Discussion Guide: The Gray

The Gray
By Chris Baron
Ages 10-14
On Sale Now!

The Gray is a sensitively told middle grade story from Chris Baron about living with anxiety and finding ways to cope.

It’s been a tough year for Sasha—he’s been bullied at his middle school and his anxiety, which he calls the Gray, is growing. Sasha’s dad tells him to “toughen up”—and he does, but with unfortunate, hurtful results. His parents and therapist agree that a summer in the country with his aunt might be the best medicine, but it’s the last place he wants to be. He’ll be away from his best friend, video games, and stuck in the house that reminds him of his beloved uncle who died two years earlier.

His aunt is supportive, and there are lots of places to explore, and even some potential new friends. When Sasha is introduced at a local ranch to a horse coincidentally–incredibly–nicknamed the Gray, he feels he’s found a kindred spirit.

But his own Gray is ever-present. When one of his new friends disappears, Sasha discovers that the country is wilder and more mysterious than he imagined. He tries to muster enough courage to help in the search . . . but will the Gray hold him back?

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Activity Kit: Big Tune: Rise of the Dancehall Prince

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Take a deep dive with your classroom into Big Tune: Rise of the Dancehall Prince by Alliah L. Agostini; illustrated by Shamar Knight-Justice. This picture book is about a community coming together to have a good time. In this activity kit, you can host your own Dancehall Party, and bring different cultures together. A Dancehall Party is when “Family, friends, music, food, and drink are a universal recipe for a good time! And in immigrant communities like the early 1990s Brooklyn, New York, Jamaican community depicted here, parties or bashments are an opportunity to reconnect with local family, friends, and the rhythm and flavors of a home thousands of miles away.”

Click below to download the activity kit to share in your school or library.

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Warrior Girl Unearthed Teacher’s Guide

#1 New York Times bestselling author of Firekeeper’s Daughter Angeline Boulley takes us back to Sugar Island in this high-stakes thriller about the power of discovering your stolen history.

Perry Firekeeper-Birch has always known who she is—the laidback twin, the troublemaker, the best fisher on Sugar Island. Her aspirations won’t ever take her far from home, and she wouldn’t have it any other way. But as the rising number of missing Indigenous women starts circling closer to home, as her family becomes embroiled in a high-profile murder investigation, and as greedy grave robbers seek to profit off of what belongs to her Anishinaabe tribe, Perry begins to question everything.

In order to reclaim this inheritance for her people, Perry has no choice but to take matters into her own hands. She can only count on her friends and allies, including her overachieving twin and a charming new boy in town with unwavering morals. Old rivalries, sister secrets, and botched heists cannot—will not—stop her from uncovering the mystery before the ancestors and missing women are lost forever.

Sometimes, the truth shouldn’t stay buried.

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Domestic Violence Awareness Month

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month where we acknowledge domestic violence survivors and recognize stories that offer opportunities to discuss complex topics. Browse the books below for titles you can confidently recommend to young readers on this sensitive subject. For more resources on this topic, please visit the Domestic Violence Awareness Hotline or call the National Domestic Violence Hotline 800-799-7233.

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Teacher’s Guide: The Yellow Áo Dài

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Take a deep dive with your classroom into The Yellow Áo Dài Hanh Bui’s debut picture book about a little girl who connects to her Vietnamese heritage when she accidentally rips her late grandmother’s áo dài. This comprehensive guide created by The Book Links includes discussion questions, activities, and extension learning opportunities making it the perfect fit for classrooms across a wide grade range.

Click below to download the activity kit to share in your school or library. Resources include:

  • A slide deck for educators
  • Sequencing worksheets
  • Conflict & resolution worksheets
  • Country research project
  • Vocabulary cards and quiz
  • Sustainability worksheet
  • ..and more!
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Discussion Guide: Eagle Drums

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Eagle Drums
By Nasuġraq Rainey Hopson
Ages 8-12
On Sale Now!

A magical realistic middle grade debut about the origin story of the Iñupiaq Messenger Feast, a Native Alaskan tradition.

As his family prepares for winter, a young, skilled hunter must travel up the mountain to collect obsidian for knapping—the same mountain where his two older brothers died.

When he reaches the mountaintop, he is immediately confronted by a terrifying eagle god named Savik. Savik gives the boy a choice: follow me or die like your brothers.

What comes next is a harrowing journey to the home of the eagle gods and unexpected lessons on the natural world, the past that shapes us, and the community that binds us.

Eagle Drums by Nasuġraq Rainey Hopson is part cultural folklore, part origin myth about the Messenger’s Feast – which is still celebrated in times of bounty among the Iñupiaq. It’s the story of how Iñupiaq people were given the gift of music, song, dance, community, and everlasting tradition.

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