Tuesday, March 15, 2016

App Review: WWF Together

WWF TOGETHER is an informational app exploring wildlife and conservation topics and issues of interest to all ages.
From pandas to monarch butterflies, users choose from over a dozen threatened and endangered animals to explore. Each infographic includes text, photographs, diagrams, and other information about the creature.
Users can also explore information through the use of an interactive world map. Clicking on a location pops up an infographic containing information about an animal living in that area.
Because this app is sponsored by an organization that focuses on conservation, a section of the app features ways users take action.
Finally, the news area provides up-to-date information on wildlife and conservation issues.
Librarians will find that this app is a good way to help users learn to navigation and interpret infographics. The short, easy-to-read articles would be useful for informational reading activities. Connect information literacy skills with science learning for an authentic learning experience.

Sunday, February 28, 2016

App Review: MyCongress

MYCONGRESS is an easy-to-use app for locating detailed information about U.S. Congressional officials.
Users can locate congressional members by zip code, name, state, party, or chamber. A screen is provided for each person that includes background information and a photo. Links are included to their official website and Open Congress profile page. A link is also provided to their contact information.
One of the app’s most useful features is updated information about recent news associated with the congressman. Information is also provided about their YouTube Channel or Twitter Feed if available.
A bookmarks feature allows users to track individuals of interest.
Librarians will find this app to be popular with social studies teachers, particularly those teaching high school government.

Tuesday, February 09, 2016

Book Review: Alistair Grim's Odd Aquaticum

ALISTAIR GRIM’S ODD AQUATICUM by Gregory Funaro is the second book in this quirky fantasy series for children.
Ruthless villain Prince Nightshade wants to steal the power of the Odditorium. Young Grubb, his newly found father Alistair Grim, and a crew of eccentric characters set out on an underwater quest to find the legendary sword Excalibur and save the Odditorium. They must survive a witch, sea monsters, an assassin, and other magical adversaries to reach their destiny.
Weaving together elements of steampunk, fairy stories, witches, and magic, this series has broad appeal. The combination of whimsical settings, legendary characters, and action-packed adventure will have youth coming back for more.
Librarians will find that fans of the first book will enjoy this new addition to the series. Because both the first and second books have been well-received, interest in the series is growing.
To learn more about the author, go to http://www.gregoryfunaro.com/.
Published by Disney-Hyperion on January 5, 2016. ARC courtesy of the publisher.

Monday, February 08, 2016

Tech Review: YouTube Kids

YOUTUBE KIDS is an app that offers adults the chance to set up a safe environment for youth to experience YouTube video content.
The app is designed to make age-appropriate recommendations for youth based on viewing and searching history. Initially, the system can be set for “preschool”, “school age”, or “all kids” levels. The search bar can be shown or hidden.
Users are presented with access to content in four categories: Shows, Music, Learning, or Explore. From music by The Piano Guys to science videos from National Geographic Kids, users are presented with endless video options for children. Clicking a channel provides users with access to short video content. The basic keyword search displays content of interest to children. For instance, a search for frogs displays animated stories, science programs, and other interesting videos.
Librarians will find this to be a useful tool for in-school tablets. It would also be a good suggestion for parents of young children.
To download the app through Google Play or the App Store, go to https://kids.youtube.com/.

Sunday, February 07, 2016

Book Review: This is Where It Ends

THIS IS WHERE IT ENDS by Marieke Nijkamp is the gripping fictional account of a school shooting.
Told in “real-time” from the perspective of friends, family, and classmates of the teen shooter, this quick read takes place in one harrowing hour. The tragic story immerses readers in the thoughts, reflections, and actions of people facing the unimaginable horror of a gunman in their high school auditorium.
The author’s use of time stamps for each chapter, flashbacks, text messages, and other literary techniques adds interest for teen readers.
Librarians will find that students are attracted to this timely topic and drawn to the universal themes of revenge, heroism, and hope.
To learn more about the author, go to http://www.mariekenijkamp.com/
Published by Sourcebook Fire on January 5, 2016. ARC courtesy of the publisher.

Saturday, February 06, 2016

Website Review: RPO (Representative Poetry Online)

RPO (REPRESENTATIVE POETRY ONLINE) is a web anthology containing 4800 poems in English and French spanning 1400 years.
Containing the works of over 700 poets, the website sponsored by the University of Toronto Libraries is divided into poets, poems, and poetry.
Within the poet section, users can search by name, date, period, movement, nationality, and honors.
Within the poems section, users can search by title, date, form, rhyme, and collection.
Within the poetry section, users can locate works on a map, timeline, and calendar. Criticism, a glossary, and a bibliography are also available.
Librarians will find this to be a useful resource for both students and teachers. The map, timeline, and calendar features provide a unique opportunity to access and think about poetry.
To visit the website, go to http://rpo.library.utoronto.ca/

Friday, February 05, 2016

Book Review: The Door by the Staircase

THE DOOR BY THE STAIRCASE by Katherine Marsh is a fantasy adventure based on the Russian Baba Yaga folktales.
Designed for middle grades, this dark fantasy follows the story of orphan Mary Hayes who is adopted by the mysterious Madame Z. Mary’s new home seems ideal until she begins to realize that her savior may have a dark side.
Librarians will find this fantasy to be popular with children who enjoy folk tales. Teachers wishing to explore traditional folklore at the middle grades may consider this title as part of a literature circle focusing on folklore adaptations.
To learn more about the author, go to http://katherinemarsh.com/.
Published by Disney-Hyperion on January 5, 2016. ARC courtesy of the publisher.