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By: Walter Mosley
ISBN: 9780316016353
Pages: 272
Age Range: 12 & up
Grade Range: 7-17
Curriculum Subjects: Adventure: Science Fiction, Personal Development: Friendship, Social Studies: History, Social Studies: African American Heritage
Accelerated Reader: 5.3
F&P: X


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New York Times Bestseller

“Engaging.” —Publishers Weekly, starred review
Master storyteller Walter Mosley deftly mixes speculative and historical fiction in this daring New York Times bestselling novel, reminiscent of Colson Whitehead’s The Underground Railroad.
47 is a young slave boy living under the watchful eye of a brutal slave master. His life seems doomed until he meets a mysterious runaway slave, Tall John. 47 finds himself swept up in a struggle for his own liberation.

Dear Evan Hansen: The Novel

By: Val Emmich, Steven Levenson, Benj Pasek, Justin Paul
ISBN: 9780316420235 HC
Size: 5-1/2″ X 8-1/4″
Pages: 368
Age Range: 14 & up
Grade Range: 9-17


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From the show’s creators comes the groundbreaking novel inspired by the hit Broadway show Dear Evan Hansen

Dear Evan Hansen, 

Today’s going to be an amazing day and here’s why…

When a letter that was never meant to be seen by anyone draws high school senior Evan Hansen into a family’s grief over the loss of their son, he is given the chance of a lifetime: to belong. He just has to stick to a lie he never meant to tell, that the notoriously troubled Connor Murphy was his secret best friend.

Suddenly, Evan isn’t invisible anymore–even to the girl of his dreams. And Connor Murphy’s parents, with their beautiful home on the other side of town, have taken him in like he was their own, desperate to know more about their enigmatic son from his closest friend. As Evan gets pulled deeper into their swirl of anger, regret, and confusion, he knows that what he’s doing can’t be right, but if he’s helping people, how wrong can it be?

No longer tangled in his once-incapacitating anxiety, this new Evan has a purpose. And a website. He’s confident. He’s a viral phenomenon. Every day is amazing. Until everything is in danger of unraveling and he comes face to face with his greatest obstacle: himself.

A simple lie leads to complicated truths in this big-hearted coming-of-age story of grief, authenticity and the struggle to belong in an age of instant connectivity and profound isolation.



By: Barry Lyga
ISBN: 9780316315517 TP
Category: Young Adult Fiction
Pages: 304
Age Range: 12 & up
Grade Range: 7-17
Curriculum Subjects: Family Life: Parents/Siblings/Babies, Guidance/Health: Death, Personal Development: Loss, Personal Development: Character Development, Teen Life: Family, Teen Life: Relationships/Sexuality


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“Fans of 13 Reasons Why will find a lot to like in Lyga’s latest.” —Entertainment Weekly
This is Where it EndsHate List, and Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock readers will appreciate this heartbreaking novel about living with your worst mistake, from New York Times bestselling author Barry Lyga.
Sebastian Cody did something horrible, something no one–not even Sebastian himself–can forgive. At the age of four, he accidentally shot and killed his infant sister with his father’s gun.
Now, ten years later, Sebastian has lived with the guilt and horror for his entire life. With his best friend away for the summer, Sebastian has only a new friend, Aneesa, to distract him from his darkest thoughts. But even this relationship cannot blunt the pain of his past. Because Sebastian knows exactly how to rectify his childhood crime and sanctify his past. It took a gun to get him into this.
Now he needs a gun to get out.
Unflinching and honest, Bang is the story of one boy and one moment in time that cannot be reclaimed, as true and as relevant as tomorrow’s headlines.

Girl in the Blue Coat

By: Monica Hesse
ISBN: 9780316260633 TP
Category: Young Adult Fiction
Pages: 320
Age Range: 12 & up
Grade Range: 7-17
Curriculum Subjects: Teen Life: Personal Development, Teen Life: Religion, Teen Life: ActivismAccelerated
Reader: 4.9


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The bestselling, “gripping” (Entertainment Weekly), “powerful” (Hypable), “utterly thrilling” ( winner of the Edgar Award for Best Young Adult Mystery, perfect for readers of Kristin Hannah and Ruta Sepetys


Amsterdam, 1943. Hanneke spends her days procuring and delivering sought-after black market goods to paying customers, her nights hiding the true nature of her work from her concerned parents, and every waking moment mourning her boyfriend, who was killed on the Dutch front lines when the Germans invaded. She likes to think of her illegal work as a small act of rebellion.
On a routine delivery, a client asks Hanneke for help. Expecting to hear that Mrs. Janssen wants meat or kerosene, Hanneke is shocked by the older woman’s frantic plea to find a person–a Jewish teenager Mrs. Janssen had been hiding, who has vanished without a trace from a secret room. Hanneke initially wants nothing to do with such dangerous work, but is ultimately drawn into a web of mysteries and stunning revelations that lead her into the heart of the resistance, open her eyes to the horrors of the Nazi war machine, and compel her to take desperate action.
Beautifully written, intricately plotted, and meticulously researched, Girl in the Blue Coat is an extraordinary novel about bravery, grief, and love in impossible times.

Path 3: I Am a Lighthouse Preservationist













Educator Notes:

Students will create a public service announcement designed to convince the public to save a lighthouse hit by lightning.  Students will create a video, brochure, poster, or podcast, etc. with the goal of convincing others to save the lighthouse. They should be sure to explain why lighthouses are still important today even if they are not used as lighthouses any longer. They should have a clear claim that tells the audience what they want them to do (save the lighthouse) and evidence and reasoning. They should also include at least one idea for raising the money.


Teacher Prep Needed:

Since the product of this learning experience is some form of media designed to persuade others to save a lighthouse, some guidance may be necessary regarding the types of media students have access to for their projects.  If digital tools will be used, then some pre-teaching of these tools may be needed.

This is based on developing an argument, so some pre-teaching on writing clear claims and supporting with evidence and reasoning may be helpful.

This is designed to be a group experience, so facilitating group formation is helpful.

Some pre-teaching on the term “preservationist” may also be necessary.

Download or distribute the research notes page for students to use.




Students will create a public service announcement using argument writing skills.  Their public service announcement will include a clear claim, evidence, reasoning, and a call to action.


Read Aloud:

Lighthouse preservationists help educate others about the importance of repairing and keeping lighthouses in good condition. Although most lighthouses no longer have a lighthouse keeper, preservationists still believe lighthouses are important. Soon, you will be asked to help save a lighthouse. Complete these tasks, so you will be ready and write your thoughts in your research notes.


Task #1

Re-read Hello, Lighthouse. What happens at the end of the story?

Do you think we should keep repairing lighthouses even when they are no longer being used as light houses?

If there is no lighthouse keeper, do we still need lighthouses?  Why do you think they are important?

Think of at least two reasons and include them in your preservationist research notes.


Task #2

Watch this video that was created to educate people about the importance of lighthouses.

What are at least two reasons the video gives about why it is important to save lighthouses? (Add these reasons to your research notes.)

What is the video trying to convince you to do?  Did it work?

Discuss this with a partner.


Task #3

Look at this flyer that is trying to raise money to save a lighthouse.

Lightning Strike!  We need you!

You just opened your email and received this message:


How is the flyer trying to raise money?

How would you raise money to help repair lighthouses? (Add this to your research notes.)


Preservationist’s Project

Student Directions:

You will be working in a group for this project. Begin by saying hello to one another. Then, share the answers on your research sheets. Did you have the same ideas?  Talk about these together. Your goal is to create a public service announcement to help save the damaged lighthouse, like the email in Task #3.

Your public service announcement should include:

• A clear claim that tells your audience that the lighthouse should be saved

• Evidence and reasoning that tells WHY it should be saved. (Use your research sheet.)

• An idea for how to raise the money to repair the lighthouse

• A clear call to action (asking the audience to donate or help)

When you are sure your project is ready, your will present your project to the class or community.


Choose Another Path!









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Path 2: I Am a Lighthouse Engineer













Educator Notes:

Students choosing this path will work in a small group to design and create a model of their own solution to warn boats about danger.  They will have the opportunity to sketch their thinking and then use building materials to create a model of their prototype.  They may create their own version of a lighthouse or develop some other solution that will warn boats about danger.


Teacher Prep Needed:

This pathway requires students to have access to building materials and a space for creating.  It will also be important to have a method for assigning or facilitating the formation of a group.  The materials necessary will depend on student design ideas and availability.  Determining the materials and providing the materials will require educator guidance and preparation.

Students should also have access to the book Hello, Lighthouse.

It may be helpful to read informational text about lighthouses as well.  There are some wonderful resources at the U.S. National Park Service Website. 



For the presentation of student work, it will be an individual educator decision to determine if presentations will be to the class, to other classes, or to the community.

This pathway does require more teacher facilitation.

Students may use the Field Journal Page to record their answers to the scaffolding questions.




Students will design something that will warn boats of danger in the dark and in the fog.  They will present their model and use speaking and listening skills to explain the problem and how their design will solve the problem.  In their public presentation they will introduce themselves, share their idea, and thank their audience.



Read Aloud to Students:


You are an engineer and problem solver.  Very soon you are going to be asked to solve a problem that will require you to work in a group.  Complete each of these tasks and fill in your field journal (link) as you go and then you will be ready to tackle the problem!


Task #1

Student Directions:

What is the purpose of a lighthouse?

Why do you think there are lighthouses?  Look for evidence in Hello, Lighthouse that shows why lighthouses are important.

What changed at the end of Hello, Lighthouse?  Does the purpose of the lighthouse change?

Watch the following video:

What does it tell you about the purpose of lighthouses? Record your thinking in your Field Journal.


Task #2

Student Directions: 

Working with a partner, look at the pictures of lighthouses on this National Parks webpage and discuss what you notice about the design of the lighthouses:


Here are some questions to consider:

• Do all lighthouses look alike?

• Do they all need to be tall?

• Which design is your favorite?  Why?

Talk with your partner about your thoughts.  Add your thoughts to your Field Journal.


Task #3

Student Directions

Engineers and scientists often use a problem solving process.

Study the image below. Think about a recent problem you solved.  Turn to a partner and explain how you solved it.  Did you follow the steps in this image?  How does having a problem solving process help scientists and engineers?  Discuss this with your partner and then write your thinking in your Field Journal.




Engineer’s Project

Read Aloud to Students:

A Problem!


Student Directions:

In a small group, talk with your fellow engineers and sketch out a few ideas.  Talk about what you have learned about the reasons for lighthouses and the different kinds of lighthouse designs you have explored.  (Look at your field journals to refresh your memory.)  Remember, your idea only needs to solve the problem of warning sailors of danger.  You do not need to design a lighthouse.  You may want to sketch ideas on your own and then share with the group or work together on one design.  You will need to decide as a group, though, on one final design.  Then, go to the engineering space and create a model of your idea using the materials available.

After creating a model of the design, be ready to explain how it will warn boats of danger even in the dark and in the fog.  You can use this handy guide to help you:

• Introduce your group

• Explain the problem

• Show your model

• Explain how it will solve the problem

• Thank your audience


Choose Another Path!







Return to the book

Path 1: I Am a Lighthouse Keeper













Educator Notes:

Students choosing this path will imagine what it might be like to be a lighthouse keeper and then use their narrative writing skills to write a friendly letter responding to the questions of a fictitious friend.

Students will be given small, scaffolded tasks that will help them fill out a planning sheet that can be used to create the final letter.


Teacher Prep Needed:  

If you want students to write their letter on paper or if you have a digital classroom learning management system that you use, then you will want to direct students accordingly.

Some previous introduction to narrative writing as a “small moment in time” and friendly letter format is helpful.

Students will need access to the book Hello, Lighthouse and an in-class partner for discussion and for a peer-editing.

You can access the planning sheet here.




Students will use friendly letter format to write a narrative that describes daily life in a lighthouse, describing what it is like, and telling how they feel as a lighthouse keeper.



Read Aloud to Students:


Imagine you are a lighthouse keeper. Very soon you are going to receive a letter from a friend asking you all about your life in the lighthouse.  To prepare for this, complete each task and fill in the planning sheet as you go.


Task #1

Student Directions:

Re-read Hello, Lighthouse by Sophie Blackall.

Looking at the illustrations in Hello, Lighthouse, what do you notice about the inside of the lighthouse? What kind of furniture is inside? What else do you notice? (Add these details to your planning sheet.)

Reading the author’s words, how does the author describe the inside of the lighthouse? (Add this to your planning sheet.)

Task #2

Student Directions:

Look at this map of lighthouses.  What do you notice about where they are located?



Looking at the illustrations in Hello, Lighthouse and the map of lighthouses, what does this tell you about the location of lighthouses? (Add this to your planning sheet.)

How could the location of a lighthouse affect a lighthouse keeper?

With a partner, discuss how it might have FELT if you were a lighthouse keeper.  Be sure to explain WHY you might have felt that way.  You can use your thoughts above to help you.  When you meet your partner, make sure you start by saying hello.  You can tell them one thing you have learned about lighthouses too.  Then, take turns asking how they would feel if they were a lighthouse keeper and why they might feel that way.  After you talk about it, thank your partner, and then return to your planning sheet and write down your thoughts.

Conversation Prompts:

• Greet one another

• Tell one thing you learned about lighthouses

• How would you feel if you were a lighthouse keeper?  Why? (Look back in the book.)

• Write your thoughts on the Planning Sheet.


Task #3

Student Directions:

There are so many daily tasks for a lighthouse keeper to complete.  Every lighthouse keeper must keep a journal, but what else might a lighthouse keeper have on the daily “to do” list?  Re-read Hello, Lighthouse and then fill in the “To Do” list on the Planning Sheet with at least 5 different chores shown in the book.  Remembering to write in the logbook is already completed for you!








Keeper’s Project

Read Aloud to Students:

A Letter!

You just received this letter from a friend.

Please write back to your friend and answer their questions!  Use your Planning Sheet to help you:



Student Directions:

Using a friendly letter format (look at the example letter if you can’t remember how to write a friendly letter), write a letter to your friend telling a story about your daily life. Be sure to answer every question!

When you finish your letter, find your partner and ask them to listen carefully to see if you answered the three questions! They should also check to make sure you used friendly letter format. When you have completed your letter, you can give it or submit it to your teacher.



Choose Another Path!






Return to the book

I’m Just No Good at Rhyming

I'm Just No Good at Rhyming coverThe instant New York Times bestseller featured on NPR’s Weekend Edition with Scott Simon! B. J. Novak (bestselling author of The Book With No Pictures) described this groundbreaking poetry collection as “Smart and sweet, wild and wicked, brilliantly funny–it’s everything a book for kids should be.”

Meet Chris Harris, the 21st-century Shel Silverstein! Already lauded by critics as a worthy heir to such greats as Silverstein, Seuss, Nash and Lear, Harris’s hilarious debut molds wit and wordplay, nonsense and oxymoron, and visual and verbal sleight-of-hand in masterful ways that make you look at the world in a whole new wonderfully upside-down way. With enthusiastic endorsements from bestselling luminaries such as Lemony Snicket, Judith Viorst, Andrea Beaty, and many others, this entirely unique collection offers a surprise around every corner: from the ongoing rivalry between the author and illustrator, to the mysteriously misnumbered pages that can only be deciphered by a certain code-cracking poem, to the rhyming fact-checker in the footnotes who points out when “poetic license” gets out of hand. Adding to the fun: Lane Smith, bestselling creator of beloved hits like It’s a Book and The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales, has spectacularly illustrated this extraordinary collection with nearly one hundred pieces of appropriately absurd art. It’s a mischievous match made in heaven!

“Ridiculous, nonsensical, peculiar, outrageous, possibly deranged–and utterly, totally, absolutely delicious. Read it! Immediately!” –Judith Viorst, bestselling author of Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day


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✩ Horn Book

✩ Kirkus

✩ PW



Booklist Editor’s Choice

Kirkus Best Children’s Books

NPR Best Books

PW Best Children’s Books

SLJ Best Books

NCTE Notable Poetry Books

Chicago Public Library Best Books

LAPL Best Kids Books


Claymates cover


By Dev Petty

Illustrated by Lauren Eldridge

Genre: Juvenile Fiction

Curriculum Subject: Humor: General, Personal Development: Friendship

Grades: Pre-K-3rd


What can you do with two blobs of clay? Create something amazing! But don’t leave them alone for too long. Things might get a little crazy.


In this photographic friendship adventure, the claymates squish, smash, and sculpt themselves into the funniest shapes imaginable. But can they fix a giant mess before they’re caught in the act?


Claymates in the Classroom Activity Kit



★ “The dynamic interaction between the characters invites readers to take risks, push boundaries, and have a little unscripted fun of their own. ” —Kirkus


★ “Petty’s punchy, dialogue-only narrative and newcomer Eldridge’s expressive sculpture give these clay buddies a surplus of personality…. a giddy mix of naive and naughty.” —Publishers Weekly




Thousand Words

Thousand Words coverThousand Words

By Jennifer Brown

Genre: Realistic Fiction

Curriculum Subjects: Personal Development: Friendship, Teen Life: Personal Development, Teen Life: Relationships/Sexuality

Grade: 10-12


Educator Guide


Ashleigh’s boyfriend, Kaleb, is about to leave for college. So at a legendary end-of-summer pool party, Ashleigh’s friends suggest that she text him a picture of herself—sans swimsuit—to take with him. Before she can change her mind, Ashleigh has snapped a photo and hit “send.”


But when Kaleb and Ashleigh go through a bad breakup, Kaleb forwards the text to his baseball team. Soon the photo has gone viral, attracting the attention of the school board, the local police, and the media. In the midst of the scandal, Ashleigh feels completely alone— until she meets Mack at community service. Not only does Mack offer a fresh chance at friendship, but he’s the one person in town who received the text of Ashleigh’s photo and didn’t look.


Acclaimed author Jennifer Brown delivers a gripping novel about honesty, betrayal, redemption, and friendship, as Ashleigh finds that while a picture may be worth a thousand words . . . it doesn’t always tell the whole story.



★ “Thousand Words is a powerful, timely, and compulsively readable story…This is an excellent choice for book discussions and a must-purchase for all libraries.” —VOYA