Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Book Review: The Art of Not Breathing

THE ART OF NOT BREATHING by Sarah Alexander is a work of realistic fiction exploring a five year old drowning incident.
It’s been years since Elsie’s twin brother Eddie drowned in the ocean near their home. Elsie is having a difficult time remembering the circumstances of his death and is determined to find out what really happened. This vividly described story explores the long-term effects of death on family and friends.
Librarians will find that fans of We Were Liars and I’ll Give You the Sun will be drawn to this authentic adventure. The novel will also appeal to teens who enjoy a touch of romance and mystery.
To learn more about the author, go to http://www.sarahalexanderwrites.com/.
Published by HMH for Young Readers on April 26, 2016. ARC courtesy of the publisher.

Monday, June 27, 2016

App Review: Amount

AMOUNT by Marco Loretta is an easy-to-use unit converter.
Users select from 700 units across 30 categories from acceleration to volume. They can also do a key word search for terms such as gigawatt hour or nanonewton. The units can be visualize a number of different ways. For instance, the cooking section measures go from drops to bushels.
The system couldn’t be easier to use. Students simply select a unit and type in a number. The system automatically displays dozens of different conversation for that measure. Whether converting bits into terabytes, type points into inches, or Mexican pesos into American dollars, students will find a unit to fit their needs.
The layout is very effective, but it may take a few minutes to get accustomed to using swipe gestures, long presses, taps, and other tablet techniques to make it work.
Librarians will find this intuitive app to be an excellent addition to their app-based reference collection. Create customized lists of commonly used tools required across the curriculum including tools for physics, earth and space science, chemistry, mathematics, consumer science, business, industrial technology, social sciences, and many other areas.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Book Review: Flawed

FLAWED by Cecelia Ahern is a young adult dystopian thriller exploring societal perfection.
Celestine lives in a world that expects perfection. Those who break societal norms are physically and emotionally branded. While Celestine is considered the model citizen, she begins to realize that living a moral life may require actions that don’t mesh with society’s view of perfection. When she’s branded for an act of kindness and compassion, her life changes forever.
Librarians will find this engaging work of science fiction to be a source for endless discussions about the role of society and government in dictating what’s moral and ethical. Use it in a book club or even a psychology or sociology course.
To learn more about the author, go to http://www.cecelia-ahern.com/.
To learn more about the book, go to http://fiercereads.com/books/flawed/.
Published by Feiwel and Friends, an imprint of Macmillan on April 5, 2016. ARC courtesy of the publisher.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Website Review: Generation On

GENERATION ON is a website exploring youth service projects from around the world.
While to website features it’s own projects, the ideas can be applied to any local service learning organization. The website is divided into resources for kids, teens, and adults.
The Kid’s section begins by providing stories about young people doing good in their communities. Next, students can explore a wide range of service areas including animal welfare, bullying and tolerance, literacy, education, environment, citizenship and civic engagement, emergency preparation and response, homelessness and poverty, health and wellness, hunger, senior citizens, peace and kindness, as well as military and veterans. Within each area students can view dozens of project ideas and examples. The resources section provides specific guidelines and fact sheets to help youth better understand the activities involved in service learning. Links are provided to games and interactives that contain background information about many of the topics such as emergency preparedness and environmental issues. Finally, current opportunities are featured to help jumpstart service learning projects.
The Teen’s section contains similar sections to the kid’s area, but includes more depth and age-appropriate activities and project examples. This section also promotes the idea of service clubs and sharing.
Parent, Educator, and Organizations sections provide information about ways to involve youth in service learning projects and detail upcoming activities.
Librarians will find endless ideas for service learning projects at this constantly updated website. A blog and calendar provide easy access to news and information about upcoming opportunities.
To visit the website, go to http://www.generationon.org/.

Friday, June 24, 2016

Book Review: Secret Tree Fort

SECRET TREE FORT by Brianne Farley is a charming picture book about two sisters with different ideas about how to spend an afternoon outdoors.
When siblings are told to “go outside and play,” the young girl tried to convince her sister that they should play together. When she’s ignored, the girl uses her imagination to weave an amazing story of a secret fort. Colorful illustrations bring the imaginary fort to life.
Librarians know that forts are always a popular topic. Use this sweet picture book as a read-aloud and encourage children to draw pictures of their own imaginary tree fort.
To learn more about the author, go to http://briannefarley.com/.
Published by Candlewick Press on April 12, 2016. ARC courtesy of the publisher.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Book Review: Great Falls

GREAT FALLS by Steve Watkins is a young adult novel exploring the relationship between a teen and his older brother who suffers from PTSD.
When high school football star Shane agrees to go on a camping trip with his older brother Jeremy, he soon realizes he’s in over his head. Military hero Jeremy is back from deployments in Iraq and suffering from the effects of this war experiences. A canoe, alcohol, and a rifle combine for a terrifying experience that escalates around every corner as Jeremy’s behavior becomes increasingly erratic.
Watkins effectively balances the fast-paced, action with an authentic, somber examination of a suffering soldier dealing with life after war.
Librarians will find this gripping story of brotherhood to be popular among young men.
To learn more about the author, go to http://stevewatkinsbooks.com/.
Published by Candlewick on April 26, 2016. ARC courtesy of the publisher.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Technology Review: DOGOnews

DOGOnews is a website and app resource focusing on current events, news, and nonfiction articles for students and teachers.
The website consists of short articles. Most of these informational stories contain numerous images. Vocabulary words that may be unfamiliar to youth are highlighted and link to pop-up definitions and examples. Each article ends with reading comprehension questions, a critical thinking challenge, and vocabulary. A game helps readers review the vocabulary. While the website contains limited, education related advertising, it’s not distracting to readers.
Tabs lead users to articles about news, books, or movies. Within the news category, students can choose from science, sports, social studies, world, green, entertainment, fun, and other categories. They can also narrow by grade levels including K-3, 3-5, 3-8, and 3-5. This is useful when accessing articles that are appropriate for particular reading and interest levels. Within the book category, students can choose clubs, series, freebies, or seasonal works. Books are also organized by genre and reading level. Within the movie category, children can browse by categories such as mystery or animation.
The website also offers special features for students and teachers. Students can create their own avatar, earn badges, share articles, and write articles. Teachers can set up classroom accounts and make assignments.
The app works much the same way as the website. The easy-to-navigate app contains access to over 3,000 articles across the curriculum. Articles are categorized by grade level. Clicking on highlighted works leads to definitions and places are linked maps. Lesson plans are connected to national standards.
Librarians will find this easy-to-use resource is useful in reading activities. It’s also valuable for informational reading in the subject areas such as social studies and science.
To visit the website, go to http://www.dogonews.com/.