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

Monday, November 21, 2016

Website Review: Oceana

The OCEANA website focuses on marine life and conservation.
The Marine Life section contains a database of sea creatures. This Ocean Animal Encyclopedia is filled with fascinating facts and resource organized by types of creatures.
The Publications section includes short and longer scientific reports, brochures, facts sheets, and infographics about the world’s oceans.
The Expeditions area provides an overview of conservation campaigns focusing on unique marine ecosystems around the world.
Librarians will find this website is filled with fascinating information, but readers need to keep in mind that the focus is on conservation. The high-quality infographics would be excellent for students analysis and evaluation. The reports would be useful for informational reading activities.
To visit the website, go to

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Digital Collection: Ad*Access

Duke University Libraries
Contents: With over 7,000 U.S. and Canadian advertisements, this digital collection covered five product areas including beauty and hygiene, radio, television, transportation, and World War II propaganda from 1911 through 1955. Users can explore by company, product, date, publication, subject, medium, headline, or audience.
Classroom Connections: Involve youth in exploring how advertising has changed over time. Ask students to compare historical advertising in their area of interest to today’s ads.
Featured Digital Objects: 
Air Travel ads -
Television set ads -
War Bonds ads -

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Book Review: The Storybook Knight

THE STORYBOOK KNIGHT by Helen and Thomas Docherty tells the story of a young knight who would rather read than fight.
Leo would rather spend his days with a good book than fighting like the other knights. When Leo is sent on a quest, he encounters a scary griffin, hungry troll, and messy dragon. Rather than fight, he uses the power of books and reading to save the day.
Librarians will find this picture book to be a fun addition to the library’s picture book collection. Use the book to jumpstart a reading campaign focusing on the power of books.
To learn more about the author, go to
Published by Sourcebooks Jabberwocky on September 6, 2016. ARC courtesy of the publisher.

Friday, November 18, 2016

App Review: Ed and the Curious Crew

ED AND THE CURIOUS CREW is an educational app exploring life at a children’s hospital.
Designed for ages 9-11, children choose from five areas: fun and learning, film and television, nutrition and allergies, fundraising and helping, and sustainability and environment. In each section, users can learn, watch, play, and explore. The easy-to-use activities engage children in age-appropriate learning experiences related to hospital and health-related topics.
Librarians will find this adorable app to be a great way to explore health-related topics. Pair it with books about illness and hospital visits.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Book Review: Grandmother Fish

GRANDMOTHER FISH: A CHILD’S FIRST BOOK OF EVOLUTION by Jonathan Tweet explores the concept of evolution using easy to understand examples.
The picture book introduces each branch on the tree of life with familiar examples and engages readers through active questioning. The consistent format, colorful illustrations, and predictable approach contribute to the book’s appeal.
The end notes include an evolutionary tree of life, science notes for parents, and ideas for explaining natural selection to children.
Librarians will find this well-written book to be a useful addition to the primary grade science curriculum. Involve students in exploring a branch of the evolutionary tree of life and create a mural in the library.
To learn more about the book and author, go to
Published by Feiwel & Friends, an imprint of Macmillan on September 6, 2016. ARC courtesy of the publisher.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Technology Review: How Stuff Works

HOWSTUFFWORKS is both a website and app that shares information about how the world works.
Website users can either search the database of articles or go directly to topics of interest such as animals, culture, entertainment, or health. The short articles generally include a photograph along with content. Suggested readings are also provided. Unfortunately, the advertising may be distracting for students.
The app includes articles, videos, podcasts, quizzes and other elements found at the website in an easy-to-use format. With less advertising, students are less likely to get lost in unrelated content.
Librarians will find this resource to be a popular quick reference. The resource provides short overviews of topics that can be woven into the curriculum. Pair the website with books on related topics.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Book Review: Also an Octopus

ALSO AN OCTOPUS by Maggie Tokuda-Hall is an engaging picture book exploring how stories are created.
This inspirational picture book tells the story of how stories are built. The author begins with a blank page, adds characters, and builds the plot using a silly situation sure to capture the imagination of young readers.
Librarians will find this book to be a useful way to introduce the elements of stories to young writers. Work with primary teachers to weave this book into the language arts curriculum.
Learn more about the author at
Published by Candlewick Press on October 4, 2016. ARC courtesy of the publisher.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Digital Collection: Digital Thoreau

Digital Thoreau
Contents: This amazing website contains tools to help readers explore the works of Henry David Thoreau. The fluid text edition allows readers to examine and compare across seven manuscripts versions.
Classroom Connections: Teacher can create groups for students to exchange ideas and share documents.
Featured Digital Objects: 
Walden Fluid Text -
Resistance to Civil Government -
To visit the collection, go to

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Technology Review: StoryCorps

STORY CORPS is a nonprofit oral history project.
The website allows users to listen, watch, and read oral history recordings as well as record their own stories at the traveling StoryBooth. Users can search by collections, themes, initiatives and locations. Or, browse the collection. Participants can also explore collections of stories on topics such as veterans stories, September 11th stories, and love stories.
The easy-to-use app provides access to the oral history, along with tools to record their own stories.
Librarians will find this project to be a wonderful way to immerse children in oral history. Use the app to record and submit your own projects.
To visit the website, go to
To download the app, go to

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Digital Collection: Bear Lake Monster

Bear Lake Monster Collection
Mountain West Digital Library
Contents: This collection includes materials related to the origins of the Bear Lake Monster legend in Bear Lake Valley (Utah and Idaho).
Classroom Connections: Students love to learn about folklore and legends. Use this digital collection to dive into the primary sources associated with the Bear Lake Monster. Ask students to browse the documents searching for evidence of the monster. Then, write about whether they think the legend is true. Pair this activity with an exploration of other monsters such as Loch Ness, Bigfoot, and others. Create a display of monster legend books.
Featured Digital Objects: 
Painting of Bear Lake Monster -
Interview -
News Story -
To visit the collection, go to

Friday, November 11, 2016

Book Review: Little Elliot, Big Fun

LITTLE ELLIOT, BIG FUN is the third book in this popular picture book series featuring a polka-dot elephant.
Mouse assures Little Elliot that they will have a wonderful time at the amusement park. However, Little Elliot complains that the rides are too wet, fast, dizzy, or scary. Finally, Mouse finds a ride that Little Elliot enjoys.
Young children will enjoy the predictable elements and the story’s happy ending.
Librarians will find that this adorable elephant and his friend appeals to a cross section of young children. Consider a display that includes lots of books about friends going on adventures together.
To learn more about the publisher, go to
Published by Henry Holt, an imprint of Macmillan on August 30, 2016. ARC courtesy of the publisher.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Technology Review: Veritasium

VERITASIUM is a YouTube network focusing on science education topics.
This popular video series features experiments, interviews, demonstrations, and discussion focusing on everyday science topics. The channel features dozens of their favorite videos exploring science and engineering topics for those new to the network. Viewers can also choose from video collections that focus on science misconceptions, science experiments, and science songs. The developer has also created playlists on topics such as inertia and radiation.
Librarians will find these engaging STEM videos to be an effective way to motivate science students. Weave them into the science curriculum.
To visit the website, go to

Wednesday, November 09, 2016

Book Review: Where are you going, Baby Lincoln?

WHERE ARE YOU GOING, BABY LINCOLN? by Kate DiCamillo is the third book in the Tales from Deckawoo Drive series.
This adventure focuses on Mercy Watson’s neighbors, the Lincoln sisters. Baby Lincoln is tired of being bossed around by her older sister and decides that she needs to go on a “necessary journey”. Although she doesn’t have a plan, her quest gives her the opportunity to expand her horizons and discover some independence.
Librarians will find lots of interest in this latest book in this sweet, humorous chapter book series. Children will easily related to Baby’s need to spend some time away from her older sibling.
To learn about the author, go to
Published by Candlewick on August 2, 2016. ARC courtesy of the publisher.

Tuesday, November 08, 2016

Website Review: Nautilus Live

NAUTILUS LIVE is a live ocean exploration project.
Follow Dr. Robert Ballard and the Corps of Exploration as they explore the world’s oceans. The Expedition section focuses on the current ocean exploration and mission. It contains hands-on ideas for educators along with text, photos, and video. The Photos & Videos section features photo galleries and short video segments. The Tech area shares information about the ship and the Section area contains information about marine science including biology, geology, and archaeology. The News area shares articles about current activities. The Live section allows users to watch the ship’s activities live.
Librarian will find this project an excellent way to connect the school’s curriculum with real-world STEM activities. Set up a bulletin board in the library and a station to track the expedition’s progress.
To visit the website, go to

Monday, November 07, 2016

Book Review: Still a Work in Progress

STILL A WORK IN PROGRESS by Jo Knowles follows a seventh grader navigating world of middle school.
Noah feels most comfortable in art class. Life outside the art room is filled with friendship complexities, a sister with an eating disorder, and family issues. A hairless cat named Curly provides a humorous subplot.
Knowles creates a believable world with realistic dialog and authentic situations.
Librarians will find that middle-grade youth enjoy the balance of realistic fiction and humor. The themes of mental health and eating disorders are popular with this age group. However, the male perspective makes this book particularly distinct.
To learn more about the publisher, go to A discussion guide is available.
Published by Candlewick on August 2, 2016. ARC courtesy of the publisher.

Sunday, November 06, 2016

Digital Collection: Jerome Robbins Dance Division

Jerome Robbins Dance Division
The New York Public Library
Contents: This collection is the largest and most comprehensive dance archive in the world. It focuses on primary sources related to dance including ballet, ethnic, modern, social, and folk.
Classroom Connections: Primary sources used in teaching history often explore topics related to conflict or war. Consider a unit on primary sources that examines materials such as dance scrapbooks, dance performance programs, oral histories, photographs, and video archives. These items provide a different perspective on the use of primary sources to learn about history.
Featured Digital Objects:
African Dance -
Costume and Set Design -
Dance Programs -
Alvin Ailey’s Blue Suite -

Saturday, November 05, 2016

Technology Review: VSAUCE

VSAUCE is a network of science education channels on YouTube.
The project involves three science video channels.
VSAUCE 1: THINK focuses on fascinating science facts and the world of mystery. Each video investigates an interesting question.
VSAUCE 2: FIND explores everyday topics that involve human creation.
VSAUCE 3: PLAY covers the real-world science of fictional worlds.
Librarians will find this video network to be an excellent way to promote science. Mine the videos for topics that align with the science curriculum. Or, use them to motivate learners and readers.
To visit the website, go to

Friday, November 04, 2016

Book Review: Seven and a Half Tons of Steel

SEVEN AND A HALF TONS OF STEEL by Janet Nolan tells the extraordinary story of a navy ship built with steel from the World Trade Center tragedy.
After the World Trade Centers collapsed on 9/11, seven and a half tons of steel from the disaster site was transported to New Orleans and used in the bow of the USS New York. While Hurricane Katrina delayed the project, the ship was ultimately completed in time for the tenth anniversary of 9/11 in New York.
Librarians will find this nonfiction picture book to be an age-appropriate story true story for elementary children. Rather than focusing on the tragedy itself, the author chooses to explore the uplifting story of rebuilding.
To learn more about the author, go to
Published by Peachtree on August 1, 2016. ARC courtesy of the publisher.

Thursday, November 03, 2016

Digital Collections: Afghanistan Digital Library

Afghanistan Digital Library
New York University Libraries
Contents: This collection focuses on preserving the cultural heritage of Afghan publications from 1871 through 1930.
Classroom Connections: When exploring world history, it’s useful for students to see primary sources from around the global Although students won’t be able to read most of the texts, they can see what these works looked like and the importance of communication during the time periods represented.
Featured Digital Objects: 
Afghan Progress
History of Aryana Club
To visit the collection, go to

Wednesday, November 02, 2016

Technology Review: Journey into the Arctic

JOURNEY INTO THE ARCTIC is an exciting interactive video experience for all ages.
Users watch a series of short videos and make choices along the way. Each choice presents success or failure to the expedition. Designed as part of Canada’s 150th anniversary, this interactive journey helps youth better understand the plight of early explorers. Bonus videos provide additional background information about a wide range of topics.
There are two ways for users to participate. First, students can use a web-based version that presents text on a web page along with the videos. Second, students can go directly to the videos.
Librarians will find this beautifully produced video experience to be an effective way to explore the history of arctic exploration. User the interactive tool to jumpstart an inquiry-based learning experience. Ask students to learn more about some aspect of the exploration.
To visit the website, go to
To explore the web-based experience, go to
To go directly to the videos, go to

Tuesday, November 01, 2016

Book Review: Let Your Voice Be Heard

LET YOUR VOICE BE HEARD by Anita Silvey explores the life of folk musician Pete Seeger.
From young folk-singer to Grammy winner, this well-researched work of nonfiction traces the career of this singer, songwriter, and banjo player. The book is most effective when discussing his social and environmental activism.
Librarians will find a middle grade audience for this biography among children who enjoy music and activism. Connect this work of nonfiction with the Smithsonian Folkways website to see and hear Seeger’s works. Go to
To learn more about the author, go to A teachers guide is available.
Published by Clarion Books, an imprint of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. ARC courtesy of the publisher.