El Deafo

(TBR:) Written by Cece Bell, El Deafo is about a a girl who is starting a new school where she is the only one with a Phonic Ear. At Cece’s old school everyone was deaf like her so it is scary now that she sticks out. As Cece struggles with being different she realizes that maybe her Phonic Ear isn’t such a bad thing, in fact, maybe it actually makes her superhuman, but wait….that still makes her different…!

A John Newbery Medal award and an inspiring, inclusive and telling tale, author Cece Bell turns her life into this story. A graphic novel memoir about a girl with a severe hearing impairment, superpowers, growing up, and learning to accept herself, I think yes! How could you go wrong! I would recommend this book to middle grade or young adult (and older), and by it being a graphic novel, it can appeal to many different readers. This book really helps you see what it is like to have an physical impairment, it teaches you about inclusion and to get to know people for who they really are not for what they can or can’t do.


Meet the Author, Interviews, and Book Guides

Discussion Question- Book Club Resources



Finding Winnie: The True Story of the World’s Most Famous Bear

Finding Winnie: The True Story of the World’s Most Famous Bear by Lindsay Mattick and illustrated by Sophie Blackall is remarkable true story about what a veterinarian who treated the horses in World War I found, a bear. He named the bear Winnie and took her to war. Their journey and friendship is evenident throughout the story, making it a story you can’t put down. To make matters even greater this story is non other than the remarkable true story of….Winne the Pooh!

Recommended for all ages, this tale is surly a must read-can’t but down! How can you not want to read the true story of Winnie-the-Pooh! This story is great to read with anyone who loves the most cuddly and honey loving Disney character, but is also great for children ages kindergarten and up to start reading on their own. This book also won a Caldecott Medal and does a great job informing children about a true story that many have no idea about.


Meet the Author, Book Guides and Lesson Plans

Book Read-Aloud

Educator’s Guide


Martin’s Big Words: The Life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

A 2002 Caldecott Medal winner and a Jane Addams Children’s Book Awards winner, The Life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. is by Doreen Rappaport and illustrated by Bryan Collier. This is a remarkable story that highlights the incredible Martin Luther King Jr. and it does an excellent job paying tribute to such an influential activist in the civil rights movement. With beautiful illustrations that bring this story to life, children will really get a sense of how truly incredible Dr. King was.

I think all children should be frequently taught about Dr. King because his legacy deserves to continue and he marks an essential time in our history. This story does a great job showing Dr. King’s life as well as the injustices that he was fighting. This story also uses quotes from Dr. King himself as well as language that makes his story understandable to all children, but might be best for children 8 and older. This book is inspiring as a book about Dr. King should be!


Meet the Author, Book Readings and More

Scholastic Discussion Guide

Brave Girl : Clara and the Shirtwaist Makers’ Strike of 1909

Brave Girl : Clara and the Shirtwaist Makers’ Strike of 1909 by Michelle Markel and illustrated by Melissa Sweet is about the story of Clara Lemlich. When Clara arrived in America she couldn’t speak English, and quickly learned that she had to grow up fast as she was put to work instead of school. This story about determination shows how one brave girl was not willing to give up! She worked very hard for what she believed in, which was that little girls should not be treated less than. Through her determination and handwork Clara led the largest women workers walkout in America’s history.

This powerful story is an excellent example of standing up for what you believe in and never excepting defeat. This book’s important message is recommended for all ages, but I would specifically recommend it to children 4-years-old and older. This is also an amazing story about a strong and influence female-role model.


Meet the Author/Illustrator, Book Trailer, Lesson Plans and More

Teaching Guide

A Long Walk to Water

A Long Walk to Water by Linda Sue Park, is based off a true story. The book follows two characters. The main character is based on the real life story of Salva. It starts out when he was 11-years old in Sudan, and it follows him on his journey as a ‘lost boy’ escaping the war that broke out in his home. Salva had to escape through Africa on foot and leave his family behind. Starting in 1985, you follow him for the next 23-years as he makes a long and heartbreaking journey to survive and try to find his family. The other story is based in more of the present day, or 2008, and is of a girl named Nya who explains the struggle she has to go through to get water for her family every day.

It’s incredible to read all that these characters have gone through, especially Salva. But even after all they endured they didn’t let it break them, but instead they used it to empower them and make them stronger which is such a beautiful thing. This story is about strength, endurance, and never giving up. It also teaches its readers that you can’t let your misfortunes and devastations take you down, you can make something good come out of all the bad that has happened to you and I think this is an amazing lesson for students of all ages to learn. I would recommend this story to those who like a heartwarming story about triumph and hope and never giving up, especially to those that like to read about strong and determined characters. This story is however a little graphic and scary at times and might not be for those who are more sensitive to sad and gory events. Because of some of the graphic and horrific events I would recommend this story to those 11-years and older.


Author’s Website with Discussion Guide, Book Trailer and More

Get Involved in the Real Cause This Book Inspires

Meet Salva

The Story of Ruby Bridges

The Story of Ruby Bridges by Pulizer Prize winner Robert Coles and illustrated by George Ford is about the first African American child to integrate a New Orleans school. The remarkable true story of Ruby Bridges is an inspiring story that should be shared with all children. This was a very important time in America’s history and this story does an excellent job paying tribute. Ruby was a brave young girl who despite the hardships and taunting she faced by being the first African American student at her school, she did not give up even though it was clear her school didn’t want her there. With her head held high, Ruby persevered in a remarkable and inspiring way. This is a great story of a positive role-model for all.

This story is recommended to children of all ages but specifically for children 4 and older. I think this is such an important message for all children and is an excellent story highlighting what life was like in the 1960s.


Lesson Plan and Teaching Resources

Grade 3 Lesson Plan

Biography of Ruby Bridges

Alphasaurus and the Prehistoric Types

Alphasaurus and the Prehistoric Types by Sharon Werner is a creative story that mixes dinosaurs and prehistoric animals with the alphabet. In captivating illustrations and interactive pages that use a letter of the alphabet to create the animal while also including some very interesting facts to go along. This story is remarkably written from head to tail (or foot). I would recommend this book to children ages 3 and up and especially to those that love dinosaurs and prehistoric animals.


More about this Book Include Inside Look at the Pages

Radiant Child: The Story of Young Artist Jean-Michel Basquiat

Radiant Child: The Story of Young Artist Jean-Michel Basquiat by Javaka Steptoe is winner of the 2017 Caldecott Medal and 2017 Coretta Scott King Award. This story is about the talented and unique artist Jean-Michael Basquiat. It does an excellent job paying tribute to such an incredible artist. The breathtaking illustrations really honor Basquiat’s work and even uses aspects of his work. This book not only tells Basquait’s story but it honors and celebrates him. This inspiring tale it recommended to children 5 and older and is especially appealing to those who like art and unique and beautiful work.


Literacy Activities

About Jean-Michel Basquait

A Child Called It

A Child Called It by Dave Pelzer was published by Health Communications, Incorporated in 1995. This memoir shares the heartbreaking true story of Dave Pelzer’s horrific and abusive childhood. Pelzer suffered unimaginable abuse from his alcoholic mom who did everything in her power to break Pelzer yet he shares how he survived and is now sharing his story in order to try to help others who experience his pain everyday.

This was one of the most powerful and eye-opening stories I have ever read still to this day. This book made me want to change the world. I would recommend this story to those 14-years-old and older in order for them to learn about some of the devastating realities too many children face everyday. Hopefully some who read this will be inspired by Pelzer’s story and want to make a difference like I did. 


About the Author

Lesson Plan

Additional Activities

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