Reader Spotlight

The NetGalley community is rich with Booksellers, Educators, Librarians, Media, Reviewers and Bloggers who excel at helping books succeed and promoting a love of reading. We like to take a moment to highlight these members and share their stories with you. This week’s spotlight is on. . . Nicole Hadley, a teacher from Ann Arbor Adventist Elementary School (a one-room schoolhouse!).

Featured Educator: Nicole Hadley

School & grade level(s): Ann Arbor Adventist Elementary School, grades 1-8


When (and how) did you decide to become an educator?

I decided to be an educator in 2011. In 2011 I completed a B.A. in English at Andrews University. I decided to go to SE Asia to teach English. While in SE Asia, I fell in love with teaching. I returned to the US in 2012 and in 2013 I began a certification program. I began teaching full time in 2014. My first students in SE Asia taught me that I can be a good teacher. Each class is different as is every day. I

Can you describe your classroom/school?

I work in a one room school in Ann Arbor, Michigan. This year I am teaching grades 1, 3, and 5. The main classroom is where we spend most of our time learning. When we have hands on activities we go to our computer lab where there is most space. The gym is for recess and PE. We also have a choir and art room. I have eight students who all contribute to each other’s learning. My classroom has bulletin boards and posters that each student can gain from.

I have many books that my students can read during free time. I try to find books that cover a variety of interests.

Is there anything th
at your school does especially well that you’d love to continue and possibly expand?

My school does a great job of providing opportunities for students that most small private schools are unable to offer. My students have the opportunity of having French, Danish, Art, Computers, Choir, PE and chapel once a week in addition to their core classes. My students have the opportunity to give back to others in need. They receive quality lessons and those lessons are hands-on when possible.

When it comes to motivating your students to read and enjoy reading, what techniques or strategies have you found to be most effective?

I try to find books that are of interest to my students whether the books are physical books, or e-books checked out from the library. When it comes to book reports I find creative book reports that requires the students to put their knowledge of the book into practice.

In addition to teaching, you also blog about books – do you find that reviewing books helps you better incorporate them into your lesson plans? If so, how?

I am able to incorporate the books I review into my lesson plans. My students enjoy reading the books I receive from NetGalley. Sometimes I allow my students to choose the books we read together.

*Check out Nicole’s blog, A Window into Books!

Do you have a favorite moment when you provided a student with a book?

A favorite moment when I provided a student with a book was when I gave one of my first graders an e-books and he read the entire book. The student then proceeded to ask for more books like it.

Are there any upcoming book(s) that you’re excited about recommending?

I am excited about the upcoming book The Marvelous Mustard Seed.







If you could invite any author to your school, who would it be, and why?

I would invite Lois Lowry. She is one of my favorite authors. I respect her as a person and as an author. I think my students would enjoy a visit from her, as much as myself.

Please make sure to check out more Reader Spotlights, plus Middle Grade and Children’s Fiction on NetGalley!

Would you like to nominate a fellow book advocate to be featured in our Reader Spotlight series? Fill out this form!



Celebrate Picture Book Month with Lerner Publishing


What Is Possible in a Picture Book?

By Millbrook Press and Carolrhoda Books Editorial Director Carol Hinz

We all know what a picture book is.

But what is a picture book meant to do?

One answer to that question is that it should catch children’s interest and entertain them. While I don’t disagree with this statement, neither do I believe it is the whole truth. Picture books inform, they delight, and they offer us endless opportunities to look at our world from fresh perspectives.

I’m a believer that while a picture book must speak to a child, a child needn’t be the book’s only audience—reading a picture book can be a powerful experience for a person of any age. As an editor, my time spent working on picture books has made me increasingly curious about what can be accomplished within the confines of this format . . . and to look for possibilities to break the format’s “rules” every once in a while.

I’d like to spotlight a few forthcoming picture books from Carolrhoda Books and Millbrook Press to explore the question of what’s possible with a picture book.

I Got a Chicken for My Birthday
by Laura Gehl, illustrated by Sarah Horne

Ana wants tickets to the amusement park for her birthday . . . and instead her abuela gives her a chicken. It turns out that this is no ordinary chicken! It doesn’t like chicken feed, it’s too busy to lay eggs, and it’s building SOMETHING in Ana’s backyard.

In this picture book, a chicken is also a construction whiz, and a gift that isn’t what our main character wanted turns out to be even better than she could have imagined. The illustrations include lots of fun details that encourage repeat readings.

Meet My Family! Animal Babies and Their Families
by Laura Purdie Salas, illustrated by Stephanie Fizer Coleman

What kind of families do animal babies have? All different kinds! Main text written in rhyming verse brings together a wide range of animal babies, from the sweet to the fierce. Meet a wolf pup cared for by the pack, a young orangutan snuggling with its mother high in a tree, a poison dart frog riding piggyback on its dad, a shark pup going solo, and much more.

This book offers a look at the many kinds of families found in the animal kingdom, and it gives us a chance to look at adorable animal babies in a fresh way!

Fossil by Fossil: Comparing Dinosaur Bones
by Sara Levine, illustrated by T.S Spookytooth

What dinosaur would you be if you had a bony ridge rising from the back of your skull and three horns poking up from the front? A triceratops!

This book makes the most of a Q&A format to show readers just how much our own skeletons have in common with those of some of the best-known dinosaurs. And it ends by highlighting the scientific connection between dinosaurs and birds. (Yes, birds!)

This book may just change how you see dinosaurs . . . and modern-day birds!

Can I Touch Your Hair? Poems of Race, Mistakes, and Friendship
by Irene Latham and Charles Waters, illustrated by Sean Qualls and Selina Alko

A picture book can make us laugh, it can teach us something new, and sometimes it can help us join a conversation.

How often do you talk to the kids in your life about race? A little? A lot? In this book, Irene Latham, who is white, and Charles Waters, who is black, have a conversation that all of us are welcome to join. They imagine themselves as fifth-grade classmates who are stuck together working on a poetry project. In the course of 33 poems, they reflect on their own experiences of race while exploring relatable topics such as hair, recess, family dinners, and much more. Artwork by acclaimed illustrators Sean Qualls and Selina Alko beautifully shows how two people who begin the book as near-strangers can end it as friends.

For more thoughts on picture books, check out these blog posts:

Greetings from PictureBookLand

How Picture Book Pagination Keeps Readers Turning the Pages

The Element of Surprise in Nonfiction Picture Books