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Maniac Magee

maniacManiac Magee

By Jerry Spinelli

Genre: Juvenile Fiction

Curriculum subjects: Teen Life: Family, Teen Life: Prejudice, Personal Development: Loss, Personal Development: Self-Discovery

Grade: 3-7

 

Educator Guide

 

He wasn’t born with the name Maniac Magee. He came into this world named Jeffrey Lionel Magee, but when his parents died and his life changed, so did his name. And Maniac Magee became a legend. Even today kids talk about how fast he could run; how he hit an inside-the-park “frog” homer and how no knot, no matter how snarled, would stay that way once he began to untie it. Little girls jumping rope chant, “Ma-niac, Ma-niac, he’s so cool. Ma-niac, Ma-niac, don’t go to school, runs all night, runs all right. Ma-niac, Ma-niac kissed a bull!”


But the thing Maniac Magee is best known for is what he did for the kids from the East Side and those from the West Side. He was special all right, and this is his story, and it’s a story that is very careful not to let the facts get mixed up with the truth. 

 

PRAISE & ACCOLADES

Winner of the 1991 John Newbery Medal

 

“The metaphorical style is a brave change from the realism of Spinelli’s other books, while fans of his earlier, tongue-in-cheek, streetwise tone will find it also an integral part of this story–ballast for the mythic, shifting picture of Maniac’s year on the run.” – Kirkus Reviews

 

“Humorous yet poignant look at the issue of race relations, a rare topic for a work aimed at middle readers…  Full of snappy street-talk cadences, this off-the-wall yarn will give readers of all colors plenty of food for thought.” – Publishers Weekly

 

“The book will stimulate thinking about racism, and it might help educate those readers who, like so many students, have no first-hand knowledge of people of other races. Pathos and compassion inform a short, relatively easy-to-read story with broad appeal, which suggests that to solve problems of racism, people must first know each other as individuals.” – School Library Journal

Incident At Hawk’s Hill

hawks hillIncident at Hawk’s Hill

By Allan W. Eckert

Genre: Juvenile Fiction

Curriculum Subject: Animals: Badgers ; Wilderness survival; History; Self-esteem

Grades: 7 & up

 

Six-year-old Ben is very small for his age, and gets along better with animals than people. One June day in 1870, Ben wanders away from his home on Hawk’s Hill and disappears into the waving prairie grass. This is the story of how a shy, lonely boy survives for months in the wilds and forges a bond with a female badger.

Annie And The Old One

annie and the old oneAnnie and the Old One

By Patricia Miles Martin

Illustrated by Peter Parnall

Genre: Picture Book

Curriculum Subject: Family Life: Grandparents and Extended Family, Personal Development: Loss, Social Studies: Native American Heritage

Grades: PreK-1st

 

Annie is a young Navajo girl who refuses to believe that her grandmother, the Old One, will die. Sadly, Annie learns that she cannot change the course of life.

Mr. Popper’s Penguins

poppersMr. Popper’s Penguins

By Richard Atwater

Genre: Fiction

Curriculum subjects: Adventure: Animals, Pets, Humor, Folk/Fairy Tales: Animals

Grade: 3-7

 

Educator Guide

Mr. Popper’s Penguins is one of the handful of American books for children that has attained the status of a classic. First published in 1938, this story of a housepainter who is sent a male penguin by the great Admiral Drake, and who, thanks to the arrival of a female penguin, soon has twelve penguins living in his house, has amused and enchanted generations of children and their parents.

 

PRAISE

1939 Newbery Honor Book

 

 

 

 

 

The Dark Frigate

The Dark Frigate

By Charles Boardman Hawes

Genre: Historical Fiction

Curriculum subject:

Grade: 7-12

1924 Newbery Medalist

 

In seventeenth century England, a terrible accident forces orphaned Philip Marsham to flee London in fear for his life. Bred to the sea, he signs on with the “Rose of Devon,” a dark frigate bound for the quiet shores of Newfoundland.

 

Philip’s bold spirit and knowledge of the sea soon win him his captain’s regard. But when the “Rose of Devon” is seized in midocean by a devious group of men plucked from a floating wreck, Philip is forced to accompany these “gentlemen of fortune” on their murderous expeditions. Like it or not, Philip Marsham is now a pirate–with only the hangman awaiting his return to England.
With its bloody battles, brutal buccaneers, and bold, spirited hero, this rousing tale will enthrall young listeners in search of seafaring adventure.

 

Invincible Louisa

Invincible Louisa by Cornelia MeigsInvincible Louisa

By Cornelia Meigs

Genre: Biography

Curriculum Subject: Biography; Women’s Studies

Grades: 3 – 7

 

This biography traces the fascinating life of Louisa May Alcott from her happy childhood in Pennsylvania and Boston to her success as a writer of such classics as Little women.

 

PRAISE

1934 Newbery Medalist

Ship Breaker

Ship Breaker

By Paolo Bacigalupi

Genre: Science Fiction

Curriculum subjects: Science Fiction, Survival, Character Development

Grade: 9-12

 

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A gritty, high-stakes adventure set in a futuristic world where oil is scarce, but loyalty is scarcer.

 

In America’s Gulf Coast region, grounded oil tankers are being broken down for parts by crews of young people. Nailer, a teenage boy, works the light crew, scavenging for copper wiring just to make quota-and hopefully live to see another day.

 

But when, by luck or by chance, he discovers an exquisite clipper ship beached during a recent hurricane, Nailer faces the most important decision of his life: Strip the ship for all it’s worth or rescue its lone survivor, a beautiful and wealthy girl who could lead him to a better life….

In this powerful novel, Paolo Bacigalupi delivers a thrilling, fast-paced adventure set in a vivid and raw, uncertain future.

 

PRAISE

Winner of the 2011 Printz Medal

 

“Vivid, brutal, and thematically rich, this captivating title is sure to win teen fans for the award-winning Bacigalupi.” – Booklist

 

 

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian

By Sherman Alexie

Genre: Fiction

Curriculum Subject: Social Studies: Native American; Teen Life: School, Prejudice, family

Grade: 9 & Up

 

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In his first book for young adults, bestselling author Sherman Alexie tells the story of Junior, a budding cartoonist growing up on the Spokane Indian Reservation. Determined to take his future into his own hands, Junior leaves his troubled school on the rez to attend an all-white farm town high school where the only other Indian is the school mascot. Heartbreaking, funny, and beautifully written, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, which is based on the author’s own experiences, coupled with poignant drawings by acclaimed artist Ellen Forney, that reflect the character’s art, chronicles the contemporary adolescence of one Native American boy as he attempts to break away from the life he was destined to live.

 

 

PRAISE

Winner of the 2007 National Book Award

Winner of the 2008 Boston Globe-Horn Book Award for Fiction

 

★”Junior’s narration is intensely alive.” – The Horn Book

 

★”Alexie nimbly blends sharp wit with unapologetic emotion in his first foray into young-adult literature.” – Kirkus Reviews

 

★”Alexie bounds into YA with what might be a Native American equivalent of Angela’s Ashes.” – Publishers Weekly

 

★“[Arnold’s] determination to both improve himself and overcome poverty, despite the handicaps of birth, circumstances, and race, delivers a positive message in a low-key manner. Alexie’s tale of self-discovery is a first purchase for all libraries.” – School Library Journal

 

★“Realistic and fantastical and funny and tragic – all at the same time.” – Voice of Youth Advocates

 

“This is a gem of a book…reading becomes more like listening to your smart, funny best friend recount his day while waiting after school for a ride home.” –The New York Times

Harlem Stomp

Harlem Stomp: A Cultural History of the Harlem Renaissance

By Laban Carrick Hill

Genre: Non-Fiction

Curriculum Subject: Social Studies: History; Social Studies: African American Heritage

Grades: 7 & Up

 

Meticulously researched and lavishly illustrated, the book is a veritable time capsule packed with poetry, prose, photographs, full-color paintings, and reproductions of historical documents.

 

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PRAISE

National Book Award Finalist

★”A visual feast….Together, the words and images bring this extraordinary period to life.” -SLJ

★”This energetic, elegantly designed volume documents the artistic, literary and musical surge of black culture in Harlem.” –Publishers Weekly

★”With a beautiful open design, this illustrated history combines the politics of the black metropolis in the roaring 1920s with….detailed chapters on the ‘blazing creativity’ of performers, writers, visual artists, and intellectuals….wonderful for browsing.” –Booklist

 

Knock Knock

Knock Knock: My Dad’s Dream for Me

By Daniel Beaty

Illustrated by Bryan Collier

Genre: Juvenile Fiction

Curriculum Subject: Personal Development: Responsibility, Family Life: Parents/Siblings/Babies

Grade: K-1

 

Every morning, I play a game with my father.

He goes knock knock on my door

and I pretend to be asleep

till he gets right next to the bed.

And my papa, he tells me, “I love you.”

 

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But what happens when, one day, that “knock knock” doesn’t come? This powerful and inspiring book shows the love that an absent parent can leave behind, and the strength that children find in themselves as they grow up and follow their dreams.

 

PRAISE & ACCOLADES

Winner of the 2014 Coretta Scott King Illustrator Award

2014 Boston Globe-Horn Book Picture Book Honor

 

★ “By sharing his experience, explained in an afterword, Beaty lends his voice to children struggling with the absence of a parent and the grief that goes with it.” —Publishers Weekly, starred review

 

“The desire for guidance encountering life’s experiences is told from a small child’s point of view with candor, as well as hope….” —Booklist

 

“The text, powerful and spare, is well supported by Collier’s watercolor and collage art…there is a lot going on in the mind of any child who has been denied a parent, for whatever reason. In this book they will find comfort and inspiration.” —The Horn Book

 

“A poignant [and] heart-wrenching tale of love, loss, and hope.” —School Library Journal

 

“Challenging but ultimately uplifting, Knock Knock is a thoughtful meditation on grappling with the sometimes uneasy legacy passed down to us by our parents.” —The Huffington Post