November 21, 2017

The Advocate's Toolbox

It Adds Up: Mathematics | Series Made Simple Spring 2013

In these books, educators will find solid choices to support some aspect of the Common Core State Standards. Most of the publishers have made a noticeable effort to address the standards and relate math to everyday experiences, giving readers connections that help them engage with the texts.

Building a Nation: American History | Series Made Simple Spring 2013

The fall of 2012 was a strong season for new series in American history and geography. In comparison, the spring of 2013 has a small turnout. However, that does not mean that these books are also-rans. Quite the contrary is true.

Out-of-This-World Knowledge: General Science | Series Made Simple Spring 2013

Ever responsive to changing fads in educational theory, nonfiction publishers are, with varying success, already tweaking their new titles to conform to the Common Core science standards. These efforts range from inserting a few vague ideas for activities or demonstrations into otherwise conventional surveys of well-traveled informational territory to festooning texts with review questions, primary-source documents, photos and graphics, and suggestions for ongoing projects or lines of thought.

Keep It Moving: Sports | Series Made Simple Spring 2013

In the spirit of Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move” campaign, these sports and exercise-related books encourage children to keep active and avoid obesity. Students will find inspiration in titles about their favorite teams, players, competitions, or forms of exercise.

Hi-Tech Action: Engineering, Machines, & Technology | Series Made Simple Spring 2013

With a few notable exceptions, the entriesin this mixed bag of high-tech offerings are aimed at casual readers enthralled by images of big, noisy machines–preferably the sort that carry guns and bombs.

Pivotal People: Biography | Series Made Simple Spring 2013

Biographies are the perfect tools with which educators can engage students and ask them to think critically about how important figures affected the past and the world today. The Common Core State Standards mean that children and teens need strong options from which to choose when faced with having to write reports or research papers.

From Pet Cats to Saber Tooths: Animals | Series Made Simple Spring 2013

Any elementary school librarian can tellyou that trying to keep books in the 590s in reasonable order is a herculean task. However, that’s not a negative. Children in this age range devour books about animals.

Power, Fortune, and Fame: World History | Series Made Simple Spring 2013

Kings and queens. Generals and enlisted men. Flamboyant outlaws and gangsters. Intrepid explorers and treasure hunters. Much of the world’s history has been made by people who lived outsized lives, pursued outsized dreams, or achieved outsized deeds.

From Army Ants to Vampire Bats: Animals | Series Made Simple Spring 2013

Animal books are perennial favorites for pleasure reading and report writing. This spring, series about pets, both common and unusual, are prevalent, as are titles about attention-grabbing (big or scary) creatures. While many of the sets cover standard report elements such as habitats, life cycles, and the food chain, others have a more specific focus.

Natural Curiosity: Life Science | Series Made Simple Spring 2013

This spring’s life-science entries offer an assortment of possibilities for refreshing your 500 and 600 sections. Most of the series come with the expected set of nonfiction tools (e.g., TOC, index, glossary, bibliography), but in some cases, publishers are including more text cues to aid the youngest readers with decoding and comprehension skills. Series for older readers are adding questions to help students read to learn.

Around the Globe, Around the Corner: Social Science | Series Made Simple Spring 2013

Students are inundated with status updates, tweets, instant feeds, and more. Many children and teens define themselves by whom they are virtually connected to and what they “like” on social media sites.

Recipes for Fun: Arts & Activities | Series Made Simple Spring 2013

Some books are read for pleasure, some for study. But the series in this section show kids that books can be real-world instructors as well. Converting manual activity into language is often an overlooked skill, but it is one that helps develop observational faculties and linguistic precision.

Professional Pursuits: Careers | Series Made Simple Spring 2013

While some of the series reviewed here focus on career options we’ve all heard of again and again but could never be bored with–such as being a librarian–others offer a look into work that is fresh, new, or extremely dangerous. From the familiar community helper to the fantastic polar explorer (with a few scientists thrown in for good measure), you’ll find books on a wide variety of careers. Overall, these offerings are adequate and would […]

Creatures of the Night: Mythology, the Supernatural, & Folklore | Series Made Simple Spring 2013

While vampires and Greek myths remain popular, they’ve taken a backseat to some perennial favorites. Ghosts, aliens, and mythical monsters appear more than once in this season’s sets. Fairy tales, too, have a foothold.

Doing and Feeling Good: Social Science | Series Made Simple Spring 2013

“It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities,” says Albus Dumbledore in J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. What the wise wizard (and his creator) understands is that children face difficult decisions every day.