Thistledown Press has been in partnership with teachers since it began publishing books in 1975. Founded by teachers and dedicated to literature and art, Thistledown has placed books in schools and curricula for decades. Though it remains a literary press, its publishing interests have always considered student readers in its program choices. To this end we have created a successful backlist and continuing front list of books intended for students who read and study literature. We have created a rich collection of books appropriate for the middle grade levels and high school that have proven classroom records.
We publish books that compel response — books that are well-written and meaningful. Whether you are looking for books for your Round Table discussions, literature circles, book clubs, or supplementing your curriculum choices, Thistledown books provide choices and could be an important resource for you.
In the Thematic Listing of Book Resources section we offer some guidelines as to which of our books may fit well with your English Language units by offering some important connections. We suggest grade appropriateness for our middle years books, and guideline reading levels for teens. We know that each school district develops its own procedures for approving and adopting novels, and also know that the teachers in the classroom are the best judge of their students’ abilities, expectations and the adjustments that are always made in the best classroom experiences. We are publishing books for teachers who like to work their own choices into their teaching. The majority of our books that have received curriculum approval have come because a teacher recommended it.
All Thistledown books have published criticism and author information collected on our web page. We are a valuable database for all the information on our books, and you have access to it.
Thistledown’s Literary Genres
Thistledown publishes novels, short stories, and poetry in stand-alone literary collections. We also publish anthologies, essay collections and some drama. Whatever plan you may have, you will always want to entertain and challenge your students. Thistledown’s anthologies are intelligent curricula choices. Our short story writers, essayists, poets, and novelists have collectively won many writing awards in most of the educational and Young Adult categories. Their work has proven longevity in classrooms. They are not textbooks marshalled along by series of structured planning, they are what you would expect from a literary press — meaningful reader contact, and in the hands of an inspiring teacher, they can meet many needs.
Thistledown Books and ELA Curricula Connections
Each school jurisdiction sets out its own courses and their content. Within this framework English Language Arts establishes the competencies for students at the various grades and levels and the core curriculum components and initiatives. This is all as it should be, and Thistledown expects that in doing so, schools will eventually create the important reading units based on topics, motifs, story elements, or themes that create the best opportunity for student idea discussion and allow for skill application. This is the Thistledown connection to you.
In an effort to assist teachers in finding suitable books to meet these thematic demands and to enrich the ideas in such units, Thistledown has identified the books it publishes for education into thematic listings that frequently appear as specific ELA grade units. Rarely do curriculum teams identify any universal language; however, they do demonstrate considerable overlap of motif and idea. While Thistledown’s titles of the thematic unit may not appear exactly as they do in your own school syllabus, you will immediately recognize the similarities and connections.
The two main sections are Middle Years and High School. In most cases the theme listing we offer will be obvious. Just click on the thematic link and it will take you to the books organized by grade that will allow you to explore what we offer. Most ELA teachers know that a wide range of reading ability exists within any grade level or student age group. While we have assigned specific readability criteria to many of our books, what is best for you and your students may be different. The groupings are not intended to be rigid, just guidelines. Whatever you decide, you can assume that the majority of our books for schools are for standard to fluent readers. With few exceptions, Thistledown books have varied topics, stimulating vocabularies, and diversified writing styles.
Obviously our theme search is not exhaustive, but we do have a substantial number of ELA thematic units connected to our books with more being added each year. Take a few minutes to have a look and you will discover books that you and your students will find worthy of your time. Remember, Thistledown Press is in the entertainment business, but we do know how to build curriculum resources.
Thistledown and Censorship
Administrators and parents will have their say on the books that make their way into classrooms, and Thistledown respects their positions. However, as a literary press we hold to our position that our books are well-written, intelligent, and represent a wide cross-section of social, historical, and cultural issues. Some of the issues will naturally be edgy, as this reading audience makes such demands, but no work we publish is intended to create sensationalized topics or controversial language, nor do we expect that anyone would find the contents harmful to any reader. Thistledown’s intentions are to bring meaningful literature to students in a responsible way.
Thistledown Books Readability and Levelling
While we can suggest a grade level based on the style of writing for Thistledown’s teen and juvenile books, it remains imperative that teachers read the books themselves in order to place them accurately for their own students. The act of the teacher reading the book remains true for navigating many of our teacher curriculum guides as well as our student response guides. Thistledown grade level identification is based on the book’s textual ease or difficultly, but the book’s interest level and reading level remain within the domain of the teacher. For books that have a high textual demand, we have tagged them with enriched to alert you to this distinction.
See our Curriculum Approved Titles, Teacher Resource Guides, and Student Response Guides, as well as curriculum themes for Middle Years Grades 5 - 9, High School Teachers Grade 10-11, and High School Teachers Grade 12
To order Thistledown books go to Ordering: Teachers and Librarians