December 12, 2017

The Advocate's Toolbox

Kiera Parrott is the reviews director for School Library Journal and Library Journal and a former children's librarian. Her favorite books are ones that make her cry—or snort—on public transportation.

Kiera Parrott

About Kiera Parrott

Kiera Parrott is the reviews director for School Library Journal and Library Journal and a former children's librarian. Her favorite books are ones that make her cry—or snort—on public transportation.

Two New Middle Grade Novels Explore Racism, Past and Present | SLJ Spotlight

Two powerful middle grade novels explore the tough yet crucial topic of racism.

This article was published in School Library Journal's December 2017 issue. Subscribe today and save up to 35% off the regular subscription rate.

Middle Grade Novels Set in the Last Century | SLJ Spotlight

Four middle grade titles explore childhood in the 1900s.

This article was published in School Library Journal's November 2017 issue. Subscribe today and save up to 35% off the regular subscription rate.

The Book of Dust: La Belle Sauvage by Philip Pullman | SLJ Review

The latest novel from the author of the beloved and award-winning “His Dark Materials” returns with a prequel that will delight fans and newcomers alike.

Fountas and Pinnell Say Librarians Should Guide Readers by Interest, Not Level

Creators of a widely used reading and book leveling system say their system is intended as a tool for educators—not as a means of labeling or restricting reading choices for students.

Middle Grade Standalones and Sequels from Favorite Authors | SLJ Spotlight

These 10 titles from favorite authors will delight readers whether they’re seeking a standalone or series sequel.

This article was published in School Library Journal's July 2017 issue. Subscribe today and save up to 35% off the regular subscription rate.

4 Middle Grade Books To Tug the Heartstrings | SLJ Spotlight

Four poignant middle grade titles for analytical and introspective young readers.

This article was published in School Library Journal's October 2017 issue. Subscribe today and save up to 35% off the regular subscription rate.

Middle Grade Tales of True Grit | SLJ Spotlight

The characters in these five new titles show dedication and determination to overcome hardships great and small.

This article was published in School Library Journal's September 2017 issue. Subscribe today and save up to 35% off the regular subscription rate.

The Wolf, the Duck, and the Mouse by Mac Barnett | SLJ Review

BARNETT, Mac. The Wolf, the Duck, and the Mouse. illus. by Jon Klassen. 40p. Candlewick. Oct. 2017. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780763677541.

K-Gr 2 –When a little mouse gets gobbled up by a hungry wolf, all seems lost until he makes an unexpected friend in the belly of the beast: a duck that may have been swallowed but has “no intention of being eaten.” Indeed, life is not so bad inside the wolf. There’s a comfortable bed, a grand dining room table, and a fully […]

16 Novels with Tween-Appeal

New and forthcoming middle grade and YA titles—covering a range of genres—with high appeal for tweens and young teens.

Thinking Outside the Bin: Why labeling books by reading level disempowers young readers

Leveled reading systems are popular in many school districts but are they doing more harm than good?

This article was published in School Library Journal's August 2017 issue. Subscribe today and save up to 35% off the regular subscription rate.

Resource Roundup: Teaching and Curriculum Supports on Antibias and Social Justice

Articles, videos, lesson plans, and other resources for educators preparing to talk to kids and teens about Charlottesville, racism, and hatred.

Middle Grade Titles on Surviving and Thriving | SLJ Spotlight

Three new middle-grade titles feature protagonists overcoming illness and physical challenges.

This article was published in School Library Journal's August 2017 issue. Subscribe today and save up to 35% off the regular subscription rate.

Daring Middle Grade Debuts | SLJ Spotlight

Five new and forthcoming middle grade debuts to watch out for.

“Please Don’t Talk About Your LGBTQ+ Book”: Barbara Dee on “Star-Crossed” and Her Recent School Visit Experience

Barbara Dee’s latest novel features a middle school-aged character who crushes on both girls and boys. At a recent school visit, teachers told Ms. Dee not to mention the book.

A Stellar Lineup of Authors at the AAP/SLJ Children’s Librarians’ Dinner | BookExpo 2017

This year’s AAP/SLJ Dinner included favorites Mo Willems, Mitali Perkins, Lesa Cline-Ransome and James E. Ransome, as well as debut authors Tochi Onyebuchi, Dusti Bowling, and Byron Pitts.

Friendship, Family, and Food: Hena Khan and Karuna Riazi on Writing for Salaam Reads

Two Muslim American authors, Hena Khan and Karuna Riazi, discuss the new imprint, Salaam Reads, writing for young readers, and bringing new voices to library shelves.

5 Middle Grade Titles Perfect for Reading Aloud

The following middle grade titles feature strong vocabulary, detailed settings, and authentic dialogue, along with themes that will spark discussion.

Goldfish Ghost by Lemony Snicket | SLJ Review

SNICKET, Lemony. Goldfish Ghost. illus. by Lisa Brown. 40p. Roaring Brook/Neal Porter Bks. May 2017. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781626725072.

K-Gr 3 –In a droll twist on the typical “beloved dead pet” story, this one opens with a death—reimagined as an otherworldly birth—of a boy’s pet goldfish. Born upside down and floating on top of his fishbowl, Goldfish Ghost, who remains in that position throughout, slowly drifts out of the boy’s bedroom and along the idyllic seascapes of Cape Cod […]

4 Novels on the Trials and Tribulations of Middle School

The following novels feature characters smack-dab in the middle of those tumultuous middle school years.

5 Middle Grade Titles Featuring People of Color

Looking for new middle grade novels starring main characters of color? Here are five standout titles suitable for most collections.