Saturday, August 18, 2018

Book Review: Do Doodlebugs Doodle?

DO DOODLEBUGS DOODLE by Corinne Demas and Artemis Roehrig is a humorous information book exploring the names of insects.
This attractive picture book asks silly questions about bugs with funny names such as dragonflies, horseflies, and stink bugs. Although the questions are humorous, the answers are rooted in accurate and fascinating scientific fact. The book concludes with a review of the insects discussed.
Librarians will find this book to be a popular addition to the science collection. The predictable format makes the book a fun read-aloud for preschool and primary grade children. Create a game asking children to identify real and fake insect names.
Published on April 5, 2018 by Persnickety Press. ARC courtesy of the publisher.

Friday, August 17, 2018

Website Review: Skunk Bear

SKUNK BEAR with Adam Cole is an NPR video series published on Facebook.
Each short episode explores a different scientific curiosity from around the world. This science series presents a dozen videos in each season. Three seasons are currently available.
Librarians will want to mine the video collection for topics that connect to the science curriculum. Brainstorm topics of interest and submit questions through the NPR website.
To access the website through NPR, go to

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Digital Spotlight: Benjamin Franklin Papers

The BENJAMIN FRANKLIN PAPER from the Library of Congress contains the papers of statesman, publisher, scientist, and diplomat Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790).
Contents: The collection contains around 8,000 objects spanning 1726 through 1907. It includes materials related to Franklin’s diplomatic roles along with his work as a scientist and inventor. Of particular note is his correspondence with many well-known contemporaries.
Classroom Connections: The website contains a teacher resource guide and primary source sets. Expert resources are also available for teachers building curriculum materials.
Featured Digital Objects:
Treaty of Paris -
Letter about Bifocals -
Letter about Bald Eagle -

Monday, August 13, 2018

Website Review: Stop, Breathe & Think Kids

STOP, BREATHE & THINK KIDS is a mobile app designed to encourage meditation and mindfulness in children.
Designed for ages 5 through 10, the app encourages children to check in on their feelings. Children choose a mission and create a field of calm by following the steps on the screen.
In addition to teaching basic meditation practices, it can also be useful in promoting peaceful sleep.
Librarians will find this app to be useful with teachers and children interested in mediation. Promote it in a display featuring books on mental health and meditation. An adult version is also available.
The app is available through the App Store and Google Play.
To download the app, to go to

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Book Review: Munmun

MUNMUN by Jesse Andrews is a quirky, imaginative young adult fantasy exploring social issues ranging from wealth to inequality.
Designed for mature teens, the story is set in an alternative reality where a person’s physical size is proportional to their money known as munmun. Warner and his sister Prayer are the size of a squirrel, while the rich may be the size of large buildings. The story follows Warner’s personal growth, literally.
Librarians will find an audience among teens who enjoy dystopian fantasy with a social message. From the unusual vocabulary to the wacky world building, Andrews’ approach isn’t for everyone. However, it’s perfect for those seeking a thought-provoking, humorous, face-paced read.
Published on April 3, 2018 by Harry N. Abrams. ARC courtesy of the publisher.

Friday, August 10, 2018

Website Review: Deep Look

DEEP LOOK is an online PBS series exploring science and nature up close.
With episodes published twice per month, this short video series features stories from the edge of the visible world. Macro photography and microscopy are used to present short science videos connected with wildlife, biology, chemistry, and nature. Available as a YouTube channel, playlists include plants, deep look, marine life, creepy crawly, insects, things with wings, come on up to the lab, and behind the scenes.
Librarians will find that both students and teachers enjoy the three-five minute video format. Closed captioning is available. Use the videos to jumpstart discussions or provide a starting point for more in-depth inquiries.
To visit the YouTube channel, go to

Wednesday, August 08, 2018

Website Review: Xplorlabs

XPLORLABS is a website designed to help students solve STEM problems.
Designed for middle-school students, the website includes interactive videos, instructional experiences, hands-on classroom activities and classroom challenges. Two standards-aligned modules are currently available. Fire forensics involves students in collecting evidence and solving a case, while the portable electrical power project asks students to conduct experiments and look for safety solutions. Additional experiments, resources, and challenges are available along with teacher and student guides.
Librarians will find these modules to be an engaging way to learn and apply STEM concepts. Work with science teachers to weave them into the science middle school curriculum.
To visit the website, go to

Monday, August 06, 2018

Website Review: Solar System Exploration

SOLAR SYSTEM EXPLORATION from NASA Science is a real-time living encyclopedia of robotic exploration of the solar system.
Developed by NASA, the website provides accurate, up-to-date information about planets, moons, asteroids, comets, and other elements of our solar system along with a record of deep space exploration. Users can choose to learn about the solar system as a whole, planets, moons, or small bodies. A kids section provides activities for youth. Other sections feature news, resources, technology reports and other useful information. Of particular note are the interactives that engage learners with hands-on applications of real-world data.
Librarians will find this website provides an excellent introduction to the solar system. The easy-to-use interface is perfect for younger students and the option to explore in-depth is useful for older researchers.
To visit the project, go to

Saturday, August 04, 2018

Book Review: What If...

WHAT IF… by Samantha Berger is a picture book exploring the power of imagination and determination.
Using lyrical prose and bright colored collages, the author and illustrator tell the story of a young girl who imagines how she would express herself if her traditional art tools disappeared.
Librarians will find this picture book to be useful in jumpstarting a discussion of creativity and imagination. It could also be applied in a lesson about invention and persistence. Use it in a display featuring other books about creativity.
Published on April 3, 2018 by Little, Brown, an imprint of Hachette. ARC courtesy of the publisher.

Friday, August 03, 2018

Website Review: PBS News Hour

PBS NEWSHOUR is a television news program with educational materials for teachers.
The PBS NewsHour website contains full episodes of the television program, podcasts, and online articles. Resources are organizing by topic including politics, arts, nation, world, economy, science, health, and education.
The PBS NewsHour Extra provides student and teacher resources for grades 7-12. Materials are organized by subject areas and include both lesson plans and articles. The student voices section includes reporting by young adults. Students can submit their story idea, essay or poem to be included at the website.
Librarians will find this website to be useful for both students and teachers. Students will find useful information for their research, while teachers will find lots of ideas of integrating news into the curriculum.
To visit PBS NewsHour, go to
To visit PBS NewsHour Extra, go to

Wednesday, August 01, 2018

Website Review: Lazy Green

LAZY GREEN is a website that provides simple ways people can save energy.
The website presents 20 energy saving tips. Each tip is introduced with a simple animation and statement. Readers click the tip to read a short article about the topic. A source is provided for each tip.
Librarians will find this website useful as an information literacy and informational reading activity. Ask each child to read a different tip and summarize what they learned with the class. Then direct students to go to the source of the information and evaluate the website. Advertising is embedded in the page. Use this an an opportunity to discuss product placement at websites.
To visit the website, go to

Monday, July 30, 2018

Book Review: Pristine Seas

PRISTINE SEAS is a National Geographic project focusing on exploring and protecting wild places in the ocean.
This project features the work of scientist Enric Sala who has been exploring the unique ecosystems of the last wild places in the ocean. The goal of the project is to protect 20 places by 2020. Users click on locations around the globe to learn more about past and present expeditions. Readers can also explore the latest field work of scientists.
Librarians will find this website to be an interesting way to study oceans. Ask students to select one of the locations and write about what makes this area of the world unique and worth saving. Or, ask students to learn more about a creature who lives in one of these special locations.

Saturday, July 28, 2018

Book Review: The Disappearing Spoon

THE DISAPPEARING SPOON by Sam Kean is the young reader’s edition of the popular science book.
After a brief introduction, the work of nonfiction is divided into five parts exploring different aspects of the periodic table and its history. Within each section are a series of chapters exploring specific topics associated with the section’s theme. The book concludes with the periodic table of elements, a glossary, bibliography, and index.
Librarians will find this to be an excellent addition to the nonfiction collection. While it will be a useful resource for students writing reports connected with the periodic table, it will be most popular among children who enjoy reading nonfiction for fun. Use the book as part of a nonfiction literature circle focusing on science. The text would also be helpful for high school students who find the adult version of the book too difficult.
Published on April 3, 2018 by Little, Brown, an imprint of Hachette. ARC courtesy of the publisher.

Friday, July 27, 2018

Website Review: Data Africa

DATA AFRICA is an open source agriculture, climate, poverty, and health visualization engine.
Students use the interactive map to click on an African country or search by location. For each country, data is provided about agriculture, climate, health, and poverty. In addition, an introduction provides an overview of the country and its challenges.
Librarians will find this to be a useful resource for students working on research projects associated with countries in Africa. The visualizations will appeal to special needs and reluctant learners.
To visit the website, go to

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Website Review: Share My Lesson

SHARE MY LESSON is a free lesson sharing site from the American Federation of Teachers.
Containing hundreds of thousands of lessons, this website is intended to provide high-quality teaching materials for free. Users can access lessons by grade level or by subject area. In addition, standards connections and professional teaching resources are also available. A “top resources” area provides access to popular documents. Educators can also contribute content and share their lessons and ideas.
Librarians will find this website contains a wealth of resources across grade levels and subject areas. Of particular note are the sections focusing on social emotional learning and special needs students.
To visit the resource, go to

Monday, July 23, 2018

Website Review: Teaching Tolerance

TEACHING TOLERANCE is a website dedicated to educating youth about diversity, equity, and justice.
Sponsored by the Southern Poverty Law Center, the website contains classroom resources, professional development materials, and publications including their free magazine and other documents. The “Build a Learning Plan” area helps educators apply the four domains of social justice: identity, diversity, justice, and action to learning outcomes across grade levels. Users can explore the online resources by topic and examine social justice standards by grade level. Opportunities for grants and campaign participation are also offered.
Librarians will find this website provides a wealth of resources for the social justice curriculum along with more general suggestions for establishing an anti-bias education program. Connect the suggested activities with picture books, novels, and other literature focusing on importance issues related to tolerance.
To visit the website, go to

Saturday, July 21, 2018

Book Review: Astronaut Aquanaut

ASTRONAUT AQUANAUT by Jennifer Swanson explores the similarities and differences between deep space and deep sea exploration.
This visually appealing informational text includes an introduction and five chapters along with a people page, space-sea comparison, glossary, and index. Bright colored photographs, illustrations, and page layout add to the appeal.
Each chapter focuses on a different aspect of space or sea exploration. Readers are invited to read facts, conduct experiments, try activities, and explore the lives of scientists.
Librarians will find this book provides an unusual and fascinating way to think about deep space and deep sea exploration. Weave the title into the science curriculum and work with science teachers to use the space-sea comparison as the basis of class projects. Create a display with books about both environments placing this title in the center.
Published on April 1, 2018 by National Geographic. ARC courtesy of the publisher.

Friday, July 20, 2018

Website Review: Seeing Theory

SEEING THEORY is a visual introduction to probability and statistics.
Designed for AP high school and college students, this interactive mathematics book contains text and visuals along with engaging interactive visualizations that help learners view key concepts and examples in meaningful ways. The project is organized into six chapters with each chapter containing three parts. A printable draft is also available as a PDF.
Librarians will find this interactive textbook to be useful for students and teachers seeking a visual way to learn probability and statistics.
To visit the website, go to

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Website Review: Americans

AMERICANS from the National Museum of the American Indian is a web project connecting American Indian culture to everyday life in America.
Based on a Smithsonian exhibition, this website highlights how American Indians have been part of the nation’s identity since before the country began. The project uses artifacts to explore four historical events including Thanksgiving, the life of Pocahontas, the Trail of Tears, and the Battle of Little Bighorn as reference points.
Librarians will find this powerful exhibition to be useful in providing insights into how American Indian images, names, and stories have become part of history, pop culture, and the cultural identify in the United States. Work with the history to connect the website to classroom activities focusing on these four historical events.
To visit the project, go to

Monday, July 16, 2018

Website Review: Rethinking Guernica

RETHINKING GUERNICA is a web project exploring Pablo Picasso’s famous painting.
This website examines the artistic and symbolic values in Picasso’s painting produced for the Paris World’s Fair in 1937. The project includes a chronology exploring key events related to history and the painting. In addition, an itineraries section features stories, agents, primary source documents, and valuable background information. Finally, the gigapixel area of the website address the material nature of the painting.
Librarians will find this web-based project to be an excellent example of how artwork can be connected to contemporary and historical contexts. Use it to jumpstart in-depth inquiries into specific pieces of artwork. Ask students to create their own exhibition including a chronology, primary source documents, and an up-close examination of the artwork.

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Book Review: Aru Shah and the End of Time

ARU SHAH AND THE END OF TIME is the first adventure fantasy in the Pandava quartet.
Aru Shah lives the Museum of Ancient Art and Culture where her mother works as an archeaologist. When Aru accidentally awakens an ancient demon known as the Sleeper, Aru must save her family and friends. Can she find the five legendary Pandava brothers and journey through the Kingdom of Death in time?
Librarians will find the connections to Hindu mythology appealing to middle grade children who enjoy other books featuring mythology such as the Olympians and Magnus Chase books. The female protagonist, fast-paced storyline, and Indian cultural themes will appeal to a broad audience.
Published on March 27, 2018 by Disney-Hyperion. ARC courtesy of the publisher.

Friday, July 13, 2018

Website Review: Museum of New Zealand

The MUSEUM OF NEW ZEALAND provides rich teaching resources exploring people and places connected with New Zealand.
The website includes dozens of educational resources from across the curriculum. Of particular note are the lessons associated with language and art. Tales from Te Papa contains 120 mini-documentaries that explore the stories behind artifacts in the museum’s collection.
Librarians will find this resource particularly useful in classrooms learning about the countries of the world. The website provides a unique perspective on world events. For instance, children in the US often learn about World War I from an American perspective. This project contains learning materials that help students learn about the experiences of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps on the Gallipoli Peninsula, Turkey.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Website Review: HarperCollins 200

HARPERCOLLINS is celebrating it’s 200th anniversary in book publishing.
This web project explores the history of HarperCollins as a publisher along with providing insights into the history of great books. Users can explore a timeline, stories, collection of titles, information about reading and writing, and a look inside the archives.
Librarians will find that this website provides a fascinating exploration of book history.
To visit the website, go to

Monday, July 09, 2018

Website Review: Habitats

HABITATS is a science learning game from Smithsonian Education.
Designed for grades three through six, this life science game asks students to match the animal with their habitat. Users drag animals into a habitat and are given feedback about the accuracy of their answers.
Librarians will find this interactive game to be an effective way to introduce children to animal habitats. Use the game to jump-start a science unit. Ask students to work in small groups and learn more about the animals in a particular habitat (i.e., desert, coral reefs, jungle, marsh). Build a learning display that includes books about the animals featured in the game.
To play the game, go to

Saturday, July 07, 2018

Book Review: The Astonishing Color of After

THE ASTONISHING COLOR OF AFTER by Emily X.R. Pan is a compelling, young adult novel exploring life, death, and family secrets.
When her mom commits suicide, Leigh is convinced her mother has turned into a bird. When this half Asian and half white teen visits her maternal grandparents in Taiwan for the first time, she slowly becomes immersed in the culture and begins to uncover family secrets that help her better understand her mother, her family, and herself. Flashbacks help readers understand what led to her mother’s suicide along with providing insights into Leigh’s friendship and romance with Axel.
Librarians will find that teens enjoy the magical realism elements of this novel along with the contemporary setting. The balance of hope and despair and the movement between the past and present will add to the appeal for teens readers.
Published on March 20, 2018 by Little, Brown, an imprint of Hachette. ARC courtesy of the publisher.

Friday, July 06, 2018

Website Review: Google Earth View

GOOGLE EARTH VIEW is a web-based project containing a collection of landscapes.
Users select from dozens of hotspots on the map to explore satellite images of landscapes from around the globe. In addition to zooming into the location, the project shows the colors on a spectrum.
Librarians will find this project to be a unique way to help art students explore color, shape, texture, and patterns. Team with math, geography, computer, and art teachers for an interdisciplinary project connecting these four disciplines.
To visit the website, go to

Wednesday, July 04, 2018

Website Review: Masters of Flight

MASTERS OF FLIGHT from National Geographic is an amazing web-based project focusing on hummingbirds.
In this multimedia article featuring a series of videos recorded with a high-speed, high-resolution camera, scientists studying the biology of hummingbirds share facts and insights into the unique flight of these amazing creatures. In addition to the main article, students can also explore a feature story, behind-the-scenes video, and interactive graphic.
Librarians will find this article to be an engaging springboard into an exploration of animal characteristics. Share the article along with nonfiction books about flight.

Monday, July 02, 2018

Website Review: Scaredy Squirrel

SCAREDY SQUIRREL is a website featuring the Michèle Lemieux’s popular character.
The website features information about the books and the author. The video section contains book trailers and announcements. The “Around the World” area includes a world map and sightings of the character. Over a dozen print activities are provided along with suggestions for parents and teachers.
Librarians will find lots of ideas for featuring this character in library displays and programs. Use the “Around the World” section to jumpstart you own neighborhood photography project.
To visit the website, go to

Saturday, June 30, 2018

Book Review: The Wild Robot Escapes

THE WILD ROBOT ESCAPES by Peter Brown is a sequel continuing the story of a robot who calls an island her home.
Roz the robot is taken to a farm where she helps a family run a dairy. After telling the farm animals about her experiences on the island, they agree to help her find a way home to her son Brightbill and her wild creature friends. Much of the story involves Roz’s journey that ultimately leads to meeting her designer.
Librarians will find this middle grade novel a popular follow-up to the original. The Wild Robot books provide a nice bridge between beginning chapter book and longer novels for young readers. Use the book to jumpstart discussions about perseverance and what it means to be human. Feature the title in a display exploring robot characters.
Published by March 13, 2018 by Little, Brown, an imprint of Hachette. ARC courtesy of the publishers.

Friday, June 29, 2018

Website Review: Street Change

STREET CHANGE is a web-based project showing changes in urban landscapes over time.
This interactive map helps scholars measure changes in the physical appearance of neighborhoods by examining Google Street View images over time. Users select from views of Baltimore, Boston, Detroit, New York, and Washington, DC. By clicking on hotspots on a map, students can see how a particular location has changed over time.
Librarians will find this to be a useful way to talk with students about urban geography. Work with social studies and computer science teachers to show how technology can be used to assist scholarly research.
To visit the website, go to

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Website Review: Cracking the Mystery of Egg Shape

CRACKING THE MYSTERY OF EGG SHAPE from Science Magazine explores an intriguing questions.
This web project addresses the question of why not all eggs are shaped like a chicken’s. This fascinating online article incorporates easy-to-read text with compelling visualizations that help readers understand the science behind the shape of eggs.
Librarians will find this engaging article to be an interesting way to jump-start a discussion of birds and eggs. It would also be useful in teaching students about the many different ways charts and graphs can be used in science to visualize data.
To read the article, go to

Monday, June 25, 2018

Website Review: Disaster Detector

DISASTER DETECTOR is an educational game that applies natural hazard data to catastrophic event preparation.
Published by Smithsonian Education, this science game teaches learners how to analyze and interpret data to forecast natural disasters. In addition, students learn how to apply tools to mitigate the effects of those catastrophic events. Players are asked to help the citizens of Smithsonville and four other cities make predictions and save their city from damage. Players can complete a tutorial or jump right into game play.
Librarians will find this science game to be an effective way to connect science with real-world natural disasters. After playing the game, ask youth to read about real natural disasters and share how the game connects with reality.
Students can play the game online or download the app from the App Store or Google Play.
To play the game or download the app, go to

Saturday, June 23, 2018

Book Review: Like Vanessa

LIKE VANESSA by Tami Charles tells the story of an African American eighth-grader pursuing her pageant dreams.
Set in 1983, Vanessa Martin is thrilled when Vanessa Williams is crowned the first black Miss America. When her music teacher encourages her audition for the school’s pageant, she’s reluctant. However, over time she develops the confidence to compete. Told through first person narratives along with beautiful poetry and journal entries, readers will be drawn into Vanessa’s quest.
Librarians will find a large audience for this story of family and friendship. The elements of poverty, racism, and family secrets add depth to the story. Of particular note is the evolving relationship between Vanessa and her music teacher.
Published on March 13, 2018 by Charlesbridge. ARC courtesy of the publisher.

Friday, June 22, 2018

Website Review: Pottermore's Hogwarts

POTTERMORE’S HOGWARTS is a section of the website that immerses users in the world of Harry Potter’s Hogwarts.
Users are able to explore Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry including the castle’s exterior, Forbidden Forest, and Quidditch pitch. Users click one of the 100 hotspots to learn more about a particular area. Many of the hotspots contain excerpts from specific books connected with the location, while others provide new insights into the series.
Librarians will find this website a fun way to extend the Harry Potter series reading experience. Explore the project as part of an after-school reading club.
To visit the website, go to

Monday, June 18, 2018

Book Review: Eruptions, Earthquakes, and Emissions

ERUPTIONS, EARTHQUAKES, & EMISSIONS is an interactive visualization exploring global volcanism over time.
Published by the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, the amazing interactive allows users to see the earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, and sulfur dioxide levels from 1960 to 2017. User can click on the map for more details about particular events.
Librarians will find this website provides an effective way to show students the location of these activities along with changes over time. Ask students to select a particular time period or location to explore in-depth.
To visit the website, go to

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Book Review: Plant, Cook, Eat!

PLANT, COOK, EAT! is a practical and appealing children’s cookbook by Joe Archer and Caroline Craig.
This outstanding informational book explores the process of planting, harvesting, and preparing a wide variety of vegetables. Each short chapter focuses on a different question, activity, tool, plant, or preparation. The colorful pages, illustrations, and photographs add to the appeal. The short chunks of informational text provide depth without overwhelming the pages. The cookbook concludes with further information, a glossary, and index.
Librarians will find that this interesting book provides practical garden techniques along with realistic recipes that appeal to children. Students will find the first section of the book useful for general science and research projects. The second half of the book focuses on growing and consuming specific vegetables. Include this book in a display focusing on gardening and healthy eating.
Published on March 1, 2018 by Charlesbridge. ARC courtesy of the publisher.

Friday, June 15, 2018

Review Review: Seven Things to Know About Climate Change

SEVEN THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT CLIMATE CHANGE is an informative visualization for all ages.
Published by National Geographic, this easy-to-understand visualization focuses on seven key ideas related to climate change. Each fact contains text, data, and visuals to support its statement. In addition to the visual, a link is provided to the project’s climate hub with further information.
Librarians will find this website to be an effective way to introduce key concepts related to climate change. Ask each student to explore one of the seven facts in-depth and share that they find with their science class.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Website Review: Origami Yoda

The ORIGAMI YODA website provides resources associated with Tom Angleberger’s books and characters.
Set up as a blog, the website includes news and information about the author’s books and characters. In addition, users can explore information about the author and his books. Videos provide step-by-step origami instructions. Lots of examples of origami projects are available along with the option to submit original designs. In addition, a newsletter is available for educators.
Librarians will find the website provides lots of ideas and resources for book-related activities. Create a makerspace featuring the books along with materials for making origami projects. Include nonfiction books on paper folding along with related titles.
To visit the website, go to

Monday, June 11, 2018

Website Review: Guide to North American Birds

The GUIDE TO NORTH AMERICAN BIRDS from Audubon provides high-quality information about birds.
Based on well-respected field guides, the website contains information about hundreds of birds. Users can search for a particular bird or explore by taxonomic family or region. For each entry, students can read facts, explore a gallery of photos, listen to birdsong, and video a map.
Librarians will find this website to be a valuable resource for student researchers. Ask students to compare what they find at the website with information found in a print guide or on Wikipedia.
The resource is also available as an app through the App Store or Google Play.
To visit the website, go to