The TCRWP Classroom Libraries Are Here!

October 21, Heinemann Publishers hosted a party to celebrate the arrival of the TCRWP Classroom Libraries. In honor of the occasion, one entire library—the fourth grade on-benchmark library—was displayed in all its glory, filling twenty bins, each bearing its own distinctive label. Guests at the celebration were amazed by the sheer size of the collection, and were thrilled to hear more about the genesis of the effort.

“We should have a giant scroll filled with the names of some 800 literacy experts who took the time to recommend the very best books to us,” Lucy Calkins said in an address to the group. “Those experts’ recommendations—more than 30,000 of them—sparked this effort, and then came months of further research, with inquiries such as ‘Does anyone know of a great 3rd grade mystery with an African American protagonist?’”

Anita Silvey, one of the nation’s top literature experts hired to be consultants on this project, told the group that she had waited a lifetime for an opportunity like this. “Always before, when I’d been asked to construct a library, there were constraints on the list: they needed to be books that were published by a certain publisher, that were on this or that distributor’s list,” she said. Anita, who for a decade was the editor of the esteemed Horn Book, a journal that reviews children’s literature, and then named Publisher for Houghton Mifflin’s line of books, pointed out that generally, libraries are constructed by a few people who have a particular kind of expertise. The TCRWP’s libraries are unique, she said, because they draw on input from people with deep expertise in teaching reading, from people with deep knowledge of levels of text complexity, and from people with deep expertise in children’s literature as an art form.

One of the best moments at the celebration came when the attendees noticed that two of the uniformed bartenders had abandoned their stations at the bar and could be seen, hunkered over the bins of books, sharing favorites!

Although it was great fun to toast the arrival of the TCRWP Classroom Libraries, it has meant even more to us to hear the first stories of the libraries arriving in schools. One teacher, Sarah Goldstein, said, “I wish my childhood classrooms had had libraries like these! I teach an ASD population and because someone had carefully selected sets of books that spanned more levels, all of my students have many choices at their own level.” Another teacher, JoAnn Jennings said, “This is the most incredible collection of books! All the parent volunteers and subs were saying the same thing, ‘Oh, look at this book! I want to read this. I’m going to get (name of their child) to bring this home.’ To the TCRWP team who worked endless hours to make this happen and to every librarian and teacher and publisher who contributed their knowledge, experience and expertise, thank you, thank you, thank you. These books are jaw dropping good.”

We’ve received many questions about the libraries. The most urgent is whether it is necessary to purchase the entire set of libraries at once—an expensive proposition—or whether it’s possible to purchase a single shelf, for example, the Argument Shelf for Grades 4/5 or the Fairy Tale Shelf for Grade 3. The answer is that absolutely, people can select a single shelf, and they can select a shelf from within the libraries—perhaps choosing, for example, “High Interest Nonfiction” (Grade 3)—or from outside the libraries.

To order these libraries for your school, request a price quote or get questions answered, please contact Heinemann Customer Service at (800) 225-5800 or click here.