Saturday, May 26, 2018

Book Review: Bird Guide of North America

BIRD GUIDE OF NORTH AMERICA by Jonathan Alderfer is a useful companion to National Geographic’s field guide.
Unlike the field guide, this bird book isn’t simply a listing of birds for use in identification. Instead, it features key birds specific regions and habitats including eastern and western backyard birds, city street and parks, farms and fields, beach and bay, southern swamps and bayou, river and marsh, prairie and plains, deserts, and western mountains. Each chapter explores the habitat, features several birds, and provides mini-profiles of a few more. Chapters also focus on birds in peril and rock star birds. The book also contains a useful map and information about attracting birds such as building a bird feeder.
Librarians will find this book useful for youth doing reports on particular regions or habitats. Younger students will appreciate the focus on just a few birds in each area, while older youth may seek out more comprehensive bird guides for added bird varieties and details. Children who enjoy browsing nonfiction books will appreciate the colorful photographs and other illustrations.
Published on March 1, 2018 by National Geographic Kids. ARC courtesy of the publishers.

Friday, May 25, 2018

Website Review: Trucktown

TRUCKTOWN is Jon Scieszka’s website featuring his popular truck characters.
Users can choose to explore the adult or children’s section of the website. The adult section provides information about the series, the creators, and the books including text, images, and short videos. The teacher/librarian section provides reproducible PDF activities for students. The children’s section contains interactive experiences from the book Smash! Crash, Trucktown games, and lots of online activities.
Librarians will find this website to be full of fun activities. Set up a Trucktown in the library including toy trucks, books, printed activities, and a computer featuring the website.
To visit the website, go to

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Website Review: The Museum of the World

THE MUSEUM OF THE WORLD is a collaborative project of The British Museum and Google Cultural Institute.
This interactive timeline allows users to scroll through history as they examine artifacts. The resources are organized by regions of the world including Africa, Americas, Asia, Europe, and Oceania. Artifacts are also clustered into themes including arts and design, living and dying, power and identity, religion and belief, and trade and conflict. Users click on an object to learn more. In addition to a photo and text, explorers can play audio, examine the artifact’s location on a map, and view related objects.
Librarians will find this website useful when working with social studies and history teachers on themes connected with geography and social issues. Use the artifacts to jumpstart inquiries related to the project themes such as power and identity or trade and conflict.
To visit the website, go to

Monday, May 21, 2018

Website Review: National Women's History Museum

The NATIONAL WOMEN’S HISTORY MUSEUM contains exhibits and educational resources focusing on women and their history.
The museum website contains a content section that includes exhibits, articles, resources, and stories. The project uses text, images, audio, video, and interactives to share the rich history of women. The students and educators area provides learning materials including resources, biographies, key topics, and information about National History Day.
Librarians will find this to be a useful starting point for youth working on projects associated with women’s history. Use it to help students select research topics or locate lesser-known stories about the women’s movement.
To visit the website, go to

Friday, May 18, 2018

Website Review: Species in Pieces

SPECIES IN PIECES is an interactive exhibition featuring thirty of the world’s most interesting, but endangered species.
This database allows users to browse through the animals or select a specific creature to examine. Rather than showing photographs, the project uses CSS polygons to visualize each animal. For each creature, users can read basic facts, explore statistics, watch a video, and explore a conservation website.
Librarians will find this exhibition to be an engaging way to start an investigation of endangered animals. Ask students to explore the exhibit, then select one of the animals to examine in-depth. Help learners use subscription databases, books, and other resources to gather the latest information about their creature.
The CSS polygons found on this website will fascinate students and teachers alike. Use this website to jumpstart a coding activity where students create their own animal images.
To explore the website, go to

Book Review: Izzy Gizmo

IZZY GIZMO by Pip Jones tells the story of a young inventor who befriends an injured crow.
This colorful, lyrical picture book follows Izzy Gizmo who loves inventing things. Although she sometimes gets frustrated when her creations break down, she’s determined to help a crow with a broken wing. Of particular note are the attractice illustrations by Sara Ogilvie that are likely to appeal to children.
Librarians will find an audience among children who enjoy books about creativity and ingenuity. Weave the book into STEAM activities connected with invention and perseverance.
Published on March 1, 2018 by Peachtree. ARC courtesy of the publisher.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Tech Review: BumperDucks

BUMPERDUCKS is a middle school game designed to teach physical science.
This educational game from Smithsonian Education teaches students what happens when two objects collide and how mass impacts the acceleration of an object. Participants must help a duck avoid obstacles to reach tasty treats across a pond. Users can either play the game or explore the sandbox. In sandbox mode, users can manipulate the objects to experiment with how they work or build puzzles.
Librarians will find this to be a fun way to engage science students through game playing. Work with teachers to develop meaningful physical science activities within the sandbox feature. Include the game as part of a physical science display along with makerspace activities and nonfiction science books.
The game is available online or through the App Store or Google Play.
To visit the website or download the app, go to

Monday, May 14, 2018

Website Review: America on the Move

AMERICA ON THE MOVE is a program from the National Museum of American History.
This fascinating website contains exhibitions, collections, themes, games, and learning resources connected with the history of transportation. The exhibition section features a timeline exploring how changes in transportation impacted America. The collection area provides access to more than a thousand artifacts and photographs. In the theme area, students can explore resources by topics such as communities and technology.
The website features three interactive games including a matching game, a driving through time game, and a movie director game. Each game examines a different aspect of transportation history.
Librarians will find this website to be a fun way to explore the history of transportation. The learning resources section provides exhibit and classroom guides, a reading list, and web links.
To visit the website, go to