April 24, 2018

The Advocate's Toolbox

Archives for December 2007

Holiday Memories 2007

Readers last year so enjoyed hearing holiday stories from their favorite children’s authors and illustrators that we decided to do it again.


There isn’t a Christmas when I don’t reread Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. I’m not sure when it was first read to me—very young, I think. Over the years, it has never failed to touch me with its brilliant concept, richness of character, wonderful writing and yes, its sentimentality. Equally evocative of my sense of Christmas is Dulce Domum, Chapter […]

Web Master: Interview with Nic Bishop | Under Cover

In ‘Spiders,’ Nic Bishop gets tangled up with some amazing creatures

You’ve made a career of photographing and writing about small animals worldwide. What were you like as a boy?

If you look at my early school reports, they always say, “He can do better. He seems to daydream a lot in class.” I remember being switched off through most classes and looking out the window and wishing I was outside exploring.

Your mother was a medical researcher, and your father worked as […]

SLJ’s Best Books of 2007

School Library Journal‘s editors selected these 63 books from the 4500 titles reviewed in our pages this year. In looking over the list, we realized that 2007 saw some of the best and most powerful historical fiction titles in memory, putting human faces on perplexing and painful periods of the past that still resonate today.

The golden age of fantasy continues to flourish and we selected 10 titles that have fresh twists, unusual settings, and deliciously wicked villains. Several of the […]

Say the Word Again? Eid | Up for Discussion

An author and teacher strives to raise awareness about the Islamic holidays

When I visit public libraries and peruse resources on children’s holiday literature, I am always confronted with a glaring absence. The two major celebrations in the Muslim world, Eid-ul-Fitr and Eid-ul-Adha (see explanation boxes), seem remarkably obscure in American libraries. If I am fortunate, I may find one or two nonfiction titles addressing the topic. While informational books on the Islamic holidays are few, fictional tales are even more […]

Talkin’ Trash | Nonfiction Booktalker

How shoes floating in the Pacific pointed to a scary environmental problem

The scariest book I’ve read this year isn’t about terrorists, serial killers, or zombies. It’s about a pair of Nike shoes floating in the ocean. Bone-chilling, huh? Well, it is, according to Loree Griffin Burns. Her absorbing Tracking Trash: Flotsam, Jetsam, and the Science of Ocean Motion (Houghton, 2007) starts placidly enough, describing ocean currents. Sailors have known about them for centuries, using them as fast lanes in the […]

Step Right Up: Teen Volunteers | Teenage Riot

A volunteer program can add value to a teen’s life

When I was a teenager, the idea of volunteering at a library never occurred to me. Then again, neither did the idea of participating in a summer reading club or asking a librarian to recommend a book. That’s why I’m fascinated by the recent explosion of teens seeking to volunteer at libraries.

If you’re still on the fence about starting a volunteer program, here are the reasons you should: it will force […]

Listen Up! The Best in Educational Audio

From art to social studies, the Tech Chicks tap the best in educational audio

Podcasts—if you haven’t already heard—are a great way to expand learning beyond the four walls of your classroom or library. Just imagine taking your students on a tour of the great halls of the Louvre one day and the high-altitude plains of the Peruvian altiplano the next. You can do all this and more with podcasts, episodic digital files that are the 21st-century equivalent of an old-time […]

Teaching Through Play | The Gaming Life

Cooperative Games in the Classroom

When I was in school, teachers often used games to help students review for tests. But the quiz-like nature of these games limited their usefulness as teaching tools, and led to aggressive play and the early elimination of players. On the other hand, cooperative tabletop games and those in which players compete to attain a specific score promote participation and teamwork, are challenging, and encourage players to have fun.

Cooperative games can simulate history, spark ideas for […]

Best Adult Books for High School Students 2007

Identifying and reviewing those books published for adults but that also have appeal to high school students keeps nearly 30 school and public librarians busy as professional critics. In 2007, this review crew—who work with teens in California, Michigan, Minnesota, Alberta, New Hampshire, Virginia, and Washington—read and considered whether to recommend each of more than 600 adult titles. Because this column’s policy is “recommend only,” fewer than half that number were reviewed. So, we’re already starting off with a group […]

All Flash, No Substance | Consider the Source

Today’s ‘technological literacy’ is mostly sleight of hand

As a boy, I was a big fan of Teddy Roosevelt. How could a competitive, not-very-athletic New York City kid like myself help but admire a scrawny New Yorker who transformed himself into a college boxer and a Rough Rider? So it’s no big surprise that my seven-year-old son has taken a similar shine to T. R. Last night, Sasha and I searched Google, looking for photos of the former president. After much […]