By January 11, 2013 3 Comments Read More →

Freebie Friday: Common Core Combo

My Brother Sam is Dead & Lincoln’s Speeches and Writings in eBook and audio. Perfect for history lovers, a Common Core combo of classics – one physical, one download.


Here’s a a great offer for educators, and school / youth services librarians! Win a special combo from AudioGo: a physical CD audiobook copy of the  Newbery Honor classic  My Brother Sam is Dead, narrated by John C. Brown, for your school, public, or personal library plus a free companion book that delves into the history behind this Revolutionary War tale and other Collier titles, Brother Sam and All That: Historical Context and Literary Analysis of the Novels of James and Christopher Collier. A great addition to your Common Core collection! I’ll pick a winner on January 30, so be sure to leave a comment on this blog post below to be entered to win. Scroll down for a Q&A with the Collier brothers about their 40-year career.


And  everyone’s a winner, thanks to Tantor Audio‘s free download offer. Grab the audio MP3 download of Abraham Lincoln’s Speeches and Writings, read by Alan Sklar, plus the eBook as PDF – seven hours of Lincoln’s personal letters and speeches, including the Emancipation Proclamation, the Gettysburg Address, and many more, this vital collection of speeches and writings gives listeners a uniquely intimate view of America’s sixteenth president. Here’s the download link:  Another great Common Core connection – or a great freebie to add to your library website’s Books-into-Oscar-nominations feature!

Brother Sam_cover

Q&A with James & Christopher Collier

• Can you talk a bit about the success of My Brother Sam is Dead? Why do you think it’s been such a consistent seller?
Teachers like Brother Sam because the story contains lessons about life in the 18th century with the various interpretations of the causes of the Revolution. Most important, however, is the content of the novel that draws kids in on an emotional level. Readers relate to Timmy and his family as though they were members of the Meeker family. In short, the novel teaches by involving readers in a gripping, fast paced story.

• You’ve covered a lot of emotionally charged historical events. Why are you drawn to these situations more than others?
My research revealed scores of episodes of real-life horror, courage, intellectual and emotional dilemma, and some relief. We put some of those in the book.

• How have each of your personal backgrounds affected your writing?
The inspiration to write our historical novels grew out of my [Christopher’s] middle school classroom experience as a teacher. I wanted to teach in a way that made important events in American history memorable – so kids would remember the ideas and episodes for a lifetime – not just until next week’s test.

• What changes have you seen over the course of your careers?
Grades 6 through 9 have all been difficult to teach; but they are much more so now – especially in inner city schools. Also, the new media have provided teachers with all sorts of technological aids to create effective classroom teaching. Classroom materials have also become more complex and sophisticated. In addition, suburban parents have come to expect more of their childrens’ teachers. Classroom teaching has lost a lot of its freedom and opportunity to improvise and develop imaginative lessons.

• What is the collaboration process like?
It says a lot about our collaboration that we have written 32 books over a period of nearly 40 years and are still best friends.

• Tell us a bit about The Drama of American History series.
It is difficult for a much published scholar of American History to pick out of thousands of telling episodes which ones middle-school kids can understand and are illustrative of the theme we are trying to convey. It was my job to discern the most important themes in American History, allocate them to given periods, and find the appropriate episodes.

• How do you feel about the audiobook versions of your titles?
We have for years enjoyed the fact that Sam was available in audio form. We are delighted to know that many of our other titles will soon be similarly available through AudioGo.

• How do you feel about your titles being released in new formats for the digital generation?
We are excited by the prospect that our books will be available in e-book format. We love the idea that we will be able to meet our new readers in an up-to-date format that matches 21st-century kids’ literary desires and needs.



About the Author:

Mary Burkey is an independent library consultant in Columbus (OH). An enthusiastic audiophile, she has served on all four of ALA's audiobook award committees as well as the Audies. In addition to writing the "Voices in My Head" column for Booklist, she is the author of Audiobooks for Youth: A Practical Guide to Sound Literature (ALA, 2013). Follow her on Twitter at @mburkey.

3 Comments on "Freebie Friday: Common Core Combo"

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  1.' Tiffany Meyer says:

    Freebie Friday – this is the first I’m hearing of it – what a terrific idea!

  2. Mary Burkey says:

    Hello Tiffany! I’m entering you in the drawing for the My Brother Sam is Dead package. And be sure to check all of the previous Freebie Friday posts – there may be some download freebies that are still available!

  3.' YvonneJ says:

    Please enter me into the drawing for the My Brother Sam is Dead package. I work in a small library and this would be a great addition to our small but growing JF/YA audiobook collection. I hadn’t heard of this book before reading your review and wanted to do a little more research on my own. It was interesting to learn that My Brother Sam is Dead was the twelfth most frequently challenged book in the period from 1990 to 2000.

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