National Book Award Finalist: Never Fall Down by Patricia McCormick

Patricia McCormick is no stranger to transforming traumatic true-life experiences into digestible and empathetically rendered fiction. A former journalist, she tackled hard-hitting subjects in her previous four books, from cutting (CUT) and drug addiction from the addict’s sibling’s point of view (MY BROTHER’S KEEPER) to an American soldier’s guilty conscience during the Iraq war (PURPLE […]

Three YA Anthologies Featuring Stories About Bullying and More

Featuring stories written by more than 35 of the biggest and best names in YA fiction, these three themed anthologies are an invaluable resource for the classroom and home library. While one collection focuses mainly on the effects of bullying on today’s teens, and another contains meditations on fate and the unknown, the third presents […]

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. […]

Holiday Gift Guide Part III – Reference & Nonfiction (Mostly)

Last minute gifts? I’ve got even more suggestions for you this week that will make middle-graders’ heads spin. The best part about this list is that it’s full of beautifully packaged educational books that make learning fun. From sports to creepy monsters to the 100 scariest things on the planet, these brainy titles are 2011’s cream of […]

Holiday Gift Guide 2011 – Part Two

It’s that time of year again. The weather’s getting nippier (well, slightly). Christmas trees are for sale on every street corner. (I live in New York where this kind of thing is a real treat. “Something green and nature-like! Wow!”) Kids are getting excited to light candles on Chanukah (early this year, eh?). And hordes […]

Kid-Friendly Cookbooks – Just In Time for the Holiday Kitchen Rush

I know, I know. I came on the “Letter Blocks” scene two weeks ago, advertising my weekly post. But where was I last Thursday? Nowhere to be seen! Truth be told, I was buried under pots and pans, chopping cilantro, squeezing lemons, and kneading homemade bread dough for a 35-person Thanksgiving pot-luck feast. Needless to […]