March 22, 2018

The Advocate's Toolbox

SLJ Blogs

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Review: ‘Blue Bottle Mystery: An Asperger Adventure’

Blue Bottle Mystery: An Asperger Adventure Written by Kathy Hoopmann Illustrated by Rachael Smith Adapted by Mike Medaglia Jessica Kingsley Publishers If I were Ben, the protagonist of this story, I’d point out that there really is no mystery, in the sense of a problem to be solved. That’s Ben—very literal-minded, careful about details, wary […]

A video visit with your academic librarian: an idea for your seniors

One of my exceptional former students, Lawrence (NJ) High School librarian Ewa Elliot, hosted a meeting a couple of weeks back. She invited middle and high school, public and academic librarians to have a conversation about Ewa scheduled time for us to chat about: our current programs across the board preparing students for life after […]

Putting the Science Back in Library Science: Collection Development, Diversity Audits, & Understanding Teens – Analyzing Data for Decision Making

I began working at The Public Library of Mount Vernon and Knox County in Ohio in January of 2015, for the second time. This was actually the public library I got my start in and I, along with a peer named Holly, were the first people ever hired to do teen services at this library. […]

Collecting Comics: March 2018 with Ally Watkins

Check out these March-releasing comics that your teens and tweens will love! Archival Quality by Ivy Noelle Weir, illustrated by Steenz (Oni Press, March 6). Cel starts working as an archivist at the Logan Museum, but the job may not be everything she’s hoping for. Cel starts to dream of a woman she’s never met, […]

I Created My Own Book Spine Poem and So Can You (And Your Students/Patrons)!

April is coming up. April is National Poetry Month. April is the time for book spine centos (see above). It makes a great program for kids (or former kids). So . . . Here are my tips for creating a book spine cento: Check out the book spine poem gallery for inspiration. This is always […]

Building a Better Bundo: The History of Picture Books, Politics, and Wiggly Noses

Like most of my information, I heard about Bundo via an oblique tweet that raised more questions than it answered. Then came the press release from Chronicle Books. It read: “Chronicle Books and Last Week Tonight with John Oliver present A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo ―― 100% of Last Week Tonight’s proceeds […]

My editor Lillian

My first professional writing about children’s books was for School Library Journal, beginning my reign of terror with a letter to the editor about–my critics will love this–what I saw as excessive feminist ideology used in the SLJ review to bring down a book I had found awfully good, Sue Ellen Bridgers’ Notes for Another Life. (Writers: when your […]

Review: ‘The King of Kazoo’

The King of Kazoo By Norm Feuti Scholastic Graphix, 2016 Grades 3-6 Cornelius, the King of Kazoo, wants to be famous—like his distinguished predecessors—but he’s not sure what he will be famous for. Cluelessness seems his most notable attribute: When his daughter Bing runs in to tell him that a tunnel has mysteriously appeared in […]

#ReadForChange: American Dreams and Nightmares in Ibi Zoboi’s American Street, a guest post by Marie Marquardt

 Teen Librarian Toolbox is excited to be partnering with Marie Marquardt for her #ReadForChange project. Hop on over to this post to learn more about the initiative. Today, she writes about Ibi Zoboi’s powerful novel, American Street.       “I want to look happily forward. I want to be optimistic. I want to have a dream. I want to […]

10 Incorrect Ways to Spell ‘Newbery’

Newbery / Caldecott 2019: Spring Prediction Edition

Happy decade-of-me-doing-this-weird-thing-I-do! That’s right, folks! I’m pleased as punch to announce that as of right now I’ve been making grossly incorrect predictions of the Newberys, Caldecotts, and other ALA Youth Media Awards for a good solid decade. That’s a decade I’ll never get back, by the way. Worth it. As per usual, let’s round-up how […]


Islandborn/Lola: Edicion en espanol de ISLANDBORN Written by Junot Díaz,  illustrated by Leo Espinosa Published by Dial Books ISBN:  978-0735229860 (English)/ ISBN:  978-0525552819 (Spanish) All Ages Book Review “Every kid in Lola’s school was from somewhere else. Hers was the school of faraway places.” But when her teacher asks her class to draw a picture of […]

YA A to Z: Guilt, Shame and Blame – Heroin Overdose Deaths in Teen Fiction, a guest post by Kerry Sutherland

As I contemplate where to put this in YA A to Z, I realize there are far too many options. D for drugs, or death. E for epidemic, as our country is facing a devastating opioid epidemic. G for guilt. H for Heroine.  S for shame. I wanted to put it up now as opposed […]

My teacher Zena

Behold, in the photograph at left, an embodiment of the phrase dimples of iron. If Louise was the one who led me to children’s librarianship, Zena Sutherland gave me my focus on children’s books. I hadn’t even intended to take her class, but my friend Marybeth convinced me it would be fun to take together. […]

2018 Books from Geisel Award Winners

We’ve covered Caldecott. We’ve noticed Newbery. Now it’s time to gaze at Geisel. Wow, I apologize for that bout of alliteration. It will never happen again. Here are all the 2018 books from past Geisel Medal and Honor winners. Did I miss any? Let’s hear it in the comments. *NOTE* I tried to include books […]

Fuse 8 n’ Kate: Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson

One of the rare instances where the laptop stopped recording us right before the end of our podcast. The important thing is that we were able to fully discuss the book. The sad thing is that we lost our Letters and our Grown-Up Things We Like. Ah well. Next week then. This particular week we […]

Video Sunday: Wenzelian

A Video Sunday!! How long has it been? Too darn long, that’s what I say. And as it just so happens, we’ve a veritable plethora of goodies for you!  So I think I’ll start with the official announcement of the very first Excellence in Graphic Literature Awards. I chaired the Children’s category this year, so […]

PuppetMaster: An app to inspire animated storytelling

I’ve been exploring the new PuppetMaster app and I am enchanted.  I see serious potential for this free, intuitive, open-ended tool to encourage creativity across a wide range of ages, from pre-school to adult! PuppetMaster allows children to animate anything and to record their action and sound to create movies. It encourages the creation of visual art in any medium and […]

Preview: ‘Fraggle Rock’ Omnibus

Here’s some nostalgic fun for your Saturday morning! Archaia first published its original Fraggle Rock comics (based on the mid-1980s TV show created by Jim Henson) in 2010-11, then collected them into two beautiful hardcover books, Fraggle Rock Vol. 1 and Fraggle Rock Vol. 2: Tails and Tales. Now they are collecting the collections into […]

Loom: Screencasting and sharing so simplified!

I am thrilled to discover Loom, a free screencasting tool available as a handy Chrome extension. Loom offers three recording options: screen and camera, screen only and camera only.  You may record your full desktop or just a tab using the familiar Cancel, Pause or Finish commands. I love that you can drag the circular camera screen around as you record […]