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

Saturday, June 09, 2018

Book Review: Ivy Aberdeen's Letter to the World

IVY ABERDEEN’S LETTER TO THE WORLD by Ashley Herring Blake is a powerful work of contemporary realistic fiction for the middle grades.
When twelve-year-old Ivy’s house is destroyed by a tornado, her notebook is lost. As drawings from her notebook begin to reappear, she wonders whether she’s strong enough to reveal her secret crush. Blake’s portrayal of the preteen experience is authentic and readers are likely to sympathize with her dilemma and choices.
Librarians will find this book to be a strong addition to the collection. The contemporary setting and realistic LGBT theme will be a draw of middle grade readers. This tender story is a good choice for all children, but particularly those dealing with the challenges of first love.
Published on March 6, 2018 by Little, Brown for Young Readers, an imprint of Hachette. ARC courtesy of the publisher.

Friday, June 08, 2018

Website Review: BugGuide

BUGGUIDE is a website focusing on insects, spiders, and related creatures.
This online community of naturalists shares information about creatures originating in the US and Canada. The website provides identification, images, and information. Users can click on a guide of interest or request help with identifying a specimen. A forum provides opportunities for interaction.
Librarians will find this website a useful tool for science students. Whether identifying creatures or discussing the benefits of niche, online communities, this science-based website is a useful resource.
To visit the website, go to

Wednesday, June 06, 2018

Tech Review: Aquation

AQUATION: THE FRESHWATER ACCESS GAME is an educational game exploring water science issues.
Published by the Smithsonian Institute, this learning game teaches science students about management of global water resources. Participants are asked to develop strategies and make decisions about water science topics such as water desalination plants, natural disasters, and water pipelines. Players begin by choosing a game piece, then select whether they wish to play the tutorial or the game.
Librarians will find that students enjoy learning about water science through this educational game. A text alternative is available for teachers wishing to use a short story connected with the game to jumpstart a water science unit.
The game is available online or through the App Store or Google Play.
To play the game or download the app, go to

Monday, June 04, 2018

Website Review: ABC Education

ABC EDUCATION is a website based in Australia that provides free educational resources.
Designed for all grade levels, the website contains thousands of videos, games, and educational programs. It’s organized into sections including resources, games, topics, articles, comps, STEM, behind the news, and learning English. In addition, users can go directly to materials aimed at teachers, students, and parents. Along with the website resources, dozens of apps are available.
Librarians will find that although the learning materials are mapped to the Australian Curriculum that they can easily be adapted for use in North American classrooms.
To visit the website, go to

Saturday, June 02, 2018

Book Review: Paddle Perch Climb

PADDLE PERCH CLIMB: BIRD FEET ARE NEAT by Laurie Ellen Angus is an engaging informational book examining birds and their feet.
Angus uses attractive collage illustrations and simple text to explore seven birds with different foot characteristics such as strong feet for running and flexible toes for picking. The book concludes with an overview of key science facts about each bird along with other useful information for both students and teachers.
Librarians will find this informational book to be useful in the life science curriculum. Feature it in a display with other books exploring the physical features of animals such as those by Steve Jenkins.
Published on March 1, 2018 by Dawn Publications. ARC courtesy of the publisher.

Friday, June 01, 2018

Website Review: Junie B Jones

The JUNIE B JONES website features activities based on this popular book character.
Published by Penguin Random House, this interactive website features books, games, activities, characters, and information about the author and illustrator. Children can join a kid’s club. Sections for teachers and parents explore ways to ideas and suggestions to connecting children with books.
Librarians will find this website useful when introducing Junie B. Jones to children. Use the resources in a book display or establish your own book club.
To visit the website, go to

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Website Review: The Colossal Squid

THE COLOSSAL SQUID is an educational exhibition from the Museum of New Zealand.
This online project is divided into sections including anatomy, the deep, the squid files, build a squid, exhibition, and resources. The anatomy section contains an interactive lesson and short articles, images, and videos. The deep area explores the ocean in Antarctica including an interactive, articles, images, and videos. The squid files provides materials associated with a scientific expedition. The build-a-squid interactive is a fun way to review. The exhibition and resources section provides access to a virtual tour and lots of learning activities.
Librarians will find this website has a variety of fascinating activities to engage young scientists. Associate the website with the water and life science curriculum. Or, use it in a program featuring sea creatures.
To visit the website, go to

Monday, May 28, 2018

Website Review: Storytime from Space

STORYTIME FROM SPACE is a a project connecting children with astronauts for reading and science activities.
This nonprofit educational project provides cross-content curriculum materials related to space science. The website contains science demonstrations and a video library. Astronauts at the International Space Station have recorded themselves reading children’s books about space.
Librarians will find this website a motivating way to engage reluctant readers. The videos are an excellent way to help children connect the science they learn in the classroom with the real-word of space travel.
To visit the website, go to

Saturday, May 26, 2018

Book Review: Bird Guide of North America

BIRD GUIDE OF NORTH AMERICA by Jonathan Alderfer is a useful companion to National Geographic’s field guide.
Unlike the field guide, this bird book isn’t simply a listing of birds for use in identification. Instead, it features key birds specific regions and habitats including eastern and western backyard birds, city street and parks, farms and fields, beach and bay, southern swamps and bayou, river and marsh, prairie and plains, deserts, and western mountains. Each chapter explores the habitat, features several birds, and provides mini-profiles of a few more. Chapters also focus on birds in peril and rock star birds. The book also contains a useful map and information about attracting birds such as building a bird feeder.
Librarians will find this book useful for youth doing reports on particular regions or habitats. Younger students will appreciate the focus on just a few birds in each area, while older youth may seek out more comprehensive bird guides for added bird varieties and details. Children who enjoy browsing nonfiction books will appreciate the colorful photographs and other illustrations.
Published on March 1, 2018 by National Geographic Kids. ARC courtesy of the publishers.

Friday, May 25, 2018

Website Review: Trucktown

TRUCKTOWN is Jon Scieszka’s website featuring his popular truck characters.
Users can choose to explore the adult or children’s section of the website. The adult section provides information about the series, the creators, and the books including text, images, and short videos. The teacher/librarian section provides reproducible PDF activities for students. The children’s section contains interactive experiences from the book Smash! Crash, Trucktown games, and lots of online activities.
Librarians will find this website to be full of fun activities. Set up a Trucktown in the library including toy trucks, books, printed activities, and a computer featuring the website.
To visit the website, go to

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Website Review: The Museum of the World

THE MUSEUM OF THE WORLD is a collaborative project of The British Museum and Google Cultural Institute.
This interactive timeline allows users to scroll through history as they examine artifacts. The resources are organized by regions of the world including Africa, Americas, Asia, Europe, and Oceania. Artifacts are also clustered into themes including arts and design, living and dying, power and identity, religion and belief, and trade and conflict. Users click on an object to learn more. In addition to a photo and text, explorers can play audio, examine the artifact’s location on a map, and view related objects.
Librarians will find this website useful when working with social studies and history teachers on themes connected with geography and social issues. Use the artifacts to jumpstart inquiries related to the project themes such as power and identity or trade and conflict.
To visit the website, go to

Monday, May 21, 2018

Website Review: National Women's History Museum

The NATIONAL WOMEN’S HISTORY MUSEUM contains exhibits and educational resources focusing on women and their history.
The museum website contains a content section that includes exhibits, articles, resources, and stories. The project uses text, images, audio, video, and interactives to share the rich history of women. The students and educators area provides learning materials including resources, biographies, key topics, and information about National History Day.
Librarians will find this to be a useful starting point for youth working on projects associated with women’s history. Use it to help students select research topics or locate lesser-known stories about the women’s movement.
To visit the website, go to

Friday, May 18, 2018

Website Review: Species in Pieces

SPECIES IN PIECES is an interactive exhibition featuring thirty of the world’s most interesting, but endangered species.
This database allows users to browse through the animals or select a specific creature to examine. Rather than showing photographs, the project uses CSS polygons to visualize each animal. For each creature, users can read basic facts, explore statistics, watch a video, and explore a conservation website.
Librarians will find this exhibition to be an engaging way to start an investigation of endangered animals. Ask students to explore the exhibit, then select one of the animals to examine in-depth. Help learners use subscription databases, books, and other resources to gather the latest information about their creature.
The CSS polygons found on this website will fascinate students and teachers alike. Use this website to jumpstart a coding activity where students create their own animal images.
To explore the website, go to

Book Review: Izzy Gizmo

IZZY GIZMO by Pip Jones tells the story of a young inventor who befriends an injured crow.
This colorful, lyrical picture book follows Izzy Gizmo who loves inventing things. Although she sometimes gets frustrated when her creations break down, she’s determined to help a crow with a broken wing. Of particular note are the attractice illustrations by Sara Ogilvie that are likely to appeal to children.
Librarians will find an audience among children who enjoy books about creativity and ingenuity. Weave the book into STEAM activities connected with invention and perseverance.
Published on March 1, 2018 by Peachtree. ARC courtesy of the publisher.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Tech Review: BumperDucks

BUMPERDUCKS is a middle school game designed to teach physical science.
This educational game from Smithsonian Education teaches students what happens when two objects collide and how mass impacts the acceleration of an object. Participants must help a duck avoid obstacles to reach tasty treats across a pond. Users can either play the game or explore the sandbox. In sandbox mode, users can manipulate the objects to experiment with how they work or build puzzles.
Librarians will find this to be a fun way to engage science students through game playing. Work with teachers to develop meaningful physical science activities within the sandbox feature. Include the game as part of a physical science display along with makerspace activities and nonfiction science books.
The game is available online or through the App Store or Google Play.
To visit the website or download the app, go to

Monday, May 14, 2018

Website Review: America on the Move

AMERICA ON THE MOVE is a program from the National Museum of American History.
This fascinating website contains exhibitions, collections, themes, games, and learning resources connected with the history of transportation. The exhibition section features a timeline exploring how changes in transportation impacted America. The collection area provides access to more than a thousand artifacts and photographs. In the theme area, students can explore resources by topics such as communities and technology.
The website features three interactive games including a matching game, a driving through time game, and a movie director game. Each game examines a different aspect of transportation history.
Librarians will find this website to be a fun way to explore the history of transportation. The learning resources section provides exhibit and classroom guides, a reading list, and web links.
To visit the website, go to

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Book Review: The Constellations

The CONSTELLATIONS by Claudia Gray is a thought-provoking science fiction adventure series exploring the relationship between a soldier and a robot.
In the first book DEFY THE STARS (2017), readers are introduced to teen soldier Noemi who stumbles upon a sophisticated robot named Abel. Although enemies, they work together to save Noemi’s planet of Genesis.
In the second book DEFY THE WORLDS (2018), a deadly plague threatens Genesis. Noemi and Abel once again must work together to save the universe. A cliffhanger at the end of this book establishes intriguing questions for the next book in this series.
Librarians will find an audience for this series among young adults who enjoy the combination of science fiction and adventure with a hint of romance. Exploring topics such as immortality and tolerance, the series is deeper than the standard YA options.
Published by Hachette. ARCs courtesy of the publisher.

Friday, May 11, 2018

Website Review: Draw a Stickman

DRAW A STICKMAN is a website that encourages users to contribute drawings to a dynamic story.
Users begin by choosing an episode. The player then draws pictures that become part of an animated story. The stories can be downloaded and shared. A gallery is available for ideas. An app version is also available.
Librarians will find this to be a fun way for students to apply their skills at drawing and creative writing. It’s also a effective way to practice mousing and track pad drawing skills.
To visit the website, go to

Wednesday, May 09, 2018

Website Review: Fancy Nancy

FANCY NANCY is a website featuring the popular children’s book character.
Sponsored by HarperCollins Children’s Books, the website features information about the books, author, and illustrator along with activities. The party tips and activities section contains endless ideas for hosting library events. The reading tips articles focus on ways to build vocabulary and make reading fun. Dozens of printable activities are available for download. Five online games and three mobile apps are currently available.
Librarians will find lots of ideas for library events and promotions featuring Fancy Nancy. Build a display containing books, printouts, apps, and online games.
To visit the website, go to

Tech Review: Twine

TWINE is an open source tool for writing and sharing interactive stories.
This easy-to-use tool allows users to create simple, non-linear stories. Users can either download the software or use the online version. Computer science students can extend the experience by applying simple programming skills. The stories are published to HTML so they are easy to share.
A Q&A area, live chat, cookbook of examples, and wiki reference documentation provide assistance for users.
Librarians will find that this tool allows students to the create choose-your-own-adventure stories, interactive fiction, and games across the curriculum. English teachers will find this to be a motivating tool for creative writing activities, while computer science teachers will discover many uses related to applying coding skills.
To visit the website, go to

Monday, May 07, 2018

Website Review: C-SPAN

C-SPAN is a public service providing audio and video access to proceedings related to public policy.
Providing over a quarter million hours of content, this free service includes regular series along with the proceedings of Congress, the Executive Branch, and the US Supreme Court. Series include American History TV, Book TV, and more. Viewers can check their regular schedule of events or search by key word. Users can also narrow their search by videos, clips, people, organizations, mentions, and bills.
Librarians will find this video library to be an excellent resource across the curriculum. Use videos to jumpstart questioning related to public policy and social issues. For classroom resources, go to C-SPAN Classroom for bell ringers, lesson plans, and more.
To visit the website, go to
To vist C-SPAN classroom, go to

Saturday, May 05, 2018

Book Review: Leaf Litter Critters

LEAF LITTER CRITTERS by Leslie Bulion contains nineteen poems exploring science topics related to decomposers and forest ecology.
Each two-page spread features a short poem, a science note, and a colorful illustration. The book concludes with a glossary, poetry notes, science investigations, a size comparison, and an infographic.
Librarians will find the combination of science and poetry useful for STEAM activities. The colored pages and attractive illustrations will draw student interest. Don’t let this fun book get lost in the poetry section. Work with teachers to integrate it into an elementary, cross curriculum activity.
Published by Peachtree Publishers on March 1, 2018. ARC courtesy of the publisher.

Friday, May 04, 2018

Website Review: Cassandra Clare

CASSANDRA CLARE’s website and blog contains lots of ideas for young authors.
The website includes writing advice, resources, answers to common questions, and book information. In addition to the website, the author connects with readers through social media including her blog, Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest.
Librarians will find that Cassandra Clare’s social media feeds are an excellent way to introduce teens to how authors use social media to connect with their readers. She uses each feed in a different way. For instance, her Pinterest boards focus on clothes, decorating, and book research ideas. She shares writing ideas on her blog.
To visit the website, go to

Wednesday, May 02, 2018

Website Review: E-Butterfly

E-BUTTERFLY is an international, citizen science project focusing on biodiversity, conservation, and education.
The website includes background information about the project and a place to submit observations. The data section provides species maps, summary tables, flight time charts, lists for comparison, observation lists, and species profiles. A Help area contains answers to frequently asked questions.
Librarians will find this project to be an effective way to get youth involved with a real-world science project. Combine the website with books and other resources as part of a STEM learning learning center. Create a butterfly garden in an outdoor space at your school to attract butterflies for the project.
To visit the website, go to

Monday, April 30, 2018

Website Review: Shel Silverstein

SHEL SILVERSTEIN’s website contains resources and information about this well-known children’s author.
In addition to information about the author and his books, the website includes a section on fun resources including engaging, animated videos of his poems. Of particular note are the learning resources areas containing downloadable lesson plans, event kits, and drawing booklets.
Librarians will find the videos to be a useful way to introduce this poet. These narrated animations bring the poems alive and help children understand the rhythm of poetry reading.
To visit the website, go to

Saturday, April 28, 2018

Book Review: Votes for Women

VOTES FOR WOMEN by Winifred Conkling tells the true story of the suffrage movement in America.
This well-researched, fast-paced nonfiction narrative explores the women that fought for their right to vote. This engaging story explores the successes and failures along with well-known and lesser-known events. The Preface begins with the passage of the Nineteenth Amendment, but the rest of the book transports readers back in time exploring the key people and events that lead to that final vote. The book concludes with key primary source documents, a timeline, bibliography, notes, and an index.
Librarians will find this comprehensive account to be a welcome addition to the nonfiction collection for middle and high school students. The author’s use of primary sources throughout the book make it an excellent choice for evidence-based inquiries. The author’s engaging, conversational style will draw readers who enjoy narrative nonfiction for leisure reading.
Published by Algonquin Young Readers, an imprint of Workman on January 17, 2018. ARC courtesy of the publisher.

Friday, April 27, 2018

Website Review: Rockalingua

ROCKALINGUA is a music-based Spanish learning program for children.
The website is divided into five sections: videos, games, songs, worksheets, and picture dictionaries. Although a subscription-based option is available, many learning materials are available for free. The activities encourage repetition and include listening, speaking, reading, and writing elements.
Librarians will find this website to be a fun way to get elementary children started with Spanish language learning. Combine the website with picture books written in Spanish as well as language learning books.
To visit the website, go to

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Website Review: Steve Jenkins

STEVE JENKINS’ website explores the works of this popular author and illustrator of children’s books.
The website is divided into sections focusing on books and making books, science, and the author. A gallery and links are also provided. Of particular note are the video and pages that discuss the process of making books.
Librarians will find Jenkins’ essay about science useful for talking with children about his nonfiction books and why these types of books are important. Use the galley to inspire children to connect science with nonfiction writing and illustration.
To visit the website, go to

Monday, April 23, 2018

Website Review: Royal Institution Games

INTERACTIVE GAMES from The Royal Institution contains dozens of educational games and quizzes exploring science topics.
Users can choose from interactives related to chemistry, engineering, human body, microsites, natural world, and physics. From fighting insect attacks and battling predators to building a skeleton and acting as a forensic scientists, students have many opportunities to apply science knowledge in engaging environments. Students can takes quizzes on topics such as anatomy, DNA, and the periodic table.
Librarians will find these fun games to be useful in learning centers as well as integrating into the STEM curriculum. Fill a learning center with nonfiction STEM books along with a tablet for game playing.
To visit the website, go to

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Book Review; The Hazel Wood

THE HAZEL WOOD by Melissa Albert is a dark fantasy suspense for young adults.
Alice and her mother are unlucky in life and move frequently. When her mother disappears, Alice must immerse herself in the dark world of her recently dead grandmother’s supernatural world. Filled with strong and sometimes abrasive female characters and lots of twists, Alice along with her acquaintance Ellery must visit the creepy Hazel Wood estate in search of answers.
Librarians will find a following for this book among teens who enjoy fairy tale fantasy, contemporary mysteries, and dark thrillers. Fans of Alice in Wonderful and teens who enjoy literature will enjoy discussing the many literary connections.
Published by Flatiron, an imprint of Macmillan on January 30, 2018. ARC courtesy of the publisher.

Friday, April 20, 2018

Website Review: Kevin Henkes

KEVIN HENKES’ website contains information and resources about this popular children’s author and illustrator.
The website includes author and book information, along with resources for adults and short videos. Children will enjoy the questions and answers section along with the book pages featuring his popular characters including Chrysanthemum and Lilly.
Librarians will find dozens of downloadable teaching guides and student activities to accompany many of Henkes’ books. Of particular note are four videos featuring the author discussing his books.
To visit the website, go to

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Website Review: Journey North

JOURNEY NORTH is a collaborative project website involving youth in tracking migrations and seasons.
This citizen science project is celebrating its 25th year. The program provides an easy way to involve children in real-world, real-time science projects. Teachers can choose from 20 different projects each year. While some projects run during a particular season, others are year-round. The website provides teaching and learning materials for educators along with news, maps, and an opportunity to report sightings.
Librarians will find this online project to be a wonderful way to get the entire school involved with citizen science. Set up a science learning station in the library to serve as the headquarters for the project. Include a map, books, and other materials to engage learners in science.
To visit the website, go to

Monday, April 16, 2018

Website Review: Laurie Halse Anderson

LAURIE HALSE ANDERSON’s website contains resources for students and educators.
Anderson’s website contains a biography, book list, blog, and educator materials. To extend the experience, explore her social media feeds including Instagram, Facebook, Tumbler, and Twitter.
Librarians will find her writing advice of interest to young adults. Weave it into an English lesson connecting books, authors, and writing. Be sure to check out her resources connecting the Hamilton musical with her books. Finally, Anderson’s page on censorship contains useful resources and links to weave into the curriculum.
To visit the website, go to

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Book Review: This is Not a Love Letter

THIS IS NOT A LOVE LETTER by Kim Purcell tells the heart-wrenching story of a teen dealing with the disappearance of her boyfriend.
When her boyfriend disappears, Jessie immediately suspects foul play. As the story unfolds, readers explore issues from their interracial relationship to mental illness and addiction. Told as a letter to her missing boyfriend, readers become immersed in the local community and are challenged to look beyond racism for answers.
Librarians will find this interracial love story to be popular with a youth who enjoy contemporary, realistic fiction. The compelling mystery and authentic characters make this an engaging young adult thriller.
Published by Disney-Hyperion on January 30, 2018. ARC courtesy of the publisher.