YA Brochure cover jpegWe are pleased to share our new guide “Ralph & Piggy, Meet the Wilder Girls,” which outlines the benefits of pairing young adult novels with classics in the classroom.

Teens want—and need—to read books that truly reflect our diverse societies and, even more importantly, our struggles. Contemporary young adult novels cover a variety of issues, and their use in conjunction with classic texts can highlight the universality of the human experience.

“Pairing core texts with books featuring YA voices through book clubs, literature circles, and independent reading provides chances for contemporary voices to enter the classroom conversation, allowing for comparative analyses in writing, sketch notes, and other creative assignments that explore thematic landscapes,” writes English teacher Kim Herzog, whose introduction to the guide highlights her own positive experiences pairing YA and classic novels as part of her curriculum. “Integrating YA breathes new life into curricula, allowing for added opportunities to engage even the most reticent learners.”

Click here to view and download a PDF of the guide.

ncteWe are excited to announce that we are partnering with the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) to launch a new grant program for high school teachers nationwide.

Two teachers who use their creativity to inspire and successfully instill a lifelong love of reading in students will be awarded $10,000 grants to help make their innovative reading programs possible. In addition, honorable mentions will receive book donations for their classrooms from Penguin Random House. The National Teacher Award for Lifelong Readers will honor a teacher who inspires their students to read all genres of writing while the Maya Angelou Teacher Award for Poetry will honor Dr. Angelou’s legacy by recognizing a teacher who inspires their students to love poetry.

If this sounds like you, or a teacher you know, we invite you to apply or nominate someone. More information, including the application and program guidelines, can be found here. The deadline to apply is May 31, 2019, and the grant recipients will be announced at NCTE’s Annual Convention on November 21, 2019, in Baltimore, Maryland.

garbologyBy Elizabeth Grimaldi, English Teacher, Cranbury School 

To request a complimentary examination copy to review for classroom use, please contact us at K12education@edu.penguinrandomhouse.com or call us toll free at (844) 851-3955.

Not unexpectedly, the inspection of an individual’s garbage can reveal a great deal about a person, sometimes reveal otherwise hidden secrets, or even solve a crime. The study of the garbage produced by a group of people, by any account, can also help us to draw conclusions about that society and the values it holds. This premise propels the narrative of Edward Humes’ nonfiction book entitled Garbology: Our Dirty Little Love Affair with Trash. According to Humes, if the United States does not curb its excessive consumerism, and commit to a significant reduction in trash production, the country and world will be in grave peril. (more…)

the reason i jumpBy Elizabeth Grimaldi, English Teacher, Cranbury School  

The Reason I Jump was written by a thirteen-year-old, non-verbal autistic, Naoki Higoshida, who is clearly not only a gifted memoirist, but a brilliant fable and parable writer as well. With captivating honesty and refreshing simplicity, Naoki shares the answers to many of the questions he’s been asked (and imagines) by people over his thirteen years, in an effort to shed some light on his non-normative behaviors and more importantly, on his inner world.  A powerful story of courage that will move you to tears, I added it to an eighth grade English curriculum unit this year. The unit begins with an excerpt from Daniel Keyes Flowers for Algernon, and the documentary Wretches and Jabberers, the story of a trip around the world with a group of autistics that includes Naoki.  This rich contextual material was designed to lay the groundwork for the study of the text. (more…)

9781101904404“Honesty matters. Vulnerability matters. Being open about who you were at a moment in time when you were in a difficult or an impossible place matters more than anything.” —Neil Gaiman, from the foreword of The Moth Presents All These Wonders

From storytelling phenomenon The Moth, All These Wonders presents forty-five unforgettable true stories about risk, courage, and facing the unknown, drawn from the very best ever told on their stages. Carefully selected by the creative minds at The Moth, and adapted to the page to preserve the raw energy of live storytelling, these stories feature voices both familiar and new. Alongside public cultural figures like Tig Notaro and John Turturro, you will encounter: an astronomer gazing at the surface of Pluto for the first time, an Afghan refugee learning how much her father sacrificed to save their family, a hip-hop star coming to terms with being a “one-hit wonder,” a young female spy risking everything as part of Churchill’s “secret army” during World War II, and more. (more…)

9780812978186By Krista McKim, AP® Language and Composition teacher at Rockville High School in Rockville, MD

On March 24, 2018, 40 students from Rockville High School came to enjoy a performance of Ragtime at Ford’s Theatre in Washington, D.C. Each student received a copy of the book by E. L. Doctorow. They read the book on their own time, and they all came together to talk about it before they saw the play. After the performance, Stephen F. Schmidt, an actor who played various characters and who is also a  teaching artist at the Ford’s Theatre, came to visit and give them a glimpse of the show from behind the scenes. As a result of these experiences, students thought deeply about the choices writers and directors make to bring a book to life.  They analyzed how Doctorow integrated historical and fictional characters, and they learned how a book goes from the page to the stage. (more…)

To request a complimentary examination copy of I KNOW WHY THE CAGED BIRD SINGS  to review for classroom use, please contact us at K12education@edu.penguinrandomhouse.com or call us toll free at (844) 851-3955.

By Gillian Schneider, a teacher at Neuqua Valley High School and the recipient of the 2016 Penguin Random House Maya Angelou Teacher Award for Poetry.

maya angelouSitting at the NCTE secondary luncheon in November 2015, I found an application for the Penguin Random House Literacy Awards, including the Maya Angelou Poetry Award. I did not have a concrete idea of what I might propose, but by spring, I decided that I would make every effort to come up with something to support poetry awareness. I asked colleagues to read my application and suggest changes, and I asked students to help me with letters of support and haiku. The grant idea for “So You Want Me to Love Poetry? YES!” began as an appeal to students to stop saying “No” to poetry and start saying “Yes!” Once I submitted all of the required elements, I distracted myself. (more…)

Reading with Patrick

Recently graduated from Harvard University, Michelle Kuo arrived in the rural town of Helena, Arkansas, as a Teach for America volunteer, bursting with optimism and drive. But she soon encountered the jarring realities of life in one of the poorest counties in America, still disabled by the legacy of slavery and Jim Crow. In Reading with Patrick, Kuo, the child of Taiwanese immigrants, shares the story of her complicated but rewarding mentorship of one student, Patrick Browning, and his remarkable literary and personal awakening. Below is an essay Kuo wrote for educators about her own experiences as a teacher.

To request a complimentary examination copy to review for classroom use, please contact us at K12education@edu.penguinrandomhouse.com or call us toll free at (844) 851-3955. (more…)

9781101907290Curriculum Guide Now Available

Shaka Senghor was raised in a middle class neighborhood on Detroit’s east side during the height of the 1980s crack epidemic. An honor roll student and a natural leader, he dreamed of becoming a doctor—but at age 11, his parents’ marriage began to unravel, and the beatings from his mother worsened, sending him on a downward spiral that saw him run away from home, turn to drug dealing to survive, and end up in prison for murder at the age of 19, fuming with anger and despair.

Writing My Wrongs (Convergent Books) is the story of what came next. During his nineteen-year incarceration, seven of which were spent in solitary confinement, Senghor discovered literature, meditation, self-examination, and the kindness of others—tools he used to confront the demons of his past, forgive the people who hurt him, and begin atoning for the wrongs he had committed. Upon his release at age thirty-eight, Senghor became an activist and mentor to young men and women facing circumstances like his. Shaka’s an unforgettable story, one which reminds us that our worst deeds don’t define us and which serves as a compelling witness to our country’s need for rethinking its approach to crime, prison, and the men and women sent there.

The new Writing My Wrongs Curriculum Guide was developed by Dr. Ebony Roberts and provides strategies to bring the book into the high school classroom. This guide, which also includes connections to the Common Core State Standards, features a thorough curriculum framework, activities for students before, during, and after reading the book, and takes you chapter by chapter through the themes (such as childhood innocence and prisons as punishment) that are central to Shaka’s story with suggested exercises and suggested supplementary resources for each.

Click here to download the Curriculum Guide or email us at highschool@penguinrandomhouse.com to request a print copy.

Click here to read about the use of Writing My Wrongs in a community Common Reading program.

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.