March 23, 2018

The Advocate's Toolbox

Archives for September 2011

The Bully in the Backpack: There’s no limit to the cruelty of online bullies. Here’s what you can do.

Madi W. knows what it’s like to be hounded by death threats, nasty phone calls, and racist jibes. Four years ago, kids from her middle school in suburban Maryland started attacking her by cellphone, text messages, and on social media sites.

Then last fall, the assaults followed her to high school. Someone sent a text calling her the N-word and attached an image of a stick figure getting whipped. Over Thanksgiving break, a bunch of girls left a string […]

Ten Years After: Interview with Don Brown

By Rocco Staino,2011-09-07 11:37:29

SLJ talks to author-illustrator Don Brown about America Is Under Attack (Roaring Brook, 2011), one of the few new titles for young readers that deals with the September 11 tragedy.

In conjunction with the book’s release, Roaring Brook also has created an online discussion guide to assist parents, teachers, and librarians in presenting the events of that day to young people.

Were you a little nervous about taking on a subject like September 11?
I was reluctant to tackle the […]

California Bound | Focus On

July 2010, I attended “Empires of the Wind: Exploration of the United States Pacific West Coast,” one of the National Endowment for the Humanities Landmarks of American History and Culture workshops for teachers. During my week in San Diego, I learned much about this often overlooked part of American history and am pleased to be able to share what I learned with other school librarians across the country.

From a European perspective, North America’s Western coast was one of […]

Becoming Lore Keepers | The Gaming Life

If you had asked me six years ago when Blizzard Entertainment’s World of Warcraft (WoW), the popular MMORPG (Massively Multiplayer Online Roleplay Game), launched if I would be spearheading an effort to bring it into the classroom, it is very likely that I would have laughed. It isn’t that I would have thought it was a bad idea, but there would have been so many barriers that it would have been impractical. […]

Through the Wringer | Scales on Censorship

As a boy approached our circulation desk with a copy of Jerry Spinelli’s Wringer, his mother grabbed it and said, “I just checked reviews of that book on my iPhone, and I think there’s sexual content and violence.” They got into a tug-of-war, and I didn’t know what to do.

It’s tough to come between a parent and a child, but I’d ask to speak with the parent privately. I’d tell her about […]

Get Ready, Get Set… | First Steps

In a perfect world, every child would enter kindergarten happy, healthy, and eager to learn. They’d run into their classrooms anxious to see friends and already in love with their teachers. But it’s not quite a perfect world here in Portland, OR. A large percentage of our children of color and those from low-income families aren’t ready to learn when they enter the Portland Public Schools (PPS). A recent study found that […]

App Awareness: What to look for in an app

With apps, it’s important to keep abreast of what’s available and be able to discern what makes one app a better choice than another for a particular task. While each category of apps requires its own criteria for evaluation, there are some constants to bear in mind.


This might seem like a no-brainer, but is the app available for your operating platform? For iOS compatible devices, does it work on both the iPhone and iPad? If so, are there […]

The Enablers: Apps that free you to work anywhere

From doing research and taking notes to crafting a blog post and sharing photos, apps help me get the job done no matter where I am. These handy tools in the practical vein serve double duty in supporting the day-to-day work of librarians and educators as well as the activities of students, both in and out of school. And there sure are a lot of choices out there.

Having made it somewhat of […]

Changing the World One Bright Red Book Bag at a Time

Raising A Reader is on a mission—to make sure that every child starts school ready to succeed

Four-year-old Ana peeks out the window and jumps up and down as soon as she sees a special visitor pull up in front of her apartment complex. “Mama, the bags, las bolsas,” she shouts.

Mama has the two bright red bags ready. They’re full of children’s books, the only ones in their home. One holds Spanish-English board books for Ana’s baby […]

Say What?: Allen Say’s ‘Drawing from Memory’ charts the story of his improbable journey | Under Cover

While growing up in Japan, your father discouraged you from drawing. And in your new book we first see him from behind.

It’s the only time I show him.

When I saw that illustration, I knew it meant trouble.

You’re very perceptive—no one’s picked up on that. That was the only way I could depict my father and live with myself—to show him from behind and not his face. We had a very bad relationship. […]

The Lessons I Learned

A writer discovers that the right book at the right time can entice even the most reluctant reader

A boy sits in a quiet corner of a school library in North London, struggling to read a picture book that’s meant for much younger students. Although he’s tall and sturdy, and looks older than his 11 years, he’s already fallen far behind his peers academically.

I’m sitting with the boy, listening to him read. The school has a plan […]

Something to Shout About: New research shows that more librarians means higher reading scores

Librarian Marie Slim knew the cuts were coming. She just didn’t know they’d be this bad. For nearly 10 years, there had been a certified media specialist—and a full-time paraprofessional—at each of the six high schools in her California school district.

Then things slowly began to change.

In 2009, the district got rid of four librarians, leaving Slim and another media specialist to serve the six high schools. This month, Slim will be the only librarian standing—and it’s left […]