Led by a professional writer, young readers explore a fantastic novel, take it apart, play around in its pages, and create new work based on the novel. This program is designed to foster close reading skills, critical thinking, and creativity in a fun environment. Previous Book Crush titles include The Thing About Jellyfish by Ali Benjamin, The Turtle of Oman by Naomi Shihab Nye, and Wonder by R.J. Palacios. All participating students have their creative work published on our blog, Unbound.
Book Crush: Dara Palmer's Major Drama by Emma Shevah
Open to Rising 3rd-5th Graders
Eleven-year-old Dara is a born actress, or so she thinks, but when she doesn't get a role at all in the school production, she begins to think it may be because she doesn't look like the other girls in her class. She was adopted as a baby from Cambodia. Irrepressible Dara comes up with a plan to change not just the school, but the world too. A beautifully written, warm and funny tale from the critically acclaimed author of Dream On, Amber. Read a review.
Book Crush: Me and Marvin Gardens by Amy Sarig King
Open to Rising 4th-6th Graders
Obe Devlin's family farmland has been taken over by developers, his best friend Tommy abandoned him for the development kids, and he keeps getting nosebleeds. So Obe hangs out at the creek by his house, in the last wild patch left, picking up litter and looking for animal tracks. One day, he sees a strange creature that only eats plastic. No one has ever seen a creature like this before. The animal soon becomes Obe's best friend and biggest secret. But to keep him safe from the developers and Tommy and his friends, Obe must make a decision that might change everything. Read a review.
Book Crush: All We Have Left by Wendy Mills
Open to Rising 7th-9th Graders
Sixteen-year-old Jesse is used to living with the echoes of the past. Her older brother died in the September 11th attacks, and her dad has filled their home with anger and grief. When Jesse gets caught up with the wrong crowd, one momentary hate-fueled decision turns her life upside down. ... In 2001, sixteen-year-old Alia is proud to be Muslim... it's being a teenager that she finds difficult. She tries to confront her father at his office in downtown Manhattan, putting Alia in danger she never could have imagined. When the planes collide into the Twin Towers, Alia is trapped inside one of the buildings. In the final hours she meets a boy who will change everything for her as the flames rage around them. ... Interweaving stories past and present, full of heartbreak and hope, two girls come of age in an instant, learning that both hate and love have the power to reverberate into the future and beyond. Read a review. This book is written for ages 13-18, and does contain difficult material related to the September 11th attacks.
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