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<<October 2016>>
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1. Connecting the Real World with YA Books

Nothing says "I want to read that" more than making connections between teens and books.  It's kind of like buy-in....you have to put something they can relate to into a booktalk to make that connection. And when that happens, you better stand back and let the stampede begin!
When I booktalk I always try to make sure there's a personal connection to the book that's interesting or even anecdotal.  And you can do this many ways...through a picture, a video, a story, interesting facts...anything.

So here are some books I've booktalked and how I tried to connect them to teens:

The Season of You and Me by Robin Constantine.  I LOVED that this novel had a main character who was handicapped...you don't see that much in YA lit.

Connector: mention the movie Me Before You...enough said.

The Women in the Walls by Amy Luakvics.  You can't have an October booktalk without having a book about a creepy house, can you?

Connector: Ever dangled your foot beside your bed at night?  Especially after watching a horror movie?

Mark of the Thief by Jennifer Nielsen: slaves, soldiers, and ceasars.  Mix them up and put them in a fantasy Roman Empire, and you have got their attention.

Connector: Let them show off their knowledge by asking them who the most famous Ceasar was of all time.  Then mention a salad was named after him followed by the true story of the ceasar salad. Corny joke, but that's how I roll

Book trailer

The Novice by Taran Matharu: An orphan at birth, the main character has more power than he knows what to do with, until he meets up with some very interesting characters.

Connector: What exactly are Pokemon? No, they aren't cute card characters, they are deadly WEAPONS!  (this plays nicely into the "demons" the characters can manipulate)

Book trailer 

The Darkest Corners by Kara Thomas: small town and one horrible murder leads to eyewitnesses who aren't sure if they saw what they did or were persuaded to see what they did...

Connector: Give them the history of unsolved murders like the Black Dahlia (but not too much detail).

The Girl from the Well by Rin Chupeco: nothing gets creepier than Japanese folktales come to life.  Especially if they seek revenge in the most ghoulish of ways.

Connector: Because I'm half-Asian, I tell them some folktales my mother told me and my sisters like the Peach Boy.  And I also ask them if they've ever seen The Ring or The Grudge...

Book trailer

Everything Everything: over ten year never stepping outside, never having friends, never falling in love.  Well, that's what happens to the main character until a family moves in next door.

Connector: Ask people who do NOT have allergies to raise their hands.  Then ask those who do and ask if anyone has an unusual allergy

Book trailer

With Malice by Eileen Cook: two best friends on a tour of Italy (and not the Olive Garden variety) end up in a car crash.  One died, one survived but can't remember because of a concussion.  Then the Italian police arrive to extradite her for murder.

Connector: tell them the story about Amanda Knox.  Make sure they know this is a true story.

A Storm Too Strong by Michael. Tougias: Talk about the ride of a lifetime.  Who wouldn't want to ride 80 foot waves in winds over 60 miles an hour on a rubber life raft in the middle of the night?  Now multiply that by 100 and you have Hurricane Andrea meets Survivors

Connector: I start this one out by saying this is a story about two men who have witnessed and seen something no other man has lived to tell about.  Then I show them what real waves look like via Youtube because the kids are a bunch of landlubber North Texans and don't understand life by the sea.

Show this video first                  Show this video second (just first 10 secs)

Amazing Fantastic Incredible by Stan Lee: this is by far the most colorful (literally and figuratively) memoir I've read in a long long time.  A comic book memoir by the king of all comic book characters!

Connector: do you really have to ask?  The cover itself is enough to catch their attention...or at least the attention of comic book and Marvel fans! Comic books aren't just for nerds, and regardless, we will embrace our nerdiness anyway :)

book trailer

film clips of Stan in Marvel movies (start at 12:48)

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2. Come Out Come Out Wherever Your Are - YA Reads to Thrill and Chill

August and September went by in a blur!  What I thought was the beginning of another school year has turned into fall, meaning Halloween (coincidentally, also birthday) is around the corner! With that said, it's time to find some some fiendishly scary YA reads to display!

For me, horror fiction for young adults seemed to wane in a time where werewolves and vampires were having illicit romantic affairs.  But it began to rear its scary head in recent years, and there have been some AWESOME horror novels for teens published in the last few years.

A frequently asked question, is what is the definition of YA horror?  And to me, it's anything terrifying that happens to you in real life or on a paranormal level.  Of course, this opens the playing field to a LOT of perspectives, so this list of 10 definitely is more paranormal heavy.  But I couldn't help putting in two terrifying novels that are VERY reminiscent of horror in the real world.

** watch only if you dare...movie trailers may not be suitable to all audiences

There are in no particular order....

When you're covered with tattoos to protect you from evil, then encounter a huge flock of crows chasing you, you know something is about to happen.  But it's when you show up at a cornfield knowing something evil lurks between the stalks...yes, it's that creepy!

book trailer

Horror movie pair: Children of the Corn
Nothing screams horror more than an axe murder.  And that's what you'll find between the covers of this great non-fiction book.  Narrative style writing makes this read easy, and the pictures, eyewitness testimonies and life for Lizzie Borden will draw readers to the end.

book trailer

Horror movie pair: Halloween
This is horror...when the characters of this book are abducted and put into an underground bunker with no way to escape, the psychological thrillfest for the sociopath that kidnaps them begins.

book trailer

Horror movie pair: Saw
Entering a contest is easy, but living through it is a different matter altogether.  This is what happens when the teen winners of a contest by horror movie director goes from awesome to creepy.  Facing your fears is one thing, living to tell them is quite another...

book trailer

Horror movie pair: Final Destination

Okiku crawls out of the well, her black hair dangling in front of her deathly face.  The next thing you know, she is hanging from the ceiling looking at the man who just committed murder.  Then the lights go out and the terror begins...steeped in Japanese ghosts and Shinto exorcisms, this book will make you scream with pleasure. 

book trailer

Horror movie pair: The Ring

Jen and her father have just moved into Harmony House, home to several violent episodes, including the death of children.  People in the small town seem to know what's going on, but Jen doesn't and the voices become more real with each day she lives and survives....

Horror movie pair: House on Haunted Hill

Evil is on the hunt for those strange and peculiar people who hide from him.  But it's what happens when the hiding place is revealed.  It's up to Jacob to keep these peculiar, and sometimes dangerous, children alive, if possible.  The old pictures alone are sure to touch a nerve and fill it with dread.

book trailer

Horror movie pair: I actually couldn't think of one for this  because it's just so different and...peculiar (bwaaa-haa-haaa) Here's the movie trailer 

Two young women are trying to run to safety in a world filled with sharp knives.  The one thing they can't shake off is the fact they see the dead all around them.  Not only do they see them, but the dead won't leave them alone....ever...Are they here to help or hinder?

Horror movie The Sixth Sense

The entire premise of this book is to take something sweet and turn it into something dark and horrible, and these writers hit the mark! Think you know Alice in Wonderland?  How about Sleepless in Seattle?  Think again....

Horror movie pair: The Birds or Psycho

Going down a detour is irritating as best.  But going down one in the middle of the woods can cause a little different mood, unless you're narcissistic and on a cell phone.  But when the main character wakes up from an accident and finds herself in a basement, you know something bad is about to happen...

Horror movie pair: Misery

Beautiful house, never for sale.  It's been handed down through generations of a family, and it's special.  But a lot of sadness has occurred within the walls of this house.  Mom died, the aunt disappeared....but perhaps you can hear the scratching on the inside of the walls and the cry to let them out?  CREEP FACTOR times TEN!

Horror movie pair: The Conjuring

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3. Celebrating Banned Books Week!

How fantastic is it that the theme for this year's Banned Books Week (Sept. 25 - Oct. 1) is Frequently Challenged Books with Diverse Content? We are all about books with diverse content here (well, not ALL, but it's one of the themes we feature... Read the rest of this post

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4. Monthly Book List: Our Five Favorite Books for August

Our favorite books this August are sure to capture imaginations with beautiful illustrations, unconventional characters, and fascinating true stories. Read on to see the titles that hooked our book experts this month!

For Pre-K –K (Ages 3-6):

arctic animals board book

Who’s That?: Arctic Animals (Board Book) by Tad Carpenter

We love all the vibrant and entertaining titles in the Who’s That? board book series – this one especially. Kids will love opening the sturdy flaps to meet creatures like a walrus and a polar bear. A cool read for a hot day!

For 1st and 2nd Grade (Ages 6-8):

school's first day of school picture book School’s First Day of School by Adam Rex

It’s the first day of school at Frederick Douglass Elementary and everyone’s just a little bit nervous, especially the school! What will the children do once they come? Will they like the school? Will they be nice to him? Find out what happens to the school on its first day! With charming illustrations, this delightful read-aloud picture book will have young readers reaching for it every day of the year!



For 3rd & 4th grade (Ages 8-10):

Tiny Stitches: The Life of Medical Pioneer Vivien Thomas by Gwendolyn Hooks

During the mid-twentieth century, Vivien Thomas overcame racism from his colleagues and developed a procedure that was used for the first successful open-heart surgery on a child. This is a fascinating biography of how one innovative doctor ushered in a new era of medicine.






For 5th & 6th grade (Ages 10-12):

dicamillo young adult bookRaymie Nightengale by Kate DiCamillo

Raymie Clarke is convinced that winning the 1975 Little Miss Central Florida Tire contest would inspire her father to come home. To win, not only does Raymie have to do good deeds and learn how to twirl a baton; she also has to contend with the wispy, frequently fainting Louisiana Elefante, who has a show-business background, and the fiery, stubborn Beverly Tapinski, who’s determined to sabotage the contest. We couldn’t put down this coming-of-age novel as it beautifully explored the subjects of loneliness, loss, and friendship.

Grades 7 & up (Ages 13+):

Two Girls Staring at the Ceiling by Lucy Frank

This novel-in-verse follows the unfolding friendship between two very different teenage girls who share a hospital room and an illness.

Chess, the narrator, is sick, but with what exactly, she isn’t sure. And to make matters worse, she must share a hospital room with Shannon, her polar opposite. How these teenagers become friends, helping each other come to terms with their illness, makes for a dramatic and deeply moving read.






The post Monthly Book List: Our Five Favorite Books for August appeared first on First Book Blog.

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5. Plan Your Month: August Book Recommendations

August means slow, lazy summer days combined with the back-to-school scramble. Plan out your month with these book recommendations and resources to take you from here through September:

Sammy Lee’s Birthday-August 1
Sixteen Years in Sixteen Seconds

International Friendship Day-August 2 August Book Recommendations
Armando and the Blue Tarp School
Bein’ With You This Way
Cat Girl’s Day Off
Cooper’s Lesson
David’s Drawings
Destiny’s Gift
First Come the Zebra
Galaxy Games: The Challengers
Ink and Ashes
It Doesn’t Have to be This Way
Jay and Ben
Jazz Baby
Juna’s Jar
King for a Day
Night Golf
Rainbow Joe and Me 
Rent Party Jazz
Sharing Our Homeland
Soledad Sigh-Sighs
The Can Man
The Hula-Hoopin’ Queen
The Legend of Freedom Hill
The Monster in the Mudball
The Piano
Up the Learning Tree

Olympics- August 5-August 21
Surfer of the Century
Galaxy Games: The Challengers
Jim Thorpe’s Bright Path
Sixteen Years in Sixteen Seconds

Duke Kahanamoku’s Birthday-August 24
Surfer of the Century

Back to School-August/September
As Fast As Words Could Fly
Amelia’s Road
Armando and the Blue Tarp School
Babu’s Song
David’s Drawings
Destiny’s Gift
Drumbeat in Our Feet
Elizabeti’s School
Etched In Clay
First Day in Grapes
Howard Thurman’s Great Hope
How We Are Smart
Jim Thorpe’s Bright Path
My Teacher Can Teach…Anyone!
Only One Year
Richard Wright and the Library Card
Seeds of Change
The Storyteller’s Candle
Su Dongpo: Chinese Genius
Tofu Quilt
Up the Learning Tree
Willie Wins
Yasmin’s Hammer
Zora Hurston and the Chinaberry Tree

International Friendship Day:
Happy Friendship Day from Lee & Low Books!
The Best Cheerleaders May Come in Small Packages: How Siblings Affect Literacy Education

Back to School:
Why Do We Need Diverse Books in Non Diverse Schools?
How Common Core’s Book Choices Fail Children of Color
Choosing the World Our Students Read
Where to Find Culturally Diverse Literature to Pair With Your Required Curriculum
10 Ways to Use Instagram in the Classroom
3 Books for the First Three Weeks of School
11 Educator Resources for Teaching Children About Latin American Immigration and Migration
11 Books on Latin American Immigration and Migration
10 Best Strategies for Reading to Kids in Spanish
13 Scary YA Books: Diverse Edition
7 Tips to Help Make Reading with Your Child This Year Achievable
5 Strategies to Help Parents Navigate Lexile
7 Strategies to Help Booksellers and Librarians Navigate Lexile
8 Strategies to Help Educators Explain Lexile and Invest Stakeholders
10 Ways Teachers Can Support Parents and Cultivate Student Success
10 Myths About Teaching STEM Books and How You Can Teach STEM in Your Classroom Now
Using Infographics in the Classroom to Teach Visual Literacy
Using Dual Language and Bilingual Books in First and Second Grade
Using Dual Language and Bilingual Books in Third and Fourth Grade
Using Picture Books to Teach and Discuss Poet Laureate Juan Felipe Herrera with Students
How to Teach Close Reading Using a Recipe
Why Literacy Teachers Should Care About Math
Why I Love to Read Sad and Dark Books to Children (and You Should Too)
Student Book Review: Seeds of Change
Character Education, Part 1: How To Choose Books for Core Value Study
Character Education, Part 2: How to Teach Core Values to Kids Meaningfully
Strategies for Teaching ELL’s in Elementary and Middle School: Part 1
Strategies for Teaching ELL’s-Part 2: Choosing A Text and Vocabulary Words
Strategies for Teaching ELL’s-Part 3: Teaching Vocabulary in Layers
Strategies for Teaching ELL’s-Part 4: Writing, Speaking, & Listening Practice
How to Compare and Contrast with the Common Core in Kindergarten
How to Compare and Contrast with the Common Core in First Grade
How to Compare and Contrast with the Common Core in Second Grade
How to Compare and Contrast with the Common Core in Third Grade
How to Compare and Contrast with the Common Core in Fourth Grade
How to Compare and Contrast with the Common Core in Fifth Grade

What are your favorite August reads? Let us know in the comments!

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6. New Books by our Favorite Authors

Some of our favorite children’s book authors have been very busy in 2016. We are thrilled to share that their latest works are now available on the First Book Marketplace!

todd parr new bookTeachers Rock  – written and illustrated by Todd Parr

From admiring the way teachers foster creativity in the classroom to how they ensure all children’s needs are met, author & illustrator Todd Parr offers an ode to everything teachers contribute to the world. Bursting with positivity about school and the people who make it special, this book is sure to become a classroom and at-home favorite.


sherman alexie yuyi morales picture bookThunderboy Jr. – written by Sherman Alexie, illustrated by Yuyi Morales

What’s in a name? Author Sherman Alexie explores naming rituals and Native American culture in his new picture book, beautifully illustrated by Yuyi Morales. This book is a great read-aloud, celebrating expressions of individuality and the unique relationship between a child and parent.


rick riordan new bookTrials of Apollowritten by Rick Riordan

Being a teenager is tough – especially for Apollo (maybe because he’s actually four thousand years old). In the latest book from author Rick Riordan, Apollo, the Greek god of the sun, is cast down from Olympus to earth after insulting his father Zeus. Without his powers, he must learn to survive in modern-day New York City until he can somehow find a way to regain Zeus’s favor.


dicamillo young adult bookRaymie Nightingale – written by Kate DiCamillo

Kate DiCamillo’s middle-grade coming-of-age novel follows young Raymie Clarke in her quest to win the 1975 Little Miss Central Florida Tire contest. But as the competition approaches, loneliness, loss, and unanswerable questions draw her into an unlikely friendship with two other contestants — and challenges each of them to come to the rescue in unexpected ways.


Have you read any of these new titles yet? Give us your book review in the comments, and take a look at all the new titles on the First Book Marketplace!

The post New Books by our Favorite Authors appeared first on First Book Blog.

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7. Monthly Book List: Our Favorite Books this June

Are you looking for a giggle-filled bedtime story? A book about friendship and the summer Olympics? You’ll find that and so much more in our favorite books this month…

Teach kids to coding this summer with a fun story, learn about the history of jazz musicians in the 1950s or turn through the pages of a historical action book. Read on to find out more about of June favorites.

For Pre-K –K (Ages 3-6):

good night owlGood Night Owl – written and illustrated by Greg Pizzoli

This funny and charming read aloud makes a perfect, funny read for bedtime or anytime! Kids will enjoy searching for the mouse on every page and laughing as owl attempts to find the source of the squeak that’s keeping him awake. We love it!

For 1st and 2nd Grade (Ages 6-8):

quickest kid in clarksvilleThe Quickest Kid in Clarksville – written by Pat Zietlow Miller, illustrated by Frank Morrison

In this lively picture book about friendship, competition, and perseverance, two girls take inspiration from the same hero – Olympic athlete Wilma Rudolph. This is a great book to read in the lead-up to the summer Olympics! Pair it with the nonfiction book Wilma Unlimited if you want to extend your students’ learning.


For 3rd & 4th grade (Ages 8-10):

secret codersSecret Coders – written and illustrated by Gene Luen Yang

Comics + coding = this awesome book. Kids will dive easily into the plot of this clever graphic novel, learning the basics of coding and programming along the way. It’s the first book in terrific new series from award-winning author Gene Luen Yang who was a long-time computer science teacher. He knows just how to teach a complex subject in a fun and accessible way.


For 5th and 6th Grade (Ages 10-12):

jazz dayJazz Day: The Making of a Famous Photograph – written by Roxane Orgill, illustrated by Francis Vallejo

Nonfiction and poetry merge in this fantastic new book that was just awarded the Boston Globe Horn Book Award! Gorgeous illustrations mingle with rich poems focused on a summer day in 1958, when more than 50 great Jazz musicians came together in Harlem for a photo that would become world-famous. Each poem reveals a bit about the musicians, their music, and a key era in our nation’s history.  Truly beautiful!


Grades 7 & up (Ages 13+):

samurai risingSamurai Rising: The Epic Life of Minamoto Yoshitsune – written by Pamela S. Turner, illustrated Gareth Hinds

Action, adventure, and fascinating facts fill the pages of this gripping nonfiction book that will appeal to anyone with an interest in history, war, or the ancient world. Pam Turner’s writing keeps the tone light and the plot racing. We couldn’t put it down!


The post Monthly Book List: Our Favorite Books this June appeared first on First Book Blog.

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8. TBR Monday! More Books On My List

Greetings, Book People of Earth! I kind of enjoyed doing that previous post on my TBR pile, so here's another one with a few more recent acquisitions. Comments, opinions, and ancillary recommendations are welcome!Clockwise from Upper Left: Out on... Read the rest of this post

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9. 2016 Diverse Summer Reading Lists Grades PreK-8

Memorial Day Weekend has come and gone, which can only mean one thing. The end of June is right around the corner (hang in there teachers!).

Now, we are all well aware of the importance of having access to books and the harmful effects of the slippery slope that is the summer slide.

So, to keep the kids reading all summer long, LEE & LOW has put Diverse Summer Reading List 2016together a Diverse Summer 2016 Reading List for Grades PreK-8 and printables which you can freely download here or find listed below. Each list contains books that not only highlight different grade-appropriate interests, such as sports, music, sci-fi/fantasy, and the environment, but also explore diverse cultural backgrounds and traditions.

These lists are not only an excellent tool to help you include diverse books in your summer suggested reading lists, but a way to begin diversifying the books available to students in your classroom libraries. It is important to remember that diverse books are not only for diverse readers. Reading books featuring diverse characters and communities mirror experiences in their own lives, allowing children to see themselves reflected in the stories they love, but they also provide windows into other life experiences to understand and be more accepting of the world around them.

Finally, there are many great organizations compiling and creating Summer Reading Book Lists and offering free, exciting programs for the summer. Be sure to check out your local library as well as the following groups for additional summer reading tips, suggestions, and ideas:

veronicabioVeronica has a degree from Mount Saint Mary College and joined LEE & LOW in the fall of 2014. She has a background in education and holds a New York State childhood education (1-6) and students with disabilities (1-6) certification. When she’s not wandering around New York City, you can find her hiking with her dog Milo in her hometown in the Hudson Valley, NY.


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10. Bug Books for Budding Nature Detectives

We've curated a list of some truly wonderful and entertaining bug books for kids ages 4 to 99. We've also included the game Bug Bingo, and it's the bees-knees.

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11. Monthly Book List: Our Favorite Books For May

The school year is coming to a close and it’s time to stock up for summer reading. We have five great books for you!

This month, our book list features a sweet story about an unconventional animal family, an adorable picture book that celebrates determination, a nonfiction guide to becoming a backyard scientist, and a book that teaches you how to stand up to their fears. For mature readers, the first-ever graphic novel to receive a Caldecott Honor will make for an engrossing read.

For Pre-K –K (Ages 3-6):

little_pink_pupLittle Pink Pup by Johanna Kerby

Get ready to say “Awww!” every time you turn the page! The real-life photos of a tiny little pig being raised by dachshunds is a heart-warming story that promotes acceptance and reminds us that everyone deserves love.



For 1st and 2nd Grade (Ages 6-8):

balloon_isabel_1A Balloon for Isabel by Deborah Underwood

This adorable picture book is both a perfect read-aloud and an ideal graduation gift! It’s a joyful celebration of creativity, determination, and creative problem-solving. We can’t get enough of this one!




For 3rd & 4th grade (Ages 8-10):

citizen_scientistsCitizen Scientists by Loree Griffin Burns

Anyone can be a scientist in this kid-friendly, non-fiction gem! Kids will learn how to observe, conduct research, collect data, and be part of four unique scientific discoveries that can happen anywhere — in a backyard, a field, or even a city park.




For 5thand 6th Grade (Ages 10-12):

liberation_of_gabriel_1The Liberation of Gabriel King by K.L. Going

Warm, wonderful, and unforgettable, this is the terrific story of a boy whose best friend teaches him to stand up to his fears – from spiders to bullies and more. A perfect read for summer!




Grades 7 & up (Ages 13+):

this_one_summerThis One Summer by Mariko Tamaki

Both hopeful and heartbreaking, this beautiful book is the first graphic novel to be awarded a Caldecott Honor. Mature teens will find it captivating and will readily relate to its coming-of-age explorations of complex friendship and family relationships.

The post Monthly Book List: Our Favorite Books For May appeared first on First Book Blog.

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12. YA Novels That Don't Follow The Rules

Of all of the books I've read, there are just some that stand out from the pack.  They're what I call renegades, rebels, and non-conformists. Once I started reading these bad books, I was HOOKED. But don't think they aren't workhorses either.  In today's educational world, students who can interpret and understand a variety of texts are the pros.  It's not so much about the written word, but also how you can "read" different formats.
So here's a list of naughty but very nicely written YA novels that don't follow the rules:


1. Illuminae by Amy Kaufman and Jay Kristoff.  2015
Like the cover says, this is a compendium of files from charts, to layouts of space ships, government documents to personal texts, decoded voice and video files.  Don't let the thickness daunt the reader, it's a FAST read with an excellent plot and conflict!!

2. YOLO Juliet by William Shakespeare and Brett Wright.  2015
When a generation comes up with their own langauge, why not write a novel with it?  Better yet, why not only write a novel, but let is be a translation of one of the greatest works of all time!!  It may help to have background knowledge, but even if you don't, it's definitely a FUN read!

3. TTYL, YOLO (Internet Girls series) by Lauren Myracle  2004-2015
Before emoticons, there were acronyms, and the beginning of some very interesting ones too.  The list keeps growing, just like this series that is all about friendship, text, and three girls from junior high to college.  Keep in mind (always!) - you can't read emotions in text...until emojis were born!

4. Dear Nobody: The True Diary of Mary Rose by Gillian Cain and Legs McNeil.  2014
First-person perspective of a young girl whose life goes from okay to bad to downright sad.  In non-fiction diary format, you will experience her pain, her joys, and her frustrations all the way until the last day she writes.  But what captures the reader's heart is her self-portraits. Wide-eyed innocence or a look of being overwhelmed?  Wow....powerful

5. Non-fiction Graphic Novels ( My Friend Dahmer by Derf Backderf) 2012

Graphic novels, a cousin of the comic book, brought  non-fiction to a whole 'nother level.  While teens may say there's nothing as boring as a non-fiction book (they should try narrative non-fiction!) this is THE antidote to boring.  Pictures fill the pages along with the short storyline.  Little do teens know interpreting graphic novels is all about reading waaaaay deeper than a regular novel. Gotcha!!

6. Chopsticks by Jessica Anthony.  2012

This is definitely not your avereage graphic novel, although it is considered one.  First of all, there are no drawings.  This is more like a scrap book filled with pictures, notes and a storyline all about elicit love and music.  Difficult to read?  No.  Emotionally fulfilling?ABSOLUTELY!

7. Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children 2012
It doesn't matter how old you are, there will always be something comforting about reading a picture book.  Until you read this one with some really crazy scary pictures in it!  The storyline is impeccable and how the author weaves his story with these eerie images is a thrillfest.  Love at first sight...or read...

8. The Notebook Girls by Julia Baskin.  2006
Who hasn't ever wanted to pick up someone's diary and read all about their lives?  What you get with this novel is called a two-fer.  The first is that first forbidden look into one of three girls' notebooks.  The second is that this isn't a made-up story but a real one.  Talk about living vicariously through characters in a book! 10 years later, visiting NYC, I couldn't HELP but think about this book and the teens who live there!

9. Post Secret by Frank Warren.  2005
Sometimes, all it takes is a small snippet to either suck the air out of the room or make you sigh with happiness.  The premise is brilliant - share a secret with complete anonymity.  There are more books in the series, and you'll want to read them after tasting the first one full of real-life and real people.

10. Monster by Walter Dean Myers  1999
When you're sitting behind bars, waiting to see what happens next, your mind can whirl with all kinds of thoughts.  So why not create an alternate ending to life in the form of a movie?  Myers nailed it in this fiction book and I contend that is  why this is still such a favorite.  Myers actually gets kids to read a movie script of an excellent YA story through a classic format not much widely read by young adults.

0 Comments on YA Novels That Don't Follow The Rules as of 4/28/2016 6:25:00 PM
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13. Best Young Adult Books with Rachel Caine, Author of Midnight Bites

We're living in a golden age of great fiction ... so many beautiful works being published every month, and it's become a real paradise for readers, whatever they like to read.

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14. Five Family Favorites with Sue Fliess, Author of Calling All Cars

Author Sue Fliess selects "Five Family Favorites" to share with readers ... Read the rest of this post

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15. Best Selling Kids Series | April 2016

This month’s best selling kids series from The Children’s Book Review’s affiliate store Captain No Beard, by award-winning author Carole P. Roman, is an imaginative picture book series loved by all.

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16. Best Selling Young Adult Books | April 2016

This is a solid list that we're not budging on from last month! Our hand-picked list from the Best Selling Young Adult books listed on The New York Times includes both Glass Sword and Red Queen, by Victoria Aveyard.

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17. 5 Middle Grade Books to Love | Selected by Sarah Dooley, Author of Free Verse

It’s always difficult to narrow down the teetering pile of “Books I Loved” and the tottering pile of “Books to be Read” to a manageable number. Here are just a few middle grade novels author Sarah Dooley loved, and a few more she's looking forward to reading.

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18. Best Young Adult Books with Deirdre Riordan Hall, Author of Pearl

During her teens, Deirdre Riordan Hall, author of PEARL, traveled throughout the United States and Europe, developing a love for stories and a desire to connect with worlds imagined or real on the page.

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19. Best Selling Kids Series | February 2016

This month's our list of hand-selected series from the nationwide best selling Children's Series list, as noted by The New York Times, features James Dashner's Maze Runner series and Ransom Riggs' Miss Peregrine's Peculiar Children series.

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20. Celebrate Black History Month with Five Collections from LEE & LOW BOOKS

February is Black History Month. The origins of Black History Month began with historian Carter G. Woodson launching Negro History Week in 1926. Woodson felt that teaching African American history was essential for the survival of the African American race.

In 1969, students at Kent State University proposed expanding Black History Week to Black History Month. The first Black History Month was celebrated a year later. In 1976, Black History Month was recognized by the federal government and has been celebrated ever since.

Today, heritage months can be a double-edged sword. On one hand, relegating culturally diverse books to specific months of the year can mean these books are overlooked the rest of the year. It can also separate Black history from American history, when in fact black history is American history.

On the other hand, we are still working to undo a long history in which the achievements and contributions of people of color were routinely ignored. Having a special time of year to highlight these achievements can help fill in the gaps in our history.

Our opinion? Black History Month isn’t a time for once-a-year books; the books you use this month should be in your regular rotation. But Black History Month is a good time to give your collection of African American titles a little extra love–or updating, if it needs it.

LEE & LOW is proud to offer a number of different Black History Month collections. Check them out below:

k-2 collectionBlack History Month Collection, Grades K-2

This paperback collection features a mix of historical fiction and biographies from African Americans who excelled in arts and politics for young readers.

Featured Books:

Love Twelve Miles Long, written by Glenda Armand and illustrated by Colin Bootman – Frederick Douglass’s mother travels twelve miles late at night to visit him in another plantation. Mama recounts why every step of the way is special to her.

Knockin’ On Wood, by Lynne Barasch – Clayton “Peg Leg” Bates, a legendary 20th century tap dancer, lost his leg in an accident at the age of twelve. He taught himself how to dance, first with crutches and then later with a peg leg.

Purchase this collection here

3-6 collection

Black History Month Collection, Grades 3-6

This collection explores the lives of great African Americans with a wide range of picture book biographies and historical fiction books for young readers.

Featured Books:

Little Melba and Her Big Trombone, written by Katheryn Russell-Brown and illustrated byFrank Morrison – This award-winning biography follows the life of Melba Liston, a trailblazing musician and a great unsung hero of jazz.

Ira’s Shakespeare Dream, written by Glenda Armand and illustrated by Floyd Cooper -Ira Aldridge dreamed of being on stage one day performing the great works of William Shakespeare. Due to little opportunity in the United States, Ira journeyed to Europe and through perseverance and determination became one of the most respected Shakespearean actors of his time.

Purchase this collection here

BHM collection 7-12Black History Month Collection, Grades 7-12

This collection is perfect for a wide range of middle to high school level readers. Readers will be able to explore the history of African American music, Civil Rights, and sports.

Featured Books:

i see the rhythm, written by Toyomi Igus and illustrated by Michele Wood – This book explores African American music throughout history, starting with its roots in Africa.

I and I Bob Marley, written by Tony Medina and illustrated by Jesse Joshua Watson – This book of poems explores the life of famous musician Bob Marley.

Purchase this collection here

Black History Month Special Collection

Black History Month Special Collection This collection features a mix of award-winning hardcover and paperback biographies of great African Americans at a range of reading levels.

Featured Book:

Love to Langston, written by Tony Medina and illustrated by R. Gregory Christie – Fourteen original poems explore the life of Langston Hughes, one of America’s most beloved poets.

Purchase this collection here

Black History Month Paperback Collection

Black History Month Paperback Collection

This collection features hand-picked award winning books, available in paperback.

Featured Book:

In Her Hands, written by Alan Schroeder and illustrated by JaeMe Bereal – Augusta Savage enjoyed sculpting with clay, despite her stern father thinking it was a waste of her time. To pursue a career as an artist, Augusta leaves everything she knows behind and journeys to New York.

Further Reading:

Who Is Ira Aldridge?

Remembering Cortez Peters

Why Remember Bill Traylor?

Why Remember Florence “Baby Flo” Mills?

Why Remember Author Ashe?

Why Remember Robert Smalls?

Why Remember Toni Stone?

Storyline Online: Catching the Moon

Seven Core Values to Celebrate During Black History Month

Why You Should See Selma

Katheryn Russell-Brown on the Research Behind Little Melba and Her Big Trombone

Protesting Injustice Then and Now

Resources for Teaching About Wangari Maathai and Seeds of Change

Three Ways to Teach Etched in Clay

The Origins of the Coretta Scott King Award

More Resources

Twelve Months of Books

The Problem with Ethnic Heritage Months

African American History Month (Library of Congress)

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21. Top 3 Mystery Novels set in London | Selected by Carina Axelsson, Author of Model Undercover: London

Mysteries and London go together like tea and cake or jeans and Converse. Although not all of my favourite English mysteries take place in London, many do. Here are three (okay, maybe a few more than just three) of my top mystery novels set in London.

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22. Five Family Favorites with Carol Weston, Author of Ava XOX

Oh wait, wait, wait, am I cut off? So many other favorites!

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23. Randomly, on a Thursday, She Caught Up. Sort of.

I am about a week and a half overdue in posting this, but better late than never: DID YOU KNOW TANITA'S NEW BOOK IS OUT? WOO HOO! Released on Feb. 9, it's about being a foster sister and finding a family in today's complex social and racial... Read the rest of this post

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24. 75+ STEM Inspired Young Adult Books in 9 Categories

Recently, there had been a discussion about STEM/STEAM related YA books, which prompted this blog post. I chose the categories first and then searched for books I've read as well as some I haven't and categorized them to what I thought the book best suited. Some of them, of course, could possibly go into more than one category but alas! I had to choose but one. And interestingly enough, I didn't know I had read so many science related books! This was especially surprising as science isn't my forte at all! So here's a link to the Mindomo infographic I created. If you use the arrows at the bottom, it'll zoom into each one better :)   https://www.mindomo.com/mindmap/a8f462216179467b97e02f857f50c749

If you know of any others I may have missed (or even categories) please comment and share with everyone because I'm SURE I've missed something STEM-MY

0 Comments on 75+ STEM Inspired Young Adult Books in 9 Categories as of 3/3/2016 2:35:00 PM
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25. Five Family Favorites with Mariam Gates, Author of Good Morning Yoga

Mariam Gates, author of Good Morning Yoga, selected these five family favorites.

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