This is the beginning of a series of book lists that I recommend that you read “In Your Lifetime”. You can shop the “Books to Read in Your Lifetime” lists on Bookshop.org (and support me and small indie bookstores everywhere) or on Amazon.com (still supporting me if you shop from this link)
The Hate U Give is a timely and necessary novel that follows the story of Starr, a Black teen girl living in a rough neighborhood, but attending a private, and mostly white populated school. She often feels like she is split between two worlds. When her best friend is shot in front of her and killed by a cop, her entire world turns upside down – and the two parts of her collide in a poetic way.
Angie Thomas is a master of emotion. She writes her characters with such depth that you feel as if you know them. You will be immersed in Starr’s world, and gain a deeper understanding about Black Lives Matter is so important, why our culture is so divided, and how frustrating it must be to be Black in America in this day and age. This should be a must read for all high school students.
Recommended ages 14+
Trigger Warnings for violence, police brutality, under age drinking, drug use, gangs, sexual consent
The Lone Star State doesn’t have to be lonely during Christmas time!
Legendary author Jodi Thomas headlines a new holiday-themed Western historical romance collection featuring three Texas-set stories of romance and adventure.
The Civil War is over, Christmas is coming—and it’s time for three rugged cowboys to hang-up their spurs and settle down. These authors combine their talents and excel at creating atmosphere and complex characters which infuse these stories with Texas history and evoke the grandeur of a bygone era and the indomitable pioneer spirit of the region.
Prepare to be swept off your feet by these heroic cowboys who will stop at nothing to make sure this Christmas is one to remember. Ideal for gift giving, The Cowboy Who Saved Christmas will be the fan-favorite collection of romance for the 2020 Christmas season!
PRAISE FOR THE COWBOY WHO SAVED CHRISTMAS:
“FATHER GOOSE is a warm, entertaining story, with Trapper and Emery starting with nothing, yet finding love and hoping for a future.” — Rose from Roses Are Blue
“It was a pitch-perfect reading experience that left my heart bursting with joy. This story has become an instant classic in my holiday reading canon.” — PJ Ausdenmore from The Romance Dish
“I love an anthology at this busy time of the year because I can read a complete story in a short time–this book hit the mark.”
Jodi Thomas is a New York Times bestselling author and fifth-generation Texan who sets many of her award-winning stories in her home state, where her grandmother was born in a covered wagon. A multi-RITA Award winner and member of the prestigious Romance Writers of America Hall of Fame, she’s written over 50 novels with millions of copies in print. Her most recent releases are The Little Tea Shop on Main and the first book in her new Honey Creek series, Breakfast at the Honey Creek Café, which is out now.
In a rich fantasy world where Songs literally move heaven and earth, one sister must use magic and the other must rely on strength to reunite when pirates, greed, and war tear them away from each other.
Miren has never allowed jealousy of her sister’s magic keep her from taking care of Kesia, and Kesia has always depended on her big sister. When Kesia is kidnapped, Miren will do anything to get her back—even team up with her sister’s aristocratic and seemingly ineffectual boyfriend. Neither sister had ever left their small fishing village before, and now they are plunged into the wider world, minor players in a war between nations. Each sister faces external and internal perils, and each finds surprising allies and unexpected strengths. How will the two find each other again? And what will become of them if they don’t succeed?
Jennifer San Fillippo is a freelance copy editor who holds an MFA in Creative Writing from San Jose State University. She enjoys cycling, music, and drawing. She lives in California with her family and a small army of pets.
If I close my eyes, I can remember being a 3rd grader in the middle of our school library, surrounded by brand new books at the book fair. I can remember how they smelled, the shiny new covers, and the promise of a new poster to hang in my bedroom. Likely, the same type of memories have been made by children all over the United States for the last 30 or so years. But, in the midst of a pandemic, librarians are struggling to bring that experience to their students and still make out with a budget for their library. I was struggling with the options I had in front of me in August for my fall book fair, so when Junior Library Guild announced that they were offering book fairs starting as early as October, I jumped at the chance to be a pilot school. I have been a member of Junior Library Guild for going on 3 years now, and I have loved their services the entire time. I have sung their praises as much as I can to other school librarians who struggle with getting the right books into student hands each and every month. Normally, I pay for my subscriptions with the profits from the fall book fair, so it only made sense to jump on board with them and take the 40% JLG credit they were offering to libraries. Even better? They were shipping to home which meant I could share our shopping links with not only our school community, but with my own friends and family and my social media followers. Something I can never do with in-person school book fairs.
Junior Library Guild had an easy, user friendly set up that made it easy to select my goal, my favorite books, as well as let my teachers make wishlists. My website was set up within 30 minutes and all I had left to do was to advertise! I sent an email out about the book fair to our school community about a week before the fair, a reminder the Friday before it started and then every 2 days with new information during the fair. I gave updates on our goals along the way, recommended my favorite books, good $5 books, wish lists, books under $10, and student favorites in different emails. I added my book fair link to my instagram account and had a lot of activity from that with my followers. I stayed on top of advertising and it worked! I couldn’t have done it though without JLG checking in with me every step of the way and providing me with ways to be successful.
In the past, when I have had suggestions for better ways to run book fairs, the companies haven’t always been receptive to feedback. JLG took notes, asked me follow up questions, offered us a free shipping weekend, and then an extended weekend at the end of the fair. They WANT to set you up to be successful. On top of that, you know your students and families are getting quality hardback books (with the exception of some paperbacks which are labeled as such). The result? I get to keep the majority of my JLG subscription categories without any additional work, or waiting for funding to get moved into the library account! My students will have quality new releases all year long. I cannot wait to see the future of Junior Library Guild book fairs and how they will evolve over time.
*Note: This is MY opinion and I am in no way being compensated to write this post. I have had really good relationships with the JLG team and they did ask if I was willing to write about my book fair experience
Examples of some of the graphics I made using Canva during our fair to send to parents. Please do not copy or use these graphics as the book covers may no longer be relevant in the fairs. If you need any graphic work done you can email me firstname.lastname@example.org and I can get you my pricing. JLG also has ready made use graphics!
Welcome to Superhero School! Join Oliver, Jess, and all their friends on a mission to destroy the power-hungry, evil villains of Vork. From subterranean sewers to lush jungle, from dinosaurs to dragons, our heroes will be pushed to their limits in ways they’d never imagined. Will their collective Powers—Flight, Morphing, Invisibility, Mind Reading, and more—be enough for them to overcome the malevolence of Vork? Or will they stumble over their own doubts and painful histories?
This action-packed journey of friendship, hardship, and humor will take our heroes to thrilling new heights and a deeper understanding of their own place in the world. But will that be enough—or will Vork always be one step ahead?
A Superhero School Playlist
Add these songs to a Spotify Playlist or Youtube Playlist to listen to while reading Welcome to Superhero School:
Bang by AJR
Superman (It’s Not Easy) by Five for Fighting
My Hero by Foo Fighters
Kryptonite by 3 Doors down
Blitzkrieg Bop by the Ramones
Come and Get Your Love by Redbone
O-o-h Child by The Five Stairsteps
I Want You Back by The Jackson 5
Iron Man by Black Sabbath
Immigrant Song by Led Zeppelin
About Gracie Dix:
Graceanne “Gracie” Dix is a high school author.
She has been writing since she could hold a pencil.
When Gracie isn’t writing, she can be found singing, creating art, in the theatre, volunteering, or playing tennis. She loves to travel and is a loyal friend. Gracie lives in Dallas, Texas with her parents, Richard and Jennifer, her brother, Nate, whenever he is home from college, and her beloved dogs, Snowball and Sandcastle “Sandy.”
Spend a day in the life of a livestock guardian dog! Jax the Great Pyrenees has a big job. After the Texas sun goes down, it’s up to him and two other LGDs to protect their ranch from predators. But when the lead dog gets hurt, Jax and a
young pup are the only ones left to protect the flock through the night. Told from the dog’s perspective, this story also includes back matter about the breed and role of the working dog.
Spend a day in the life of an avalanche rescue dog! Ava is a chocolate Labrador retriever with a big job. She and her handler have trained for years to be ready to help people at their ski resort if an unexpected avalanche hits. But Ava quickly finds out there’s much more to being an avy dog than daring rescues. Told from the dog’s perspective, this riveting story also includes back matter about the breed and the role of the working dog.
I Am Ava is a short and sweet beginner Chapter Book that is both entertaining and informative. I spent 2 years of college working with the Aggie Service Dogs program that raises puppies, like Ava, to go and be service animals. Almost all of our service dogs went on to be companions to those with special needs. I knew there were other “jobs” for dogs, including search and rescue, but I didn’t know – and in Texas, never really thought about – that there are dogs specifically trained to help find people in the snow. Learning about Avalanche Search and Rescue dogs through the eyes of Ava was so fun! Since this small chapter book is less than 100 pages, this will appeal to kids who both love reading, and those that are a little more hesitant. I love that this book is fiction through the eyes of a dog, because this will appeal to all the fiction loving kids, but at the same time this book is heavy on the information as well, which will appeal to the non-fiction loving kids. There is just a little something for everyone. I gave this book a 4 out of 5 stars because I was intrigued enough to finish it in just one sitting! Something that doesn’t happen very often, even with the shortest of books. I would recommend this to my 2nd and 3rd graders who love animals, especially dog lovers, and anyone who loves to know more about dog workers and helpers!
Catherine Stier, a former Midwesterner, now lives deep in the heart of Southwest Texas, on the edge of the beautiful Hill Country. Her children’s books have received honors and awards from the Society of School Librarians International, the International Reading Association, and the Bank Street College of Education.
Stier has served as a frequent contributor to Woman’s Day Magazine and as a newspaper columnist. Her work has also appeared in Highlights for Children, My Friend, Child Life, and several newspapers, including the Chicago Sun-Times and the San Antonio Express-News.
Stier’s lively and interactive Author’s Visit programs have entertained, educated, and inspired thousands of children. Visit Catherine Stier’s website at www.catherinestier.com for more information, activities, and free curriculum guides.
ONE WINNER: Hardcover copy of I Am Jax, Protector of the Ranch (Book 1), hardcover copy of I Am Ava, Seeker in the Snow (Book 2), $15 gift card to The Twig Book Shop, stuffed animal – adorable “Ava” Lab dog toy, dog stickers, dog socks.
Thank you to Netgalley for providing me with this e-ARC
Scritch Scratch had me on the edge of my seat for the entirety of this story! I couldn’t put this down. I was asked to be on Lindsay’s street team for this novel and I have enjoyed getting to know her while helping her get the word out about this story. when I finally sat down to read it I couldn’t have been more impressed. Horror is not an easy genre to write for kids. You can’t make it too scary or it becomes too much, but you don’t want it to come off as too silly either. Kids like to be thrilled and scared sometimes! I know this will be recommended in my library to my students who love a good thrill!
The characters in Scritch Scratch are so relatable so I know students in grades 4-8 will be able to relate to them as well. There is a good blend of frightening scenes with realistic friendships, sibling relationships, and relationships with parents.
I would recommend this to fans of Goosebumps and Mary Downing Hahn books.
Thank you to Netgalley for providing me with an E-Arc of this book.
Maurice and His Dictionary is a wonderful true story of a boy who worked around so many roadblocks to get his education. Maurice fled Europe during WWII and ended up in an internment camp where he couldn’t finish high school. He managed to get tutors from all over the camp and studied to get into a local school and take a test to finally get his diploma. He then pursued University in Canada at the age of 16.
I really liked the perseverance of Maurice and his family as well as the fact that this was a true story. I do wish the ending was a little more resolved so that it was just a bit longer and we could find out what happened to Maurice in the later years of his life. The author’s note provides a little of this and the real history behind this story, but it still doesn’t feel totally wrapped up like it should.
Would recommend to lovers of history, fans of graphic novels and students in grades 3-6.
I have two words: MOST NEEDED. This should be the book put into every single classroom curriculum this year from 4th through 8th grade. Seriously, the discussions that could be had because of this book would change the way we discuss race with our students completely.
Let me back up, Zoe Washington is the story of a girl who loves baking, her best friend, her parents, and writing letters with her two besties. Then she discovers a letter from her dad, her biological dad who has been in prison her entire life. When she hides the letter and writes back the discussion about race and wrongful imprisonment come to light and shine throughout this book which is a great conversation starter for younger kids and definitely should not be the end of that discussion with them. Thankfully Zoe has a happy ending but I won’t reveal what it is or how we got there.
Though the material presented in this book is heavy, the way it is presented is easily relatable and understandable for our middle grade kiddos. I am so glad I had an opportunity to read this book, and I know most readers will. I recommend this book to everyone, young and old, of all races, religions, etc. Everyone needs to know Zoe’s story because it is the story of thousands of Black girls throughout our country. Thank you Janae Marks for writing this story.