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Claymates

Claymates cover

Claymates

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

 

PRAISE

★ “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

 

VIDEOS

 

Shine!

Shine coverShine!

By Patrick McDonnell

Illustrated by Naoko Stoop

Genre: Juvenile Fiction

Curriculum Subject: Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance; Emotions & Feelings; Animals: Marine Life

Grades: Pre-K-3rd

 

Hoshi the sea star looks up in the sky and sees the stars shining. She wishes that she too could be in the sky amongst the brilliant stars—and as she imagines how much better it would be up in the air, she fails to appreciate the beautiful world that surrounds her underwater. It takes Hoshi’s friends, old and new, to help her realize that her shine comes from within. With gorgeous illustrations depicting colorful underwater life, Shine! teaches about the wonders that can be found inside ourselves.

 

Naoko’s gorgeous use of plywood as the canvas for her work offers the perfect texture and pattern to evoke waves and sea currents in the underwater scenes.

 

 

PRAISE

“Stoop’s art imbues Hoshi with humor and a sweet appeal…  This title will be useful in helping children identify and resolve difficult feelings.” —Booklist

 

“Stoop’s mixed-media artwork adds richness and depth. The many sea creatures, painted on wood grain, are identifiable—scarlet coral, a green crab—and the scenes gain beauty from graded washes of sky and water.” —Publishers Weekly

 

“The use of a plywood canvas—to which acrylic, pencil, pastel, and ink have been applied and digitally manipulated—cleverly allows the grain of the wood to become the irregular lines of the ocean current or the heat radiating from the sun. The artist employs pattern, color, and scale to create surprises as the pages turn when Hoshi is imagining the wonders in the heavens (while missing the school of minnows, the vibrant coral, and the enormous whale passing by)… Lovely.” —School Library Journal

 

VIDEO

The Three Billy Goats Gruff

Three Billy Goats Gruff coverThe Three Billy Goats Gruff

By Jerry Pinkney

Genre: Juvenile Fiction

Curriculum Subject: Adventure: Animals, Folk Tales/Fairy Tales/Classics: Animals, Personal Development: Conflict Resolution, Adventure: Monsters

Grades: Pre-K-3rd

 

Jerry Pinkney puts his indelible stamp on another beloved folktale in the same vein as the Caldecott Medal-winning The Lion & the Mouse and the highly acclaimed The Tortoise & the Hare and The Grasshopper & the Ants.

 

When the three billy goats Gruff are hungry, they see bountiful grass to eat across an old bridge. But the bridge is home to a terrible troll, who is peckish himself, and looking for a tasty morsel to gobble up. In his interpretation of the timeless tale, Jerry Pinkney shows there’s little good to come from greed–but in the end, redemption for even the most trollish bully is possible. A dramatic gatefold heightens the climax of this brilliant rendition.

 

PRAISE

★ “Pinkney’s creative interpretation adds drama and a touch of morality to this well-known tale… Beautiful, exciting, and memorable retelling.” —Booklist

 

★ “This will be a sterling introduction to a classic for young kids—the human kind. An excellent and informative note explains Pinkney’s adaptation choices, and the closing endpaper gives a peek at the new goat-friendly troll. ” —The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books

 

★ “Pinkney’s graceful note invites readers to ponder issues of forgiveness, redemption, and peaceful coexistence in a terrific tale well-suited to family and group read-alouds.” —Kirkus

 

★ “Pinkney is generous with his gifts; his paintings are splendid, nuanced, and unfailingly entertaining.” —Publishers Weekly

 

★ “With a seasoned storyteller’s ear for language and an extraordinary mastery of his medium, this wise and gentle bookmaker helps readers see that cleverness, community, and confrontation all have a time and place in dealing with a bully. Sure to become a storytime staple.” —School Library Journal

 

VIDEO

Little & Lion

Little & Lion cover

Little & Lion

By Brandy Colbert

Genre: Young Adult Fiction

Curriculum Subject: Mental Illness; LGBT; Alternative Family; Siblings; Girls & Women; Prejudice & Racism

Grades: 10 & up

 

When Suzette returns to Los Angeles from the boarding school where she was forced to spend the past semester, she’s uncertain of whether she wants to return to Massachusetts or stay in California. CA is where her friends and family are (as well as her crush, Emil); and her step-brother Lionel, who has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, needs her emotional support. When Suzette and Lionel begin to fall in love with the same girl, however, Lionel’s disorder takes a turn for the worse and spirals out of control, forcing Suzette to confront her own demons. Having betrayed a secret girlfriend in her boarding school, allowing her to take the brunt of homophobic bullying, Suzette must face her own past mistakes, come to terms with her bisexuality, and find a way to help her brother, before he hurts himself–or worse.

The Secret Keepers

The Secret Keepers coverThe Secret Keepers

By Trenton Lee Stewart

Genre: Juvenile Fiction

Curriculum Subject: Adventure: Mysteries, Adventure: Magic/Fantasy, Family Life: Neighbors/Neighborhoods

Grades: 3-7

 

Listen to Author Interview Educator Guide

When Reuben discovers an extraordinary antique watch, he soon learns it has a secret power and his life takes an intriguing turn. At first he is thrilled with his new treasure, but as one secret leads to another, Reuben finds himself torn between his innately honest nature and the lure to be a hero.

 

Now he is on a dangerous adventure–full of curious characters, treacherous traps, and hairsbreadth escapes–as he races to solve the mystery before it is too late. Even with fearless Penny, mighty Jack, and the wise Mrs. Genevieve on his side, can Reuben outwit and outmaneuver the sly villain called The Smoke and his devious defenders the Directions and save the city from a terrible fate?

 

In this ingeniously crafted novel, acclaimed author Trenton Lee Stewart invites readers to join the adventure, decipher the clues, and ask themselves the question: Is knowing a secret a gift or a curse?

 

PRAISE

★ “Stewart has created an exciting, fully imagined world filled with mystery and danger, where children can have real adventures without parental supervision. He doesn’t shy from putting the children in true danger, both physical and moral, keeping readers on tenterhooks until the final page.” —Publishers Weekly

 

★ “Children will be caught up in the mystery, trying to decipher the clues as they follow Reuben and his new-found friends in their race to save the town from a dreadful future…  All in all, this is another winner from Trenton Lee Stewart.” —School Library Connection

 

★ “Fans of Stewart’s ‘MysteriousBenedict Society’ and series like it will devour his latest novel. This epic story filled with adventure and twists and turns is certain to keep readers’interest from beginning to end.” —School Library Journal

 

 

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

Tek

Tek: The Modern Cave Boy coverTEK

The Modern Cave Boy

By Patrick McDonnell

Genre: Juvenile Fiction

Curriculum Subject: Personal Development: Self-Discovery, Family Life: Daily Life and Play

Grades: PreK-3rd

 

Listen to Author Interview Storytime Kit

Tek is a cave boy in love with tech: his tablet, videogames, phone, and TV keep him deep in his cave, glued to his devices, day in and day out. He never sees his friends or family anymore—and his ability to communicate has devolved to just one word: “UGH”! Can anyone in the village convince Tek to unplug and come outside into the big, beautiful world?

 

A distinctive package and design cleverly evokes the experience of using an electronic device that eventually shuts down… and after a magic page turn, Tek (and the reader) reconnects with the real world.

 

PRAISE

★ “McDonnell’s ever-cute creatures deliver the story’s tech-addiction message with a grin, and clever references abound, from the fish that crawls up on land and evolves into a fanged cat to the buffering icon that accompanies Tek’s ‘reboot.'” —Publishers Weekly

 

“McDonnell blends the prehistoric with the present to send a clever reminder to young readers that beyond their electronic realm there is a world waiting to be explored. In an uproariously absurd plot—right down to little Tek’s caveman beard—pages reflect the differences between Tek’s technological world and the great outdoors, shifting from limited scenes set in a tablet format (complete with connectivity and battery icons) to colorful full-page illustrations. Good, snarky fun for parents and kids.” —Booklist

 

VIDEOS

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

If You Ever Want to Bring a Piano to the Beach, Don’t!

Piano to the Beach coverIf You Ever Want to Bring a Piano to the Beach, Don’t!

By Elise Parsley

Genre: Juvenile Fiction

Curriculum Subject: Adventure: Animals, Family Life: School, Personal Development: Individuality

Grades: Pre-K-1st

 

Storytime Kit Coloring Pages

If your mom says to get ready to play at the beach, she means with a boat, or a Frisbee, or a shovel. She is NOT talking about the piano. But Magnolia is a little girl with a big idea, determination, and one very heavy upright piano that, she insists, she needs to take with her. What’s the worst that can happen? In a riotous series of mishaps, Magnolia quickly learns that–not surprisingly–a piano doesn’t mix well with sand, sun, and seagulls!

 

PRAISE

“Magnolia’s voice is wonderfully childlike… her facial expressions top all, perfectly capturing both her exuberance and her mood swings. A delightful demonstration of just one of many things not to take to the beach; the brainstorming possibilities are endless.” —Kirkus Reviews

 

“Magnolia’s wiser-than-thou narration and Parsley’s energetic illustrations are in perfect comic sync.” —Publishers Weekly

VIDEO

Cloudwish

Cloudwish coverCloudwish

By Fiona Wood

Genre: Juvenile Fiction

Curriculum Subject: Teen Life: Personal Development, Family Life: Parents/Siblings/Babies, Personal Development: Self-Discovery, Teen Life: Relationships/Sexuality

Grades: 7 & up

 

For Vân Uoc, fantasies fall into two categories: nourishing or pointless. Daydreaming about attending her own art opening? Nourishing. Daydreaming about Billy Gardiner, star of the rowing team who doesn’t even know she’s alive? Pointless.

 

So Vân Uoc tries to stick to her reality-keeping a low profile as a scholarship student at her prestigious Melbourne private school, managing her mother’s PTSD from a traumatic emigration from Vietnam, and admiring Billy from afar. Until she makes a wish that inexplicably (possibly magically) comes true. Billy actually notices her. In fact, he seems to genuinely like her. But as they try to fit each other into their very different lives, confounding parents and confusing friends, Vân Uoc can’t help but wonder why Billy has suddenly fallen for her. Is it the magic of first love, or is it magic from a well-timed wish that will eventually, inevitably, come to an end?

 

PRAISE

“Offers insight into conflicts emerging from the clash of old and new values, the traumas refugees face, and the struggles of the children of first-generation immigrants. It’s an inspiring story with a sympathetic heroine, who will especially appeal to those who feel pressured to follow paths they don’t want to travel.” —Publishers Weekly

 

 

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

ŸLB School Podcast with author Fiona Wood

Bookish Friends Podcast about Cloudwish

Radio National interview

Sydney Morning Herald interview

Alpha Reader interview