November 30, 2015

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Sandbox Science on the iPad

simple machines

Generations of kids have been introduced to science concepts at sand and water tables. Today, they can also explore sandbox apps.

Cat’s Cradle: A Graphic Adventure | Touch and Go


Jo Rioux’s middle grade graphic adventure, available in both iOS and Android, is well drawn and engaging, and will leave readers eager for more—despite some technical challenges.

The 21st Century Children’s Nonfiction Conference


Now in its third year, the 21st Century Children’s Nonfiction Conference will take place in New York City for the first time, June 12–14, bringing together publishers, authors, and educators for three days of lively panels, informative presentations, and in-depth workshops on topics varying from ebooks and apps to literacy standards and social media.

Hilda Bewildered | Touch and Go

Hilda 2

Few authors and developers create fictional stories for the iPad with the tween and teen audience in mind. Lynley Stace of Slap Happy Larry is an exception. Her latest app, Hilda Bewildered, will delight fans.

It’s All About the Birds | Touch and Go


Bird-watching is one of the fastest growing outdoor hobbies in United States, generating enthusiasm across age groups and demographics. Digital references for these hobbyists are on the rise.

Changing the World with Erin Gruwell | Professional Shelf


Erin Gruwell, a teacher determined to make a difference, and her students became the subject of the 2007 Hollywood movie Freedom Writers. On May 5, Gruwell and some of those same students will visit with Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. Together they will view a new documentary about the Freedom Writers’ extraordinary journey.

A Pourquoi Tale from Liberia: “Dentist Bird” | Touch and Go

Screen from "Dentist Bird" (Literary Safari)

Dentist Bird, a West African folktale from Literary Safari, explains how it came to be that plover birds clean crocodiles’ teeth. The developer notes that 100 percent of the purchase price of the app will go to “We-Care Foundation’s efforts to keep children reading and learning amidst the Ebola outbreak.” For iOS and Android.

What Does “Excellence” in Nonfiction Mean to YALSA? | Consider the Source

Marc 2

A look at YALSA’s Nonfiction Award for Excellence leaves the author with some questions about the award’s criteria.

Playing with the Alphabet, “Metamorphabet” | Touch and Go

The letter N from (Vectorpark) Patrick Smith

Only two months out of the gate and ‘Metamorphabet,’ a new app created and developed by Patrick Smith and Vectorpark, has received accolades, including recognition by the 2015 BolognaRagazzi Digital Award Committee. Take a peek at the trailer and you’ll see why.

What Would Winston Do? | Touch and Go

Churchilll cover

A new app from Touch Press includes “primary sources; promotes analysis, evaluation, and higher-level thinking; and is beautifully designed and fun.” What more could we ask for?

Books I’d Like to See | Consider the Source

Marc 2

Like me, you probably have a list of books that you would like to see written—and published. Here are a couple of topics I’d like to see addressed in a book. What are yours?

New from Nosy Crow! Snow White | Touch and Go

snow white cover

Nosy Crow’s list of fairy tales has scooped up a number of accolades including the prestigious BolognaRagazzi Digital Award in the fiction category. Their latest app features the same quirky storytelling and smart interactivity that has enchanted children since their first production was released.

Westward Bound | Touch and Go


“‘With a sinking feeling, I realized that I was entering a new kind of life, as rough and full of ups and downs as the road over which we traveled. Would I have the courage and fortitude to stick it out?”—Katherine Kirk,’” quoted in Kids Discover’s “Pioneers.”

The World Builder’s Sandwich | Consider the Source


A central challenge in writing nonfiction for young adults is providing context. But what is context? The bread that holds it the sandwich together, or the meal’s nutritional value? It’s something to chew over.

The New Immigrants NYC 1880-1924 | Touch and Go

New immigrants

In its breath and depth, a new app created by the New York City Department of Education in partnership with four cultural institutions will help students understand the value of primary sources, develop insight into the experience of millions of new arrivals to our nation in the early 20th century, and explore historical thinking. And best of all—it’s free.

STEM Is Busting Out All Over | Consider the Source


STEM events—from school programs to citywide activities—are happening all over. With a few tips from the city of Buffalo (NY), you might want to start planning your own festival.

Turn STEM to STEAM: Arts-Themed Nonfiction for Kids │ JLG’s Booktalks to Go

Fun Things to do with Egg cartons

The success of the maker space movement underlines the fact that kids want a safe haven for experimenting, crafting, and learning. The power of STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and math) becomes even stronger when combined with literacy. The following selections by the editors at Junior Library Guild will inspire young creative geniuses.

March 2 Is Seuss Day | Touch and Go

camel 2

Oceanhouse Media is the place to go if you are looking for a Dr. Seuss title in digital. To date they have published dozens of Seuss and “Dr. Seuss Learning Library” titles for iOS, Android, and other devices. Celebrate the beloved author’s birthday on March 2 with a few apps.

Theodore Gray’s ‘Molecules’ | Touch and Go


Here’s SLJ’s reviewer Paula Willey on ‘Molecules': A new app from Touch Press—home of the exquisitely lit razor-sharp 360-degree image floating on a velvet-black background—is like getting a VIP tour of a fabulous new exhibit at a richly funded museum.”

PARCC and You | Consider the Source


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?