Jake Burt Teacher’s Guides

Download the teacher’s guides for these must-read sci-fi adventure books by Jake Burt,
perfect for your classroom library!

Jake Burt is the author of the middle-grade novels Greetings from Witness Protection!, an Indie Next selection, The Right Hook of Devin Velma, a Junior Library Guild selection, and The Tornado, which School Library Journal called “one of the best stories about bullying for middle grades,” in a starred review. His novel Cleo Porter and the Body Electric was praised as a “thrilling sci-fi adventure” by #1 New York Times bestselling author Alan Gratz. Jake Burt teaches fifth grade, and lives in Hamden, CT, with his wife and their daughter.

Download teacher’s guides here →

DISCUSSION GUIDE: Treasure Tracks by S.A. Rodriguez

Treasure Tracks by S.A. Rodriguez
Ages 10 – 12
On June 28, 2022!

A debut middle-grade adventure about a young teen who goes on a treasure hunt for undersea riches to help his ailing abuelo.

Twelve-year-old Fernando “Fin” joins his grandfather on a secret quest to find a long-lost treasure swept to sea. But when their first mission takes a near-deadly turn, leaving his abuelo weak and unable to speak, Fin’s left to navigate the hunt alone. Well, not exactly alone—his boring, totally unadventurous dad agrees to help out. With danger lurking at every turn, Fin dives into the mission in order to save Abuelo’s life. But between Dad’s constant worrying, unwanted diving babysitters, and harrowing encounters in the deep sea, the boy finds himself in a race against time to locate the treasure. If he can’t succeed? He fears he might lose Abuelo for good.

Treasure Tracks is a fast-paced story filled with heart and humor about the bonds of family, the meaning of a legacy, and most of all, the discovery of true treasure.


Praise for Treasure Tracks:

A Junior Library Guild Gold Standard Selection
“Rodriguez packs a ton of local historical know-how and genuine humor into a seaworthy debut adventure. Lighthearted yet solid prose and quirky, delightful characters round out this swell tale of plucky fun under (and above) the sea. Here be treasure indeed.” —Kirkus Reviews

Remixed Classics Educator’s Guide

In the Remixed Classics series, authors from diverse backgrounds take different literary classics from centuries past and reinterpret them through their own unique cultural lens. This collection will serve young adult readers as both a series of fun, engaging reads as well as a subversive overall look at what our society has deemed “classic”— works that are overwhelmingly cishet, white, and male.

Learn more about how to use Remixed Classics in the classroom and find nonfiction pairings for each book in the series in this new educator guide!

DISCUSSION GUIDE: In the Key of Us by Mariama J. Lockington

In the Key of Us by Mariama J. Lockington
Ages 8 – 12
On Sale
Now!

From the author of the critically acclaimed novel For Black Girls Like MeMariama J. Lockington, comes a coming-of-age story surrounding the losses that threaten to break us and the friendships that make us whole again.

Thirteen-year-old Andi feels stranded after the loss of her mother, the artist who swept color onto Andi’s blank canvas. When she is accepted to a music camp, Andi finds herself struggling to play her trumpet like she used to before her whole world changed. Meanwhile, Zora, a returning camper, is exhausted trying to please her parents, who are determined to make her a flute prodigy, even though she secretly has a dancer’s heart.

At Harmony Music Camp, Zora and Andi are the only two Black girls in a sea of mostly white faces. In kayaks and creaky cabins, the two begin to connect, unraveling their loss, insecurities, and hopes for the future. And as they struggle to figure out who they really are, they may just come to realize who they really need: each other.

In the Key of Us is a lyrical ode to music camp, the rush of first love, and the power of one life-changing summer.


Praise for In the Key of Us:

★ “Alternating the two perspectives with verse interstitials, Lockington (For Black Girls Like Me) weaves an exploration of mental health, self-harm, and microaggressions with a love letter to music, the importance of representation, and the work of sticking up for the person one dreams of becoming.” —Publishers Weeklystarred review

★ “Told in Andi’s and Zora’s alternating perspectives, the well-paced coming-of-age narrative is sprinkled with contemporary references that bolster its authenticity as it sensitively explores topics such as racism and self-harm and offers a touching portrayal of young queer love…Vivid writing and relatable characters make this a worthwhile read.” —Kirkus Reviewsstarred review

“Lockington elevates what is already an insightful middle-grade romance to a moving portrayal of two girls working toward themselves and each other, carrying the weight of other people’s expectations and the pain of past traumas… An authentic look at how identity and relationships transform under shifting middle grade dynamics, this is a must-have for fans of Paula Chase and Frances O’Roark Dowell.” —The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Booksstarred review

Read more praise for IN THE KEY OF US here →

Educator Guide: The Lost Dreamer by Lizz Huerta

The Lost Dreamer by Lizz Huerta
Ages 14-18
On Sale Now!

Indir is a Dreamer, descended from a long line of seers; able to see beyond reality, she carries the rare gift of Dreaming truth. But when the beloved king dies, his son has no respect for this time-honored tradition. King Alcan wants an opportunity to bring the Dreamers to a permanent end—an opportunity Indir will give him if he discovers the two secrets she is struggling to keep. As violent change shakes Indir’s world to its core, she is forced to make an impossible choice: fight for her home or fight to survive.

Saya is a seer, but not a Dreamer—she has never been formally trained. Her mother exploits her daughter’s gift, passing it off as her own as they travel from village to village, never staying in one place too long. Almost as if they’re running from something. Almost as if they’re being hunted. When Saya loses the necklace she’s worn since birth, she discovers that seeing isn’t her only gift—and begins to suspect that everything she knows about her life has been a carefully-constructed lie. As she comes to distrust the only family she’s ever known, Saya will do what she’s never done before, go where she’s never been, and risk it all in the search of answers.

With a detailed, supernaturally-charged setting and topical themes of patriarchal power and female strength, Lizz Huerta’s The Lost Dreamer brings an ancient world to life, mirroring the challenges of our modern one.

Learn more about The Lost Dreamer here →

Discussion Guide: THE SECOND CHANCE OF BENJAMIN WATERFALLS by James Bird

The Second Chance of Benjamin Waterfalls by James Bird
Ages 10 -14
On Sale 04/19/2022

A middle-grade novel by James Bird about a boy sent to his Ojibwe family to straighten out his life.

Benjamin Waterfalls comes from a broken home, and the quickest fix he’s found for his life is to fill that emptiness with stuff he steals and then sells. But he’s been caught one too many times, and when he appears before a tough judge, his mother proposes sending him to “boot camp” at the Ojibwe reservation where they used to live.

Soon he is on his way to Grand Portage, Minnesota, to live with his father – the man Benny hasn’t seen in years. Not only is “boot camp” not what he expects, but his rehabilitation seems to be in the hands of the tribal leader’s daughter, who wears a mask. Why? Finding the answer to this and so many other questions prove tougher than any military-style boot camp. Will answers be enough for Benny to turn his life around and embrace his second chance?


Praise for The Second Chance of Benjamin Waterfalls:

“The bravado and feigned indifference in Benny’s voice is spot-on for a kid hiding the pain of his father’s abandonment, and the times he lets himself contemplate how truly awful it felt to be left behind are heartbreakingly realistic. ….It’s a hard lesson, but it’s grounded in love, and readers will be happy to see Benny and his father get their second chances.” — BCCB

“Bird’s strengths include his multidimensional characters (each of whom has flaws that they struggle to overcome) as well as the vivid descriptions of Grand Portage, Minnesota, home of the Gitchi Onigaming Ojibwe. 
Of equal importance is the more understated message that Indigenous ways of knowing and approaches to problems can be extremely effective, despite the dominant culture’s insistence on discounting them. … Benny’s progress is heartening and sure to encourage readers.”— Booklist

Discussion Guide: Group Hug by Jean Reidy; illustrations by Joey Chou

Group Hug by Jean Reidy; illustrations by Joey Chou
Ages 4-8
On Sale Now

There once was a slug, / needing someone to hug.

When Slug happens upon a lonely beetle, he knows just what to do. He gives him a big hug—and then the two friends decide to pass it along. They meet Mouse, who’s down in the dumps, Skunk, who’s a bit smelly, and more and more animals, until their group hug stretches wide and tall. But when Bear comes along, will there be enough hug to share? This delightful picture book encourages kindness and goes to show “that a hugger finds happiness ‘longside the hugged!”


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Find praise for this book here →

Educator Guide: A Home Named Walter by Chelsea Lin Wallace; illustrated by Ginnie Hsu

A Home Named Walter by Chelsea Lin Wallace; illustrated by Ginnie Hsu
Ages: 4-8
On sale now!

A home named Walter learns how to heal his broken heart after a family he loves moves away in this poignant picture book about loss and renewal.

Walter was a happy home.

He loved the bustle and warmth of the family that lived with him. But when they move away, his feelings are hurt. He grows cold and quiet and only wants to be left alone.

So when a little girl and her mama move in, Walter is determined to get them out! But in his struggle to do so, Walter may just feel livable again and change how he feels.

Chelsea Lin Wallace has written a truly poignant story. With its classic sensibility, paired with Ginnie Hsu’s warm and lush illustrations, A Home Named Walter is a special story that will resonate with many readers for years to come.


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Teacher’s Guide: I Wish For You by David Wax, illustrated by Brett Blumenthal

I Wish For You by David Wax, illustrated by Brett Blumenthal
Ages 3-6
On Sale April 5th, 2022

A moving and beautiful keepsake book for fans of On the Night You Were Born.

I wish for you, my little one…

What do you wish for your child? Do you wish for them to be kind? To be strong? To be proud of who they are?

From courageous lions and wise owls to playful dolphins and wolves finding their voices, this timeless and lushly illustrated book explores the values we can draw from the wondrous and inspiring natural world around us.

Gentle and affirming, the lyrical text takes readers through the qualities we wish to instill in our children, helping them grow into resilient, assured, and happy individuals. I Wish for You is both a celebration of nature as well as a love letter to a child.

A book meant to be treasured, I Wish for You is the perfect gift for baby showers, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, graduations, and anytime you wish to share a lasting keepsake and a gift of inspiration.

In the I Wish for You Wildlife teacher’s guide we showcase twelve different animal species, each representing a specific value that we all hope to instill in our children. We believe that biodiversity is an essential component of the health of our planet and encourage you to discuss these animals with your students to help them understand more about these beautiful creatures.

In the I Wish for You SEL/VALUES teacher’s guide we discuss twelve different values that we feel are important in building a child’s confidence, happiness, and purposefulness. The SEL / Values Teaching guide provides a wonderful way to introduce the twelve values to your students and is a perfect supplement to any Social-Emotional Learning curriculum you may already be using.


Preview the book here→

Discussion Guide & Mackin Webinar: Olympians by George O’Connor

Scroll to discover each graphic novel!

Join George O’Connor, creator of the Olympians graphic novels, for a special preview event with Mackin where he talks with Mark Siegel, Creative Director of FirstSecond Books, about his journey of creating the Olympians series. Book 12, Olympians: Dionysos, is the final book in the Olympians series and is available for purchase March 8, 2022. If you’re looking to complete your collection, the final boxed set of Books 7-12 will also be available!

In the final volume of the New York Times–bestselling Olympians graphic novel series, author/artist George O’Connor focuses on Dionysos, the god of wine and madness.

The Olympians saga draws to a close with the tale of Dionysos, the last Olympian, and maybe, just maybe, the first of a new type of God. His story is told by the first Olympian herself, Hestia, Goddess of the hearth and home. From her seat in the center of Mt. Olympus, Hestia relates the rise of Dionysos, from his birth to a mortal mother, to his discovery of wine, his battles with madness and his conquering of death itself, culminating, finally, in his ascent to Olympus and Godhood.


Mackin Event: Using Comics in the Classroom Case Study: The Olympians

In case you missed it–watch a special event with bestselling, award-winning Olympians creator George O’Connor and First Second Creative Director Mark Siegel as they discuss the value of using graphic novels in libraries and classrooms. Using the Olympians series as a case study, the panelists discuss how graphic novels can supplement curriculums. Greek mythology has never been so action-packed and entertaining! Moderated by Mackin educational consultant Tuan Nguyen.

Click the image below to watch a recording of this Olympians event!

Read more praise for the OLYMPIANS series here →