April 27, 2018

The Advocate's Toolbox

News Bites: Win Big with Verizon’s App Challenge

App Challenge for Students

STEM app challenge: The Verizon Innovative App Challenge was created by the Verizon Foundation to ignite students’ interest in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). Hosted by the Verizon Foundation and administered by the Technology Student Association (TSA), groups of 5–10 students in middle and high school and their faculty advisers are given the opportunity to develop an original mobile app concept that incorporates STEM and addresses a need or problem in their school or community. Between October 15 and January 18, each team entering the contest must submit an essay of up to 1,000 words that describes the team and the process it went through to develop the concept, how it will address the problem, what STEM skills were used in the process, and its functionality and potential impact. Each team must also submit a three-minute video or other visual presentation describing the app concept and how it will function. Teams may create a video, use presentation software such as PowerPoint or Keynote, or utilize online tools like Animoto, Prezi, or SlideRocket. Be sure to check out the rules and guidelines.

During the week of February 21, a winning middle school and a high school team will be chosen from each state. From this group, five middle school and five high school teams will be selected as challenge winners on March 18. Each challenge winner’s school will receive a $10,000 grant to build the app and to enhance STEM education. Members from the team will receive a Samsung Galaxy wireless tablet.

Lifetime Achievement Award

Prolific author honored: Popular author Russell Freedman has won the Educational Book and Media Association’s (EBMA) 2012 Jeremiah Ludington Award. Named after the Association’s founder, the annual lifetime achievement award is given to an individual who has made a significant contribution to the “education book business.” Russell has written more than 50 biographies and other nonfiction books, and won the 1988 Newbery Medal for Lincoln: A Photobiography (Clarion, 1987). At EBMA’s annual meeting in Orlando, Florida, in January 2013, Freedman will receive a framed certificate and $2,500 will be given to the charity of his choice—the San Francisco Public Library. “The EBMA board and membership are thrilled to present this year’s Ludington Award to Russell Freedman,” said Gene Bahlman, EBMA president and vice president of Follett Library Resources, Inc. “His contributions to children’s nonfiction literature spanning over 50 years is unmatched and truly impressive.” Previous recipients of the award include Steven Kellogg, Jon Scieszka, Kevin Henkes, Judy Blume, and Richard Peck, among others.

Teens’ Top Ten

Best books: Divergent (HarperCollins/Katherine Tegen Books), Veronica Roth’s debut novel set in a dystopian Chicago world, has been selected by teens as their favorite book in the annual Teens’ Top Ten vote sponsored by the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA), a division of the American Library Association (ALA). To come up with the top ten books, national teen book discussion groups created a list of 24 of their favorite books published between January 2011 and March 2012. Then, teens across the country voted for their top three favorites online between August 15 and September 15 to create the 2012 Teens’ Top Ten. You can check out a video announcement of the list.

The other winners are: The Fault in Our Stars (Dutton, 2012) by John Green, Legend (Putnam) by Marie Lu, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children (Quirk Bks., 2011) by Ransom Riggs, What Happened to Goodbye (Viking, 2011) by Sarah Dessen, Across the Universe by Beth Revis (Penguin/Razorbill, 2011), Cinder (Feiwel and Friends, 2012) by Marissa Meyer, The Scorpio Races (Scholastic, 2011) by Maggie Stiefvater, Where She Went (Dutton, 2011) by Gayle Forman, and Abandon (Scholastic/Point, 2011) by Meg Cabot. The winners will be featured on YALSA’s literature blog, The Hub: Your Connection to Teen Reads.


Children’s book illustrations: If you’re in New York City between October 24 and December 22, you’ll have the opportunity to see The Original Art 2012, an annual exhibit celebrating children’s book illustration at the Museum of American Illustration at the Society of Illustrators. Founded in 1980 by illustrator and art director Dilys Evans, the exhibit showcases the original art from the year’s best children’s books that have been selected by a jury of illustrators, art directors, and illustrators. This year, 139 books were chosen from more than 550 entries submitted.

Awards in a number of categories will be presented at an opening reception on October 25 at the Society of Illustrators. Gold and silver medals are going to three books representing a variety of mediums and techniques. Laetitia Devernay won the Gold Medal for The Conductor (Chronicle, 2011). The Silver Medal winners are Jon Klassen for This Is Not My Hat (Candlewick, 2012) and Steve Jenkins for The Beetle Book (Houghton Harcourt, 2012). In addition, the Founders Award, given to the most promising new talent in children’s book illustration, is going to The Brothers Hilts for The Insomniacs (Putnam). The Lifetime Achievement Award for distinguished accomplishments in the art of children’s book illustration was awarded to Tomie de Paola and the late Richard Scarry.

Best Practices

Cutting-edge recognition: Is your school or public library using cutting-edge technology? The American Library Association’s (ALA) Office for InformationTechnology Policy (OITP) and the Library & Information Technology Association (LITA) are accepting nominations from libraries that have successfully implemented technological advancements. Submissions for best practices must involve the use of technology, must be a novel idea or implementation of a service, and must document the project so that it can be replicated. Nominations may be made for work in numerous areas, including application development, circulation, collections, community services, integration of Common Core Standards, open source, patron services, professional development, readers’ advisory, references services, web services, and many more. The applications must be submitted no later than November 6, 2012, and a joint committee of members from the Subcommittee on America’s Libraries for the 21st Century and the Library & Information Technology Association will review the nominations. Winners will be announced at ALA’s Midwinter Meeting in January 2013.

“We want to showcase libraries that are serving their communities with novel and innovative methods and provide the library community with some successful models for delivering quality library service in new ways,” said Patty Saidenberg, chair of the Cutting-edge Technology in Library Services selection committee.

Digital Reference Update

Database update: A “Focus on History through Video” feature has been added to Infobase Learning’s African-American History Online. On the homepage, each time the site reloads, a new video will be shown. A gallery of all the videos in the database can be accessed by clicking on the link just below that video screen. To help students who are searching for video clips from a specific time period in African-American history, the video gallery can be filtered by era. “Booker T. Washington Is Enshrined in Hall of Fame,” “Joe Louis and Bill Conn Sign for the Title Bout,” and “Torpedo Boats” are among the new videos.  This footage from the time adds context and depth to students’ understanding of events in African-American history. The database also includes primary sources, images, time lines, biographies, maps, charts, subject entries, and more.

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Phyllis Levy Mandell About Phyllis Levy Mandell

Phyllis Mandell was Managing Editor/Multimedia Review Editor for SLJ.