February 2014

sticks and stonesBy Emily Bazelon, author of Sticks and Stones: Defeating the Culture of Bullying and Rediscovering the Power of Character and Empathy (Random House Trade Paperbacks, February 2014).

In the year since my book about preventing bullying and building empathy, Sticks and Stones: Defeating the Culture of Bullying and Rediscovering the Power of Character and Empathy was published, I’ve traveled around the country talking to students, parents, and educators. I hear over and over again about a hunger: For complex conversations, with and among teenagers, about their social experiences. Parents and educators know this is important, but that doesn’t make it easy to know how to start. And so I find that when I ask a roomful of kids how many of them are sick of hearing “Don’t bully,” they almost all raise their hands. But if I ask if they get the chance, in class or other organized settings, to have deep discussions about online cruelty, or slut shaming, or upstanding, few if any hands go up. (more…)

9780440246312This past fall Mike Filce, an English teacher at South Tahoe High School in California and longtime Lee Childs fan, discovered that adding a couple of his own Jack Reacher novels to his classroom library shelf was just the trick to get his reluctant readers to pick up a book, particularly a group of his junior boys. Check out the note Mr. Filce recently sent us:

I am a 20+ year veteran English teacher, and incidentally a long-time Lee Child fan. If you teach middle or high school, you know well the great challenge of engaging boys in reading, especially those “reluctant readers,” as it takes special authors and special stories to do so. Our English courses require reading and reporting by page goals, and when I introduced a couple Reacher books to my shelves that I had finished reading myself, in a short time they got snatched up and read voraciously. While at first I was surprised because I hadn’t expected these relatively longer books to be a hit, my male students responded to the fast-moving, highly engaging Reacher stories in the same way I do. (more…)


Ward Melville High School Teacher, Dr. Elizabeth Kelso, first-place recipient of the 2013 Penguin Random House Teacher Awards for Literacy, has penned a holiday letter to Academic Marketing Director Michael Gentile to express her gratitude for Penguin Random House’s support of educational innovation:

Dear Michael,

Being recognized by Random House was amazing.  Seeing the room where I would speak had a similar effect.  Thank you for grounding me and getting me to feel my message more than the space.

I am grateful to you and your team for creating an award program that supports educational invention.  At this time it feels like education and schools are moving away from creative experiments that draw people together in the most basic and human ways.  Recognizing The Living Book Project reiterates the importance of people coming together around story, experience and dialogue.

I am excited that our paths will continue to meet through this work.

Happy holidays.


Elizabeth Kelso (Liz)


Click here to view pictures from the 2013 NCTE Conference First-Timers Breakfast, where Dr. Kelso was presented the award.

Click here to apply for the 2014 Penguin Random House Teacher Award for Literacy.