February 21, 2018

The Advocate's Toolbox

Archives for November 2007

NEA Report: Teens Reading Less, and for Shorter Time

Teens are reading less often and for shorter amounts of time, according to a new National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) report released today.

To Read or Not To Read: A Question of National Consequence, which compiles data from more than 40 studies about the reading habits of children, teenagers, and adults, reveals declines in voluntary reading and test scores.

The report expands the breadth of the NEA’s 2004 report, Reading at Risk, which looked mainly at literary reading trends. To Read or Not […]

Point of No Return | Scales on Censorship

What happens when a family refuses to bring back a book?

I recently read a news story about a 15-year-old who refused to return a school library book. She and her grandmother didn’t think it was appropriate for high school students. I’m worried that this story may cause similar problems in our school or community. Is that kind of behavior common?

Yes, it’s a common form of censorship. In some states, refusing to return a library book is considered stealing, and it’s […]

Remembering Madeleine: Portrait of Madeleine L’Engle

The author of ‘A Wrinkle in Time’ was both vulnerable and regal—and a writer to her marrow

When I met her, she was already famous. Certainly, everyone in children’s books knew her story—early publishing success, then years of polite rejection slips for the quirky manuscript she felt she “had to write.” Twenty-six publishers had said no before John Farrar, one of the partners at Farrar, Straus & Giroux (FSG), was approached after church by a woman he knew, with the fateful […]

Discover Babylon | The Gaming Life

E-Learning Power on Second Life

Over the last few decades, numerous studies have indicated that students in the United States are underperforming across the curriculum. At the Summit on Educational Games, held in Washington, DC, in 2005, 100 participants from the software industry and the field of education brainstormed to find ways to resolve this crisis.

The Federation of American Scientists (FAS) was formed in 1945 and today its mission has expanded “to include our country’s critical challenges in housing, energy, and […]

From Spark to Story | Up for Discussion

One writer’s take on the joys and challenges of picture-book biographies

The biography. It is a form that takes many shapes as writers seek to translate the lives of people who fascinate them into something tangible, something they can hold in their hands. Biographies can be thematic, chronological, collective, exhaustive, or sparse. Some are visual—photo biographies, graphic-novel biographies, and picture-book biographies. It is the latter that intrigue me most, as this form strives to capture that which is least tangible—the essence […]

All But Her Life: Holocaust Survivor Gerda Klein Shares with Learners

Holocaust survivor Gerda Klein shares with learners, young and old, the lessons of history

Looking back at years of captivity and forced labor under the Nazi regime, Holocaust survivor Gerda Weissmann Klein recalled a precious gift that she received from a childhood friend. A simple gesture on the part of young Ilse Kleinzähler made a lasting impression on Gerda. Both girls had been sold to the Germans for 10 Reichmarks and placed in a series of brutal slave labor camps by […]

True Stories | First Steps

It’s never too early to introduce preschoolers to great nonfiction

Certainly one of the most common words in a preschooler’s vocabulary is “why.” Once they get past the “no” stage, it’s probably the word that trips up adults most often. Just how do we explain why the sky is blue?

Those of us who spend our days surrounded by topnotch children’s books know something that many parents and caregivers haven’t caught onto yet—the treasure trove of information found in nonfiction books for […]

An Obtuse Triangle | Consider the Source

It’s high time we start to set the record straight

If you teach history to 5th, 8th, or 11th graders, open your textbook and turn to the section on the Triangle Trade, the notorious commercial route between Europe, West Africa, and North America. Found those pages? OK, now tear them out. The trade pattern described

in your text is completely misleading, and scholars have known that for at least 30 years. The real Triangle Trade, which spurred the sale of an estimated […]

Adam Rex, Space Cadet: Interview | Under Cover

The esteemed children’s book illustrator talks about his first novel

Your Web site says that you’re over eight feet tall, and you live in Philadelphia with an astrophysicist wife and two cats as big as buffalo. Is that completely factual?

I do have two cats. I do live in Philadelphia, and my wife is an astrophysicist, but that’s where it ends.

The True Meaning of Smekday is about space aliens who conquer our planet. It also features a friendship between a girl named […]

World Cultures and Religions: A World of Ideas | Focus On

Culture is, in a sense, both that which binds us together and that which separates us. It may be almost willfully complicated to explain, but nearly anyone can tell you what “a culture” is: a group of people who share certain characteristics, practices, and beliefs. Religion and culture thread together and wind apart. There is, for example, a notably American culture that writers as diverse as Nathaniel Hawthorne, Emily Dickinson, Saul Bellow, and Kurt Vonnegut all represent. Whether rooted in […]