The Classroom Bookshelf
Inside The Classroom Bookshelf

Teaching Ideas for a Democracy Under Assault

What can educators do? We can offer young people an opportunity to better understand and make sense of this moment through information. Nonfiction books for young people offer us gripping accounts of the past and present in language that engages young people’s hearts and minds. Nonfiction books for young people provide a “container” of information vetted and researched, with evidence documented in bibliographies and chapter notes, acknowledgements and author’s notes. Nonfiction books for young people personalize and problematize history. Nonfiction books for young people can be juxtaposed in the classroom so that students can hear a range of perspectives and make sense across texts. Nonfiction books for young people can model inquiry and informational literacy, while also providing essential information about our past, our present, and the government structures within which we operate.

Above the Rim: Peaceful Activism for a New Year

Above the Rim: How Elgin Baylor Changed BasketballWritten by Jen BryantIllustrated by Frank MorrisonPublished by Abrams, October 6, 2020ISBN: 978-1419741081 Book ReviewThe end of 2020 and beginning of 2021 heralds the opening of the NBA basketball season. As we enter the new year, we are reminded of the athlete activism that has changed the landscape […]

Building Big Dreams with Dream Builder: The Story of Architect Philip Freelon

In a stunning picture book biography, author Kelly Starling Lyons and illustrator Laura Freeman celebrate the life and work of Philip Freelon, Architect of Record for the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture. This not-to-be missed title has broad possibilities for exploring art and design; featuring diverse life stories; and inviting students to consider how they might use their own talents to be dream builders.

Celebrating Collective Action in The Teachers March

The Teachers March! captures a powerful moment in U.S. history, celebrates the tenacity and intrepidity of teachers, and has an important role to play in language arts and social studies curriculum.

Hope for a Vaccine: Learning about Immunity through The Polio Pioneer

The Polio Pioneer: Dr. Jonas Salk and the Polio VaccineWritten by Linda Elovitz MarshallIllustrated by Lisa Anchin Imagine a time when people were so fearful of a virus that children weren’t permitted to go swimming in the summer. They couldn’t join friends for a sleepover or for a day at the park, let alone go […]

Being Observant with Being Frog

When you see a frog, do you think ‘brilliant beautiful being’? If you don’t already, you will after reading Being Frog by acclaimed picturebook author and photographer April Pulley Sayre. Sayre’s stunning photographs depict the frogs she and her husband observe weekly in a local pond. Backyard scientists of all ages will find Being Frog a call to action – a call to watch, wonder, imagine and inquire.

Reading the World with Becoming a Good Creature

“School is not the only place to find a teacher.” This first line of Sy Montgomery and Rebecca Green’s picturebook adaptation of their 2018 adult book How to Be a Good Creature may ring true for many students and their families right now.

Preparing for the 2020 Election Cycle

When headlines scream out our political dysfunction, and a global pandemic keeps us uncertain at home, we can all feel powerless. But with a book like this, that offers both information and action, young people, their teachers, and their families can feel empowered.

Teaching Children about the Coronavirus

Written with a gentle, conversational, but nonetheless straightforward approach, this book engages young readers in a dialogue about the pandemic that has interrupted life as many of them know it.

Using Online Museum Resources for Literacy Learning

Whether you are a K-12 teacher trying to support students online or a parent, grandparent, or family or community member trying to support learning for a range of students and ages during this period of disruption, we hope you can find these resources interesting and engaging, and these simple protocols helpful.