Youth Book Corner: Writers in the Classroom Highlights

Our popular Writers in the Classroom program returns this spring with 16 authors and 14 presentations. You can see the full lineup on our website now. Our Outreach Coordinator, Leena Desai, recommends some books from our participating authors.

Written by Michelle Gerster, illustrated by Fiona Dunnett

The author of Travesia, Michelle Gerster, is a photojournalist whose work focuses on social justice in relation to immigration and deportation. She met illustrator Fiona Dunnett in Oaxaca, Mexico and together they have created a moving portrait of the life of Mexicans looking for a better life in the US by crossing the border. The graphic memoir follows fifteen-year-old Gricelda who attempts to cross the border into America with her mother and younger brother. The story follows their journey from Tijuana and their encounter with a mysterious smuggler called el Guero. Each day is unpredictable and brings with it great risk and uncertainty. Dunnett draws inspiration for her illustrations from the graffiti and stencil art prevalent during the 2006 political uprising in Oaxaca and Gerster bases the story on interviews she conducted with Gricelda herself; together they present a very topical and urgent story of our times and highlight the plight of millions of migrating people who endure the pain of leaving their old lives behind. Michelle Gerster and Fiona Dunnett will be presenting together and are available from March to June. Grades 8-12

Peter Lee’s Notes from the Field
Written by Angela Ahn, illustrated by Julie Kwon

At five foot nine, eleven-year-old Peter Lee is the tallest boy in his fifth-grade class. But that’s not the only thing that sets him apart. He’s also a science geek whose goal in life is to become a paleontologist. Written as a series of journal entries, Peter Lee’s Notes from the Field is a moving portrait of a Korean-Canadian middle-grader navigating school and home life, a kid-sister who’s a certified genius, his grandmother’s illness which is not discussed openly in his house, and his own asthma that interferes with his efforts to reach the same level of effortless coolness as some of the other boys in school. The book follows Peter’s adventures as he attempts to realize his dream of becoming a paleontologist and makes copious observations and notes in his notebook to devise a plan to help his grandmother. Angela Ahn is available from March to May. Grades 4-6

City of Water
Written by Andrea Curtis, illustrated by Katy Dockrill

City of Water follows Andrea Curtis’s acclaimed narrative non-fiction book, A Forest in the City, which made a case for the importance of an urban forest and the need to nurture city trees. City of Water does for water what A Forest in the City did for trees. Water is a finite resource; more than 2 billion people in the world are without access to safe, fresh water at home, and yet, living in the city, we take it for granted because it is so easily available to us through our taps. In this book, Curtis traces the journey of water from source through forests, mountains, lakes, rivers and wetlands, through pipes and treatment facilities, into our taps, fire hydrants and toilets, and then then out through storm and sewer systems toward wastewater treatment plants and back into the watershed. Punctuated with fun and surprising facts, City of Water is a truly important educational tool to make young minds realize the importance of this most previous natural resource. Andrea Curtis is available from Mid-April to Mid-June. Grades 3 -7


Leena Desai