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Children's books

Harriet at 50

Even at 50 years old, Harriet can rankle readers. All students of children’s literature (in fact anyone interested in children’s literature) should meet her — even those who first encountered Harriet when they were children. The 1960s were turbulent; change was everywhere — including in books for children. First published in 1964, Harriet the Spy marked a sea change in the direction of juvenile fiction. Some people loved it, others had an equally strong and opposite reaction to the book.

Summer Writing: It’s Cool to Collaborate

Pairing fiction and nonfiction is a great way to engage readers. So is pairing a book with an activity or experience to extend excitement or enhance learning. But there are other kinds of great pairings when it comes to books. Here are Madelyn Rosenberg and Wendy Wan-Long Shang to tell you about how they paired up as co-authors and how working with a partner can help get kids excited about writing this summer.

Meet Illustrator and Graphic Novelist Mike Lawrence

It's Lucky Episode 13 of the Reading Without Walls video blog! Gene meets up with Mike Lawrence, creator of the new graphic novel, Star Scouts, where the heroine Avani earns badges in jetpack racing, teleportation, and lasers! Mike talks about his early years as a reader, how he became a writer, and what he's reading now with his kids.

More than one story needed

This spring, I had the opportunity to hear Newbery Honor winner, Grace Lin, and her longtime friend and editor, Alvina Ling, talk about their friendship, careers, and their work. They share lots in common: friendship, professional work, and interests. Both sets of parents are Taiwanese. They were even roommates at one point. 

Graphic Novel Conversion

Welcome Colleen Dykema to Book Life! Colleen is an award-winning ESL teacher and reading specialist with Arlington Public Schools. Her teaching career began in 1972, and since 2000 she’s worked with English language learners at Swanson Middle School. A great believer that “reading is our personal reward — our private space to grow and explore,” Colleen had an “aha” moment this school year about reading graphic novels.

New Evidence on Teaching Reading at Frustration Levels

For generations, reading experts have told teachers that they had to teach students to read at their instructional levels. Teachers were admonished that if they taught children with books that were too easy, there would be nothing for the kids to learn. If they taught with books that were too hard, then the reading instruction would frustrate rather than improve.

In general, that kind of advice makes sense. Spend all the time you want teaching me my ABCs and it won’t likely improve my reading ability at my advanced level of performance.

Stripes of All Types: An Interview with Susan Stockdale

Susan Stockdale

Perhaps growing up in Southwest Florida inspired Susan Stockdale’s love of nature. Perhaps it was being the youngest of five that encouraged her to look closely at the world all around. In any case, Susan now lives near Washington, D.C. where she both illustrates and writes lyrical nonfiction for children, sharing her appreciation and unique perspective on nature familiar and extraordinary.

Who Needs a Cape When You Have an Apron?

Welcome Jarrett J. Krosoczka to Book Life! New York Times best-selling author/illustrator Jarrett Krosoczka, whose more than 30 published works include fabulous picture books, his wildly popular Lunch Lady graphic novels, and the Platypus Police Squad middle-grade novels, is also the creator of School Lunch Hero Day.

The P Word

Poetry has never been my favorite. It was something archaic you had to read at school. If it was presented as “Poetry,” I never particularly enjoyed it. I’ve always tried to read more poetry, but it was an effort. Though I love stories, I somehow couldn’t connect to the story in the poems I read.

But it has recently become clear to me that I’ve spent most of my life thinking in poetry.

— Those conversations I imagined the trees were having as I passed through the woods on the way home from school

Poetry

An Interview with Author Erica Perl

Erica Perl

A native of Vermont, Erica S. Perl now lives in Washington, D.C., where she writes a range of books for young readers. She has done very funny picture books, novels for middle grade as well as books for young adults, and most recently a novel in play form,

Pages

"Oh, magic hour, when a child first knows she can read printed words!" — A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, 1943