Saturday, December 15, 2018

Book Review: The Assassination of Brangwain Spurge

THE ASSASSINATION OF BRANGWAIN SPURGE by M. T. Anderson and Eugene Yelchin explores the endless battle between elf and goblin kingdoms.
Told through a combination of illustrated sequences, letters, and short narratives, this unusual fantasy novel follows an elfin historian on his quest to survive in goblin territory. Packed with non-stop action, bizarre situations, and cultural misunderstandings, this novel is a unique combination of political satire and fantasy adventure.
Librarians will find readers among young adult readers who enjoy dark fantasy and social commentary. The quirky characters and witty humor will strike a cord with teens who may not understand all the underlying themes, but who will enjoy the outlandish situations. Recommend it for youth who enjoy a balance of witty, thought-provoking themes and goofy fantasy.
Published by Candlewick Press on September 25, 2018. ACR courtesy of the publisher.

Friday, December 14, 2018

Website: OASIS

OASIS is the Openly Available Sources Integrated Search (OASIS) tool that provides easy access to open content teaching and learning materials.
OASIS provides an easy-to-use interface for accessing open content from 72 different sources. Resources can be accessed by subject or using the advanced search tool. Educational materials include learning modules, courses, books, learning objects, audiobooks, videos, and more. In addition, the license for use is clearly marked.
Librarians will find this search tool to be a quick way to access high-quality, open access educational materials. Of particular note are the many resources focusing on information literacy.
To visit the website, go to

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Website: Timegraphics

TIMEGRAPHICS is a timeline maker for all ages.
Users can easily create public timelines that incorporate text, images, and media. The tool can be integrated into Google Services and exported into other programs and services. Timelines can be downloaded and include a watermark with the free version.
Librarians will find this online tool to be useful across the curriculum. Weave it into storytelling and history projects.
To visit the website, go to

Monday, December 10, 2018

Website: Pencil Code

PENCIL CODE is a free, online programming language editor for kids.
Users can jump right in by clicking the “Let’s Play” button. Or, explore activities in the areas of art, music, or adventure. Users can also explore shared student projects.
Teaching and learning resources are available including manual and a code book. An online guide is also available.
Librarians will find this tool to be a fun way to explore coding skills with students. Weave the editor and online resources into computer, math, art, music, and writing activities.
To visit the website, go to

Saturday, December 08, 2018

Book Review: Fly with Me

FLY WITH ME by Jane Yolen along with Heidi, Adam, and Jason Stemple is a celebration of birds through pictures, poems, and stories.
Filled with the colorful photographs and illustrations you would expect from National Geographic Kids, this large, attractive book examines all aspects of the world of birds. Sections include the topics of birds, bird history, state birds, bird song, bird viewing, bird migration, endangered birds, bird records, birds in art, birds in story, and citizen science.
Libraries will find bird lovers fascinated by the breadth and depth of this beautifully illustrated work of nonfiction. The book is equally effective when browsed or read cover to cover. Of particular note are the unusually perspectives such as birds in art, music, and stories.
Published by National Geographic Kids in October 2018. ARC courtesy of the publisher.

Friday, December 07, 2018

Website: World's Largest Lesson

The WORLD’s LARGEST LESSON introduces students to sustainable development goals.
The website contains resources for introducing the seventeen global goals including lessons, videos, comics, and reproducibles. In addition, resources are available that address specific goals such as an activity focusing on making wise food choices. Users can also locate materials by type such as animated films and comics. Finally, social media resources provide lots of ideas showing what other schools are doing.
Librarians will find this website to be an effective way to explore global goals. Feature the seventeen goals in a display along with books connected with each theme. Be sure to put your school on the map and share your stories.
To visit the website, go to

Wednesday, December 05, 2018

Website: Total Darkness

TOTAL DARKNESS from the Science Museum Group is an online science mystery.
This engaging online interactive challenges players to apply critical and creative thinking skills to a science problem. After the electricity goes out, players explore their dark town and apply science skills to help people who are dealing with the power outage. Along the way, players discover theories about what caused the outage and apply creativity, communication, and curiosity skills to solve the mystery.
Librarians will find this interactive to be a fun way to introduce science concepts. Use it as part of a learning center along with books and science experiments.
To visit the website, go to

Monday, December 03, 2018

Website: SAAM

The SMITHSONIAN AMERICAN ART MUSEUM (SAAM) website contains educational resources connecting students with American art.
SAAM’s Teacher Guides and Resources website includes teacher guides with corresponding standards and grade levels in the PDF format. Materials are available in the areas of Social Studies, Language Arts, Art and the African American Experience, Arte Latino, and Science and Art. In addition, resources are available through current and past exhibitions. Video content is also available such as artist interviews.
Librarians will find these educational resources useful across the curriculum. Sign up for an e-mail list to keep up-to-date with current resources.

Friday, November 30, 2018

Website: Native Knowledge 360

NATIVE KNOWLEDGE 360 is an award-winning history and culture project from the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian.
This website provides educators and students new ways of thinking about Native American history and culture. Begin by reading about the ten essential understandings that serve as a framework for the project. Use the search tool to locate resources or explore the educational materials by subject, language, nature, region, grade, or format. Resources include digital lessons, teacher guides, teaching posters, websites, and videos. Don’t miss the “did you know?” section that addresses common myths.
Librarians will find this website to be a valuable tool in connecting youth with new perspectives on Native American history, cultures, and contemporary lives. Work with teachers to weave the resources across the curriculum.
To visit the website, go to

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Website: Crowd

CROWD is a crowdsourcing project from the Library of Congress.
This web-based project encourages volunteers to help make historical documents more searchable by the public. Participants can transcribe, review, and tag documents.
Users begin by choosing a campaign such as transcribing letters or diaries. Each project provides an overview, timeline, blog, and and statistics about progress and contributions.
The website also contains project news, a discussion area, and help for participants. Resources for educators wishing to involve their students include guiding questions, primary source analysis materials, and lessons.
Librarians will find this crowdsourcing project to be a effective way to actively involve youth in critical thinking and information literacy activities. Work with the history teacher to build lessons that incorporate primary sources and crowdsourcing.
To visit the website, go to

Monday, November 26, 2018

Website: The Art Institute of Chicago

The ART INSTITUTE OF CHICAGO contains online collections and exhibits along with educational materials.
The website links to exhibition information and their online collections.
The digital collection includes many well-known works of art such as Grant Wood’s American Gothic and A Sunday on La Grande Latte by Georges Seurat. Each work of art includes lots of background information and many pieces contain links to multimedia and educational resources.
The website’s blog spotlights collections and also contains interesting essays and “behind the scenes” stories.
The Educators Resources section contains dozens of artwork resource packets for teachers. Each resource includes background information, discussion questions, activity ideas, a glossary, and links to the digital collection.
Librarians will find the digital collection to be easy to use. Use the educational resources with art and history teachers. Of particular note is the Art + Science resource that can be incorporated into the school’s STEAM program.
To visit the website, go to

Saturday, November 24, 2018

Book Review: The Button War

THE BUTTON WAR by Avi is a work of historical fiction of middle grade students focusing on peer pressure and obsession during war.
Avi’s latest work of historical fiction is set in a small Polish town during World War I. While the war rages around them, a group of boys play their own deadly game involving obtaining a military button.
Librarians will find readers intrigued by the parallels between the war and the boy’s contest. Some youth will be drawn to the action packed plot. However, others will be dismayed by the focus on the dark themes.
Published by Candlewick Press on June 12, 2018. ARC courtesy of the publisher.

Friday, November 23, 2018

Website: National Forest Map

The NATIONAL FOREST MAP from the US Forest Service is an interactive map.
This easy-to-use visual resource provides a variety of tools to explore forest service lands and recreational opportunities. Users can browse the map by topics such as hiking, picnicking, and fishing. Or, use the search tool to locate a particular place name or forest. Users can select a base map with streets, imagery, or topography. A legend explains colors and symbols. Up-to-date information is provided about weather warnings and fire activity.
Librarians will find this website to be a useful tool for connecting youth with nature. Involve students in exploring area hiking, biking, and nature viewing opportunities while teaching mapping skills.
To visit the website, go to

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Website: Achieving the Dream

ACHIEVING THE DREAM is a project that shares open access college course materials.
Nearly a dozen colleges are sharing their course materials in disciplines such as business, music, philosophy, and sociology. Most of the resources are organized as e-textbooks with online modules. Many of these educational materials include embedded discussion questions and other instructional materials in addition to the content.
Librarians will find a wealth of instructional materials useful across the curriculum. Many of the materials could be incorporated into AP classes.

Website: The Great American Read

THE GREAT AMERICAN READ is a reading and video project from PBS.
This eight-part video series explores reading through America’s 100 best-loved novels. In addition to the videos, the website includes information about each book, details about the episodes, additional resources, blog postings, and stories submitted by readers.
Librarians will find the project to be a fun way to explore popular books with teens. Collaborate with the English department to build a unit revolving around the books, videos, and resources. Or, create your own library-based program to celebrate the books.

Monday, November 19, 2018

Website: Fuel Up to Play 60

FUEL UP TO PLAY 60 is a nutrition and physical activity program.
A collaboration with the United States Department of Agriculture along with the National Dairy Council and the National Football League, the website contains resources for students, educators, parents, and the community.
The program includes a wide range of contests and activities that involve the entire school. The Playbook section of the website contains step-by-step instructions for healthy eating and physical activity ideas. The Tools section includes background information for educators.
Librarians will find that the library serves as a great place to coordinate a school-wide health and active living program. Be sure to check out the school funding opportunities and examples from past programs.
To visit the website, go to

Saturday, November 17, 2018

Book Review: 1968

1968: TODAY’S AUTHORS EXPLORE A YEAR OF REBELLION, REVOLUTION, & CHANGE edited by Marc Aronson and Susan Campbell Bartoletti explores different perspectives on this turbulent and pivotal year.
From Mark Kurlansky to Jim Murphy and Loree Griffin Burns, the book is filled with engaging short works by fourteen award-winning nonfiction authors. Whether exploring personal experiences through memoir or examining a specific theme in a focused essay, each author puts a different spin on the year. While the book covers well-known topics, it also explores many themes not covered by other books on this time period.
The book begins with an introduction to the year 1968. The editors then divided the year into four sections. Author notes, source notes, a selected bibliography, and index are included.
Librarians will find this book to be a solid addition to the nonfiction collection. While the book would benefit from additional illustrators and primary source documents, the short work format will appeal to many readers. Ask youth to use one of the nonfiction works to jumpstart an inquiry project.
Published by Candlewick Press in September 2018. ARC courtesy of the publisher.

Friday, November 16, 2018

Website: State Facts

STATE FACTS from United States Census Bureau is an easy-to-use source for information about US states.
This interactive website provides information for each US state and territory. Users can click on the place on the map or select a location from the pull-down menu.
In addition to the state facts, the website also provides activity ideas for teachers.
Librarians will find this to be a fun way for elementary students to review information about US states. Youth will enjoy clicking on each state for information. Connect the information with a math activity on building graphs. Or, weave the resource into your data literacy curriculum.
To visit the website, go to

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Digital Spotlight: Photo Archive

The PHOTO ARCHIVE at the American Center of Oriental Research contains thousands of photos from Jordan and the broader Middle East.
Contents: This photo archive includes images that represent Jordan’s past and present along with other photos from the Middle East. The project includes major archaeological and cultural heritage images.
Classroom Connections: The easy-to-use search tools provide easy access to the images. Users can search by theme, place, keywords, country, or collection. Use this collection for both social studies and humanities activities focusing on the Middle East region.
Featured Digital Objects:
Petroglyphs (search Rock Drawings)
Jane Taylor Collection (search Collection name)
Linda K. Jacobs Collection (search Collection Name)
To visit the collection, go to

Monday, November 12, 2018

Digital Spotlight: Western History and Genealogy

The WESTERN HISTORY AND GENEALOGY digital collections from the Denver Public Library contains thousands of objects chronicling the development of Western America.
Contents: This online collection contains photographs, maps, broadsides, architectural drawings and other documents exploring the people, places, and events that shaped the American West. Topics include Native Americans, pioneers, railroads, mining, western towns, and Buffalo Bill. Users can search or browse by format or subject.
Classroom Connections: This collection is useful for students exploring the history of the American West along with social studies topics connected with famous people, cultural topics, and genealogy.
Featured Digital Objects:
Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show
Colorado Railroad Photos
Native Americans
To visit the collection, go to

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Book Review: Otis and Will

OTIS AND WILL DISCOVER THE DEEP by Barb Rosenstock is a picture book exploring the record-setting dive of the bathysphere in 1930.
During his childhood, Otis Barton tried to invent a way to breath underwater. After becoming an engineer, he connected with an explorer named Will Beebe. Together they created a Bathysphere that could be used to explore the deep ocean. The picture book concludes with notes that provide additional text and photographs about this true story.
Librarians will find that the easy-to-read text and full page illustrations attract young readers to this fascinating story. Suggest this book to children who enjoy history and science. Work with teachers to integrate this fascinating story into science history. Feature this picture book with other recent publications in a display exploring underwater adventures.
Published on June 5, 2018 by LBYR, an imprint of Hachette Book Group. ARC courtesy of the publisher.

Friday, November 09, 2018

Website: DLESE

The Digital Library for Earth System Education (DLESE) is a free resource for earth science teachers.
This website supports teaching and learning about the Earth system for all grade levels. Resources include lesson plans, scientific data, visualizations, interactive computer models, and virtual field trips. Resources can be accessed by key word, education level, subject, or resource type. Or, users can browse nearly 16,000 resources.
The Earth Science Literacy Maps provide an easy way to explore Earth science concepts by topic such as changes in the earth’s surface, flow of matter in ecosystems, and plate tectonics. Users are presented with clickable maps to explore concepts and connected science benchmarks.
Librarians will find the resources at this website useful in addressing science standards. Work with teachers to mine the site for useful curriculum materials.
To visit the website, go to

Wednesday, November 07, 2018

Digital Spotlight: Florence Nightingale Digitization Project

The FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE DIGITIZATION PROJECT is part of an International Digital Collaborative.
Contents: The collection contains more than 2300 handwritten or narrated letters by Florence Nightingale. Suggested search terms such as hospitals, military medicine, nursing, rural health services, and workhouses are provided. Users can search all the collections or a specific collection such as the American Nurses Association or the British Red Cross.
Classroom Connections: Use this digital collection as an excellent example of a biographical collection. Or, use it to focus attention on the value of original letters in historical research.
Featured Digital Objects:
Hospital Design
Sanitary Engineering
To visit the collection, go to

Monday, November 05, 2018

Website: Earsketch

EARSKETCH is a modular curriculum designed for high school computing courses.
Earsketch is a curriculum to teaches core concepts in computer science, music, and music technology. Students learn Python or JavaSript while manipulating sound loops, composing beats, and creating effects using a multi-track digital audio workstation.
The free learning materials are used along with the web-based application. The website contains a section with resources about the curriculum, a national competition, and information about the TuneTable application.
The Get Started option takes students directly to the online application where students can jump right into the learning materials and online application.
Librarians will find this website to be a fun way to promote coding while connecting to both computer science and music.
To visit the website, go to

Saturday, November 03, 2018

Book Review: The Neanderthal Opens the Door to the Universe

The NEANDERTHAL OPENS THE DOOR TO THE UNIVERSE by Preston Norton is a humorous, yet heartbreaking young adult novel.
Filled with quirky characters and references to pop culture, this fast-paced novel tells the story of a super-sized teen named Cliff who aimlessly wanders through high school while dealing with family issues and mean classmates. When a popular football player befriends him and asks for his help, Cliff begins a quest to make his school a better place and along the way finds himself.
Librarians will find this witty novel to be popular with readers who appreciate snarky humor and teen angst, yet also enjoy a thought-provoking story that addresses common coming-of-age problems. Teens will particularly enjoy the classic stereotypical cliques, first-person commentary, and hopeful conclusion.
Published on Jun 5, 2018 by Disney Book Group. ARC courtesy of the publisher.

Friday, November 02, 2018

Website: AllSides

ALLSIDES is a nonprofit website focusing on balanced news and civil discourse.
The website is divided into sections focusing on different aspects of the news and educational resources to help youth differentiate fact from fake news and information.
The Balanced News area of the website provides news from the left, right, and center, stories of the week, issues, and the website’s editorial philosophy.
The Media Bias section explores how media bias can be rated and ideas for rating others and examining your own biases.
The Balanced Search engine provides resources on topics from the perspective of the left, center, and right.
The Balanced Dictionary explores controversial terms from abortion to Zionism. Users can browse terms, explore by letter, or read comments. There’s also a lesson plan for using the resource.
The Discussion area explores ways to engage in civil discourse and helps students connect with people of different backgrounds.
The Schools area provides resources for educators including news, lessons, and teaching materials.
Librarians will find the resources at this website can easily be woven into information literacy activities across the curriculum.
To visit the website, go to

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Website: Making the History of 1989

MAKING THE HISTORY OF 1989 is a website exploring the fall of communism in Eastern Europe.
The website begins with an introductory essay explaining the significance of 1989 in world history. The primary sources section contains over 300 government documents, images, videos, and artifacts. The scholar interviews and case studies explore specific aspects of the time period. Finally, thematic teaching modules each provide an introduction, primary sources, teaching strategies, lesson plans, document-based questions, writing prompts, and resources.
Librarians will find this website provides a useful context for world history lessons. Involve students in comparing the perspectives represented in the scholar interviews. Involve students in building their own case studies using the primary sources.
To visit the website, go to

Monday, October 29, 2018

Website: Kaggle

KAGGLE is a website focusing on data science projects.
Watch the “see how it works” video to get started. Users can then search for information or choose from sections of the website. A login option allows users to organize datasets and participate in activities.
The Competitions section shows projects currently seeking participants. While some projects involve real-money, others simply provide kudos. This project provides wonderful examples of real-world applications of data. Several of the projects are appropriate for K-12 students and citizen scientists. Teachers can even host free competitions for students to apply machine language to real problems.
The Datasets search lists thousands of tagged datasets and provides the option to organize datasets for personal use. Users can sort by project size, file type, license, and tags.
The Kernels area awards money to authors of high quality kernels on datasets each week.
The Discussions section provide access to information for beginners, technical information, requests for data, and learning resources.
The Learn section provides practical data skills including Python, machine language, visualization, SQL, and more.
Other sections of the website provide additional resources such as a jobs area, blog, and documentation.
Librarians will find this website useful in teaching data literacy. Use the website to locate projects and encourage teachers across the curriculum to think about ways to integrate data projects into the classroom.
To visit the website, go to

Saturday, October 27, 2018

Book Review: Thomas Paine and the Dangerous Word

THOMAS PAINE AND THE DANGEROUS WORD by Sarah Jane Marsh is an engaging picture book biography.
This fast-paced story traces Thomas Paine’s experiences growing up and exploring various careers. After meeting Benjamin Franklin and traveling to America, Paine takes a job editing a new magazine and finds success writing and debating important issues. The story describes his work publishing Common Sense and its impact on everyday people. The picture book concludes with information about his life and legacy after 1776, a timeline, bibliography, and quotations used in the book.
Librarians will find this book to be an easy and effective way to introduce the American Revolution and Thomas Paine to elementary students. Use this title to talk about primary sources. Pair it with other books about American founders.
Published by Disney-Hyperion on May 29, 2018. ARC courtesy of the publisher.

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Website: ChemCollective

CHEMCOLLECTIVE is an online resource for teaching and learning chemistry.
The website contains virtual labs, scenario-based learning activities, tutorials, and concept tests. The materials are organized by topic and resource type. A Teachers section provides ideas for modifying and creating activities.
Librarians will find that teachers and students enjoy the varied, hands-on activities. Some of the activities would work well in a learning station to draw interest in STEM activities.
To visit the website, go to

Monday, October 22, 2018

Website: Google Dataset Search

GOOGLE DATASET SEARCH is a search tool for locating datasets.
This Google search tool helps users locate datasets using a simple keyword search. The search accesses thousands of data repositories available on Internet.
Read the ABOUT section for more details about the project. As repositories increasingly use standards for describing datasets, more resources will be available through this search.
For some examples, try a search for flu, volcanoes, travel alerts, climate change, malnutrition, and air quality.
Librarians will find that data literacy is an increasingly important information skill. Use the Google Dataset Search to locate example datasets and discuss ways to approach data literacy with teachers.
To visit the website, go to