Friday, June 30, 2017

Digital Spotlight: Discovering Literature: Romantics and Victorians

DISCOVERING LITERATURE: ROMANTICS AND VICTORIANS from the British Library is a digital collection containing literary treasures and related resources.
Contents: This focused digital collection provides users with access to 1,200 Romantic and Victorian literary works, insights by 60 experts, 25 documentary files, and 20 teachers’ notes. A search tool can be used to locate specific historical materials such as diaries, letters, and photographs. Users can explore by author, work, theme, article, or video. A teacher resource section provides teaching ideas and educational materials.
Classroom Connections: English and history teachers will find this website to be a useful teaching resource.
To visit the collection, go to

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Book Review: Bronze and Sunflower

BRONZE AND SUNFLOWER by Cao Wenxuan is tells a timeless story of tragedy and friendship during China’s Cultural Revolution.
Beautifully translated from Chinese, this story of rural Chinese life follows two children who overcome hardship to form a deep friendship. When Sunflower becomes an orphan, she’s taken in by the poorest family in the village. Her new brother Bronze has been traumatized and doesn’t speak. Despite their shared tragedies, a deep friendship blooms reflecting the power of family. The book concludes with an historical note and author’s note.
Librarians will find this quiet, middle grade book appealing to children who enjoy historical fiction, Asian literature, and stories of friendship set in rural settings.
Published by Candlewick on March 14, 2017. ARC courtesy of the publisher.

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.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Book Review: The Whydah

THE WHYDAH: A PIRATE SHIP FEARED, WRECKED, and FOUND by Martin W. Sandler pieces together the true story of a pirate ship discovered by marine archaeologists in the 1980s.
During the age of piracy, now famous pirates like Blackbeard and Black Sam Bellamy sailed the Atlantic in search of treasure. In 1717, a pirate ship called the Whydah wrecked off Cape Cod only to be found in 1984 by marine archaeologists. Sandler tells the exciting story of what researchers have learned from this amazing pirate ship. Readers learn about how this slave ship was transformed into a ship used by pirates almost 300 years ago. The author incorporates legends and survivor stories to add to the mystery surrounding the ship. Primary source materials are woven into the story along with short descriptions that provide historical insights.
Librarians will find the combination of pirates, shipwrecks, and history to be appealing to both middle grade and older students. Connect this book with other activities occurring during the age of piracy. This book would be useful for reluctant readers seeking an engaging research topic.
Published by Candlewick on March 14, 2017. ARC courtesy of the publisher.

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

Monday, June 12, 2017

Book Review: The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl Squirrel Meets World

THE UNBEATABLE SQUIRREL GIRL: SQUIRREL MEETS WORLD by Shannon Hale and Dean Hale introduces young teens to a new superhero.
Doreen Green is a typical teenager who tries to make friends after moving to a new neighborhood. When she decides to use her extraordinary powers for good, she soon becomes a hit at school. However, she also draws the attention of a villain. The author’s use of familiar language, alternative narrators, and contemporary situations including texting will appeal to teens.
Librarians will find a fan base among fans of superheroes as well as humor. Middle grade students will be attracted to this new kind of quirky superhero. Adults will appreciate the diverse cast of characters. This engaging novel provides the backstory of this fun new character. Connect the book with the collection of graphic novels about the same character.
Published by Marvel, and imprint of Disney-Hyperion on February 7, 2017. ARC courtesy of the publisher.

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

Wednesday, June 07, 2017

Book Review: The Time Museum

THE TIME MUSEUM by Matthew Loux combines science and time travel for a graphic novel likely to have broad appeal.
When Delia finds out that her uncle runs the Earth Time Museum, she decides to train for an internship. Ultimately, a team of young people from across time come together to form a team of time traveling superheroes. The high-quality artwork will keep readers engaged in the action from start to finish.
Librarians will find this first book in a new middle grade graphic novel series to be popular among a wide range of readers including those who enjoy science fiction, fantasy, and superheroes. It’s possible that the historical connections to places such as the Library of Alexandria may jumpstart an interest in history too.
Published by First Second Book on January 23, 2017. ARC courtesy of the publisher.

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,