“A book, too, can be a star, ‘explosive material, capable of stirring up fresh life endlessly,’ a living fire to lighten the darkness, leading out into the expanding universe.”
― Madeleine L’Engle
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The Doll’s Eye, by Marina Cohen
Hadley’s life has been totally upended. It’s always been just her and her mom, living in their Pittsburgh apartment. Then her mom met Ed, and in the blink of an eye she and Ed got married, and they became a family of four, with Ed’s six-year-old son Isaac. Now they’re moving to a weird old house in the country, far away from Hadley’s school and her friends and the only life she’s ever known.
On her first day in the new house, Hadley finds a glass eye rolling across the floor of her bedroom. Then she finds a dollhouse in the attic that looks exactly like their house, and a bunch of old dolls, including a doll that looks just like the old woman who lives over the garage. In fact, it looks exactly like her, which is weird, since the doll has to be a hundred years old. And as Hadley gets pulled further into the world of the dolls, there will be terrible consequences for her entire family.
If you liked Took, you’ll love this terrifying tale. Just make sure you don’t have any dolls around while you’re reading it.
The Wild Robot, by Peter Brown
In the middle of the ocean, a cargo ship is carrying five hundred brand-new robots when a hurricane strikes. It’s chaos: most of the robots sink to the ocean floor, but five are thrown to the winds. Wooden boxes are dashed against the rocky shore of a small island, and the robots inside are destroyed. Continue reading “Book of the Week: The Wild Robot, by Peter Brown”
My students love Wikipedia. Many of my colleagues hate it, and often turn to me to convince their students that Wikipedia is a no-good very bad unreliable source.
Alas, I cannot. Continue reading “on Wikipedia”
See You in the Cosmos, Jack Cheng
Alex Petroski has big plans. He’s going to take an Amtrak to New Mexico to go to a rocket launching convention. He’s going to launch his homemade rocket all the way into space. And he’s going to attach the Golden iPod: a recording he’s been working on. When aliens find his rocket – and Alex is sure they will – they’ll be able to find out what life was like on Earth from listening to Alex’s recorded conversations. Continue reading “Book of the Week: See You in the Cosmos by Jack Cheng”
Over the course of this weeklong project, students work in groups to learn about the different types of government in Ancient Greece. They conduct research and do a LOT of critical thinking, and they get to face the challenge – often for the first time! – of having to defend an idea they disagree with. Let’s be real: lots of grown-ups struggle with that. Continue reading “The Great Greek Debates”
The Land of Forgotten Girls, Erin Entrada Kelly
Sol and Ming are sisters, and five years ago, after their other sister drowned and their mother died, they moved from the Philippines to Louisiana with their father and wicked stepmother. And then their father abandoned them too, leaving the girls all alone with evil Vea, who never wanted them at all. Continue reading “Book of the Week: The Land of Forgotten Girls by Erin Entrada Kelly”
Some Kind of Courage, Dan Gemeinhart
After his mom and sister die of typhoid and his father is killed by a runaway covered wagon, Joseph is all alone in the world – except for his horse, Sarah. Sarah has been with his family since he was only five years old, and now she is the only family he has left. So when Joseph’s guardian, Mr. Grissom, sells Sarah to a passing horse trader, Joseph has no choice but to go after her – even if it means risking his own life. Continue reading “Book of the Week: Some Kind of Courage by Dan Gemeinhart”
One of my favorite-ever public library programs is Stuffed Animal Storytime. The last time I did this was back in June 2012 – my last year (so far) of public librarianship – and it was a huge hit. Kids ages 2-6 brought their favorite stuffed friend to a late-afternoon storytime. We had snacks and made blankies for the stuffed animals (using cheap fabric, pre-cut into appropriate sizes, that kids decorated with fabric markers). Then the kids said goodbye to their creatures, and the adventures began! Continue reading “looking back on stuffed animal storytime”
Awkward, Svetlana Chmakova
Realistic fiction/Graphic novel
On Penelope’s very first day at her new school, she just wants to blend in and maybe make a friend. Instead, she trips in the hallway and spills all her stuff, and when a boy stops to help her, the school bullies — you can always spot ’em — start calling her his nerd girlfriend. She gets flustered and pushes the boy away, and even though she feels bad, she can’t find a way to say she’s sorry. Continue reading “Book of the Week: Awkward by Svetlana Chmakova”
Fuzzy Mud, Louis Sachar
Tamaya and Marshall already have enough problems. Tamaya’s life is split between her mom’s house and her dad’s two hundred miles apart, so she misses out on half of both her lives. Marshall made an enemy of new kid Chad during the first month of school, and now he spends his days in silence because no one – not even his best friends – will talk to him. Continue reading “Book of the Week: Fuzzy Mud by Louis Sachar”