February 18, 2018

The Advocate's Toolbox

Book Review: Professional Reading | March 2013

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BLUEMEL , Nancy Larson & Rhonda Harris Taylor. Pop-Up Books: A Guide for Teachers and Librarians. 324p. bibliog. diags. further reading. glossary. index. notes. websites. Libraries Unlimited. 2012. pap. $40. ISBN 978-1-59158-398-1. LC 2011039794.
This comprehensive overview highlights the accessibility, variety, and types of pop-up books, and explores their potential as instructional tools. While the introduction can sometimes be repetitive and heavy with references, the authors’ enthusiasm is contagious. The volume’s real value comes in the extensive collection of lesson plans, which are divided into use with elementary, middle school, and high school students. Each well-thought-out lesson starts with a theme and then focuses on one book. Major curriculum areas are noted, and an overview of the activity is followed by step-by-step instructions for implementing it. It is unfortunate that the layout of these lessons is so dense that it’s often difficult to find the end of one lesson and the beginning of the next. While this might prove annoying, it doesn’t detract from the actual lessons. This is a wonderful resource for librarians or teachers looking for a new hook for their lessons. The skill, detail, and feats of engineering that contribute to pop-up books make them an ideal source for engaging students in a variety of curriculum areas. –Susan Lissim, Dwight School, New York City

FRASER , Elizabeth. Reality Rules II: A Guide to Teen Nonfiction Reading Interests. 240p. appendix. bibliog. index. websites. Libraries Unlimited. 2012. PLB $48. ISBN 978-1-59884-790-1. LC 2012020232.
Fraser recommends nonfiction books published after 2007 that will appeal to a wide range of young adults, including reluctant and ESL readers. Sections include “Adventure,” “Memoirs and Autobiographies,” “Biography,” “Sports,” “All About You,” and “The Arts.” The chapters are clearly organized, and each featured title includes an annotation and suggested reading level. Titles that have won awards are noted. As books are selected for their quality, design, and organization, as well as for their popularity , Reality Rules II is a useful tool for collection development and programming. The “Consider Starting With…” feature points out the more accessible titles in the chapter that would be a great starting place for purchasing or for creating displays or booklists. “Fiction Read-Alikes” offers more suggested titles to expand topics. An appendix provides information about additional reference and readers’ advisory resources, review journals, and online sources. The indexes are user-friendly and allow for quick access to specific authors, titles, and subjects. As many states are adopting the Common Core Standards with its shift in focus from fiction to nonfiction, this guide will be especially valuable to librarians selecting content that will actively engage teen readers across the curriculum. –Sherry J. Mills, Hazelwood East High School, St. Louis, MO

ISAACS , Kathleen T. Picturing the World: Informational Picture Books for Children. 218p. appendix. bibliog. index. websites. ALA. 2012. pap. $50. ISBN 978-0-8389-1126-6. LC 2012010059.
Isaacs draws on her considerable experience as a teacher and librarian to produce this useful tool. She begins by clarifying the terminology, followed by a chapter outlining solid criteria for making choices. The remainder of the book consists of seven chapters with such broad titles as “The Natural World Around Us” and “Ourselves and Our World at Home and School,” with critical, informative annotations for close to 300 titles, all published within the last 10 years. An appendix provides a list of awards and Best-of-the-Year book lists mentioned in the annotations. Title, author, illustrator, and subject indexes are included. Considering the emphasis on nonfiction in the new Common Core Standards, elementary librarians wishing to flesh out their collections will find this a valuable resource. –Grace Oliff, Ann Blanche Smith School, Hillsdale, NJ

MOREILLON , Judi. Coteaching Reading Comprehension Strategies in Secondary School Libraries: Maximizing Your Impact. 192p. bibliog. charts. illus. index. ALA. 2012. pap. $50. ISBN 978-0-8389-1088-7. LC 2011029708.
The target audience for this book is pre-service school librarians and classroom teachers, although veteran practitioners may also learn a few tricks along the way. Readers will gain a “background knowledge in literacy instruction based on research and writing in the fields of education and librarianship” with sample lessons to put into practice. The authors define various co-teaching approaches that focus on learning outcomes; therefore, emphasis is given to evaluation and assessment. They define reading-comprehension strategies: “Activating or Building on Background Knowledge,” “Using Sensory Images, “Questioning,” “Making Predictions and Drawing Inferences,” “Determining Main Ideas,” “Using Fix-up Options,” and “Synthesizing.” Each chapter provides a description of the strategy, guidance on how to teach tit, connections to literature, and a listing of tween, YA, and adult literature cited in the chapter. The lessons are based on three different levels of readers’ abilities: advancing, advanced, and challenging. Standard lesson plans are included, and are enriched with ideas for collaboration and guidance in how to proceed through the lesson. Extensive downloadable supplemental materials are available online as “web extras” and include lesson plan graphic organizers, mentor texts, rubrics, and thematic text sets, to name just a few. –Wendy M. Scalfaro, G. Ray Bodley High School, Fulton, NY

NEUBURGER , Emily K. Show Me a Story: 40 Craft Projects and Activities to Spark Children’s Storytelling. 144p. diags. illus. index. photos. Storey. 2012. pap. $16.95. ISBN 978-1-60342-988-7; Tr $26.95. ISBN 978-1-61212-148-2. LC 2012004610.
This collection invites children between the ages of 5 and 12 to create stories about their everyday lives and imaginings. Divided into four sections (“story starters,” “story evolution,” “story activities,” and “story play”), the book provides a variety of projects to make and use. Each one includes a list of materials, clear step-by-step instructions, teaching tips, and other ideas that can be adapted for younger or older children. Bright photographs feature boys and girls engaged in each activity. Story prompts painted on wooden disks and worn as necklaces; a pretend neighborhood created with wood, paper, and craft foam; a story terrarium in a glass jar; and a traveling puppet theater with tongue-depressor puppets are among the projects. A reference desk game provides information, a time-line mural promotes sequencing, and word lists inspire characters and settings. Outside activities encourage children to observe and think like storytellers, and their stories–whether written or told–come together. With binoculars and treasure maps from their adventure kits, they can experience the stories they have created. Back matter includes templates and puppet-theater backdrops. Public and school libraries will want this rich, innovative craft book in their collections. –Mary Jean Smith, formerly at Southside Elementary School, Lebanon, TN

REID , Rob. Silly Books to Read Aloud. 160p. illus. index. ALA. 2013. pap. $18.95. ISBN 978-1-937589-10-3. LC 2012021523.
This guide differs in two ways from Reid’s Read-Alouds: Selections for Children and Teens (2009) and Reid’s Read-Alouds 2: Modern Day Classics from C.S. Lewis to Lemony Snicket (2011, both ALA) as it is written more as a guide for parents than for librarians. The books are organized by format: picture books, easy readers, chapter books (fiction), poetry collections, and graphic novels and manga. Some titles date back to 1987, such as Keiko Kasa’s Wolf’s Chicken Stew , but all of them are still available. Each annotation gives a detailed description of the book and a taste of the kind of humor it employs. It also lists any companion books (which may or may not be in print). No grade or age levels are included. While this isn’t vital information when choosing a read-aloud, parents may want, or need, a bit more guidance in selecting an appropriate title. That said, when looking for something fun to read to a child or group of youngsters, this source will be used over and over again. –Renee McGrath, Nassau Library System, NY

St. STEPHEN’S COMMUNITY HOUSE . It’s Not All Black and White: Multiracial Youth Speak Out. 120p. illus. photos. Annick Press. 2012. pap. $12.95. ISBN 978-1-55451-380-2.
This collection of personal stories, poetry, artwork, and photography was created through the project Making Sense of One. Based at St. Stephen’s Community House, a social service agency in Toronto, the project brought young adults together to share their experiences and focus on issues of racial identity. Their backgrounds include African, Caribbean, European, Latino, Native American, and South American. Contributions by and interviews with adults who share their experiences and discuss raising mixed-race children are also included. The collection explores how multiracial people identify themselves and how they are perceived by others; the positive aspects of being able to embrace multiple cultures and ethnicities; as well as the racism they encounter, and the confusion, frustration, resentment, anger, and isolation they experience. Compelling graphics and fonts, some resembling handwriting, impart a visceral sense of directness and intimacy. Sidebars provide definitions of words that have been used to categorize and define race, ethnicity, and interactions among racial groups. People of mixed race will be able to identify with the stories that are shared, and will see themselves reflected in this collection. This important book will be valuable in opening up discussion about issues of racial identity. –Francesca Burgess, Brooklyn Public Library, NY

WEINER , Stephen. Faster Than a Speeding Bullet: The Rise of the Graphic Novel. 72p. further reading. illus. NBM. 2012. RTE $14.99. ISBN 978-1-56163-702-7. LC 2012947465.
A comics historian offers a short but pithy history of the industry and how it led to the format known as the graphic novel, a term first coined by Will Eisner in the late 1970s. The first third of the book analyzes the factors that influenced the evolution of comic-book content, quality, and readership from The Yellow Kid in 1895 to the first graphic novels, paying special attention to the causes and effects of the Comics Code Authority, the severely restrictive production code established in 1954. Weiner maps out the relationships among publishers, distributors, and retail outlets. This is helpful for understanding the route by which an unconventional, independent title such as Jeff Smith’s Bone finds an initial readership, appears in a number of editions, and may be picked up by a larger publishing house. A good portion of the book is dedicated to the revival of the industry in the 1980s, when creators like Frank Miller and Alan Moore reinvented traditional superheroes for a more sophisticated adult audience, and how this revival paved the way for the astonishing diversity we see today. Perhaps most valuable for librarians is Weiner’s description of not only the various types of comics and graphic novels, but also of the nature of various types of fans–readers of arty work such as Julius Knipfl, Real Estate Photographer are not likely to embrace the “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.” Illustrated on every page with pertinent comics panels, this book is meant to be a durable addition to a shelf that also includes Scott McCloud’s Understanding Comics (Tundra, 1993) and David Hadju’s The Ten-Cent Plague (Farrar, 2008). Break out the reading glasses though–you can’t fit all this analysis, plus copious illustrations, into 70 pages without using a typeface that is punishingly small. –Paula Willey, Baltimore County Public Library, Towson, MD

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