The Classroom Bookshelf
Inside The Classroom Bookshelf

Healing and Hope through Storytelling: The 2021 Newbery and APALA Award Winner When You Trap a Tiger

Part magical realism, part folktale, part contemporary realistic fiction, Tae Keller’s Newbery and APALA Award winning novel weaves a coming-of-age tale that is heartrending, haunting, and hopeful.

Encourage Self-Love with Eyes that Kiss in the Corners

In Eyes that Kiss in the Corners, a young Chinese American girl speaks to readers through lyrical language that celebrates the beauty of her eyes and the eyes of her beloved Mama, grandmother Amah, and little sister, Mei-Mei.

Get Ready for a Global Book Party: World Read Aloud Day is Almost Here

At The Classroom Bookshelf, we champion the read aloud as an essential and joyful part of one’s literacy life.  With World Read Aloud Day fast approaching on February 3rd, we wanted to spotlight this upcoming global book party as a joyful way to lift up the power of books and children’s voices. Whether students are […]

2020-2021 Children’s and Young Adult Book Awards

Each year, the announcement of the American Library Association (ALA) Youth Media Awards gives us occasion to celebrate the many awards in the field of children’s and young adult literature. Below you will find links to the 2021 ALA award-winning, honor books, and authors that we blogged about, as well as links to other books we blogged about in the past that have won some of the most prestigious awards and honors in the field for 2020.

Honor your students’ voices with the poetry collection No Voice Too Small.

During turbulent times, many of us may find ourselves asking, “What can I do?” The young people featured in this powerful anthology asked this question of themselves, found answers, and took action. Editors Metcalf, Dawson & Bradley have curated a collection of poems, written by accomplished poets, that represent the commitments, the activism and the accomplishments of fourteen tweens and teens.

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 […]

Books as Bright Spots in 2020

We don’t know what next year holds. We don’t know where books will take us. But as we do each year, we’ve curated “best of” lists from a range of publications and organizations that review children’s and middle grade books. We hope you find these lists useful. You may be in search of winter holiday hibernation reads. You may be trying to find just the right book for a child or tween in your life, or new books for your classroom collections or school library.

Explore the Power of a Single Word in Dictionary for a Better World

The power of the single word holds center stage in this creative collaboration by renowned children’s poets Irene Latham and Charles Waters. In Dictionary for a Better World, Latham and Waters spotlight words that work to promote understanding, empathy, equity, peace, and social justice.

Poetry for Hope and Healing with Naomi Shihab Nye’s Everything Comes Next

If ever there was a time for poetry as a source of hope and healing, the time is now. As 2020 comes to a close, poetry can be a source of comfort for students and teachers as we continue to face challenges while embracing joyful sites of possibility. Naomi Shihab Nye’s, latest book of collected and new poems is a welcome respite and source of inspiration for attending to this moment and contemplating what comes next.