Monday, July 31, 2017

Website Review: Spread of U.S. Slavery

SPREAD OF U.S. SLAVERY is an interactive map showing enslaved populations in the United States from 1790 to 1860.
Using U.S. Census data, this easy to use interactive map helps users visualize the spread of slavery from the late 18th to the mid 19th century in the United States. In addition to viewing enslaved populations, users can also view free African Americas, free populations, and total populations.
Librarians will find this simple to use map useful in teaching students about data and visualizations. In addition, it is useful in the history and social studies curriculum.
To visit the website, go to

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Book Review: Insects

INSECTS: THE MOST FUN BUG BOOK EVER by Sneed B. Collard is a nicely organized informational book exploring the science of bugs.
Although presented in a picture book format, this work of nonfiction is a well-research science book featuring a conversational narrative, detailed explanations, and age-appropriate humor. The high-quality close-up photographs and useful sidebar notes add to the visual appeal.
Organized into very short chapters, the book contains a table of contents and index that are easy for children to use. In addition, the author provides a learn more section, information about insect names, and a glossary.
Although many bug books already fill library shelves, librarians will find this book to be a worthwhile addition. Short chapters focusing on key concepts such as defense and chemical communication make it particularly useful for student research projects.
To learn more about the author, go to
Published by Charlesbridge, an imprint of Random House on March 21, 2017. ARC courtesy of the publisher.

Friday, July 28, 2017

Website Review: Confronting Violence

CONFRONTING VIOLENCE: IMPROVING WOMEN’S LIVES is an online exhibition exploring the history of women’s health issues.
Produced by the U.S. National Library of Medicine, this fascinating online exhibition explores issues in domestic violence and women’s health through history. The exhibition contains six sections: introduction, generations of reformers, nurses take a stand, medicine confronts violence, change is possible, and the work continues. Each section features a short narrative along with primary source documents. The digital gallery provides easy access to a wide range of documents, images, and other materials. The education section connects with lesson plans, higher education resources, online activities, and other resources.
Librarians will find this resource useful in history, social studies, and science classrooms. Students will find the exhibition easy to use and provides inspiration for extended activities. Teachers will find the lessons to be useful for both in-class and out-of-class assignments.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Book Review: Come On In, America

COME ON IN, AMERICA by Linda Barrett Osborne is a work of nonfiction focusing on the the role of the United States in World War I.
This well-researched history explores the reasons why the United States became part of World War I along with key events and themes. The first three chapters examine how and why the US shifted from a neutral to an active role. The book then explores weapons, the home front, and the role of African Americans and women. It concludes with peace and the war’s legacy. A timeline, notes, and additional resources are also included.
Librarians will find students like the well-organized, short chapters and timeline for research reports. The visuals including posters, photos, and maps are likely to engage younger readers.
Published by Harry N. Abrams on March 14, 2017. ARC courtesy of the publisher.

Monday, July 24, 2017

Website Review: The Living New Deal

THE LIVING NEW DEAL shares the achievements of the New Deal and public works projects across the United States.
This interactive online project features information about the New Deal, a map containing more than 12,000 locations impacted by public works projects, resources and teaching materials, and ways that people can get involved by submitting experiences and digital objects.
Librarians will find this website an engaging way to explore the impact of this government program.
To visit the website, go to

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Book Review: A Perfect Day

A PERFECT DAY by Lane Smith explores a perfect day for creatures living in Bert’s backyard.
A cat, a dog, a chickadee, and a squirrel are all having a perfect day until an unexpected visitor appears in Bert’s backyard. The unexpected ending will leave children smiling.
Librarians will find this book to be an effective read-aloud story. Use this adorable picture book to discuss the power of perspective with young children.
To learn more about the author/illustrator, go to
Published by Roaring Brook Press, an imprint of Macmillan on February 14, 2017. ARC courtesy of the publisher.

Friday, July 21, 2017

Website Review: Two Plantations

TWO PLANTATIONS tells the multi-generational story of 431 enclaved people living on two Virginia plantations in the 19th century.
This in-depth online project includes an interactive family diagram, detailed family trees, family lists, and analysis. Users can explore Sally Hurston’s family through four generations, examine family trees with biographical information, and explore a detailed list individuals.
Librarians will find this project provides an engaging way to help teens gain insights into the lives and families of slaves. Use family connections to help students better understand key issues related to slavery. The website provides some questions to get students talking. Use these questions to jumpstart a class inquiry using these plantations as examples.
To visit the website, go to

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Book Review: Yvain

YVAIN: THE KNIGHT OF THE LION by M.T. Anderson is a graphic novel set in the world of King Arthur’s court.
Based on Chr├ętien de Troyes’ 12th century epic poem, Sir Yvain is a knight who encounters two women who are each powerful in their own way. Sword fights and battles with dragons provide balance to this medieval romance. The book concludes with an excellent author’s note and illustrator’s note detailing the background and inspiration for the book.
Librarians will find teens who enjoy medieval stories and graphic novels drawn to both the story and the illustrations. Fans of M.T. Anderson will be happy to see him embracing the graphic novel format. Graphic novel lovers will enjoy the sophisticated graphics and well-illustrated story. Teachers may wish to weave this graphic novel into a literature course.
Published by Candlewick on March 14, 2017. ARC courtesy of the publisher.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Digital Spotlight: Farm Security Administration Photographs

FARM SECURITY ADMINISTRATION PHOTOGRAPHS from the New York Public Library are a collection of over 2500 black and white images.
Contents: Users will find this collection of high quality, public domain photos easy to navigate and use. Choose from well-known photographs such as Dorothea Lange or search by topic for a wide range of fascinating photographs.
Classroom Connections: Connect these photos with works of historical fiction, history projects, or science projects related to drought and natural disasters. They’re also useful in projects related to the workforce and daily life in the mid 1930s through mid 1940s. These public domain photos can be used in student projects and shared online.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Book Review: Animal Ark

ANIMAL ARK by Kwame Alexander and Joel Sartore celebrates animals through poetry and photographs.
This beautifully presented picture book focuses on quality over quantity. Each page contains an amazing high-quality photograph of a creature along with a short phrase. Together, these pages express the beauty and diversity of nature’s animal world through images and haiku. The book concludes with a description of National Geographic’s Photo Ark project, and a list of animals featured in the book, along with notes from the author and illustrator.
Librarians will find this book provides inspiration for projects focusing on endangered animals. Unlike many animal books that stress factual information, this picture book features the conservation and aesthetic side of nature.
To learn more about the author, go to
To learn more about the photographer, go to
To visit the PhotoArk, go to
Published by National Geographic Children’s Books on February 14, 2017. ARC courtesy of the publisher.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Digital Spotlight: Expeditions & Discoveries

EXPEDITIONS & DISCOVERIES is an open collection from Harvard University Library focusing on exploration and scientific discovery in the modern age.
Contents: Spanning 1626 to 1953, this collection features historical resources in the areas of anthropology, archaeology, astronomy, botany, geography, geology, medicine, oceanography, and zoology. Users can search by discipline or region.
Classroom Connections: Teachers will find this collection to be an interesting way to connect science with history. Use a specific expedition to jumpstart a discussion of scientific discovery.
Featured Digital Objects:
Albatross Pacific Expeditions
Peabody South American Expedition
To visit the collection, go to

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Book Review: Eyes of the World

EYES OF THE WORLD by Marc Aronson and Marina Budhos tells the true story of Robert Capa, Gerda Taro, and the invention of modern photojournalism.
This well-illustrated work of narrative nonfiction examines how Robert Capa and Gerda Taro become pioneers in the field of photojournalism during the Spanish Civil War. Each short chapter focuses on a specific idea or event and weaves in well-captioned photos to help tell the story. The book includes photographs along with maps and other primary source documents.
Librarians will find young adult readers enjoy the combination of narrative nonfiction and historical photos. Connect photojournalism to add a new dimension to the study of history and the study of war. Add this title to the library’s growing collection of books visually-rich narrative nonfiction biographies.
Published by Henry Holt & Company on March 28, 2017. ARC courtesy of the publisher.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Technology Review: Video Streaming Service

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, July 09, 2017

Book Review: Leave Me Alone

LEAVE ME ALONE by Vera Brosgol is a humorous picture book about a grandmother seeking a quiet place to knit.
This Caldecott Honor Book introduces an old woman who lives in a house with a large family. All the distractions make it difficult to knit, so she sets off on a journey to find a quiet place to work.
Librarians will find the predictable elements of this tale to be popular with young children. Reading the story aloud is likely to jumpstart conversations about family and personal space.
Published by Roaring Brook Press, an imprint of Macmillan on September 13, 2016. ARC courtesy of the publisher.

Friday, July 07, 2017

Website Review: Frankenstein: Penetrating the Secrets of Nature

FRANKENSTEIN: PENETRATING THE SECRETS OF NATURE explores the history of individual and societal responsibility for other people.
Produced by the National Library of Medicine, the online project is divided into three sections: exhibition, education, and digital gallery. Each of the six areas of the exhibition includes a short narrative and fascinating primary source materials. The educational section features lesson plans, online activities, and other resources. Finally, the digital gallery provides access to a wealth of interested historical texts and images.
Librarians will find that students are attracted to the ethical and societal issues addressed in this online exhibition.

Wednesday, July 05, 2017

Book Review: Jack London and the Klondike Gold Rush

JACK LONDON AND THE KLONDIKE GOLD RUSH by Peter Lourie tells the fast-paced story of how London’s gold rush experience inspired his writing.
Incorporating a wealth of historical photographs and other primary resources, Lourie uses an engaging nonfiction narrative style to tell the story of Jack London’s experiences in the Klondike. The short, action-packed chapters and historical sidebars add interest to this compelling story. The book concludes with a timeline, glossary, and other useful information.
Librarians will find that this new book complements existing library materials on the topic. Since Jack London’s works like CALL OF THE WILD and WHITE FANG are available to download, use this book to encourage youth to read the classics. Keep in mind that the author admits to taking liberties with the story to create an engaging biography likely to attract even reluctant readers.
Published by Henry Holt on December 1, 2016. ARC courtesy of the publisher.

Monday, July 03, 2017

Website Review: Sea of Liberty

SEA OF LIBERTY is an interactive online exhibition tracing the influence of Thomas Jefferson’s ideas.
In addition to the digital collection, users can explore, create, and showcase their work. The explore section shares documents, letters, artwork, photographs and other materials related to the ideas of liberty, freedom, and self-governance. The create section encourages users to create digital projects that draw on the past. Finally, the showcase area allows users to see and learn from others.
Librarians will find that students enjoy the age-appropriate presentation of resources and information. The educational materials focus on teaching digital citizenship and historical thinking through primary sources. These concepts fit well with the standards for 21st century learners.
To visit the website, go to

Sunday, July 02, 2017

Book Review: The Tree: A Fable

THE TREE: A FABLE by Neal Layton is a heartwarming story about animals and people living together in nature.
Although this picture book contains few words, it tells a powerful story of empathy and compassion. When a couple decides to build a house, they discover their land is already populated by animals. The couple decides to find a way to live with their new neighbors.
Librarians will find this timeless book provides an excellent springboard for creative writing activities focusing on empathy and nature. It would also be a refreshing way to introduce the idea of fables.
To learn more about the author, go to
Published by Candlewick on February 14, 2017. ARC courtesy of the publisher.