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

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