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.

Friday, April 07, 2017

Website Review: El Capitan, Yosemite

EL CAPITAN, YOSEMITE from Google Maps is an amazing interactive journey up a cliff-face.
One of a series of treks available through Google Maps Street View, this interactive web project takes users on a 3,000 foot climb up a rock face in Yosemite National Park. User scroll up the page to make the climb with numerous chances to stop and explore 360 degree views. In addition, users can watch short videos by Yosemite experts and explore behind-the-scenes.
Librarians will find this website to be an excellent introduction to the idea of 360 degree photography and the power of Google Map’s Streetview project. Ask each student to explore a different trek and share their experience. Then, get them involved in creating their own 360 degree images.

Wednesday, April 05, 2017

Website Review: Tracking Ivory

TRACKING IVORY from National Geographic explores the human toll of ivory poaching in Africa.
This web resource is divided into three sections: gallery, map, and article. The gallery presents a series of photographs narrated by a National Geographic journalist. The map section provides an interactive series of visuals showing the smuggling routes and locations of the illegal ivory trade. Finally, a ten-part article explores how the ivory trade finances ongoing conflict in Africa.
Librarians will find this well-researched and highly visual website to be useful in informational reading activities in social studies.
To explore this resource, go to

Monday, April 03, 2017

Technology Review: Hathitrust Digital Library

The HATHITRUST DIGITAL LIBRARY works in partnership with academic and research institutions to provide access to digital materials from around the world.
Users can search full-text or the catalog. Advanced search tools and tips are available.
Visitors can browse collections including user-created featured collections on thematic topics. Users can also create and share their own collections.
An easy-to-use interface is provided to read books online. Users can also download books for reading off-line. While some titles require a login from a cooperating institution because of copyright issues, many are available to the public.
Librarians will find this website to be a good source for difficult to find books. While most of the items are aimed at scholars, many historical books for youth are also available.
To visit the digital library, go to

Sunday, April 02, 2017

Book Review: A Child of Books

A CHILD OF BOOKS by Oliver Jeffers is a uniquely illustrated picture book about the power of reading.
In this visually rich tale, a young girl invites a friend on an adventure into the world of words, books, and imagination. The illustrator uses words as a visual tool that moves reader from page to page.
Librarians will find this fascinating story to be a useful tool in talking with children about their feelings about books and reading. Although the narrator’s font may make this book difficult for young children to read themselves, it’s a useful book for read-aloud activities.
To learn more about the author, go to
To learn more about the illustrator, go to
Published by Candlewick on September 6, 2016. ARC courtesy of the publisher.