Book of the Week: The Wild Robot, by Peter Brown

The Wild Robot, by Peter Brown
Fantasy/Science fiction

In the middle of the ocean, a cargo ship is carrying five hundred brand-new robots when a hurricane strikes. It’s chaos: most of the robots sink to the ocean floor, but five are thrown to the winds. Wooden boxes are dashed against the rocky shore of a small island, and the robots inside are destroyed. Continue reading “Book of the Week: The Wild Robot, by Peter Brown”

Book of the Week: See You in the Cosmos by Jack Cheng

See You in the Cosmos, Jack Cheng
Realistic fiction

Alex Petroski has big plans. He’s going to take an Amtrak to New Mexico to go to a rocket launching convention. He’s going to launch his homemade rocket all the way into space. And he’s going to attach the Golden iPod: a recording he’s been working on. When aliens find his rocket – and Alex is sure they will – they’ll be able to find out what life was like on Earth from listening to Alex’s recorded conversations. Continue reading “Book of the Week: See You in the Cosmos by Jack Cheng”

The Great Greek Debates

Over the course of this weeklong project, students work in groups to learn about the different types of government in Ancient Greece. They conduct research and do a LOT of critical thinking, and they get to face the challenge – often for the first time! – of having to defend an idea they disagree with. Let’s be real: lots of grown-ups struggle with that. Continue reading “The Great Greek Debates”

Book of the Week: The Land of Forgotten Girls by Erin Entrada Kelly

The Land of Forgotten Girls, Erin Entrada Kelly
Realistic fiction

Sol and Ming are sisters, and five years ago, after their other sister drowned and their mother died, they moved from the Philippines to Louisiana with their father and wicked stepmother. And then their father abandoned them too, leaving the girls all alone with evil Vea, who never wanted them at all. Continue reading “Book of the Week: The Land of Forgotten Girls by Erin Entrada Kelly”

Book of the Week: Some Kind of Courage by Dan Gemeinhart

Some Kind of Courage, Dan Gemeinhart
Historical fiction

After his mom and sister die of typhoid and his father is killed by a runaway covered wagon, Joseph is all alone in the world – except for his horse, Sarah. Sarah has been with his family since he was only five years old, and now she is the only family he has left. So when Joseph’s guardian, Mr. Grissom, sells Sarah to a passing horse trader, Joseph has no choice but to go after her – even if it means risking his own life. Continue reading “Book of the Week: Some Kind of Courage by Dan Gemeinhart”

looking back on stuffed animal storytime

One of my favorite-ever public library programs is Stuffed Animal Storytime. The last time I did this was back in June 2012 – my last year (so far) of public librarianship – and it was a huge hit. Kids ages 2-6 brought their favorite stuffed friend to a late-afternoon storytime. We had snacks and made blankies for the stuffed animals (using cheap fabric, pre-cut into appropriate sizes, that kids decorated with fabric markers). Then the kids said goodbye to their creatures, and the adventures began! Continue reading “looking back on stuffed animal storytime”

Book of the Week: Awkward by Svetlana Chmakova

Awkward, Svetlana Chmakova
Realistic fiction/Graphic novel

On Penelope’s very first day at her new school, she just wants to blend in and maybe make a friend. Instead, she trips in the hallway and spills all her stuff, and when a boy stops to help her, the school bullies — you can always spot ’em — start calling her his nerd girlfriend. She gets flustered and pushes the boy away, and even though she feels bad, she can’t find a way to say she’s sorry. Continue reading “Book of the Week: Awkward by Svetlana Chmakova”

Book of the Week: Fuzzy Mud by Louis Sachar

Fuzzy Mud, Louis Sachar

Tamaya and Marshall already have enough problems. Tamaya’s life is split between her mom’s house and her dad’s two hundred miles apart, so she misses out on half of both her lives. Marshall made an enemy of new kid Chad during the first month of school, and now he spends his days in silence because no one – not even his best friends – will talk to him. Continue reading “Book of the Week: Fuzzy Mud by Louis Sachar”

That’s fake news!

Because sometimes it really is fake news, and our students need to know how to figure that out.

Grade level and duration: We did this with 6th grade ELA classes in a cool 80 minutes.


  • Students will be able to discern “sponsored content”, opinion pieces, and advertising/advertorials on legitimate news websites.
  • Students will able to determine the legitimacy of an unknown news website using a checklist.
  • Students will be able to use online tools to determine the accuracy of a news story or viral image.
Continue reading “That’s fake news!”