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November 24, 2014

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View from the Director’s Chair: Guest post by Lynette Pitrak

Downers Grove Public Library just finished a large redesign project, and two of the major changes were a brand new Teen Central area and a Digital Media Lab. While the Digital Media Lab is open to all ages, we thought that our teen patrons would be especially excited about this area’s advanced video, music, and [...]

Best Apps for Teaching and Learning needs your input

Best Apps for Teaching and Learning needs your input

I am honored and kinda thrilled to be a member of AASL’s Best Apps for Teaching and Learning Committee. This particular best list is now three years old and recognizes apps of exceptional value to inquiry-based teaching and learning as embodied in the AASL’s Standards for the 21st-Century Learner. The apps foster the qualities of [...]

Magical Trilogies

Today we review the first books in three new speculative fiction series. Let’s begin with Charlie Holmberg‘s The Paper Magician series. We review the first, The Paper Magician, Holberg’s debut, published in September. The second in the series, The Glass Magician, is already available. Both are published by Amazon’s fantasy, science fiction and horror imprint, [...]

Why We Took the Car

Why We Took the Car

Why We Took the Car, Wolfgang Herrndorf (translated by Tim Mohr) Scholastic, January 2014 Reviewed from finished ebook I initially came across this one on Jen’s fabulous spreadsheet. Two stars doesn’t make it a must read, but I still haven’t quite recovered from The White Bicycle. It’s one thing to not have read a Printz [...]

Thoughts on the Debut Author/Illustrator

Thoughts on the Debut Author/Illustrator

Last week Jackie Woodson won The National Book Award for Young People’s Literature.  It was a win so deserved that I had difficulty processing it.  Under normal circumstances National Book Awards for children’s books come out of left field and are so blooming unpredictable that they almost always serve my perpetual amusement.  The fact that [...]

At Episode 100, Let’s Get Busy Looks Back

At Episode 100, Let’s Get Busy Looks Back

If the children’s literature podcast Let’s Get Busy were a person, it would be wizened and wise by now, with a flowing white beard and a twinkle in its eye. That’s because the podcast, created by teacher-librarian Matthew Winner, has reached the impressive mark of 100 episodes. To note the occasion, I asked centenarian-by-association Winner [...]

Listen Current: Leveraging public radio for learning

Listen Current: Leveraging public radio for learning

If, like me, you are a victim of the paralysis of driveway moments . . . If you are a devoted public radio listener who appreciates the power of quality journalism, the engagement of nonfiction storytelling, and the drama of the real voices you hear, Listen Current is for you and your class or library.  [...]

Sunday Reflections: A Reflection on Everybody Sees the Ants by A. S. King (guest post by Bryson McCrone)

Sunday Reflections: A Reflection on Everybody Sees the Ants by A. S. King (guest post by Bryson McCrone)

Lucky Linderman is not so lucky. His dad can’t get over the fact that his father was drafted into the Vietnam War and never returned. Instead, he cooks. His mom pretends like everything in their lives is fine when it’s not. Instead, she swims. And Lucky is stuck in the middle of their crumbling marriage, [...]

Exclusive Preview: Teen Titans Earth One, vol. 1

Exclusive Preview: Teen Titans Earth One, vol. 1

We have something special for you today: An exclusive first look at vol. 1 of Teen Titans Earth One, a new original graphic novel by Jeff Lemire and Terry Dodson. From the website: “In this new, original graphic novel, the young heroes of the Teen Titans never felt like normal kids…but they had no idea [...]

YA A to Z: Terry Trueman

YA A to Z: Terry Trueman

In 2001 author Terry Trueman won the Michael L. Printz Honor Award for his book Stuck in Neutral. In this work, we step inside the mind of Shawn McDaniel, a boy who has Cerebral Palsy. He is also a boy that things his father is about to kill him. You see, Shawn can’t communicate with [...]

Friday Finds – November 21, 2014

Friday Finds – November 21, 2014

This Week at TLT Sunday Reflections: What a few minutes searching Google Images for “Prom Dresses” taught me Middle Grade Monday – Statistics National School Climate Survey results about LGBT students’ experiences in school The #SVYALit Project Google Hangout with A. S. King, Christa Desir & Carrie Mesrobian We’re Not Faking it, We’re Making It: [...]

This Week’s Comics: Winter Horse

This Week’s Comics: Winter Horse

It’s a TV Nation on the list this week: No less than eight titles are extensions of TV shows that are or were on TV. For the kids, BOOM! Studios has a new issue of Regular Show, while IDW has new My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. For the family, pick up Jim Henson’s The [...]

A Debut Novel for Lovers of (or Newbies to) the Greek Classics

A Debut Novel for Lovers of (or Newbies to) the Greek Classics

Natalie Haynes’s debut novel is a fascinating mix of Haynes’s diverse interests and talents. A stand-up comedian, television panelist, journalist, and author of a nonfiction book on the Greek classics, Haynes brings all these sources to bear in creating a complex and satisfying narrative. As our reviewer notes, the novel is structured, as a traditional [...]

A Volcano Beneath the Snow

A Volcano Beneath the Snow

A Volcano Beneath the Snow: John Brown’s War Against Slavery by Albert Marrin Knopf, April 2014 Reviewed from final copy JOHN BROWN TAKE THE WHEEL is probably not how you expected this review to start, but let’s embrace the unexpected and just go with it. With four stars and some rave reviews happening, Albert Marrin’s [...]

Review of the Day: Neighborhood Sharks by Katherine Roy

Review of the Day: Neighborhood Sharks by Katherine Roy

Neighborhood Sharks: Hunting with the Great Whites of California’s Farallon Islands By Katherine Roy David Macaulay Studio – Roaring Brook (Macmillan) $17.99 ISBN: 9781596438743 Ages 7-12 On shelves now. When you’re a librarian buying for your system, you come to understand that certain nonfiction topics are perennial favorites. You accept that no matter how many [...]

One Star Review Guess Who? (#26)

One Star Review Guess Who? (#26)

Can you guess the classic children’s book by its scathing one-star review on Goodreads or Amazon? Instead of listening to my own children, who I love, fight with each other, I got to hear whiny, screechy-voiced [character] whine, sullen, put-upon [character] whine, and both of their parents whine. It felt like watching Supernanny. Click here [...]

White House Student Film Festival: On Giving Back

White House Student Film Festival: On Giving Back

Here’s an opportunity for all of us working both formally and informally with young filmmakers. For the second year The White House invites students to share their stories. This year, the targeted topic is one students often choose on their own. It’s about agency, making a difference, giving back. Every day in classrooms and communities [...]

Top Five

Top Five

For the past several years, we’ve surveyed you about your “nominations” at various points in the fall, mirroring the process that the real committee follows.  We skipped October and are late here in November. The reason that I’ve dragged my heels here is that (a) for me, THE FAMILY ROMANOV and BROWN GIRL DREAMING remain [...]

YA A to Z: Jenny Torres Sanchez

YA A to Z: Jenny Torres Sanchez

Here’s a fun fact for you: The first author to ever work with me for anything here at Teen Librarian Toolbox, when it was just me and I had zero to no idea what I was doing, was then debut author Jenny Torres Sanchez. I met her at ALA as she was promoting her debut [...]

We’re Not Faking it, We’re Making It: from the Robot Test Kitchen

One of the features on the Robot Test Kitchen is a True Confessions series. In it, we discuss our personal experiences in this brave new world of integrating technology programming into our libraries. Sometimes it’s triumphant, sometimes it’s scary, sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. The point of our True Confessions is to illustrate [...]