9781101903544 (1)By Mike Massimino, author of Spaceman (Crown Archetype, October 2016).

When I was six years old, I watched Neil Armstrong walk on the moon and dreamed that one day I would follow in those historic footsteps. But as a working class kid who was skinny, awkward, nearsighted, and afraid of heights, I saw no path to becoming an astronaut. So my dream died by age eight, only to be rekindled after seeing the movie and reading the book The Right Stuff when I was a senior in college.

In my book, Spaceman, I encourage young people to never give up on big dreams. I take them through the struggles I overcame to get to space: pursuing an engineering degree, failing my PhD qualifying exam at MIT, being rejected by NASA three times before being accepted on the fourth try, and overturning a NASA medical disqualification by training my eyes to “see better.”  (more…)

9780812995435By Wayne Maines, whose family is the focus of Becoming Nicole (Random House Trade Paperbacks, June 2016) by Amy Ellis Nutt.

Recently I had the opportunity to speak at Bowdoin College, in Brunswick, Maine. Before the lecture I spent an hour walking around their beautiful campus, thinking about how to frame my discussion about equality, harassment and my family without getting too emotional. I was concerned that breaking into tears might distract from my message, which acknowledges that we have indeed come far these past five years, but further stresses that there is still a great deal of work to be done.

I am the proud father of identical twins: one is a boy and one is a girl. My beautiful daughter Nicole is transgender. This talk was important to me, a chance to meet with senior staff, middle management and students and have a conversation about transgender rights in schools. (more…)

Winners Random House Writing 2016The Penguin Random House Creative Writing Awards, which annually present $112,000 in scholarships to fifty-six New York City public high school seniors for original poetry, fiction & drama, memoir, graphic novel, and spoken word poetry compositions, were held on June 7. Since 1994, more than two million dollars have been awarded to students and their schools by Random House, and now Penguin Random House, through this awards competition. In this twenty-third year for the competition, more than 1,300 entries were received from a number of diverse public high schools throughout the city’s five boroughs. (more…)

9780807083260Historical fiction as a genre is powerful in its ability both to educate and to provide insight into the voices and experiences of those who came before us. Ruthanne Lum McCunn’s novel Thousand Pieces of Gold (Beacon Press) does just that, tracing the tribulations of Polly Bemis, a nineteenth-century Chinese woman who is sold into slavery and prostitution in America and who struggles against all odds to claim her independence. In McCunn’s adaptation of this true story, Polly’s father refers to his daughter as his treasure, his “thousand pieces of gold,” and his decision to sell her reveals the desperation brought on by intersecting historical forces in China at that time. What follows is an exploration of the value and dignity of human life as Polly perseveres and pioneers across the American frontier. (more…)

As t9781594746031he weather grows ever warmer (or should be, anyway), teachers across the nation are hard at work assembling summer reading lists for their students. The website Edutopia recently featured an article to help educators do just that, including Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children (Quirk Books) on their list of “Top Ten Young Adult Reads.” This fantasy adventure by Ransom Riggs tells the story of sixteen-year-old Jacob as he encounters the magical, macabre, and downright bizarre residents of a seemingly deserted island, including the enigmatic Miss Peregrine herself. Along the way, he learns a dark family secret and unravels a mystery surrounding his grandfather’s past. Riggs’s incorporation of vintage photography in the book adds a haunting and delightful visual element that only serves to further enrich the experience and spark readers’ imaginations. (more…)

Since its p9780804189354ublication, The Martian (Broadway Books) has captivated readers with its charismatic narrator, fascinating—and accurate!—use of science, and engaging story of perseverance. With its compelling narrative and scientific content, the book is perfectly suited for both language arts and STEM curriculums.

However, we have been receiving feedback from some teachers regarding the language used in the book. You’ve talked, and we’ve listened: it is with great excitement that we now announce the availability of The Martian: Classroom Edition. Featuring classroom-appropriate language, discussion questions and activities, and a Q&A with Andy Weir himself, this edition is now available wherever books are sold

Additionally, our website and blog feature further resources to make teachers’ lives just a little bit simpler. An essay by Andy Weir discusses the book’s ability to double as both novel and science textbook. We also have created a Teacher’s Guide aligned with the Common Core State Standards. For print copies of our Teacher’s Guide, please email highschool@penguinrandomhouse.com. If you are considering (or reviewing) the book for classroom use, please email us for a free review copy.

9781101907290The Universal Academy for the College Bound (UACB) High School in Milwaukee, Wisconsin is launching a City-Wide Community Engagement book club for youth and adult mentors and has chosen several Penguin Random House titles for the inaugural program: Jay Z’s Decoded (Spiegel & Grau), Wes Moore’s The Other Wes Moore (Spiegel & Grau), and Shaka Senghor’s Writing My Wrongs (Convergent Books).

In total, the school’s English department selected eleven fiction and nonfiction titles by African American authors that, according to their press release, “highlight Social Justice issues that parallel youth’s lives across the city, poverty, homelessness, and being raised in single-parent households.” UACB is led by Universal Companies, the only African American charter school management company in the country, and aims to promote literacy, increase reading ability, and provide mentorship opportunities for its students through the book club program by exposing them to books that they can relate to. (more…)

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