July 07

BEING THE HELPERS: How to Guide Young Activists by Carrie Firestone

I wrote DRESS CODED to shed light on the pervasive problem of unfair and unequally enforced dress coding policies that disproportionately target students who identify as girls. While the novel centers around eighth grader Molly Frost’s efforts to address her middle school’s unjust dress code, I intended the book to be a blueprint for student […]

June 30

“Be brave, and most importantly, be yourself”: A Sneak Peek of THE BRAVE by James Bird

Growing up isn’t easy for anyone. Some kids have a better starting-off point than others, some kids have a better area to be raised in, and some kids have access to things that will make them more likely to thrive in life. But ask anyone who remembers being a kid in middle school and they’ll […]

June 27

Rewrite the Rules of Reading by Jen Kleinknecht

Do as I say, not as I do.  Sometimes I fear that is our attitude towards reading. As adults, we allow ourselves  to experiment with audiobooks and new genres, read books that are just great fun, read without pausing to jot notes, and abandon books we dislike. Do we allow children the same privileges, or […]

June 24

Stretch Out Like a Starfish by Lisa Fipps

Starfish is a middle-grade novel in free verse about eleven-year-old Ellie, who’s relentlessly bullied about her weight. It’s not my actual life story, but a variation of every mean thing said or done to Ellie happened to me when I was a child. People hurled hurtful words at me every day. Every day. And let’s […]

June 23

Geeking Out in Middle Grade by Sam Maggs

Con Quest!, my debut middle-grade novel, is out this June 23rd. I’m so excited about sharing this story with the world – not just because it’s a debut, and not just because I loved writing it (though I did), but because I hope that it might have the power to help even one middle-grader out […]

June 22

Reading Season by Renee Bowman

Dear Parents,    Our household is busier than ever right now for one simple reason: basketball. Basketball is the only sport my kids love. Collectively, my kids play on three teams, we coach a team, and we help coordinate an entire league. Basketball season means several things: rushed dinners, late bedtimes, more showers, extra laundry, […]

June 18

Deepfakes, Technology, and Truth by Sarah Darer Littman

Dara and Will, two of Greenpoint High School’s overachievers, are locked in an intense competition to be valedictorian at graduation. They’re also secretly dating. That’s until the school’s anonymous gossip site, Rumor has It, posts a video of Dara accusing Will of paying someone to take the SAT for him. The video goes viral, and […]

June 16

When You’re Fourteen and Somebody Tells You Charles Dickens Would Have Loved You, You’re Gonna Believe Them by Matt Burns

“I think Charles Dickens would have liked what you wrote.”   Mrs. Pitz, my ninth-grade language arts teacher, said that to me when she handed back the stack of papers I’d turned in the week before. I’d expected a D paired with some comments about how I hadn’t taken the assignment seriously and needed to […]

June 15

Rx: Silence by Joy Jones

“There’s a time to sing and a time to shout and then there’s a time to just chill on out.” So proclaimed an old rap song. And it’s so true; people need chill out stations. The library is a chill out, think-deep space; a place for quiet. Not as quiet as it was in my […]

June 12

Summer Reading and Learning for Teachers by Clare Landrigan & Penny Kittle

Jamie shows up early for class and wraps himself around a Matt de la Pena novel. You have heard a story like his before: he’s never been a reader, is not interested in novels (or grades), but is now putting in extra time to read.   It’s not the book club he’ll be meeting with […]