Browsing Category : books

Indigenous Literature for Secondary ELA


It’s Native American History Month! How are you celebrating and honoring Native culture in your classroom? One great way is through books. In today’s post, Megan Tipler from @tiplerteaches brings us recommendations for using Indigenous literature for Secondary ELA.   This post uses Indiebound Affiliate Links. We earn a small percentage of each sale (at no additional cost to you)…

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A River of Royal Blood by Amanda Joy


Our friend Courtney joins us to chat about A River of Royal Blood by Amanda Joy. It’s perfect for fans of Children of Blood and Bone or Three Dark Crowns! (Transcript) In today’s episode…   A River of Royal Blood tells the story of two rival princesses, Eva and Isadore, in a land of magic and mystery. Eva, our POV…

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Inclusive Nonfiction Titles for the Classroom Library


Do you struggle to get students interested in nonfiction? Keep pushing! Fostering a love of reading nonfiction books can help students become lifelong learners. If you’re looking for engaging, inclusive nonfiction for your secondary ELA classroom, look no further! This list has a little bit of everything from memoirs to history.       I have compiled tons of recommendation…

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Creating an Inclusive Classroom Library


Books can be both mirrors, reflecting students’ lives, or windows into the lives of others. You know the value of creating an inclusive classroom library, but maybe you’re not sure how to start. Our guest today is Dr. Sheila Frye from Teaching Literacy. She’ll share practical tips for auditing what you have, making informed purchasing choices, and thinking critically about…

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The Stars and the Blackness Between Them by Junauda Petrus feat. L. Sam Smith


Writer & teacher L. Samantha Smith joins us to chat about The Stars and the Blackness Between Them by Junauda Petrus, a lush, split perspective YA debut. (Transcript)     In today’s episode… The Stars and the Blackness Between Them follows two girls, Audre and Mabel. Audre has just been sent to Minnesota from her home in Trinidad after her…

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LGBTQ Middle Grade Novels


Since we started the YA Cafe Podcast, we’ve gotten a lot of questions around LGBTQ middle grade novels. This means anywhere from 4th-8th grade. Since our show doesn’t always cover this age range, we thought we’d spend some time here talking about it.     Why should I include LGBTQ titles in my classroom library?   My students are too…

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Pet by Akwaeke Emezi feat. H.D. Hunter


This week we’re chatting about Pet by Akwaeke Emezi. Our guest is author H.D. Hunter who has some great insight into this totally unique YA new release. (Transcript)     In today’s episode… Pet by Akwaeke Emezi The people in the town of Lucille know that there are no monsters anymore – not since the angels came and took them…

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The Revolution of Birdie Randolph by Brandy Colbert feat. Nikea JaLynn


BookTuber, Nikea JaLynn (cohost of the series #BlackGirlLit), joins us to chat about The Revolution of Birdie Randolph by Brandy Colbert. (Transcript)   In today’s episode… The Revolution of Birdie Randolph by Brandy Colbert Dove “Birdie” Randolph has tried hard to live up to her parents’ expectations: she’s at the top of her class, she works hard, and she even…

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Short Stories for High School – YA Anthologies


Are you teaching short stories for high school, and all you have is a dusty anthology of “classic” stories? An easy way to engage students in the form is to incorporate YA short story anthologies! These collections help students discover new authors and genres they can continue to enjoy throughout their lives.     We’ve got some great recommendations of…

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The Downstairs Girl by Stacey Lee


Stacey Lee does it again! The Downstairs Girl is exactly the kind of historical fiction we need right now. We loved it, and your students will too. (Transcript)         In today’s episode… The Downstairs Girl by Stacey Lee Being a Chinese American teenager in late 19th century Atlanta isn’t easy, but Jo Kwan has made a life…

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Spin the Dawn by Elizabeth Lim feat. Maura Milan


Project Runway meets Mulan in the new YA fantasy novel Spin the Dawn by Elizabeth Lim. Joining us to chat is author and filmmaker, Maura Milan. (Transcript)   In today’s episode…   In Spin the Dawn, Maia Tamarin wants to be the best tailor in the land but can’t even officially apprentice as a girl. Her brothers have gone off…

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Wicked Fox & more: Asian American author spotlight

Asian American YA Authors and Protags


How many Asian American YA novels do you have in your classroom library? We recently read Wicked Fox, a new YA urban fantasy by Kat Cho, and we wanted to collect some of our favorite Asian American YA authors and protags to share.     According to a study done by Creative Commons, only 7% of children’s and YA books…

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Patron Saints of Nothing by Randy Ribay


We are joined by Zshavette, a Pinay bookstagrammer to chat about Patron Saints of Nothing by Randy Ribay. It’s one of our favorite reads of 2019! (Transcript)     In today’s episode… In Patron Saints of Nothing by Randy Ribay, we meet Jay Reguero, a Filipino-American teenager. He has mostly maintained his connection to his family in the Philippines through…

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More Diverse YA Novels from the YA Cafe Podcast


From the 17th Century adventures in Lady’s Guide, to the dystopian future predicted in Internment, this list has a book recommendation for every student. Make sure you are subscribed to the podcast so you don’t miss all the great books and guests we have lined up for our next season! 🙂 And if you aren’t already caught up, you can…

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57 Tell Me How You Really Feel by Aminah Mae Safi feat. Justina Chen

Tell Me How You Really Feel by Aminah Mae Safi feat. Justina Chen


This week we chat with author Justina Chen about Gilmore Girls, Firefly, and of course our featured title, Tell Me How You Really Feel by Aminah Mae Safi. (Transcript)   In today’s episode… Tell Me How You Really Feel by Aminah Mae Safi Rachel Recht is the next great filmmaker. At least, she will be as soon as she can…

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56 These Witches Don't Burn by Isabel Sterling feat. Jessica Spotswood

These Witches Don’t Burn by Isabel Sterling feat. Jessica Spotswood


Author/editor Jessica Spotswood joins us to chat about the blood witches and bad breakups in These Witches Don’t Burn by Isabel Sterling, a fun YA mystery. (Transcript) In today’s episode… In These Witches Don’t Burn by Isabel Sterling, Hannah Walsh wants to get through her summer breakup, but sharing a coven with her ex-girlfriend Veronica doesn’t make life easy. Hannah…

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LGBTQ+ YA Novels for Pride Month


PRIDE month is almost here! Woo-hoo! In celebration, here are 21 diverse LGBTQ+ YA novels for your high school classroom library, broken down by genre. Building your classroom library to represent more voices is a great way to build empathy, teach peace, and draw in all of your students.   Contemporary LGBTQ+ YA Novels   The Summer of Jordi Perez…

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With the Fire on High by Elizabeth Acevedo


  This week we are joined once again by our friend Anna aka @never_withouta_book to discuss Elizabeth Acevedo’s newest book, With the Fire on High. (Transcript)     In today’s episode… With the Fire on High by Elizabeth Acevedo  Since getting pregnant at fourteen, Emoni has done everything she could for her daughter and her abuela. Between being a full-time…

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The Marrow Thieves by Cherie Dimaline


This week we discuss an indigenous #ownvoices novel, The Marrow Thieves by Cherie Dimaline, and how we as teachers can assist with Truth and Reconciliation. (Transcript) In today’s episode… The Marrow Thieves by Cherie Demaline In a world wrecked by global warming, most people have lost the ability to dream. The state believes the answer to this loss is inside…

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The Tiger at Midnight by Swati Teerdhala feat. Natasha Deen


Don’t miss this lively chat with author Natasha Deen! She shares about her life and we discuss the new YA fantasy, The Tiger at Midnight by Swati Teerdhala. (Transcript) In today’s episode… The Tiger at Midnight by Swati Teerdhala Esha, the legendary assassin known as the Viper, is on a mission: take down the brutal General Hotha and strike at…

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Teaching The Great Gatsby cov

Teaching the Great Gatsby: Building Background


Teaching The Great Gatsby can be transportive and engaging. Students explore a whole new era (Flappers! Jazz! Speakeasies!) while still making modern-day connections. To get the full impact of this American classic, however, students need to situate it within its historical context.     Building Context: The Post-War Era   Before teaching The Great Gatsby and the quirks of the…

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In the Key of Nira Ghani by Natasha Deen


Join us this week as we chat about In the Key of Nira Ghani, the story of a Guyanese-Canadian teen who longs to pursue her passion of playing jazz trumpet. (Transcript) In today’s episode… In the Key of Nira Ghani by Natasha Deen Nira Ghani feels like she doesn’t fit in in her mostly-white Canadian school. It’s not just that…

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12 Diverse YA Sci-Fi & Fantasy Novels


Many students adore fantasy and sci-fi, but most of our class novel choices are contemporary or historical fiction. Here are some great titles you can add to your classroom library to make sure you’re providing students with well-rounded choices. These diverse ya fantasy and sci-fi novels also feature authors and protagonists from a range of backgrounds and identities.    …

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7 Books for Teaching Poetry cover

7 Books for Teaching Poetry


It’s April so y’all know what that means: National Poetry Month! I have compiled a list below of some books that are sure to interest even the most reluctant poetry readers and included some ideas for how to use them in the classroom. Even though I’ve labeled these as “books for teaching poetry,” they’re also great additions to the classroom…

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Ms. Marvel Vol. 1: No Normal by G. Willow Wilson


A typical Muslim-American teen saves the world (with the help of her teleporting dog), in our 50th episode, Ms. Marvel Vol. 1: No Normal by G. Willow Wilson. (Transcript) In today’s episode… In Ms. Marvel Vol. 1: No Normal by G. Willow Wilson, Kamala Khan is your average Pakistani-American teenager living in Jersey City. She feels her parents’ expectations of…

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Including Superheroes in American Literature


When I took American Literature as a high schooler in 2003, we read a range of texts from colonial accounts to Puritan sermons to stories from the Great Depression. Even as a future English teacher, I hated the class. Where were our nation’s epics? I already viewed Huck Finn as passé and overrated, and The Grapes of Wrath never spoke…

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Internment by Samira Ahmed


Join us this week as we discuss Internment by Samira Ahmed, a gripping book with a dark vision of a future that is too close for comfort. (Transcript) In today’s episode… Internment is a look at a horrifying near-future United States in which Islamophobia and fear-mongering have won. As their freedoms are stripped away, Muslims are registered and eventually rounded…

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Girls with Sharp Sticks by Suzanne Young feat. Amanda K. Morgan


Author Amanda K. Morgan joins us to chat about Girls with Sharp Sticks by Suzanne Young, a new YA thriller that kept us guessing all the way through! (Transcript)   In today’s episode… In Girls with Sharp Sticks by Suzanne Young, Philomena is the perfect student at a school that makes perfect girls. Behind her school’s gated walls, girls are…

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Liar by Justine Larbalestier


It’s time for another #throwbackthursday, and this week we are arguing, I mean talking, about Liar by Justine Larbalestier. (Transcript) In today’s episode… Liar by Justine Larbalestier. Micah Wilkins is a liar, she’ll lie about anything. Not just for personal gain, not just for a good reason, but to see how easily someone falls for the lies that comes easily…

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The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon feat. Somaiya Daud


Beware: dragons ahead! Join us as we dive into the epic fantasy world of The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon, with our guest Somaiya Daud. (Transcript) In today’s episode… The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon is an epic fantasy set in a world with sharp divisions. For those in the West, dragons are their most…

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