The Classroom Bookshelf
Inside The Classroom Bookshelf

Centering Food and Family: Tomatoes for Neela

Tomatoes for NeelaWritten by Padma LakshmiIllustrated by Juana Martinez-NealPublished by Viking, 2021ISBN # 978-0593202708Grades PreK – 3 Book ReviewThis book is a celebration of sun-ripened tomatoes and the joy they offer year-round. Vividly illustrated by award-wining artist Juana Martinez-Neal and written by celebrity chef Padma Lakshmi, this delicious picturebook is set during tomato season when […]

Honoring Indigenous People’s Day with Teaching Ideas for Ancestor Approved

For Native and non-Native readers alike, Ancestor Approved centers the diverse lives of contemporary Native tweens and teens, and invites all of us to delight in the community, connection, and celebration of the powwow.

A Search for Identity and Home in Boy, Everywhere

A remarkable middle grade novel that chronicles the refugee experience beyond the physical journey itself, Boy, Everywhere is not just a valuable addition to social studies and ELA units, but a gripping text for independent, small group, and whole class reading as well.

Studying Science with Secrets of the Sea: The Story of Jeanne Power, Revolutionary Marine Scientist

The year is 1818 and a young woman named Jeanne wanders the shores of Sicily. Formerly a seamstress, she reinvents herself as a scientist, a naturalist who explores the island on foot, journal in hand. Jeanne Villepreux-Power and her accomplishments is the subject of a fascinating new picture book biography collaboration by Evan Griffin and Joanie Stone. Use it to teach the disciplinary literacies of science, pair it with other stories of women “revolutionaries,” or as part of a historical study of scientific discovery and oceanography.

Supporting Children to Weather Storms with Hope and Resilience

Two luminous picturebooks explore the power of storms and the power within us. Simultaneously honest and reassuring, both I Am the Storm and The Longest Storm will leave a lasting impression on readers to help them navigate the next storm they encounter in life.

Turning Frowns Upside Down at The Smile Shop

The Smile ShopWritten and Illustrated by Satoshi KitamuraPublished by Peachtree, 2021 ISBN #978-1-6826-3255-0 Grades PreK and up Book Review “I am so excited,” starts the first page of Satoshi Kitamura’s picturebook, The Smile Shop.  Set in a crowded open-air market of an urban center, this narrative follows a young boy, who for the very first […]

Teaching About September 11th and its Aftermath: In the Shadow of the Fallen Towers

In the Shadow of the Fallen Towers offers tweens and teens the opportunity to use our historic grief to see anew – right now, when we need it most – our collective responsibility towards one another.

What Do Books Give Us? Thinking about the Purposes of Your Text Selections This Year

“Books allow us a bird’s-eye view of our own lives, and especially how our lives relate to those lives around us.” – Christopher Myers, 2013  As we begin another school year with a mix of uncertainty and hope, we find ourselves turning to children’s books as the single greatest source we have to honor the […]

2021 Spring Awards & Summer Reading Lists

As you and your students celebrate the end of a school year like no other, we share a collection of links designed to keep you and the children and young adults in your life happily reading over the summer vacation. First, though, we begin with links to the books that we blogged about over the last year that have won recent awards and honors in the field of children’s and young adult literature.

Learning About and Loving Our Bodies: Laxmi’s Mooch

Laxmi’s Mooch is simply a delightful book that supports conversations about identity, physical attributes, and self-affirmation for all.