“The First Step: How One Girl Put Segregation On Trial” By Susan E. Goodman

Sarah Roberts deserved an equal education, and her family fought for change. They made history. Roberts v. City of Boston was the first case challenging our legal system to outlaw segregated schools. It was the first time an African American lawyer argued in a supreme court. These first steps set in motion changes that ultimately led to equality under the law in the United States. Sarah’s cause was won when people–black and white–stood together and said, No more. Now, right now, it is time for change! Source: bloomsbury.com

Susan E. Goodman is the author of more than thirty nonfiction books for children, including How Do You Burp in Space?See How They Run: Campaign Dreams, Election Schemes, and the Race to the White HouseAll in Just One Cookie, an ALA Notable Book; and On This Spot, a Washington Post Top Picture Book of the Year. She lives in Boston, Massachusetts. Source: kidsreads.com

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“I Dissent: Ruth Bader Ginsburg Makes Her Mark” By Debbie Levy

“Fight for the things that you care about. But do it in a way that will lead others to join you.”            – –  Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. This true story shares the path that Ruth took to make her mark on our judicial system. This masterful book about an influential Supreme Court Justice will help your students understand why disagreeing can change the world…one disagreement at a time. The illustrations and use of BOLD PRINT alert the reader to text features and the power of print. This is a must read book that is not limited to any age or reading level.

Debbie Levy is a former lawyer and newspaper editor residing in Maryland.  She has won numerous awards for both her fiction and nonfiction books for young people.

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“The Writing Thief: Using Mentor Texts To Teach The Craft Of Writing” By Ruth Culham

It’s been said that good writers borrow while great writers steal. Writing thieves read widely, dive deeply into texts, and steal bits and pieces from great texts as models for their own writing. Ruth Culham admits to being a writing thief-and she wants you and your students to become writing thieves, too!

A major part of becoming a writing thief is finding the right mentor texts to share with students. Within this book, discover more than 90 excellent mentor texts, along with straight-forward activities that incorporate the traits of writing across informational, narrative, and argument modes.

Chapters also include brief essays from beloved writing thieves such as Lester Laminack, David L. Harrison, Lisa Yee, Nicola Davies, Ralph Fletcher, Toni Buzzeo, Lola Schaefer, and Kate Messner, detailing the reading that has influenced their own writing.

Ruth’s beloved easy-going style and friendly tone make this a book you’ll turn to again and again as you guide your students to reach their full potential as deep, thoughtful readers and great writers. There’s a writing thief in each of us when we learn how to read with a writer’s eye!

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“New Shoes” By Susan Lynn Meyer

When her brother’s hand-me-down shoes don’t fit, it is time for Ella Mae to get new ones. She is ecstatic, but when she and her mother arrive at Mr. Johnson’s shoe store, her happiness quickly turns to dejection. Ella Mae is forced to wait when a customer arrives after her and is served first. Ella Mae is unable even to try on the shoes because of her skin color. Determined to fight back, Ella Mae and her friend Charlotte work tirelessly to collect and restore old shoes, wiping, washing, and polishing them to perfection. The girls then have their very own shoe sale, giving the other African American members of their community a place to buy shoes where they can be treated fairly and “try on all the shoes they want.” Set in the South during the time of segregation, this stunning picture book brings the civil rights era to life for contemporary readers.

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“Trombone Shorty” By Troy “Trombone Shorty” Andrews

Hailing from the Tremé neighborhood in New Orleans, Troy “Trombone Shorty” Andrews got his nickname by wielding a trombone twice as long as he was high. A prodigy, he was leading his own band by age six, and today this Grammy-nominated artist headlines the legendary New Orleans Jazz Fest.
Along with esteemed illustrator Bryan Collier, Andrews has created a lively picture book autobiography about how he followed his dream of becoming a musician, despite the odds, until he reached international stardom. Trombone Shorty is a celebration of the rich cultural history of New Orleans and the power of music.

A 2016 Caldecott Honor Book and Coretta Scott King (Illustrator) Award Winner
-Description from Amazon.com

Listen to his music in class before or after group read-aloud….ask the kids to dance and jump to release energy!

Visit the musician’s website here!

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“Funny Bones: Posada And His Day Of The Dead Calaveras” By Duncan Tonatiuh

Funny Bones tells the story of how the amusing calaveras—skeletons performing various everyday or festive activities—came to be. They are the creation of Mexican artist José Guadalupe (Lupe) Posada (1852–1913). In a country that was not known for freedom of speech, he first drew political cartoons, much to the amusement of the local population but not the politicians. He continued to draw cartoons throughout much of his life, but he is best known today for his calavera drawings. They have become synonymous with Mexico’s Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) festival. Juxtaposing his own art with that of Lupe’s, author Duncan Tonatiuh brings to light the remarkable life and work of a man whose art is beloved by many but whose name has remained in obscurity.

The book includes an author’s note, bibliography, glossary, and index.

A Sibert Award Winner, Pura Belpré (Illustrator) Honor Book, New York TimesBest Illustrated Children’s Books of 2015 and International Latino Book Award Finalist! 

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“Full Cicada Moon” By Marilyn Hilton

Inside Out and Back Again meets One Crazy Summer and Brown Girl Dreaming in this novel-in-verse about fitting in and standing up for what’s right

It’s 1969, and the Apollo 11 mission is getting ready to go to the moon. But for half-black, half-Japanese Mimi, moving to a predominantly white Vermont town is enough to make her feel alien. Suddenly, Mimi’s appearance is all anyone notices. She struggles to fit in with her classmates, even as she fights for her right to stand out by entering science competitions and joining Shop Class instead of Home Ec. And even though teachers and neighbors balk at her mixed-race family and her refusals to conform, Mimi’s dreams of becoming an astronaut never fade—no matter how many times she’s told no.

This historical middle-grade novel is told in poems from Mimi’s perspective over the course of one year in her new town, and shows readers that positive change can start with just one person speaking up.

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“Mama’s Nightingale: A Story Of Immigration And Separation” By Edwidge Danticat

A touching tale of parent-child separation and immigration, from a National Book Award finalist.

After Saya’s mother is sent to an immigration detention center, Saya finds comfort in listening to her mother’s warm greeting on their answering machine. To ease the distance between them while she’s in jail, Mama begins sending Saya bedtime stories inspired by Haitian folklore on cassette tape. Moved by her mother’s tales and her father’s attempts to reunite their family, Saya writes a story of her own—one that just might bring her mother home for good.

With stirring illustrations, this tender tale shows the human side of immigration and imprisonment—and shows how every child has the power to make a difference.

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“Last Stop On Market Street” By Matt De La Peña

Every Sunday after church, CJ and his grandma ride the bus across town. But today, CJ wonders why they don’t own a car like his friend Colby. Why doesn’t he have an iPod like the boys on the bus? How come they always have to get off in the dirty part of town? Each question is met with an encouraging answer from grandma, who helps him see the beauty—and fun—in their routine and the world around them.

This energetic ride through a bustling city highlights the wonderful perspective only grandparent and grandchild can share, and comes to life through Matt de la Pena’s vibrant text and Christian Robinson’s radiant illustrations.

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“Drowned City: Hurricane Katrina & New Orleans” By Don Brown

On August 29, 2005, Hurricane Katrina’s monstrous winds and surging water overwhelmed the protective levees around low-lying New Orleans, Louisiana. Eighty percent of the city flooded, in some places under twenty feet of water. Property damages across the Gulf Coast topped $100 billion. One thousand eight hundred and thirty-three people lost their lives. The riveting tale of this historic storm and the drowning of an American city is one of selflessness, heroism, and courage—and also of incompetence, racism, and criminality.

Don Brown’s kinetic art and as-it-happens narrative capture both the tragedy and triumph of one of the worst natural disasters in American history. A portion of the proceeds from this book has been donated to Habitat for Humanity New Orleans.

  • Kirkus’ Best of 2015 list
  • School Library Journal Best of 2015
  • Publishers Weekly’s Best of 2015 list
  • Horn Book Fanfare Book
  • Booklist Editor’s Choice 

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