Monday, June 26, 2017

Website Review: Fire & Freedom

FIRE & FREEDOM: Food & Enslavement in Early America examines how meals reflected the power structures of the time period.
The online exhibition is organized into six sections: introduction, commerce on land and seas, producing food/negotiating power, kitchen contradictions, labored meals, and freedom. The interactive narrative weaves in primary source documents to illustrate key ideas. During or after working through the exhibition, students can explore additional resources in the digital gallery. The education section provides resources for teachers including lesson plans, higher education resources, online activities, and other resources.
Librarians will find this resource to be useful for both students and teachers. Students will enjoy exploring the well-organized exhibition and teachers will find the education section useful for history class.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Digital Spotlight: Native American Heritage

NATIVE AMERICAN HERITAGE from the National Archives provides a collection of photographs of American Indians taken in the 19th and early 20th century.
Contents: After a brief introduction, users can select from dozens of topics such as basketwork, burial customs, children, dances, hunting, and weaving to view sets of photographs.
Classroom Connections: Teachers will find these images useful in teaching about the history of National American culture.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Website Review: Navigating the Green Book

NAVIGATING THE GREEN BOOK shares travel guides from the mid 20th century that catered to black travelers along with interactive mapping activities.
During the mid 20th century, African American travelers weren’t welcome at many restaurants and hotels. The Negro Travel’s Green Book was intended to provide guidance for black travelers.
Part of the NYPL Labs, this interactive online experience provides access to travel guides published from 1936 through 1966. Users can explore the guides, map a trip, or view data on a map. For the map trip project, users choose a date and enter two locations. Participants are then presented a map showing a route featuring food, lodging, and other stops along the way. Each stop shows a primary source document.
Librarians will find this website to be a fun way to teach the use of primary source documents while connecting to history content. Associate the project with the Civil Rights Movement and issues related to segregation and travel. Work with teachers to design an interdisciplinary project that involves math, history, social studies, and English. Consider connecting the mapping element to works of historical fiction from this time period.
To visit the website, go to

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Book Review: Everywhere, Wonder

EVERYWHERE, WONDER by Matthew Swanson and Robbi Behr brings the concept of “story” to life.
In this imaginative picture book, a young boy takes readers on a journey around the world sharing the amazing wonders around every turn. The illustrator’s appealing visuals bring each location to life using colorful collage elements.
Librarians will find this book to be an effective springboard into writing activities. Ask students to select some aspect of the book to explore in-depth. Or, just a page as the jumping off spot for creative writing activities.
Learn more about the author and illustrator team at
Published by Imprint, an imprint of Macmillan on February 7, 2017. ARC courtesy of the publisher.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Digital Spotlight: Medicine and Madison Avene

MEDICINE AND MADISON AVENUE is a digital repository exploring the rise of the consumer culture during the first half of the 20th century.
Contents: Housed at Duke University Libraries, this collection contains 600 health-related advertisements connecting modern medicine with the consumer culture. From cough and cold remedies to laxatives and vitamins, users can search by date, company, product, subject, publication, medium, or format.
Classroom Connections: Advertisements are an effective way to engage students with health and history topics. This digital collection can also be used to teach about marketing techniques and changes in society and culture during the 20th century.
To visit the collection, go to

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Technology Review: Vimeo

VIMEO is a video streaming service that stores and shares video files.
While most people are aware of YouTube, many web users are unfamiliar of a similar service called Vimeo. The website can be used two ways.
First, visitors can search for videos by topic or person. Millions of videos are available to view on a wide range of topics. Because many teachers use the website, it’s full of original, instructional content. Users can video videos, “like” productions, and add comments.
Second, users can create an account and upload videos. While limited storage is provided for free, advanced tools and features are available as part of their premium service. Similar to YouTube, users can organize their videos into playlists, follow friends, like videos, and create a personal profile.
Librarians will find this to be a useful alternative to YouTube. Consider creating an account for storing original productions such as how-to tutorials, student productions, and student-created book trailers.
To visit the website, go to

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Book Review: One Proud Penny

ONE PROUD PENNY by Randy Siegel and Serge Bloch tells the story of the American penny.
Told from the perspective of a 1983 penny, this informational picture book describes the general history and uses of the penny along with details about one specific penny’s “life”. The book concludes with additional information and resources.
The mix of simple line drawings with collage features add interest to the story.
Librarians will find this to be an excellent addition to the social studies collection. This concept book would be useful in lessons focusing on government, money, and mathematics.
To learn more about the author, go to
Published by Roaring Brook Press, an imprint of Macmillan on January 10, 2017. ARC courtesy of the publisher.

Friday, June 09, 2017

Website Review: Digital APUSH

DIGITAL APUSH features AP U.S. History student projects that apply data from the Chronicling America Historic Newspaper collection.
For the past couple years, students in AP U.S. History in Sunapee, New Hampshire have been using the Library of Congress’ newspaper database to conduct historical research into a wide range of topics from questions. This website shares their projects.
Librarians will find this website to be an excellent way to introduce high school students to digital history projects that make use of online collections. Encourage students to build their own projects.
This project was a winner in the Chronicling America Historic Newspaper Data Challenge.
To visit the website, go to

Monday, June 05, 2017

Website Review: Historical Agricultural News

HISTORICAL AGRICULTURAL NEWS is a website that helps users explore newspapers for information about agricultural topics.
This website allows easy access to newspaper articles from the Chronicling America collection at the Library of Congress. Users can narrow their search by organizations, grains crops, vegetable crops, livestock and dairy, fruit and nut crops, time, newspaper, and state.
Involve students in exploring the history of a particular type of agriculture through the lens of newspaper articles. For instance, explore sheep production in Montana, apple crops in Utah, or truck farming in California. Or, focus on the history of agriculture near the school.
To visit the collection, go to

Sunday, June 04, 2017

Book Review: Wolf in the Snow

WOLF IN THE SNOW by Matthew Cordell is a memorable nearly wordless picture book set in a snowstorm.
When a young girl gets lost in a snowstorm on the way home from school, she rescues a wolf cub. But who will rescue her?
Cordell’s simple illustrations effectively convey the solitude of wilderness life, the quest for survival, and universal compassion among all creatures.
Librarians are always on the lookout for wordless books to stimulate the imagination of their elementary students. This book provides endless opportunities for children to discuss animals, trust, and humanity.
To learn more about the author/illustrator, go to
Published by Feiwel & Friends, an imprint of Macmillan on January 3, 2017. ARC courtesy of the publisher.

Friday, June 02, 2017

Digital Spotlight: Contagion

CONTAGION: HISTORICAL VIEWS OF DISEASES AND EPIDEMICS is an open collection exploring Harvard’s history of medicine collection.
Contents: This large web project contains digitized copies of books, serials, pamphlets, incunabula, and manuscripts along with many visuals. In addition to searching the collection, users can also explore thematic collection related to cholera, plague, smallpox, flu, syphilis, tuberculosis, and yellow fever epidemics along with a notable person section.
Classroom Connections: Science and history teachers will find fascinating documents that bring the history of disease and epidemics to life. English teachers may incorporate these primary source documents into historical fiction literature circles.
To visit the collection,

Monday, May 29, 2017

Website Review: American Lynching

AMERICAN LYNCHING is a gripping cultural narrative website chronicling the dark history of lynching in America.
Featuring newspaper accounts from across the United States, this chilling project shares both well-known and lesser known histories of individual lynching events connecting media and race to American history. The website is divided into sections including overview, history, stories, and explore.
Users can examine sample documents, use a map to read statistics, explore history and data, search the records, or read more at the archives.
Librarians will find many teens interested in learning about this sad period of American history. Use this website to jumpstart discussions about public killings, reforms, and race in America.
To visit the website, go to

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Book Reviews: Fancy Party Gowns

FANCY PARTY GOWNS: THE STORY OF FASHION DESIGNER ANN COLE LOWE by Deborah Blumenthal is a picture book biography.
This beautifully illustrated children’s book tells that story of the first African American women to become a high-end fashion designer. As a child, Ann learned to sew from her mother and grandmother. After the death of her mother, Ann took over her mother’s commissions and later went to design school. Ultimately, she designed dresses for people like Jacqueline Kennedy.
Librarians know that it can be difficult to find biographies of interest to reluctant readers. Students interested in fashion design will be happy to find this book about a little-known designer.
To learn more about the author, go to
Published by Little Bee Books on January 17, 2017. ARC courtesy of the publisher.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Digital Spotlight: Historic American Sheet Music

HISTORIC AMERICAN SHEET MUSIC is a digital collection featuring sheet music of the 19th and early 20th century.
Contents: A Duke University Libraries collection, this resource includes digital images of over 3,000 pieces of music. Users can locate sheet music by composer, date, subject, instrumentation, illustrator, lyricist, publisher, and title.
Classroom Connections: Connect the music and social studies teachers for an engaging interdisciplinary project. Ask students to connect a piece of music to the time period when it was published. Use the subject search option to identify songs related to women, landscapes, entertainment, fashion, animals, society, transportation, and other interesting topics.
To visit the collection, go to

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Digital Spotlight: American West Photographs

AMERICAN WEST PHOTOGRAPHS from the National Archives is a collection of images related to the westward movement of the 19th century.
Contents: After an introduction to the topic, users are presented with thirteen categories such as soldiering in the West, life by the sea, and towns of dust and rock. Users can also find resource by state.
Classroom Connections: Photographs are useful in helping young people visualize history concepts. Teachers will find these early photographs useful in teaching about this time period.
To visit the collection, go to

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Book Reviews: Germs

GERMS by Lesa Cline-Ransome is an informational picture book exploring the world of germs.
This colorfully illustrated text describes the history of germs, the scientists who learned about them and the different types of germs. It stresses both the good and bad that germs do. The author’s conversational style and the illustrator engaging visuals will appeal to young readers. The book concludes with additional information and a glossary.
Librarians will find this informational picture book to be a useful resource to the science collection. It could also serve as a read-aloud book to introduce students to the science of germs. Ask students to learn about one of the diseases introduced in the book.
To learn more about the author, go to
Published by Henry Holt, an imprint of Macmillan on January 10, 2017. ARC courtesy of the publisher.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Digital Spotlight: Everyday Life in Thailand

EVERYDAY LIFE IN THAILAND is a database of images representing life in Thailand.
Contents: This collection contains nearly 500 images and descriptions related to daily life in Thailand. Users can browse the images or conduct a search.
Classroom Connections: Librarians will find these photos are useful in teaching language learning skills or connecting to the culture of southeast Asia in the social studies curriculum.
To visit the collection go to

Monday, May 15, 2017

Technology Review: Midomi

MIDOMI is a music website with an audio search tool, exploration options, and a singing feature.
Users can either do a word search for an artist, song, or album. One of the most interesting aspects of this music tool is the ability to “sing or hum” a tune. Simply sing or hum at least second seconds of a song like “you are my sunshine” and it identifies places on the web where that song is available. The website also contains a section where users can explore a wide variety of music by genre or language. Finally, users can try their skills at singing with the Studio Tool.
Librarians will find that young singers will enjoy the singing and humming options available. Teachers may find it a useful tool for locating specific songs or music in particular genre.
This music search and discovery tool is also available as an app called SoundHound.
To visit the website, go to
To download the app, go to

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Book Review: Gary

GARY by Leila Rudge is a picture book that shares the adventure of a pigeon who can’t fly.
As a racing pigeon who can’t fly, Gary spends his days working on his scrapbook. When he’s accidentally left in the city on his own, he must be resourceful and find his way home using his scrapbook as a guide.
Librarians will find this sweet story appeals to young readers. From overcoming disabilities to mapmaking and scrapbooking, teachers will find many classroom connections for this heartwarming story. Involve students in creating their own scrapbooks and adventures for Gary.
To learn more about the author/illustrator, go to
Published by Candlewick on November 8, 2016. ARC courtesy of the publisher.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Digital Spotlight: The Influenza Encyclopedia

The INFLUENZA ENCYCLOPEDIA is a collection of over 16,000 historical documents and photographs chronicling the epidemic of 1918.
Contents: Produced by the University of Michigan, this well organized project provides easy access to popular categories including people, places, organizations, and subjects. Users can also explore by 50 U.S. cities and towns or examine the image gallery. A key word search tool is also provided.
Classroom Connections: Teachers will find this resource to be an engaging way to explore the tragic events surrounding the 1918 influenza epidemic. Connect it with works of historical fiction and nonfiction books in the collection.
To visit the collection,

Monday, May 08, 2017

Digital Spotlight: The Science Collection

THE SCIENCE COLLECTION from the University of Wisconsin-Madison Libraries is a set of digital collections focusing on specific areas of science such as botany, anatomy, and ecology.
Contents: Intended as a resource for the teaching of scientific disciplines the collections include subject-specific resources. Of particular note is the botany collection and veterinary anatomical illustrations.
Classroom Connections: Teachers will find these science resources useful in developing class presentations and as examples in instructional materials. Librarians may wish to partner with teachers to mine the sites for particular collections of interest.
To visit the collection, go to

Sunday, May 07, 2017

Book Review: Bob the Railway Dog

BOB THE RAILWAY DOG by Corinne Fenton tells the story of the early days of the Australian railroad.
When a railway worker adopts a homeless dog named Bob, they become fast friends. However, Bob is a wanderer and soon finds himself riding the rails and exploring stations across the country. Based on a real dog, this story immerses readers in nineteenth century Australia.
Librarians will find a large audience among children who enjoy both dogs and trains.
To learn more about the author, got to
Published by Candlewick on November 8, 2016. ARC courtesy of the publisher.

Friday, May 05, 2017

Website Review: NYC's Fifth Avenue: Then & Now

NEW YORK CITY’S FIFTH AVENUE: THEN & NOW is an interactive website allowing users to compare 1911 photographs with 2015 Google Street View images.
Created as part of the NYPL Labs project, this website presents users with a street view photo from 1911 along with the Google Street view of the same location. Users can virtually walk up and down Fifth Avenue comparing the cityscapes.
Librarians will find this to be a fascinating way to introduce primary source activities related to “then and now”. Ask students to look for details such as transportation, fashion, street vendors, and more.
To visit the website, go to

Monday, May 01, 2017

Digital Spotlight: US West

U.S. WEST: Photographs, Manuscripts, and Imprints from Southern Methodist University Libraries contains thousands of amazing photos depicting the American West from the mid-19th century through the mid-20th century.
Contents: This large digital collection contains a wide range of formats including photographs, postcards, journals, and other materials. Users can search or browse the collection. For quick access, students can browse the highlights including topics such as landscapes, explorations, gems, railways, ferries, and the San Francisco earthquake.
Classroom Connections: Teachers will find many high-quality resources that area appealing to students such as American Indian, cowboy, and cowgirl postcards along with hunting journals, national park photos, and posters.
To visit the collection, go to

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Book Review: Squirrels Leap, Squirrels Sleep

SQUIRRELS LEAP, SQUIRRELS SLEEP by April Pulley Sayre is an informational book focusing on common squirrel species.
Easy-to-read text along with descriptive collages provide accurate information for young readers about the lives of squirrels. In addition to the full-page illustrations, many pages also contain close-up images showing common squirrel activities such as sleeping or wrestling. The book concludes with more detailed information about squirrels and their trees.
Librarians will find this book popular among animal lovers and children who enjoy nature. Use the text to jumpstart a citizen science project. To learn more, go to
To learn more about the author, go to
To learn more about the illustrator, go to
Published by Henry Holt, an imprint of Macmillan by November 1, 2016. ARC courtesy of the publisher.

Friday, April 28, 2017

Digital Spotlight: Japanese Relocation During World War II

JAPANESE RELOCATION DURING WORLD WAR II from the National Archives features twenty digital objects related to Japanese Internment.
Contents: After providing background information and other resources, the page provides access to specific objects housed at the National Archives. From Executive Orders and reports to photos and posters, this easy-to-use page provides a brief description, identifier, and link to each document.
Classroom Connections: Teachers of all ages will find this page to provide quick access to key documents useful in teaching about Japanese relocation during World War II. These primary resources will bring the event alive for students reading historical fiction about this time period.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Digital Spotlight: Behind the Veil

BEHIND THE VEIL is a digital collection documenting African American Life in the Jim Crow South.
Contents: Housed at the Duke University Libraries, this collection includes 410 recorded oral histories tracing African-American life in the segregated American South through the mid 20th century. Users can locate oral histories by interview state, birth state, interviewee, gender, or occupation. Audio interviews include a transcript.
Classroom Connections: Teachers will find that these interviews provide personal insights into life during the Jim Crow era. Students will be attracted to the audio format. Ask students to listen to an interview and compare it with the experience of others in their small group.
Featured Digital Objects:
Dora Strong Dennis, Domestic Worker…/behindtheveil_btvct01115/
Easter Hinton Sanders, Educator…/behindtheveil_btvnc03032/
Booker T. Federick, Day Laborer…/behindtheveil_btvct03034/

Monday, April 24, 2017

Website Review: Performing Arts

PERFORMING ARTS from Google Cultural Institute provides 360 degree views of the world’s greatest performers on stage.
The Performing Arts element of Google’s Cultural Institute provides access to a series of performances on stages around the globe. Each short performance can be viewed from different camera angles. Performances can explore the areas of music, opera, theater, dance, and performance art.
Librarians will find these interactive experiences provide an amazing introduction to different types of performing arts. Ask students to watch one in each category and compare the different forms of art.
To visit the website, go to

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Book Review: The Radiant Child

THE RADIANT CHILD by Javaka Steptoe is an award-winning picture book telling the story of artist Jean-Michel Basquiat.
Winner of the 2017 Caldecott Medal for children’s illustrator, this biography shares the true story of a boy who dreamt of becoming an artist. The book concludes with a biographical sketch, information about the artist’s work, and a note from the author/illustrator.
Like artist Jean-Michel Basquiat, Steptoe used a variety of found materials to create the artwork for this fascinating work.
Librarians will find this picture book to be an effective tool for teaching about biographies along with an inspirational resource for young artists.
To learn more about the author/illustrator, go to
Published by Little Brown, an imprint of Hachette. ARC courtesy of the publisher.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Digital Spotlight: Reading: Harvard Views

READING: HARVARD VIEWS OF READERS, READERSHIP, and READING HISTORY is an online source for exploring the intellectual, cultural, and political history of reading.
Contents: Sharing historical holdings of the Harvard Libraries, this unique collection includes annotated books by authors like John Keats and Herman Melville. Library records show what people like Emerson, Longfellow, and Thoreau were reading. Sections include learning to read, reading collectively, reading on one’s own, and collection highlights.
Classroom Connections: Librarians will find this collection of professional interest. However, it would also be useful to teens and teachers in the area of history and English.
To visit the collection, go to

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Digital Spotlight: Witness to the Early American Experience

WITNESS TO THE EARLY AMERICAN EXPERIENCE is a digital collection documenting eyewitnesses to the American Revolution in the New York City area.
Contents: This large collection contains works from the New York Historical Society, New York University, and other organizations. Users can go directly to the archives and conduct a search or explore the featured document. The learning resources section provides modules that explore religion, education, music, work, and health and medicine.
Classroom Connections: This collection would be useful for connecting primary sources to the study of the American Revolution. Use the tour for a quick look at the history of New York City and lots of fascinating examples.
Featured Digital Objects:
Paper and Printing in Colonial America
Mapping the Revolution
To visit the collection, go to

Monday, April 17, 2017

Website Review: Ice & Sky

ICE & SKY is an interactive website telling the story of climate change through history.
Told in six parts, this engaging website contains text, video, audio, animation, and documents to explore climate and environmental issues. Users can create their own website on climate change using the materials from the project.
In addition to the interactive program, the website features educational booklets, videos, and other resources that can be downloaded for classroom use.
Librarians will find connections to life and earth science, history, geography, economics, and more.
To visit the website, go to

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Book Review: The Tutors

THE TUTORS: KINGS, QUEENS, SCRIBES, and FERRETS! by Marcia Williams is a highly illustrated informational book about life in Tutor times.
Williams brings the 15th century alive for children through a series one and two page comic spreads that explore the people, places, and events surrounding the Tudor times. Each page is chuck-full of interesting facts and entertaining stories.
Librarians will find this book to be a useful tool in the history curriculum. It will be of particular interest to children who enjoy the use of borders for added information and those who are attracted to comic-book style approaches. Use this book to jumpstart a deeper investigation of people like Queen Elizabeth I, Henry VII, and Christopher Columbus.
To learn more about the author, go to
Published by Candlewick on October 11, 2016. ARC courtesy of the publisher.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Technology Review: Matoola

MATOOLA is a search tool that locates podcasts across the web.
This easy-to-use website allows users to do a word search to find podcast programs on a wide range of topics from science and social studies to sports and health issues. Results includes the name and date of the podcast, a description, and a control bar to play the podcast. This control bar displays direct links to where the keyword is located in the podcast, the program length, volume controls, and a play button.
Search results can be narrowed by time such as just the past week, month, or year. They can also be sorted by relevance or currency.
Librarians will find this resource a valuable tool in student research and curriculum development. For instance a search for history displays dozens of fascinating podcasts that could be woven into class activities. Young researchers will find this tool to be a effective way to locate information for projects. For instance, a search for autism brings up dozens of recent podcasts on the topic.
To conduct a search, go to

Monday, April 10, 2017

Digital Spotlight: Listen to Nature

British Library
Contents: This large collection includes 400 sound recordings related to wildlife and the language of birds. Users can browse by location, animal group, or habitats. A section of the website also includes information about the language of birds.
Classroom Connections: Encourage students to incorporate sounds into their animal projects.
Featured Digital Objects:
Land Mammals
Animal Habitats
To visit the collection,

Sunday, April 09, 2017

Book Review: We Found a Hat

WE FOUND A HAT by Jon Klassen tells the story of two turtle friends who discover a hat.
When two turtles find a hat, they decide to leave it alone since there aren’t enough hats for both friends. This highly visual story makes it clear that at least one of the turtle is conflicted about leaving the hat.
Klassen is known for his clever use of simple illustrations to convey humor and detail.
Librarians will find this to be useful book for teaching concepts in visual literacy. Read the book a number of times asking children to retell the story using the visuals for added detail.
To learn more about the author, go to
Published by Candlewick Press on October 11, 2016. ARC courtesy of the publisher.