of a drag. I mean, nonfiction is the stuff of real life. Nonfiction is the living and breathing pulse under our lives, and how we convey things so crucially important they can dictate the success of a heart transplant, a lone seed germinating, or the stepping […]

June 08

A Season-Dancing, Heart-Opening Retro Review of My Mama Had a Dancing Heart — by Rosanne L. Kurstedt

My Mama Had a Dancing Heart (Orchard Books, 1995) by Libba Moore Gray and illustrated by Raúl Colón is a fun-loving, hand-clapping, heart-happy book that never gets old.   Libba Moore Gray effortlessly tells the story of a mother and her daughter through season-specific dances. Her use of noun-verb and verb-verb phrases adds rhythm and […]

June 07

My House, Once – Emily Arrow’s Childhood Home Told Through Books

The THIS HOUSE, ONCE Song, inspired by the incredible book by Deborah Freedman, was one of the most emotional songs I’ve ever been tasked to write. About a month before my recent move from Los Angeles, CA to Nashville, TN, educator-extraordinaire Colby Sharp and his students tweeted me a request: “We think you should write […]

June 06

You Don’t Always Have to Write What You Know by E. D. Baker

When I was growing up, I’d often hear that an author had to write what he knew.  That’s good advice as far as it goes.  A detective could write a great mystery. A cowboy could write a series of westerns.  A doctor could write about the drama taking place in a hospital.  But what about […]

June 04

Finding Your Passion by Stephanie Burgis

I’ve always loved books about ambitious girls pursuing their passions, whether it’s the Fossil girls in Ballet Shoes fighting their way onto the stage, a young violinist playing her first big solo competition in Virginia Euwer Wolff’s The Mozart Season, or the members of the Babysitters’ Club forming their own successful business as kids.   […]

June 03

Top 10 Children’s Books to Inspire Creativity by Kristen Williams

In a time when video games seem to rule the kid scene and funding for the arts is on the chopping block, we should highlight the many wonderful books out there involving art and artists. From preschool to middle school these books are sure to inspire kids to go out and create masterpieces of their […]

June 02

Cover Reveal of In Sight of Stars by Gae Polisner

“Daubigny’s Garden.” I say this aloud to Dr. Alvarez — Daubigny’s Garden – for no other reason than it’s there. Or maybe I say it because it’s art, and sometimes that’s all there is. Dr. Alvarez turns to where its blue-roofed house rises into yellow and blue clouds. “So that’s what it’s called?” “Yes. But […]

June 01

Brad Meltzer’s Ordinary People Change the World Series – Review by Nikki Boisture

  One of the difficulties with raising kids is that you want them to look up to the right people. Left to their own devices, my kids would probably only idolize twenty-somethings who earn their living playing Minecraft on You Tube. Not that there’s anything wrong with Minecraft and You Tube, but there are definitely […]

May 30

Books Really Do Open Doors to the World by Lisa Schroeder

When I was growing up, we didn’t travel much. We went camping sometimes, when I was young and my parents were still married. After they divorced, though, most of my vacations were spent at my grandparents’ farm. It was a wonderful place, and I was happy to be there, but I also wondered about the […]