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…)

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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…)

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…)

9780812997316By Michelle Kuo, author of Reading with Patrick (Random House, July 2017).

Every teacher has likely experienced two emotions: the feeling that you’ve gotten through to a student and the feeling that you’ve let him down. In the first, the classroom is a powerful place of human connection, and the lightbulb that has gone off in the kid’s head is hot and radiant. In the second, life proves too complex, too full of barriers and missteps, and the teacher, with regret and perhaps some shame, retraces her decisions, dissecting what went wrong. (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.

9781611802689 (1)What better way to encourage your students both to write and to keep in touch with peers and teachers during the summer break than by reviving the lost art of letter writing?

Though many young people today may regard it as an outdated practice, Write Back Soon! reframes the letter writing process in a way that is fresh and exciting. Karen Benke, the author, took note of the way in which correspondence has been almost entirely digitized in the form of texting and email. Though the sheer convenience of these modes of communication explains their popularity in everyday use, her book celebrates the personal connection that is so fundamental to a handwritten letter, note, or postcard. And let’s not forget the wealth of historical and literary figures who have been immortalized in their own letters and correspondence: Dickinson, Mozart, Keats, and so on. The educational opportunities abound. So what are you waiting for? Jumpstart your students’ minds this summer and claim your free copy today!

Write Back Soon! is a letter-writing workbook published by Shambhala, featuring fun prompts as well as imaginative activities, and its contributors include a variety of writers such as Neil Gaiman and Jon J. Muth. And we are giving away 25 FREE copies to high school teachers!  To claim a free copy—while supplies last—please email highschool@penguinrandomhouse.com with your request. (Please note that only high school teachers within the United States are eligible.)