April 16, 2014

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Presidents’ Day | Books for Celebration and Study

Thomas Jefferson Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Everything

Presidents’ Day (February 17, 2014) is just around the corner. Combining well-researched content with reader-pleasing formats, the handsomely illustrated titles presented here put the spotlight on America’s chief executives.

A Passion for Fashion | Make These Curriculum Connections

How to Draw Like a Fashion Designer

“If you’re not naked, you’re into fashion,” so states Tom Streissguth in “Getting the Hang of Fashion” one of the titles in our list of style histories and how-tos.

Work and Wages: Inquiry Across the Curriculum | On Common Core

minimum wage

Stories about labor and the economy continue to dominate headline news. In what ways does a “rising tide lift all boats”? What is the real minimum wage required to bring working families out of poverty? These and other important questions can be explored in the context of today’s curriculum standards.

Setting Life to a Soundtrack | New YA Novels

This Song Will Save Your Life

Three young adult authors examine the importance of music as a means for self-expression in novels that tackle challenges of the teenage years.

Teddy Roosevelt’s ‘Mighty Things’ | An Interview with Doreen Rappaport


In her writing, Doreen Rappaport champions those who have wrestled with authority figures and great personal challenges—often risking their lives for a greater good. Her latest book examines the life of Teddy Roosevelt.

From Comic-Book Burning to Dinosaur Searching | Nonfiction Notes, December 2013

Dinosaur Hunter

Who knew to what extent some adults and the U.S. Government went to correlate comic books to crime and to try to regulate (and ban) them during the years 1948 to 1955? Find out in ‘Bad For You” one of the books highlighted in this month’s ‘Nonfiction Notes.’

Picture Book Biographies | Portals to the Past

Nelson Mandela

Superb choices for sharing aloud or reading independently, picture book biographies make useful starting points for investigations of subjects that span the curriculum. This year’s selections includes artists, activists, and an aviatrix.

Inquiry and Integration Across the Curriculum | Natural Selection and Adaptation


In a lesson designed for middle school students, the authors investigate questions about the evolution of life on Earth through the lens of contemporary standards.

Somewhere between Childhood and Adulthood | A Conversation With Meg Rosoff

Picture Me Gone

In a complete departure from her previous book, ‘There Is No Dog,’ Meg Rosoff creates a compelling mystery, and an ideal detective in 12-year-old Mila, the narrator of ‘Picture Me Gone.’

Maps, Muybridge, and Martin Luther King, Jr. | Nonfiction Notes, November 2013


Highlighted this month are must-have titles ranging in subject from animals and inventors to poetry and essays.

JA in YA: To Jane on the 200th Anniversary of ‘Pride and Prejudice’


On the 200th Anniversary of ‘Pride and Prejudice,’ SLJ editor, Austen devotee, and children’s literature specialist Shelley Diaz has compiled a list of some of her favorite spin-offs–in several formats–for young adult readers.

Big, Bigger, Biggest | Dinosaur Delights

How Big Were Dinosaurs

A bevy of new nonfiction titles open a window onto the extraordinary animals that walked the earth eons ago.

Inquiry and Integration Across the Curriculum: Global Citizenry


When the new social studies and the Common Core standards are used together to plan curriculum, the result is a truly powerful, integrated approach to learning. Here’s a lesson that shows the way.

A Twice-Told Tale of Rebellion in China | Gene Luen Yang’s ‘Boxers & Saints’


In ‘Boxers’ and ‘Saints,’ two new graphic novels from the Gene Luen Yang, the author examines the Boxer Rebellion from both sides of the conflict. In this interview, the author comments, “the more I learned, the more ambivalent I felt….I could sympathize with both sides.”

Meghan McCarthy: An Author to Study

Aliens Are Coming!

Teachers in search of an entertaining nonfiction author study need look no further than Meghan McCarthy. Not only does this author/illustrator have a knack for choosing compelling events and subjects to write about, but her accessible books, injected with humor and wit, cover a wide range of curricular areas.

Inquiry and Integration Across the Curriculum | On Common Core


The new Next Generation Science Standards, released last April, are performance standards, created to demonstrate not merely what students will know, but what students will know how to do. They have been written with direct connections to the Common Core. Here is a sample lesson working within both sets of standards.

Great Beginnings | Books for Emergent Readers


Like all youngsters, kids learning to read benefit from exposure to high-quality titles that blend well-written narratives with eye-catching illustrations. Formatted to support the needs of emergent readers, this year’s crop of offerings also capture the interest and imaginations of their audience with enticing subject matter and stirring storytelling.

From Disappearing Honeybees to Dinosaurs | Nonfiction Notes, October 2013

The Greatest Dinosaur Ever

Medical experimentation, conflict resolution, disappearing honeybees, and dinosaurs are just some of the topics that make our list of nonfiction titles publishing this month that you’ll want to share with students and teachers.

Remembering JFK | Required Reading

Jack The Early Years of John F. Kennedy

Not only did the 1963 assassination of President John F. Kennedy send a shock wave through the country, it was the first time the public watched on-air television coverage of an historic event as it unfolded. Fifty years later, today’s students can learn about the president’s life, death, and legacy through a number of quality books and online resources.

‘The Smartest Kids in the World’ | Professional Shelf

the smartest kids in the world

Amanda Ripley set off on a year-long “field trip to the smart-kid countries” to see if she could account for the success of the high achieving students around the world. What made these kids smarter than their American peers? The writer reports in ‘The Smartest Kids in the World: And How They Got that Way’ (S&S, 2013).