The Geography of Harry Potter

When I was younger, I considered myself an active reader. I learned to read at a young age, and my grandmother was a teacher. She always gave my sister and me signed Tomie dePaola books like Strega Nona and The Quilt Story. When I reached the third grade, the Wayside School series by Louis Sachar captivated me with the silly short stories of all the … Continue reading The Geography of Harry Potter

Charlie from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory Was Originally Written as a ‘Little Black Boy’

BOOKS Charlie Bucket, the hero of Roald Dahl’s famous book Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, was originally written to be a “little black boy,” according to Felicity Dahl, the author’s widow. (NPR) Why does diversity in children’s literature make a difference? Teachers, scroll down for a quick list of key resources in our Teachers Toolkit, including great media literacy guides from our partners. Discussion Ideas … Continue reading Charlie from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory Was Originally Written as a ‘Little Black Boy’

A Diverse Summer Reading List for Kids

ARTS In children’s books, it can be easier to find talking pandas than characters of color. Only six percent of children’s books published in 2012 featured diverse characters. Here’s a list to better reflect the U.S. today. (NPR) Use our resources to get even more suggestions for fun summer reading. Discussion Ideas Read through our terrific activity “Cultural Diversity in the United States.” Work through … Continue reading A Diverse Summer Reading List for Kids

Interview with Alexandra Ramaeker Zahn

MWW learned about Alexandra Ramaeker Zahn, a 12-year-old from Iowa who has written four novels, through a friend’s encounter with the her mother at a conference. Following the lead from our friend, we called Alexandra to learn more about her stories, which span the geography of the U.S. and Europe.

Alexandra is a middle school student who participates in multiple sports, as well as Mock Trial, Destination Imagination, Junior Achievement, Jazz Band and Chorus. She has traveled to 18 states and 2 countries with her family. She enjoys learning, in detail, facts about each of the places she has been to. She is curious about other cultures, landscapes, the science of things, and the dynamics of friendships.

Can you tell me the titles of the four novels you’ve written and give a brief synopsis of each?
Moving Streak is the story of an 8th grade girl named Abby who moves around the United States–to South Dakota, Iowa, and North Carolina. She doesn’t know if she really fits in because she moves around so much. By the end of the novel, she finds out who her real friends are, and who she really is.

Deep Down Secrets is set in New York City. It is about a popular girl who doesn’t really love being popular, and doesn’t really know who she’s become. With the help of her best friend, she comes to terms with herself.

Best Year Never
is the sequel to Deep Down Secrets. It goes deeper into the friendships of the protagonist. Some kids still think she’s stereotypically “cool,” but others discover that she is different in important ways.

Princess of Anastesia takes place in Italy, in medieval times. It tells the story of a 12-year-old who lives with a farm family, but discovers that her real dad is a king, and she is a princess. Her father had to give her up because his kingdom was fighting a great war, and the enemies were trying to hurt her.

Continue reading “Interview with Alexandra Ramaeker Zahn”