From the early 20th century to our contemporary time, from California to Georgia to Washington D.C., from Israel to India and to Ireland, and from the voices of a six-year-old boy to a young newlywed woman to a recent widowed man, the books we've picked for the coming year are diverse and powerful. Whether you love an intimate focus on the heart, like Only Child, An American Marriage and The Story of Arthur Truluv; or the panoramic exploration of a point in time such as Code Girls or The Woman's Hour, there is something for everyone. All twelve books have 5-star BookBrowse reviews and are already, or soon will be, published in paperback (and are already available in hardcover and e-book.) You'll find everything you need to decide w... [More]
Every time BookBrowse reviews a book we go "beyond the book" to explore a related topic, such as this article originally written as background to The Last Mrs Parrish, a debut novel written by sisters Lynne Constantine and Valerie Constantine:
According to their website, "Liv Constantine is the pen name of sisters Lynne Constantine and Valerie Constantine." Hearing this piqued my curiosity regarding, not simply literary collaborations (there are tons of those), but writers who collaborate and then publish their fictional works under a single pseudonym--and in particular writers who are related to each other.
Here are some famous related co-authors who write under a single pen name: [More]
Many thanks to Darcus Smith, of Metropolitan Library System's Edmond Library in Oklahoma, who shares a successful idea for honoring military veterans on Veterans Day: Last winter we had an awesome three-tier display for Veterans Day (November 11th) that featured books about all branches of the military. In addition, we invited our library patrons to write the names of their loved ones who had served in the military on white stars, so others could read their names. The picture here is an early shot, but as word spread, the tiers were full and it became a huge, beautiful display of white stars. This idea could also be adapted for Memorial Day - there's so much that can be done in remembrance of our veterans. BookBrowse suggests the ...
September 23rd is the start of Banned Books Week, an annual awareness campaign promoted by the American Library Association and Amnesty International that celebrates the freedom to read, draws attention to banned and challenged books and highlights persecuted individuals. Last year's top ten banned titles consisted mainly of titles written for children and teens that address sex and gender, and two adult titles read in schools: The Kite Runner and To Kill a Mockingbird.
In honor of Banned Books Week, here's part of an interesting infographic of the top banned books in different genres, the reasons why they've been banned in the past, and interesting facts and stats. You can see the full infographic at Invaluable.
When it comes to literature, young adult books are practically synonymous with coming of age. Novels in this category are about those life experiences that help us define ourselves. But this journey is not limited to young people. We are always in the process of self-definition and we are always growing. From Conrad Wesslehoef's Dirt Bikes, Drones and Other Ways to Fly, about one boy's experience of beginning to free himself from grief, to Renee Watson's Piecing Me Together, a look at the perseverance it takes to make it authentically in the world, these six young adult novels are ideal springboards for book clubs of all ages to jump off of into meaningful dialogue.
At the age of ten I was told by the principal: Oona, you are a poet. So, I wrote poems from that day forward, through seven snowy midwestern winters and summers on the shores of Lake Michigan. I went to the Writer’s Club in high school because I had a (painfully obvious) crush on […]
“Styx Malone didn’t believe in miracles, but he was one,” begins my new middle grade novel, The Season of Styx Malone. Caleb Franklin is stuck feeling ordinary, trapped in his small town. He desperately wants to be special, particularly after his father tells him he’s not merely ordinary but “extra” ordinary. Caleb misunderstands, and is […]
Riddle me this readers…why do so many educators consider comic books second class literature? Comic books are books. The very word “book” is in the title of the genre. I recently asked a student who had just finished his novel in my reading intervention class what he was reading next. He shamefully showed […]
The gravel crunches as I pull my red RAV 4 to a halt at the edge of a dusty highway. I can just imagine my car asking: “Why is she stopping? What is she doing now? And, how come she’s poking at that DEAD BODY?” Wait, . . . that’s not how a blog post […]
Abracadabra! I sought out how-to books about card tricks, guidebooks to seashells, and page-turning mysteries. Shortly after second grade, I’d begun perusing the Newbery Award shelf and won the summer reading contest at my local library in Grandview, Missouri. It was my parents who, each in their own way, first introduced me to books. […]
How can we serve up poetry in a fresh new way? This is the question we ask ourselves each time we start a project. In our early books in The Poetry Friday Anthology series, we provided a “Take 5” approach that emphasized participatory readings and skill connections; in the Poetry Friday Power Book series, we […]
I love a great sentence. You know the ones that just grab you and make you say, whoa! One of the suggestions I always have for the teachers I work with is that they model sentences from these fantastic middle grade novels that we just love to teach grammar, editing, and revision. Jeff Anderson, also […]
“What’s in a name?” Shakespeare asked that very famously centuries ago in a play you might be familiar with. I always took umbrage at that question. You see, in many cultures, including mine, names have power, meaning, and functions beyond the obvious. The earliest version of The Candle and the Flame wound itself around Shakespeare’s […]
It’s been eighteen months since I wrote this post about York: The Shadow Cipher—the first volume in my middle grade alternate history adventure—and my cancer diagnosis. A lot has happened since then. I’ve gone through chemo, surgery and radiation. I lost my hair, grew a bunch back, and dyed it purple and blue. I got my nose pierced. […]
When my dad was eight years old, his greatest ambition was for his teacher, Miss Hagley*, to ignore him. “She just didn’t like me,” he says now, nearly 60 years later. “I don’t know why, but she just didn’t like me.” “I can picture her now, walking toward me.” His shoulders hunch at the […]