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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NCTE 2023 Conference Resource Center

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We’re so excited to see our educator friends November 16-19 in Columbus, OH!

What’s inside our NCTE and ALAN Workshop Resource Center:
  • Make the most of your NCTE and ALAN Workshop experience + meet your favorite authors & illustrators!
    Check our NCTE and ALAN Workshop schedule for a full list of in-person author programs and book signings.
  • Score new books to review for your classroom!
    Complete this short form and request up to three (3) free teacher’s copies!
  • We’ve collected our digital resources for you in this handy resource center!
    Download our digital catalogs and request digital preview copies!
  • Not attending NCTE?
    You can still download digital resources, request preview copies, and more!
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Watch our Winter 2024 School & Library Virtual Preview!

Hear us buzz about our new picture books, middle grade, and young adult titles!

You’ll hear from talented creators, including author Zohreh Ghahremani and illustrator Susie Ghahremani (Memory Garden), E. L. Shen (Maybe It’s a Sign), and Amra Sabic-El-Rayess (Three Summers).

Listen to a special picture book debut interview from author Adam Pottle and illustrator Ziyue Chen in conversation with Editorial Director of Roaring Brook Press Connie Hsu to talk about Butterfly on the Wind. Plus, don’t miss our live special guest Elisha Cooper, Caldecott honor author and illustrator, in conversation with Executive Editor of Roaring Brook Press Emily Feinberg. Listen as they discuss Elisha’s new picture book Emma Full of Wonders!

4:24 – Adam Pottle, Ziyue Chen, and Connie Hsu in conversation
20:18 – Picture Books
26:55 – Zohreh and Susie Ghahremani (Memory Garden) feature video
31:19 – Middle Grade Books
32:47 – E.L. Shen (Maybe It’s A Sign) feature video
40:40 – Amra Sabic-El-Rayess (Three Summers) feature video
44:15 – Young Adult Books
52:40 – Elisha Cooper and Emily Feinberg in conversation

Educator’s Guide: Choosing Brave by Angela Joy; illustrated by Janelle Washington


Choosing Brave
By Angela Joy; illustrated by Janelle Washington
Ages 8-12
On Sale Now!

A Caldecott-honor winning picture book biography of the mother of Emmett Till, and how she channeled grief over her son’s death into a call to action for the civil rights movement.

Mamie Till-Mobley is the mother of Emmett Till, the 14-year-old boy who was brutally murdered while visiting the South in 1955. His death became a rallying point for the civil rights movement, but few know that it was his mother who was the catalyst for bringing his name to the forefront of history.

In Choosing Brave, Angela Joy and Janelle Washington offer a testament to the power of love, the bond of motherhood, and one woman’s unwavering advocacy for justice. It is a poised, moving work about a woman who refocused her unimaginable grief into action for the greater good. Mamie fearlessly refused to allow America to turn away from what happened to her only child. She turned pain into change that ensured her son’s life mattered.

Timely, powerful, and beautifully told, this thorough and moving story has been masterfully crafted to be both comprehensive and suitable for younger readers.

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Celebrating Indigenous Voices for National Native American Heritage Month


Celebrate National Native American Heritage Month in your school or library! Keep reading to find more book recommendations, download resources for your classroom—including guides for Warrior Girl Unearthed and Eagle Drumsand invite your students to be the next generation of change makers with the Climate Activism Kit, inspired by Autumn Peltier, Water Warrior and We Are Water Protectors!

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From New York Times bestselling picture book author Carole Lindstrom and illustrator Bridget George comes Autumn Peltier, Water Warrior, an inspiring picture book biography about two Indigenous Rights Activists, Josephine Mandamin and Autumn Peltier that will energize young readers to join the tidal wave of change.

In the spirit of Autumn Peltier, Water Warrior and We Are Water Protectors, we invite you to use the Climate Activism Kit in your school or library. Sign up your classroom or school library to receive a climate activism kit containing a special art print from Autumn Peltier, Water Warrior, an activity kit to engage young readers, a classroom pledge poster, and We Are Water Protectors badges to share with your students—while supplies last!

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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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