An Anthology of the Best Teen Writers and Artists in America

Earlier this week, I attended my nephew’s high school graduation ceremony. Needless to say, it has been many moons since I’ve seen the long yawn of a football field and it felt a bit bizarre to be packed like (yes) sardines into a set of entirely too uncomfortable bleachers for too long of a duration. […]

Science, History, and Art Activity Kits: Learn While Having Fun

You know how I feel about activity kit round-ups that facilitate learning on the sly. Here are a few recent titles that do just that. Stay tuned for the next round-up later on in the summer. Bridges and Tunnels: Investigate Feats of Engineering by Donna Latham, illustrated by Jen Vaughn. The latest title in the […]

Pirates of the Caribbean Meets The Time Machine in Sally Copus’s BlackHeart’s Legacy

Self-published novels can be a bit of a drag. If you’ll permit me to generalize (and possibly invoke the wrath of self-publishing authors everywhere), a large majority of those I’ve read have been frankly atrocious. Terrible grammar. Zero plot arcs or, worse, piled-on predictable plot twists. Clichéd characters lying woefully flat on the page. Sure, […]

The Year of the Book by Andrea Cheng

Every once in a while, I come across a book that I can’t wait to recommend. It doesn’t have any bells and whistles. The plot doesn’t involve some grandiose theme or solve a devastating problem. It’s just a simple story with the potential to touch a wide variety of readers for different reasons. The Year […]

Lynda Mullaly Hunt’s Debut Novel Discusses Foster Care

As you can probably tell by now, I’m a big fan of middle-grade and YA novels that deal with social issues, emotional conflicts, sticky situations. When done right, these books tell an engaging story while presenting possible solutions to actual real-world problems. For better or for worse, reading this type of material helps kids feel […]

A Debut Middle-Grade Novel Tackles LGBT Issues Head On

When you’re prepubescent, sexuality can be confusing. If you’re not exposed to the topic early on (or if it isn’t discussed openly—or at all—at home), a lot of questions can arise. At school, Health class usually (well, hopefully) covers the bases as far as biology is concerned, but what about the feelings and emotions associated […]

New Graphic Novels for Spring

Greetings, all! I’m back from lush and lovely Portland and am still feeling the effects of the stupendous hike I conquered (sort of) in the Columbia River Gorge. Killer views. Tasty, munchy trail mix. A deliciously gooey cinnamon bread-like roll called “Sin Dawg” (yes, really) with seeds and nuts that’s actually healthy. It was sublime.  […]

More Earth Day Books!

What are you doing for Earth Day this year? A bit of gardening or planting a tree, perhaps? Teaching a lesson on weather systems and the effects of human activity on ecosystems around the world? Whatever the case may be, I hope you and your middle-graders enjoy it. Feel free to share a story or […]

New Earth Day Books for Kids 3-12 (Part One)

We should celebrate our planet not just on April 22nd, but every day, and continue to think about ways to conserve energy, reuse household objects, recycle, cut back on carbon emissions, appreciate and protect our land and the animals that populate it, and more. The opportunities to improve our world are endless and the earlier […]

Baseball Books for Kids 6-14

It’s baseball season! These 10 books are a sure hit. A home run? Corniness aside, they’ve all got something to offer. Picture Books: There Goes Ted Williams written and illustrated by Matt Tavares. Two on, two out, last of the ninth. From the super talented author-illustrator of four other equally spectacular baseball-related picture books—Zachary’s Ball (Anniversary Edition), Oliver’s Game, Mudball, […]