Hurricane season ends soon.

16 Oct
Two of my books document hurricanes that slammed North Carolina’s coast–known as the “Graveyard of the Atlantic.” The true adventure, SINK OR SWIM: African-American Lifesavers of the Outer Banks, centers on the nation’s only all-black lifesaving crew. During an 1896 hurricane, the crew swam through raging seas to rescue shipwreck survivors. The book’s back matter includes hurricane lore and a reading guide. See the free guide here.  
Sink-or-SwimCover (2).jpg  New Princeville Cover.jpg
PRINCEVILLE: The 500-Year Flood is historical fiction set in 1999. After hurricane Floyd flooded eastern North Carolina, residents of Princeville, the nation’s first incorporated black town, were left homeless. They had to decide whether to abandon their roots or to return and rebuild. What choice would your students have made? The paperback edition for early readers includes photos of recovery and relief efforts. View the author interview here. So far this year, the Atlantic has had 13 named storms. The last name on the 2019 list is “Wendy.” No pun intended.
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Of Hurricanes, Heritage & Heroes

8 Oct
Sink-or-SwimCover (2).jpg  New Princeville Cover.jpg
These two books document hurricanes that slammed North Carolina’s coast–the so-called “Graveyard of the Atlantic.” Both books are available in new paperback editions chock full of primary sources.
The true adventure, SINK OR SWIM: African-American Lifesavers of the Outer Banks, centers on the nation’s only all-black lifesaving crew. During an 1896 hurricane, the crew swam through raging seas to rescue shipwreck survivors. The book’s back matter includes hurricane lore and a reading guide. The guide is also online.  
PRINCEVILLE: The 500-Year Flood is historical fiction set in 1999. After hurricane Floyd flooded eastern North Carolina, residents of Princeville, the nation’s first incorporated black town, were left homeless. They had to decide whether to abandon their roots or to return and rebuild. What choice would your students have made? The paperback edition for early readers includes photos of recovery and relief efforts. View the author interview here. So far this year, the Atlantic has had 12 named storms. The last name on the 2019 list is “Wendy.” No pun intended.

Batty for Halloween & Biographies

8 Oct
Bat Cave.jpg  LibraryGhostCover.jpg
For Halloween (and Bat Month), hang out with A BAT CAVE: An Abecedarian Bedtime Chronicle, a 41-word story exploring bat habitats and behavior and ending with bat trivia. What’s “abecedarian”? you ask. It means the text is in alphabetical order (save articles and prepositions).View the book trailer. Check out the study guide and lesson ideas.
Read aloud THE LIBRARY GHOST, a rhyming fantasy with cameos by classic storybook characters. The riddle-driven plot centers on this Emily Dickinson poem. Send your young ghost-hunters on a Web quest for haunted libraries. Some have webcams for “live” sightings. This book is out of print but you can still find used copies.
For a Halloween unit on picture book biographies, have students dress as the books’ subjects. Is there a Matthew Henson, Jesse Owens, Martin Luther King, Jr., Arturo Schomburg, Harriet Tubman, Gordon Parks, Dorothea Lange, John ColtraneLeontyne Price. Fannie Lou Hamer or Lena Horne in your school?
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  In the spirit of masquerade, guess who.

53 years after the March: Be a King yourself

23 Aug

Be a King

With illlustrations by James Ransome and a unique braided narrative, this picture book shows how young activists can follow Dr. King’s example and be drum majors for justice in their own schools and communities. The poetic text is tailor-made for choral reading. I just love hearing students chant, “You can be a King!”

Back-to-school Read–Dear Mr. Rosenwald: The School that Hope Built

20 Aug

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Carole Boston Weatherford and Gregory Christie, the team behind the Caldecott Honor book Freedom in Congo Square, first collaborated on Dear Mr. Rosenwald. The story in verse conveys how sharecroppers invested in education to give their children a brighter future. The new paperback edition includes lots of primary sources in the back matter. This under-the-radar book garnered four starred reviews and an SCBWI Golden Kite Honor and was adopted by Boston Public Schools for all second graders. Dear Mr. Rosenwald is ideal for a K-5 common read. Available only on Amazon.

Roots of Rap National Poetry Month Challenge

2 Apr

Beatbox challenge flyer

K-12 Teachers: Take the mic for National Poetry Month. Video students as they spit bars from The Roots of Rap–or beatbox to the rhymes. Post videos to Twitter @poetweatherford #RootsOfRapChallenge. Win a free Skype visit and a copy of the book. Deadline: April 30, 2019

Feb. 1, 1960: NC A&T students start lunch counter sit-ins in Greensboro, NC

31 Jan

freedomcover

Freedom on the Menu: The Greensboro Sit-ins tells this story through the eyes of a fictional eyewitness who wants to eat at the whites-only lunch counter. Here’s a bookmark with a banana split recipe to share with your students.