THANKSGIVING TRIVIA GAME: Looking for zero-prep Thanksgiving activities for middle school? This trivia game helps keep your students learning and engaged, even in the days before a holiday break. It’s zero-prep for you, and text and images are 99% editable.

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Since Ragnarokthe great war between the gods and the forces of chaos—the human realm of the Midlands has become a desperate and dangerous place, bereft of magic.

Sixteen-year-old Eiric Halvorsen is among the luckier ones—his family has remained prosperous. But he stands to lose everything when he’s wrongly convicted by a rigged jury of murdering his modir and stepfadir. Also at risk is Eiric’s half-systir, Liv, who’s under suspicion for her interest in seidr, or magic. Then a powerful jarl steps in: He will pay the blood price if Eiric will lead a mission to the fabled Temple at the Grove—the rich stronghold of the wyrdspinners, the last practitioners of sorcery.

Spellsinger, musician, and runecaster Reginn Eiklund has spent her life performing at alehouses for the benefit of her master, Asger, a fire demon she is desperate to escape. After one performance that amazes even herself, two wyrdspinners in the audience make Reginn an irresistible offer: return with them to the Temple to be trained in seidr, forever free of Asger.

Eiric’s, Liv’s, and Reginn’s journeys converge in New Jotunheim, a paradise fueled by magic and the site of the Temple. They soon realize that a great evil lurks beneath the dazzling surface and that old betrayals and long-held grudges may fuel another cataclysmic war. It will require every gift and weapon at their command to prevent it.


Library Challenge #1 tasks you with an annual review (or maybe your first review) of your library's Selection and Reconsideration Policies.

LIBRARY CHALLENGE #1 Are library book challenges scary? I think so! But they are much less scary when you have a strong plan. When you know exactly what to do

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This article is 10 essential tips for new school librarians. These are the 10 things you should do FIRST in your new school library.

You’ve landed a brand new school librarian job–congratulations! All summer, you’ve looked forward to standing in the middle of your very own library, taking a deep breath, and reveling in

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This is a collection of fun ideas for middle school library orientation. Even if you don't use the ideas, the videos are a lot of fun to watch!

Ahh, the first day of school! Call me crazy, but I’ve always loved it! I will see my first middle school library orientation classes this Wednesday. We have a book

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First Chapter Fridays: Unwind

First Chapter Fridays continues with entry #4, Unwind by Neal Shusterman.

To see the entire series of First Chapter Fridays, click the link at the bottom of this post.

Unwind (Neal Shusterman)

I read Unwind way back in 2009, and it is still one of my favorite books to recommend to MS and HS readers, especially the reluctant ones. My 16-year old son read this last year. He reads superhero comics like crazy, but he rarely reads YA novels.

He sucked this book down into the wee hours of the morning.

I’ve read Unwind aloud so many times in book clubs, and it continues to be a hit with students. It may be out-of-print or going out soon, but it’s still available in e-book and audiobook formats. I haven’t read the audiobook, so I can’t comment on its quality.

The first chapter for Unwind is lengthy at 18 pages. I would not personally read the entire first chapter aloud for a First Chapter Fridays. Instead, I would stop at the “pause” on page 10, where it says “From the moment his parents signed those papers, Connor was alone.”

Unwind has three sequels. I read the second book, Unwholly, which was good but nowhere near as compelling as Unwind. The action in Unwind just does not stop. This is a title that I read in one-sitting, as did my husband and my 16-year old son. I had it in my middle school library and promoted it often, but the theme (using unwanted children as forced organ donors) can be a bit intense for some middle schoolers.

Before Chapter 1, there is a short prologue that explains (sort of) what unwinding is. You can read this part aloud, but it isn’t necessary to understanding the first chapter. It does not really explain unwinding in a way that students will understand if they haven’t read the book. It’s intentionally ambiguous.

  • Recommended for: Grades 7-12
  • Genre: science fiction
  • Keywords: abortion, organ donation, human experimentation, rebellion, unwanted teens, being on-the-run
  • Protagonist: there are three, and if I remember correctly, all are white: Connor, age 16, boy. Risa, age 15, girl. Lev, age 13, boy.
  • Length of Chapter 1: 18 pages (see my note above about where to stop on p. 10)


Read more about First Chapter Fridays (includes criteria for my selections)



Do you do First Chapter Fridays? What titles have been popular with your students? Add your favorites in the comments below (don’t forget to add grade levels)!

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