Thursday, June 30, 2016

Book Review: Wolf Hollow

WOLF HOLLOW by Lauren Wolk confronts the truths of bullying and injustice in this unforgettable work of historical fiction.
Set between World Wars I and II in rural Pennsylvania, this powerful tale follows the quiet life of Annabelle whose life changes when a bully named Betty moves to town. When Betty targets a strange and solitary World War I veteran, Annabelle becomes his defender.
Designed for both middle school and high school students, librarians will find this compelling story appeals to young people who may not traditionally read historical fiction. This haunting tale will ring true for many youth who have experienced bullying.
Librarian will find that the well-developed characters and heartbreaking story will have broad appeal in classroom settings. Many reviewers have made comparisons to Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird making it a good suggestion for teachers and students seeking a companion experience.
To learn more about the author, go to
Published by Dutton Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Penguin on May 3, 2016. ARC courtesy of the publisher.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

App Review: Touch Van Gogh

TOUCH VAN GOGH from the Stitchting Van Gogh Museum is an app that encourages children to explore paintings in detail.
Users explore nine iconic works by artist Vincent Van Gogh. Using multi-touch functions, students can discover the secrets of the artist’s painting techniques. Youth are also able to dive below layers of paint to explore the secrets concealed in each work.
Users begin by selecting a painting to explore. They can then click for information about the painting or select from the exploration tools. They can select from options such as when/where, subject, color, hidden detail, frame, recycling, canvas, and other options depending on the painting. Each tool zooms in on the painting and provides exploration tools along with explanations.
Each of the nine paintings provide a framework for exploring a different aspect of the artist’s works. For instance while exploring the Field with Irises near Arles painting, users learn about the work of the restorer in rubbing away layers of varnish. Explore Van Gogh’s self portraits, gardens, and homes.
Based on complex materials-technical research, librarians will find this app to be an excellent way to immerse youth in the works of Van Gogh. Pair this app with books related to the artist’s life and works as well as titles focusing on painting techniques.
Available from the App Store and Google Play. To download the app, go to…/about…/apps/app-touch-van-gogh.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Book Review: The Art of Not Breathing

THE ART OF NOT BREATHING by Sarah Alexander is a work of realistic fiction exploring a five year old drowning incident.
It’s been years since Elsie’s twin brother Eddie drowned in the ocean near their home. Elsie is having a difficult time remembering the circumstances of his death and is determined to find out what really happened. This vividly described story explores the long-term effects of death on family and friends.
Librarians will find that fans of We Were Liars and I’ll Give You the Sun will be drawn to this authentic adventure. The novel will also appeal to teens who enjoy a touch of romance and mystery.
To learn more about the author, go to
Published by HMH for Young Readers on April 26, 2016. ARC courtesy of the publisher.

Monday, June 27, 2016

App Review: Amount

AMOUNT by Marco Loretta is an easy-to-use unit converter.
Users select from 700 units across 30 categories from acceleration to volume. They can also do a key word search for terms such as gigawatt hour or nanonewton. The units can be visualize a number of different ways. For instance, the cooking section measures go from drops to bushels.
The system couldn’t be easier to use. Students simply select a unit and type in a number. The system automatically displays dozens of different conversation for that measure. Whether converting bits into terabytes, type points into inches, or Mexican pesos into American dollars, students will find a unit to fit their needs.
The layout is very effective, but it may take a few minutes to get accustomed to using swipe gestures, long presses, taps, and other tablet techniques to make it work.
Librarians will find this intuitive app to be an excellent addition to their app-based reference collection. Create customized lists of commonly used tools required across the curriculum including tools for physics, earth and space science, chemistry, mathematics, consumer science, business, industrial technology, social sciences, and many other areas.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Book Review: Flawed

FLAWED by Cecelia Ahern is a young adult dystopian thriller exploring societal perfection.
Celestine lives in a world that expects perfection. Those who break societal norms are physically and emotionally branded. While Celestine is considered the model citizen, she begins to realize that living a moral life may require actions that don’t mesh with society’s view of perfection. When she’s branded for an act of kindness and compassion, her life changes forever.
Librarians will find this engaging work of science fiction to be a source for endless discussions about the role of society and government in dictating what’s moral and ethical. Use it in a book club or even a psychology or sociology course.
To learn more about the author, go to
To learn more about the book, go to
Published by Feiwel and Friends, an imprint of Macmillan on April 5, 2016. ARC courtesy of the publisher.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Website Review: Generation On

GENERATION ON is a website exploring youth service projects from around the world.
While to website features it’s own projects, the ideas can be applied to any local service learning organization. The website is divided into resources for kids, teens, and adults.
The Kid’s section begins by providing stories about young people doing good in their communities. Next, students can explore a wide range of service areas including animal welfare, bullying and tolerance, literacy, education, environment, citizenship and civic engagement, emergency preparation and response, homelessness and poverty, health and wellness, hunger, senior citizens, peace and kindness, as well as military and veterans. Within each area students can view dozens of project ideas and examples. The resources section provides specific guidelines and fact sheets to help youth better understand the activities involved in service learning. Links are provided to games and interactives that contain background information about many of the topics such as emergency preparedness and environmental issues. Finally, current opportunities are featured to help jumpstart service learning projects.
The Teen’s section contains similar sections to the kid’s area, but includes more depth and age-appropriate activities and project examples. This section also promotes the idea of service clubs and sharing.
Parent, Educator, and Organizations sections provide information about ways to involve youth in service learning projects and detail upcoming activities.
Librarians will find endless ideas for service learning projects at this constantly updated website. A blog and calendar provide easy access to news and information about upcoming opportunities.
To visit the website, go to

Friday, June 24, 2016

Book Review: Secret Tree Fort

SECRET TREE FORT by Brianne Farley is a charming picture book about two sisters with different ideas about how to spend an afternoon outdoors.
When siblings are told to “go outside and play,” the young girl tried to convince her sister that they should play together. When she’s ignored, the girl uses her imagination to weave an amazing story of a secret fort. Colorful illustrations bring the imaginary fort to life.
Librarians know that forts are always a popular topic. Use this sweet picture book as a read-aloud and encourage children to draw pictures of their own imaginary tree fort.
To learn more about the author, go to
Published by Candlewick Press on April 12, 2016. ARC courtesy of the publisher.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Book Review: Great Falls

GREAT FALLS by Steve Watkins is a young adult novel exploring the relationship between a teen and his older brother who suffers from PTSD.
When high school football star Shane agrees to go on a camping trip with his older brother Jeremy, he soon realizes he’s in over his head. Military hero Jeremy is back from deployments in Iraq and suffering from the effects of this war experiences. A canoe, alcohol, and a rifle combine for a terrifying experience that escalates around every corner as Jeremy’s behavior becomes increasingly erratic.
Watkins effectively balances the fast-paced, action with an authentic, somber examination of a suffering soldier dealing with life after war.
Librarians will find this gripping story of brotherhood to be popular among young men.
To learn more about the author, go to
Published by Candlewick on April 26, 2016. ARC courtesy of the publisher.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Technology Review: DOGOnews

DOGOnews is a website and app resource focusing on current events, news, and nonfiction articles for students and teachers.
The website consists of short articles. Most of these informational stories contain numerous images. Vocabulary words that may be unfamiliar to youth are highlighted and link to pop-up definitions and examples. Each article ends with reading comprehension questions, a critical thinking challenge, and vocabulary. A game helps readers review the vocabulary. While the website contains limited, education related advertising, it’s not distracting to readers.
Tabs lead users to articles about news, books, or movies. Within the news category, students can choose from science, sports, social studies, world, green, entertainment, fun, and other categories. They can also narrow by grade levels including K-3, 3-5, 3-8, and 3-5. This is useful when accessing articles that are appropriate for particular reading and interest levels. Within the book category, students can choose clubs, series, freebies, or seasonal works. Books are also organized by genre and reading level. Within the movie category, children can browse by categories such as mystery or animation.
The website also offers special features for students and teachers. Students can create their own avatar, earn badges, share articles, and write articles. Teachers can set up classroom accounts and make assignments.
The app works much the same way as the website. The easy-to-navigate app contains access to over 3,000 articles across the curriculum. Articles are categorized by grade level. Clicking on highlighted works leads to definitions and places are linked maps. Lesson plans are connected to national standards.
Librarians will find this easy-to-use resource is useful in reading activities. It’s also valuable for informational reading in the subject areas such as social studies and science.
To visit the website, go to

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Book Review: The Most Important Thing

THE MOST IMPORTANT THING: STORIES ABOUT SONS, FATHERS, AND GRANDFATHERS by Avi shares seven short stories exploring the complicated emotions experienced by boys and their dads.
From a boy meeting his grandfather for the first time to a child interviewing potential stepfathers, each story explores a different aspect of interpersonal relationships. While some stories focus on bullying, abandonment, abuse, and neglect, others explore acceptance, compassion, and discovery.
Librarians will find that these stories provide a nice introduction to Avi’s writing for young readers. Work with teachers to build short stories into a literature circle activities focusing on family relationships.
To learn more about the author, go to
Published April 26, 2016 by Candlewick. ARC courtesy of the publisher.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Book Review: The Lie Tree

THE LIE TREE by Frances Hardinge is a heart-pounding historical mystery.
Set in the nineteenth century, Faith discovers a connection between a strange tree and the mystery of her father’s death. She soon discovers that this magical tree feeds on lies, but dispenses the truth through its hallucinogenic fruit. This complex, edge-of-your-seat fantasy will keep readers guessing until the very end.
Librarians will find that fans of Frances Hardinge will be thrilled with her latest historical fantasy. While the book’s main focus is on the mystery elements, mature readers will be impressed by the author’s connections to religion, feminism, and scientific debate.
To learn more about the author, go to
Published by Amulet, an imprint of ABRAMS. ARC courtesy of the publisher.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Website Review: Learn Chemistry

LEARNCHEMISTRY is a teaching and learning resource from the Royal Society of Chemistry.
This educational resource provides access to thousands of online, educational resources for chemistry. It also connects chemistry to other disciplines such as art, health, and history. Resources can be accessed using key words. Users can also browse by audience, resource type, age group, or subject.
The website contains sections geared toward teachers, students, and higher education. The teacher section provides access to a chemistry education journal and forum for discussing teaching in the chemical sciences. The student section contains resources related to chemistry careers, a magazine geared to young adults, and an online network for those teens interested in studying chemistry.
Featured areas include chemistry guides, practical chemistry resources, math for chemists, and sub disciplines such as materials chemistry and space chemistry. Of particular note is a section providing science idea webs. These amazing visuals help connect primary science topics such as World War II, Vikings, or Ancient Egypt to chemistry concepts.
Projects within the website include an interactive Periodic Table, This Day in Chemistry page, an Experimentation Hub focusing on investigation, Faces of Chemistry page featuring chemists, and chemistry wiki.
Librarians will find this website to be filled with useful information, data, articles, lessons, and other resources. Work with science teachers to mine the best resources and weave them into the science curriculum.
To visit the website, go to

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Book Review: Red's Planet

RED’S PLANET by Eddie Pittman is the first book in a new, science fiction graphic novel series for middle grade readers.
When Red stows away on a UFO to get away from her foster family, she begins an adventure that crosses the galaxy. After her spaceship crashes, Red and an odd assortment of aliens must survive on a hostile planet.
The high-quality, color illustrations and fast-paced story will easily attract readers to this new science fiction series. Librarians will find a large audience for this graphic novel among readers of Bone, Amulet, Hilo, and the many other middle grade fantasy series. Fans of Eddie Pittman and his Disney series Phineas and Ferb will enjoy the familiar batter of characters and nonstop action.
To learn more about the author, go to
Published by Amulet Books, an imprint of ABRAMS on April 19, 2016. ARC courtesy of the publisher.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Website Review: BBC Bitesize

BBC BITESIZE is a website providing small chunks of instruction on key topics across the curriculum.
Although designed for students living in the United Kingdom, the focused, online study guides are useful in the K-12 US curriculum too. The website provides elementary, middle, and secondary content in areas such as art, music, media studies, English, science, technology, social studies, business, history, and many other areas. Users can access content by primary or secondary grades or by subject area.
While some topics include learning guides, others contain short animated clips, video clips, interactive games, quizzes, tutorials, or other instructional content.
While the website can be overwhelming for students, librarians will find a wealth of resources. Work with teachers to connect specific topics to the curriculum and link students directly to the resource such as the tutorial or video clip.
To visit the website, go to

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Book Review: Gorillas Up Close

GORILLAS UP CLOSE by Christena Nippert-Eng is an amazing, informational book exploring all aspects of the gorilla world.
Designed for middle grade readers, the book contains dozens of short chapters examining the lives of gorillas both in the wild and living in zoos. While learning facts about these creatures, readers will also enjoy getting to know individual gorillas by name. The book concludes with tips, additional resources, an author’s note, and index.
From the adorable cover photograph to the attractive layout, librarians will find readers immediately engaged in this impressive work of nonfiction. Photos, maps, diagrams, and fact boxes will also draw in readers. The book will be of interest to readers who enjoy nonfiction narrative as well as those who are seeking a title useful in research projects.
Published by Henry Holt and Company, an imprint of Macmillan on April 19, 2016. ARC courtesy of the publisher.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Website Review: Carnegie Cyber Academy

THE CARNEGIE CYBER ACADEMY is a professional-quality website focusing on digital citizenship.
The Training Missions section explores cybersecurity topics such as email threats and website safety. Students earn badges as they complete tasks. Four missions are currently available. Each mission has an online component as well as a hint sheet that can be downloaded.
The Academy Library contains useful information on searching for resources, evaluating source credibility, and using web resources. The Cyberpedia is an encyclopedia of key vocabulary related to digital literacy.
The Fun Stuff area provides short animations and games on curriculum-related topics as well as themes such as holidays. Links to the YouTube Channel provide additional resources on topics such as cyberbullying. The Carnegie Cadets: The MySecureCyberspace Game is a downloadable game focusing on digital literacy skills. The News and Cadet Life pages aren’t being updated but have interesting archival information.
The Faculty Pages help teachers locate useful information for teaching digital citizenship. A Classroom and Support Materials section provides many more resources for teachers including over a dozen lesson starters, downloadable materials, a youth user manual, and other resources.
Librarians will find many uses for the engaging digital citizenship information, games, and learning activities. While the website can be used as a self-contained information literacy curriculum, pieces on specific topics such as online reputations, netiquette, and online safety can be woven into the existing curriculum.
To visit the website, go to

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Book Review: Are We There Yet?

ARE WE THERE YET? by Dan Santat is an inventive picture book that explores the age old question “are we there yet?”.
When a young boy becomes bored on a long road trip to his grandmother’s birthday party, he imagines that time goes so slow that it begin flowing backwards. Along the way he sees pirates, knights, camels, and even dinosaurs. However, soon the story shifts to the future.
Careful readers will spot QR codes that can be read by electronic devices. These codes lead to secret messages. Young readers will also notice small things like the way the parent’s clothing changes and his dad’s beard grows as time flies. Children will also enjoy the play on the word “present” at the end of the story.
Librarians will find that the illustrator’s use of upside down pages will be a hit with children. Buy multiple copies of this book because it will fly off the shelves.
To learn more about the author, go to
Published by Little Brown Books for Young Readers, an imprint go Hachette. ARC courtesy of the publisher.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Website Review: Fraboom

FRABOOM is an interactive, online children’s museum for ages six through twelve.
The Map section of the website leads to each area of the website such as The Mouth, Drawing Academy, Bugs, and more. Although much of the website is free, a subscription-based version is also available. The free registration allows users to save their personalized icon and game scores.
The Games section include dozens of fun science and social studies related games. The Video section connects to Fraboom TV for free video content. The short, engaging cartoons feature engaging science and social studies content. The Interactive Video section features interactive books. Bug Book and A Dinosaur Ate My Homework are available for free. Periodically the website offers free online classes in topics such has drawing.
Librarians will find this website to be a fun home to school connection.
To visit the website, go to

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Book Review: Julius Zebra: Rumble with the Romans

JULIUS ZEBRA: RUMBLE WITH THE ROMANS by Gary Northfield is a zany, fast-paced romp through ancient Rome starring a zebra, a lion, and a warthog.
Three captured African animals find themselves in the Colosseum where they must become gladiators to gain their freedom.
This first book in a new series concludes with a guide to Roman numerals and a glossary.
Librarians will find that this highly illustrated middle grade book is a hit with upper elementary children. The short chapters and one-stop action will keep even reluctant readers engaged.
To learn more about the author, go to
Published by Candlewick Press on April 12, 2016. ARC courtesy of the publisher.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Website Review: Capstone Kids

CAPSTONE KIDS is an engaging children’s website featuring characters from Capstone books.
The Characters section takes children to information about dozens of book characters. These pages contain short videos, information about the characters, book lists, interesting background information, author/illustrator information, and sometimes downloadable such as activities that can be printed.
The Make Stuff section features recipes, magic tricks, drawing, fold it, crafts, and projects. Written with children in mind, each page provides simple instructions, materials, additional project ideas, and downloadable handouts.
The Contests section is updated as new opportunities arise such as the Create the Scrappers Contest.
The Explore section features facts about a wide range of topics. Each page contains a topic, jokes, activities, information, quizzes, and games.
The Games and Quizzes sections feature dozens of games related to science, folk tales, health care, and other topics.
Librarians will find this website to be a fun way to connect reluctant readers to the world of books. Create a display that features book series and characters along with a tablet or laptop where children can explore the website. Periodically rotate the featured series. The short articles in the characters and explore sections would be useful for informational reading activities.
To visit the website, go to

Friday, June 10, 2016

Book Review: The Mechanical Mind of John Coggin

THE MECHANICAL MIND OF JOHN COGGIN by Elinor Teele is a whimsical, middle grade fantasy adventure about siblings who runaway from their cruel aunt and the family coffin business.
John is a young inventor who dreams of something more than working for the family funeral business. Together with his sister, they run away from home and try to evade their mean aunt who is always just one step behind them. Along the way, the siblings meet an array of fascinating characters including a circus troupe.
Librarians will find that readers enjoy the mix of quirky humor and daring escapes. Fans of the turn-of-the-twentieth century time period and steampunk-like environments will also enjoy the adventure. John Coggin’s talent for engineering will be a draw for budding inventors.
To learn more about the author, go to
Published by Walden Pond Press, an imprint of HarperCollins. ARC courtesy of the publisher.

Thursday, June 09, 2016

Website Review: Biblionasium

BIBLIONASIUM is a website designed to enhance a child’s reading experience and encourage reading.
Youth can track their favorite books, add to a wish list, identify finished books, and record books they own. They can even invite friends to join the fun. Suggested reading is based on age and includes popular series, book prize winners, and the rotating categories.
Teachers and parents can set up challenges for children. They can also buy or donate books. There’s also a resource section with notable articles, book lists, fun stuff for kids, and reading resources. A page even explains how to match children with books of the appropriate reading level.
Librarians will find that this is a useful free system for both parents and teachers. Parents can sign up their children and track their reading activities, while teachers can follow entire classes.
To visit the website, go to

Wednesday, June 08, 2016

Book Review: Horrible Bear

HORRIBLE BEAR by Ame Dyckman tells the humorous, but powerful story of accidents, mistakes, and apologies.
Written for young children, this adorable picture book focuses on a young girl who becomes upset when a bear accidentally breaks her kite. She ultimately realizes the impact of her anger and the need for empathy and compassion.
Illustrator Zachariah OHora’s use of large, solid blocks of color while still paying attention to facial details make this picture book particularly compelling.
Librarians will find the social/emotional themes to be spot-on for early primary grade learners. Teachers will find many opportunities for classroom connections.
To learn more about the author, go to
To learn more about the illustrator, go to
Published by Little Brown Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Hachette on April 5, 2016. ARC courtesy of the publisher.

Tuesday, June 07, 2016

Book Review: Save Me a Seat

SAVE ME A SEAT by Sarah Weeks and Gita Varadarajan tells the story of a recent immigrant trying to survive his new American public school.
When Ravi Suryanarayanan moves from India to America, he expects a smooth transition. After all, he’s an excellent student, good at sports, and speaks English. However, classmate Dillon Samreen plans to add Ravi to his torture list along with another student named Joe Sylvester that he’s already bullying. As the story evolves, Ravi and Joe form a unlikely friendship that is often poignant and sometimes humorous.
Told through alternating first-person narratives featuring Ravi and his classmate Joe, middle grade readers will enjoy the real-world school situations and empathize with the plight of both Ravi and Joe.
From sitting alone in the lunchroom to dealing with mispronounced names, librarians will find that many children can relate to the characters in this school story. The addition of the glossaries and recipes at the end of the book make this title particularly effective for classroom reading activities.
To learn more about the authors go to and
Published by Scholastic on April 26, 2016. ARC courtesy of the publisher.

Book Review: Waylon! One Awesome Thing

WAYLON! ONE AWESOME THING by Sara Pennypacker is the first book in a new chapter series featuring a fourth grader with a passion for science.
A spin-off from the popular Clementine books, this series focuses on the friends and family of a science-loving boy named Waylon Zakowski. While Waylon wants to keep his class together, others want to pigeonhole friends into cliques. Waylon looks for a way to bring the diverse class together.
Librarians will find the balance of charm and humor just right for chapter book readers. Fans of Sara Pennypacker will be thrilled to find another series to explore. Teachers will find this intelligent, quiet, and thoughtful male lead character refreshing.
To learn more about the author, go to
Published by Disney-Hyperion on April 5, 2016. ARC courtesy of the publisher.

Monday, June 06, 2016

Website Review: Bystander Revolution

BYSTANDER REVOLUTION is a website offering advice about things individuals can do to defuse bullying and help change cultural attitudes.
The website explores “simple acts of kindness, courage, and inclusion anyone can use to take the power out of bullying.”
The Videos section features short, informational videos by well-known public figures like author John Green and access Lily Collins. Be sure to start with the overview video featuring thoughts from 28 contributors. Videos are categorized by types of advice, problems, and solutions. A search tool provides access to the video content.
Three sections of the website are designed to help users get started. The Find Solutions area focuses on written advice and tips. The Start a Discussion area provides video playlists and discussion questions. The Weekly Stand area shares how one action each week can have an impact. The Challenges area focuses on using social media for change.
The Help section provides immediate assistance along with other resources to help answer questions.
Social media links including Facebook and Twitter for up-to-date information and resources. Downloads and merchandise are available for those that would like to extend the campaign.
Librarians will find this website useful in planning anti-bullying campaigns. Consider using the videos to jumpstart classroom discussions. Create an interactive display featuring a video playlist or feature the weekly stand ideas in your school.
To visit the website, go to

Sunday, June 05, 2016

Book Review: The Not-So-Faraway Adventure

THE NOT-SO-FARAWAY ADVENTURE by Andrew Larson is a heartwarming picture book telling the story of a child and her grandfather who plan a trip to the beach together.
Theo enjoys exploring her grandfather’s trunk full of photographs, maps, postcards, and other items from his many adventures. For her grandfather’s birthday, she plans a trip to the beach where they have an adventure together.
The simple, colorful illustrations effectively capture the day-to-day activities of Theo and her Poppa drawing readers into the story.
From the memory trunk and map making activity to the family beach adventure, librarians will find this multi-generational book appeals to young readers. The engaging story provides endless opportunities for classroom discussions and activities.
To learn more about the author, go to
To learn more about the illustrator, go to
Published by Kids Can Press on April 1, 2016. ARC courtesy of the publisher.

Saturday, June 04, 2016

Book Review: Momotaro Xander and the Lost Island of Monsters

MOMOTARO XANDER AND THE LOST ISLAND OF MONSTERS by Margaret Dilloway is a fantasy about a boy who discovers his legacy and sets off on a journey to find his place in the world.
This first book in a new middle-grade series tells the story of a mixed race eighth-grader with a talent for drawing. Xander’s ordinary life is thrown into chaos when his father disappears. Xander soon finds out that he comes from a long line of Japanese warriors called Momotaro and must discover his talents to save his friends and family.
Librarians will find this book to be popular with middle grade fantasy fans, particularly those who enjoy the works of Rick Riordan. It’s also a good introduction literature focusing on Asian characters and Japanese legends. Choong Yoon’s illustrations will appeal to readers who enjoy manga. Consider a literature circle that also includes the Percy Jackson books and Sea of Troll trilogy.
To learn more about the author, go to
Published by Disney-Hyperion on April 5, 2016. ARC courtesy of the publisher.

Friday, June 03, 2016

Website Review: Youth.Gov

YOUTH.GOV is a U.S. government website designed to help educators and others create, maintain, and strengthen youth programs.
A joint project of agencies across the government, the website explores 26 youth topics from after school programs to suicide prevention. Clicking a topic from the list leads to a starting point for information related to the subject or issue. Links are provided to agencies, announcements, data sources, departments, feature articles, hotlines, programs, publications, resources, technical assistance, tools and guides, videos and podcasts, and websites. Web badges and social media tools are provided to share information.
The Youth Voices part of the website focuses on how young people can be change makers in their communities. Examples of teen change makers are provided as well as the chance to nominate youth. The Young Engaged 4 Change area of the website is designed specifically for youth and focuses on change makers. It provides opportunities and tools to help young people explore important topics and get involved in their communities.
The website provides funding search tools that can be used to seek out grants and other approaches to funding youth programs. The collaborations section includes profiles of those involved with initiating, implementing, and sustaining youth programs. The evidence and innovation area of the website provides examples of evidence-based programs and information about the need to build an evidence base. Finally, the website provides search tools for accessing youth information by keywords, agencies, departments, and topics.
Librarians will find this website useful when working with activities that bridge classroom and community projects.
To visit the website, go to

Thursday, June 02, 2016

Book Review: The Hunt for the Secret Papyrus

THE HUNT FOR THE SECRET PAPYRUS by Geronimo Stilton is an exciting mystery set at the New Mouse City’s Egyptian Museum.
Part of the “special edition” series, the adventure focuses on the mystery of the black papyrus. This ancient document is supposed to reveal the secret of eternal youth. Newspaper reporter Geronimo Stilton sets out to solve the mystery of the black papyrus and write an article for his newspaper.
The special edition book’s colorful illustrations and visual format will be particularly attractive to reluctant readers. While this book contains the fun highlighted words found in all the books, it also contains other interesting two-page spread visuals, diagrams, and other illustrations that will appeal to readers.
After the end of the story, the book includes a mini-mystery adventure titled The Cat Gang, jokes, and other information including a map of Mouse Island.
Librarians will find this book to be a popular addition to their growing collection of Geronimo Stilton books. Readers will particularly enjoy the full-color illustrations and additional features of this special edition. Use the author/series website to jumpstart library and classroom activities. Readers can play games, learn about characters, and even create their own comic.
To learn more about the author and series, go to
Published by Scholastic on March 29, 2016. ARC courtesy of Scholastic.

Wednesday, June 01, 2016

Website Review: GirlsHealth.Gov

GIRLSHEALTH.GOV is an informational website focusing on the health and well-being of girls.
Sponsored by the Office on Women’s Health at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the website’s tagline is “be healthy, be happy, be you, beautiful.”
The information sources are divided into the following sections: body, fitness, nutrition, illness & disability, drugs, alcohol & smoking, your feelings, relationships, bullying, safety, your future, and environmental health. Each section provides an easy-to-understand overview and sub-pages exploring key ideas. Many of the pages include testimonials or experiences of teens that will be of interest to youth.
In addition to the major sections, users can also try quick quizzes, use interactive tools, and explore lists and tips. A search box provides an easy way to locate information by topic.
The website also links to social media. The Twitter feed contains links to youth health topics of interest across government websites. The Pinterest board contains short articles and images related to popular topics.
Librarians will find this website to contain useful information for teens taking health classes along with teens who have questions about specific topics related to personal issues such as relationships and bullying. Teachers will find the self-contained sections match well with health science topics such as fitness, nutrition, and environmental health. The website is also useful for addressing up-to-date topics such as Zika virus.
To visit the website, go to