Saturday, December 31, 2016

Digital Collection: Teach Engineering

Contents: This website contains engineering curriculum materials for K-12 educators. Users can browse by unit, lesson, or activities. In addition, “sprinkles” are short, hands-on activities that can be explored. Teachers can also find the most popular choices, examine by grade level, explore by subject areas, or try living lab activities.
Classroom Connections: It can be difficult to find quality engineering lessons to address the STEM curriculum. This collection of teaching resources addresses this need.
Featured Digital Objects:
Sprinkles -
Living Labs -
To visit the collection,

Friday, December 30, 2016

Book Review: Cloud and Wallfish

CLOUD AND WALLFISH by Anne Nesbet is a middle school work of historical fiction filled with secrets and adventure.
Set in 1989, Noah suddenly learns a family secret and sets off on a family adventure behind the Iron Curtain to East Berlin. Along the way, this story of family and friendship deepens as more mysteries are revealed. Secret files woven into the narratives will draw students into key history concepts.
Librarians will find this historical thriller to be an appealing way to explore history. The addition of two characters with disabilities adds to the appeal.
To learn more about the author, go to
Published by Candlewick on October 4, 2016. ARC courtesy of the publisher.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Digital Collection: National Science Foundation Special Reports

Contents: This collection contains dozens of special reports. While some of these materials are aimed at educators, others are useful for students. The reports are listed in chronological order.
Classroom Connections: From science games and interactives to tools and multimedia projects, each report connects to some aspect of science. Scan through the reports and mine those materials that connect to particular areas of the curriculum.
Featured Digital Objects:
Predicting Seasonal Weather -
Generation Nano Contest -
Let It Snow -
To visit the collection,

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Website Review: If the Moon Were Only 1 Pixel

IF THE MOON WERE ONLY 1 PIXEL visualizes the scale of the solar system.
Using a series of slides, this fascinating model of solar system uses the scale of 1 pixel equal to 3474.8 kilometers (or the distance from New York to Las Vegas). As users scroll from the sun through the planets and moons in our solar system, interesting statements and facts appear on the screen.
A button is used to show how quickly light travels. An option is provided to change the scale to amounts such as miles, light minutes, buses, and blue whales. Users can also jump to specific objects in the solar system.
Librarians will find this web-based project to be a fun way to explore scale in both math and science. Use it in a display featuring books about scale and the solar system.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Book Review: Gertie's Leap to Greatness

GERTIE’S LEAP TO GREATNESS by Kate Beasley tells the heartwarming story of a fifth grader on a quest to have the best school year ever.
From summer speech writing to performing in the school play, Gertie Reece Foy is determined to be the best fifth grader ever. However, Gertie finds competition from the new girl in school.
Librarians will find that fans of Beverly Clearly and other small town storytellers will find this humorous family and school story appealing. Charming illustrations woven throughout the text add to the appeal.
To learn more about the book and author, go to
Published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux, an imprint of Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group on October 4, 2016. ARC courtesy of the publisher.

Monday, December 26, 2016

Website Review: Blue World

JONATHAN BIRD’S BLUE WORLD is a website containing video webisodes focusing on different aspects of marine life and ocean literacy.
The Watch Webisodes section includes nearly 100 video clips. Students can search by topic and educators can also locate materials by science standards and ocean literacy principles. Students will particularly enjoy the short video “extras” that explore focused topics such as sea cucumbers and tiger shark practice.
The Behind the Scenes provides information about the program, a photo gallery, sea stories, and on location information. Follow the blog for the latest information.
An Educators section includes study guides to go with the episodes, lesson plans, and curriculum-based webisodes.
Librarians will find that this website is easy for even young students to use. The study guides are useful in guiding student exploration. The sea stories section would be useful for informational reading activities.
To visit the website, go to

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Digital Collection: Math Images Project

Contents: Part of the Math Forum website, this digital collection contains images that visualize math concepts. Users can explore pictures using the thumbnail gallery or by selecting a field of mathematics such as algebra, calculus, dynamic systems, fractals, or other topics.
Classroom Connections: Use this collection with math teachers as a way to connect with visual learners. Many of the images connect math concepts to real-world situations such as sounds or snowflakes.
Featured Digital Objects:
By Field -
By Thumbnails -
To visit the collection,

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Book Review: Juana and Lucas

JUANA AND LUCAS by Juana Medina is a new series featuring a young girl and her dog growing up in Colombia.
In her first humorous adventure, Juana shares her likes and dislikes. For instance, she isn’t excited about learning English. However when she learns about the value of language learning, she changes her mind.
Librarian will find that the short, easy-to-read chapters and comic-style illustrations will appeal to young readers. The international setting provides a unique perspective.
To learn more about the author, go to
Published by Candlewick on September 28, 2016. ARC courtesy of the publisher.

Friday, December 23, 2016

Digital Collection: Historical Scientific Instrument Gallery

University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Contents: From optics and magnetism to induction and vacuum discharges, this digital collection includes a wide range of science equipment. The website is easy to use providing just a photograph and brief description of each item.
Classroom Connections: Ask students to select one of the many historical artifacts to explore. Then, investigate whether this scientific instrument is still used or whether it’s been replaced.
Featured Digital Objects:
Mystery Objects -
Object Index -

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Digital Collection: Science & Society Picture Library

Contents: This visual collection includes materials from three museums focusing on history, science, media, and railways. The objects can be accessed by theme or collection. Themes include world wars, arctic expeditions, astronomy, and trains.
Classroom Connections: Ask students to select a theme and explore the images. Then brainstorm questions related to a thematic collection or particular artifact. Use other resources to address the questions and share the results.
Featured Digital Objects:
Arctic Exploration -
Trench Warfare -
Horses -
To visit the collection,

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Book Review: Irena's Children

IRENA’S CHILDREN by Tilar J. Mazzeo is a young reader’s edition of a true story about life in the Warsaw Ghetto in World War II.
A young Polish public health worker named Irena Sendler smuggled thousands of children out of the Jewish ghetto in Warsaw. Children snuck through sewers, hid in coffins, and were concealed under overcoats in daring attempts to escape death.
Librarians will find this story of survival during the Holocaust an appealing alternative to standard Holocaust offerings. The focus on a heroic female will draw the interest of girls.
The author’s website contains information and videos about Irena Sendler. Go to
Published by Margaret K. McElderry Books, an imprint of Simon & Schuster. ARC courtesy of the publisher.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Digital Collection: Highway 89 Collection


Contents: This collection includes photographs, manuscripts, and printed materials related to Highway 89 that runs through the western part of the United States. Exhibits, a map, timelines, and browsing tools assist users in exploring the materials.
Classroom Connections: Use this project as inspiration for creating a local history project focusing on a local road. Or, seek out other highway collections include Lincoln Highway at Also, look for back country byway projects. Use the History Pin project for ideas
Featured Digital Objects: 
Architecture -
Billboards and Signs -
National Parks -
To visit the collection, go to

Monday, December 19, 2016

Book Review: The Secret Keepers

THE SECRET KEEPERS by Trenton Lee Stewart is a fast-paced mystery adventure.
When Reuben finds a magical, antique watch with the power of invisibility, he’s propelled into a life-changing adventure filled with quirky characters, dangerous secrets, and a time-sensitive mystery.
Librarians will find a ready-made audience in fans of The Mysterious Benedict Society. Although the book’s length may be a barrier for some students, others will enjoy the depth of the plot. Children who like puzzles, surprises, and mysteries will enjoy the complexity of the story.
Published by Little, Brown Book on Hachette Books on September 27, 2016. ARC courtesy of the publisher.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Digital Collection: Darwin Online

Contents: This website contains the largest collection of resources related to Darwin in the world. The collection includes Darwin’s complete publications, private papers, manuscripts, and other materials.
Classroom Connections: From reading the origin texts to exploring his many diagrams, maps, and photographs, students will enjoy diving into the world of Charles Darwin. Use the materials along with the nonfiction narrative Charles and Emma: The Darwins’ Leap of Faith by Deborah Heiligman to bring his works alive. Or, ask students to compare the graphic adaptation of On the Origin of Species by Michael Keller to the original text.
To visit the collection,

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Digital Collection: AMNH Science Bulletins

Contents: The American Museum of Natural History maintains a collection of their monthly science bulletins. These may include documentaries, visualizations, and news videos. The bulletins are organization by type and subject including astronomy, earth science, biology, and human science. Fifteen years of bulletins are currently available. Unfortunately there’s not a search tool specifically for the bulletins, so be sure to use “science bulletin” in your search for a topic such as “gravitational waves science bulletin”.
Classroom Connections: This collection would be a useful resource for jumpstarting science units for intermediate through high school students. The videos can be streamed through YouTube or downloaded and placed in PowerPoint presentations.

Friday, December 16, 2016

Book Review: The Adventurer's Guide to Successful Escapes

THE ADVENTURER’S GUIDE TO SUCCESSFUL ESCAPES by Wade Albert White is a new fantasy series for middle grades.
Three friends go on a magical quest that involves travel to exotic places with riddles along the way. The threesome faces an array of amazing creatures in fascinating settings
Librarians will find this humorous blend of traditional fantasy with memorable steampunk elements to be popular with the middle grade audience. Filled with action and humor, the quirky characters and fast-paced approach will keep children reading.
Published by Little, Brown Books, an imprint of Hachette Book Group on September 13, 2016. ARC courtesy of the publisher.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Digital Collection: AirNow

Contents: The AirNow website from the Environmental Protection Agency contains maps and data sets related to air quality. Users can search for local air quality conditions by zip code and state. Numerous maps are provided for current and historical data in the United States and Canada. The data is also available through Google Earth.
Classroom Connections: Involve youth in tracking air quality in specific local or national area. Ask students to draw inferences from this data. Use the additional air quality link for additional background information.
Featured Digital Objects:
Air Quality Index in Google Earth -
Maps by Location -
To visit the collection,

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Book Review: The Mighty Odd

THE MIGHTY ODD by Amy Ignatow is the first fantasy in the new The Odd Series for middle grades.
After a mysterious bus accident, four children, a teen, and two adults develop strange supernatural powers. This diverse group must work together to solve the mystery of their special abilities.
Librarians will find a following with middle grade students who enjoy humorous stories. The strong female characters and diverse cast adds to the appeal.
This realistic school story has just enough fantasy elements to appeal to science fiction lovers without too much to lose mainstream readers. The author does an exceptional job addressing issues such as bullying and school politics.
Published by Harry N. Abrams on September 13, 2016. ARC courtesy of the publisher.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Digital Collection: Academy of Achievement

Contents: The Academy of Achievement connects students with extraordinary leaders, visionaries, and pioneers who help to share our world. The collection includes dozens of achievers in the arts, business, public service, science and exploration, sports, and other fields. A biography, profile, and interview is provided for each honoree along with other information such as a photo gallery, quotes, and background information.
Classroom Connections: There are two ways to explore this collection with students. First, students can explore by categories such as arts or public service. Second, they can examine people who reflect six principles including passion, vision, preparation, courage, perseverance, integrity, along with the American Dream. Combine a biography unit with a character education lesson by asking students to compare the people who reflect a particular principle. Use the website along with the biography section of the library.
Featured Digital Objects:
Achiever Gallery -
Keys to Success -
To visit the collection,

Monday, December 12, 2016

Book Review: The Branch

THE BRANCH by Mireille Messier is a heartwarming picture book about a young girl and her neighbor who repurpose a broken branch.
A young girl is devastated when an ice storm snaps a favorite branch off a tree in her yard. After describing her many experiences playing on the branch, her neighbor helps the girl transform the piece of wood into something new.
Librarians will find this multigenerational story of renewal to be filled with learning opportunities. From STEAM projects to library makerspaces, this picture book is a wonderful tool for jumpstarting imagination and creativity.
To learn more about the author, go to
Published by Kids Can Press, an imprint of Hachette. ARC courtesy of the publisher.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Digital Collection: CLEAN

CLEAN: Climate Literacy & Energy Awareness Network
Contents: This collection contains 650+ free, ready-to-use resources related to science education. The materials can be searched by key word and refined by resource type, topic, grade level, science literacy principles, or region.
Classroom Connections: The materials in the collection are designed for secondary and college settings. Connect the collection’s materials with the STEM curriculum.
Featured Digital Objects:
The Collection -
To visit the collection,
To explore the teaching resources, go to

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Digital Collection: Densho

Contents: This digital archive includes hundreds of video oral history and 10,000 photographs and historical documents. In addition to the archive, the project also includes additional resources include a timeline, terminology, and
Classroom Connections: Curriculum materials are available that explore key questions related to the Japanese American Internment experience and help teach with primary source documents.
Featured Digital Objects: 
Archives -
Encyclopedia -
To visit the collection, go to
To explore the curriculum materials, go to

Friday, December 09, 2016

Digital Collection: The GLOBE Program

Contents: This international project contains science data sets that youth can explore using online visualization software. The measurements included in the project date from 1995 to the present. Users can choose from base maps such as the world at night, land surface temperature, and precipitation estimates.
Classroom Connections: Students can make use of the data sets or share their own data. A teacher section contains resources for students, teachers, and citizen scientists from around the world.
Featured Digital Objects:
Visualization -
Teacher Resources -
To visit the collection,

Thursday, December 08, 2016

Book Review: The Light Fantastic

THE LIGHT FANTASTIC by Sarah Combs tells seven interwoven stories during one day.
Told through various perspectives, the story follows the events of a day that involves a series of planned school shootings. Rather than focusing on the violence itself, the story explores the various actions and reactions of the narrators as they experience the events. While the author’s “stream of consciousness” approach will attract some readers, it may annoy others.
Librarians will find this work of contemporary fiction to be of interest to teens who seek out books that describe events through multiple perspectives. A number of recent books have explored the topic of school shooting. However this book presents the topic in an innovative way through the eyes of the planners.
Published by Candlewick Press on September 13, 2016. ARC courtesy of the publisher.

Wednesday, December 07, 2016

Digital Collection: Case Study Teaching in Science

Contents: This project contains a database of active learning techniques focusing on science education. The emphasis is on case studies and problem solving. The collection includes over 645 cases and dozens of science education stories. Users can search by heading, educational level, type, topic, and date.
Classroom Connections: Use this collection to provide teachers with unit and lesson ideas that emphasize active learning techniques. Look for projects that place emphasis on inquiry-based learning and science to library connections.
Featured Digital Objects:
Collections -
To visit the collection,

Tuesday, December 06, 2016

Book Review: Every Falling Star

EVERY FALLING STAR by Sungju Lee and Susan Elizabeth McClelland tells the true story of a twelve year old boy growing up on his own in North Korea after his parents are banished then disappear.
The book begins with background information about North Korea and a prologue introducing the story. The memoir describes how the Sungju Lee’s family was banished and how his parents disappeared. The fast-paced story details his life traveling the country in a gang and how he was ultimately reunited with his family. The epilogue does an excellent job completing the story.
Librarians will find that fans of memoir quickly become immersed in Sungju Lee’s life in North Korea. Develop a literature circle of the many teen memoirs available from around the world.
Watch Sungju Lee introduce the book at
Published by Harry N. Abrams on September 13, 2016. ARC courtesy of the publisher.

Monday, December 05, 2016

Digital Collection: National Snow & Ice Center

Contents: This website contains scientific data focusing on glaciers, ice sheets, ice shelves, permafrost, sea ice, soil moisture, and snow. In addition to data sets, the resource also includes photo collections, maps, and other interesting resources.
Classroom Connections: The data sets in this collections are useful for teaching science concepts along with data literacy. Involve students in examining changes over time and ask them to draw conclusions.
Featured Digital Objects:
Photo Collection -
Scientists in the Field -
About the Cryosphere -
To visit the collection,

Sunday, December 04, 2016

Digital Collection: Dennis Kunkel Microscopy

Contents: Award-winning photomicrographer Dennis Kunkel has create a collection of science images as seen through a microscope. The image collection contains over 5,000 scientific, biological and medical subjects. The Zoom-in and Zoomify sections provide the opportunity to zoo in close.
Classroom Connections: This image collection is an engaging way to introduce students to microscopy science. Start by showing students a few photos and ask them to identify the creature. Then, focus on identifying the anatomy of various microscopic creatures. Ask students to select an image and learn more about the creature.
Featured Digital Objects: 
Image Library -
Most Wanted Bugs -
To visit the collection, go to

Saturday, December 03, 2016

Book Review: A Squiggly Story

A SQUIGGLY STORY by Andrew Larsen is a picture book about the art of writing.
A young boy wants to write a story, but he doesn’t know how to write words. When his older sister suggests that he just needs to start with a single letter, the boy’s story begins to take shape. Although his classmates have lots of ideas, the boy soon discovers that it’s his story so he can write whatever he imagines.
Librarians and classroom teachers will find this adorable picture book to be a wonderful way to introduce young children to the creative writing process.
To learn more about the author, go to
Published by Kids Can Press, an imprint of Hachette Book Group. ARC courtesy of the publisher.

Friday, December 02, 2016

Digital Collection: Wildscreen Arkive

Contents: This collection contains information about thousands of species from around the world. Users can conduct a search or explore by species, places and topic. In addition to factual information, photos and video are provided for each animal. Users can also explore by conservation status.
Classroom Connections: An educate section contains lots of learning materials organized by grade level. The fun section of the website contains endless activities for kids. Of particular interest is a section on habitats that teachers can use to connect species with the places where they live.
Featured Digital Objects:
Species -
Team WILD game -
Marine plastics -
To visit the collection,

Thursday, December 01, 2016

Digital Collections: Walt Whitman Archive

Contents: This digital project is intended to bring the works of poet and writer Walt Whitman to the public. It includes the six editions of his major work Leaves of Grass along with other writings, notebooks, letters, articles, and other items.
Classroom Connections: English teachers will find this resource to be useful in exploring the life and works of Walt Whitman. Involve youth in exploring a particular area of the website such as pictures, sounds, editions, or marginalia.
Featured Digital Objects: 
Picture and Sound -
Marginalia -
To visit the collection, go to

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Book Review: The Graces

THE GRACES by Laure Eve is the first book in a new paranormal series exploring the lives of teen witches.
The Grace siblings Fenrin, Thalia, and Summer are popular. River is the new teen in town and seeks to befriend the Graces. However, her quest for friendship soon becomes an obsession. Multiple twists set the book for a sequel.
Librarians will find that fans of paranormal young adult titles such as Twilight will be drawn into this new series. The somewhat predictable plot and characters aren’t likely to deter fans of this genre.
To learn more about the author, go to
Published by Abrams on September 6, 2016. ARC courtesy of the publisher.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Website Review: NBC Learn: Science of Innovation

NBC LEARN is a website contains educational resources for teachers and learners.
The free resources section contains videos and activities on topics related to language arts, humanities, social sciences, stem, innovation, and others.
Topics of particular interest include 20 videos related to the changing planet and a six part series on nanotechnology.
Librarians will find this to be a valuable resource to use with both teachers and students. Consider building a learning center around one of the themes such as the Science of Innovation. This section contains 17 videos exploring the process of innovations with accompanying lessons. Build in books and makerspace activities.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Digital Collection: Animal Diversity Web

University of Michigan
Contents: This animal database including distribution, classification, conservation biology and natural history for thousands of species.
Classroom Connections: This easy-to-use website is perfect for grades 3-12. An app is available for those with handheld devices. Involve students in making comparisons, building life cycle charts, and creating food chain diagrams.
Featured Digital Objects: 
Special Collections -
To visit the collection, go to
To explore the teaching materials, go to

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Book Review: Maxi's Secret

MAXI’S SECRETS by Lynn Plourde tells the story of a boy and his dog dealing with school, bullies, and life.

As a bribe for moving to a new town, Timminy receives a dog that he discovers is deaf. In his new school where his father is the assistant principal, Timminy worries about becoming the target of bullies. However Maxi and blind neighbor help him deal with life in middle school. Each chapter contains an interesting secret that applies to the story as well as life.

Librarians will find this title popular with both middle grade students who enjoy humor as well as dog lovers. With a diverse cast of fascinating characters and age-appropriate humor, this title will be a popular selection. However it’s important to note that like many dog books, it’s a tear-jerker.

To learn more about the author, go to

Published by Nancy Paulsen Books, an imprint of Penguin Publishing on August 23, 2016. ARC courtesy of the publisher.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Website Review: National Science Digital Library

NATIONAL SCIENCE DIGITAL LIBRARY contains resources related to science, technology, engineering, and mathematic education. Users can search by digital collection, provider, or topic.
Librarians will find a wealth of science resources geared to the STEM curriculum. Mine the collections in this digital library for K-12 resources from government agencies, universities, museums, libraries, nature centers, and nonprofits.
To visit the collection, go to

Friday, November 25, 2016

Book Review: The Girl Who Drank the Moon

THE GIRL WHO DRANK THE MOON by Kelly Barnhill is an engaging coming-of-age fantasy for middle grade readers.
Xan the witch rescues a baby and accidentally fills her with magic. As the child approaches thirteen, her magic emerges. At the same time, a series of events will change the forest and nearly village forever.
Librarians will find this fairy tale popular with fantasy fans. From a monster and dragon to a volcano and magic, this book has a wide range of appealing characters and settings. The many fairy tales elements make this an excellent book for discussing this type of strong telling.
To learn more about the author, go to
Published by Algonquin on August 9, 2016. ARC courtesy of the publisher.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Digital Collection: War of 1812

WAR OF 1812Indiana University
Contents: This collection includes thousands of documents exploring the War of 1812 including materials from before the war, 1812, 1813, 1814, 1815, and after the war. For easy access, use the timeline, maps, or browse the collection.
Classroom Connections: Use this collection along with classroom resources such as the Thinkport Project at and the Interactive Battlefield Map at Ask youth to select key digital items that reflect the time period or provide insights into a particular place or event.
Featured Digital Objects:
Declaration of War -
Battle of Niagara Painting -
Battle of New Orleans News -

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Book Review: Antsy Ansel

ANTSY ANSEL: ANSEL ADAMS, A LIFE IN NATURE by Cindy Jenson-Elliott is a picture book biography exploring the childhood of this famous nature photographer.
Young Ansel Adams was always on the move. He felt most comfortable out in nature and eventually connected his passion of nature with photography.
The attractive illustrations will appeal to young readers.
Librarians will find that children connect with the story about Ansel’s youth. Use the many online galleries of his photographs to bring his work alive for youth.
To learn more about the author, go to
To learn more about the illustrator, go to
Published by Henry Holt and Co., an imprint of Macmillan on September 6, 2016. ARC courtesy of the publisher.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Digital Collection: Civil War in the American South

Contents: This multi-agency collection of over 10,000 documents explores the history and culture of the American South. The resource is organized into collections focusing on specific areas such as letters, diaries, broadsides, and photographs.
Classroom Connections: Involve youth in focusing on a particular collection and connecting it with key Civil War events. For instance, create a timeline showing the dates of the letters of a soldier and connect them with key dates during the war. Or, locate a broadside or map and discuss its connection to a battle.
Featured Digital Objects:
Confederate Broadsides -
Battle map -
To visit the collection, go to