Thursday, October 1, 2015

Author Kristen Green Visits Her Alma Mater

Kristen Green, author of Something Must Be Done About Prince Edward County, writes about returning to her alma mater and sharing her story with students:

"This fall, I visited my alma mater, University of Mary Washington, in Fredericksburg, Va. to give a lecture about my new book, Something Must Be Done about Prince Edward County. It was so meaningful to return to the place where I found my voice, the place where I learned to question authority, the place where I realized that I wanted to be a journalist and writer. I particularly enjoyed talking with the students who work as reporters and editors for the student newspaper, as I did in college. 

I was also proud to share the story of my hard-won success with Mary Washington students. I loved being able to tell them about the years I spent toiling as a reporter at small-town newspapers and working my way up to big city newspapers. I loved telling them about my seed of an idea for a book and about the decade I spent making it happen through sheer determination. It was important to me to encourage them to question the white-washed view of history we are often taught, to acknowledge our shameful pasts, and to use their time in college to make friends across racial and ethnic lines."

To learn more about Kristen Green, visit her website.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Announcing Regina Calcaterra's New Book

Regina Calcaterra’s New York Times-bestselling memoir Etched in Sand: A True Story of Five Siblings Who Survived an Unspeakable Childhood on Long Island continues to get great pick up in common read programs across the country.
In conjunction with these programs, Calcaterra will be speaking at a number of schools this fall—everywhere from middle schools to colleges, including Whitestone Middle School in Queens and Hesston College in Kansas. She has also been invited back to Suffolk County Community College in New York. 
Since the release of Etched in Sand in August 2013, Calcaterra has taken advantage of over 150 opportunities to speak to readers across the US. Her appearances have included libraries, not for profits and academic institutions like St. Petersburg College in Florida, the State University of New York at New Paltz and Stony Brook, Hunter College, Concordia College, and Clarkson College. She has also spoken at many high schools and middle schools, including twice at Lacey Township High School in New Jersey, where the administration has hundreds of students read the book annually. Some educators have even developed teaching guides to incorporate Etched in Sand into their curriculum, which can be found here

In light of the wonderful academic response to her first memoir, we’re very excited to announce that Calcaterra will be publishing another book with HarperCollins. Calcaterra's next book chronicles the journey of her youngest sister Rosie after their abusive and alcoholic mother removed her from a foster home in New York and unwillingly dragged her all the way to Idaho—far away from her older sisters who had watched over her. Without her older sisters protecting her, Rosie's journey was one of isolation. She had to rely upon her own strength as she learned how to navigate the treacherous landscape of an abusive parent and other unforeseen dangers, while also being forced to labor as a farm hand beginning at the age of ten. Like Etched in Sand, Rosie's story is one of hope, resilience, perseverance and how acts of kindness towards children in need can forever impact them. 

Monday, September 14, 2015


We're very excited to announce that McLean School in Maryland has adopted Jessica Lahey's The Gift of Failure for their faculty's Academic Reading Group.  In addition, for the first time this year, McLean is extending the invitation to parents as well.  They will hold two discussions about the book, culminating with a talk given by the author in November.  Given the overprotectiveness that parents often display currently, The Gift of Failure delivers a very important message for anyone who has a hand in nurturing children.

Parents want their children to succeed.  However, through the very best of intentions, parents often wind up sabotaging their own children's chances at long-term success.  Jessica Lahey delivers the ultimate manifesto about this paradox in The Gift of Failure.  By rushing to their children's defense and fighting their battles for them, parents are doing their children a disservice by preventing them from failing.  It is through failure that we gain wisdom, determination, and a renewed appreciation for the end goal.

The book deals primarily with parents, but if you're a teacher, you know that your students sometimes feel like your children, and you want to maximize their chances at success.  Lahey's message applies to teachers as well as parents.  Rather than scold overprotective parents, she offers strategies on how to be supportive while leaving room for failure and, ultimately, growth.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Follow Our Agatha Christie Master Teacher

Stephanie Owens, our Agatha Christie Master Teacher, has started blogging! Follow her new Tumblr here for Christie teaching tips, lesson plans, and reports from the International Agatha Christie Festival, which she's attending over the next week in England. 

And for more Christie teaching resources, please click here

Thursday, September 3, 2015

The Treaty of Paris

On this day in history in 1783, The Treaty of Paris was signed.  Among other concessions, the treaty included Britain's formal recognition of the United States of America as an independent nation.  This marked the end of the Revolutionary War, although hostilities had ceased over a year earlier.

For further reading, Michael Stephenson's Patriot Battles offers an extensive look at the Revolutionary War.  Stephenson delves into how wars were fought in the eighteenth century as well as the details of the major battles that ultimately led to the American victory at Yorktown in 1782.

Monday, August 24, 2015

How to Read Bestsellers Like a Professor

Congratulations to Thomas C. Foster's How to Read Literature Like a Professor, which has been climbing the New York Times Education Bestseller list!  With over a million copies sold, it's currently sitting in the #2 spot.  Foster's book tells you how to do exactly what the title suggests: read literature like a professor.  Studying classic themes and drawing on renowned authors as examples, Foster creates a guide on getting the most out of a reading experience, leaving no detail overlooked.  How to Read Literature Like a Professor has been an invaluable resource to both teachers and students, helping them to look at literature with a more critical and discerning eye.  It gives readers the tools to unearth a richer reading, whether that reading is for academia or pleasure.

For the movie buffs out there, Foster is hard at work on his next book, this time on how to read the silver screen!

Monday, August 17, 2015

Michael Kimmel and the Growth of Masculinites Studies Programs

The New York Times recently published an article “A Master’s Degree in . . . Masculinity?”, which examined the growth of university masculinities studies programs, and profiled the professor at its vanguard, Michael Kimmel. Kimmel is the author of Guyland: The Perilous World Where Boys Become Men, and the founder and director of the Center for the Study of Men and Masculinities at Stony Brook University, which will soon start the first master’s degree program in “masculinities studies.”
Not to be confused with “male studies” (whose proponents largely think Kimmel is too “anti-men” for their taste), masculinities studies looks at the ways in which our culture has created a crisis of masculinity—with devastating effects including mental illness, suicide, terrorism, rape, mass shootings, and police brutality. Dr. Kimmel’s ultimate goal, as he puts it, is “engaging men and boys for gender equality.”
To read the rest of the New York Times article, please click here.
And to check out Guyland, which has been used in courses and common read programs across the country, please click here.