The Classroom Bookshelf
Inside The Classroom Bookshelf
Erika Thulin Dawes

About Erika Thulin Dawes

Erika is a professor of language and literacy at Lesley University. A former classroom teacher, reading specialist, and literacy supervisor, she now teaches courses in children’s literature, early literacy, and literacy methods. Erika is the co-author of Learning to Write with Purpose, Teaching with Text Sets, and Teaching to Complexity.

Poetry as History in The Undefeated

The Undefeated, a new picture book created by acclaimed author Kwame Alexander and award-winning illustrator Kadir Nelson has been described as “a love letter to America. To black America” (book jacket). The text is a poem that traverses the history of the United States, tracing the trauma and the triumphs of Black / African American experiences from enslavement to the Civil Rights Movement to Black Lives Matter.

Ponder Perspectives and the Passage of Time with Brenden Wenzel’s A Stone Sat Still

Caldecott Honor winner Brendan Wenzel’s new picture book, like his previous two (They All Saw a Cat and Hello Hello), invites readers to slow down and to ponder the world from new angles. Using mixed media illustrations and lyrical text, Wenzel explores the roles of a stone at the edge of a sea, across seasons, and over decades.

Beginning the Year with Because of the Rabbit

Because of the Rabbit Written by Cynthia Lord Published in 2019 by Scholastic ISBN 978-0-545-91424-6 Grades 3 – 6 Book Review It’s the start of the school year and Emma is facing more changes than the average rising fifth grader. Emma, her parents, and her older brother Owen live in northern Maine, where Emma’s father […]

Looking Back and Looking Ahead to Make the Classroom Bookshelf Even Better

In August, sharpened pencils stand tall in cups and caddies. Crisp, marble notebooks are stacked in neat piles. Bulletin boards, carefully crafted with die cut letters, greet students. And books, intentionally selected, line library and classroom bookshelves. Everything feels possible. At The Classroom Bookshelf, we believe that literacy itself is about possibility. With this in […]

Spark Summer Friendships with How to Two

A warm day, a welcoming playground, and a bright smile – the quintessential ingredients for childhood play and budding friendships. David’s Soman’s innovative new picture book is not only a joyous counting romp, it is also a wonderful invitation to discuss how to make a friend, how to be inclusive in play, and how to build community.

Celebrate Family, Community and the Thrill of the Ride with My Papi Has a Motorcycle

“We become a spectacular celestial thing soaring on asphalt. A comet.” With rich sensory language and colorful comic style-illustration, award-winning author illustrator team Isabel Quintero and Zeke Pena celebrate Latinx culture, family, community and the thrill of a motorcycle ride in their latest picture book collaboration.

Learn and Grow with Seeds Move! by Robin Page

Seed dispersal is the topic of collage artist Robin Page’s latest nonfiction picture book. Versatile for use throughout the seasons, this teaching tool plants the seeds for important classroom conversations about nature, interdependence, and the importance of conservation.

Constructing Curriculum: Teaching with Jorey Hurley’s Skyscraper

The processes and machines used to build a skyscraper are the subject of Jorey Hurley’s latest picture book offering. Construction vehicles take center stage in the digitally rendered illustrations. Hurley’s bright colors and geometrical shapes detail fourteen different machines and their roles in building a glass encased skyscraper. This engaging title is sure to inspire young readers to want to know more about cities and their skylines.

The Stories That Shape Us: Teaching Ideas for Alma and How She Got Her Name

Alma Sofia Esperanza José Pura Candela thinks her name is too long – when she tries to write it, she needs to add an extension piece of paper in order to fit it on a single page. With the support of her father’s family stories, she comes to see how her name is actually the perfect fit for her, celebrating her both her connectedness and her uniqueness.

Rodent Rascals: From Tiny to Tremendous – 21 Creatures at Their Actual Size

A superhero rat who can scale buildings and chew through cement; a capybara as a seeing-eye guide animal; rats trained to detect landmines and Tuberculosis – these fascinating rodents and 18 more are the subject of author/illustrator Roxie Munro’s latest picture book.