Category Archive: Novels

Raising Chickens : Urban Farming for the Intermediate Grades

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The term “urban farming” usually brings up visions of gardens, especially vegetable gardens, in backyards and containers and even on rooftops. Chickens might not seem a good topic for an article on urban… Continue reading

Engaging Your Struggling Readers

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Here in the Collection Development department at Mackin, we get a lot of requests from librarians for high interest/low reading level fiction for their struggling readers. We often find ourselves pointing these librarians… Continue reading

Mental Illness Fiction for High and Middle School

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My last post was a review of Neal Shusterman’s Challenger Deep, a story about a teen struggling through his first schizophrenic experience. With the prevalence of news stories on mental illness, I realize… Continue reading

Book-To-Screen Update

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When I’m not reading or cheering on my favorite Minnesota sports teams, I enjoy watching movies.  Whether sitting at home on my couch watching the flat screen, or at the cinema with a… Continue reading

Author Spotlight: Matt de la Peña

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“Something I can’t ignore: Tomorrow’s #teenlitcon in Minn will be 95% white. The juvenile detention centers I just visited were 95% brown.” Matt de la Peña tweeted the above in advance of the… Continue reading

Mental Illness in Challenger Deep

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Challenger Deep by Neal Shusterman. 9780061134111. 2015. Gr 9-12. My older son, Alex, was born 27 years ago around the end of April, and by my first Mother’s Day, I was headed deep… Continue reading

Review: Book Scavenger

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Book Scavenger by Jennifer Chambliss Bertman. 9781627791151. June 2015. Gr. 5-8. Sometimes you know that a book is going to be good even before you have reached the title page. What drew me… Continue reading

Celebrating #42 (Jackie Robinson Day)

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On April 15, 1947, Jackie Robinson trotted out to first base for the Brooklyn Dodgers.  The act itself was a simple one, but its significance was incredible: Jackie was the first black man… Continue reading

Review: Return to Augie Hobble

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Return to Augie Hobble by Lane Smith. 9781626720541. May 2015. Gr. 4-6.   You probably know Lane Smith as a collaborator and illustrator extraordinaire of such great titles as It’s a Book, The… Continue reading

Review: Echo

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Echo by Pam Munoz Ryan. March 2015. 9780439874021. Gr. 5-8 I was not sure what to expect when I started reading Echo by Pam Munoz Ryan. I didn’t know anything about the book… Continue reading