May We Suggest?

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Originally released in the UK on May 26, 1967, this year marks the 50th anniversary of the Beatles' landmark album. The U.S. release was on June 1.

A riveting look at the transformative year in the lives and careers of the legendary group whose groundbreaking legacy would forever change music and popular culture. They started off as hysteria-inducing pop stars playing to audiences of screaming teenage fans and ended up as musical sages considered responsible for ushering in a new era. The year that changed everything for the Beatles was 1966-- the year of their last concert and their first album, Revolver, that was created to be listened to rather than performed. This was the year the Beatles risked their popularity by retiring from live performances, recording songs that explored alternative states of consciousness, experimenting with avant-garde ideas, and speaking their minds on issues of politics, war, and religion. 

Finding the best books for middle school ESL students can be especially tough. You want to empower your students/children as English readers and not scare them away with difficult texts. But you also want books to be meaningful and enjoyable to read.

Below you will find a list of novels that should connect with intermediate readers. A number of them will be culturally relevant books that should also appeal to ESL middle school students. If you've had success with any of these books, please let us know down below in the comments.

Blue Jasmine by Kashmira Sheth

When twelve-year-old Seema moves to Iowa City with her parents and younger sister, she leaves friends and family behind in her native India but gradually begins to feel at home in her new country.

Also available in: audiobook | e-audiobook

When twelve-year-old Hugo, an orphan living and repairing clocks within the walls of a Paris train station in 1931, meets a mysterious toy seller and his goddaughter, his undercover life and his biggest secret are jeopardized.

Is there a song that changed your life? A song that made you feel happy or understood or saved? Check out a title that explores the effect of music in the lives of young people. 

The bad decisions playlist by Michael Rubens

"Sixteen-year-old Austin, a self-described screw-up, finds out that his allegedly dead father happens to be the very-much-alive rock star Shane Tyler. Austin--a talented musician himself--is sucked into his newfound father's alluring music-biz orbit, pulling his true love, Josephine, along with him"--.

Exile by Kevin Emerson

As band manager for the up-and-coming DangerHeart, seventeen-year-old Summer Carlson navigates a relationship with the lead singer and decides whether to act on information that could rocket the band to stardom.

Sparks fly when Beatrix Adams, seventeen, who strives to be a medical illustrator, meets Jack, one of San Francisco's most notorious graffiti artists, but even as Beatrix begins to uncover the secrets that have left Jack so wounded, her own family secrets threaten to tear them apart.

And we're off by Dana Schwartz

Offered a summer trip to Europe to study history's most famous artists, seventeen-year-old Nora is required to create a unique painting at each stop, but clashes with her mom who fears her daughter's optimism may prompt an insecure future.

Draw the line by Laurent Linn

"A teen boy survives a hate crime against another gay student through his art"--.

Late last month, both the Malice Domestic, Ltd. convention and the Edgars Symposium were held, the events where the Agatha Awards and the Edgars Awards are announced. The Edgars Awards are a general mystery fiction award nominated by THE MYSTERY WRITERS OF AMERICA while the Malice Dometic's Agatha Awards are given to “traditional mystery” works in the vein of Agatha Christie. 

Best Contemporary Novel: Agatha Award

A great reckoning by Louise Penny

When an intricate old map is found stuffed into the walls of the bistro in Three Pines, it at first seems no more than a curiosity. But the closer the villagers look, the stranger it becomes. Given to Armand Gamache as a gift the first day of his new job, the map eventually leads him to shattering secrets. To an old friend and older adversary. It leads the former Chief of Homicide for the Sûreté du Québec to places even he is afraid to go. But must. And there he finds four young cadets in the Sûreté academy, and a dead professor. And, with the body, a copy of the old, odd map. Everywhere Gamache turns, he sees Amelia Choquet, one of the cadets. Tattooed and pierced. Guarded and angry. Amelia is more likely to be found on the other side of a police line-up. And yet she is in the academy. A protégée of the murdered professor....

Are you obsessed with Sarah J. Maas and the worlds of Prythian and Erilea? Wondering what to do after you've finished reading A Court of Wings and Ruin? Don't despair, check out some of these adventure fantasy novels that contain just the right amount of romance, intrigue, action and strong female heroines.

Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers

Seventeen-year-old Ismae avoids an arranged marriage by making a place for herself at the convent of St. Martin, where she learns of her unique gifts and must determine whether she will be trained as an assassin and serve as a handmaiden to Death.

Guy Burgess was the most important, complex, and fascinating of The Cambridge Spies--Maclean, Philby, Blunt--brilliant young men recruited in the 1930s to betray their country to the Soviet Union. An engaging and charming companion to many, an unappealing, utterly ruthless manipulator to others, Burgess rose through academia, the BBC, the Foreign Office, MI5 and MI6, gaining access to thousands of highly sensitive secret documents which he passed to his Russian handlers.

 

In case you missed our Duck storytime this week, don't worry. Here are some of the fun stories and songs we shared, plus some extras to do your own quacking storytime at home.

From Storytime

When Mama Duck's eggs hatch, revealing Feather, Flap, and Spike she feels like the luckiest duck in the pond.

This is the story of the political battles that have taken place in the court of Vladimir Putin since his rise to power, and a chronicle of friendship and hatred between the Russian leader and his foreign partners and opponents.

The raging question in the world today is who is the real Vladimir Putin and what are his intentions. Karen Dawisha's brilliant work provides an answer, describing how Putin got to power, the cabal he brought with him, the billions they have looted, and his plan to restore the Greater Russia.

Whether becoming or simply being a teenager, there are a number of challenges and issues that tweens and teens face as they make their way through the junior high and high school years.  The titles below tackle these pressures and challenges in fictional accounts and nonfiction guides.

Fiction

The titles below address teen pressures through fictional narratives, as characters confront peer pressure, bullying, mental health issues, and other life challenges.  Suggested grade levels are provided based on professional reviews.

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