April 21, 2018

The Advocate's Toolbox

Archives for June 2009

Father Knows Best: An Interview with Fran Cannon Slayton | Under Cover

Fran Cannon Slayton’s tribute to her dad’s younger days is a treasure

When the Whistle Blows follows the adventures of Jimmy Cannon, a boy growing up in a rural West Virginia railroading town. Jimmy’s family has worked on the railroad for generations, and that’s what he dreams of doing. But the times are changing, and the town’s old way of life is in danger of disappearing. What inspired you to write your first novel?

It was inspired by my dad’s stories of […]

Moore of Everything: Thanks to Technology, the One Thing We Can Count on Is Change | Consider the Source

Thanks to technology, the one thing we can count on is change

I was driving along a muddy road in the English countryside last fall in a brown jeep that was probably used by the English army several wars ago. It was raining, and the only way to get the windshield wipers to work was to reach out and use my hand. The gear shift seemed like something out of an Erector Set. And any second I expected to see Rommel’s […]

History with a Hook | Nonfiction Booktalker

Famous mysteries that have endured for decades will delight kids

A strand of hair, a broken bone, and a girl who hid from the sunlight for two years. They all represent mysteries that have endured for decades, even centuries. Three fascinating new books detail these mind-twisters and will delight kids who love a good puzzle.

Most people regard Ludwig Beethoven as one of the world’s greatest classical composers. But did they realize that he didn’t always hear the music he […]

Humor: Leave ’em Laughing | Focus On

There’s only one certainty about funny books—funny is a personal preference. Students share books with me that they think are funny. Sometimes I don’t always get what makes them laugh. I’ve discovered that one kid’s humor may be an adult’s perplexity—or discomfort. That’s the upshot of humor. It’s about connection and appreciation, not judgment, and it’s a rare find when a humorous title entertains us all equally.

Books that create a feeling of good humor convince kids that reading is well […]

Games Have Stories to Tell | The Gaming Life

Storytelling can extend beyond the covers of a book

Readers become readers because they love stories. We often continue reading a book late into the night to find out what happens next. Educators recognize that great stories motivate children to read. Just look at the Harry Potter phenomenon—many young people who were never considered readers became hooked on the series of books, and in the process overturned conventional publishing wisdom concerning the acceptable length of a children’s book.

With the […]

Fearless: An Interview with Laurie Halse Anderson

Date rape. Anorexia. Slavery. Is there a topic that Laurie Halse Anderson won’t tackle?

It’s hard to believe that only 10 years have passed since Speak (Farrar) was published. Laurie Halse Anderson’s edgy first novel for teens was immediately recognized as groundbreaking, and its little-known author was praised for her ability to write artfully about tough topics such as date rape. Since then, the Printz Honor Book has become required reading in many classrooms, and Anderson has written six more works […]

Hey, Small Spender: An Insider’s Guide to Navigating ALA’s Chicago Conference on the Cheap

Illustration by Ali Douglass

Good and cheap. That’s our daily mantra during these troubled economic times. So if you’re planning to attend the American Library Association’s (ALA) annual conference in Chicago July 9–15, we want to make sure you get the most bang for your buck. First, we’ve scoured ALA’s program guide (no small feat) to single out the sessions, speakers, and events you won’t want to miss. As for the extracurricular activities, Chicago has a lot […]

School Library Journal’s 10 Best Digital Resources for 2009

The must-have products for next fall

Our second annual “best of” list looks at products reviewed between June 2008 and the present. The past year saw many excellent and innovative projects—and narrowing them down to a top-10 list wasn’t easy. As we prepare for the next school year—or as public libraries develop the budget for a new fiscal year—these are the products for children and teens you should be advocating to add to your digital collection.

American Indian Experience

American Indian Experience […]

You Are There: No budget for travel? Try video chat.

It was the sort of exchange that could only happen on a field trip. One of my students, noticing the unusual bow attached to Alexander Hamilton’s ponytail, asked our guide about the odd accessory. “That’s a bag wig,” replied Eli Lesser, director of education at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia. Colonial gents often wore them at the end of their powdered hairpieces. Since the wigs weren’t always clean, he explained, they needed to keep the dicey […]