The Classroom Bookshelf
Inside The Classroom Bookshelf

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.

Just in Time for Summer Reading with Maybe, Maybe, Marisol Rainey

Just in time for summer, Maybe Maybe Marisol Rainey is a charming tale of the everyday experiences of a young girl making her way through the world. This is a story primed for early elementary grade readers for summer reading, read-alouds, book club conversations, and to join the series bin of your classroom library.

Remembering and Healing with Before the Ever After

As his mother and father visit doctor after doctor and try meds after meds, ZJ aches for the time ‘before’ his father’s illness, a time filled with picnics, pick up games, and spontaneous dance parties in the living room. ZJ’s father is a pro football player who is experiencing headaches, mood swings and memory loss. Jacqueline Woodson’s latest novel in verse explores the impact of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) on tight end Zachariah ‘44’ Johnson, through the eyes of his twelve year old son, his namesake.

Confronting Anti-Black Racism with the Middle Grade Novel What Lane?

Sixth grader, Stephen, lives in Brooklyn, is into sci-fi, and is a mixed race tween who has started to painfully experience the ways that white people in his neighborhood treat him differently than his white friends. If you are wondering how to begin confronting Anti-Black racism in your classroom, start with What Lane?

Exploring Race, Class, and School Integration with The Long Ride

For independent and curricular explorations, The Long Ride offers readers a snapshot of a girl, a city, and a country trying to forge a new identity and a foundation for the future.

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 […]

Laughter as an Inference Tool: Teaching Ideas for Theodor Seuss Geisel Honor Winner Fox+Chick and Other STories

Following in the literary footsteps of the famed friendships of Frog and Toad and Elephant and Piggie, a new pair of unlikely animal friends has entered the early reader scene. Author/illustrator Sergio Ruzzier has crafted two endearing characters in Fox and Chick that young readers will enjoy following through their humorous antics across three clever vignettes in this first book in this soon-to-be a series

Rebound

Rebound Written by Kwame Alexander and Illustrated by Dawud Anyabwile Published in 2018 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Grades 4-8 ISBN: 978-0-544-86813-7   Book Review In this much-anticipated prequel to his Newbery-winning novel The Crossover, Kwame Alexander draws from similar themes and the rhythm of basketball to transport readers back in time to 1988 with another […]

Wishtree

Wishtree Written by Katherine Applegate and Illustrated by Charles Santoso 2017 Feiwel and Friends ISBN 978-1-250-04322-1   Grades 3-6 Book Review “My friends call me Red, and you can, too. But for a long time people in the neighborhood have called me ‘the wishtree.’” From celebrated author, Katherine Applegate, comes her latest literary triumph–Wishtree. Fast-paced, […]