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May 23, 2015

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Bold New Worlds | Fantasy Titles for Middle Grade Readers, Spring 2015

Beastly dreadfuls

Three new middle grade titles offer exciting twists on familiar fantasy tropes and world-building.

Takin’ It to the Streets | Ann Bausum on “Stonewall”

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On a sweltering night in June 1969, the police raided the Stonewall Inn, a well-known gay bar in New York City’s West Village. It wasn’t the first time the bar was raided, but that night the scene erupted into a riot. The legacy of that event and those that followed is explored in Ann Bausum’s stunning new book, Stonewall.

Changing the World with Erin Gruwell | Professional Shelf

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Erin Gruwell, a teacher determined to make a difference, and her students became the subject of the 2007 Hollywood movie Freedom Writers. On May 5, Gruwell and some of those same students will visit with Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. Together they will view a new documentary about the Freedom Writers’ extraordinary journey.

Talkin’ Trash | Spotlight on the Environment

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In schools across the country, we remind children and teens to “reduce, reuse, recycle,” but how these acts impact a community isn’t always visible. The consequences of avoiding that responsibility are, however.

Farm to Table: The Food We Eat, the World We Live In

UpWeGrow

Serve these titles up as part of units on life science, health and nutrition, community workers, ecology, and the conservation of natural resources.

Paul B. Janeczko: On Poetry, Anthologizing, and Shelfies | An Interview

death of a hat

In Paul B. Janeczko’s latest anthology, 50 poems explore an equal number of objects from Rumi’s “just-finishing” candle to William Carlos Williams’s red wheelbarrow.

Shining a Spotlight On Verse | Professional Shelf

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Two new handbooks remind teachers and librarians that poetry needn’t be relegated to a single unit or a particular time of year.

Alice Hoffman on “Nightbird” | “I Write the Book I Want to Read.”

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In an interview, Alice Hoffman talks about her new middle grade novel, “Nightbird,” and the power of fairy tales.

Feisty Females in Secret Societies | New Fiction for Young Adults

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Following the enormous success of Suzanne Collins’s “Hunger Games” trilogy, action-packed novels with powerful female protagonists have become a mainstay of young adult lit.

Team Kelly Light | A Whole-School Author Visit

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What does a whole-school author visit look like? P.S. 110 in New York City’s Lower East Side can tell you. Under the leadership of Principal Karen Feuer, the entire community gets involved when an author comes to town.

Fun with Folktales | Revisiting Old Favorites

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Most elementary-aged children have already met Goldilocks and Little Red Riding Hood in their literary travels—try introducing them to some modern retellings that mingle familiar elements with fresh and imagination-stretching innovations.

Graphic Biographies for Teens

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Where else would Ötzi the Iceman, Ibn Battuta, Hildegard of Bingen, Bruce Lee, and Malala Yousafzai sit side by side but in a collective biography? These recently released books featuring fascinating figures and graphic art are guaranteed to appeal to teens.

Spotlight On Ecosystems | Aquatic Biomes

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Environmental awareness, and problem solving, begins with foundational knowledge about Earth’s biomes, including freshwater and saltwater ecosystems such as estuaries, oceans, lakes, rivers, ponds, and coral reefs. This list offers a cluster of recent resources for elementary collections that underscore the idea that kids can be citizen scientists, too.

Challenge Authority! | Teen Guides to Thinking Critically

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Three recent titles examine the roots of myths and misinformation and encourage teens to think critically.

Tapping into Kids’ Curiosity About the Natural World | Professional Shelf

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The push to incorporate informational texts into instruction offers teachers and librarians an opportunity to tap into young readers ’curiosity about the natural world. Three recent publications with a focus on the selection and use of science-related texts in the classroom and for programming are timely aids for teachers and librarians.

Outstanding STEM Apps: Digital resources on life science, physical science, and earth and space sciences

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Current academic interests include increasing the number of accessible science and digital resources. The apps listed here satisfy both needs.

This article was published in School Library Journal's March 2015 issue. Subscribe today and save up to 35% off the regular subscription rate.

Beboppin’ with “Bird & Diz”

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With bursts of rhythm and flashes of color, Gary Golio and Ed Young’s stunning new picture book “Bird & Diz” captures the spirit and genius of bebop artists Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie and their classic rendition of “Salt Peanuts.”

This article was published in School Library Journal's March 2015 issue. Subscribe today and save up to 35% off the regular subscription rate.

Pam Muñoz Ryan’s “Echo” Reverberates With Hope| Interview

ECHO

In her epic novel “Echo,” Pam Muñoz Ryan weaves together stories of young people living through a tumultuous period in the 20th century.

Spotlight On Ecosystems | Terrestrial Biomes & Their Denizens

sand swimmers

When we think of the major terrestrial biomes—desert, grassland, forest, tundra—we envision dramatically different climates, flora, and fauna. If only it were so simple!

Water: Earth’s Most Precious Resource

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Recently, factors such as drought, climate change, and increased demand have raised concerns about the availability of and access to safe drinking water across the globe. Prepare for World Water Day on March 22 with titles that incorporate science, geography and history, and environmental and social issues.