February 19, 2018

The Advocate's Toolbox

“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.

What Changes, What Remains: Johanna Hurwitz on Her 40-plus Year Career Writing for Children

Author Johanna Hurwitz has been entertaining young readers since 1976. She shares some of her fondest memories and considers the changing trends in middle grade literature.

4 Poetry Titles to Share with Tweens

Margarita Engle’s moving exploration of Latinx in U.S. history, Nikki Grimes’s tribute to the Harlem Renaissance, and other works of poetry to share with tweens.

Lynda Mullaly Hunt On Connecting with the “Middle-Grade Psyche”

Librarian Karen Yingling chats with author Linda Mullaly Hunt about how she taps into and crafts authentic middle-grade characters.

From Speechwriter to Fan-Favorite “Stick Dog” Author: Chatting with Tom Watson

Funnyman Tom Watson is the creative force behind the laugh-out-loud illustrated novels starring Stick Dog and Stick Cat. Surprisingly, his writing career began in politics.

Chapter Books for Change | Chapter Book Chat

Topics such as immigration, gender identity, and homelessness are explored in this selection of chapter books for younger readers, with supporting web resources for classroom lessons and discussions.

Comical Information | Nonfiction Notions

Can the graphic novel format ever be considered “true” nonfiction? For librarian Jennifer Wharton, who recommended several recent favorites, they occupy a space between fiction and nonfiction, offering readers a highly accessible and exciting entry into informational text.

Series for Every Type of Reluctant Reader | Nonfiction Notions

Librarian Jennifer Wharton explains the three major reluctant reader types and recommends high-interest titles for each.

“A Flame in Water”: Jason Reynolds on Writing for Middle Grade Readers

Award-winning author Jason Reynolds talks about his transition from writing YA to penning middle grade stories.

Cool New Tech Tools & Gadgets for Your Library Wishlist

Robots that teach coding, DIY computer kits, virtual reality, and more. There’s something here to satisfy every budding techie.

Stock Your Shelves! | Middle Grade Series Update

A roundup of recent middle grade series continuations.

Tween-Friendly Romance Titles | The Upper Deck

Columnist Tara Kron takes a look at three recent YA titles that bring the romance—in developmentally appropriate doses—for tween readers.

Monsters, Mysteries, and Middle Grade: A Chat with Bruce Hale

The prolific author of more than 40 books talks about his life as a young reluctant reader and what eventually turned him on to literature.

Giving the Gift of Nonfiction | Nonfiction Notions

When thinking about holiday gift-giving this season, don’t forget about nonfiction!

Three Ways To Use Picture Books with Older Kids | Programming Cookbook

Picture books are not just for toddlers! Here are three programs that highlight ways to use familiar picture books with upper elementary and middle school kids.

Watch with a Friend: Tween-Friendly Movies To Scare Your Socks Off

Thirteen PG-rated films perfect for a Halloween movie night.