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Results 1 - 25 of 71,693
1. Creature Features: 25 Animals Explain Why They Look the Way They Do by Steve Jenkins & Robin Page,

Steve Jenkins and Robin Page have a talent for presenting the animal world in endlessly interesting ways for readers young and old, as they prove once again with Creature Features: 25 Animals Explain Why They Look the Way They Do. Jenkins's colorful collage-style illustrations get up close and personal with the sometimes strange faces of animals from all over the world in this new book,

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2. Five Great Crafty Ideas for Librarians and Students

Each year, I ask my student aides to take time to make something to give to a teacher they admire, look up to, or just enjoy.  What we make are book wreaths.  While those take some time (and there are SO MANY to do!), there are others that don't take as long.  Here are five different projects you can make with students using old book pages to give to their favorite administrator, teacher, parent or friend....or even themselves!

1.  Book Wreath: directions for this can be found on:  http://makelyhome.com/librarians-please-avert-your-eyes/  Of course there are ALL sorts, but my first one I ever made was from this site.  This pic is the masterpiece :)



2. Decoupage Ornaments: This next one is from http://www.kinassauerstyle.com/search?q=ornaments where you can take something as simple as a glass (I think plastic would work just as well) and decoupage pages over it, adding glitter or other types of shimmery effects.


3. Paper Christmas Trees: Christmas trees made from old discarded wrapping present cores can be made using book pages.  Think of other places as an educator to get those cardboard cores.  I've saved mine from lamination film.  Here are some simple directions: http://www.crafts-for-all-seasons.com/paper-cone-tree.html




4. Snowflake: Big or small, any book page will work well to make these beautiful snowflakes! (see example above).  Believe it or not, it took me about 30 minutes to make one of these.  I'm sure it'll be easier the more you make.  http://m.wikihow.com/Make-a-3D-Paper-Snowflake


                       


5. Book Beads: For the jewelry lover, try making book beads to string for a bracelet or necklace.  Or create bigger ones to use as tree garland.  Simply roll one inch strips using a toothpick for smaller beads and other cylindrical objects for larger beads and Modge Podge the outside.  Hint: spray whatever you're using with some spray oil...it'll help loosen up the beads when they're done drying.

                                                                                https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/20/72187446_5cb115d606_z.jpg?zz=1


And of course, if you need some more ideas, just go over to Pinterest :)  I have a board called "What To Do With Old Books."  http://www.pinterest.com/naomibates/what-to-do-with-old-books/  And there are plenty more!!!  Please share if you have one dedicated to creative archiving old books 

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3. Particpate in the Newbery Selection Process

Dear ALSC Members,

ALSC personal members are invited to participate in the 2015 Newbery Award selection process by submitting titles for consideration.

The Newbery Medal is presented annually to the author of the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children published in the United States during the preceding year.  Honor books may be named.

“Distinguished” is defined as:

o    marked by eminence and distinction: noted for significant achievement

o    marked by excellence in quality

o    marked by conspicuous excellence or eminence

o    individually distinct

For more information about the award, including a full list of criteria, terms and definitions, visit the ALSC Website.

Reflect on the 2014 books that you have read which clearly meet the Newbery Award Criteria and submit for the committee’s consideration with the following information:
1) author, 2) title, 3) publisher, 4) a brief explanation as to why you think the book meets the Newbery Award Criteria, and 5) your name.

Send your suggestions to Randall Enos, Chair at renos@rcls.org.

Suggestions should be submitted as soon as possible but by December 31 at the latest.
Thank you for your support and participation.

Remember: Only books from the 2014 publishing year are under consideration for the 2015 award.   Publishers, authors, illustrators, or editors may not nominate their own titles.

The award will be announced at the ALA Youth Media Awards Press Conference during the ALA Midwinter Conference to be held in Chicago, February 2, 2015.

The award will be presented at the Newbery/Caldecott/Wilder Banquet during the ALA Annual Conference to be held in San Francisco, June 28, 2015.

***********************************************************************

Our guest blogger today is Randall Enos, Chair of the 2015 Newbery Selection committee.

If you’d like to write a guest post for the ALSC Blog, please contact Mary Voors, ALSC Blog manager, at alscblog@gmail.com.

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4. Clifford the Big Red Dog Creator Norman Bridwell has died


    Norrman Bridwell, creator of the "Clifford the Big Red Dog" children's books, died Friday in Martha's Vineyard, Mass., his publisher Scholastic announced. Bridwell was 86. “He’s red and he’s warm. Clifford does what you’d like to do but can’t," Bridwell said of his famous character. "Because Clifford is so big and also because he’s a dog, he’s able to do the most unbelievable and imaginative things.”


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5. A Quilt for Christmas (2014)

A Quilt for Christmas. Sandra Dallas. 2014. St. Martin's Press. 256 pages. [Source: Library]

For readers who love to read about quilters or quilts, this one may prove satisfying. Also, this one would be a good match for those who like to read about the Civil War. This one is set in Kansas during the last year of the Civil War. I liked Sandra Dallas' A Quilt for Christmas even though I don't consider myself fitting into the ideal audience. (I don't particularly seek out books about quilts. I don't seek out historical fiction set during the Civil War.)

Eliza Spooner is the heroine. She loves, loves, loves to quilt. She loves to get together with other women in the community. The war has had an effect on the community. Many husbands (and brothers, fathers, sons, etc.) are gone, away fighting for one side or the other. Eliza's husband, Will, is fighting for the Union. The novel opens with Eliza finishing a quilt she's made for her husband. She'll be sending the quilt along with a soldier who is returning to her husband's unit from leave. Her love for her husband is obvious, and, not just because she's spent all this time making a quilt. There are dozens of flashbacks. These flashbacks give readers a chance to get to know the couple. However, I must admit that these flashbacks are confusing at times. They are not really set apart in the text, and the transition from present-day to the past can be sloppy at times.

Readers meet Eliza and her son and daughter. Readers meet men and women of the small community as well. Mainly, readers get to know Missouri Ann and her daughter. When Missouri Ann's husband dies, she takes the opportunity to flee from her abusive in-laws. Eliza opens her home to the pair, and this isn't without some risk. Missouri Ann's in-laws are probably without a doubt the meanest and cruelest in the county--if not the state. But not everyone in the community is as immediately open to including Missouri Ann in their group. Her in-laws have tainted her, a bit, no one wants to get close to someone who would marry into that family.

At one point, at a quilting party of sorts, the discussion of slavery and runaway slaves comes up. Opinions are mixed. Prejudices are voiced. Even though most of the women are for the Union--for the Yankees--most if not all have very strong views about blacks.

Eliza's own views will be tested when she's asked to hide a runaway slave: a woman who murdered her mistress. Will she welcome her home to this slave and put her own life and the lives of her children at risk?

A Quilt for Christmas is an odd book at times. It seems to have a handful of plots and stories, any one could be the MAIN one, but really not one seems to stand out as being the one it's all about. It's definitely NOT a plot-driven book. It's mainly about the lives of women in a particular community during the fall of 1864 and throughout 1865.

© 2014 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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6. Catching Up on Current Research

There’s always lots of interesting research going on in the field. To help you stay current, the Research Committee has compiled a short annotated bibliography of recent and ongoing research that offers a lot of food for thought.

Merga, M. K. (2014). Are Western Australian adolescents keen book readers?. Australian Journal Of Language & Literacy, 37(3), 161-170.

This study examines Western Australian teenagers’ reading habits and attitudes toward reading.

Valdivia, C. & Subramaniam, M. (2014). Connected learning in the public library: an evaluative framework for developing virtual learning spaces for youth. Public Library Quarterly, 33(2). 163-185.

Many youth services librarians aspire to create virtual spaces at their libraries that encourage youth participation, engagement and new media literacy development. This article presents an evaluative framework to aid youth services librarians in achieving this mission of providing informal learning opportunities through virtual spaces. The framework is designed to be used at any point in virtual space development.

Vickery, J.(2014). Youths Teaching Youths. Journal of adolescent & adult literacy (1081-3004), 57 (5), p. 361.

An exemplar study of teens in an interest-driven learning environment situated within the context of youth mentorship. This study builds on the "Connected Learning" framework that Ito and Martin outline in Connected Learning and the Future of Libraries Young Adult Library Services , Vol. 12, No. 1, Fall 2013.

Zickuhr, K. (2014). Teens and Tech: What the Research Says. Young Adult Library Services 12.2 : 33-7. ProQuest. Web. 13 Nov. 2014.

An article that summarizes the latest and most cited research related to teens, tech use, and libraries. It includes centerpieces such as the Pew Internet Research report. A good overview for the busy YA librarian.

Research in progress:

Take a look at this study in progress. Remember, these are preliminary results, but further information from this research will be quite interesting!

Barack, L. (2014). “Study Ties College Success to Students' Exposure to a High School Librarian.” The Digital Shift. Retrieved November 13, 2014, from <http://www.thedigitalshift.com/2014/09/k-12/good-research-habits-pay-study-ties-college-success-librarian-teacher-research-training-high-school/>.

---

Stephanie Barta is the Young Adult Librarian at Westerly Public Library.  She is a member of the 2015 Morris Award Committee and Chair of the YALSA Research Committee.

 

 

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7. Happy Chocolate Covered Anything Day!

Strawberries.  Oreos.  Marshmallows.  Yum!  Can these things possibly be made any better than they already are?  Sure!  How?  Cover them in chocolate of course! 


Today is a very special day.  It is "Happy Chocolate Covered Anything Day".  Let's take a moment to celebrate.

Oh!  Chocolate!
Eating chocolate isn't the only way you can celebrate today, though I would never tell anyone not to eat chocolate, I wanted to recommend a few "candy" related books for chocolate lovers.



First things first.  Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.  Roald Dahl's classic book about Charlie, who can barely afford to buy a chocolate bar.  With a little luck, and help from his Grandpa Joe, Charlie finds a coveted "Golden Ticket", an invitation to tour Mr. Willy Wonka's chocolate factory.

The factory has been closed to the public for so long, that there are all sorts of rumors about Mr. Wonka!  Along with five other children who have also found the tickets.

However, Mr. Wonka himself is quite strange, and the chocolate factory is a dangerous place for misbehaving children.
Can Charlie make it to the end of the tour in order to claim the great reward?  If you haven't read this one already, today is a great day to pick it up.  If you have read it, re-read it!  Or maybe you would like to try one of the books below.



The Candymakers, By Wendy Mass takes a page from Charlie.  There is a chocolate factory, and a contest, but the children invited to visit are competing for creating a new type of candy.

Another big difference is that the children in Mass's story are all generally good kids, even if a few of them have an agenda for winning the competition.

Fans of Charlie will likely enjoy The Candymakers, but there is enough originality in this sweet tale to keep readers hungry enough to keep the pages turning until the very end.










Sue Stainton's The Chocolate Cat, is a beautifully illustrated book that tells the story of a cat, a chocolate maker, and a town in need of inspiration.

When the chocolate maker creates chocolate covered mice with a little something extra, he doesn't think twice.  His cat, however, knows there is something special about this new creation.

When the townspeople begin to eat these adorable chocolate masterpieces, they are suddenly stuck with amazing ideas, that spice up their formerly drab lives.

The popularity of the chocolate mice brings new business to the chocolate maker, and new friends to talk to the cat, which just proves that chocolate can improve lives!



Prefer non-fiction?  How about a book about Milton Hershey?  Featured here is Who Was Milton Hershey, by James Buckley Jr..

While this book is a part of the popular Who Was series, the library has several books about Hershey, which is great, because he was a fascinating historical figure.

Aside from founding one of the most popular chocolate companies in the world, Hershey was a generous man who really wanted to spread joy to all.  Hershey built schools, supported his work force, and made chocolate affordable at a time when it was a luxury reserved for the very wealthy!

Isn't that the (chocolate) icing on the cake?




So grab one of these books after you enjoy your chocolate covered anything!  Just make sure to wash your hands first.  We all love chocolate, but best not to leave fingerprints on the pages!

Posted by- Miss Jessikah



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8. Because They Marched

I am a Cybils second round judge. I am currently reading the all the nominated books in a fun "armchair readalong" way with the first round judges. My reviews and opinions are strictly my own and do not reflect the work of the committee.

Because They Marched: The People's Campaign for Voting Rights That Changed America Russell Freedman

This title looks at the Selma voting rights Marches, culminating in the Selma to Montgomery march. It talks about Jim Crow, and the importance of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. I greatly appreciated the epilogue that looks at how key provisions have recently been struck down, and what the means.
I am a huge Freedman fan and he consistently creates books that are beautiful and informative.

This one, however, falls short of expectations. For one, I’m not sure what Holiday House was thinking, but I’m used to Freedman’s books being printed on a heavy gloss paper and this one’s not. I’m surprised by how big of a difference this makes, but it does.

It does retain that classic Freedman style of lots of large photographs, but all the text is black-on-white and some of the more beautiful design that we’ve come to expect is missing.

Now that would be ok if the text was amazing, but it’s not. There’s nothing wrong with it, it’s perfectly serviceable, but I’m used to finding his writing engrossing even when he’s covering topics I know well.

There is nothing wrong with this book per se, but there’s also not a lot right with it when you compare it to his other works, or even better treatments on the same subject (it’s going to be really hard to find a book on Selma that’s better than Marching for Freedom)

Overall, a resounding “meh” which is disappointing for someone like Freedman.



Book Provided by... my local library

Links to Amazon are an affiliate link. You can help support Biblio File by purchasing any item (not just the one linked to!) through these links. Read my full disclosure statement.

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9. Review: Brown Girl Dreaming

Brown Girl Dreamingby Jacqueline Woodson. Nancy Paulsen Books, published by the Penguin Books. 2014. Reviewed from ARC.

The Plot: Woodson uses poetry to tell the story of her childhood, growing up in the 1960s and 1970s. She was born in Ohio; moved to South Carolina; and later to New York City. It's a story of Woodson growing up, and learning more about the world around her, and learning how to process that world using words and stories.

The Good: First, yes, this book is wonderful. Perfect. Amazing. I was so, so happy to see it selected as the National Book Award Winner for Young People's Literature. I mean, there is so much out there that already establishes this as terrific, what do I have to add to the conversation?

Brown Girl Dreaming starts with Woodson's birth in 1963:

I am born in Ohio but
the stories of South Carolina already run
like rivers
through my veins.

Brown Girl Dreaming is a look at what shapes one girl, born in Ohio in 1963, following her childhood until about fifth grade. And so on one level, the "obvious" level, it's a book aimed at those who are the child-Woodson's age.

It's also about a young African American girl in the 1960s and 1970s, living both in the South and the North, and her many worlds: the world of immediate family of mother and siblings, the bigger world of grandparents and aunts and uncles, the world of friends and school, and then civil rights and what that meant, or didn't mean. And all those things, while being told by a child, are things that readers of all ages are interested in.

For Brown Girl Dreaming, the age of the protagonist doesn't dictate the age of the reader; rather, the interests of the reader make this book open and of interest to readers of all ages.

So, people like myself -- born just three years after Woodson -- are potential readers. As are older readers who lived during that time. Just because, hey, I also remember watching The Big Blue Marble and singing along to the theme song, even if I did it from New Jersey.

The poetry may make it more accessible for some readers, but that doesn't mean it's easy or simple. Teen readers do like to read about teens -- but it's not the only thing they like to read about. Despite Woodson's age during the time of Brown Girl Dreaming, the things she lives through, her experiences, her world is bigger than her age. A parent's divorce; a move; a new sibling; a sick brother; learning about the world through books; and civil rights; all of this, all of what is in Brown Girl Dreaming, are of interest to all ages. I'd even argue that older readers -- older than ten, anyway -- will get more out of Brown Girl Dreaming because they will understand the references and the emotions in a way that younger readers cannot.

And, finally, selfishly, I don't want this to be it. I want the books that take Woodson further along her journey: Brown Teen Dreaming, Brown Woman Dreaming -- just to suggest a couple of possible titles.

Of course, this is a Favorite Book Read in 2014.



Amazon Affiliate. If you click from here to Amazon and buy something, I receive a percentage of the purchase price.

© Elizabeth Burns of A Chair, A Fireplace & A Tea Cozy

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10. Sarah MacLean, Buffy, Assassin Nuns, and more




So I took a bit of a break from Cybils reading this week* because OMG GUESS WHAT WORDS OF LOVE SENT ME?

Never Judge a Lady by Her Cover by Sarah MacLean. And oh, it is just as delicious as I hoped. It's probably my favorite of her Rules of Scoundrels series. I love love love love that Chase was Georgiana from Ten Ways to Be Adored When Landing a Lord. I'm also very excited about the glimpse we got of MacLean's new heroine for her new series (the first will release sometimes in 2015)

Some other non-Cybils things I've read this month?

Buffy: Season Ten Volume 1 : New Rules Woo-Hoo! Season 10 has started. Once again, consequences and repercussions are big themes. At the end someone shows up that proves I really should have been reading the Faith and Angel spin-off, because woah, what was that?! BUT! Dracula's around and the Dracula Xander bro-mance is in full swing, which is always fun and awesome. Now, I just need to wait for-EVER for the next one.

My hold on Mortal Heart finally came in, and, oh, another most wonderful end to a favorite series. Ever since I finished it, I've been trying to figure out which one is my favorite in this trilogy, and I just can't decide. They are all so great--there's no weak link or one particular standout, just straight-up excellence across the board. I was reading this one at a training and the person (NOT a librarian) across asked what it was and as soon as I described it as "historical fiction about assassin nuns in 15th century Brittany" she was on her library's website to see if they owned it. Because, I mean, of course she was! It's HISTORICAL FICTION ABOUT ASSASSIN NUNS. Although now I really want to read more about historical Brittany. Why isn't there an awesome YA nonfiction about the the 15th century Brittany? Someone should get on that for me.

I also read Mistletoe and Mr. Right: A Christmas Romance which I reviewed over here. If you don't feel like clicking over, I liked it.

In non-book reading, did you all see Kelly's poignant and powerful post about fatness in YA? Definitely click over to that one.


*Ok, I don't actually have any Cybils reading until January 1st, because I'm a second round judge. BUT, I'm reading my way through the long list anyway, partly for fun, partly for armchair quarterbacking, and partly so that when I do look at the short list, I'm that much more familiar with the titles and can then do deeper rereading instead of reading for the first time.

Book Provided by... my wallet, my local library, my local library, and RT Book Reviews (for review)

Links to Amazon are an affiliate link. You can help support Biblio File by purchasing any item (not just the one linked to!) through these links. Read my full disclosure statement.

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11. Grammar Matters + a Book Giveaway

Lynne Dorfman and Diane Dougherty's new book, Grammar Matters, is for teachers of Kindergarten through 6th grade. It provides lessons as well as grammar references so you can enhance your instruction and get your students excited about learning grammar.

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12. Happy Hanukkah!

yetta

Pinkwater, Daniel, and Jill Pinkwater. Beautiful Yetta’s Hanukkah Kitten. New York: Feiwel and Friends, 2014. Print.

Like many of Daniel Pinkwater’s books, his latest release features a large chicken. Yetta is a poultry farm escapee who lives in Brooklyn with a flock of runaway (flyaway?) parrots. (To learn more about Yetta’s  escape from the poultry farm, read the prequel, Yetta: The Yiddish Chicken.) One day the birds find a lost kitten. They don’t know how to take care of it, so they bring it to a human grandmother for help. The birds see that the grandmother is celebrating Hanukkah which they refer to as “the festival of lights, when the humans are in a good mood.” The grandmother is in such a good mood that she takes in the kitten and feeds latkes to the the birds.

Unlike most Hanukkah books, this story includes Spanish, as well as Yiddish and English words. The birds are bilingual–Yetta speaks Yiddish and English, and the parrots speak Spanish and English. The grandmother is also bilingual; she speaks Yiddish and English. The cat speaks only English, but with a Chicago accent. (The author confirmed this last fact via Twitter.)

This book may not teach you about the deeper meaning of Hanukkah, but it will make you smile, and it’s perfect for story time. I give it five latkes.

 

Our guest blogger today is Rebecca Scotka. Rebecca is the Children’s and Young Adult Librarian at the East Lyme Public Library in Niantic, Connecticut.

Please note that as a guest post, the views expressed here do not represent the official position of ALA or ALSC.

If you’d like to write a guest post for the ALSC Blog, please contact Mary Voors, ALSC Blog manager, at alscblog@gmail.com.

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13. App of the Week: 2014 Favorites

Throughout the year, YALSA's App of the Week bloggers review what's new and interesting in the app world for teens and the library staff that work with them. In this end of the year App of the Week post, we look at the top four apps that stood out to bloggers in 2014.

Canva
A favorite of YALSA Blogger Jen Scott Willis

canva logoGraphic design is a tricky business, and one that many of us don't realize is part of our job description until we're faced with a blank document and a list of almost-but-not-quite-right font choices. ' Canva, a free, web-based application' that lets you easily produce' professional-looking' designs, made this part' of the' job much easier for me when it debuted over a year ago. ' Now, with the introduction of the iPad app, the possibilities are both endless and mobile.

So far, I've used Canva's web app to design everything from icons for our online calendar to posters for programs and thank you cards for presenters, and I've heard glowing reports from teens of their successes using it for both school projects and social media posts.

The iPad app is not without its bugs --' pics can be slow to upload and there are sometimes hitches in the interface that you don't see in the web version -- however, the developers seem quick to respond to user feedback and offer updates. ' Meanwhile, the ease of use, professional results, and potential for collaboration that the iPad version offers' makes this a go-to for your toolkit.

Monument Valley
A favorite of YALSA Blogger Carli Spina

monument valley logoMy top app this year is the game Monument Valley. Available for iOS, Android, and Kindle Fire devices, this is a beautiful game that was clearly designed with a great deal of thought. Everything from the architecture of the buildings that players must navigate, to the color scheme, to the music playing in the background comes together to create a mesmerizing experience. The puzzles themselves are, for the most part, fairly straightforward, but you will still want to continue playing to see more and more of this gorgeous world. The game was initially released for iOS devices in the spring and has already won a 2014 Apple Design Award and been named the best iPad app of the year.

New levels for the game were released in November, though somewhat controversially they are not included in the price of the original app and instead cost an additional $1.99. Given that these levels almost double the size of the app, fans of the original game will definitely want to download them. Now that Monument Valley is available on more platforms, it will undoubtedly find an increasing audience of devoted fans. I highly recommend giving it a try!

ScratchJr
A favorite of YALSA Blogger Linda Braun

scratch logoThe MIT coding program for kids and teens, Scratch, has been around for a long time. However, ScratchJr, the iPad app was released in the summer and it is a great way for young children to learn about programming and for staff that work with teens to learn that too.

ScratchJr doesn't have as many commands to work with as it's parent product Scratch, but it has plenty to get started with for those who are learning how to program in this way. Users can move characters in all directions, have the character speak, record narration, hide and show characters and more. Users can also add backgrounds and change the look of a character using some simple character editing tools.

Any adult that is wondering what this coding thing that people are talking about as a part of learning for children and teens is all about, should try out ScratchJr as a first step in their own learning. Teens working to help younger kids will do well learning ScratchJr as well. It's worth the time to take a look and think about how ScratchJr does have an impact on the teens and the families that you work with.

YikYak
A favorite of YALSA Blogger Wendy Stephens

yik yak logoIf there is one app that has had an impact on youth culture in our communities in 2014, it would have to be YikYak. The app is designed for users to get a sense of what’s going on locally. YikYak lets you peek at othercommunities or college campuses, where use is huge, but can only post and vote (up or down) for Yaks in your immediate area. It doesn’t require a username, just proximity, though you can insert a “handle” if you wish.

YikYak has great potential for sharing what’s going on nearby – I’ve seen it used to advertise special retailer promotions discounts as well as crowd-source information on traffic conditions -- but in many schools, teens made anonymous threats or become victim of systematic bullying using the anonymity of the app.

It might be the digital version of a bathroom wall, but I wanted to write about YikYak because I think it and others apps of its type offer important opportunities for powerful conversations with teens about digital citizenship. Also, arrests related to content illustrate the need for helping young people understand that digital anonymity is somewhat of an illusion and that content posted through apps like YikYak remains identifiable.

Libraries should be safe spaces, so if cyberbullying in your area is an issue, you might want to investigate the geofencing option that prevents posting to YikYak from school campuses. Also good to know: five down votes will remove a Yak from the feed, so if you see something that slanders an individual, you can help make that content disappear.

Have a suggestion for App of the Week? Let us know. And find more great Apps in the YALSA Blog's App of the Week Archive.

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14. WRITE, SHARE, GIVE: IT’S SOL TIME!

WRITE a slice of life story on your own blog. SHARE a link to your post in the comments section. GIVE comments to at least three other SOLS bloggers. Several Slicers are heading… Continue reading

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15. Announcing NYPL’s 2014 100 Books for Reading Sharing List!

You know, folks, there are lists and then there are LISTS.  And I’m not saying one is any better than another.  Of course not.  But when we look at lists of children’s books there’s only one that truly has my heart.  Coming in at 103 years old this year, NYPL’s 100 Titles for Reading and Sharing list is one of the oldest (if not THE oldest) continually published children’s book lists in the nation.  It is also the most beautiful.  Doubt me?  Then check out our 2014 edition.

You can see our interactive list of the 100 books here.

And here’s the cover of our list:

100TitlesNYPL2014 500x386 Announcing NYPLs 2014 100 Books for Reading Sharing List!

Shall I go on?

You like lists with diversity?  Feast your eyes on what we chose.  Recently the Center for the Study of Multicultural Literature released their Best Multicultural Books of 2014.  We had eight of their titles on our list and included at least eight multicultural books that they did not.  The recent list by Latinas for Latino Lit called Remarkable Latino Children’s Literature of 2014? We listed three of their seven titles and included at least three others that they didn’t mention (Saving Baby Doe, Caminar, and Viva Frida).  Your move, New York Times.

You like lists that show a variety of books?  The 100 Titles list is split into the following sections:

Picture Books (for children ages 2-6)
Stories for Younger Readers (for children ages 6-8)
Stories for Older Readers (for children ages 9-12)
Graphic Books
Folktales and Fairy Tales
Poetry
Nonfiction

In short, ladies and gentlemen, it’s a tip top list.  Sure, it’ll miss one or two of your favorites.  But I guarantee you’ll see amazing books on there that you almost missed this year.  Did you read Mikis and the Donkey?  Did you almost fail to hear about Handle With Care?  The best books aren’t necessarily the best known.  If nothing else this list proves as much.

Enjoy!

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16. Fit for a wanna-be king: Stratford Zoo Midnight Review Presents Macbeth (ages 8-12)

Do your kids love graphic novels? Do you know any kid who loves the spotlight or has fun when their friends grab center stage? The Stratford Zoo Midnight Review is a new series of graphic novels that my students are giving a round of applause for the way it combines humor, theatrics, tragedy and puns. It would make a great gift either for comic-book fans or theater fans.
The Stratford Zoo Midnight Review Presents: Macbeth
by Ian Lendler
illustrated by Zack Giallongo
First Second, 2014
Your local library
Amazon
ages 8-12
"Macbeth, the hero of our story, the greatest warrior in the land."
When the zoo shuts for the night, the animals gather together and put on a show. The lion makes a natural mighty Macbeth, full of swagger and a taste for power. My students were easily able to imagine why such a beast would want to be king--and Lender's version shares this classic play in a form that is very kid-friendly. Here's how he adapts the witches' famous song which charms Macbeth, setting the plot in motion:
"Double, double,
toil and trouble,
fire burn and cauldron bubble.
Eat the king,
the plot will thicken,
go on Macbeth,
he tastes like chicken."
Lendler mixes humor and puns throughout Shakespeare's bloody tragedy, giving young readers a real sense of the classic play but making it very age-appropriate. Giallongo's illustrations capture Macbeth's slide into gluttony perfectly, make light of the witches and add plenty of ketchup to keep the tragedy at bay. My students definitely give this version of Shakespeare a hearty round of applause.

We were lucky enough to have Ian Lendler visit Emerson last week to share his book with our 4th and 5th graders. He starts out his presentation with a loud bugle calling everyone's attention (see below), just as the young boys did during Shakespeare's time. He shares an overview of the story with students, emphasizing some of the lessons of the story. Our kids highly recommend his visit to other schools, especially for kids who like funny comic books and putting on their own plays.
Ian Lendler at Emerson
Are you looking for a holiday gift to add to the fun? I know my students would love their own stadium horn to call everyone to their performances. They also might want a mighty robe, fit for a king. Check these ideas out:
The review copies were kindly sent by the publishers, First Second. If you make a purchase using the Amazon links on this site, a small portion goes to Great Kid Books. Thank you for your support.

©2014 Mary Ann Scheuer, Great Kid Books

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17. Winterfrost (2014)

Winterfrost. Michelle Houts. 2014. Candlewick. 272 pages. [Source: Review copy]

I very much enjoyed Michelle Houts' Winterfrost. This wintery read is set in Denmark. It opens one Christmas Eve. The first chapter starts off with a family celebrating together. That first chapter ends with a phone call and a promise. A promise not to the characters, but, to the readers:
It should have been an ordinary Christmas on the Larsen farm, nestled among the flat, snowy fields of an island called Lolland in the south of Denmark. But it wasn't. And if it had been, well, we wouldn't have much of a story to tell, now, would we?
Bettina, the heroine, is left on the farm with her younger sister, Pia. Every year, her father visits his uncle at this time of year--the week between Christmas and New Year. Her mother is called away unexpectedly with news about a family member's health. (Just who is not mentioned in the first chapter.) So Bettina, aged 12, can take care of a nearly 1 year old and a whole farm, right? Well? Mostly.

In her parents' rush, the entire family, it seems, forgot to put out the traditional bowl of Christmas rice pudding for the nisse. The Larsen family's nisse, Klakke, is NOT happy. Klakke isn't necessarily "bad," just in a bit of a bad mood. But even in a horrible mood, he'd never do anything to hurt any human.

Winterfrost is about what happens when her parents are away. It's about one girl's adventure with nearby nisse. Though traditionally, nisse are not supposed to show themselves to humans, to interact with them, rules are broken in Winterfrost.

It is a fun fantasy. Bettina is a lovely heroine. It is a quick read that I enjoyed very much.


© 2014 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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18. Sharks ahoy: fun with sharks for 1st & 2nd graders -- giving books & toys for lasting fun (ages 5-8)

There's no doubt about it: sharks are cool--especially great white sharks. They're fast, they're strong and they're big. Here are three books that spark a little kid's imagination and weave in fascinating facts. Combine them with a toy shark, and you're all set to go.

Fly Guy Presents: Sharks
by Tedd Arnold
Scholastic, 2014
Your local library
Amazon
ages 5-8
Buzz and Fly Guy are two hugely popular characters with our beginning readers--so I was very excited to see this new blend of nonfiction and cartoons. In this book, Buzz visits his local aquarium and his best friend Fly Guy comes along.
"A shark uses its sharp teeth to rip prey. Then the shark swallows the meat whole--without even chewing." -- already an Emerson favorite!
My students love the combination of cartoon characters and dialog with clear nonfiction facts and color photographs. When the text explains that sharks don’t have any bones, and their cartilage helps them turn quickly, Fly Guy wonders, “NO BONEZ?”--adding just the right humor for young kids. Throughout, the sentences are short and clear, just right to read with kindergarteners or for 2nd graders to read by themselves.

Stink and the Shark Sleepover
by Megan McDonald
illustrated by Peter Reynolds
Candlewick, 2014
Google books preview
Your local library
Amazon
ages 6-9
Stink and the Shark Sleepover also combines humor and facts, but this time with a longer chapter book that's great to read aloud with young kids. Our students love the whole Stink series--Judy Moody's little brother who has his own series. You really don't need to read the series in order, especially if you're reading it aloud together.

Stink’s parents win tickets for a family sleep over at the local aquarium, and Stink is thrilled! Right away, he runs up to get all his things to bring.
"What's all this junk?" Judy asked.
"It's for the sleepover. There's my shark sleeping bag and Leroy my stuffed tiger shark that I use for a pillow sometimes and my Big Mouth Book of Sharks."
"Is that all?" Judy teased.
"Oh. Yeah. I can't forget to wear my shark-tooth necklace... Check it out. Shark slippers."
"Check it out. Shark slippers."
Stink loves the sea-creature scavenger hunt, the jellyfish light show, and the sharks with their razor-sharp teeth. But will he and his friends really be able to fall asleep after hearing creepy stories?

McDonald clearly loves the science aspect and intersperses this fun story with high-interest facts. Reynold's illustrations help kids create those "movies in our minds" that help all readers--especially ones new to chapter books--build a sense of the story.
Safari Ltd. plastic shark
Melissa and Doug plush shark

Combine either of these with a toy shark, and you'll create hours of fun. I think 1st and 2nd graders would like either a realistic plastic shark or a soft stuffed animal shark. Check these out:

The review copies came from our school library. If you make a purchase using the Amazon links on this site, a small portion goes to Great Kid Books. Thank you for your support.

©2014 Mary Ann Scheuer, Great Kid Books

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19. Puppet Shows at Storytime

“Where’s Rockie? Is Rockie going to be here today? He’s so funny!” Preschoolers call out their excitement as soon as they see the puppet stage set up and ready for action. Rockie is the main character for our series of puppet shows about a raccoon and how he learns about his world. Each show is an original script, written by two librarians. It is usually based around a topic that is of some concern to young children—new baby, sharing, fears, exercising, learning to read, manners, moving, etc. Although the themes are somewhat serious, the antics of the puppets are always silly and broad, causing plenty of laughter as well as discussion.

The basic format is as follows:

  • RockieDig_smallAct One brings on Rockie and his friend(s).  One librarian is working the puppets, the other is outside the stage, interacting with the puppets and encouraging the children to participate in the conversation.  The “problem” is identified, there is some conversation, and the puppets exit.
  • The librarian reads a story related to the theme, followed by a movement rhyme.
  • Act Two brings back Rockie and pals.  There’s more conversation and lots of silliness, such as a chase scene, a puppet that appears and disappears, bubbles or a water pistol, and a movement song that everyone joins in on.  Then the puppets exit.
  • The librarian reads another story related to the theme, followed by a movement rhyme.
  • Act Three always offers either a resolution to the concern, or at least a conversation with Rockie (or whoever is experiencing the issue) and a promise to find a solution, based on the possibilities identified during the puppet show. For instance, in our show about getting a pet Rockie imagines having a porcupine, a monkey and a snake, each of which causes laugh-out-loud mayhem and chaos.  He finally decides to get a book at the library to help him choose.

Each of the puppets has a distinct personality. Rockie is melodramatic, Zelda the Zebra is logical, Tembo the Elephant can be a bit grumpy. One of my favorites lately has been Dig the Squirrel, who is always digging, never paying attention, and just when he finally gets around to talking with the librarian he suddenly stops, looks out, yells, “Dog!,” and disappears. Kids think it’s hilarious, especially when a dog really does appear at the end and calls out, “Squirrel!”

SheilaRockie_smallThe best part about Rockie Tales is that whatever we’re doing, the kids really listen and take the lessons to heart, while laughing and participating with the puppets. One mother said, “I could never get my son to follow best manners at the table, but after Rockie Tales, he was telling us how to behave!” Plus we’re demonstrating to care givers that the library has book resources to help with many of life’s challenges.

One script is here for you to review, but feel free to contact me if you need more examples or information. I hope you’ll try your own version of Rockie Tales; it is guaranteed to be a great way to teach as well as have fun.

(Pictures courtesy guest blogger)

***************************************************************

Our guest blogger today is Heather McNeil. Heather is the Youth Services Manager at Deschutes Public Library in Bend, OR.  She is the author of Read, Rhyme and Romp: Early Literacy Skills and Activities for Librarians, Teachers and Parents, as well as a professional storyteller and author of two collections of folklore.  You can contact her at heatherm@deschuteslibrary.org.

Please note that as a guest post, the views expressed here do not represent the official position of ALA or ALSC.

If you’d like to write a guest post for the ALSC Blog, please contact Mary Voors, ALSC Blog manager, at alscblog@gmail.com.

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20. Instagram of the Week - Dec 15th

Reader's Advisory for the Winter Break.

It's that time of the season, schools are starting to break for the holidays and teens are pouring into the library. Do you have lists of great books ready for teens to read? Are you a huge YA reader and know suggestions off the top of your head? Or, are you completely overwhelmed? As Teen Librarians we know reader's advisory can sometimes be overwhelming. You think you have a great idea of a book for a teen to read and POOF, it's checked out. Comment Below and let us know how you prepare your reader's advisory for increased teen attendance. Do you amp up your display? Make reading lists? Have a great go-to website? And what are your go-tos when the now popular novels (Divergent etc.) are already checked out? To get some ideas, click on the link below to see some very creative, during the Holidays, Instagram posts.

 

https://storify.com/lindslibrarian/instagram-of-the-week-dec-15th

 

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21. Golden Dreydl

The Golden Dreydl. Ellen Kushner. Illustrated by Ilene Winn-Lederer. 2007. Charlesbridge. 126 pages. [Source: Review copy]

The Golden Dreydl is an interesting Chanukah themed fantasy novel for children. There is an album that goes along with it. The book and album put a Jewish twist on the Nutcracker story.

Sara, the heroine, of The Golden Dreydl has quite the bad attitude about "having" to celebrate Chanukah and "not getting to" celebrate Christmas like all her friends. But to the family gathering she will go--no matter the fuss. (Sara has an older brother, Seth).

Readers briefly meet Sara, Seth, and their many, many cousins. The "kids" of the family are playing dreydl. Sara is still in a mood. A mood that isn't exactly improved when Tante Miriam shows up with presents for one and all. It's not her fault, mind you, Sara even seems a little inclined to like her present: a golden dreydl. But Seth and her get into a bit of a fight. The dreydl ends up flying through the air and hitting the TV and breaking it. That puts most everyone in a mood.

Readers next join Sara later that evening, for a fantasy adventure. She follows a young girl--a girl claiming to be the Golden Dreydl--through the hole in the TV, I believe. They arrive in a fantasy land, of sorts, with demons, peacocks, a fool, and King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba. There is also much talk of a Tree of Life.

Sara is given a quest, of sorts, to save the girl from the demons/demon king. She has the Fool to help her. A few riddle games are played. First, between Sara and the Fool, and, then later between the Demon King and Sara and the Fool.

For those readers who enjoy fantasy novels, going to different worlds, doing quests, this one is enjoyable enough. If you get a chance to listen to the music, it will probably help you 'enjoy' it even more.

© 2014 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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22. WRITE, SHARE, GIVE: IT’S SOL TIME!

WRITE a slice of life story on your own blog. SHARE a link to your post in the comments section. GIVE comments to at least three other SOLS bloggers. Several Slicers are heading… Continue reading

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23. Suggestions for the Batchelder Award?

ALSC Personal Members are invited to suggest titles for the 2015 Batchelder Award given to an American publisher for a children’s book considered to be the most outstanding of those books originally published in a foreign language in a foreign country and subsequently published in English in the United States during 2014. Please remember that only books from this publishing year are under consideration for the 2015 award. Publishers, authors and illustrators may not suggest their own books. The deadline for submission is December 31, 2014.

You may send recommendations with full bibliographic information to the Chair, Diane Janoff at diane.janoff@queenslibrary.org.

The  award will be announced at the press conference during the ALA Midwinter Meeting in February 2015.

For more information about the award, visit the ALSC website at http://www.ala.org/alsc/. Click on “Awards and Grants” in the left-hand navigation bar; then click on “ALSC Book & Media Awards.” Scroll down to the “Batchelder Award Page”.

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24. Tiny Creatures: The World of Microbes by Nicola Davies, illustrated by Emily Sutton,

Tiny Creatures: The World of Microbes is the newest book from zoologist and children's book author extraordinaire, Nicola Davies. As always, Davies is paired with a wonderful illustrator, this time Emily Sutton, who brings wonderful detail and engaging colors to this look at the smallest of living things. Tiny Creatures: The World of Microbes is sure to start conversations the minute you

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25. Muddy Max - a graphic novel review

I have been busy lately with review and blogging obligations, as well as work and preparation for the holiday season, but I did take time out to read a copy of Elizabeth Rusch's graphic novel, Muddy Max: The Mystery of Marsh Creek. Thanks to the hard-working intern who brought it to my attention and supplied me with a copy.


Rusch, Elizabeth. 2014. Muddy Max: The Mystery of Marsh Creek. Kansas City, MO: Andrews McMeel.  Illustrated by Mike Lawrence.

Max lives in the aptly-named suburban town of Marsh Creek. In addition to the marsh on the outskirts of town, mud is everywhere in town as well, making it almost impossible for the child of neat-freak parents to stay clean!  Max becomes suspicious of his parents'secretive habits, frequent trips to the marsh, and fanatical obsession with his cleanliness.  When he accidentally discovers that mud gives him superpowers, he and his friend Patrick become determined to figure out exactly what is going on in Marsh Creek.

This is an easy-to-read graphic, sci-fi novel that should be popular with younger kids and reluctant readers. The panels are easy to follow, with simple, but expressive drawings in muted browns and grays that reflect the book's muddy locale. Hopefully, future installments will add some dimension to the Max's female friend. Not willing to completely divest herself of her nonfiction roots, Rusch adds some real science about mud and its denizens in the back matter.

I predict that more than one member of my book club will want to take this one home.  I'll have to place some holds on library copies.



A Teacher's Guide to Muddy Max is available here.


Elizabeth Rusch is also a talented author of nonfiction. Last year I reviewed her book, Volcano Rising.


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