selfies January 09

Why I Love Author Selfies by Sandy Otto

Yes, I take selfies with authors. Lots of selfies. Every chance I get. As an English teacher and avid reader, I love getting books signed by favorite authors to share with my students and add to my classroom library. Their signatures make these books even more special. But there’s something magical about taking a picture […]

the-matchstick-castle January 08

Top 10 Homes in Middle-Grade Fiction by Keir Graff

Homes are important in kids’ books, probably because visiting other people’s houses awakens our first wonderings about how other people live—and, by inference, how we might live once we get to make decisions about such things. (Imagining others’ circumstances also has a lot to do with the development of empathy, too.) I’ve spent a lot […]

DearDragon_cover January 07

OUR TOP TEN FAVORITE FICTION PICTURE BOOKS OF 2016 by Holly Mueller and her 6th Grade Class

For several weeks in December my 6th graders have been reading and reviewing many of this year’s picture books in order to choose contenders for the 2017 Caldecott Award, which will be announced on January 23rd.  I always like to watch the ALA Youth Media Awards with my classes, but it’s way more exciting to […]

stepping-stones-front-lg3 January 05

STEPPING STONES: A REFUGEE FAMILY’S JOURNEY, by Margriet Ruurs, with stone art illustrations by Nizar Ali Badr – Review by Sandy Brehl

  Canadian author Margriet Ruurs is an educator, a prolific author, and a world traveler. Her visits to international schools and other global destinations have inspired several of her titles. But Margriet found inspiration for her latest picture book while at home, scrolling through Facebook posts. There, she first viewed the stone-assemblage scenes of Syrian […]

one-last-word January 04

My Favorite Word by Nikki Grimes

At a recent school visit, a student posed a wonderful question during Q & A.  “What is your favorite word?” he asked me.  Caught off guard, I said the first thing that popped into my head.  “Dream,” I told him, “because it opens up endless possibilities.”  It wasn’t a bad answer, but it wasn’t the […]

the-serpent-king January 03

THE 2016 NERDIES: YOUNG ADULT FICTION (PART TWO) ANNOUNCED BY A CONVENTION OF NERDS

    This post includes the second half of the 2016 Nerdy Book Club Award winners for best young adult fiction. The first part of the list ran in yesterday’s post. Congratulations to all of the winners. Your books offer reader empowering stories celebrating the resilience, honesty, and integrity of young adults as they navigate […]

burn-baby-burn January 02

THE 2016 NERDIES: YOUNG ADULT FICTION (PART ONE) ANNOUNCED BY A CHAPTER OF NERDS

We end the 2016 Nerdy Book Club Awards with two collaborative posts celebrating the best young adult fiction. This year, we honor twenty outstanding young adult fiction titles that capture and respect the challenges of adolescence. Each book on the list offers young adults validation and support for their experiences and struggles, and expands understanding […]

sketchy ocean waves background January 01

2016 NERDIES: Middle Grade Fiction Winners Announced by Colby Sharp

I love the Nerdies! Each year I have the opportunity to announce the middle grade fiction winners. It is so much fun. Donalyn Miller sends me the list around the time winter break begins. I immediately go through the list to see how many of the books I’ve read. One of my favorite things about […]

rad-women-worldwide December 31

THE 2016 NERDIES: LONG FORM NONFICTION ANNOUNCED BY DONALYN MILLER

Since my childhood, I have been fascinated with nonfiction books. I read our family World Book Encyclopedias and Time-Life books from cover-to-cover and methodically worked through every biography and wildlife book in my elementary school library. My lifelong fascination for natural and human history, geography, and life sciences began in that library, and I still […]

paper-girls-volume-one December 30

THE 2016 NERDIES: GRAPHIC NOVEL WINNERS ANNOUNCED BY KATHERINE SOKOLOWSKI

The Nerdy Book Club Awards are a time of great excitement and great expense. I look forward to these awards each year, but also fear for my credit card bill by the end of them. Just getting this list for the graphic novel winners shortly before Christmas was wallet draining. There were several books I […]