Teacher’s Guide: The Miraculous

The Miraculous by Jess Redman

In the tradition of heartwrenching and hopeful middle grade novels such as Bridge to Terabithia comes Jess Redman’s stunning debut about a young boy who must regain his faith in miracles after a tragedy changes his world.

Eleven-year-old Wunder Ellis is a miracologist. In a journal he calls The Miraculous, he records stories of the inexplicable and the extraordinary. And he believes every single one. But then his newborn sister dies, at only eight days old. If that can happen, then miracles can’t exist. So Wunder gets rid of The Miraculous. He stops believing.

Then he meets Faye—a cape-wearing, outspoken girl with losses of her own. Together, they find an abandoned house by the cemetery and a mysterious old woman who just might be a witch. The old woman asks them for their help. She asks them to believe. And they go on a journey that leads to friendship, to adventure, to healing—and to miracles.

The Miraculous is Jess Redman’s sparkling debut novel about facing grief, trusting the unknown, and finding brightness in the darkest moments.

“A stunning story expressing the complexities and mysteries of love and death in all of its light and darkness. A beautifully rendered and meaningful read for young readers asking deep questions.” —Veera Hiranandani, Newbery Honor–winning author of The Night Diary

“Filled with longing, love, hope, and wisdom, The Miraculous is a small miracle of a book.” —Alison McGhee, author of Shadow Baby and the #1 New York Times–bestseller Someday

“Exquisitely crafted, serious, yet woven through with wry humor, this story’s miracles are its fierce and tender characters. I loved this extraordinary debut.” —Leslie Connor, National Book Award Finalist author of The Truth as Told by Mason Buttle

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Teacher’s Guide: The Bone Garden

The Bone Garden by Heather Kassner

A spooky and adventurous debut illustrated fantasy novel about a girl made of dust and bone and imagination who seeks the truth about the magic that brought her to life.

“This magical story—and the brave girl in its pages—will haunt you in the best way.” —Natalie Lloyd, New York Times bestselling author of Over the Moon

“Remember, my dear, you do not really and truly exist.”

Irréelle fears she’s not quite real. Only the finest magical thread tethers her to life—and to Miss Vesper. But for all her efforts to please her cruel creator, the thread is unraveling. Irréelle is forgetful as she gathers bone dust. She is slow returning from the dark passages beneath the cemetery. Worst of all, she is unmindful of her crooked bones.

When Irréelle makes one final, unforgivable mistake by destroying a frightful creature just brought to life, Miss Vesper threatens to imagine her away once and for all. Defying her creator for the very first time, Irréelle flees to the underside of the graveyard and embarks on an adventure to unearth the mysterious magic that breathes bones to life, even if it means she will return to dust and be no more.

With echoes of Neil Gaiman’s The Graveyard Book, debut author Heather Kassner’s The Bone Garden is a gorgeously written story–illustrated by Matt Saunders–humming with magic, mystery, and dark imaginings. Perfect for fans of Holly Black, Jonathan Auxier, and Katherine Arden.

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Teacher’s Guide: Secret Soldiers

Secret Soldiers by Keely Hutton

Over a quarter million underage British boys fought on the Allied front lines of the Great War, but not all of them fought on the battlefield—some fought beneath it, as revealed in this middle-grade historical adventure about a deadly underground mission.

Secret Soldiers follows the journey of Thomas, a thirteen-year-old coal miner, who lies about his age to join the Claykickers, a specialized crew of soldiers known as “tunnelers,” in hopes of finding his missing older brother. Thomas works in the tunnels of the Western Front alongside three other soldier boys whose constant bickering and inexperience in mining may prove more lethal than the enemy digging toward them. But as they burrow deeper beneath the battlefield, the boys discover the men they hope to become and forge a bond of brotherhood.

Secret Soldiers is another stunning story of strength, perseverance, and love from Keely Hutton.

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Teacher’s Guide: Pie in the Sky

Pie in the Sky by Remy Lai

A poignant, laugh-out-loud illustrated middle-grade novel about an eleven-year-old boy’s immigration experience, his annoying little brother, and their cake-baking hijinks!

When Jingwen moves to a new country, he feels like he’s landed on Mars. School is torture, making friends is impossible since he doesn’t speak English, and he’s often stuck looking after his (extremely irritating) little brother, Yanghao.

To distract himself from the loneliness, Jingwen daydreams about making all the cakes on the menu of Pie in the Sky, the bakery his father had planned to open before he unexpectedly passed away. The only problem is his mother has laid down one major rule: the brothers are not to use the oven while she’s at work. As Jingwen and Yanghao bake elaborate cakes, they’ll have to cook up elaborate excuses to keep the cake making a secret from Mama.

In her hilarious, moving middle-grade debut, Remy Lai delivers a scrumptious combination of vibrant graphic art and pitch-perfect writing that will appeal to fans of Shannon Hale and LeUyen Pham’s Real Friends, Kelly Yang’s Front Desk, and Jerry Craft’s New Kid.

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Teacher’s Guide: The Lost Boy’s Gift

The Lost Boy’s Gift by Kimberly Willis Holt

Kimberly Willis Holt explores themes of divorce, acceptance, intergenerational friendship, and the power that comes with noticing in The Lost Boy’s Gift, an insightful middle-grade novel.

There are places where you want to go and places where you want to leave. There are also places where you want to stay.

Nine-year-old Daniel must move across the county with his mom after his parents’ divorce. He’s leaving behind his whole life—everything—and he’s taking a suitcase of anger with him. But Daniel is in for a surprise when he settles into While-a-Way Lane and meets his new neighbors—the Lemonade Girl, the hopscotching mailman, the tiny creatures, and especially Tilda Butter. Tilda knows how to look and listen closely, and it’s that gift that helps Daniel find his way in that curious placed called While-a-Way Lane.

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Teacher’s Guide: Locked in Ice: Nansen’s Daring Quest for the North Pole

Locked in Ice: Nansen’s Daring Quest for the North Pole by Peter Lourie

A spellbinding biography of Fridtjof Nansen, the pioneer of polar exploration, with a spotlight on his harrowing three-year journey to the top of the world.

An explorer who many adventurers argue ranks alongside polar celebrity Ernest Shackleton, Fridtjof Nansen contributed tremendous amounts of new information to our knowledge about the Polar Arctic. At a time when the North Pole was still undiscovered territory, he attempted the journey in a way that most experts thought was mad: Nansen purposefully locked his ship in ice for two years in order to float northward along the currents. Richly illustrated with historic photographs, this riveting account of Nansen’s Arctic expedition celebrates the legacy of an extraordinary adventurer who pushed the boundaries of human exploration to further science into the twentieth century.

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MARCH GIVEAWAY: WIN A POETRY KIT!

This giveaway has now ended. Check our giveaway page for more chances to win books for your classroom or library!

Enter for a chance to win a set of some of our favorite and award-winning poetry books to help celebrate National Poetry Month, including Home Run, Touchdown, Basket, Goal! by Leo Landry; Wet Cement by Bob Raczka; Hypnotize a Tiger by Calef Brown; Keeping the Night Watch by Hope Anita Smith; illustrated by E.B. Lewis ; and My Book of Life by Angel by Martine Leavitt. Giveaway ends March 31st at 11:59 PM ET.