May 25, 2016

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BiblioBoard’s Curated Collections for the iPad

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BiblioBoard is a free iPad app providing access to more than 100 curated collections of “licensed, open source and public domain materials” on topics ranging from Punk Rock to The Brothers Grimm. Anthologies on English writers are the most numerous. With the app, readers can dip into any collection, most of which include more than 50 “books, images, and articles written by or about” the subject and sample up to the first seven pages of any title.

The price for each collection ranges from $9.99 to $15.99. Our reviewer, Danielle Farinacci, took a look at three of the newer collections.


As first glance, the BiblioBoard app (BiblioLabs LLC; Free; $9.99 to $15.99 for individual collections; Gr 9 Up) is equal parts inspiring and overwhelming. It offers more than 30 literary anthologies alone, with access to free content within each curation.

The 60-plus volumes in Brontë Sisters: A Historical Collection includes offerings under “Novels,” “Poetry,” “Biographical Works,” “Critical Essays,” and “Images.” It affords a rare glimpse into the sisters’ lives through traditional biographies as well as a series of well-organized letters to and from Charlotte, Anne, and Emily, their fathers, and friends. Readers can also examine portraits of the women, their home, and a reproduction of each sister’s handwritten pen name signature, which are likely to ignite a discussion of a woman’s place in the literary world of the 19th century. It would be difficult to find a more complete anthology of the Brontës’s work in one place with such a small footprint.

John Keats: A Historical Collection presents such telling works as, “The Life, Letters, and Literary Remains of John Keats,” edited by Richard Monckton Milnes, and “A Day with Keats,” by his contemporary May Clarissa Gillington Byron, plus romantic gems like Keats’s Letters to Fanny Brawne, written to his fiancée from Rome before the English poet succumbed to tuberculosis at age 25.

Keats’s poems are represented, as is his correspondence. Completing the anthology, which totals more than 70 volumes, are  “Memoirs,” “Critical Essays,” “Souvenirs,” and “Images.” Viewing pages of the original editions of the poet’s work evokes the romanticism these poems warrant, while the color illustrations add a dimension and context not often found in other resources.

“Fragment of a Third Century Copy of Plato’s ‘Republic'” from BiblioBoard’s “Socrates.” (BiblioLabs LLC)

On the topic of Socrates: Father of Western Philosophy, there are a number of biographical and contextual essays, such as “Talks with Athenian Youths,” that offer a glimpse into the philosopher’s daily interactions and the era in which he lived. Scholarly revelations about Socrates’s influence on the writings of Plato, Xenophon, and Aristophanes are also presented. The depth and language of these works makes them most suited for advanced placement or college students, but items such as the Fragment of a Third Century Copy of Plato’s “Republicprovides relevance for any reader.

While some may value these collections as primary source material or as historical artifacts, there is much here for students of literature and philosophy to peruse. They’re sure to find something that speaks to them.—Danielle Farinacci, Sacred Heart Cathedral Prep, San Francisco, CA

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Daryl Grabarek About Daryl Grabarek

Daryl Grabarek is the editor of School Library Journal's monthly enewsletter, Curriculum Connections, and its online column Touch and Go. Before coming to SLJ, she held librarian positions in private, school, public, and college libraries. Her dream is to manage a collection on a remote island in the South Pacific.

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