From the Tops of the Trees: An Interview with Author Kao Kalia Yang

Even in the most difficult circumstances there is joy and love. From the Tops of the Trees is a powerful true story of a young girl who has never known life outside the Ban Vinai Refugee Camp. For Kalia and her cousins, life isn’t always easy, but they still find ways to play, racing with chickens and riding a beloved pet dog. When she asks her father if all of the world is a refugee camp, he climbs with her to the top of a tree so she can see the world beyond the fences that confine them. With sensitive prose and evocative illustrations, this beautiful picture book encourages young readers of all ages and circumstances to believe in their dreams.

Award-winning author Kao Kalia Yang joins us today to discuss her inspiration for this story, the special relationship between fathers and daughters, and much more.

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New Author-Narrated Books

As the new school year kicks off in person and virtually, we are releasing new Lerner Digital products that are sure to fit your needs at home, school, and in-between. The latest additions to our Audisee and Audiobook programs cover a wide range of curricular and high-interest topics, with a special offering of author-narrated books to add authenticity to the reading and listening experience.

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Moving Forward Through Tough Times

In Lawrence J. Cohen’s book, The Opposite of Worry, he describes the “Second Chicken” effect. If a baby chicken gets scared by a sudden noise or movement, it will freeze in place and look for a second chicken. If that second chicken is happily pecking and scratching at the dirt, the baby chicken will unfreeze and continue to peck and scratch and go about its business. If there is no second chicken, the baby chicken will remain paralyzed with fear.  

Anxiety, worry, and fear loom like a large shadow. Children look to others to know how to react. Educators are the second chickens. They are leading the way in classrooms, libraries, school cafeterias, and everywhere students look for reassurance and redirection.

Sharing books with resilient characters is another way to help students move forward. These books show that even during difficult and dark times, there are ways to keep learning, growing, and engaging with others.

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AfterMath: An Interview with Emily Barth Isler

In AfterMath, twelve-year-old Lucy is still grieving her little brother, Theo, who recently died from a congenital heart defect. Her parents are so intent on a “fresh start” that she doesn’t know how to talk to them anymore. And the other kids in her grade are survivors of a very different kind of tragedy: a school shooting that devastated their small town four years ago. Without the shared past that both unites and divides her classmates, Lucy feels lost. Even her love of math doesn’t offer the absolute answers she craves. But when an after-school mime class gives her a chance to forge new kinds of connections, Lucy finds that while grief can take many shapes and sadness may feel infinite, love is just as powerful.

Debut author Emily Barth Isler shares her writing journey and the books that inspired her. Read on to find a book trailer, free discussion guide, and so much more!

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