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St. Patrick’s Day Prankster

Each year during the month of March up until the Irish holiday, Lucky the Leprechaun comes to visit children at school and at home. Lucky creates magic by hiding toys, leaving messages and surprises, and even making messes while no one is looking. Lucky the Leprechaun on the Loose, by first grade teacher Maria Thompson, Walnut Creek Teachers Association, started as a tradition in her classroom. A little leprechaun figurine would intermittently move around the classroom, then on March 17 students would arrive to a “mess” (chairs tilted, confetti on the floor, etc.), with personalized messages and treats on their desks from Lucky. A fun read for children everywhere. On Amazon.

School, Love, and Intergalactic War

Lance Novak, Las Virgenes Educators Association, teaches English at Agoura High School in Los Angeles County, often to at-risk students. Through his teaching and mentoring experiences, he writes fiction revolving around troubled outlier teens who struggle with the societal pressures of a seemingly apathetic, conformist world. Novak’s third young adult novel publishes in April, the first in a science fiction/space opera series for middle and high schoolers. Miss Sophia Sanchez: Intergalactic Starfighter Pilot Extraordinaire is about a feisty sophomore who wants to fly an Excalibur starfighter in a famed squadron. But she has yet to finish high school or pass her spaceflight exams, and is suspended from the spaceflight program for punching a rival. Then a mysterious starship shows up with rumors of an invasion by lizard-like aliens, and soon she’s starting to fall for dauntless crewman Tristan Crawford. Can Sophia save her people? On Amazon.

Zombies vs. Vampires

Solomon Petchers, a 25-year educator and Murrieta Educators Association member, is an award-winning young adult author who specializes in suspense and horror. His books Feasters: An Apocalyptic Tale and Feasters: The Circle, published in 2020 and 2021, tell the tale of three teenage vampires who are trying to survive in a postapocalyptic zombie world where the flesh-eating Feasters rule the streets. On Amazon.

Another Silk Road

From 1902 until its closure in 1928, the St. Joseph’s Agriculture Institute in the heart of Napa Valley taught boys how to work with their hands, raise crops and learn a trade. Frankie’s Journey: The Silk Road to Napa is a fictional first-person account of one of those boys, who were ages 9-18 and mostly poor kids from San Francisco. Written by Stephanie Farrell Grohs, Napa Valley College Faculty Association, and Napa historian Lauren Coodley, the book is appropriate for young readers and provides a unique view and history of boys coming of age through agriculture, including silk-farming. On Amazon.

Teaching Kids to Write

Barbara Forletta, CTA/NEA-Retired, spent 30 years in the classroom, teaching grades 1-12; 18 of those years were focused on students with special needs at the secondary level. Her new book Unlocking the Writing Process: Inspiring Lessons and Stories to Get You Started addresses the difficulties in getting students — especially those with learning disabilities — to write, and using visual arts and other techniques to help. The 12 lessons, in the form of a teacher’s guide, include such topics as journal writing, vocabulary development, the study of famous artists, African American art and history, and Greek and Roman mythology. Lessons are primarily for grades 6-12, but they can be adjusted for younger students. On Amazon.

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