Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Book Review: A Tragic Kind of Wonderful

A TRAGIC KIND OF WONDERFUL by Eric Lindstrom explores the life of a teen trying to maintain friendships while dealing with mental illness.
Between the death of her brother, her parent’s divorce, and a bipolar diagnosis, Mel’s life has spiraled out of control. Trying to hide her problems only makes her relationships with friends more strained. The author’s authentic portrayal of a teen’s quest for acceptance is will appeal to many teens.
Librarians will find fans of Lindstrom’s NOT IF I SEE YOU FIRST pleased with his latest title. Many teens are drawn to contemporary young adult novels focusing on friendship and overcoming obstacles. This title does a particularly good job helping young people better understand bipolar disorder.
Published by Poppy, an imprint of Hachette on February 7, 2017. ARC courtesy of the publisher.

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

Monday, May 22, 2017

Book Review: The Nature Fix

THE NATURE FIX: WHY NATURE MAKES US HAPPIER, HEALTHIER, AND MORE CREATIVE by Florence Williams examines why humans need to experience nature.
Written by a journalist, this appealing work of nonfiction weaves together scientific findings with interesting observations about life in nature. With stories from Asia and Scotland to the United States, readers will be drawn to the universal need for time with nature.
Librarians will find this book appeals to a number of audiences including those who enjoy books about science, psychology, creativity, nature, health, and the outdoors, so it would be useful to include it on reading lists across genres. Although written for adults, it is likely to appeal to young adults as well.
Published by W.W. Norton and Company on January 31, 2017. ARC courtesy of the publisher.

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

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Book Review: Isaac the Alchemist

ISAAC THE ALCHEMIST by Mary Losure takes a fascinating look into the life of Isaac Newton.
This work of narrative nonfiction immerses readers in the life of a boy living in an apothecary’s house. Readers will be particularly intrigued by the connections between magic and science during Isaac’s time period. The book concludes with information about Isaac’s notebooks, science, and additional sources.
Librarians will find this well-written biography to be popular with both children who enjoy narrative nonfiction as well as those simply looking for good report material. The short chapters, discussions of magic and science, and interesting primary source visuals will appeal to reluctant readers. Look for this title on “best of children’s nonfiction” lists for 2017.
Published by Candlewick on February 1, 2017. ARC courtesy of the publisher.

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,

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Book Review: Midnight without a Moon

MIDNIGHT WITHOUT A MOON by Linda Williams Jackson is a work of historical fiction exploring the lives of African Americans of the Jim Crow South.
Set in the summer of 1955, Rose Lee and her family experience life in Mississippi and the prospect of moving north. Weaving in real events about a famous trial with fictional stories set in an African American family, the story blends fact and fiction to immerse readers in the time period.
Librarians will find the connection with a real historical event adds interest to this middle grade novel. The sympathetic characters and historical backdrop make it perfect for classroom activities revolving around the Jim Crow era.
Published by HMH Books for Young Readers on January 3, 2017. ARC courtesy of the publisher.

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

Wednesday, May 03, 2017

Book Review: One Last Word

ONE LAST WORD by Nikki Grimes shares dozens of classic poems along with original poems based on the works of master poets of the Harlem Renaissance.
Grimes begins this inspirational poetry book with an overview of the Harlem Renaissance. Divided into three sections, the book then weaves together classic and newly written poems along with artwork created by African American illustrator. The book concludes with poet and artist biographies, along with additional resources.
Librarians will find this work to be an excellent way to introduce the poets of the Harlem Renaissance while making connections with contemporary issues. Collaborate with teachers to combine literature and history learning outcomes for an engaging interdisciplinary unit.
Published by Bloomsbury Children’s Books on January 1, 2017. ARC courtesy of the publisher.

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