Sunday, July 10, 2011

Sharing the Power of Books with New Teachers (With Your Help!)

In a few short weeks I have the tremendous honor of presenting to a group of soon-to-be-teachers who are a part of the NC Teaching Fellows Program. I'm super excited because not only does this provide me with an opportunity to take my message outside the echo chamber of library land, but it also gives me a chance to broaden new teachers' understanding of how school librarians can, and should, be their instructional partners. I like the idea of school librarians being a part of the inservice training of new teachers and, (dare I hope?), new principals.   Of course, I'll post more about these presentations as they take place, but for now, think of this post as a plea for help.

One of my presentations is called Bibliotherapy 2.0 - Using eBooks (and print ones too!) to Reach and Teach Diverse Student Populations. Given the recent hoopla surrounding YA Lit and its, according to some, inherently dark message, I'm really looking forward to showing new teachers how putting the right book in a young person's hand can, literally, change their lives. (And how eReaders afford teachers/librarians the chance to create personalized libraries for students). Anyway, for this presentation, I'm compiling a bibliography of titles that could be used to help students work through problems, conflicts, etc.

This is where you come in.

While I like to think I have a pretty good working knowledge of childrens/young adult literature, (and I've certainly got lots of ideas) I've spent my whole career in middle school (plus one really short stint in high school early on), so I'm afraid my perspective is just a bit skewed.

So... will you help me compile this bibliography for new teachers?

Essentially, I'm looking for recommendations of books that you believe have the potential to help kids/young adults work through problems, issue, conflicts, etc. If you can help me, please leave your recommendations in the comments including (if you can) the title, author, issue dealt with and what age group you think it's appropriate for. An example might be: Cut by Patricia McCormick: Deals with self mutilation; I recommend it for grades 7-12. 

Thanks you so much for helping me help these new teachers (help their students)!


  1. Life on the Refrigerator Door by Alice Kuipers, death of a parent, grades 6-12
    Drums, Girls and Dangerous PIe by Jordan Sonnenbick, illness of sibling, grades 6-9
    Juvie Three by Gordon Korman, delinquency, grades 6-9
    Tyrell by Coe Booth, poverty, drugs, parent in jail, grades 8-12
    Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher, suicide, grades 9-12
    Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson, rape, grades 8-12
    Fat Kid Rules the World by K.L. Going & The Earth, My Butt and Other Big, Round Things by Carolyn Mackler, obesity, bullying, grades 8-12
    Gym Candy by Carl Deuker, drugs, grades 8-12

  2. Thought of a few more:
    Anything But Typical by Nora Baskin & Rules by Cynthia Lord, autism, grades 6-9
    Finally by Wendy Mass & Nature Girl by Jane Kelley, growing up, grades5-8
    The Summer Before Boys by Nora Raleigh Baskin (grds 5-8) & The Things a Brother Knows by Dana Reinhardt (grds 8-12), military family
    Bystander by James Preller (grds 6-9) & Hate List by Jennifer Brown (grds 9-12) bullying
    The Defense of Thaddeus A. Ledbetter by John Gosselink, delinquency, grades 5-8
    Joey Pigza Swallowed the Key by Jack Gantos, ADD, grds 5-8
    Books on adoption, race, and sexual identity would be good too. I'll keep thinking.

  3. I am a bit jealous of your new interaction! How wonderful that you can make a difference!!

    My recommendations:
    - (I read this as a Teen) any book by Lurlene McDaniel; they focus on dealing with loss of loved ones through death (Her WebSite); great for middle school to high school
    - Scars by Cheryl Rainfield; self mutilation; ages 15-up
    - Annie's Baby by Anonymous Teenager; deal with teen pregnancy; ages 15 up
    - Bitter End by Jennifer Brown; deals with relationship abuse; ages 16 up
    - Want to Go Private by Sarah Littman; deals with Internet safety and internet stalkers; while this is a harsh book I really think any child who chats online should read this no matter the age over 13

    Those are some that I can think of right now - I'll post more later :)

    <3 Patricia @ Patricia's Particularity - - P.S. New Follower so I can see what happens :) :) I really hope it goes well!

    P.S.S. I'm also creating a post that mentions this post and links back here for others to leave a comment :) :)

  4. Yay! You both are FABulous! Thank you and please feel free to a) add more and b) pass this request on. *mwah!*

  5. I would add to the list:
    13 Reasons Why (Jay Asher) suicide
    Hold Still --Suicide
    Chasing Lincoln's Killer (biography) written about JWBooth in story form on how he committed the heinous act.
    HAte List - School Shooting/Bullying
    Nineteen Minutes - School shooting/Bullying
    Diary Of A Witness - bullying
    Dirty Little Secrets - hoarding
    Matched - dystopia
    Purple Heart - Afghanistan warcrimes story
    The devouring -- very steven king like! SCARY!! (and its the first of a series)
    Shiver and its subsequent series -- werewolves and WELL WRITTEN (unlike Twilight books IMHO)
    All We Know of Heaven - traumatic car accident, coma, soul survivor of the family

    Note that high schoolers LOVE series

  6. The Misfits and Totally Joe--James Howe--bullying
    The Skin I'm In--Sharon Flake--discrimination
    any Sharon Draper
    Does My Head Look Big in This?--religion-- I actually really disliked this book :(
    A Step From Heaven--An Na--immigration/discrimination
    any Laurie Halse Anderson (high school ones)
    13 Reasons Why--Jay Asher--suicide and its consequences

    There's one I can't remember that has a picture of a locker on the front with the word Slut written on the locker...

    It's so hard to come up with these off the top of my head. If I were standing in front of my collection, I could grab one right after another.

  7. Also Known as Harper - Ann Haywood Leal-homelessness, poverty
    A Finders-Keepers Place - Ann Haywood Leal - abuse, mental illness

  8. Six Impossible Things by Fiona Wood - parents' separation, gay parent, bankruptcy, changing schools - gr 8-10
    The Cave - Susanne Gervay - school camp bullying - gr 5-8

  9. Thank you all so much!

    Sarah: if you think of others, just let me know!

    Cathy Jo: You better believe I'll be putting some Chris Crutcher on the list too! :)

  10. Like Mrs. Justice, I could be SO much more helpful if I were in our library where I could see the titles that I recommend often. But here are a few that come to mind now:

    North of Beautiful by Justina Chen Deals with self-acceptance (ages 14-18)
    Muchacho by Louanne Johnson Deals with a Hispanic teen trying to rise above his circumstances rather than becoming another statistic (ages 14-18)
    Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson Deals with eating disorders and the death of a friend (ages 14-18)
    If I Stay by Gayle Forman Deals with losing family members, examining your life, and making choices (ages 14-18)
    The Chosen One by Carol Williams Lynch Deals with standing up for what you believe in (ages 12-18)
    The Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary Pearson Deals with the philosophical question of what makes a person a person (ages 12-18)
    How to Build a House by Dana Reinhardt Deals with accepting parents' divorce and making new friends (ages 14-18)
    Living Dead Girl by Elizabeth Scott Disturbing look at dealing with sexual abuse (ages 15-18)
    Unwind by Neal Shusterman Deals with standing up for what you believe in (ages 14-18) This is one of my VERY favorite books and is always in the yearly top ten checkouts at our library.

    That's it for now. If others come to me, I'll add them!

    Awesome opportunity for you to demonstrate the wonderful services we offer to the educational community. Love this!

  11. @Eliterate Librarian an AMAZING Adoption book is The Secret of Me by Meg Kearney. It's told through poems...just finished and couldn't put it down!

    Here are a few others to add off the top of my head:
    Boy Meets Boy by David Levithan—Homosexuality
    The Realm of Possibility by David Levithan—Teenage relationships
    When Zachary Beaver Came to Town by Kimberly Willis Holt—bullying, weight issues, absentee parent
    Waiting for Normal by Leslie Connor—absentee parent, divorce, poverty
    The Sweetheart of Prosper County by Jill S. Alexander—death of father, being true self, bullying
    Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver—bullying, loss, friendships (also has a not-so-likeable protagonist). VERY interesting to use in a hs classroom.

  12. Debbie Harry Sings in French (I can't remember the author) - the homosexuality 'spectrum' and cross-dressing.
    Almost anything by Tamora Pierce (specifically the series: 'Song of the Lioness', 'The Immortals', and 'Protector of the Small' for ages 14 and up. Also, 'The Circle of Magic' is good for ages 11 and up). All of her books are good for issues with belonging, and also for girls who like fantasy and sci-fi but want more female main characters. (The genres have expanded slightly in the last 15 years or so, but these have particularly strong role models).

  13. P.S. Tamora Pierce's books are great for boys too! I know several boys who have really enjoyed them, once they made sure no one knew they were reading a book about *gasp* a girl! One of the four main characters in the Circle of Magic is a boy, but the majority of her characters are girls.

  14. Heather StapletonJuly 14, 2011 at 11:40 AM

    The following link was posted on Twitter last week. (Bildungsroman's blog) I've found it a very useful list :)

  15. Joey Pigza Swallowed the Key, Joey Pigza Loses Control, I am Not Joey Pigza, and What Would Joey Do? all by Jack Gantos are recommended for grades 3 – 7. This series provides a character that students with learning differences, absent parent, and generally disruptive home lives can relate to.

    Henry Winkler has a similar character in the Hank Zipzer series recommended for grades 2 – 5. Hank suffers ADHD and dyslexia and goes a long way toward bringing humor and self-acceptance to kids with these problems.

    Suzanne Collins’ Gregor series (grades 4 and up) is a great escape for older siblings and has turned kids who generally don’t like to read into avid readers.

    Kira-Kira by Cynthia Kadohata (grades 4 and up) explores the personal hardships faced by immigrant children.

    Picture Books

    Fly Away Home by Eve Bunting features a homeless father and child who live in an airport.

    Tomas and the Library Lady by Pat Mora describes a child of migrant workers who is assisted by a caring adult.

    In A Chair for My Mother by Vera Williams, a child, her mother, and grandmother save coins to buy a comfortable chair after their belongings are destroyed in a fire.

    The Max series by Adria Klein features an inter-racial adoptive family quite unobtrusively in a positive setting and easy-reader format.


    I have also found that mixed race students in all elementary grades are really responding to Obama biographies.

  16. Please please add Will Grayson, Will Grayson by David Levithan and John Green- Relationships, both gay and straight, and love!