Summer 1

May 1st, 2018 | Posted by schliesman in 2017-2018 | 2017-2018 High School | Summer - (Comments Off on Summer 1)

book cover
Yellow Flag 
by Robert Lipsyte. HarperCollins, 2007

Age 14 and older


Teens who dream of NASCAR racing will feel as if they’re in the driver’s seat with Robert Lipsyte’s newest sports novel, brimming with the details and language of the race. Seventeen year old Kyle was born into a family of racers. Starting with his grandfather and continuing through his older brother Kris, the Hildebrands have been a vital dynasty in regional stock car racing. But after a crash injury ended Kyle’s father’s driving career, the family has struggled to maintain the support needed to keep them in contention. Potential sponsorship by a corporate backer could represent a turning point in the Hildebrand’s future as a force in the big leagues of racing. Although he enjoyed competing in the youth circuit, Kyle has turned away from racing and now finds pleasure and satisfaction in the music he makes on his trumpet. When a risky stunt puts Kris out of commission for the short term, Kyle bends to family pressure to step in and take up the driving slack. To his surprise, he rediscovers the joy he used to feel behind the wheel and realizes that he brings his own set of skills to the race. Conflicting expectations and demands from his family and his music teacher mingle with his own mixed emotions, and present a question that Kyle struggles to answer: what will he choose, racing or music? Glimpses of the celebrity culture of stock car racing, and the potential of two very different romantic relationships add layers of interest to Kyle’s compelling story. ©2007 Cooperative Children’s Book Center

Summer 2

May 1st, 2018 | Posted by schliesman in 2017-2018 | 2017-2018 High School | Summer - (Comments Off on Summer 2)

book cover
Good Enough 
by Paula Yoo. HarperCollins, 2008

Age 13 and older


Patti Yoon is a first-generation Korean American high school senior who has worked hard all her life to make her parents happy. Their happiness is directly tied to Patti’s academic success. It’s not enough that she’s destined to be her class valedictorian and is an accomplished violinist, she must also get at least 2300 on her SATs and be accepted by Harvard, Princeton, and Yale (HYP for short). The wheels start to come off of Patti’s success cart when she first lays eyes on Cute Trumpet Guy (a/k/a Ben Wheeler) during tryouts for All-State Orchestra. Patti’s been concertmaster for the past three years, and she’s a shoe-in again this year, but Cute Trumpet Guy distracts her so much during her tryout that she flubs a few notes and ends up as Assistant Concertmaster. Throughout the school year, Ben becomes a major distraction, and Patti struggles with wanting to please her parents and wanting to be master of her own fate. For one thing, she thinks she might actually want to go to Julliard to study music rather than HYP. With Ben’s help and encouragement, she secretly applies. There have been a number of good young adult novels over the past several years about first-generation Asian American teens facing this sort of conflict. What lifts this one above the rest is Yoo’s tongue-in-cheek humor about parents’ expectations. Chapters frequently begin with lists that have titles such as “How to Make Your Korean Parents happy, Part 4” and Yoo manages to share the humor in Patti’s situation without belittling Patti’s parents’ strong aspirations for their daughter’s future. ©2008 Cooperative Children’s Book Center

Summer 3

May 1st, 2018 | Posted by schliesman in 2017-2018 | 2017-2018 High School | Summer - (Comments Off on Summer 3)

Janis Joplin Rise Up Singing book cover
Janis Joplin: Rise Up Singing 
by Ann Angel.  Amulet, 2010

Age 14 and older


Janis Joplin’s transformation from member of the high school Slide Rule Club to rock star fame is documented with insight into her personal choices and her public persona. From the opening chapter which shows a young Janis attempting and failing to fit the traditional expectations of her hometown of Port Arthur, Texas, readers are given a sense of the woman whose interests (African American singers, the Blues), and style (brash, outspoken, unrepentant) set her outside mainstream society, but who always sought attention and approval. Despite occasional enrollment at college and university, Janis couldn’t ignore the pull of her talent and inevitably drifted back to the music scene and the self-destructive behavior to which it was so closely linked. Janis’s risk-taking lifestyle is put within the context of the 1960s, acknowledging the open attitude toward sex and drug use prevalent among her peers and fans in the music world. Janis’s family was also important to her, and she maintained a regular correspondence with her parents and sister despite making choices they didn’t condone. Information about Janis’s bands and her evolving public image is covered both in the narrative and visually through numerous photographs, album and magazine covers, and promotional posters. Detailed source notes, a timeline, and a bibliography are included. ©2010 Cooperative Children’s Book Center

Summer 3

May 1st, 2018 | Posted by schliesman in 2017-2018 | 2017-2018 Intermediate | Summer - (Comments Off on Summer 3)

Book CoverBird in a Box by Andrea Davis Pinkney. Little, Brown, 2011

Ages 8-12


This novel set primarily in 1937 builds to the historic boxing match between Joe Louis and James Braddock when Louis became Heavyweight champion. But its focus is three African American kids in interconnecting stories. Hibernia is a talented singer who dreams of stardom; Otis was recently orphaned; and Willie fled his home to escape an abusive father. Otis and Willie meet at the Mercy Home for Orphaned Negroes. Hibernia meets them both when her church youth choir performs at the home. Hibernia’s mother abandoned her family to pursue her own dreams of stardom when Hibernia was a baby; now Hibernia’s strict preacher father is unsupportive of her desire to sing professionally but she’s determined to grab any chance she gets. Otis’s father gave him the radio he treasures after finally finding a job; not long after both of Otis’s parents were killed in a car accident. Willie’s mother sent him to Mercy after his father severely burned the boy’s hands; she knew she could no longer protect her son. The two boys draw strength from their friendship—a circle that expands to include Hibernia—and all three, like the larger Black community, draw strength from the hope and promise that Joe Louis represents. Pinkney’s engaging narrative is full of vivid details of the Depression era, graced by lively language, and buoyed by a sense of hope and promise represented in her three main characters and the vibrant community of which they are a part.  © Cooperative Children’s Book Center

Find 2017-2018 Titles Below!

June 28th, 2017 | Posted by etownsend in 2017-2018 - (Comments Off on Find 2017-2018 Titles Below!)

Click ROW Icon Below for All of this Year’s Titles in Each Age Group!

Find out about this coming year’s books for each age level by clicking on the icon below! For 2017-2018 titles, find discussion questions, links to TeachingBooks.net ROW bookshelves, and digital bookmarks and other promotional materials for the books at our RESOURCES tab above.

Icon for Babies Toddlers & Preschoolers

Birth – 4K

Primary Icon of a White-Tailed Deer

Primary K-2


Books for Middle School Age

Middle School

Icon for High School Age

High School









Thanks for Your Patience While We Update Our Site

May 25th, 2017 | Posted by etownsend in 2017-2018 - (Comments Off on Thanks for Your Patience While We Update Our Site)

The 2017-2018 books have been selected by our fabulous Literacy Advisory Committee! You can find them here or in the post below.

Now, we are working on making our site worthy of the new titles! We’ll be switching to a more visual set up, streamlined information access and hopefully more easier navigation. We hope this all adds up to a more intuitive, attractive and accessible website. Stay tuned!

All Year

May 16th, 2017 | Posted by etownsend in Babies, Toddlers and Preschoolers | 2017-2018 | 2017-2018 Babies, Toddlers & Preschoolers - (Comments Off on All Year)

Goodnight Songs: A Celebration of the Season by Margaret Wise Brown. Illustrated by Twelve Award-Winning Picture Book Artists. Sterling, 2015

After Margaret Wise Brown’s death in 1952, hundreds of unpublished manuscripts, poems, and songs were packed away in a relative’s barn for many decades. This volume introduces 12 of her poems for very young children, 10 of which have never before been published. Each poem is accompanied by a double-page illustration by a different children’s book artist, and the poems themselves are arranged to reflect the cycle of seasons. Kittens, bunnies, and the joy of being outside in the natural world are the recurring themes that run through all of these child-friendly offerings. Each one has been set to music by Tom Proutt and Emily Gary, and a CD of them performing the 12 original songs is included with the book.  © Cooperative Children’s Book Center

Use this poetry book throughout the year with the Babies, Toddlers, and Preschoolers monthly selections.

  • September: “To a Child”
  • October: “Fall of the Year”
  • November: “Quiet in the Wilderness”
  • December: “Cherry Tree” and “Advice to Bunnies”
  • January: “Snowfall” and “Winter Adventure”
  • February: “The Kitten’s Dream”
  • April: “Buzz, Buzz, Buzz” and “Bunny Jig”
  • May: “Love Song of the Little Bear” and “The Song of the Tiny Cat”




MAY (3)

May 16th, 2017 | Posted by etownsend in Babies, Toddlers and Preschoolers | 2017-2018 | 2017-2018 Babies, Toddlers & Preschoolers | May - (Comments Off on MAY (3))

Every Day Birds by Amy Ludwig VanDerwater. Illustrated by Dylan Metrano. Orchard / Scholastic, 2016

Lovely cut-paper collage illustrations provide a close-up rendering of 20 common birds. Brief text describes a trait or two about each bird. Chickadee has a “wee black cap.” Sparrow “hops in brown.” Eagle “soars above the land.” Opening- and closing-page spreads encourage observation of birds, while the end matter provides tips for learning more about birds as well as additional information about each of the 20 birds included. (Ages 3–8)  © Cooperative Children’s Book Center

Try these early literacy activities with children:

  • Read: As you read, let the child(ren) see if they can guess the name of the bird before you say it.
  • Talk: Adults, pick a bird or two from the back of the book and talk in more detail about those birds.
  • Sing: Listen to birdcalls; try to imitate some of them.
  • Write: Use your finger to trace the birds in the book.
  • Play: What sounds do birds make? Can you make those sounds, too? Can you tap like a woodpecker? Or honk like a goose?
  • Math or Science: Compare and contrast the different types of birds. What do they have in common and what is different? Wings. Beaks. Colors. Nests.



MAY (2)

May 16th, 2017 | Posted by etownsend in Babies, Toddlers and Preschoolers | 2017-2018 | 2017-2018 Babies, Toddlers & Preschoolers | May - (Comments Off on MAY (2))

A Morning with Grandpa by Cynthia Liu. Illustrated by Christina Forshay. Lee & Low, 2016

Mei Mei watches Gong Gong doing tai chi and wants to learn how it’s done. The little girl’s attempts to emulate her grandpa are enthusiastic, but it’s hard for her to control her abundant energy as she turns every move into a chance to show off. Gong Gong clearly understands his granddaughter’s self-centered behavior is simply part of being a child, and he is both patient and playful as he directs her. “Now that I’m good at tai chi, it’s my turn to teach you something new,” Mei Mei tells him before their roles are reversed: She becomes the encouraging teacher and Gong Gong follows her lead doing yoga. A bright, buoyant story featuring a Chinese grandfather and grandchild giving each other their undivided attention includes information about tai chi and yoga, including illustrated descriptions of Gong Gong and Mei Mei’s tai chi movements and yoga postures, at volume’s end. (Ages 3–7)  © Cooperative Children’s Book Center

Try these early literacy activities with children:

  • Read: A Morning with Grandpa. Can you find letters or words that you recognize in the book?
  • Talk: About body control. Talk about flexibility, balance, and movement. Are there things that child(ren) are better at and grownups are better at?
  • Sing: Head and Shoulders, Knees, and Toes
  • Write: Draw a picture of what you like to do with one of your favorite grown-ups.
  • Play: Try some of Gong Gong’s tai chi motions and Mei Mei’s yoga poses.
  • Math or Science: Try to balance on one foot or in one of the yoga poses. How long can you stand or stay in pose without falling. What helps you to stay upright and balanced?




MAY (1)

May 16th, 2017 | Posted by etownsend in Babies, Toddlers and Preschoolers | 2017-2018 | 2017-2018 Babies, Toddlers & Preschoolers | May - (Comments Off on MAY (1))

When Spring Comes by Kevin Henkes. Illustrated by Laura Dronzek. Greenwillow / HarperCollins, 2016

“Before Spring comes, the grass is brown. But if you wait, Spring will turn it green and add little flowers.” Page by page, Henkes highlights the small changes that come as winter turns to spring, returning again and again to the phrase “if you wait … ” Rich acrylic paintings feature two young children out in the natural world, experiencing and observing all spring has to offer—the hatching birds, sprouting seeds, rain and puddles, bees, and boots. There’s also a surprise snowfall, because spring “changes its mind a lot.” And when spring finally arrives for good, waiting for summer can begin. This perfectly paced and elegantly illustrated celebration of seasonal changes is right on target for young children, with its sense of wonder at the world outside. (Ages 2–6)  © Cooperative Children’s Book Center

Try these early literacy activities with children:

  • Read: The poem “Love Song of the Little Bear” & “The Song of the Tiny Cat” in Goodnight Songs
  • Talk: About the senses. What does spring sound, smell, look, taste, or feel like?
  • Sing: A song or read a rhyme about spring.
  • Write: Look at the pictures of the book. Pick your favorite page. Draw a picture of what you like about it. Have a grown-up help you write about that picture.
  • Play: Outside: Blow bubbles. Play in the mud. Jump in puddles.
  • Math or Science: Germinate a bean seed in a paper towel. See how many days it takes to begin to grow. Talk about roots and water. Go outside to look at plants growing.




May 16th, 2017 | Posted by etownsend in Babies, Toddlers and Preschoolers | 2017-2018 | 2017-2018 Babies, Toddlers & Preschoolers | April - (Comments Off on APRIL (2))

Alan’s Big, Scary Teeth by Jarvis. U.S. edition: Candlewick Press, 2016

Alan the alligator has built his jungle reputation on scaring the other animals. “It was what he did best.” A snoutful of pointy teeth play a big role in Alan’s frightful credibility, and he is careful to guard the secret that his teeth are, in fact, dentures. But Barry the Beaver learns the truth and absconds with the detachable chompers. When Alan’s attempts at toothless scaring are a failure, he vents his loss of self-identity with loud and miserable tears, prompting the other creatures to offer to return his dentures. There’s one condition: Alan has to agree to stop scaring them. It turns out those big teeth have other uses, and Alan reinvents himself as a gardener, hairdresser, dentist, and scary storyteller. Despite the menacing dentition, Alan is nonthreatening from the get-go, depicted in rich jungle hues rendered with pencil, chalk, and paint and colored digitally, in illustrations bouncing with playful energy. Honor Book, 2017 Charlotte Zolotow Award ©2017 Cooperative Children’s Book Center

Try these early literacy activities with children:

  • Read: A silly poem in Goodnight Songs, like “Bunny Jig”
  • Talk: About false teeth. Ask the child(ren) if they know anyone who has false teeth.
  • Sing: The Rafi song: Brush Your Teeth; if you don’t know it, look at the library or find a video on YouTube.
  • Write: Draw a new set of teeth for Alan. Use your own Alan drawing or this activity sheet.
  • Play: Pretend to brush your teeth and practice your scary face like Alan does!
  • Math or Science: Look for shapes throughout the book (Alan’s teeth are triangles). Look around you for shapes. How many sides do the different shapes have?




May 16th, 2017 | Posted by etownsend in Babies, Toddlers and Preschoolers | 2017-2018 | 2017-2018 Babies, Toddlers & Preschoolers | April - (Comments Off on APRIL (1))

Snail & Worm: Three Stories About Two Friends by Tina Kügler. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2016

Three short stories in chapter format describe the initial meeting of Snail and Worm and two episodes in their friendship in a droll offering with a delightfully deadpan quality in the humorous interplay between the straightforward dialogue and the offbeat illustrations. In the opening chapter, “Meet My Friend,” Snail and Worm meet while playing with their respective friends Bob the rock and Ann the stick. In “Snail’s Adventure,” Worm provides support and encouragement as Snail scales a tall flower, although neither he nor Snail notes the flower has bent low to the ground under Snail’s weight. (“Wow! They look like ants down there!” exclaims Snail from no more than an inch off the ground as several large ants march by.) “Meet My Pet” has Worm looking for his lost pet, whom he describes as brown and furry with sharp teeth. Terrified Snail is convinced it’s a spider, even after Worm’s lost pet, Sam, shows up and is clearly a dog. Meanwhile Rex, Snail’s dog, is clearly a spider. Playful contradictions give readers and listeners a lot to notice and to laugh about in a book perfect for beginning readers or as a read-aloud. The deceptively simple and expressive art shows great thought and sophistication in its design and execution. ©2016 Cooperative Children’s Book Center

Try these early literacy activities with children:

  • Read: “Buzz, Buzz, Buzz” in Goodnight Songs
  • Talk: About the humor of the book. Why is it funny? Talk about perspective.
  • Sing: A song very slowly then very quickly. Think about how Snail and Worm move.
  • Write: Draw a favorite activity you like to do with a friend or a favorite thing you like about a friend.
  • Play: A guessing game. Describe something then see how many clues it takes to guess the object. Let everyone have a turn describing as well as guessing.
  • Math or Science: Go outside and look for snails and worms and rocks and twigs. Explore what else you see outside.


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