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Reading Aloud to Teens, Part Two

Last week I set forth some reasons why older children (ages 12-18) have not outgrown the benefits of reading aloud. If you’re convinced about the why’s, you may be wondering about the how’s. Here are a few ideas along that line: Start early. If you’ve read to your kids as preschoolers, and after, they’ll be […]

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*Retro Reads: North to Freedom by Anne Holm

North to Freedom (I Am David) by Anne Holm.  Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 1963 (first edition), 256 pages. Reading Level: 10-12 Appropriate for: ages 12-up Bottom Line:  After escaping from the soviet prison camp that comprised his whole world, a 12-year-old boy must come to terms with who he is in relation to the world. The […]

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Five Favorite Snow Stories

Snowbound? Wishing you were? Here are some titles to enjoy with a cup of hot chocolate. Supertruck by Stephen Savage. Roaring Brook, 2015. 32 pages. A humble garbage truck has a secret identity which saves the day and all the snowbound city trucks in this Caldecott honor winning title. If you have a child who […]

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The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey

In most science fiction, technological advances are not shown to advance humanity.   However, it would be tough to find a more negative view of a future world than The 5th Wave, which chronicles an alien attack on our weak and vulnerable planet.  Depressing as it is, the story raises some vital questions about humanity, […]

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The 2016 ALA Youth Media Awards–What happened??

As we were saying last Saturday . . . you just can’t predict what the Newbery committee is going to do. Trends have been toward diversity, disability, and difficulty; books that show children in adverse, even desperate circumstances often get Newbery nods. (That’s why I was so sure The Thing about Jellyfish would be on […]

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Caldecott Buzz and Possible Picks

Book award committees have such a delightfully difficult task. The ALA Caldecott awards will be announced, among others, on Monday, January 11, and there is always much discussion in the book world leading up to the event. This year there seem to be a lot of books that are nice but don’t contain much of […]

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Prognosticating the Newberys

On Monday, the American Library Association will announce the winners of their annual Youth Media Awards.  The oldest and most prominent of these is the John Newbery medal, given “to the author of the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children.”* I’m not sure why the ALA words it this way, since the award […]

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Newberry Buzz: Orbiting Jupiter by Gary Schmidt

Today wraps up our discussion of middle-grade novels being touted as possible contenders for the 2016 Newbery Award.  The awards will be announced early this year: January 11.  So on Saturday Betsy and Janie will post their highly-anticipated predictions.  Check back next week to see how we did! Betsy: Gary D. Schmidt is yet another […]

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Newbery Buzz: Drowned City by Don Brown

Continuing our series of discussions about “buzz” books, this time Janie and Betsy look at a nonfiction work in graphic novel format. Betsy: Drowned City: Hurricane Katrina and New Orleans is getting buzz on several Mock lists. Because it is a nonfiction graphic novel, I’ve heard it thrown about as a possible Caldecott, Newbery, and/or Sibert candidate. […]

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Newbery Buzz: Gone Crazy in Alabama by Rita Williams-Garcia

Continuing our series of discussions on contenders for the 2016 Newbery Award, Janie and Betsy turn their attention to a previous honor winner . . . Betsy: The Gaither sisters are back in a third installment: Gone Crazy in Alabama. Rita Williams-Garcia took home a 2011 Newbery Honor and a Coretta Scott King Award for […]

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Newbery Buzz: The Thing about Jellyfish by Ali Benjamin

Betsy and Janie are continuing their discussion of possible 2016 Newbery Award winners.  On deck today is a novel  by a debut author which has already been honored as a National Book Award finalist. Janie: I heard someone mention lately that most of the children’s books getting the rave reviews this year seem to be […]

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