Monday, November 29, 2021

Synergy: Crazy Horse and George Armstrong Custer

Crazy Horse (Tashunka Witco) was a Lakota warrior of the Oglala Band who joined in the resistance against the reservation system and threats to his people’s traditional way of life.

George Armstrong Custer rose through U.S. military ranks to become a lieutenant colonel. He led campaigns to enforce the reservation system.

Crazy Horse and Custer met for the last time at the Battle of the Little Bighorn where Custer was killed. Although Crazy Horse continued to fight for another six months, he ultimately surrendered to protect his band.

Read the recently published work of nonfiction for youth then learn more at the website.

CRAZY HORSE AND CUSTER: BORN ENEMIES by S.D. Nelson is a compelling, dual biography exploring the parallels between two 19th century leaders with opposing viewpoints. Young readers will enjoy the fast-paced approach featuring short, engaging narratives. Along with period photographs and paintings, Nelson produced stunning full-color illustrations inspired by Plains Indians ledger art. The book concludes with an author’s note, timeline, end notes, and a bibliography.

The Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument website provides information and resources related to the encounter between U.S. Cavalry soldiers and Northern Plains Indian tribes. Known as the Battle of Greasy Grass by the Lakota, the website explores multiple perspectives on one of the last armed efforts of indigenous people to preserve their way of life. The website describes the epic encounter, shares a photo gallery, provides biographical sketches of key individuals, and identifies key locations.

To learn more, go to

Use these resources to inspire youth to explore multiple perspectives related to other connected individuals in history.

ARC courtesy of Abrams Books for Young Readers.

Monday, November 22, 2021

Synergy: Engineers

Engineers invent, design, construct, and test a wide range of machines, systems, and structures. Bridges, buildings, and other physical structures are just a few of their projects. Although many professional are involved in these projects, engineers apply math and physics to create innovative solutions to address the world’s problems from homes that use less space to energy efficient buildings.

Read the recently published picture book for youth then learn more at the website.

COLOSSUS written by Colin Hynson and illustrated by Giulia Lombardo shares the world’s most amazing feats of engineering. From buildings and bridges to monuments from around the world, this large format picture book uses annotated illustrations to trace the history of engineering projects from the ancient world to the present and future. The book concludes with a glossary and index.

SEVEN WONDERS: ENGINEERING FEATS is a StoryMap from the American Society of Civil Engineers. The web page features modern engineering marvels from around the world. Each structure includes an image, description and map showing its location.

To learn more, go to

ARC courtesy of Big Picture Press, an imprint of Candlewick Press.

Wednesday, November 17, 2021

Timely Take-Aways for Life-Long Learning: America's History of Enslaved People

Three recent works of nonfiction focus on America’s history of slavery and evolving narratives regarding acknowledgement of enslaved people.

William Still: The Underground Railroad and the Angel at Philadelphia
William C. Kashatus; April 2021; University of Notre Dame Press/Longleaf
Themes: history, social science, biography, African American & Black Studies

Set within the context of the broader anti-slavery movement, William C. Kashatus tells the compelling story of William Still, a key leader of the Underground Railroad and early civil rights advocate. Of particular note is the detailed database of the 995 runaway slaves who William Still helped escape between 1853 and 1861 which provides priceless information about each individual.

On Juneteenth
Annette Gordon-Reed; May 2021; Liveright/W. W. Norton
Themes: history, social science, memoir, African American & Black Studies

Blending both heart-wrenching and uplifting personal anecdotes about growing up Black in Texas with key historical events and stories, Annette Gordon-Reed takes readers on a journey through history with connections for today.

How the Word is Passed: A Reckoning with the History of Slavery Across America
Clint Smith; June 2021; Little, Brown and Company/Hachette Book Group
Themes: history, social science, memoir, African American & Black Studies

A travelogue, a memoir, a history, and a powerful reckoning… Clint Smith shares his experiences visiting sites connected with the history of enslaved people from Africa to the United States.

Let’s explore seven timely take-aways for life-long learners:

  1. Free black abolitionist William Still coordinated activities of the Eastern Line of the Underground Railroad in Philadelphia. The detailed records kept by Still in the mid-nineteenth century about escaped slaves provide a priceless tool for researchers exploring the African American enslavement experience.
  2. Those involved with the anti-slavery and later civil rights movements often disagreed about the best approach to address abolition, the plight of enslaved peoples, and the aftermath of slavery.
  3. Juneteenth refers to June 19, 1865. On this date, the news arrived in Galveston Texas proclaiming the end of slavery and defeat of the Confederacy (General Order No. 3).
  4. Although long celebrated by Black Texans, Juneteenth has recently become part of the national conversation and ongoing battle to acknowledge the racism and battle for civil rights in America.
  5. The nationalist-oriented, conventional narrative of American history comes from a white, English-speaking perspective closing off varied influences and viewpoints.
  6. Many historical sites are working toward a more truthful approach to the discussion of enslaved people. 
  7. While some historical sites are striving to fill the gaps with a more accurate picture of their connection to slavery, others are finding the process of reconciliation a challenge.

Whether helping educators keep up-to-date in their subject-areas, promoting student reading in the content-areas, or simply encouraging nonfiction leisure reading, teacher librarians need to be aware of the best new titles across the curriculum and how to activate life-long learning. - Annette Lamb

Monday, November 15, 2021

Synergy: Tutankhamun

Best known as King Tut, Tutankhamun (c.1341-1323 BC) was an ancient Egyptian pharaoh. In 1922, Tutankhamun’s nearly undisturbed tomb containing thousands of artifacts was discovered by two British adventurers along with Egyptian workers. Deaths associated with the discovery of Tutankhamun’s mummy have led to legends about a curse.  

Read the recently published nonfiction narrative for youth then learn more at the website.

THE CURSE OF THE MUMMY by Candace Fleming is an engaging work of nonfiction narrative immersing reader in the well-known stories of the excavation and aftermath. While each chapter begins with a spooky reference to the curse, the body of the narrative traces the story of the expedition. Of particular note is the inclusion of the Egyptian perspective and issues about ownership of artifacts. Historical photographs and drawings bring the story to life.

TUTANKHAMUN’S TREASURES is part of the National Geographic Lost Treasures of Egypt series exploring archaeological digs in the Valley of Kings. This episode uses new technology to discover how the tomb remained hidden for so long and examines the contents. 

To watch the video, go to

ARC courtesy of Scholastic.

Monday, November 08, 2021

Synergy: Nanotechnology

Nanotechnology involves the use of matter on a very tiny scale. Atoms and molecules are manipulated for fabrication of products for various industries including nano medicine, nano electronics, and biomaterials.

Read the recently published picture book for children then learn more at the website.

NANO by Jess Wade and illustrated by Melissa Castrillon describes the science of nanotechnology. This engaging picture book provides an introduction to atoms, the elements, and basic science concepts. Designed to inspire young scientists, it focuses on how nano materials are used in every day life. Key terms are highlighted in the text. The book concludes with more detailed information about nano science.

NANO.GOV is the website of the National Nanotechnology Initiative. The website contains information for scientists, educators, and students. The Nano 101 section features key concepts related to nanotechnology. The Educational Resources section includes useful learning materials for both students and teachers such as links to the e-zine Nanooze, information about the NanoDays festival, and access to the VizLab image collection.

To learn more, go to

ARC courtesy of Candlewick Press.

Monday, November 01, 2021

Synergy: John Lewis

John Lewis (1940-2020) was a Georgia congressman and civil rights leader. From 1963-1966, he was the chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC). In addition, he was one of the key organizers for the 1963 March on Washington and led the first of three Selma marches.

Read the recently published graphic memoir then learn more at the website.
RUN: BOOK ONE by John Lewis and Andrew Aydin is a companion to the MARCH graphic memoir series. Set after the 1965 Selma marches, this graphic history focuses on John Lewis’ continuing role leading grassroots Civil Right and social justice efforts. The gray-scale comic-style illustrations by L. Fury with Nate Powell combined with hand-drawn reproductions of primary sources such as letters and newspapers add to the reading and learning experience. The book concludes with biographical sketches of key individuals involved with the movement and fascinating notes about specific events connected with the narrative.
The Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) Digital Gateway explores the history and work of this group. From leading voter registration efforts to building grassroots movements, the SNCC documentary website features the work of young activists in empowering the Black community.
To learn more, go to
ARC courtesy of First Second.

Monday, October 25, 2021

Synergy: Pura Belpré Award


The Pura Belpré Award is named after the first Latina librarian in the New York Public Library system. Established by divisions and affiliates within the American Library Association, the annual award is given to a Latinx author or illustrator who “best portrays, affirms, and celebrates the Latino cultural experience” in a work of children’s literature.

Read the recently published picture book biography for children then learn more at the website.

PURA’S CUENTOS by Annette Bay Pimentel is a tribute to librarian and bilingual storyteller Pura Belpré. After arriving in New York from Puerto Rico, Pura Belpré finds that the library lacks children’s books about her homeland. She decides to share the stories of her youth and ultimately writes her own children’s book. Children will be attracted to the bright colored illustrations and educators will enjoy the book as a read-aloud. The title concludes with an author’s note and biography.

The Pura Belpré Award website is maintained by ALA’s Association for Library Service to Children. The website contains information about the award and a complete list of medal and honor books.

To learn more, go to

ARC courtesy of ABRAMS.