November 26, 2015

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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.

Top 10 Apps 2015


Daryl Grabarek, SLJ’s resident app guru, curates a stellar list of the best educational and story apps produced in the past year.

This article was published in School Library Journal's December 2015 issue. Subscribe today and save up to 35% off the regular subscription rate.

“World Wildlife Fund Together” | Touch and Go

Screen from WWF Together

Children love photo-essays and stories about animals and educators looking to introduce global issues into the curriculum often find endangered animals a good place to start. The World Wildlife Fund provides a digital offering on the topic, with an update to their WWF Together app, available free on iOS, Android, and Kindle Fire.

On Tour Through “My Incredible Body” | Touch and Go


3-D perspectives, detailed illustrations, and narrated text features are just some of the features Zybright offers in its stunning tour of of the human body, available on a variety of devices.

Beyond the Headlines | New Books on Current Issues


Focusing on some of today’s hottest topics, these books provide critical updates and add context and depth to news stories on environmental and global issues.

WonderBox: Explorations in Science, Geography, Music, and Design | Touch and Go


The WonderBox app provides content, creation opportunities, and a mini social network—with features and safeguards that will please parents.

Haunted Houses & Headless Horsemen: Halloween Apps | Touch and Go


Halloween is here! From classic to contemporary stories (and a bit of augmented reality thrown in for good measure) we have apps for every age and sensibility.

Dr. Seuss in a New, Digital “Read & Learn” Series | Touch and Go


When do you take an already successful app and improve upon it? And from a consumer’s point of view: does the new product warrant replacing a perfectly readable book or functioning program?

“iBiomes—Wetlands” | Touch and Go

Screen from iBiome ( )

A cheery professor guides students through “iBiome-Wetland,” an app designed to teach students about biodiversity through a series of gamelike activities featuring a fresh water marsh, a salt water marsh, and a mangrove swamp.

Skill Building with “Fiete” Apps | Touch and Go


A cheerful sailor named Fiete invites children to join him on a number of his daily activities in a series of colorful apps produced by Ahoiii Entertainment. The apps will have kids flexing their pre- reading and numeracy skills and challenging their memories.

Schubert’s “Death and the Maiden” on the iPad | Touch and Go


Our reviewer Pam Schembri cites the performers’ commentary as one of the strengths of this production, and calls it “a treasure for both professionals, students of music, and dabblers.”

Moobot’s Back with “Billy’s Booger” in Digital | Touch and Go

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Billy’s Booger: As described on the Moonbot site, this “highly anticipated,” “completely (sorta) true story from William Joyce’s experience in the fourth grade” has been “40 years in the ‘picking.’” And it’s now available in digital.

“Funny Bones”: Celebrating the Day of the Dead


As November approaches, consider these two new books on the Day of the Dead/Día de los Muertos.

The Bard Gets Bawdier “Ryan North’s To Be or Not to Be” | Touch and Go


Studying parody or William Shakespeare’s Hamlet in class? Looking for retelling of a classic with an unusual twist? Don’t miss “Ryan North’s To Be or Not to Be,” now in digital.

Raising the Bar: New and noteworthy nonfiction for secondary students


Thirty-six must-have nonfiction titles for your collection.

This article was published in School Library Journal's September 2015 issue. Subscribe today and save up to 35% off the regular subscription rate.

Iain Pears’s Multilayered “Arcadia” | Touch and Go


With no desire to thrust himself “into the vanguard of digital innovation,” Iain Pears nonetheless finds himself there with publication of “Arcadia.” The author notes, “…I undertook the project because I had reached the limit of my storytelling in book form and needed some new tools to get me to the next stage.”

“Toca Nature”: “A Perfectly Pixelated World” | Touch and Go

toca cover

Many readers know Toca Boca’s “play studio” apps designed for preschoolers. Here is something from them that’s a little different. It combines sandbox activities with a subtle ecological message.

A “Completely and Utterly Disgusting” Game, Among Others | Touch and Go


With only a few weeks left before summer is over, it’s time to download a few playful apps. While fun and games rule, you’ll discover that planning, strategy, and skill also come into play. Oh, yes, and then there’s that “completely and utterly disgusting” game for fans of Roald Dahl.

“The Spirit of the Civil Rights Movement” | Carole Boston Weatherford on Fannie Lou Hamer


Carole Boston Weatherford’s Voice of Freedom is a moving, poetic tribute to the Voting Rights activist Fannie Lou Hamer.

Looking for a Back-to-School Chapter Book Read-Aloud? Don’t Miss These!


Looking for a good chapter book read aloud for the first days of school? We surveyed our readers and reviewers about the titles they have been recommending lately. Here are their responses.

Torben Kuhlmann’s ‘Lindbergh’ Soars as an iBook

lind cover

Torben Kuhlmann’s picture book, Lindbergh, the Tale of a Flying Mouse was published last year to glowing reviews. The recent release of the iBook version, with visual and audio enhancements, offers more to praise.