Readers’ Guides and Resources for Educators

Readers’ Guides and Resources for Educators

An Open Book Foundation School Program

Literature of War  Reading List on “Literature of War for Children and Young Adults” created for the Texas Council of Teachers of English Language Arts conference with Lyn Miller-Lachmann and JL Powers.

Finding the Dove” Writing Workshop with English Langauge Learners – Reading List  The list includes a wide variety of readings to inspire students to tell their own stories.

Verse Novels that Offer the World Handout. Verse Novels that Offer the World, a reading list and sample writing prompts for a writing workshop I do. We read and write from lines of verse novels, perform readers theatre, and explore voices from  many cultures.

Why Verse?”  Verse Novels that Explore Displacement and culture and more Here is an article I wrote for School Library Journal after interviewing many writers of novels in verse and hearing many readers respond to the form.

Writing to Understand Cultures in Conflict A series of writing steps from free writes, mirror writing, and journal writing, building to an essay, poem, or story.

Readers’ Guides and Resources for The Good Braider

The Good Braider Blog   reading lists of books about Africa,  hear a South Sudanese rap star,  follow my journey in photos to Kakuma refugee camp at

The Good Braider, An Educator’s Guide  Portland High School ESOL teacher Thomas Talarico’s educator’s guide featuring vocabulary skill building and comprehension questions


Good Braider Discussion Guide PDF  a Discussion Guide for community reads, book clubs, and classes

“I’m Your Neighbor” Reader’s Guide for The Good Braider created for the Portland (ME) City Reading Project  Curious City created this guide which includes ideas for engaging in community events and cultural explorations.







Days at Sea

The backdrop of Either the Beginning or the End of the World is the life of a commercial fisherman’s family. I’ve followed the stories of New Hampshire fishermen since I moved to the the Seacoast.  My father is an island boy from what was a fishing and farming town, Shelter Island, NY, and I’ve always felt connected to the sea. Here are some of my pictures of the Portsmouth Fishermen’s Co-op where  Sofie and Johnny’s boat, the Karma is berthed. Here are also fishermen and the Piscataqua River. Michael Pawluk is in the first photo, taken by the boat’s captain, Steve Lee on the Kirsten Lee, shrimping in January.

Mike Pawluk on Kirsten LeeFishing Boats

“Spanish Dancer” and more songs characters love in Either the Beginning or the End

I made up this playlist of the songs in the novel. You’ll find Laura Mam, a Cambodian-American singer.  I listened to her songs over and over while I wrote. And here’s the gorgeous “Spanish Dancer” by Patti Scialfa and “Rabbit in the Moon” by Aztec Two Step. Hearing Aztec Two Step’s “Rabbit in the Moon” was the first lauramamtime I imagined the image of a rabbit on the moon.  Later I found it’s an idea that crosses many cultures.  Researching the novel, I read a Cambodian folktale that tells the Buddhist story of the rabbit representing immortality.