February 21, 2018

The Advocate's Toolbox

Archives for August 2008

Crime Linked to Dropout Rates, Report Says

What’s a good way to see a decline in the crime rate? By making sure teens graduate from high school. Dropouts are 3.5 times more likely to be arrested than high school graduates and more than eight times as likely to be incarcerated, says “School or the Streets: Crime and America’s Dropout Crisis,” a report from Fight Crime: Invest in Kids, a nonprofit anti-crime organization comprised of more than 3,000 police chiefs, sheriffs, prosecutors, other law enforcement leaders.

Across the country, […]

Free for All: Open Source Software

Open source software has become a catchword in libraryland. Yet many remain unclear about open source’s benefits … or even what it is.

So what is open source software (OSS)? It’s software that is free in every sense of the word: free to download, free to use, and free to view or modify. Most OSS is distributed on the Web and you don’t need to sign a license agreement to use it.

Illustration by Mark Tuchman

In fact, you’re probably using OSS […]

Grades 5 & Up | August 2008


ALTEBRANDO, Tara. What Happens Here. 242p. MTV. 2008. pap. $9.95. ISBN 978-1-4165-4111-0. LC number unavailable.

Gr 9–11—Living in Vegas, high school juniors Chloe and Lindsay are surrounded by imitations of the world’s greatest places. They’ve always been like sisters and they plan to travel the world when they’re older. Then, while Chloe and her family are on a European vacation, Lindsay is raped and murdered. Suddenly, in […]

An Extreme Makeover | Teenage Riot

Let’s reverse the negative stereotypes associated with reading

What does a typical teen reader look like? Jonathan Douglas, director of the U.K.-based nonprofit National Literacy Trust, posed that question to more than 1,600 U.K. middle and high school students in a 2007 study called “Young People’s Self Perceptions as Readers.” Their answers included everything from intelligent and happy to boring and lacking experience or social skills. Despite these contradictions, the answers are pretty typical of teens who often associate reading with […]

Going, Going, Gone! | Under Cover

Kadir Nelson hits a home run with ‘We Are the Ship: The Story of Negro League Baseball’

Photograph by Marshall Williams.

The Negro leagues thrived from 1920 to 1947—the year Jackie Robinson became the first African American to play major league baseball. But given the segregation and racism the players encountered, We Are the Ship is more than a sports story.

Since African Americans were banned from playing in the majors, they created their own leagues. I think of We Are […]

A Home Away from Home: Libraries & Homeschoolers

For most homeschoolers, there’s no place like the library

Homeschooling families are everywhere these days. They’re on television, giving interviews after winning national spelling bees. They’re in the paper, profiled after making Olympic trials. They’re on the radio, talking about the growing popularity of homeschooling as an educational choice.

Illustration by Laurie Luczak

And they’re definitely in your library.

According to a 2003 study by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), when homeschoolers were asked about their primary source of books and/or […]

Renaissance Woman: A Portrait of Carolyn Brodie

She’s too modest to admit it, but Carolyn Brodie has launched a revival in Ohio’s youth services

If you are fortunate enough to meet Carolyn Brodie—the winner of this year’s Scholastic Library Publishing Award—I can guarantee that in the first five minutes you’ll be completely charmed by her soft-spoken Arkansas accent, warm demeanor, and genteel manners.

Don’t be fooled. While the graciousness is authentic, the woman behind it is fearless, with a clear vision for youth services, remarkable tenacity, unmatchable energy, and […]

My Dinner with Laura | Consider the Source

Schlitz’s Newbery acceptance speech was fabulous… except for one thing

Laura Amy Schlitz, thank you. Your Newbery Medal acceptance speech was so spectacular that even when it stumbled, it soared. Ms. Schlitz is a master storyteller. With her cascading white hair and well-chosen words, she looks and sounds like a bard, which is what you might expect from the author of Good Masters! Sweet Ladies!: Voices from a Medieval Village (Candlewick, 2007). Listening to Laura spin her tales makes you want […]

Close Encounters of the Best Kind: The Latest Sci-Fi

Searching for great writing, timely topics, and clever commentary? Try the latest sci-fi.

Not only is science fiction alive and well—it’s flourishing. From the big screen (howdy, Wall-E) to the big books (like Suzanne Collins’s The Hunger Games, which has attracted loads of prepublication praise), 2008 has been a great year for sci-fi.

My friend Diana Tixier Herald, author of Genreflecting: A Guide to Popular Reading Interests (Libraries Unlimited, 2005), saw it coming. She’s spent the past few years saying that once […]

Puzzling? You Bet! | The Gaming Life

Games that give your brain a workout

For centuries, puzzles and games like Chinese Checkers and Dominoes have captivated people around the world. So it’s not surprising that the puzzle genre has been embraced by video game designers. When Nintendo’s hand-held GameBoy was introduced in 1989, Tetris was packaged along with it. In a short time, more than 30 million people became addicted to the game that requires players to arrange and rotate falling blocks. In the nearly two decades since […]

Fire: Hot Topics | Focus On

Fireworks explode in the night sky. Families gather around campfires. Signs in national forests gauge fire danger. Sirens blaring and lights flashing, fire engines speed through streets. Almost every day we experience fire’s presence in many ways. Through the centuries people have harnessed fire’s power to cook food, heat dwellings, and light buildings. At the same time, they have struggled to control its power to destroy cities and forests.

A visit to a fire station introduces most students to the machines […]