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Monthly Archives: September 2016

Fall update: #MustReadin2016 & #CrenshawFoodDrive

Fall update: #MustReadin2016 & #CrenshawFoodDrive

#MustReadin2016 is a personal challenge to commit to reading books of your choice.  Visit creator Carrie Gelson’s site here for more information and for links to other #MustReadin2016 book lists. 


While I have been tackling my Must Read in 2016 booklist, many other books have crept in that weren’t on my radar when creating this list at the end of 2015.  Favorite additions to my 2016 list include All American Boys by Jason Reynolds and Brendan KielyMindsets and Moves by Gravity Goldberg, Echo Echo: Reverso Poems About Greek Myths by Marilyn Singer, and DIY Literacy by Kate Roberts and Maggie Beattie Roberts. All of these books deserve five star ratings and a spot on your Must Read lists!

I set out to write brief descriptions of several books on my Must Read list that I have recently completed, but I have since decided to dedicate this full post to Crenshaw by Katherine Applegate.


My nine year old son and I read Crenshaw together this summer.  And we couldn’t put it down. Applegate tackles the topics of poverty and homelessness gently and through the eyes of a child.  Jackson’s imaginary friend, Crenshaw, seems to appear exactly when Jackson needs him the most, helping him cope with his family’s mounting financial stress.  There is an excellent book trailer that brings Crenshaw to life and can be shown when recommending this book to others.

Crenshaw is a difficult book to read without being moved to take action. Jackson and his sister are often hungry and without food or resources. Applegate engaged in research for the book at the Monarch School whose mission is to educate students who are impacted by homelessness. According to Applegate’s website, “Nearly one in five kids in America lives in a household that struggles to put food on the table.

So how can you help?

Applegate is sponsoring a Fight Hunger with Crenshaw campaign, in which schools can win a Skype visit with her by being one of the top 3 schools to collect the most food for a local food pantry by November 30th. She includes resources for schools and libraries to use to promote the campaign on her website.


This image is part of the Crenshaw Digital Toolkit that can be downloaded as part of the Fight Hunger with Crenshaw campaign that is linked above. 

Many thanks to Carrie Gelson who organizes the Must Read challenge!  Participating in this annual challenge requires setting goals, monitoring progress, and reflecting on outcomes or changing course.  There are numerous benefits for educators to join reading communities, including modeling these processes for students, being able to recommend quality selections to colleagues, and helping students find the right book at the right time. There’s nothing more powerful than connecting the issues faced by a character to issues within our students’ communities, and Crenshaw provides a perfect opportunity to teach empathy and the power that readers have to take action.

“I hope children will experience losing themselves in a book; at same time I hope they’ll experience finding themselves in one.”

~Kylene Beers on Twitter for #WRAD16

Check out what others in the Must Read challenge are reading here.

Do you have a recommendation for our next Must Read lists?  If so, please comment below.

The book is in your court…


Visit Teach Mentor Texts and Unleashing Readers to participate in the #IMWAYR community.

Crawling Out of the Classroom

In everything that my students and I do together, we strive to find ways to use reading and writing to make the world outside of our classroom a better place for all of us to be

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The Journey is Everything: Writing & Teaching to Discover, to Essay, to Live Wide Awake

EdTech Bytes with Bormann

Ideas for integrating technology into a 21st-century classroom.

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Reflections on my life as a teacher.

Teachers for Teachers

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Ethical ELA

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Teachers As Innovators

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