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978-0-8129-7861-2Being a Teen, author Jane Fonda’s comprehensive guide to adolescent issues, was recently assigned to students taking the “Our Whole Lives” class at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation in Susquehanna Valley (Northumberland, PA).  Fonda’s new book, which covers topics from the body and sex to friendship, family and more, was universally praised by Unitarian Universalist’s students and teachers: “Being a Teen is a wonderful guide to yourself and to others, a pocket encyclopedia, a guide to the roller coaster of puberty. Jane Fonda answers questions that would be difficult to ask….”

Students were engaged by the book, including Henry, age 15, who wrote: “I was apprehensive at first because I thought it would be generic stuff that I already knew or have heard. After the first chapter I read, however, I found that I was learning a lot, and I ended up reading the whole book.” Another student, Emma, age 14, wrote: “The teenage years are a confusing time. Being a Teen is a clear guide with really good information.” (more…)

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978-0-307-46497-2Max Brooks’ graphic novel The Harlem Hellfighters focuses on the 369th Infantry Regiment—the first African American regiment mustered to fight in World War I.  Based on a true story, The Harlem Hellfighers takes readers from the enlistment lines in Harlem to the training camp at Spartanburg, South Carolina, to the trenches in France.  Despite extraordinary struggles and discrimination, the 369th became one of the most successful—and least celebrated—regiments of the war.

Author Max Brooks is available to Skype with classes that adopt The Harlem Hellfighters.  If you are interested, please email us at highschool@randomhouse.com

Click here to listen to Max Brooks’ NPR interview.

By Jared Diamond, author of The Third Chimpanzee for Young People: On the Evolution And Future of the Human Animal (Seven Stories, April 2014).The Third Chimpanzee For Young People

One day, when my twin sons were in middle school, they came home from school angry with me.  I wasn’t aware of having done anything particular that day to arouse their wrath, and so I asked them what was the matter.  They replied, “Our history teacher has assigned your book to our class to read.  We haven’t looked at it yet, but we already know that it’s a bad book.  Worst of all, our teacher is inviting you to come to school to talk to our class.  We are going to be so embarrassed in front of our friends!”

I duly arrived at my sons’ class, to find my sons sitting in the last row, with faces averted, huddled in uncomfortable postures, and obviously in agony from embarrassment.  As I began to talk about my book, their classmates started asking questions and expressing increasingly lively interest.  My sons gradually rotated to face forward, relaxed from their cramped posture, and began smiling.  They were delighted that their classmates liked my book, and that they didn’t have to be ashamed of me.  Since then, my sons have been among my strongest supporters, quick to denounce any criticism of my books.  (more…)

978-0-307-95667-5By Debbie Stier, author of The Perfect Score Project (Harmony, February 2014).

My project started as an attempt to motivate my son to care about the SATs. We needed a plan for college: how to get in and how to pay. I started researching the SAT, looking for hope, and it was during that search that I found an article about SAT scores leading to merit aid, which seemed promising.

I started with the SAT Question of the Day and immediately got hooked. They were like puzzles, and in a moment of enthusiasm, I declared I was going to try to achieve a perfect SAT score! I never expected my son to get a perfect score; he came up with his own goal, which we agreed on.

The project grew into a book idea—a “Consumer Reports” for the SAT. And so, in 2011, I took the test every time it was offered (seven times total) at five different test centers. (more…)

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…)

For All of Us, One Today by Richard Blanco

Inaugural Poet Richard Blanco’s new book For All of Us, One Today  (Beacon Press, November 2013) just released and we are giving away 50 advanced reader copies! To win, be one of the first 50 people to send an email to Rhacademic@randomhouse.com with the subject line “Blanco.”

Please see below for terms and conditions.

(more…)

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