The Classroom Bookshelf
Inside The Classroom Bookshelf

Exploring Power, Agency, and the Black Freedom Movement with Never Caught

Never Caught, the Young Reader’s Edition of Erica Armstrong Dunbar’s 2017 National Book Award Finalist, explores the intricate and intimate ways in which the personal lives of George and Martha Washington and the enslaved men and women they owned were tangled together. As Martha Washington’s personal maid, Ona Judge, a skillful seamstress, had access to fine clothes, trips to the theater, and the chance to travel beyond Mt. Vernon. But for Judge, that was not enough. Only freedom was enough. Ideal for biography genre study as well as explorations of the Black Freedom Movement and the American Revolution, Never Caught can play many roles in middle grade language arts and social studies classrooms.

March: Book Three – National Book Award, Sibert Medal, YALSA Excellence in Nonfiction, Coretta Scott King Author Award, Printz Award

March: Book Three Written by John Lewis and Andrew Aydin, Illustrated by Nate Powell Published by Top Shelf Productions ISBN: 978-1-60309-402-3 Grades 7-Up Book Review Many Americans outside of the black community may only understand the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s through the actions of Martin Luther King and Rosa Parks. Many have never […]

Drowned City – 2016 Orbis Pictus Winner, Sibert Honor

Drowned City: Hurricane Katrina & New Orleans Written and Illustrated by Don Brown Published by Houghton Mifflin Books for Children ISBN: 978-0-544-15777-4 Grades 7 and Up In the interest of full disclosure, we want our readers to know that Mary Ann served on the Orbis Pictus Committee that selected Drowned City as its 2016 winner. […]

A Fine Dessert: Four Centuries, Four Families, One Delicious Treat

A Fine Dessert: Four Centuries, Four Families, One Delicious Treat Written by Emily Jenkins, Illustrated by Sophie Blackall Published by Schwartz and Wade, 2015 ISBN 978-0-375-86832-0 Grades 2-6 NOVEMBER 4, 2015 NOTE: Since the initial publication of this blog entry, there has been significant discussion within and outside of the children’s book community regarding the […]

The Port Chicago 50

The Port Chicago 50: Disaster, Mutiny, and the Fight for Civil Rights Written by Steve Sheinkin Published by Roaring Brook Press, 2014 ISBN 978-1-59643-796-8 Grades 7 and Up Book Review “[I]t’s important to remember that before Brown v. Board of Education or Truman’s executive order, before Rosa Parks or Jackie Robinson— before any of this, […]

Coretta Scott King Author Award Winner: P.S. Be Eleven

Written by Rita Williams-Garcia Published Amistad, an Imprint of Harper Collins ISBN 978-0—06-193862-7 Grades 5-8 Book Review One Crazy Summer, Williams-Garcia’s first book about Delphine Gaither and her sisters, illuminates the changes brought forth by the civil rights movement, the cultural revolution, and anti-war efforts, and foreshadows the shifting family dynamics ushered in by the women’s […]

Courage has No Color

Written by Tanya Lee Stone Candlewick, 2013   IBSN: 978-0-7636-5117-6 Grades 6 and Up Book Review The reader drops into Courage has No Color, just as thousands of soldiers dropped out of airplanes and into Europe and the Pacific region during World War II. The author carries us through the jump, from plane to ground, […]

The Spoken Word in Picture Books

  I, Too, Am America  Written by Langston Hughes, Illustrated by Bryan Collier Simon and Shuster, 2012 ISBN 978-1-4424-2008-3 I Have a Dream Written by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Illustrated by Kadir Nelson Schwartz & Wade, 2012 ISBN 978-0-375-85887-1 All Ages  Book Review “I, too, sing America/I am the darker brother.” So begins one […]

2012 Coretta Scott King Award for Writing, Honor Book for Illustration: Heart and Soul

Heart and Soul: The Story of America and African Americans Written and Illustrated by Kadir Nelson Balzar and Bray, 2011 ISBN: 978-0-06-173074-0 Review This extraordinary work of art tells the story of America through the lens of African American history. It is at once familiar and yet unfamiliar to all too many. Even author-illustrator Kadir […]

The Mighty Miss Malone

The Mighty Miss Malone By Christopher Paul Curtis Published by Wendy Lamb Books, Random House Children’s Books ISBN: 978-0-385-73491-2 Grades 4-8 Book Review Prompted by fans discouraged by a lack of female protagonists in his body of work, Christopher Paul Curtis created Deza Malone, an irrepressible twelve-year old surviving the Great Depression with savvy, strength, […]