April 22, 2018

The Advocate's Toolbox

Archives for December 2009

Holiday Memories 2009

Here’s our fourth 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.

Author Laurie Halse Anderson lives in upstate New York.

Laurie Halse Anderson likes to tackle tough subjects like date rape, death, and slavery. Her most recent novel, Wintergirls (Viking, 2009), which deals with anorexia, received five starred reviews and debuted on the New York Times Bestseller List. But the award-winning children’s and YA […]

Trunk-Kated: An Interview with Kate DiCamillo

We caught up with Newbery Medalist Kate DiCamillo, who’s busy promoting her latest novel, The Magician’s Elephant (2009), which takes place in a mythical city and involves an orphan boy who is led by an elephant in search of a sister who was thought to be dead. The last time we spoke with DiCamillo was in 2006, when she read from her book The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane (2006, both Candlewick).

It seems like you did a lot of research […]

Book Review: Grades 5 & Up | December 2009 | School Library Journal


ALLEN, Justin. Year of the Horse. 320p. Overlook. 2009. pap. $12.95. ISBN 978-1-59020-273-9. LC number unavailable.

Gr 9 Up—A Western adventure swollen with minor incidents and bits of devilish sorcery occasionally spliced in, this novel lacks cohesion, historical imagination, or fantasy flair. Fictionalized place-names take readers uncertainly (sans map) from the Mississippi to the Pacific; the style nods faintly to Twain and McMurtry. Detail is often irrelevant; atmosphere is spotty (e.g., many cigarettes are smoked, none rolled). Gratuitous gore and […]

Creating Contour Drawings and Frames

Lesson Plans for The Secret World of Walter Anderson by Hester Bass

The Secret World of Walter Anderson (Bass)© 2009 by E.B. Lewis

Creating Contour Drawings: Grades 3-5

In The Secret World of Walter Anderson, it’s evident that the artist’s passion for nature was the inspiration for much of his work. His drawings and watercolors of animal and plant life invite viewers to closely observe and appreciate nature. In these lessons students will create an observation drawing incorporating natural forms, then design a border to […]

Have You Heard the Word? For a low-budget way to get kids wild about reading, try readers theater.

Illustration by Gary Hovland

What happens when you combine the thrill of theater with the magic of books? You get readers theater.

Where do you turn to use literature in a lively way that enhances young people’s reading pleasure and writing skills? You turn to readers theater.

What do you do when you have little or no money, but need to create a book program that takes advantage of “out loud culture” (kids’ book expert Michael Cart’s smart phrase)? You go […]

Around the World with Tricksters

Borreguita and the Coyote (Aardema) © 1991 by Petra Mathers

Small, wily, and with a knack for mischief: sound like any of the first graders you know? Tricksters, like our youngest students, are often agents of confusion, sometimes of chaos, but, more often than not, their misdeeds go unpunished. The affinity children feel for these delightful rascals, found across time and cultures, contributes to their popularity.

Tricksters travel under many names: Coyote in the Southwest, Raven in the […]

Pleased to Tweet You: Making a case for Twitter in the classroom

Making a case for Twitter in the classroom

The lights are dimmed and the LCD projector is on when my seventh graders arrive for English class on a cool September morning at Stafford Middle School in Plattsburgh, a small school district on the western shore of Lake Champlain in Northern New York. They burst into the room, but fall silent when they see a conversation unfolding before them via TweetChat on the big screen.

“What are they talking about?” Hailey asks.

“It’s the […]

Best Adult Books for High School Students 2009

During the past year, more than three dozen librarians working with teens in public, school, and college libraries have evaluated books published for the adult market with an eye toward identifying those that are worthy of teen reading as well. By examining more than 600 titles, we were able to select about 250 for review across the year. Of these adult books of interest and appropriate to the concerns of high school readers, the following are ones no […]

Building an ARG | The Gaming Life

Alternate reality games challenge teens to use technology in new ways

Hi, my name’s Chelsie. I got this bracelet for my 14th birthday. My aunt says it’s from my parents, but the thing is that I haven’t seen them in a year. They disappeared after my last birthday. They were working on an archaeological dig and one morning they were just gone. The bracelet is the only link I have to my parents. […]

Best Books 2009

Illustration by Jerry Pinkney

Just when you think every topic has been covered to the fullest, somehow, talented writers, creative artists, and forward-thinking editors come up with new takes and fresh angles. This is particularly true of the books selected as the best of 2009.

The hallmarks of the nonfiction this year include some unusual scientists, from two brothers who invented day-glow paint, to a scientist tracking snow leopards in Mongolia. New heroes and events arise from the Civil Rights Movement, […]

Born to Be Wild: Sick of boring science books? Try Pamela S. Turner’s ‘The Frog Scientist.’ | Under Cover

Photograph by David Paul Morris/Getty Images for SLJ.

Your latest book opens with Tyrone Hayes, a biologist at UC Berkeley, and some of his grad students trying to catch frogs in Wyoming. What was it like hanging out with those guys?

It was pretty funny. I was in Southern California at a conference, and they were up in Montana. They were going to these really remote lakes and trying to take some water samples and find some frogs. They went on […]