April 21, 2018

The Advocate's Toolbox

Archives for December 2008

Holiday Memories 2008

Here’s our third annual series presenting holiday memories from some of your favorite children’s authors and illustrators. Share your holiday memories with SLJ on Twitter, using the hashtag #HolidayMemory.

Emily Jenkins

My parents divorced when I was two, and I am my mother’s only child. On Christmas Eve she and I used to go a friend’s house out in Arlington, MA. There was a tree that reached the ceiling decorated with lit candles, and they always served tiny chocolates decorated with white […]

When YouTube is blocked (way more than eight ways around)

In so many ways, YouTube is the world’s video portal. It is also, perhaps, the fastest growing website.

Sure, lots of it is seedy and inappropriate.  But so much of its content is legitimately important for education, for media and information fluency.  For example, I blogged recently about the learning potential of the YouTube Symphony Orchestra, an international collaboration. YouTube’s YouChoose became one of the richest presidential campaign resources. Our President-elect now chooses to upload his transition team messages to our […]

Zero Budget? | The Gaming Life

You can start a gaming program without spending a dime

Video gaming is becoming more and more mainstream every day. It’s definitely an accepted part of library programming, and game clubs are becoming part of school extracurricular activities. If you want to start a program through your school library, it’s likely that your administration will be happy to approve it. However, they will probably inform you that there is no money in the budget to fund it. That’s no reason that […]

Best Adult Books for High School Students 2008

It was a banner literary year and so SLJ‘s Adult Books for High School Students Committee decided on 30 titles, published between September 2007 and November 2008 (with reviews published in 2008), to recognize as the best for high school readers. The list includes realistic and historical novels as well as some genre-blending titles. Biography, history, and books about the environment are well represented. Outstanding graphic novels and nonfiction also appear. The committee members are from public and school libraries […]

Legends and Unsung Heroes: Black History in Picture Books | Focus On

Picture books pair up perfectly with African-American history, exquisitely depicting the determination and spirit that have marked more than two centuries of struggle against racial barriers and injustice. The emotions and humanity portrayed in the illustrations bring home the hardships and triumphs like no ordinary textbook can. Whether Eric Velasquez’s quiet charcoal drawings of marching children in Angela Johnson’s A Sweet Smell of Roses or R. Gregory Christie’s intense primitives of Sojourner Truth in Anne Rockwell’s Only Passing Through, the […]

We’ve Got the Technology: But are today’s schools ready for a radical transformation? | Consider the Source

“We are 20th-century teachers using 19th-century methods to reach 21st-century students.” That’s what I heard a bright, committed teacher tell her fellow educators at a recent educational technology conference. That terse, powerful statement reflects what many people, including myself, have often voiced or thought. These days, the mantra that seems to be on everyone’s lips is that schools must abandon the traditional scarcity model, where students are shown how to find information, and embrace an excess model—one in which young […]

Blue Bayou: An Interview with Kathi Appelt | Under Cover

Kathi Appelt’s inspired first novel, ‘The Underneath,’ brims with heartache and hope

The Underneath, set in East Texas’s bayou country, features two intertwined stories. One’s about a cat who befriends a mistreated dog, and the other is about a vindictive ancient shape-shifter—half serpent, half human—who longs for her daughter’s love. What most surprised you about the story?

It originated from a short story I had written. I never intended to write an animal story. I resisted having talking animals.

That’s ironic, since there’s […]

The Inside Story: Find the full content of children’s books on the Web

Don’t stop at the cover. The full contents of picture books, novels, and more are now available online.

Nothing beats cuddling up with a good book. But when you’re looking to get your hands on the right title or want to do something more, like share a good book with a class or access full-text volumes from a vast collection, technology can help. Whether it’s a peek inside a book that you’re after or a good chat with like-minded bibliophiles, these […]

Best Books 2008

Of the more than 5000 books reviewed in SLJ’s pages in 2008, the 67 books listed below stood out as having distinctive voices, singular vision, and/or innovative approaches. They include books for toddlers and preschoolers, terrific picture books and easy readers, and some highly original novels. Fantasy, historical fiction, science fiction, humor, mystery, affecting family stories, and adventure all make an appearance. It was an amazingly strong year for YA novels, several with hard-hitting, powerful themes. There’s also some spectacular […]

Happy Birthday, Abe: Celebrate Abraham Lincoln’s big 2-0-0 with these fun books | Nonfiction Booktalker

On February 12, we celebrate Abraham Lincoln’s birthday, and publishers, like the rest of the country, are rushing in to mark the big day of this bigger-than-life-size man. Lincoln probably already commands a goodly portion of your bookshelves, but take a look at some of these wonderful new titles, which make for fine booktalks.

Judith St. George’s Stand Tall, Abraham Lincoln (Philomel, 2008; Grades 3–5) reminds us that Abe had a tough childhood. Although Abe worked hard on the farm, his […]

Wanted, Male Models: There’s a good reason why boys don’t read

If you think this is one of those scholarly articles packed with facts and percentiles and references to government studies, stop reading. This piece is full of anecdotes and opinions. And it comes from a lifetime of teaching and writing for the “I won’t read” student, who, the majority of the time, ends up being a boy.

“Why don’t you read?” I recently asked a group of teenage guys. “Did you like to read when you were little? And if you […]

The Party Poopers: Teens will be teens, and we need to remind everyone on the library staff | Teenage Riot

We recently hosted a successful teen author visit at my library. We did our due diligence; informed everyone on staff (even the custodians); and promoted the hell out of it on our Web site and at the library.

It paid off. On the night of the visit, teens started lining up three hours before showtime. They were so excited about meeting this author that one teen even burst out in tears when she thought the room would fill to capacity before […]