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Virginia Journal of Education

Your Classroom

Teachers Choose
Best of New Books

Each year, through its Teachers' Choices program, the International Reading Association (IRA) creates a list of new books that teachers have found to be effective in both teaching the curriculum and in encouraging children ages 5-14 to read more. The books are chosen from those donated to IRA by North American publishers and are read by teachers and librarians in every region of the U.S.

Here are the books recommended on the 2007 Teachers' Choice List:

3-D ABC: A Sculptural Alphabet, by Bob Raczka
Across the Alley, by Richard Michelson, illustrated by E.B. Lewis
Brothers, by Yin, illustrated by Chris Soentpiet
Cookies: Bite-Size Life Lessons, by Amy Krouse Rosenthal, illustrated by Jane Dyer
For You Are a Kenyan Child, by Kelly Cunnane, illustrated by Ana Juan
The Journey: Stories of Migration, by Cynthia Rylant, illustrated by Lambert Davis
Night Boat to Freedom, by Margot Theis Raven, illustrated by E.B. Lewis
One Green Apple, by Eve Bunting, illustrated by Ted Lewin
Thanks a Million, by Nikki Grimes, illustrated by Cozbi A. Cabrera
Why Do You Cry? Not a Sob Story, by Kate Klise, illustrated by M. Sarah Klise

Anne Frank and the Children of the Holocaust, by Carol Ann Lee
Christmas in the Trenches, by John McCutcheon, illustrated by Henri S�rensen
Hearts of Iron, by Kathleen Bennet Duble
Just for Elephants, by Carol Buckley
Moses: When Harriet Tubman Led Her People to Freedom, by Carole Boston Weatherfordm illustrated by Kadir Nelson
A Pair of Polar Bears: Twin Cubs Find a Home at the San Diego Zoo, by Joanne Ryder
Paths to Peace: People Who Changed the World, by Jane Breskin Zalben
Porch Lies: Tales of Slicksters, Tricksters, and Other Wily Characters, by Patricia C. McKissack, illustrated by Andr� Carrilho
Tour America: A Journey Through Poems and Art, by Diane Siebert, illustrated by Stephen T. Johnson
Water Street, by Patricia Reilly Giff

Blood on the River: James Town 1607, by Elisa Carbone
The Boy in the Striped Pajamas, by John Boyne
Dark Water Rising, by Marian Hale
Dear Miss Breed: True Stories of the Japanese American Incarceration During World War II and a Librarian Who Made a Difference, by Joanne Oppenheim
Freedom Ship, by Doreen Rappaport, illustrated by Curtis James
Freedom Walkers: The Story of the Montgomery Bus Boycott, by Russell Freedman
Hearts of Stone, by Kathleen Ernst
Hurt Go Happy, by Ginny Rorby
My Last Skirt: The Story of Jennie Hodgers, Union Soldier, by Lynda Durrant
The Poet Slave of Cuba: A Biography of Juan Francisco Manzano, by Margarita Engle, illustrated by Sean Qualls

For more information, visit the IRA website at .

Encyclopedia Virginia
to Launch in 2008

The Commonwealth of Virginia has a long and proud story to tell, and the soon-to-be-launched Encyclopedia Virginia (EV), an online resource of the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities, wants to tell it to the world.

EV's mission, beginning in early 2008, is to detail the history, politics and geography of our state; share Virginia's heritage in the arts, culture, religion and folklife; offer information on science, medicine, education, business and technology advances that have taken place here; and interpret Virginia's significance locally, nationally and internationally.

Over the next several years, the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities will add peer-reviewed, comprehensive and digitally-created content to EV, estimating that there will be more than 4,000 subject entries in areas such as art, geography, history, science and sports. Each entry will include an essay of anywhere from 500 to 3,000 words, along with images and multimedia facets to provide deeper understanding. There will also be a listing of suggested reading materials and links to related websites.

For more information, and to see an Encyclopedia Virginia preview, visit

Join Forces with NASA

Interested in tackling science, technology and math education in a unique way? You can apply now to join the 2008-09 NASA Explorer Schools program. NES offers unique opportunities designed to engage and educate the future scientists who may someday advance U.S. scientific interests through space exploration.

Teams composed of full-time teachers and a school administrator develop and implement a three-year action plan to address local science- and math-related challenges for students in grades four through nine. If your school is selected, you're eligible to receive funding during the three-year partnership to purchase technology tools. The project also provides educators and students with content-specific activities that can be used to excite students about science, technology, engineering and math.

Applications are due January 31, 2008. For more information, visit

'Toying' with Science

Playing, and specifically the use of toys, can be an excellent way for students to get a grasp on concepts in science, engineering and the design process. To explore this, Sally Ride Science is holding its annual TOYchallenge, designed for students in grades five through eight. The goal of the toy- and game-designing competition is to motivate both boys and girls to become involved in engineering and to understand that some form of engineering is involved in almost everything.

For more information, visit


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