Tag Archives: science fiction

Middle Grade ARCs I Picked Up At PLA

29 Mar

PLA Middle Grade ARCs to Read.png

I talked yesterday about the awesome experience I had at PLA this past weekend. What I didn’t get to finish talking about is that I picked up so many great ARCs that I’m having a hard time deciding what to start reading first.

If you’re unfamiliar with a large library conference or BookExpo America, let me try and explain it to you. Imagine a large convention center room filled with exhibits – furniture, supply companies and so much more. These exhibits also include many publishing houses with full displays set up promoting previously published titles and new titles recently published. The most exciting part is that they often have ARCs (advanced reader copies) for you to pick up. These are titles that are often slated to be published over the next year and depending on what book and what publisher it is you, the book may or may not be finished, may have significant editing still need to done, illustrations may not be placed in the book yet, etc. Basically, the book has been pre-published to promote it to librarians, booksellers and bloggers in the hopes of getting some strong sales.

Imagine an exhibit floor filled with books that you can just pick up for free! It’s overwhelming and amazing and so much fun! A few points to remember about ARCs:

  1. Make sure you talk to the reps that are working these booths – the conference days are long and people can get pushy. I often ask, “What are you most excited about coming out?” This often gets you chatting about books you like and they are often more willing to go search for a title you’re looking for or are willing to send you something from the office if it’s not available at the conference.
  2. ARCs cannot be sold, every once in a while you’ll see them for “re-sale” which is illegal (and says so on every ARC I’ve ever received). Don’t do it – it’s not fair to the the people who work so hard on the finished copy. Just buy a new copy and support your favorite authors and illustrators.
  3. Some publishers will give you strict instructions on how, what, and when you can review the title. Double-check the book’s first few pages or the publisher’s website for more information.
  4. Make sure you use the ARCs for good – don’t pick up every title available. Try to pick up the titles you’ll actually read and find great ways to promote the book – social media, talk it up at work and make sure your organization or you personally buy a copy when it comes out.

These are the middle grade titles I picked up at PLA (and they all look so good!)

  1. The Adventures of a Girl Called Bicycle by Christina Uss (2018, no specific date)
  2. Amal Unbound by Aisha Saeed (May 8, 2018)
  3. The Ambrose Deception by Emily Ecton (February 13, 2018)
  4. Bob by Wendy Mass and Rebecca Stead (May 1, 2018)
  5. The Boy, The Bird and The Coffin Maker by Matilda Woods (May 1, 2018)
  6. Breakout by Kate Messner (June 5, 2018)
  7. Charlie & Frog by Karen Kane (April 10, 2018)
  8. The Frame-Up by Wendy McLeod MacKnight (June 5, 2018)
  9. Ivy Aberdeen’s Letter to the World by Ashley Herring Blake (March 6, 2018)
  10. The Jigsaw Jungle by Kristin Levine (June 19, 2018)
  11. Marcus Vega Doesn’t Speak Spanish by Pablo Cartaya (August 21, 2018)
  12. A Possibility of Whales by Karen Rivers (March 13, 2018)
  13. So Done by Paula Chase (August 14, 2018)
  14. You Go First by Erin Entrada Kelly (April 10, 2018)
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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)

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 2/26/18

26 Feb

I definitely need to spend some more time reading as a couple of late nights and an all day work event on Saturday tied up most of my reading time!  Sadly, I didn’t get a chance to read much at all and so I still have a TON of things on my list that I just haven’t gotten to yet. Last week, I was only able to read:

  • Escape from Aleppo by N. H. Senzai
  • The Truth As Told By Mason Buttle by Leslie Connor

This week, I (still) have the following stack of titles:

  • Flower Moon by G. J. Linko
  • Piecing Me Together by Renée Watson
  • Caraval by Stephanie Garber
  • The Cruel Prince by Holly Black

I really need to either get these titles read or returned to the library this week. I might just need to start fresh with a new pile of books and return to these, if I don’t read them. I hate getting stuck in a reading rut – more reading begins today!


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Join Jen from Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee and Ricki from Unleashing Readers and share all of the reading you have done over the week from picture books to young adult novels. Follow the links to read about all of the amazing books the #IMWAYR

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