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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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9780553419634By Caroline Webb, author of How to Have a Good Day: Harness the Power of Behavioral Science to Transform Your Working Life (Crown Business, February 2016).

Going to college is one of life’s big leaps. For the first time, students are expected to take responsibility for their choices – and there are a lot of them to make. They need to pick classes, sign up for extracurricular activities, and decide how often to do their laundry. They’re figuring out who they are and working out how to impress their new peers. And somehow, amid all that, they need to organize themselves to get work done. It’s as if they’re taking an unfamiliar new job in a foreign country, but without the benefit of any past life experience to draw on.

So how do they handle this wrenching, exciting transition? When I was a college student, I got feedback on my class contributions and term papers. But there was no guidance on the business of managing myself from day to day. As a result, I did what a lot of students do. I stayed up late. I ran every deadline to the last minute. I got upset when social situations felt challenging. I took on far too many activities – debating, singing, writing, student politics – then had something close to a breakdown when I finally started worrying about my grades in my senior year. That was when I was given some useful life advice for the first time. A favorite professor told me, “When you’re feeling overwhelmed, go sit in a park for a half-hour. Take some deep breaths. Think about what really matters.” I tried it, and of course it helped. I calmed down, refocused, and ended college in good shape. (more…)

aHR0cDovL2ltZy5tYmxyZC5jb20vaS81MDAtNTAwL3MvYUhSMGNEb3ZMMjF2WW1sc1pYSnZZV1JwWlM1amIyMHZabWxzWlhNdk1TOTFjR3h2WVdSekx6SXdMekl3TkdVNFlqWXlNbUprWldRM056azRPRFprTXpRek5USmxNMkl3TkRrdw,,We recently caught up with author Ernest Cline to learn more about his new book Armada (Crown, July 2015), the success that Ready Player One (Crown, August 2011) has had in common reading programs and among students, as well as his advice to young writers.

From where did you get the inspiration for your latest novel?

I think the main inspiration came from growing up as a child of Star Wars, ET, and Close Encounters, as well as growing up at the dawn of the videogame and home computer age. I was part of the first generation to have a starship simulator in my living room, in the form of an Atari 2600. I used to build an X-Wing cockpit out of couch pillows in front of the television, so I could pretend that I was Luke Skywalker on his way to blow up the Death Star. I spent a huge portion of my childhood wishing that my wicked videogame skills might someday have value in the real world, a fantasy that was made even more intense by all of the videogames-become-reality stories I devoured back in the 80s, like WarGames, Tron, Ender’s Game, or The Last Starfighter. (more…)

9781400052189By Dana McCullough

Evans High School’s fourth annual, school-wide “Wear Red to Honor Henrietta Lacks” event, was held on Friday, October 3, 2014. This celebration was intended to honor Henrietta Lacks, the amazing afterlife of her cells, and the unique and valuable role they have played, and continue to play, in numerous medical breakthroughs. We are eager to share Henrietta’s story with as many people as possible, so we hope you will keep reading to learn more about The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. We also hope you will join us in the future by wearing red and hosting a “Wear Red” event at your own school on or around October 4th. Included here are helpful tips and directions for hosting a “Wear Red” event at your school, plus additional online resources for more information on Henrietta Lacks, her family, and their place in medical history. (more…)

978-0-8041-7907-2By Kirsten Gillibrand, author of Off the Sidelines (Ballantine Books, September 2014)

Dear Educators,

From my mother and grandmother to Hillary Clinton and countless others, incredible role models have shaped me into the woman I am today. I wouldn’t be where I am without their patience, wisdom and guidance.

That is why I am so excited to announce that I have written a book about my own life and the lessons I’ve learned in order to encourage more women and girls to power past life’s obstacles and make a difference in the world around them. (more…)

By Andy Weir, author of The Martian: A Novel 9780804189354

When I wrote “The Martian,” I didn’t mean to craft a thriller that could double as a science textbook— but to some extent, that’s what happened.

The story revolves around a lone astronaut named Mark Watney who is stranded on Mars. He faces countless trials and tribulations in his increasingly desperate attempts to survive. As a science dork, I wanted to make sure everything in the book was as accurate as it could be. I wanted to back up Mark’s solutions with hard numbers. As a result, many parts of the book are basically deadly word problems based on what Mark must do to survive. His life becomes a series of challenges in chemistry, physics, astronomy, and math. (more…)

9780345514400North Bergen (NJ) High School teacher Laurie Troiano recently taught Maya Angelou’s beloved I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings to her Junior Honors class–they finished the book on the same day that Dr. Angelou passed away.  Read the note that Ms. Troiano sent us below, which describes the impact that Dr. Angelou’s classic had on her students:

“There is nothing better than getting books in the mail. Thank you for the copy and guide of Caged Bird. I had a memorable moment this year with my North Bergen High School Junior Honors class. I decided to read this book with them and I haven’t taught it in years. My students knew nothing about her and even less about being black and poor in the South, as they are mostly from immigrant families. The day we finished the book was the day she died. The students all came running to me to tell me. We talked about her and they asked if we could have a moment of silence. The day we took the test, some students cried, and all wrote with such intensity and love.

I will always remember this moment and I wanted to share it with you and say thank you for remembering teachers.”

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