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March 31, 2015

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Alice Hoffman on “Nightbird” | “I Write the Book I Want to Read.”

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In an interview, Alice Hoffman talks about her new middle grade novel, “Nightbird,” and the power of fairy tales.

Feisty Females in Secret Societies | New Fiction for Young Adults

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Following the enormous success of Suzanne Collins’s “Hunger Games” trilogy, action-packed novels with powerful female protagonists have become a mainstay of young adult lit.

Team Kelly Light | A Whole-School Author Visit

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What does a whole-school author visit look like? P.S. 110 in New York City’s Lower East Side can tell you. Under the leadership of Principal Karen Feuer, the entire community gets involved when an author comes to town.

Fun with Folktales | Revisiting Old Favorites

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Most elementary-aged children have already met Goldilocks and Little Red Riding Hood in their literary travels—try introducing them to some modern retellings that mingle familiar elements with fresh and imagination-stretching innovations.

Graphic Biographies for Teens

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Where else would Ötzi the Iceman, Ibn Battuta, Hildegard of Bingen, Bruce Lee, and Malala Yousafzai sit side by side but in a collective biography? These recently released books featuring fascinating figures and graphic art are guaranteed to appeal to teens.

Spotlight On Ecosystems | Aquatic Biomes

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Environmental awareness, and problem solving, begins with foundational knowledge about Earth’s biomes, including freshwater and saltwater ecosystems such as estuaries, oceans, lakes, rivers, ponds, and coral reefs. This list offers a cluster of recent resources for elementary collections that underscore the idea that kids can be citizen scientists, too.

Challenge Authority! | Teen Guides to Thinking Critically

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Three recent titles examine the roots of myths and misinformation and encourage teens to think critically.

Tapping into Kids’ Curiosity About the Natural World | Professional Shelf

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The push to incorporate informational texts into instruction offers teachers and librarians an opportunity to tap into young readers ’curiosity about the natural world. Three recent publications with a focus on the selection and use of science-related texts in the classroom and for programming are timely aids for teachers and librarians.

Outstanding STEM Apps: Digital resources on life science, physical science, and earth and space sciences

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Current academic interests include increasing the number of accessible science and digital resources. The apps listed here satisfy both needs.

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

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.

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.

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.