Saturday, April 30, 2016

Website Review: Ology

The OLOGY website has been providing engaging science activities for youth for over 15 years.
Sponsored by the American Museum of Natural History, the web-based learning environment explores fourteen different topics including anthropology, archaeology, astronomy, biodiversity, brain, climate change, earth, genetics, marine biology, microbiology, paleontology, physics, water, and zoology.
Users can complete dozens of activities including games, stories, hands-on activities, and videos. By registering at the website, students can collect Ology cards hidden throughout the project.
The Ology for Educators section provides free, research based curriculum materials connected with Earth, life, and physical science content for K-12 students.
Librarians will find this amazing website to be an excellent opportunity to immerse youth in science. Use the website in a learning center focusing on one of the ology topics. Include books and materials in the station to support the hands-on activities. Change topics every couple weeks for a year-long science experience in your library.
To visit the website, go to

Friday, April 29, 2016

Book Review: Will's Words

WILL’S WORDS: HOW WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE CHANGED THE WAY YOU TALK by Jane Sutcliffe is an informational picture book explore the impact of Shakespeare on the English language.
Designed for intermediate grade students, the book begins with a letter from the author explaining that the focus of the book is on Shakespeare’s fascinating words and phrases. This beautifully illustrated picture book immerses readers in the time period, while weaving Shakespeare’s famous words into the narrative. Phrases like “too much of a good thing” and “wild-goose chase” are a couple examples of the many words made famous by this famous playwright. The book features sidebars containing Shakespeare’s words, their meaning, and where they can be found in his work. The book concludes with a second letter from the author, a timeline, and a bibliography.
Librarians will find this book to be a fun and engaging way to introduce young readers to Shakespeare’s world and his love of wordplay. Place the book in a learning center along with other books about Shakespeare, online resources, and a hands-on activity involving his famous phrases.
Learn more about the author at
Learn more about the illustrator at
Published by Charlesbridge on March 22, 2016. ARC courtesy of the publisher.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Technology Review: Poetry

The POETRY app and website provides easy access to hundreds of well-known classic and contemporary poets and their poems.
Developed by The Poetry Foundation, the resource provides the poem along with information about the poet, links, and other materials. Users can search or browse poems and poets by categories including subjects, occasions, holidays, poetic terms, school/period, poet’s region, and poet’s birthdate. Features including articles, audios, and video.
A Learning Lab area of the website contains resources for teachers including poems, articles, lesson ideas, essays, and a glossary. A Children’s Poetry area features children’s poetry, articles, children’s video, and information about youth poetry projects. Of particular interest is the Young People’s Poet Laureate Jacqueline Woodson’s page.
The app provides easy access to poems and a way to save favorites.
Librarians will find this to be an easy-to-use website and app for youth. Teachers can easily connect the themes to classroom activities. The app’s mood feature will get students thinking about how poetry connects with emotions like optimism, boredom, disappointment, and joy.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Book Review: The Steep and Thorny Way

THE STEEP AND THORNY WAY by Cat Winter is a thought-provoking historical mystery set in the 1920s.
Hanalee is a biracial teen struggling to identify the truth behind her father’s death in an era of prejudice and racial violence.
Librarians will immediately see parallels to Hamlet making this title popular with English teachers. Look for an audience among youth who enjoy historical fiction, but also those who like connections with Shakespearean themes. The plot’s many twists and turns will make this young adult novel popular with youth who enjoy mysteries and ghost stories.
To learn more about the author go to
Publisher by Abrams Kids on March 8, 2016. ARC courtesy of the publisher.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Technology Review: Radio Lab

RADIO LAB is a website and app containing engaging podcasts on topics related to science, philosophy, and the human experience.
Although these audio programs can be heard on the radio, users are increasingly accessing the content through the program website. The resource is divided into three sections: listen, read, and watch.
The Listen section provides access to the latest podcasts along with a link to the Episode Archive. For each hour-long episode, users can view an image and read an overview of the program. Users can also explore recommended links to extend the experience. The podcast page provides options to listen online, add the episode to a playlist, download the program, embed the program, or make comments. Related podcasts are also suggested.
The Read section provides a blog focusing on recent episodes. These short articles often include images, video clips, and web links to extend the experience.
The Watch section features interesting and sometimes amazing videos along with articles that discuss the topic.
The app allows users to listen to the podcasts, read the show blogs, and access the same content as the website.
Although the programs are aimed at a general audience, they contain information of interest to older children and young adults. A wide range of topics are available from sports and politics to environmental and social issues.
Librarians will find this website an excellent tool for promoting auditory literacy and supporting informational reading activities. The short programs would be an effective way to kick off a research project. Ask students to listen or read a program, write research questions, and conduct their own inquiry using the program as a starting point.
Use the podcasts with student researchers who have reading challenges. Audio can also be an excellent format for other youth with special needs.
To visit the website, go to
To download the app, go to

Monday, April 25, 2016

Book Review: On The Edge of Gone

ON THE EDGE OF GONE by Corinne Duyvis is a young adult, suspenseful science fiction novel told through the eyes of an autistic teen.
With a comet headed to Earth, rich (or useful) people have found permanent shelter underground or reserved space on a space going off-planet. However, a vast majority of the world’s population is stuck in temporary shelter and must find a way to survive. Will Denise and her family survive on Earth or will they find a way onto one of the generation ships?
As an autistic woman, the author is able to draw on her personal experiences to create a complex, realistic lead character.
Librarians will find that this apocalyptic novel is a step above the norm. With fully developed characters and a non-stop survival theme, readers will be thinking about the novel long after its conclusion. The diverse cast and powerful, thought-provoking story appeal to a wide range of young adult readers. However, some readers may shy away from its length.
To learn more about the author, go to
Published by Abrams Kids on March 8, 2016. ARC courtesy of the publisher.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Book Review: Hour of Bees

HOUR OF BEES by Lindsay Eagar is a poignant, multi-generational, coming-of-age story set in the New Mexican desert.
While her friends are enjoying the summer, Carolina is visiting her grandfather’s ranch in the desert. In this desolate setting, Carolina gains a new perspective on her family heritage and connections with the land through her grandfather’s stories.
Aimed at middle school youth, librarians will find an audience among children who enjoy realistic fiction along with a touch of magical realism. Fans of Pam Muñoz Ryan and Laura Resau are likely to enjoy the connections to Mexican cultural heritage. Multi-generational themes have been popular this year and this title is an outstanding example.
Published by Candlewick on March 8, 2016. ARC courtesy of the publisher.