To Kill A Mockingbird comes up again and again as people’s favorite book of all time, for good reason.  Every person I know who has read this book has at least one “ah-ha moment” (to borrow from Oprah) that resonates with them after the last page has turned. Lee’s book, along with the fantastic movie version, are classics of American literature and cinema and it’s interesting to see them show up again and again.  And it never hurts to be reminded of the life lessons the novel so eloquently conveyed. I thoroughly enjoyed this post and thought you might to: Life Lessons from Atticus Finch by Brett &Read More →

In the hardscrabble desert of the Nevada Frontier, 12 year old P.K. Pinkerton has trouble understanding people.  But that’s not what’s causing P.K.’s troubles today:  desperados have killed P.K.’s foster ma and pa, searching for a priceless letter: the deed to the Motherlode of silver being mined in the untamed town of Virginia City. How P.K. came to have the letter and how the desperados found out about it are just two of the mysteries in Book One of The Western Mysteries, The Case of the Deadly Desperados, by Caroline Lawrence. Fleeing from Whittlin’ Walt and his cruel gang, P.K. finds there’s really nowhere to hide in Virginia City, a lawless town full ofRead More →

School Library Journal (2/3/12) reports: The Tucson Unified School District‘s (TUSD) decision to shut down its Mexican American Studies (MAS) program and remove seven titles that were used in the program has sparked a rallying cry among librarians and other educators. National groups, including the American Library Association (ALA) and the network of Teacher Activist Groups, are protesting the book removal, demanding that the titles be returned to classrooms. “Students in the TUSD MAS Program develop critical thinking skills through the study of literature written by ALA award-winning authors,” reads ALA’s resolution. “And students have demonstrated proven academic success, graduating from high school at theRead More →

Recently, a good friend of mine and I took a little road trip to Kartchner Caverns in Southern Arizona.  When we were in the part of the cave where the ground is always wet mud from the water table, the guide had everyone be quiet for just a few moments to hear the “heartbeat of the cave”.  What we heard was the sound of water dropping from the delicate soda straws hanging from the ceiling.  It was an awe-inspiring moment to be inside the earth, quietly existing in a place of natural magic that had been created only by water, minerals, and the passage of time.   This DecemberRead More →

A.C.E. Bauer’s Gil Marsh is a modern re-imagining of the Epic of Gilgamesh.  Bauer takes the age-old legend of the young prince’s heartbreaking loss and epic quest for immortality and places it in a modern American high school, centered on the charismatic, handsome cross country star, Gil.  When Canadian Enko arrives, Gil’s place as star is threatened for the first time in his life. But it doesn’t take long for steadfast, kind-hearted Enko to win over Gil and the two young men become best friends. Their friendship is cut short by Enko’s tragic death and Gil’s world is turned upside down with his anger and grief. Read More →

Bear has lost his hat, and no one seems to know where it is (or maybe they just aren’t telling). Will he ever find his beloved hat? This deviously charming picture book is a must read. Kids will laugh and adults will smile when they read this adorably illustrated tale of a bear who learns that he must rely on his own observational skills and not just the words (sometimes truthful and sometimes not) of others. Klassen’s book delightfully depicts the creatures the bear comes across, from possums to rabbits, and the color palette of the book is beautifully done.  Everything enhances the simple dialogue and bringsRead More →

Publisher’s Weekly (2/2/12) reports: More good news for Maggie Stiefvater fans: hot off the author’s Printz Honor for The Scorpio Races at last week’s ALA Youth Media Awards, Scholastic has announced the publication of a new four-book series from Stiefvater. The first book in the series, The Raven Boys, will be published by Scholastic Press on September 18; three additional books in the Raven Cycle will follow.  “Maggie has an extraordinary ability to balance epic storytelling and deeply personal truths, exploring both the mythology that surrounds us and the myths we tell about ourselves,” said David Levithan, Scholastic Press publisher and editorial director, in announcingRead More →

From eye on early education (1/31/12): There’s more evidence of the long-term benefits of high-quality early education, this time from the Abecedarian Project in North Carolina, one of three major longitudinal studies of the impact of early education on low-income children. The low-income children who participated in the Abecedarian Project attended a high-quality, full-time, year-round early education and care program from infancy until kindergarten entry. The children engaged in activities that promoted their language, cognitive and social-emotional development. At age 30, participants in the Abecedarian program: Were four times more likely than members of the control group to have earned college degrees, with 23% ofRead More →