March 25, 2015

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Sign Language Primers, Graphic Guide to Science, and Selections on the Civil Rights Movement | Nonfiction Series Update


SLJ presents Nonfiction Series Update, continuations in ongoing series that are not to be missed. This installment, check out the latest on animals, sign language, cell division, civil rights, and more.

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

Beyond the All-American Athlete: Sports | Series Made Simple Fall 2014


Though these titles do tackle the basics (basketball, football, and baseball, oh my!), there are tons of lesser-known sports (kayaking, anybody?), as well as a far more inclusive focus in this season’s collections, from an emphasis on women and girls to a look at international superstars

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

Pressure to Succeed

Pressure to Succeed

Today I’m combining two books about pursuing competitive, pressure-filled fields — dance and basketball. One is nonfiction, one fiction. Both are full of struggle, family difficulties, and the stress of expectations. Misty Copeland is a phenomenon, and her book is a gift to the many young people obsessed with ballet (or dance of any kind). […]

Bats, Balls, Bikes…and Bruises? Sports | Series Made Simple


From the Winter Olympics and the Super Bowl to the Final Four and the World Cup, sports inspire us and capture our imaginations. There’s plenty offered in these series to motivate readers.

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

In Honor of Baseball’s All-Star Game, A Book to Pre-Order

Student sports fans (in this case, baseball fans specifically) can leverage their outside-of-school literacies to comprehend and appreciate the sophisticated cartoons and high-level text.

With ‘42’ in Theaters, Here’s a Free Movie Starring Jackie Robinson

With ‘42’ in Theaters, Here’s a Free Movie Starring Jackie Robinson

Alfred Green’s 1950 film, made at the height of Robinson’s career, is in the public domain…

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.

MTV’s Andrew Jenks on Storytelling, Media Literacy, Baseball’s Bobby V, and His New Book

“Teaching media literacy seems almost as important as teaching any other subject because it is one of the main ways that young people learn and develop–and if you don’t know how to navigate the basics of consuming media and using media, you’re in trouble.”

Batter Up! Great New Books About Baseball


This grand-slam lineup of titles about baseball illustrate why the sport is still America’s pastime.

JLG’s On the Radar: Snips and Snails and Puppy Dog Tails?

Nonfiction title with Sports Scenes

For those seeking informational books for reluctant independent readers (boys or girls), the editors at Junior Library Guild have a variety of picks, from sports and pirates, to body parts and dangerous creatures.

An Oscar-Winning Giveaway: UNDEFEATED on Blu-ray

The only problem with inspirational movies is that they can be kind of corny. Know what I mean? I’m not talking about message movies, although plenty of those attempt to inspire us–it’s just that their attempts are so transparent that the audience feels like it’s being treated like idiots. (And for some reason we educators, […]

Strap Yourself In: A New Year in Media Has Begun

We measure our lives out by annual media events, kind of like Prufrock and his coffee spoons.

Exploration and Recreation: Sports | Series Made Simple Fall 2012


Reading about recreational activities (not to be confused with “recreational reading,” though there can be overlap) is no substitute for actually getting outdoors or onto the field or court.

Muck City

Bryan Mealer’s exploration of football and poverty in one small Florida town brings to mind other books about high school sports, such as Friday Night Lights and Michael D’Orso’s Eagle Blue.
You probably know Mealer’s previous work, even if you don’t recognize the name. He wrote The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind with William Kamkwamba, a […]

On the Radar: Top Picks from the Editors at Junior Library Guild: Sports Books Score Touchdowns

Dinosaurs playing football

With the onset of September comes the roar of the crowd—the football crowd. From Pop Warner leagues to professional sports, there are plenty of games to attend or watch. Whether on the bleachers, in the field, or cheering from the living room couch, here are some new titles to fill in the gap during half-time.

Why Being ‘Anti-Sports’ is Anti-Intellectual

The range of literacies employed by today’s diehard sports fans is staggering.

Pick of the Day: Jim Thorpe: The World’s Greatest Athlete (DVD)

Jim Thorpe as a young man with his awards

Jim Thorpe: The World’s Greatest Athlete. DVD. 85 min./56 min. with tchr’s. guide. Moira Prods. 2009, 2012 release. ISBN 978-0-97710379-9. $85.
Gr 6 Up–Jim Thorpe’s many accomplishments as well as his shortcomings are described in this remarkable film. Born in a one-room cabin in Oklahoma’s Indian Territory in 1887, Thorpe overcame the many stigmas and hardships associated with being a Native American at that time. Even though he resisted being sent to schools intended to minimize his ethnicity, it was just […]

Mighty, Mighty Mythology: Everyday—and Olympian Level— Branding

Mighty, Mighty Mythology: Everyday—and Olympian Level— Branding

The subject of branding is one way an educator can connect media literacy, the humanities (classical mythology), a fannish interest in sports, and the current events story that is the Olympics.

Presidential Elections, the Media Literacy Way: A Conversation with Frank W. Baker (3)

“Students watching convention coverage need to be aware they are only allowed to see what the networks show them. Cameras cannot go everywhere. These high profile events will be carefully controlled by the politicians and the parties.”

The Game’s the Thing | This Season’s Winners

Storytellers venturing into the mines of Metaphor frequently fill their literary hoppers with Sports to enhance the thematic underpinnings of their tales. There is probably no richer ore. Not even Heroic Fantasy—though generally played for higher stakes and offering a comparably glittering variety of challenges, situations, and opportunities—can match it for direct, everyday parallels with the actual lives and experiences of readers.