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The End of the Wild

The End of the Wild coverThe End of the Wild

By Nicole Helget

Genre: Juvenile Fiction

Curriculum Subject: Family Life: Cooking/Food, Family Life: Parents/Siblings/Babies, Guidance/Health: Death, Personal Development: Loss, Personal Development: Self-Discovery, Science: Environment

Grades: 3-7

 

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Eleven-year-old Fern’s rundown home borders a pristine forest, where her impoverished family hunts and forages for food. It’s also her refuge from the crushing responsibility of caring for her wild younger brothers and PTSD-stricken stepfather. But when a fracking company rolls into town, Fern realizes that her special grove could be ripped away, and no one else seems to care.

 

Her stepfather thinks a job with the frackers could help pull the family out of poverty. Her wealthy grandfather–who wants to take custody of Fern and her brothers–likes the business it brings to his manufacturing company. Facing adversity from all sides, can one young girl make a difference in the fate of her family and their way of life?

 

PRAISE

A 2018 Charlotte S. Huck Award Honor Book
NSTA-CBC 2018 Outstanding Science Trade Books
for Students K-12
NSTA-CBC 2018 Best STEM Trade Books for Students K-12
★ “An uncommonly fine account of perseverance and understanding in the face of adversity.” —Booklist

 

★ “Fern’s first-person voice is completely convincing. Her vocabulary and phrasing is rural Midwestern, and her imagery comes from the natural world she loves. The sense of place is palpable. The author demonstrates the poverty of Fern’s family and friends (including a Muslim family from Somalia) with telling detail, and the tension and action arise naturally…  This nuanced take on a pressing issue is an important one. Middle-grade readers will find much to think about in this beautifully written story.” —Kirkus

 

★ “Helget confronts substantial subjects like poverty, environmentalism, and mental illness, injecting humor and hope to provide balance. Without lecturing, she encourages readers to be thoughtful and curious.” —Publishers Weekly

Higher, Steeper, Faster

Higher Steeper Faster coverHigher, Steeper, Faster

The Daredevils Who Conquered the Skies

By Lawrence Goldstone

Genre: Juvenile Non-Fiction

Curriculum Subject: Science: Astronomy/Space/Aviation, Science: Inventions, Social Studies: History

Grades: 3-7

 

Educator Guide LB School Podcast

Aviator Lincoln Beachey broke countless records: he looped-the-loop, flew upside down and in corkscrews, and was the first to pull his aircraft out of what was a typically fatal tailspin. As Beachey and other aviators took to the skies in death-defying acts in the early twentieth century, these innovative daredevils not only wowed crowds, but also redefined the frontiers of powered flight.

 

Higher, Steeper, Faster takes readers inside the world of the brave men and women who popularized flying through their deadly stunts and paved the way for modern aviation. With heart-stopping accounts of the action-packed race to conquer the skies, plus photographs and fascinating archival documents, this book will exhilarate readers as they fly through the pages.

 

PRAISE

★ “For those who love history, aviation, or stories of great daring, this is pure pleasure.” —Kirkus

 

★ “Goldstone deftly combines captivating descriptions of the personalities—male and female—with discussion of the many improvements and ever-present hazards of early flying.” —Publishers Weekly

★ “Readers will breathlessly follow the race to conquer the sky as these early aviators perform daring stunts and break achievement records that seem unbelievable today.” —School Library Connection

When The Sea Turned to Silver

When the Sea Turned to Silver coverWhen the Sea Turned to Silver

By Grace Lin

Genre: Juvenile Fiction

Curriculum Subject: Adventure: Magic/Fantasy, Folk Tales/Fairy Tales/Classics: Heroes/Heroines, Family Life: Grandparents and Extended Family

Grades: 3-7

 

Listen to Author Interview Activities Readers Theatre Educator Guide

Pinmei’s gentle, loving grandmother always has the most exciting tales for her granddaughter and the other villagers. However, the peace is shattered one night when soldiers of the Emperor arrive and kidnap the storyteller.

 

Everyone knows that the Emperor wants something called the Luminous Stone That Lights the Night. Determined to have her grandmother returned, Pinmei embarks on a journey to find the Luminous Stone alongside her friend Yishan, a mysterious boy who seems to have his own secrets to hide. Together, the two must face obstacles usually found only in legends to find the Luminous Stone and save Pinmei’s grandmother–before it’s too late.

 

A fast-paced adventure that is extraordinarily written and beautifully illustrated, When the Sea Turned to Silver is a masterpiece companion novel to Where the Mountain Meets the Moon and Starry River of the Sky.

 

PRAISE

A 2016 National Book Award Finalist

 

★ “Lin’s evocative language sweeps readers away, and the stories within the story are juicy and delicious.” —Booklist

 

★ “Lin’s stonecutter claims that storytellers ‘can make time disappear… bring us to places we have never dreamed of…feel sorrow and joy and peace’; the description is a fitting one for author-illustrator Lin herself, who has proven herself a master.” —The Horn Book

 

★ “The meticulous craft delivers what Lin’s fans have come to expect… This beautifully told companion to Where the Mountain Meets the Moon and Starry River of the Sky offers lyrical storytelling, bringing ‘us to places we have never dreamed of.'” —Kirkus

 

★ “Lin’s fans will not be disappointed: she again delivers a rich interweaving of ancient tales with fast-paced adventure, fantasy, and slowly unfolding mysteries told through captivating language with beguiling similes.” —Publishers Weekly

 

★ “A stunning addition to a deservedly beloved set of novels; recommended for all middle grade collections.” —School Library Journal

 

VIDEO

Towers Falling

Towers FallingTowers Falling

By Jewell Parker Rhodes

Genre: Juvenile Fiction

Curriculum Subject: Personal Development: Diversity, Social Studies: America, Social Studies: Patriotism, Personal Development: Loss

Grades: 3 & up

 

Educator Guide

When her fifth-grade teacher hints that a series of lessons about home and community will culminate with one big answer about two tall towers once visible outside their classroom window, Deja can’t help but feel confused. She sets off on a journey of discovery, with new friends Ben and Sabeen by her side. But just as she gets closer to answering big questions about who she is, what America means, and how communities can grow (and heal), she uncovers new questions, too. Like, why does Pop get so angry when she brings up anything about the towers?

 

Award-winning author Jewell Parker Rhodes tells a powerful story about young people who weren’t alive to witness this defining moment in history, but begin to realize how much it colors their every day.

 

 

PRAISE

“History made personal—and what a person! Deja’s voice is real and memorable, her compelling story one of hope unmarred by sentimentality.” —Newbery Medalist Linda Sue Park

 

“Once again, Jewell Parker Rhodes uses the power of story to help young people make sense of their world, even among the most confusing of circumstances. Towers Falling is a great book for pairing with history/social studies, and a great book to help young readers untangle the knots of growing up in America. Jewell’s powerful fiction is almost magical.” —James Blasingame, Associate Professor of English, Arizona Sate University

 

“Extraordinary…  Every teacher of elementary and middle schoolers should read the book as they prepare to discuss the events of 9/11/01 with their students who have no memories of those events. It is a book that they will want to share with their students and that parents will want to share with their children. But Towers Falling is not only the story of Deja’s confusion about the towers that once stood in NYC. It is also a rich story of a family living in poverty and the importance of family. It is a story of friendships that cross cultural and racial boundaries. And it is a story of a classroom of students taught by a teacher who wants them to better understand community.” —Ann Neely, Associate Professor of the Practice of Education, Vanderbilt University

 

“In connecting a nation-changing event to the lives of today’s middle-graders, Rhodes makes a valuable contribution to the 9/11 canon.” —The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books

 

“This tender retelling of tragedy is a solid vessel to help young readers understand the gravity of 9/11 and how it touches all Americans, no matter where we come from.” —Kirkus Reviews

 

“Rhodes approaches a complex, painful topic with insight and grace, providing context to an event distant to the book’s audience.” —Publishers Weekly

 

“A welcome contribution to children’s literature.” —School Library Journal

 

“Rhodes has a talent for teaching kids to care about major events…her emphasis on critical thinking would make Towers Falling at home on a Common Core curriculum…Rhodes has created a curious, resilient character whose journey can help other children process the horrible events that shape the world into which they are born.” —TIME

 

 

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

NPR’s Here & Now Interview

The Horn Book‘s Talks with Roger Interview

OverDrive’s Professional Book Nerds Podcast Interview

• The Nerdy Bookcast Launch Special: Books Help Teach Us How to Live, Part 1-3 

• TeachingBook.net Meet the Author

 

 

VIDEO

Radiant Child

Radiant Child coverRadiant Child

The Story of Young Artist Jean-Michel Basquiat

By Javaka Steptoe

Genre: Juvenile Non-Fiction

Curriculum Subject: Social Studies: African American Heritage, Social Studies: Biographies, Personal Development: Self-Discovery, Guidance/Health: Emotions

Grades: Pre-K-3rd

 

Educator Guide

Jean-Michael Basquiat and his unique, collage-style paintings rocked to fame in the 1980s as a cultural phenomenon unlike anything the art work had ever seen. But before that, he was a little boy who saw art everywhere: in poetry books and museums, in games and in the words that we speak, and in the pulsing energy of New York City. Now, award-winning illustrator Javaka Steptoe’s vivid text and bold artwork echoing Basquiat’s own introduce young readers to the powerful message and art doesn’t always have to be neat or clean–and definitely not inside the lines–to be beautiful.

 

 

PRAISE & ACCOLADES

Winner of the 2017 Randolph Caldecott Medal

Winner of the 2017 Coretta Scott King Illustrator Award

 

★ “Javaka Steptoe is the perfect person to create this book: a tour de force that will introduce an important artist to a new generation.” —The Horn Book

 

★ “Vibrant colors and personal symbols channel the ‘sloppy, ugly, and sometimes weird, but somehow still BEAUTIFUL’ paintings, incorporating meticulously attributed collage elements and capturing the artist’s energy and mystery. Stellar bookmaking—a riveting portrait of a young artist.” —Kirkus

 

★ “Visually arresting and vibrantly narrated.” —Publishers Weekly

 

★ “One extraordinary artist illuminates another in this textured, heartfelt picture book biography of the 1980s cultural phenom. Employing signature features of Jean-Michel Basquiat’s work—vibrant colors, found objects, repeated motifs—Steptoe allows his own emotionally rich style to shine through the artistic and biographical references dotting the illustrations…. Pairing simple text with expressive, encompassing illustrations, this excellent title offers a new generation a fittingly powerful introduction to an artistic luminary.” —School Library Journal

 

“It takes an artist to display another artist. Had Basquiat chosen to create his own picture book autobiography, I don’t think he could have done a better job that what Radiant Child has accomplished here. Timely. Telling. Overdue.” —A Fuse #8 Production, an SLJ blog

 

VIDEOS

 

Live Illustration: Javaka Steptoe

"Radiant Child," a biography for children about the artist Jean-Michel Basquiat, just won the prestigious 2017 Caldecott Medal. The books author/illustrator, Javaka Steptoe, joins us to demonstrate his art and talk about Basquiat. Ask him questions in the comments, and Maria Russo will ask some too.

Posted by The New York Times Books on Tuesday, February 7, 2017

 

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

• School Library Journal‘s Author Interview

 TeachingBooks.net Meet the Author

• The Yarn Podcast

Nothing Up My Sleeve

Nothing Up My Sleeve

By Diana Lopez

Genre: Juvenile Fiction

Curriculum Subject: Family: Alternative Family; Fantasy & Magic; Social Issues:Friendship

Grades: 3rd-7th

 

Educator Guide

Sixth graders Dominic, Loop, and Z stumble upon a new magic shop in town and can’t wait to spend their summer mastering cool tricks to gain access to the Vault, a key holders-only back room bound to hold all kinds of secrets. And once they get in, they set their sights even higher: a huge competition at the end of the summer. They work on their card tricks, sleights, and vanishing acts, trying to come up with the most awesome routines possible….Problem is, the trip is expensive, and it’s money that each guy’s family just doesn’t have.

 

To make things worse, the shop-owners’ daughter, Ariel (who just so happens to be last year’s competition winner), will do anything to make sure the boys don’t come out on top. Even pit them against one another. Will they make it to the competition? And if so, at what cost?

 

PRAISE

“The friends’ obstacles are realistic and the finale is satisfying. A clever reveal highlights this appealing, Latino cast.” —Kirkus

 

“An upbeat coming-of-age story. The boys’ easygoing banter is true to life, and details about their shared Latino background give the novel a strong sense of culture and place.” —Publishers Weekly

 

“Intriguing magic and authentic perspectives make this a strong addition for
middle grade collections.” —School Library Journal

NanoBots

Nanobots coverNanoBots

By Chris Gall

Genre: Juvenile Fiction

Curriculum Subject: Personal Development: Sports/Teamwork/Competition, Adventure: Science Fiction, Personal Development: Responsibility, Personal Development: Individuality

Grades: Pre-K-3rd

 

Educator Guide

 

A boy inventor creates the ultimate in high-tech superheroes that could one day save the world–but they have some smaller problems to take on first! NanoBots are tiny. They’re almost too small to see, but they can each do a unique and important job: Medibot makes sure their Inventor never catches a cold…. Chewbots gobble up that gum the Inventor trampled into the carpet… Binobot scans the scene of a crime for clues the Inventor could never see… and Seekerbots explore to meet microscopic new creatures.

 

These bots and their high-tech friends sure make the inventor’s life easier, but when the most AWESOME robot in town is in real trouble, they must band together and prove that sometimes the SMALLEST helpers can be the BIGGEST heroes! Includes fun facts about real nanotechnology in the backmatter.

 

PRAISE

★ “Gall leads fans of his Dinotrux into microscopic realms, where industrious crews of tiny robots, produced by a proud young basement inventor, are fanning out to clean up messes, gather knowledg, protect, build, and repair. Each bulbous, anthropomorphic NanoBot has a specialized task…  Carted off to a science fair, the tiny Bots all feel “pretty small” next to the other exhibits, but get a chance to shine when the giant robot next booth over starts to fall apart. NanoBots to the rescue!” —Booklist

 

★ “Gall introduces miniature robots with infinite potential for adventures on and off the page…  Gall’s precise illustrations, metallic palette, and ready-for-action heroes should captivate the imaginations of mechanically minded readers, as will closing notes about real-life uses of nanotechnology.” —Publishers Weekly

 

★ “Exploding with energy and humor, Gall’s zoomed-in digitally created artwork conveys each miniscule machine’s personality and functionality. An author’s note introduces the science of nanorobotics and potential applications of devices with capabilities similar to the characters introduced here. A pleasing amalgamation of imagination, STEM concepts, and superhero-style storytelling perfect for group reads and small group sharing.” —School Library Journal

 

VIDEO

Every Exquisite Thing

Every Exquisite Thing coverEvery Exquisite Thing

By Matthew Quick

Genre: Juvenile Fiction

Curriculum Subject: Teen Life: Personal Development & Identity; Poetry; Vocabulary; Mental Health

Grades: 10th & up

 

Listen to Author Interview

 

Nanette O’Hare is an unassuming teen who has played the role of dutiful daughter, hardworking student, and star athlete for as long as she can remember. But when a beloved teacher gives her his worn copy of The Bubblegum Reaper–a mysterious, out-of-print cult classic–the rebel within Nanette awakens.

 

As she befriends the reclusive author, falls in love with a young but troubled poet, and attempts to insert her true self into the world with wild abandon, Nanette learns the hard way that rebellion sometimes comes at a high price.

 

A celebration of the self and the formidable power of story, Every Exquisite Thing is Matthew Quick at his finest.

 

PRAISE

★ “Quick continues to excel at writing thought-provoking stories about nonconformity.” —Publishers Weekly

 

★ “This will find a dedicated audience among teen readers.” —School Library Journal

 

★ “All of the elements of this novel work together to make this an outstanding coming-of-age story…This is a book that readers will want to read twice to take it all in.” —VOYA

 

VIDEO

No Better Friend

No Better Friend coverNo Better Friend

A Man, a Dog, and Their Incredible True Story of Friendship and Survival in World War II

By Robert Weintraub

Genre: Juvenile Non-fiction

Curriculum Subject: Adventure: Animals, Social Studies: Biographies, Social Studies: America

Grades: 5 & up

 

Educator Guide

 

A middle-grade edition of the New York Times bestselling No Better Friend-the extraordinary tale of friendship and survival in World War II.

 

No Better Friend tells the incredible true story of Frank Williams, a radarman in Britain’s Royal Air Force, and Judy, a purebred pointer, who met as prisoners of war during World War II. Judy, who became the war’s only official canine POW, was a fiercely loyal dog who sensed danger-warning her fellow prisoners of imminent attacks and, later, protecting them from brutal beatings. Frank and Judy’s friendship, an unbreakable bond forged in the worst circumstances, is one of the great recently uncovered stories of World War II.

 

As they discover Frank and Judy’s story in this specially adapted text, young readers will also learn about key World War II moments through informative and engaging sidebars, maps, photographs, and a timeline.

 

PRAISE

“Well-written and engaging.” —Booklist

 

“Riveting and highly moving.” —Kirkus Reviews

 

“An enormously readable account of animal and human companionship and survival; recommended for budding historians and fans of survival stories.” —School Library Journal

 

 

Girl in the Blue Coat

Girl in the Blue Coat

By Monica Hesse

Genre: Juvenile Fiction

Curriculum Subject: Social Studies; World History; WWII; Holocaust; Prejudice & Racism; Mysteries & Detective Stories

Grades: 7 & up

 

Educator Guide

 

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.

 

PRAISE

Girl in the Blue Coat is a powerful, compelling coming-of-age story set against the dark and dangerous backdrop of World War II. It’s an important and page-turning look at the choices all of us—including young adults—have to make in wartime. A beautiful combination of heartbreak, loss, young love, and hope.”—Kristin Hannah, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Nightingale

 

“A tapestry of guilt and acceptance, growing responsibility, and reluctant heroism, Hanneke’s coming-of-age under heartbreaking circumstances is a jarring reminder of how war consumes and transforms the passions of ordinary life. Every devastating moment of this beautiful novel is both poignant and powerful, and every word feels true.” —Elizabeth Wein, New York Times bestselling author of Code Name Verity

 

★ “[An] affecting novel…that skillfully combines reality with fiction. Her characters come alive, and…Hesse’s pacing infuses her story with thriller suspense, enriching the narrative with dramatic surprises both small and large.” —Booklist

 

★ “Riveting… a gripping historical mystery.” —Publishers Weekly

 

★ “This fast-paced story is alternately touching, heart-pounding and wrenching-but always gripping. …a heartrending, moving story.” —VOYA