Teachers everywhere: listen to me. If you're discouraged, disheartened, unmotivated or losing hope as the school year winds down, I've got just the book to cheer you up. misslittleAn advance copy of Douglas Wood's new picture book, Miss Little's Gift, recently arrived in our office and something about the calm,  imploring face of the teacher on the cover made me sit right down and read it—even though the pub date for this title is August and a zillion other books are demanding to be read first (as always). Near as we can tell, Lois Little was Wood's real-life second grade teacher and she INSISTED, in the way only elementary school teachers can, that little Douglas would learn to read despite his aversion to the "blobs and squiggles" on the page. Our very favorite part of this touching story is the last spread, which shows an aging Miss Little holding a copy of Wood's first book—her struggling student had become an author, and an award-winning one at that! Jim Burke's illustrations do a wonderful job of taking us back to Wood's school days, from the linoleum floor of the classroom, to the prim demeanor of Miss Little. All you downtrodden educators, get yourself a copy of Miss Little's Gift before the next school year starts and remember: teachers really can change lives.

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