April 27, 2018

The Advocate's Toolbox

SLJ Blogs




Recent Posts:


SweetSearch: an update and three tools for your kids’ utility belts

I’ve been a longtime fan of findingDulcinea, a carefully curated portal for educators that I reviewed years ago. SweetSearch, its searchier sister site, is an excellent example of the power of a Google custom search engine to create a noise-free, focused search for children. Launched in 2009, SweetSearch leverages a Google CSE to search the websites included in findingDulcinea’s pathfinders […]

Lovely Rita and the Sutherland lecture

A reminder that next Friday, May 4th, finds me introducing Rita Williams-Garcia for her Sutherland lecture, “Look Here. Not There,” at 7:30PM at the Harold Washington Library Center in Chicago. Admission to the program is free, but you have to sign up at chipublib.org/sutherland. I hope to see you there! The Sutherland Lecture committee thanks HarperCollins […]

Book Review: Stay Sweet by Siobhan Vivian

Publisher’s description From the author of The Last Boy and Girl in the World and The List comes a bold and sweet summer read about first love, feminism, and ice cream. Summer in Sand Lake isn’t complete without a trip to Meade Creamery—the local ice cream stand founded in 1944 by Molly Meade who started making ice cream to […]

I Will Not Retreat to a Book Cave to Eat Taco Bell

Taco Bell has a new commercial called The Librarian, and I have a few problems with it. First of all, what the h is that book? Kanine Crash? Never heard of it. This questionable read aloud choice makes it clear that this a sub-par librarian we’re dealing with. The librarian can’t handle her failed read aloud […]

Book Trailer Reveal: Heartbeat by Evan Turk

Someday in the future, children’s literary scholars will specialize in fields like Historical Children’s Book Trailers. They will sift through a century or two’s worth of trailers, marking the significant changes, the highs, and the lows. And when they come to the late teens of this century, I hope that they’ll pause a moment and […]

YA A to Z: The Long Road to Gentrification, a guest post by author Lilliam Rivera

Today we are honored to have YA author Lilliam Rivera join us for YA A to Z to discuss gentrification. Lilliam Rivera is the author of The Education of Margot Sanchez. When the Lyft driver veers the car to the first right on to Willis Avenue, I notice the large billboard sign. “New Luxurious Condos.” […]

Review: Speak

Recently, I was talking to one of my students, and she told me that she preferred to read novels, because she liked to make her own images in her head. I get it. I happen to love both novels and graphic novels, and I’m also an avid fan of audiobooks… but I totally get her […]

Morning Notes: The Vanisher Edition

READING IN THE SUMMER Publishers Weekly released their top summer picture book, middle grade, and YA reads and there’s a whole bunch of good stuff. Click here to check them out. NOT MY BREXIT! Were you wondering when the children’s books about Brexit were coming? No? Well how about this parody? Click here to read. […]

Review of the Day – The Faithful Spy: Dietrich Bonhoeffer and the Plot to Kill Hitler by John Hendrix

The Faithful Spy: Dietrich Bonhoefer and the Plot to Kill Hitler By John Hendrix Amulet Books (an imprint of Abrams) $16.99 ISBN: 978-1-4197-2838-9 Ages 10 and up On shelves September 4th In this life, it can be difficult to find absolutes. Absolute good. Absolute evil. Absolute good in the face of absolute evil. For many […]

Review: ‘The Dragon Slayer: Folktales from Latin America’

The Dragon Slayer: Folktales from Latin America Writer/artist: Jaime Hernandez Toon Books; $9.99 or $16.95 For years, Jaime Hernandez’s work with his brothers on seminal alternative comic Love and Rockets introduced adult comics readers to the sorts of cool, charismatic, complex young Latina women he grew up with. In The Dragon Slayer, a new Toon […]

New and forthcoming YA and MG to know about

Books, books, and more books! My neighbors probably wonder what exactly goes on over here at the house where UPS of FedEx stops nearly every day. All of the books I get end up going back out the door in some fashion—to teen readers I know, to classroom libraries of friends, to my own school, […]

Discovered in the Archives: An Interview with Russell Hoban (2010)

When blogs were new and hip and happening, there was a push for everybody to have one. Librarians, publishers, authors, artists, you name it. So in the early part of the 21st century a slew of publisher blogs came into being. Sometimes these came from individual imprints. Sometimes small publishers. Sometimes from the big houses […]

Parrot Mambo Drone Review by Michelle Biwer

Our library recently purchased a set of Parrot Mambo Drones for use in STEM programs. They are about $110 each plus accessories. With Parrot Mambo Drones you can: Fly a drone using a smartphone or other device with a bluetooth connection as a remote. Program a drone using different programming languages/platforms including Swift Playground, Tynker, […]

Grace for Gus

Grace for Gus Written and illustrated by Harry Bliss Published by Katherine Tegen Books, 2018   Book Review At Midtown Elementary School in New York City, Grace’s class is raising money for the Gus Buddy Fund. Gus, the class guinea pig, spends most of his day in a cage and needs a friend. Spending much […]

Collection Development: Updating My GN and Manga Collection; or, that time I decided I wanted to face my arch nemesis and build a better collection for my patrons

Hello all, Collecting Comics is Ally Watkins’ column, but I’m co-opting her column for a brief moment to share with you how I’m going about re-vamping my graphic novel and manga collection. It’s okay, Ally helped me periodically on this project. I could not have done it without her and the help of several other […]

Review: ‘Fence Volume 1′

Fence Volume 1 Written by C.S. Pacat, illustrated by Johanna the Mad BOOM! Studios, $9.99 To attract fans of the boys-love sports series Check, Please! and Yuri!!! on Ice, BOOM! has released a manga-like comic about competitive boys at a fencing academy. Nicholas is the scrappy, disadvantaged up-and-comer with natural talent and insufficient training. In […]

Review: Murray the Race Horse by Gavin Puckett

Murray the Race Horse (Fables from the Stables Book 1) By Gavin Puckett Illustrated by Tor Freeman Faber & Faber ISBN: 9780571334681 $8.95 Grades 1-3 In Stores May 15, 2018 Find it at: Your Library | Schuler Books   There’s a certain type of book we don’t see enough. When early readers are too simple, […]

Fuse 8 n’ Kate: Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst

After promising Kate that we’d do a book by a lady, I had to determine the best possible choice. My idea was to look on my old Top 100 Picture Books Poll and see who the top women on there were. #1? Margaret Wise Brown. #2 was Judith Viorst and this book. You know, you […]

Sunday Reflections: What are the limits of free speech in the library? Reflections on the incident at Aurora Public Library

Yesterday I was sitting at the Reference Desk, scrolling through Twitter to see what was happening in the world – and the library world more specifically – when I came across an angry post by many of my peers that shared the picture of a poem on display in the Aurora Public Library. They had […]

Sunday Reflections: What are the limits of free speech in the library? Reflections on the incident at Aurora Public Library

Yesterday I was sitting at the Reference Desk, scrolling through Twitter to see what was happening in the world – and the library world more specifically – when I came across an angry post by many of my peers that shared the picture of a poem on display in the Aurora Public Library. They had […]