December 12, 2017

The Advocate's Toolbox

Chalkboard Controversy: Naughty Graffiti and Social Media Safety in a Middle School Library Space

A chalkboard wall in a newly designed public library space for middle schoolers brought fun opportunities—and some unexpected challenges.

Get Clued In: Chapter Book Mysteries & Lesson Plan Tie-Ins

Five chapter book mystery series with activities and lesson plan ideas.

Putting “Wunder” into the Ordinary: An Interview with Jessica Townsend

Jessica Townsend’s debut fantasy is as delightful and optimistic as the author herself.

Chatting with Dusti Bowling, Author of “Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus”

Aven Green, who was born without arms, moves to a new state, makes a new friend, and uncovers a mystery. We chat with Bowling about her inspirations, how she worked with sensitivity readers to develop Aven, and her deep love for the Arizona desert.

Getting Tweens To Think (and Act) Globally | Nonfiction Notions

These six nonfiction titles illuminate global challenges and offer readers meaningful ways to make a difference in their world.

How Educators Can Respond to Mental Health Concerns Raised by “13 Reasons Why” | In the Classroom

For ELA teacher Valerie Sawicki Bellomo, the controversy over the Netflix adaptation of 13 Reasons Why presented a challenge and an opportunity to support students’ mental health.

Tween Titles to Inspire Science-Based Community Projects | Nonfiction Notions

In a continuing series on nonfiction books that help tweens “build a better world,” Nonfiction Notions columnist Jennifer Wharton recommends several titles that support science-based community projects.

Talking with Terry Lynn Johnson: Author, Conservationist, Musher

Terry Lynn Johnson doesn’t just write about wilderness and survival—she lives it.

Five STEM-themed Chapter Books & Lesson Plan Ideas

These five fictional chapter books introduce scientific concepts in entertaining and accessible ways.

Sue Macy on Women in Sports, Feminism, and the Impact of Title IX

Sue Macy, whose books center on the intersection of women’s history and sports, discusses the impact of Title IX, feminism, and why she writes about real-life heroines.

Ellen Oh on Her Goosebump-Inducing “Spirit Hunters”

Ellen Oh, author and CEO/president of We Need Diverse Books, talks about crafting and researching her creepy new novel, Spirit Hunters.

“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.

“Build a Better World” with Chapter Books

Chapter Book Chat columnist Abby Johnson recommends three recent titles (along with lesson plan and activity ideas) that fit perfectly with the “Build A Better World” summer reading theme.

Tired of Fidget Spinners? Embrace Them As Teaching Tools, Not Just Toys

Librarian Christina Keasler advises educators to embrace the recent fidget spinner craze—and incorporate them into lesson plans and summer activities.

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.

“Letting the Heart Lead the Way”: Ruth Behar on Writing for Middle Graders

Behar’s first novel for middle graders is based on her own childhood experiences as a young Cuban American immigrant, confined to bed for months after a terrible accident.

Titles to Inspire Tweens and Teens to “Build a Better World” This Summer

Nonfiction Notions columnist Jennifer Wharton highlights a few titles perfect for this year’s Collaborative Summer Learning Program theme, “Build a Better World.”

Dedicated Middle School Collections in the Public Library: A New Trend?

Public libraries are starting to develop collections specifically for readers in grades six to eight. The selection process can be tricky and time-consuming—but often well worth the effort.

Gordon Korman, Prolific—and Lifelong—Author, Balances Absurdity and Heart

Gordon Korman, author of more than 80 books for middle grade and young adult readers, published his very first novel at the age of 14—and has been writing ever since.

Engaging Readers with Fiction/Nonfiction Pairings

Pairing popular chapter books with thematically related nonfiction titles offers readers various entry points to a subject.