Monday, February 27, 2017

Technology Review: Kids Environment, Kids Health

KIDS ENVIRONMENT, KIDS HEALTH is a website filled with educational materials related to health, science, and the environment.
Sponsored by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, the website is divided into four sections: topics, games, activities, and lessons.
The Topics area directs users to online activities related to the environment and health; healthy living; pollution; reduce, reuse, recycle; science and how it works; and the natural world.
The Games section contains brainteasers, puzzles, riddles, and songs.
The Activities area provides engaging, hands-on experiences focusing on the areas of Be a Scientist, Coloring, Science Experiments, and Stories.
The Lessons section helps educators locate lesson plans and other classroom materials on environmental health topics.
Librarians will find that this attractive website contains valuable resources related to the health and science curriculum.
To visit the website, go to

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Book Review: Samson in the Snow

SAMSON IN THE SNOW by Philip C. Stead tells quiet story of blooming friendship on a snowy day.
Samson is a wholly mammoth that longs for a friend. What he doesn’t realize is that his simple acts of kindness are building the foundations of an unexpected threesome. Full-color, wordless pages contribute to the appeal of this simple story.
Librarians will find this sweet story to be useful in jumpstarting conversations about the meaning of friendship and importance of kindness. The prehistoric setting will be a drawn for some readers.
To learn more about the author/illustrator, go to
Published by Roaring Brook Press, an imprint of Macmillan on September 27, 2016. ARC courtesy of the publisher.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Book Review: Great, Now We've Got Barbarians!

GREAT, NOW WE’VE GOT BARBARIANS! by Jason Carter Eaton is a hilarious picture book featuring uninvited guests.
When his mom says his dirty room will attract pests, a young boy doesn’t expect to be invaded by barbarians! This cautionary tale will teach even the sloppiest kids about the importance of a clean room.
The illustrator’s colorful illustrations of silly situations will keep readers entertained from beginning to end.
Librarians will find this humorous tale a hit with children. Use this picture book as a springboard for creative writing activities focusing on household chores and other everyday activities.
Published by Candlewick on February 14, 2017. ARC courtesy of the publisher.

Friday, February 24, 2017

Technology Review: Short & Curly

SHORT & CURLY is an Australia Broadcasting Network fast-paced podcast aimed at inquisitive children.
Each 20 minute, fun-filled podcast focuses on a different ethics topic related to technology, animals, school, pop culture, or some other interesting theme. Designed for children and families, the podcasts are designed to stimulate conversation.
Librarians will find these engaging podcasts address topics of interest to children. Consider an activity that involves asking students to listen to an episode and write their reaction to the ethics issue discussed.
To visit the website, go to

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Book Review: Undefeated

UNDEFEATED by Steve Sheinkin tells the story of Jim Thorpe and the Carlisle Indian football team.
In 1907, a group of young men met at the Carlisle Indian Industrial School in Pennsylvania. With hard work and the leadership of a skilled coach, these Native American athletes formed a football team that overcame prejudice to defeat Ivy League teams. Filled with primary source materials and source notes, readers will be amazed by the thought-provoking personal story along with the social issues associated with institutionalized racism.
Librarians will appreciate this well-researched work of nonfiction. Even reluctant readers will enjoy the football themed Table of Contents, the short, action-packed chapters and the conversational approach.
Published by Roaring Brook Press on January 17, 2017. ARC courtesy of the publisher.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Technology Review: Brains On!

BRAINS ON! is a website containing engaging science podcasts for youth.
Produced by MPR News and Southern California Public Radio, these short, informative podcasts ask and answer fascinating science questions. While some podcasts interview experts and scientists, others are presented in the form of plays or songs. Each podcasts is co-hosted by a different child.
Users can listen to the latest podcast or explore archived programs. Children can also go directly to a list of podcasts focusing on interviews, music, activities, or audio.
Librarians will find that children enjoy the website’s approach to presenting science information. Use these podcasts to inspire teachers and children to create their own class programs.
To visit the website, go to

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Website Review: Picture This: New Orleans

PICTURE THIS: NEW ORLEANS explores over a dozen stories about the recovery efforts after Hurricane Katrina.
A photographer traveled to New Orleans to document how the people of New Orleans recovered in the ten years since the disaster. Told through photographs, video clips, and short articles, this interactive experience shares the diverse experiences that emerged following this epic disaster.
Librarians will find this visual storytelling website to be useful for exploring the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Pair it with the many books available on this topic.
To visit the website, go to

Monday, February 20, 2017

Technology Review: Europeana Collections

EUROPEANA COLLECTIONS is a large digital object portal providing access to over 54 million digital items.
Sponsored by the European Union, the comprehensive website features cultural heritage materials from across Europe. Items include artwork, books, videos, and sounds. Users can search the collection or browse resources by color, source, topic, or person. Collections and Exhibitions provides users with organized access to thematic topics related to key people, events, time periods, and themes.
The website blog features items and collection of interest. Tags and categories can be used to easily explore these digital items.
Librarians will find this resource valuable for students studying topics related to Europe culture and history. Students will need to be reminded that many of the primary source materials are not available in English. However, some materials include transcripts.
To visit the website, go to

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Book Review: Little Bot and Sparrow

LITTLE BOT AND SPARROW by Jake Parker is a charming story of friendship between a robot and a bird.
This simple adventure follows a small, discarded robot who learns about life from a curious sparrow.
Librarians will find this story includes a number of possible topics for class discussions involving friendship, robots, birds, nature, and seasons.
To learn more about the author/illustrator, go to
Publisher by Roaring Brook Press, an imprint of Macmillan on September 27, 2016. ARC courtesy of the publisher.

Book Review: We Are Growing!

WE ARE GROWING! by Laurie Keller is a hilarious beginning reader about a patch of grass.
As a group of grass, weeds, and insect characters discuss their growth, they’re unaware that a mower is about to change their lives.
Librarians will find that children immediately relate to the goofy characters and situation. Teachers will enjoy the fun word play and possibilities for vocabulary connections. In addition, this book is the 2017 winner of the Theodor Seuss Geisel award.
To learn more about Mo Willems, go to
To learn more about Laurie Keller, go to
Published by Disney-Hyperion, an imprint of Hachette on September 20, 2016. ARC courtesy of the publisher.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Technology Review: StoryNory

STORYNORY is a website presenting free audio stories and poems to children.
This website contains 100s of free audio stories for young people. The stories are divided into original stories, fairytales, classic audio books, educational stories, myths and world stories, junior stories, and poems and music. Most of the works contain both text and audio. Within each sections, the stories are categorized. For instance, the fairy tale section includes stories by Hans Christian Andersen, Brother’s Grimm, Aesop, and more.
Librarians will find this website to be a useful resource for classroom teachers seeking short, classic stories. The easy-to-use format is appropriate for children. Although the website contains ads, they aren’t distracting.
To visit the website, go to

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Technology Review: Find Sounds

FIND SOUNDS is an easy-to-use search engine for locating sound files.
From sound effects for use in podcasts to bird calls for science projects, Find Sounds is useful for locating a wide range of sound files. Users can locate audio files by file format, number of channels, resolution, and sample rate.
The website provides a useful page of example searches for topics such as animals, birds, holidays, household, insects, mayhem, musical instruments, nature, office, people, sports, tools, vehicles, and entertainment.
Librarians will find this tool to be useful when working on audio projects with students. Use the search engine to locate file types that can then be edited using software such as Audacity.
Keep in mind that the website doesn’t include an option for identifying copyright information so students should check out each individual sound to determine how they might be used and the process for providing credit for use.
To visit the website, go to

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Book Review: This is Our Story

THIS IS OUR STORY by Ashley Elston is a gripping, young adult novel exploring friendship, grief, and a search for the truth behind a death.
After a teen is killed while hunting with friends, it’s unclear whether the death was an accident or murder. As an intern in the District Attorney’s Office digs deeper into the investigation, she uncovers evidence leading to the novel’s shocking conclusion. The author does an exceptional job building tension and using changing narrators to keep readers in the dark until the intriguing conclusion.
Librarians will find this powerful suspense to be popular with mystery fans. Addressing a variety of social issues, this work of contemporary, realistic fiction would be a good choice for a book club discussion.
Published by Disney-Hyperion on November 15, 2016. ARC courtesy of the publisher.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Technology Review: The Moonlit Road

THE MOONLIT ROAD is a website sharing ghost stories, folktales, myths and legends and tales of the American South.
Designed for older children and adults, this engaging resource contains hundreds of strange, dark stories from the American South. This free site includes original stories, adaptations, and old folktales passed down through oral tradition.
The resources are organized into categories such as Civil War era, creature stories, and kids stories. Users can read or listen to the story. Many of the stories have an accompanying image that connects with the tale.
The schoolhouse section contains lessons created by and for teachers using stories from the website.
Librarians will find this website a great way to bring traditional storytelling alive for students. Share the website with English teachers and students who enjoy traditional tales and spooky stories. Involve students in writing and sharing their own stories.
To visit the website, go to

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Book Review: Giant Squid

GIANT SQUID by Candace Fleming dives into the life of this marine animal and its habitat.
Recipient of the 2017 Robert F. Sibert Honor Medal for informational books, this beautifully illustrated picture book tells the story of this often overlooked sea creature. Fleming brings this mysterious animal to life through short, descriptive sentences and phrases, while Rohmann’s illustrations remind readers of the immense size of this ocean dweller.
The author masterfully weaves factual information into the compelling story. The picture book concludes with a labelled diagram of a giant squid along with additional background information and resources.
Librarians will find this attractive picture book to be well-received by children who enjoy animals books. Book extensions can be downloaded from the author’s website.
To learn more about the author, go to
To learn more about the illustrator, go to
Published by Roaring Brook Press, an imprint of Macmillan on September 27, 2016. ARC courtesy of the publisher.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Technology Review: Listening to Nature

LISTENING TO NATURE is audio-rich nature exploration of California.
Sponsored by the Oakland Museum of California, this short online project presents users with an interactive map of California. Students can choose a region and learn about the natural world in that area.
Librarians will find that the combination of text, images, and audio keep readers interested. This website would be useful for an activity related to habitats.
To visit the website, go to

Tuesday, February 07, 2017

Book Review: Bleed, Blister, Puke, and Purge

BLEED, BLISTER, PUKE, AND PURGE by J. Marin Younker tells the stories behind early American medicine.
From the 1600s to the 1800s, Younker examines the history of medicine in early American history. Of particular note is the section on the Civil War. This well-researched work of nonfiction effectively weaves in primary source documents including newspaper articles and other materials.
Librarians will find this book popular with students doing reports related to early medicine. Many young people enjoy the macabre. Work with teachers to promote both your fiction and nonfiction works related to medicine to engage history students.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Children’s Book Group on October 25, 2016. ARC courtesy of the publisher.

Technology Review: Color Our Collections

COLOR OUR COLLECTIONS is a promotion that encourages people to get out their pencils, markers, and crayons to color visuals from library and museum collections.
From the Smithsonian to the New York Public Library, institutions are creating and sharing coloring book pages for artists of all ages to use. The Color Our Collection event is a fun way to promote public domain visuals, primary sources and cultural heritage. Held the first week in February, the coloring pages can be accessed year round. The New York Academy of Medicine Library jumpstarted the campaign by sharing science-related pages from it’s digital collections. They maintain a list of participating institutions.
Librarians will find this campaign to be a fun way to promote art, history, and digital collections. Set up a markerspace in the library to share the fun with the entire school.

Monday, February 06, 2017

Technology Review: Best of YouTube

BEST OF YOUTUBE is a YouTube page that connects with YouTube’s automatically generated channels containing the latest news, information, and entertainment videos.
It’s easy to get overwhelmed when visiting the YouTube website. However, YouTube has created a series of auto-generated pages to help users locate its most popular content. Across the top of the Best of YouTube page are links to these pages.
The Popular on YouTube page contains dozens of playlists to help users locate videos by category such as animals, politics, sports, games, hobbies, and movie trailers. Playlists are often added for special events such as national elections, Olympic sports, and disasters.
In addition to the Popular channel, YouTube has other automated channels such as News, Music, Gaming, Sports, and TV Shows. The Spotlight channel is of particular note because it focuses on new and trending topics from around the world. The Live channel is useful on days when you want to keep up on a constantly changing news story. Finally, the Education channel keeps users up-to-date on popular videos across the curriculum.
Librarians will find that many of the playlists aren’t related directed to the curriculum. However, these auto-generated pages are a quick way to locate current information on topics such as politics, technology, science, social issues, and news events.
A Popular on YouTube page is available for many countries around the world. Do a Google search and you can find the links to the United Kingdom, India, Canada, Australia, and others. It’s interesting for students to compare what’s popular in each country.
To visit the Best of YouTube, go to

Sunday, February 05, 2017

Book Review: The Cookie Fiasco

THE COOKIE FIASCO by Dan Santat is the latest addition to the Elephant & Piggie Like Reading! collection.
In this humorous story, four animal friends need to figure out how to share three cookies. Children will enjoy the banter among character and the ultimate, math-based solution.
Librarians will find this beginning reader to be a popular addition to the Elephant & Piggie collections. The combination of the animal characters and cookie theme provides for lots of thematic classroom connections. The addition of the mathematics element is a wonderful bonus with lots potential for activity extensions.
To learn more about Mo Willems, go to
To learn more about Dan Santat, go to
Published by Disney-Hyperion, an imprint of Hachette. ARC courtesy of the publisher.

Friday, February 03, 2017

Technology Review: Digital Public Library of America

The DIGITAL PUBLIC LIBRARY OF AMERICA is a portal that brings together resources from libraries, archives, and museums across the United States.
This website provides access to digital objects related to cultural heritage. The easy-to-use search engine contains both basic and advanced tools for locating items. One of the innovate aspects of the website is the ability to browse millions of items by timeline, map, format, subject, and partner.
The Exhibitions section uses digital objects to tell stories of national significance. Nearly three dozen thematic exhibits are available on topics such as urban parks, race tot he moon, and prohibition.
The Map section allows users to click on a US map to zoom into regional, state, and local digital objectives. The Timeline permits visitors to zoom in on resources related to a specific year or decade.
The Education area provides teaching and learning resources for educators including primary source sets.
The App Library extends the experience by providing a variety of tools to visualize and use digital resources.
Librarians will find this website to be an excellent springboard for activities focusing on primary sources, history, and culture. Use the primary source sets and exhibitions to engage students in fascinating documents related to historical themes.
To visit the website, go to

Wednesday, February 01, 2017

Technology Review: National Public Radio

NATIONAL PUBLIC RADIO is a website that houses dozens of audio programs broadcast by NPR.
From creative storytelling to news reporting, NPR is known for their high-quality audio programming. In partnership with their member stations, they produce, acquire, and distribute content for the general public related to events, ideas, and culture.
The website provides access to both live and recorded programming. This content is divided into news, arts and life, and music. The news section features short news stories. While some of these contain audio, others are text with graphics. The Arts and Life section contains short articles and audio segments focused on books, movies, pop culture, food, art and design, performing arts, and photography. The music section provides access to streaming radio, articles, audio and video recordings, and featured music.
The programs and podcasts section features dozens of radio programs related to news and conversation, storytelling and humor, and music. A podcast directory is available to locate audio programs of interest.
Audio tools provide access to live radio and current programming. The “our picks” section highlights featured topics.
Librarians will find this website useful to both students and teachers. Students will find high quality information useful in class projects as well as topics of personal interest. Teachers will find the short news and information programs useful across the curriculum.
To visit the website, go to