Author Interview with Karen Harrington

Wayne Kovok survives a plane crash on the way home from his uncle’s funeral. When he wakes up at the hospital, he has a long line of stitches on his face, a missing eyebrow, and no voice. Before the accident, Wayne kept up a steady stream of trivia to fill any awkward silences, but now that isn’t possible. And awkward Read More …

Booktalk for Lincoln’s Grave Robbers by Steve Sheinkin

During the Civil War, the U.S. Treasury started printing paper money—and by 1864, half of the paper money in circulation was fake, produced by counterfeiters, or “coney” men as the U.S. government agents called them. The fake money was causing serious problems for the country’s economic system. It was so bad, the government created the U.S. Secret Service to lead Read More …

Best of 2016 Booktalks

The end of the year is approaching, and in the spirit of best-books-of-the-year lists, I’ve gathered together 16 standout titles from my school booktalks in 2016. Out of the 75 titles that I shared with upper elementary and middle school classrooms this year, these are the titles that students were most often clamoring to read. It’s not surprising to find thrillers by Gordon Korman and Margaret Peterson Haddix on a list Read More …

Booktalk for A Night Divided by Jennifer Nielsen

August 13, 1961. Gerta will never forget that date as long as she lives. Barbed wired Sunday, people start calling it. It’s the date that a wall goes up around communist East Berlin. The wall isn’t for keeping other people out, but for keeping the East Germans in. For Gerta, it is also the date that her family gets torn Read More …

Booktalk for The Seventh Most Important Thing by Shelley Pearsall

On a cold November day in 1963, thirteen-year-old Arthur Owens picks up a brick and flings it at an old man’s head. Luckily, Arthur’s aim isn’t perfect, and the old trash picker leans over to straighten his cart at exactly the right moment—still, the brick slams into the Junk Man’s shoulder, and he has to be rushed to the hospital. Read More …