Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Book Review: Every Single Second

EVERY SINGLE SECOND by Tricia Springstubb is a realistic fiction story examining the struggles of middle grade friends in an urban neighborhood.
This story of friendship and families tells the story of Nella, Clem, and Angela who are friends that attend Catholic school together. A school closing, accidental shooting, and medical crisis cause stress in both the families and the local community.
Librarians will find the themes of racial tensions, PSTD, and school closings to be very timely. Youth who enjoy contemporary fiction will enjoy the authentic family and neighborhood situations. The coming-of-age approach will appeal to a broad spectrum of students.
The author’s use of “now” and “then” chapters is an appealing literacy element, but requires readers to pay close attention to the narrative. The addition of the statue’s perspective provides an additional point for discussion for those who choose a “read-aloud” approach.
To learn more about the author, go to http://www.triciaspringstubb.com/.
Published by Balzer + Bray, an imprint of Harper Collins on June 7, 2016. ARC courtesy of the publisher.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Technology Review: The Voyage of Van Diemen's Land

THE VOYAGE TO VAN DIEMEN’S LAND is an educational game set in the 19th century.
Produced by the Australian National Maritime Museum, the learning experience immerses players in the year 1830. As the surgeon superintendent aboard a convict vessel, players must successfully transport human cargo from Britain to what is now known as Tasmania Australia.
The game’s introduction provides a fast-paced, highly illustrated overview of history connected to the game. Players begin by selecting a ship, captain, and supplies. After loading the supplies, convicts, an overseer, and assistant are chosen. Finally, rats much be caught. During the voyage, the mood and health of the passengers must be carefully supervised. Stops along the way are essential, but can also cause problems. Games are built into the story keeping student players motivated.
Librarians will find that the combination of humor along with the use of realistic problems and historically accurate information makes this a highly engaging way to learn about world history. Much like the old Oregon Trail game, the key is helping students make historical connections as they work their way through the game experience.
To visit the website, go to http://voyage.anmm.gov.au/.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Book Review: Julia Vanishes

JULIA VANISHES by Catherine Egan is a fast-paced fantasy filled with thieves, spies, witches, and other fascinating characters.
Julia is a spy with the ability to hide in plain sight. Her latest mission involves acting as a servant in a mansion filled with secrets. When she’s asked to betray the people she’s come to love, she’s forced to make a life-changing decision. Set in a world of witches, monsters, and murder, this first book in a new trilogy introduces an intriguing and dangerous world populated with an array of compelling characters.
Librarians will find this young adult novel in high demand. The mystery elements combined with the supernatural aspects and witchcraft theme add to the appeal of this fantasy. Teens will be clamoring for the next book in this hot new trilogy.
To learn more about author, go to http://catherineegan.com/.
Published by Knopf Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Random House on June 7, 2016. ARC courtesy of the publisher.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Website Review: Remembering Lincoln

REMEMBERING LINCOLN explores the reactions of people to the Lincoln assassination and the stories behind these responses.
Produced by Ford’s Theatre, the “Explore the Story” section describes the circumstances of President Abraham Lincoln’s death and the reactions that came from people in all walks of life. A timeline, map of responses, and focus on specific people are intended to help students immerse themselves in the time period and the personal reactions of people to the Lincoln Assassination.
The “Browse All Responses” section contains hundreds of primary source documents including photographs, objects, newspaper articles, diary entries and other items that remember Lincoln.
The “Curated Collections” section provides a few focused examples such as memorial cards, children’s reactions, and mourning ribbons.
Librarians will find this website to be useful in teaching about primary source documents. By focusing on a particular event, librarians and history teachers can explore the wide range of primary sources produced at the time and help student reflect on the various perspectives represented in these documents.
To visit the website, go to http://rememberinglincoln.fords.org/.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Book Review: The Loose Ends List

THE LOOSE ENDS LIST by Carrie Firestone follows an unusual family vacation filled with humor and heartbreak.
When Maddie’s grandmother announces that she’s dying and wants to go on a “death-with-dignity” cruise, Maddie’s shocked. The worldwide voyage is filled with romance, last wishes, and rediscovering family.
Librarians will find this young adult work of contemporary fiction popular with youth who enjoy both family stories and romance. Thought-provoking themes involving terminal cancer and death-with-dignity are increasingly in the headlines and are likely to fascinate curious teens. Featuring lots of opportunities for discussion, this book will be a popular teen book club choice.
To learn more about the author, go to http://www.carriefirestoneauthor.com/.
Published by Little, Brown, an imprint of Hachette on June 7, 2016. ARC courtesy of the publisher.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Book Review: The Cresswell Plot

THE CRESSWELL PLOT by Eliza Wass tells the haunting story of a teen and her siblings suppressed by their strict, religious father.
To outsiders, the Cresswell family members are viewed as religious freaks. Castley Cresswell is tired of the plain clothing and strict home life, so she begins to explore the outside world. She soon learns truths that shatter her understanding of the world and set into motion events that will change her life forever.
Librarians will find this coming-of-age YA novel to be a hit with teens who enjoy delving into dark, chilling stories. The well-developed family relationships combined with the engrossing storyline will keep readers on the edge of their seats.
To learn more about the author, go to http://www.elizawass.com/.
Published by Disney-Hyperion on June 7, 2016. ARC courtesy of the publisher.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Website Review: African Rock Art

AFRICAN ROCK ART from the British Museum explores the 30,000 year history of rock art.
The easy-to-use website is filled with attractive photographs and concise chunks of information. The website begins with an exploration of techniques of production, chronologies, and origins of rock art in Africa.
The “Explore Countries” section provides an introduction to the regions of Africa and the rock art in each area.
The “Explore Themes” section examines representations in rock art including warriors, geometric motifs, cattle brands, animals, hairdressings, chariots, fishing, and writing. Standing stones are also explored.
The “Examine Images” section provides access to a digital collection of rock art images from the British Museum. The multimedia section links to videos that provide a context for many of the rock art sites.
Librarians will find that this website provides a useful introduction to rock art. Work with teachers to incorporate this website into history and art classes. Also, connect this resource with others that explore rock art sites around the world. Consider an inquiry-based learning assignment that connects rock art with a discussion of primary sources and the use of evidence to draw inferences.
To visit the website, go to http://africanrockart.britishmuseum.org/