Syrian Culture: A Rich, Layered Legacy

 

The voices and stories of Syrian refugee experiences are not the only thing drowned out by the international news agencies' overwhelming focus on conflict, war, and death tolls. Underneath the tragedy, now literally buried beneath the rubble in many cases, is a cultural legacy that has spanned centuries and empires. The empires that ruled over and influenced Syria from the ancient to the modern period included the Mesopotamians, Egyptians, Persians, Greeks, Romans, and Byzantines, with the Ottoman empire ruling from 1516 to 1918. Religious, art, music, and food cultures are the legacy left behind that vary both according to cultural differences and regional differences, as well as a number of UNESCO World Heritage site designations for plac... [More]

The Link Between Discussion Length and a Happy Book Club

 

When you hear the term "book club" what image comes to mind? Many readers not in one see them as social groups more interested in gossiping than discussing the book at hand, an impression that is often perpetuated in the media at large. BookBrowse has been researching readers and book clubs for more than 15 years, so we knew that this perception wasn't accurate, but we didn't have hard numbers to prove the case. So, over the past 18 months we set out to find out exactly what's going on in book clubs, gathering responses from over 5,000 people through two surveys. We've recently published the findings in a report which we've titled "The Inner Lives of Book Clubs" because it's the first report to really get to the heart of th... [More]

Six Nonfiction Books to Read With Your Book Club

 

Truth may be stranger than fiction, but that is not all. It is also, at times, more harrowing, more exhilarating, and more remarkable than fiction too. We've gathered six nonfiction titles that evoke all of those feelings and so many more. [More]

How to Write a Manifesto

 

Women & Power by Mary Beard is labeled a manifesto, which comes from the Latin word manifestus, meaning "to manifest, to clearly reveal, or to make real." It is a broad term for a public statement of intent, belief, or a call to action issued by an organization or an individual.Most nonprofit and political groups have a manifesto of some sort which states their purpose – why they exist and what they hope to accomplish. This allows them to frame the organization's goals succinctly, be able to communicate those aims, and recruit others to the cause. These declarations are also meant to inspire, to share a vision and excite others. For this reason, some corporations are ditching their mission statements – which have a dry static co... [More]

The Poem That Inspired The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah

 

Kristin Hannah's The Great Alone, takes its title from a line in "The Shooting of Dan McGrew", a poem composed by Robert W. Service, whose work inspires the main character throughout the book. Robert W. Service (1874-1958), known as "The Bard of the Yukon," was born in Lancashire, England, the son of a banker and an heiress. He was sent to Kilwinning, Scotland at the age of five to live with his paternal grandfather and three unmarried aunts, who spoiled him shamelessly. He's said to have written his first poem there — an improvised grace — at the age of six, much to the delight and astonishment of his relatives. God bless the cakes and bless the jam; Bless the cheese and the cold boiled ham: Bless the scones Aunt Jean... [More]

Spy Runner by Eugene Yelchin

 

  Spy Runner is a noir thriller for middle-graders. Chases, crashes, shootouts, and cliffhangers at the end of each chapter will keep even the reluctant readers turning the pages. Unbeknownst to them, they will be learning about Cold War. At that time, certain politicians exploited the communist threat against democracy by dividing American people. Nationalistic […]

LEARNING HOW LANGUAGE WORKS BY MARA ROCKLIFF

 

When my daughter was eleven, she decided to learn Esperanto. We had watched a video about it called The Universal Language, and in twenty minutes, she was hooked. A cool secret language spoken all around the world by a special few—and yet, easy to learn? Sign her up!   I was intrigued by the fact […]

Why Share Wordless Picture Books? by Carrie Rodusky

 

A colleague recently brought me a donated pile of books to see if I could use any in my 4th grade classroom. One of the books was a wordless picture book. I cannot remember the title, but it was very abstract and I thought it would be a great addition to the 7th or 8th […]

Ten Picture Book Biographies You Can’t Experience in a Textbook by Kirsten Leestma

 

I’m a firm believer in learning about our world by learning about the people who have left their mark on it. The problem is that there are too many people that get overlooked. There are countless scientists, activists, writers, inventors, and dreamers that never get mentioned in a textbook. In second grade, we learn about […]

The Art of Being Uncomfortable And Still Inspiring Hope In YA & Middle Grade Lit by e.E. Charlton-Trujillo

 

It was a few weeks before Thanksgiving in rural south Texas when my parents’ bubble gum pink, wall rotary phone rang. It’s the ringing I remember more than the homework I’d been rushing to finish. It was a vivid, piercing sound I can hear to this day. My cousin had committed suicide. Too much drugs. […]

It’s All in the Names by Lynda Mullaly Hunt

 

The second I saw him I knew who he was. Through the eyes of my main character, Delsie in Shouting at the Rain, I watched him. He wore black jeans and a black, long-sleeved shirt on a hot July day. And, he stood on the edge of the ocean in the middle of a lightning […]

Through the Woods: On the Magic Of the Outdoors by Ashley Benham Yazdani

 

    As a child growing up in the suburbs north of Manhattan, I had the best of both worlds: a bustling metropolis was a short train ride away, but back home my own tree-filled backyard stretched out into relatively undisturbed forest. The city was an accessible electric dreamscape, but the forests that I was […]

Practicing What I Preach by Heather Del Piano

 

As a middle school reading teacher, I completely support  the idea of giving students a choice in what they read and modeling reading behavior for them. Since I love reading, it is easy for me to do my own independent reading every day; I even take notes on my reading. I enjoy  writing down quotes […]

Gaining Visibility: How books helped me find myself by Jessica Rinker

 

My parents raised me like a free-range chicken. They set me out on eight acres, surrounded by hundreds more, and basically said, “Come home by dark.” Actually, come to think of it, I don’t think they ever said that. I did have a bedtime, however, and that’s quite simply the only rule I ever remember […]

Top 10 Books Middle Schoolers Love (As Decided by Middle Schoolers) by Olivia Myers

 

I am, by no means, an expert on the middle grade psyche. They deal in ultimatums, and I find that their opinions are fast, fierce and at times, flippant. However, I love everything about middle grade students. They are so funny, smart and at a unique place where they are coming into themselves.   As […]

 

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