The poetry anthology HOOP KINGS (Candlewick 2004) is a must for any language-arts teacher's classroom. Snappy, rap-rhythm poems about basketball greats will have even the most reluctant student-poets sit up and take notice. Poems from this book can be used to teach concepts such as alliteration, metaphor, rhythm and typography with slam dunk material. Readers who enjoy Kwame Alexander's books, will love HOOP KINGS.
Middle Grade THE EMPEROR'S OSTRICH is a humorous, fantasy adventure about a milkmaid looking for her lost cow, but finding friends instead, and a spoiled emperor who learns what it means to govern. And an ostrich. Who finds a cow. Julie Berry masterfully weaves together a plot that is entertaining, unpredictable and completely satisfying. Young readers will revel in laugh-out-loud twists, unconventional language use, and endearing characters. This book is a great classroom read for 4th and 5th graders, with themes such as loyalty, perseverance and greed to discuss.