Saturday, October 31, 2015

Website Review: CDC Health E-Cards

Happy Halloween! Send a Halloween e-Card from HEALTH E-CARDS!
HEALTH E-CARDS from the Center for Disease Control (CDC) is a website providing dozens of eCards that can be sent for special occasions or just to share important information about living a healthy life.
From sending an e-card about healthy pets to sharing information about hand washing, a wide range of cards are available.
Librarians will find endless applications for these fun and educational eCards. Print out the eCards for appealing, thematic bulletin boards. Or, get students involved with sharing what they’ve learned about healthy living by writing a summary and sending it on an eCard to their teacher.
To see a master list of e-cards, go to

Friday, October 30, 2015

Book Review: That's Deadly

Part of National Geographic Kids THAT’S series, THAT’S DEADLY by Crispin Boyer features “fatal facts that will test your fearless factor”.
A grim reaper named “Tim” introduces the deadly topic pointing out features of the book, defining key vocabulary, and introducing a creepy rating system that goes from risky business to sudden death.
While some chapters focus on deadly critters likes sharks, crocodiles, and snakes, others explore natural disasters, dangerous places, and extreme environments. A variety of visual presentation styles will keep youth interested. Pages include infographics, fact lists, diagrams, and photographs.
Designed for the middle grades, this engaging work of nonfiction is more lengthy that many of the other National Geographic Kids titles making it a great option for middle school youth. However the small type and dense text may be off-putting for some readers.
Published by National Geographic Kids on September 8, 2015.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Website Review: Warsaw Rising

WARSAW RISING is a website that tells the story of a the fall and rebirth of the city of Warsaw Poland.
The website is divided into sections that take users from 1918 through the present. The sections include Warsaw: The Capitol of Poland, Invasion of Poland, German Policy of Terror, De Polnische Untergrundstaat, Battle for Freedom, Insurgent Republic, In Stalin’s Grip, Destruction of the City, In the Shadow of Yalta, and Phoenix from the Ashes.
Each section includes short narratives, photographs, primary source documents, videos, and other materials to enhance the experience.
Users can move linear through the screens or stop to explore through the use of maps and other interactive elements.
Students will find this website to be an engaging way to learn about the impact of war on a city. Involve youth in thinking about how war has impacted other cities around the world. Ask them to build their own timeline incorporating primary source materials.
To explore the website, go to

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Book Review: Clothesline Clues to Sports People Play

CLOTHESLINE CLUES TO SPORTS PEOPLE PLAY by Kathryn Heling and Deborah Hembrook is a rhyming picture book that engages young readers in a sports guessing game.
Each two-page spread shows clothes and equipment along with text information. Readers are asked about the sport the items represents. The next page reveals the answer. The sports players represent a mixture of genders and races. Although a variety of body shapes are represented, no noticeably disabled players are included.
A companion to Clothesline Clues to Jobs People Do, librarians will find that this series of informational books provides endless possibilities for classroom activities. Consider connecting this story with nonfiction books exploring each sport represented.
While some children may never have seen a clothesline, they’ll quickly understand the premise and enjoy the learning experience. The clothesline approach could be turned into an engaging hands-on, flannelboard activity.
Published by Charlesbridge on August 4, 2015. Review copy courtesy of Charlesbridge.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Website Review:

ANALYTICS.USA.GOV is a fascinating statistical website from the U.S. federal government.
The website shows how many people are currently at government websites and tracks activities over time. Users can view the traffic over the past 90 days and see what devices, browsers, and operating systems are used by visitors. For instance, more than 40% of users are now using Google’s Chrome.
Users can also track what government domains have the most traffic. For instance during a 30 day period in Fall 2015, the most visited locations included National Institutes of Health, NOAA’s Weather, the Center for Disease Control, the Internal Revenue Service, and NASA. The data comes from Google Analytics.
Librarians will find this to be a captivating website to use with youth. Whether discussing website use with technology students or integrating real-world statistics into a math class, there are many uses for this website across the curriculum. Also, consider an activity that involves students evaluating the most used websites.
To learn more, go to

Monday, October 26, 2015

Book Review: What We Saw

WHAT WE SAW by Aaron Hartzler is a work of young adult contemporary fiction that provides chilling insights into the rape culture found across America.
After a small town high school party, a teenaged girl accuses members of the basketball team of rape. Kate attended the party, but she and her basketball playing boyfriend left the party before the alleged rape. Soon, members of the basketball team are arrested and the media gets involved. Kate listens to all the different perspectives and tries to piece together what really happened.
Librarian will find a broad readership for this work of realistic fiction. The novel avoids strong language and graphic descriptions of rape. Instead, it focuses on the perspectives and actions of those connected with the incident.
While librarians are likely to immediately see connections to the 2012 Steubenville, Ohio gang rape incident, youth may not aware of the many examples of high school party-related rapes. This book provides an excellent opportunity to explore nonfiction works related to sex crimes their impact on the lives of teens.
To learn more about the author, go to
Published by HarperTeen on September 22, 2015. ARC e-book.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Technology Review: Sesame Street

The SESAME STREET website, apps, and ebooks contain endless learning resources for preschool and primary children.
The website contains sections focusing on games, videos, art, and muppets. The games section provides age-appropriate games for young children including life skills such as a getting dresses and academic games such as letters and numbers. The videos section features short 2-3 minute videos on a variety of topics. Again, the interface is easy enough for small children to use. The Art Maker section provides easy-to-use interactive tools for creating everything from a cookie or pizza to a Jack-O-Lantern. The Muppets section allows users to explore resources related to their favorite character including games, videos, and art projects. Playlists are available based on specific topics and ages.
The bookstore area contains access to eBooks, audio eBooks, animated eBooks, and interactive eBooks. A subscription is required to access most of these books.
Dozens of apps are available including game apps, story apps, and ebooks. Educational bundles are available for sets of apps. Many of the apps contain the same resources found online.
Librarians will find a wealth of resources for preschool and primary children. Keep in mind that while the general website is free, access to the ebook website and many of the apps requires a license.
To visit the website, go to
To visit the ebook area, go to

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Book Review: Treasury of Norse Mythology

TREASURY OF NORSE MYTHOLOGY by Donna Jo Napoli is that latest book in the Treasury series featuring classic stories of intrigue, trickery, love, and revenge.
Napoli begins the book by discussing the origins of Norse mythology and introducing readers to the Norse gods. She provides resources for those interested in learning more about the Norse names.
Featuring well-known as well as lesser-known stories, each of the 18 stories is displayed in a large, easy-to-read font and illustrated with amazing paintings. Descriptions accompany each of the large illustrations. Of particular note are the intricate borders found on each page. In addition, many pages contain sidebars featuring historical information of interest to readers. Primary source documents are also woven into the text including an image from a 17th century illuminated manuscript.
The book concludes with a map and timeline, cast of characters, bibliography, and index.
While some of the names of gods, people, and places may be difficult for youth to pronounce, the storylines themselves will be easy to follow for middle grade readers.
With the popularity of Norse characters in movies, television shows, and computer games, librarians will find a large audience for this story collection. In addition to this book, librarians will also be interested in the titles focusing on Greek mythology and Egyptian mythology. The short stories are quick reads. Involve youth in reading a story and exploring more about the key characters.
Published by National Geographic on September 22, 2015.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Website Review: Smithsonian Encyclopedia

The SMITHSONIAN ENCYCLOPEDIA provides access to a multitude of online resources through an easy-to-use interface.
The online encyclopedia is organized into themes including Art and Design, History and Culture, Science and Technology, Mysteries of the Universe, A Biodiverse Planet, World Cultures, and The American Experience. Each section provides links to activities and games, fact sheets, online exhibitions, online features, reading lists, and research resources. While the resources are designed for the general public, they’re very useful for middle and high student projects.
Users can also explore by topic from aeronautics to women’s history or by resource type such as activities, games, online features, and teacher resources.
The Kids Favorites section is specifically designed for children. It provides access to dozens of activities and games found throughout the Smithsonian website. It also provides access to Fact Sheets that would be great for informational reading activities. Online Exhibitions of particular interest to youth are also provided including topics such as Abraham Lincoln, Butterflies, and Dinosaurs. Online Features include Invention Stories, Lewis and Clark resources, and the Dynamic Earth.
Librarians will want to spend some time mining this wonderful online resource matching the information sources with specific curriculum area needs.
To explore the website, go to

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Book Review: Dumplin'

DUMPLIN’ by Julie Murphy is a contemporary, coming-of-age novel for young adults focusing on friendship, body image, and self-assurance.
Murphy tells the humorous, yet poignant story of a self-proclaimed fat girl who decides to enter a beauty pageant. Along the way, Willowdean and her friends experience the heartbreak and happiness that comes with best friends and teen romance.
Librarians will find a market for this book among youth who enjoy realistic fiction. Rather than dwelling on topics related to weigh loss, the relatable story focuses on issues of self-esteem, self-assurance, and gaining confidence.
Learn more about the author at
Published by Balzer & Bray, an imprint of HarperCollins on September 15, 2015. ARC e-book.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Book Review: Fright Club

FRIGHT CLUB by Ethan Long is an adorable picture book perfect for the Halloween season.
When Vladimir vampire calls a meeting of the Fright Club, he didn’t expect a cute little bunny to show up. When the club rejects the rabbit, the bunny enlists the help of his friends and a lawyer to convince Fright Club members that they can be scary and have a lot to contribute to their club. Themes related to stereotypes and inclusion make this more than the standard Halloween story.
The spooky illustrations contain just the right balance of humor and horror for young readers. The black text on the dark background can be a little difficult to read. Otherwise librarians will find this picture book popular as a Halloween read-aloud.
To learn more about the author, go to
Published by Bloomsbury Children’s Books on August 11, 2015. Review copy courtesy of the publisher.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Book Review: Fires of Invention

FIRES OF INVENTION by J. Scott Savage is the first book in the Mysteries of Cove steampunk series for the middle grades.
Set in a dystopian world where creativity is a crime, thirteen-year-old Trenton is constantly in trouble for what he considers as helpful and harmless mechanical projects. When he meets a repair technician who shares his passion, they set off on an adventure involving mysterious clues, secret inventions, and discoveries that will change their city forever.
Librarians will find readership among fans of The Books of Ember and other series focusing on dystopian underworld societies. It’s also a good choice for those wishing to enter the world of steampunk. Although there’s nothing particularly compelling about the series, its combination of dystopian and steampunk themes along with the promise of more dragons will keep readers coming back for more.
To learn more about the author, go to
Published by Shadow Mountain on September 29, 2015. ARC e-book.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Website Review: TED-Ed

The TED-ED website is TED’s education initiative focusing on short video lessons for students and educators.
As a nonprofit devoted to spreading ideas, TED (Technology, Entertainment and Design) has covered many educational issues in the past. However, they have recently developed a growing library of lessons aimed specifically at sparking curiosity in learners around the world.
The TED-Ed project contains a number of different elements.
The Lessons area provides access to thousands of lessons. Users can search for topics of interest. Educators are also encouraged to build and contribute a lesson around a TED-Ed Original, TED Talk, or YouTube video. The lessons have a standard format including a title, introduction, embedded video, and creator area. They also contains watch, think, dig deeper, and discussion elements. The Customize This Lesson option allows users to add context, questions, discussion items, and follow-up suggestions to any lesson.
The Series area provides organized access to thematic topics such as superhero science, inventions that shaped history, or playing with language.
TED-Ed Clubs supports students in presenting their big ideas through TED-style talks. Information is provided about how to start and facilitate a club.
The Get Involved area encourages learners and educators to nominate an exceptional educator or animator to produce a video.
The TED-Ed blog provides information about what’s happening at TED-Ed including new lessons, suggestions, and teaching strategies.
Librarians will find a wealth of high quality resources at TED-Ed. Consider collaborating with a teacher to create your own TED-Ed Club!
To explore the website, go to

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Book Review: I Crawl Through It

I CRAWL THROUGH IT by A. S. King an unusual, absorbing work of surrealistic fiction for young adults.
This ground-breaking YA novel follows four teens as they near their breaking points. Suffering from varied psychological pressures, they each battle with how to cope with reality. Readers will become immersed in their worlds and their struggles with personal trauma and tragedy.
Librarians will find a narrow audience for this thought-provoking work of young adult contemporary fiction. Some fans of realistic fiction may find it bizarre, while others will be attracted to the underlying themes of anxiety, survival, and grief. Reader of fantasy may enjoy the surreal aspects of the novel, while others may just find it strange. Fans of A.S. King and those who enjoy imagery and thought-provoking prose are likely to enjoy it. Suggest this novel to young adults who are ready to dive into the human psyche and explore the nature of reality.
Learn more about the author at
Published by Little, Brown, an imprint of Hachette on September 22, 2015. ARC e-galley.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Multiplatform Book-Tech-App Review: Voyagers: Project Alpha

The VOYAGERS series is a multi-platform experience including books, an app, and a website filled with engaging activities.
Each book in this science fiction series is written by a different author. The first title, PROJECT ALPHA by D.H. Hale features four children battling against a wide array of creatures to become part of an elite team that will be sent into space to help save the world. The books contain attractive graphics and cool coded symbols to engage readers.
The Voyagers website contains information about each book. A “Code Entry” area is used to unlock secret information based on the codes found in the books. The “Beyond the Universe” page contains information about the team’s ship and fictional information about planets. New sections will be unlocked as each book in the series is launched. The “Project Alpha” area invites participants to take a quiz and become part of the team. Users will also enjoy creating their own ZRK Commander using the “Customizer” tool.
Voyager: The Game is an app that immerses players in the world of the books. Users pilot their space craft through an asteroid field, test their knowledge, complete puzzles, and explore planets.
This multi-platform experience could serve as the focal point for a fun library book club or literature project. Aimed at the middle grades, even reluctant readers will be drawn to the action and multi-media approach. Students would enjoy inventing their own planets and writing their own stories based on the book characters.
To visit the website for the app and games, go to
Published by Random House Children’s Books.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Book Review: The Scorpion Rules

THE SCORPION RULES by Erin Bow is a fast-paced, young adult, dystopian drama set four hundred years in the future.
Known as Children of Peace, the heirs of each country are sent to live in a boarding school controlled by the United Nations which is run by an artificial intelligence. If a war is declared, the “hostages” of the countries involved with the conflict are killed. Greta along with her friends Elian, Xie and other classmates are faced with difficult decisions when their school is attacked.
Librarians will find this science fiction novel to be equally popular among boys and girls. The balance of violence, romance, and life-changing dilemmas will appeal to young adults who enjoy a thought-provoking storyline with a twist of wicked wit. Fans of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy will find Talis’ dark humor particularly compelling.
Unlike many of today’s dystopian works that rely on adventure and violence, this story leans more toward classic science fiction storytelling and questions about the nature of humanity. Readers will enjoy the satisfying ending but still be thirsty for more books about the Children of Peace.
To learn more about the author, go to
Published by Margaret K. McElderry Books, an imprint of Simon and Schuster on September 22, 2015. ARC paper and ebook.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Website Review: The Great War Archaeology

THE GREAT WAR ARCHAEOLOGY website explores the work archaeologists are doing to learn more about World War I in France (1914-1918).
This amazing website is divided into five sections titled Called Up to the Front, Archaeological Remains, Day-to-Day Life, Day-to-Day Death, and Underground War and Technical Innovations. Each section provides short text segments, historical photos, maps, video, and other interesting materials.
In addition to the core materials, the chronology section provides an interactive timeline of events along with useful primary source documents and information. The links area provides websites where users can find out more about World War I. Finally, the glossary defines key terms and locations.
Librarians will find the archaeology focus a unique way to explore World War I topics and primary sources. This approach may also attract students who are drawn to the scientific and technical aspects of studying history. Foreign language teachers should note that the website is available in French and German in addition English.
To explore the website, go to

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Book Review: Everything series

National Geographic’s EVERYTHING series contains over a dozen books that will jumpstart the exploration of science and history topics.
Topics include Birds of Prey, Insects, Dolphins, Mythology, Sharks, Ancient Egypt, Sports, Soccer, Dinosaurs, World War I, Big Cats, and Robotics. Two new titles include EVERYTHING VIKINGS and EVERYTHING SPACE.
EVERYTHING VIKINGS includes both historical and fantasy representations of Vikings. It begins with a history of key individuals and the Viking life. Next, it explores famous vikings and the Viking Gods. The book ends with Viking games and fun facts. The colorful photographs, diagrams, maps, and graphics will draw in readers of all ages.
EVERYTHING SPACE begins by exploring the space in our neighborhood then branches out to examine the secrets of the universe. Space programs and heroes are featured along with an exploration of facts vs fiction. The book is filled with fascinating diagrams, infographics, photos, charts, and other appealing visuals.
Librarians will find that this entire series will fly off the shelves. Each short, highly visual book is chuck-full of fascinating facts that will ignite the imagination.
EVERYTHING VIKINGS and EVERYTHING SPACE are published by National Geographic Kids on September 8, 2015.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Website Review: Eat: The Story of Food

The EAT: THE STORY OF FOOD website from the National Geographic Channel provides an engaging look at all aspects of food in life.
Users can choose from six areas to explore including Sugar Rushes, Guilty Pleasures, Carnivores, Baked & Buzzed, Hooked on Seafood, and Food Revolutionaries.
Each section includes short narratives, slide shows, expert videos, tips, recipes, and other connections associated with the theme. Many of the informational pieces contain connections to science and history. Each section is also a video program that can be viewed on the National Geographic Channel.
Librarians will find that this website provides a wonderful opportunity for thematic projects and interdisciplinary approaches. Assign small groups to explore a particular section and report back to the group with their questions. Use this as an opportunity to jump-start personal inquiries into areas of interest.
Pair this website with books by Mark Kurlansky such as Cod and Salt. Or, connect with books like The Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan. Look for other thematic books in your collection on food related topics such as the history of sugar.
To visit the website, go to

Website Review: Smithsonian's History Explorer

THE SMITHSONIAN’S HISTORY EXPLORER website provides access to high-quality teaching and learning materials.
The Lesson & Activities section contains hundreds of standards-based educational resources. Users can search by key words and filter results by grade, resource type, historical era, and cross curricular connections.
The Interactives & Media area features audio, video, and interactive resources such as 3D tours, learning games, and tutorials.
The Museum Artifacts element uses an object-based learning approach applying artifacts from the Smithsonian’s collection.
The Themes section explores major topics from American history such as immigration, civil rights movement, westward expansion, and War of 1812.
The Books area features selected children’s books that represent particular historical eras. These titles can be organized by reading level.
The Teacher Resources provides materials to help educators teach with primary resources. This section also links to a variety of professional development materials and opportunities.
The Web Links area links to over one hundred useful websites related to American History. These websites are specifically aimed at K-12 youth.
Librarians will find many opportunities to connect classroom teachers with standards-based activities and resources. Specifically seek out those materials that stress inquiry-based learning and primary sources.
To visit the website, go to

Monday, October 12, 2015

Book Review: The Thing About Jellyfish

THE THING ABOUT JELLYFISH by Ali Benjamin is the touching story of a seventh-grade girl dealing with the death of a friend.
When Zu learns of her friend’s accidental drowning, she slowly withdraws and stops talking. Through flashbacks, we learn the story of their friendship and why she’s haunted by guilt. In her quest for solace and answers, she dives into an exploration of jellyfish in the hopes of solving the mystery of Franny’s death. Although she shuns family and friends with her single-minded quest, they’re understanding and supportive.
By exploring the death of a friend from the perspective of a bewildered child, Benjamin provides interesting insights into the confusion and devastation distinct to young grievers.
Although written for the middle grades, librarians will enjoy the authentic storyline that bridges into young adult interest. The mixture of chapter introductions focusing on the scientific method, fascinating information about jellyfish, and heart-wrenching flashbacks sets this novel apart from other works of realistic fiction on the topic of dealing with the death of a friend. With lots of opportunities for thought-provoking discussions, this well-written work of realistic fiction would be a great choice for literature circles.
Look for this title to appear on Newbery short lists. It’s a winner!
Learn more about the author at
Published by Little Brown Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Hachette on September 22.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

App Review: Chemcrafter

CHEMCRAFTER is a science game app from the Chemical Heritage Foundation.
This creative app lets users build a chemistry lab and try out fun experiments. Users drag and drop combinations of chemicals to create amazing reactions. The Chem-o-convertor measures energy released and unlocks new levels. Users collect tools and chemicals to expand their experiments. Characters help guide users through different types of chemical reactions.
Although designed as a game, the app is a great way to spur interest in science. Involve students in logging their results and learning more about the chemicals and reactions used in the game. Create a display of nonfiction books that students can use as resources to learn more about the chemicals and experiments experienced in the games.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Book Review: If You Love Honey

IF YOU LOVE HONEY by Martha Sullivan is an amazing informational science picture exploring connections in nature.
Each page of the story begins with some variation of “if you love…, then you…”. Readers are taken through a series of connected flora and fauna starting with honey and ending with children at a picnic. Supplemental information on each page describes the importance of each aspect of nature including insects, birds, and soils.
In addition to the narrative, readers will enjoy additional information and activities at the end of the book including an I-Spy game; information about pollination and honey; and bee activities.
While many science books for children focus on a single topic or gloss over the big picture, this beautifully illustrated picture book manages to pack in dozens of essential science concepts into an engaging narrative.
Librarians will find lots of connections to the science curriculum. Use this book to kick off an exploration for each of the creatures in the story. Create a display that includes nonfiction books on bees and honey.
To download activities to accompany the book, go to
Published by Dawn Publications on September 1, 2015.

Thursday, October 08, 2015

Book Review: What in the World? Look Again

WHAT IN THE WORLD? LOOK AGAIN from National Geographic Kids is the second book in a new series that contains dozens of fascinating photo puzzles for middle grades children to ponder.
As readers work their way through this colorful book, they’re faced with eight different types of puzzles.
The “What in the World?” puzzles ask children to use photos and written clues to find the answers to questions.
The “Real or Fake?” activities involve youth in deciding if a photo is real or fake.
The “Take a Look!” puzzles ask children to find items in a photo on a list.
The “Up Close” photos involve youth in matching extreme close-up photos with other images.
The “Hidden Animals” activities ask readers to find animals hidden in their natural habitats.
The “Optical Illusion” puzzles involves readers in looking at images different ways.
The “Double Take” photos ask children to find differences between two photos.
The “More Challenges” activities extend the experience with additional experiences to extend brain power. Answers can be found at the end of the book along with other resources to explore.
Librarians will find this new series to be a popular alternative to the “I Spy” books. The visual mysteries will provide endless opportunities for problem-solving fun. Use the book to kick off a digital photography project. Get youth involved with creating their own visual photo puzzles.
Published by National Geographic Kids on September 8, 2015.

Wednesday, October 07, 2015

Website Review: NASA's GeneLab

NASA’s GENELAB website explores cutting-edge biology experiences conducted in space.
The resource begins with a fascinating video that examines how the GeneLab is used to conduct unique scientific studies.
The Discoveries section features news and information about the data being collected, the strategic plan, and specific experiments.
The Data section links to the GeneLab Data System 1.0 website. This open-access, online searchable data repository houses information collected from space biology experiments. Users can browse sample data sets. This area is just getting started, so more research will be available in the future.
Useful for secondary students interested in cutting-edge science, librarians will find a wealth of interesting resources. This website provides “real world” examples of space biology work so students can see how experiments are conducted in space. Although the science is likely to be beyond secondary student understanding, it may provide the foundation for further exploration.
To visit the website, go to

Tuesday, October 06, 2015

Book Review: Honor Girl

HONOR GIRL: A GRAPHIC MEMOIR by Maggie Thrash tells the story of first love at an all-girl summer camp.
Maggie spends her summers at Camp Bellflower in Kentucky. From music to target shooting, she experiences the typical drama of summer friendships. However, the summer she turns 15, Maggie falls for a 19-year-old camp counselor. Camp rumors and melodrama don’t diminish her experience of first love.
Using flashbacks to her time in summer camp, the author skillfully weaves a story of self-discovery and young love. She also reminds readers that it’s impossible to revisit the past. Although the book explores a lesbian relationship, Thrash’s portrayal of teen angst and struggles with sexuality are universal themes.
The colorful drawings will appeal to the young adult audience. Librarians will find HONOR GIRL to be a popular addition to the growing number of quality graphic memoirs for young adults.
Learn more about the author at
Published by Candlewick on September 8, 2015.

Monday, October 05, 2015

App Review: Robots

ROBOTS is an interactive reference app exploring over 150 real-world robots.
This award-winning app provides a complete reference guide to the topic of robotics. The engaging app contains hundreds of animations, photos, videos, and articles.
Users select a robot to explore from thumbnail images of 158 robots from 19 countries around the world. Users can examine a 360 degree view of the robot, participate in interactive animations, review technical specifications, read articles, and view photos and videos.
Librarians will find that this app appeals to both beginners as well as experienced robot enthusiasts. Include the app in a display with toy robots, LEGO robots, and books related to the topic.

Sunday, October 04, 2015

Book Review: Seven Dead Pirates

SEVEN DEAD PIRATES by Linda Bailey is a humorous paranormal adventure about a boy who helps a gaggle of ghosts retake their pirate ship from a local museum.
After Lewis’s great grandfather dies, the shy eleven-year-old and his family moves into his great-grandfather’s creepy seaside mansion. Lewis soon discovers that the ghosts of seven pirates live in the secluded tower that’s now his bedroom. These spooky characters aren’t interested in haunting. Instead, they want to steal their pirate ship from the history museum and set sail for the pirate utopia known as Libertalia.
Perfect for a Halloween month read-aloud, this middle grades fantasy is full of paranormal fun and emerging friendships. Children will easily empathize with Lewis and his motley crew of apparitions. This book will quickly become a popular part of the library’s Halloween book display.
Librarians will also find the book to be a great focal point for a pirate themed event. Need ideas? Go to the Talk Like a Pirate website at
To learn more about the author, go to
Published by Tundra, an imprint of Random House on September 8, 2015.

Saturday, October 03, 2015

Website Review: The War of 1812 in the Chesapeake

THE WAR OF 1812 IN THE CHESAPEAKE is an amazing interactive battlefield map website.
Users can choose to enter one of four battles including the Battle of St. Leonard Creek, the Battle of Bladensburg, the Battle of North Point, or the Battle of Baltimore.
Each experience begins will a short video that presents background information. Then, users explore an interactive map that provides information about the “big picture” of war, clickable dates that feature key events, and map extras that give users access to battle map PDFs and other information. Clicking on a particular event or location presents videos, images, maps, and additional information.
The maps provide users the option to view a historic, modern, or overview map. Tools also allow users to zoom in and out of the map scene.
Librarians will find this website to be an excellent way to engage learners in American history.
To explore the resource, go to

Friday, October 02, 2015

Book Review: The Hired Girl

THE HIRED GIRL by Laura Amy Schlitz is an engaging work of historical fiction aimed at tweens.
Set in 1911, fourteen-year old Joan runs away from her oppressive home in rural Pennsylvania hoping to reinvent herself as a hired girl in the city of Baltimore. Pretending to be an eighteen-year-old named Janet Lovelace, she lands a job as a housekeeper in a Jewish home. As she strives to learn more about her Catholic heritage, she also becomes familiar with Jewish tradition.
Most young readers will enjoy the conversational style of the diary format. With a hint of flirty romance and a focus on period clothing, librarians will find that the book is of more interest to girls than boys. However, it will have a wide readership among youth who enjoy reading the classics and are attracted to a protagonist who has a passion for reading.
Many works of fiction for youth avoid conversations about religion, however this novel is filled with thought-provoking discussions of culture, philosophy, and religion including concerns about anti-semitism and the role of religion in society.
Published by Candlewick on September 8, 2015.

Thursday, October 01, 2015

Special Event: National Cyber Security Awareness Month

The Homeland Security website provides lots of ideas for raising awareness about cybersecurity including weekly activities throughout the month.
The STOP-THINK-CONNECT resource guide features lots of activities and resources to teach youth about online safety. The website contains campaign ideas, resources for students and teacher, and tips. They also have useful handouts, presentations, discussion questions, and PSAs for different grade levels.
Librarians can connect this special event with the Standards for 21st Century Learners and digital citizenship.
The StaySafeOnline website provides information for students and teachers about online safety. The website provides information about this special month as well as resources, a glossary, and videos.
Visit the Stop-Think-Connect website at
Visit the StaySafeOnline website at