If there’s one thing every teacher relies on, it’s probably books. Fiction, nonfiction, graphic novels, picture books—no matter what genre you prefer, you probably bring books to the classroom to stimulate and inspire students, to connect to the content you’re covering, and to add fun and entertainment to class discussion. There are lots of great places to look for book recommendations.
The National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) has several committees that select
the best of children’s literature each year.
The Orbis Pictus Award was established by the NCTE Elementary Section in 1989 to honor nonfiction for children. “The Significance of Topics of Orbis Pictus Award-Winning Books,” a chapter from NCTE’s The Best in Children’s Nonfiction explores the elements that come into play as the committee chooses the winner. The book offers readers a fascinating glimpse into the world of children’s nonfiction, as well as practical tips on teaching these texts.
The NCTE Charlotte Huck Award for Outstanding Fiction for Children was established in 2014 to promote and recognize excellence in the writing of fiction for children. This award recognizes fiction that has the potential to transform children’s lives by inviting compassion, imagination, and wonder. Learn more about Huck in this calendar entry from ReadWriteThink.org.
The 2015 NCTE Charlotte Huck Award for Outstanding Fiction for Children and the Orbis Pictus Award for Outstanding Nonfiction for Children Honor Award winners speak about their work in “From History to Homonyms” from #NCTEonAir Discussions on Google.
In addition, The Assembly on Literature for Adolescents of NCTE (ALAN) promotes communication and cooperation among all individuals who have a special interest in adolescent literature; to present programs and conferences on this subject; to promote and increase the number of articles and publications devoted to it; and to integrate the efforts of all those with an interest in this literature. Members receive three issues annually of The ALAN Review, a journal emphasizing new books, research, and methods of teaching adolescent literature. Hear more about ALAN in this ReadWriteThink.org podcast episode.
Several NCTE journals review new texts in every issue. Language Arts includes the column “Children’s Literature Reviews” which provides reviews of children’s and young adolescent literature. In English Journal, the column “Carpe Librum: Seize the (YA) Book” explores a wide range of topics related to literature written for and/or read by young adults, with a strong emphasis on recently published works.
ReadWriteThink.org has two podcasts, for instance, that provide monthly recommendations:
- Chatting About Books: Recommendations for Young Readers, Podcast Series for Grades K – 5
- Text Messages: Recommendations for Adolescent Readers, Podcast Series for Grades 6–12
What award winning titles do you use in your classroom?