The Classroom Bookshelf
Inside The Classroom Bookshelf

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.

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.

Giving Thanks to Our Community

This week, we wish for all of you: safety, health, connection, and comfort.
We are deeply grateful for all the work you do each and every day to put wonderful books in the hands, minds, and hearts of young people.

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 […]

Navigating Family, Middle School, and the Universe in We Dream of Space

Set in January 1986 against the countdown to the launch of the Space Shuttle Challenger, this coming-of-age novel by Newbery Award-winning author Erin Entrada Kelly tells the story of a family searching for something to bring their orbits into alignment with their dreams and with one another before disaster strikes.

Rethinking Thanksgiving

We wanted to make sure our readers knew about the “Rethinking Thanksgiving” webinar hosted by authors Kate Messner and Traci Sorell on Thursday, November 12th.

Affirming Children’s Worthiness with I Am Every Good Thing

From the author-illustrator team that brought you the Caldecott Honor- and Newbery Honor-winning Crown: An Ode to the Fresh Cut, comes another poignant picturebook that celebrates Black joy and Black excellence.