Tag Archives: graphic novels

Bringing Middle Grade Books Into Every Classroom

28 Feb

mg books.pngA few weeks ago, I got the distinct pleasure of presenting to future teachers at St. Joseph’s University outside of Philadelphia. The young lady who invited me to speak is a junior at St. Joe’s this year and we just realized that I’ve known her for ten years already! She was in my middle school program at the library where I work when I first moved to the area.

Before Christmas she asked if I’d be willing to come to the school and speak for an “after-hours” event for the education department and I quickly jumped at the chance to talk about middle grade books with future educators! We came up with a quick outline of what she was looking for and I spent a month or so creating a slide show mainly of books to book talk to the group, but also some valuable information as to why literature is so important in every classroom, not just in English.

I book talked new titles, specifically because I know that these kids are familiar with the classics you’ll find on most syllabi in the middle grade classroom, what I figured was that they’d be unfamiliar with amazing new titles by authors that I gush about all the time and I was right! During the hour I presented, I book talked ten middle grade fiction titles that I felt could work not only in an English classroom, but that also had connections to science, math, technology, social studies, history and more. I also talked about five nonfiction titles that are easily accessible to elementary and middle grade students, showing them how much more exciting nonfiction is these days. I ended with talking about the importance of reading picture books (every day if possible) and highlighted just a couple that I love and felt would work well with a middle grade audience.

I had a really enjoyable time and was excited to see over 25 people in the audience on a Tuesday evening! Plus, the students had some great questions about how to use graphic novels and audiobooks in the classroom, which I was excited to answer.

If you’re interested in seeing what titles I talked about or would like to see the format of my presentation, I’ve included the links to both the slides as well as the handout that I printed for the students.

Bringing Books Into Every Classroom (Google slides in .pdf format)

Bringing Books Into Every Classroom (handout)


2017 CYBILS Award Winners

15 Feb

cybils.pngBoard Books
Changing Faces: Meet Happy Bear by Nathan Thoms, illustrated by Carles Ballesteros

Fiction Picture Books
Big Cat, Little Cat by Elisha Cooper

Easy Reader
King & Kayla and the Case of the Secret Code by Dori Hillestad Butler

Early Chapter Books
Wedgie & Gizmo by Suzanne Selfors

Elementary Non-Fiction
Hatching Chicks in Room 6 by Caroline Arnold

Elementary/Middle Grade Graphic Novels
Where’s Halmoni? by Julie Kim

Elementary/Middle Grade Speculative Fiction
The Dragon with a Chocolate Heart by Stephanie Burgis

Middle Grade Fiction
Refugee by Alan Gratz

Middle Grade Non-Fiction
Two Truths and a Lie: It’s Alive! by Ammi-Joan Paquette

I’m Just No Good at Rhyming: And Other Nonsense for Mischievous Kids and Immature Grown-Ups by Chris Harris

Junior High Non-Fiction
The Whydah: A Pirate Ship Feared, Wrecked, and Found by Martin W. Sandler

Senior High Non-Fiction
Vincent and Theo: The Van Gogh Brothers by Deborah Heiligman

Young Adult Graphic Novels
Spill Zone by Scott Westerfeld

Young Adult Fiction
Piecing Me Together by Renée Watson

Young Adult Speculative Fiction
Scythe by Neal Shusterman

Learn more about the CYBILS and how you can be a part of the process on the CYBILS website!

My #24in48 Experience

31 Jan

So, while most people spend their weekends relaxing, hanging out with friends and doing housework/running errands, I spent this past weekend reading for 24 hours. Now, I could never read for 24 hours straight, but between 12:01AM on Saturday morning to 11:59PM on Sunday night, I read and read and read and well, you get the idea. It was a super intense experience and I’m so glad I finally got a chance to participate this year (it’s been on Bucket List for a few years now).

I read 13 titles during the weekend – middle grade, young adult, graphic novels, chapters books and listened to a half of two different audiobooks. The audiobooks really saved me and gave my eyes a break from all the text. I used the audiobooks while I walked the dog, prepped and ate meals and while I was getting ready for a birthday party on Saturday night. I think what worked best for me was that I switched up my genres and formats allowing my eyes a break and keeping me engaged with the books I was reading. Graphic novels were really helpful as were some chapter books geared toward a younger audience with larger fonts and illustrations.

As of right now, I can’t remember all the details from all the titles I read, but it was such an amazing experience! I read for 24-hours in a 48-hour period and still had time spare. It was nice to spend that much time reading and not necessarily feel guilty about doing so. If you want to learn more about the readathon and how to participate, check out the #24in48 Readathon website.

Mark your calendars for the next #24in48 Readathon for July 21-22, 2018!

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