February 24, 2018

The Advocate's Toolbox

Archives for August 2009

Met Any Good Authors Lately?

Classroom author visits can happen via Skype (here’s a list of those who do this for free)

Illustration by Marc Rosenthal

At 7:25 am on the last day of school, five avid fifth-grade readers hustle into the library of Chamberlin School in South Burlington, VT. They shrug off backpacks and pull out advance copies of The Brilliant Fall of Gianna Z, my middle-grade novel about a Vermont girl who’s convinced her school leaf collection project is ruining her life. They crowd […]

Environmental Awareness: Going Green | Focus On

The green movement is enjoying the national spotlight as governments, businesses, and individuals strive toward environmentally responsible practices. Although going green may seem like a recent trend, many aspects of today’s heightened environmental awareness began in 1970 when the United States celebrated its first Earth Day. What began as a small campaign turned into a national phenomenon as students all over the country engaged in a grassroots movement to draw attention to the environment. The first Earth Day was so […]

Autism: The Equal Opportunity Disorder

Autism is on the rise, and it can affect any family. Here’s what you need to know.

Illustration by Vivienne Flesher

Marco Robertiello arrived on schedule in October 2000, weighing in at five pounds, seven ounces. Apart from being a little underweight, he had a near-perfect Apgar score, and by the looks of things, the brown-haired, brown-eyed newborn was healthy.

In fact, everyone thought Marco was a perfect baby. He was quieter than most and didn’t need much attention. […]

A New Script: Can works of fiction be adapted for Readers’ Theater?

Can works of fiction be adapted for Readers’ Theater?

As part of a program for young people, we’d like to adapt a children’s book for Readers’ Theater. The resulting script will be presented in a school or public library. I’ve come across a lot of helpful tips on how to transform a book into script, but I haven’t found anything on copyright issues. Is it OK to adapt a work of fiction?

—Bethany Lafferty, assistant branch manager, youth services department head
Green Valley […]

The 7th Early Literacy Skill | The Gaming Life

In pursuit of gaming knowledge in the electronic age

As a children’s librarian and mother of three, I practice the six early literacy skills with children nearly every day. I sing alphabet songs, perform silly puppet shows, and read them picture books before bedtime. I also belong to the minority group of parents who champion video games because I recognize their educational value. I’ve often become excited about the possibility of training children’s librarians in Second Life. There is no question […]

Wrench in the Works: An Interview with Kate Thompson | Under Cover

Kate Thompson’s ‘Creature of the Night’ is raw, uncompromising, and winning

Photo by Patrick Henaghan

Your latest novel is about a 14-year-old punk who steals cars, does drugs, and gets into fights. When Bobby’s family moves from Dublin to the country to start over, they soon discover that their lives may be in peril. What inspired you to write such a gritty story?

I had this idea kicking around in my mind for about five or more years. It was a […]

When Harry Met Bella: Fanfiction is all the rage. But is it plagiarism? Or the perfect thing to encourage young writers?

Remember when Harry Potter invited Bella Swan to Hogwarts’s big dance? And Ginny Weasley and Edward Cullen both went ballistic?

Fans of the Harry Potter and Twilight sagas know that that’s crazy talk. After all, these fictional megastars aren’t even in the same series. Still, it’s a tantalizing scenario to consider. What if Bella decided to dump her handsome hunk of a vampire? What if Harry transferred to her school, Forks High, in rainy Washington State? What if…?

Illustration by Charlie […]

Extreme Science | Nonfiction Booktalker

The self-sacrifice of some scientists will inspire awe, admiration, and chills

You’ve heard of people throwing themselves into their work, right? Well, these books for grades five to eight introduce us to folks who literally hurl themselves with passionate force to make incredible advances in scientific knowledge.

Donna Jackson’s fascinating Extreme Scientists: Exploring Nature’s Mysteries from Perilous Places (Houghton, 2009) describes three researchers who boldly go into dangerous places on a regular basis. First up, Paul Flaherty, the hurricane guy. His daring […]

The Voices of Autism | Up for Discussion

A look at some recent books about autism and the people who write them

Recently while perusing the site LibraryThing, I saw someone had tagged my novel The Very Ordered Existence of Merilee Marvelous (Greenwillow, 2007) as the “current cool disability.” My book, loosely based on a loved one and set in my beloved Texas, took more than five years to write and publish. At the time I started it, Mark Haddon’s The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time […]