BOOK OF THE WEEK
Last Chanceby Maizy Chen Year Published: 2022
As this month we are focusing on Asian-American and Pacific Islanders, there are some wonderful books in our library that reflect our student population and those cultures. Often we see books where students feel like they are not sure where they belong. That’s the theme of Maizy Chen’s Last Chance. The book follows Maizy as she spends a summer with her grandparents in Last Chance, Minnesota. This story has just about everything– family relationships, a great explanation of some history, laugh out loud moments, and tears. If you enjoyed When You Trap a TIger, you will be rooting for Maizy! It is on the Battle List for next year, so get it now! We have one copy in the LC (for now) – check it out!
The Crossoverby Kwame Alexander Year Published: 2014
How do you hype poetry for intermediate students and get them engaged? Make it about sports and create a Disney+ show about it, of course! In The Crossover, twin brothers Josh and Jordan love basketball, and are pretty good at it too. Challenges on and off the court bring the family into sharp focus- what is most important? Can we find ways to get along? This Newbery award winner is a no-look slam dunk of a book that begs to be read. We have three copies in the LC– please add it to your novel-in-verse collection today!
Other Words for Homeby Jasmine Warga’s Year Published: 2019
On the other side of National Poetry Month are novels-in-verse. Beloved by teachers for their turn of phrase, beloved by students for their short pages and chapters, novels-in-verse capture us in unique ways. Local author (and Newbery Honor Winner) Jasmine Warga’s stunning Other Words for Home follows a family separated by the Syrian civil war. In the United States, Jude and her mother have arrived in Cincinnati, where America is a surprise and a challenge. Will Jude be able to find her way in this new world while still being connected to her father and brother halfway across the world? We have two copies of this book in the library– check one out today, and happy Poetry Month!
Hello Earth! Poems to Our Planetby Joyce Sidman Year Published: 2021
In an ode to National Poetry Month and to Earth Day, Hello Earth! Poems to Our Planet is a great combination of both. Focusing on earth science, the poems are a conversation between children and the planet itself as it explains plate tectonics, tides, and more! We have one copy– check it out today!
To celebrate Ramadanby various Year Published:
To celebrate Ramadan, a few Highlands families came together to create a display about Ramadan in the LC- it looks great! Our book pick of the week is a Monarch book about a girl who is torn between making it to school for picture day and celebrating Eid. “Amira is excited because tomorrow is Eid with special clothes, treats, gifts, and a morning party at her mosque; but then she realizes that she is going to miss class picture day at school, something she was also looking forward to--so Amira has to figure out a way to be in two places at once.” We have three copies- check them out today!
Fight of the Century: Alice Paul Battles Woodrow Wilson for the Voteby Barb Rosenstock Year Published: 2020
It’s Women’s History Month! This month, we will feature books that bring amazing stories to life. This week, we are looking at Fight of the Century: Alice Paul Battles Woodrow Wilson for the Vote by Barb Rosenstock. Alice Paul and the suffragist movement worked tirelessly to secure voting rights for women in the early 1900’s. Told in a pugilistic style, the right to vote for women didn’t happen in a simple way. It took a lot of courage, work, and understanding of all sides to make it happen. Rosenstock takes the topic and shows how it was a battle! We have three copies- check on out today!
Maya-Linby Jeanne Walker Harvey Year Published: 2017
It’s Women’s History Month! This month, we will feature books that bring amazing stories to life. This week, it’s all about the artist and architect who designed the Vietnam War Memorial. At just 21 years old, Maya Lin’s idea for the project was selected among thousands of entries. Her steadfast nature and resiliency over the challenges of creating a memorial are highlights of Maya Lin: Artist-Architect of Light and Lines by Jeanne Walker Harvey. This is a quiet story for thinking about how we honor those we have lost and how to stick to what you believe in. We have one copy of this great picture book- check it out today!
Between the Linesby Sandra Neil Wallace Year Published: 2018
Quick! How many people can you name that had an NFL career and also became a famous artist of their time? If you didn’t come up with Ernie Barnes, then you should read Between the Lines: How Ernie Barnes went from the football field to the Art Gallery by Sandra Neil Wallace. Exquisitely illustrated by Bryan Collier, it follows the path of Ernie Barnes, who grew up in the segregated South of the 1950s, sought art as a refuge, and shared the beauty and tragedy of sports and life through his distinct style of painting. As a former Bluestem book, I really enjoyed how this book shows that you can love sports and art, which is not something that our society always communicates well. This book is a great read aloud for grades 2-5. Come check it out today!
Little Melba and Her Big Tromboneby Katheryn Russell-Brown Year Published: 2014
This month, we will be highlighting books in honor of African-American History month.
I love finding stories of people that may be relatively unknown to a larger community, but had a huge impact in their sphere of influence. Such is the case with Melba Liston, jazz trombone player and composer. Her six-decade music career started when she was only seven years old! A great read-aloud, with pictures by the incomparable Frank Morrison (R-E-S-P-E-C-T, Let the Children March), this book is great for all ages. Check it out today!
Sit-In: How Four Friends Stood Up by Sitting Downby Andrea Pinkney Year Published: 2010
This month, we will be highlighting books in honor of African-American History month. This week, Sit-In: How Four Friends Stood Up by Sitting Down remembers the Woolworth lunch counter sit-ins in February of 1960. Written by Andrea Pinkney and illustrated by Brian Pinkney, it is a great example of how change can start with a small and determined group. It was a Bluestem book a few years ago and is an excellent read aloud for grades 3-5. We have two copies of the book- check one out today!
The Map Trapby Andrew Clements Year Published: 2014
No surprise- the book pick of the week is The Map Trap by Andrew Clements. It follows the story of Alton, a boy who’s been surrounded by and obsessed with maps his entire life. When some of his more controversial maps fall into the wrong hands, it’s up to Alton to decide how he should deal with it. A classic Andrew Clements tale, with humor and gentle lessons about growing up. You should have a copy– spend an hour or two with it this weekend!
Boardwalk Babiesby Marissa Moss Year Published: 2021
This week’s pick is a Battle of the Books picture book! I think it’s a great book for students of all ages, but probably would be best for 3rd-5th graders. Boardwalk Babies, by Marissa Moss, tells one of those stories of history that I never knew about. I don’t want to spoil too much, but it tells about how a young doctor used the World’s Fair to bring attention to premature babies and how we could better take care of them. If you are looking for an uplifting story about believing in change and science, then please check out this book. I think your students would be fascinated by it and it could lead to all sorts of discussions about inventions and getting your voice heard. We have three copies– check one out today!
Don't Hug Doug: (He Doesn't Like It)by Carrie Finison Year Published: 2021
If you’ve ever spent any time with me in a group of friends, you might be surprised to know that I like hugs. However, I have a pretty strong anti-hug policy at school. This week’s book pick SPEAKS TO MY SOUL. I felt very seen and represented in this book, and I think others would too. Don’t Hug Doug (He Doesn’t Like It) is a *perfect* book about personal space and setting boundaries. The message is simple and hilarious and talks about how it’s okay to have guidelines for your body in a way that all of our community can understand. I could go on and on about my idiosyncrasies of hugging, but I’ll spare you my diatribe. Just go read the book to your students, whatever grade level you’re at, and enjoy! It’s a Monarch book this year- we have three copies!
Epic Yearby Ahmed Aziz Year Published: 2021
What’s worse than having to move from Hawaii to Minnesota? Having to do it because your father is sick and you need to be near family that you don’t know. For 11 year-old Ahmed, nothing seems to be going right. As he starts working with other students, Ahmed discovers that he is not the only one struggling, but it’s possible that through teamwork and books, and learning about your family, *maybe* this can turn into something epic. This is a Battle Book and great for the fourth or fifth grade classroom. We have three copies- check them out today!
Liftby Minh Le Year Published: 2020
My obsession with author/illustrator Dan Santat is well-documented…there’s even a podcast about it. This year, the Monarch committee agreed with me and put Lift (the second book to be written by the awesome team of Minh Le and Dan Santat) on the award nomination list. Lift follows a young girl who is starting to feel jealous of the attention her baby brother is getting. The last straw happens when the brother gets to push the elevator button. Things take a turn when she installs her own elevator button in her room. Lift is a powerful story for all ages about raising people up, family, and how we can all lift one another. We have three copies– don’t miss this beautiful book!
The Last Humanby The Last Human by Lee Bacon Year Published: 2019
This week, I’m delighted to share with you The Last Human by Lee Bacon. In the near-ish future, the human species no longer exists, and robots are fully sentient and working to improve the world. When a 12-year old robot discovers one incredible secret, it has to make a decision about what to do. Fans of The Wild Robot series will enjoy this different twist on the future. It is part of the Bluestem nominee list for 2023, so we have three copies. Check one out today for a read aloud!
Moonshotby Brian Floca Year Published: 2009
This week, it’s SPACE! On Monday, NASA will be launching Artemis 1, their first test flight of their new moon rocket, and we’ve spent the week learning some facts about the moon and the space program. If you’re interested in sharing more, I highly recommend Moonshot by Brian Floca. Written in verse, this book chronicles the flight of Apollo 11 and is beautifully illustrated! I’ve been a little space obsessed lately (e.g. the last 40 years) and this book captures the feelings of what it was like 53 years ago when we first went to the moon. We have two copies of this book and if you want more space books, let me know!