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March 3, 2015

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Beboppin’ with “Bird & Diz”

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With bursts of rhythm and flashes of color, Gary Golio and Ed Young’s stunning new picture book “Bird & Diz” captures the spirit and genius of bebop artists Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie and their classic rendition of “Salt Peanuts.”

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

Pam Muñoz Ryan’s “Echo” Reverberates With Hope| Interview

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In her epic novel “Echo,” Pam Muñoz Ryan weaves together stories of young people living through a tumultuous period in the 20th century.

Spotlight On Ecosystems | Terrestrial Biomes & Their Denizens

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When we think of the major terrestrial biomes—desert, grassland, forest, tundra—we envision dramatically different climates, flora, and fauna. If only it were so simple!

Water: Earth’s Most Precious Resource

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Recently, factors such as drought, climate change, and increased demand have raised concerns about the availability of and access to safe drinking water across the globe. Prepare for World Water Day on March 22 with titles that incorporate science, geography and history, and environmental and social issues.

PARCC and You | Consider the Source

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The Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Career (PARCC) tests are coming to 10 states this spring. How can you help colleagues, parents, and students to prepare for them?

Sound and Fury | Graphic Nonfiction for Teens

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Visually enticing, featuring dramatic colors or memorable images, graphic nonfiction is a surefire hit in high school collections. And what better way to transform students’ conception of history from a compilation of long-ago events and obscure names into real people, with relatable stories?

Lynn Cullen’s “Dear Mr. Washington” | Spotlight

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Books about our presidents are perennial favorites and George Washington one of the most frequently requested subjects. As we approach his birthday, celebrated this year on February 16th, introduce your students to Lynn Cullen’s delightful ‘Dear Mr. Washington’—a playful look at some of Washington’s ‘Rules of Civility,’ penned when the president-to-be was 14 years old.

Shane W. Evans | An Artist (and Author) to Study

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Shane W. Evans has been able to present powerful episodes in our nation’s history through simple language and bold, dramatic illustrations. He has also collaborated with a number of authors in illustrating biographies and other books on our history.

‘Teaching to Complexity’ | Professional Shelf

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When it comes to measuring text complexity, teachers and librarians know it’s not just about attaching a particular lexile number or other quantitative label to a book jacket. A new, practical tool walks educators through the process of selecting the best texts for instruction.

Screencasting Tools for Tech Support | Cool Tools

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These video and screencasting resources will help you create videos that provide technical assistance.

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

“Selma”: Accurate Enough? Questions about the film’s historical accuracy present a teachable moment.

Bobby Simmons, 17 Years Old, Marches for the Vote, 1965. Photo by  Matt Herron www.takestockphotos.com

Weighing in on the recent controversy over “Selma” and the ensuing Oscar fallout, author Elizabeth Partridge offers some ideas for engaging students in a discussion about historical accuracy, primary sources, and expert opinion.

Benny Andrews | His Life and Art

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In “Draw What You See: The Life and Art of Benny Andrews,” illustrated with the artist’s oil paintings and collage compositions, Kathleen Benson highlights the words Andrews chose to paint by, and to encourage those he taught.

“Four Centuries, Four Families, One Delicious Treat” | Spotlight

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In “A Fine Dessert” Emily Jenkins and Sophie Blackall tell the story of how the creation of one dessert—blackberry fool—has changed over the centuries. It’s a perfect choice for a sharing with a class, or as a group-reading selection.

Water, Water, Everywhere… | Our Unsustainable Future

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Simply put, our current use of freshwater resources is unsustainable. Two new books explain why—and outline the dimensions of the crisis.

Reach for the Stars | Out-of-This-World Astronomy Titles

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Amid info and images streaming from the Mars rover Curiosity, updates about NASA’s evolving plans to capture and explore a near-Earth asteroid and headlines about privately owned companies such as SpaceX and Virgin Galactic, space and space exploration have become hot topics.

Changing the World | New Books about African American History

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Utilizing a variety of literary forms, writing techniques, and illustrative styles, four 2015 books convey information in a powerful and personal manner, making history accessible—and enticing—to young readers.

SLJ Reviews the Taz 4 3-D Printer | Test Drive

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Chad Sansing considers the Lulzbot device, resembling a “steampunk erector set,” and 3-D printing’s learning potential.

This article was published in School Library Journal's December 2014 issue. Subscribe today and save up to 35% off the regular subscription rate.

DIY Library Bulletin Boards: Tips, Resources, and Ideas

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Do-it-yourself maven Melissa Techman says that bulletin boards can be important communication opportunities in your library. The K–5 librarian offers tips to keep it cheap and chic, and guidance on how to align bulletin boards with inspiring and informative instructional activities.

Much More Than a List | Editorial

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SLJ’s year-end picks point to the power of curation.

This article was published in School Library Journal's December 2014 issue. Subscribe today and save up to 35% off the regular subscription rate.

Timing Is Everything | Consider the Source

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Everyone who knows me knows I’m in the cheering section for the Common Core English Language Arts State Standards. But as an advocate for the standards, I have a concern and a question about the assessments.