February 23, 2018

The Advocate's Toolbox

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Stories for Martin Luther King, Jr. Day | SLJ DVD Review

K-Gr 5 –This DVD contains two picture book adaptations that highlight the contributions of Martin Luther King Jr. to the civil rights movement: March On! The Day My Brother Martin Changed the World by Dr. Christine King Farris and Martin’s Big Words: The Life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. by Doreen Rappaport, with art by Bryan Collier.

Education, Inc. | SLJ DVD Review

Gr 9 Up –Filmmaker Brian Malone presents cautionary evidence of the stealth privatization movement of public schools across the country.

Schomburg: The Man Who Built a Library | SLJ DVD Review

Gr 4-8 –A teacher discounted young African-Puerto Rican student Arturo Schomburg’s heritage, stating, “There were no Negro heroes worth noting.” Rather than discourage him, that comment spurred his lifelong quest for the facts.

Deej | SLJ DVD Review

Gr 9 Up –David James Savarese, or Deej, was adopted at age three after his abandonment by his birth mother.

Danza! Amalia Hernández and El Ballet Folklórico de México | SLJ DVD Review

Danza! Amalia Hernández and El Ballet Folklórico de México. 22 min. Dreamscape. 2017. $38.99. ISBN 9781520081144.

Gr 2 Up –Animation brings to life Duncan Tonatiuh’s biography of Amalia Hernández, the talented dancer and founder of the Ballet Folklórico de México. Tonatiuh’s distinctive art style is combined with the different folkloric dances of various regions of Mexico. The vibrant illustrations leap off the screen as Hernández begins to learn ballet and travels through Mexico to study the histories and dances of the regions. […]

Revolting Rhymes | SLJ DVD Review

Gr 1-5 –Adapted from the six-poem collection by Roald Dahl, this excellent production mashes the tales together and frames them brilliantly.

School’s First Day of School | SLJ DVD Review

K-Gr 2 –School has just been built and he is looking good. However, now that it’s the first day of school, he’s a bit nervous. What’s going to happen?

The Farthest: Voyager in Space | SLJ DVD Review

Gr 6 Up –In the late 1960s, NASA scientists started work on the Voyager Program to send two space probes to photograph and study the little-known outer planets.

The Vietnam War | SLJ DVD Review

Gr 9 Up –Filmmakers Burns and Novick invested 10 years in making this documentary series, which clocks in at over 18 hours, including extras.

Rare: Creatures of the Photo Ark | SLJ DVD Review

Gr 7 Up –Taking photographs of rare animals and habitats that might become extinct is the focus of this three-part program.

Freedom Over Me | SLJ DVD Review

Gr 4-6 –Ashley Bryan takes readers back to the brutal reality of American slavery, using primary source documents from an 1828 estate appraisal as his launching point to bring the 11 enslaved people listed to life.

Great Yellowstone Thaw | SLJ DVD Review

Gr 5 Up –The unique ecosystem of Great Yellowstone National Park and the wildlife that survive its extreme temperatures is the focus of this three-part program.

Joe’s Violin | SLJ DVD Review

Gr 4 Up –When New York City radio station WQXR put out a call for donations of instruments for schools, thousands responded. Every instrument has a story, but this documentary follows just one, Joe Feingold’s violin

Freedom in Congo Square | SLJ DVD Review

Gr 1-5 –This Coretta Scott King and Caldecott Honor Book by Carole Boston Weatherford, with illustrations by R. Gregory Christie, really takes flight in the lively DVD version.

Five Fables | SLJ DVD Review

Five Fables. 2:25 hrs. Dreamscape. 2017. $24.99. $199.99 (PPR). ISBN 808506020329.

Gr 2 Up –These five fables are part of a project in which Irish poet Seamus Heaney was engaged at the time of his death. Heaney discovered the writing of medieval Scots poet Robert Henryson and was enchanted by his treatment of Aesop’s fables, so he translated Henryson’s work into modern English. The two-dimensional animation employs watercolor, oil, gouache, and acrylic, and the lush portrayals of nature are inviting. Heaney’s […]

Jazz Day | SLJ DVD Review

Jazz Day. 74 min. Dreamscape. 2017. $38.99. ISBN 9781520071053.

Gr 4-6 –It was a hot August day in 1955 when Art Kane gathered jazz musicians for a photograph for Esquire magazine. He wasn’t sure who, if anyone, would show up at the Harlem brownstone he’d chosen for his backdrop. He’d put out the word, and now he could only hold his two cameras and hope. The result was the iconic photograph—Harlem 1958—that features 57 jazz musicians of the time. Count Basie was there, […]

DVD: Folk Tales, Eco-Activism, & Art as Therapy | August 2017 Xpress Reviews

Timeless folk tales are rejuvenated for a young audience; two documentaries explore the poor effects of artificial light on fireflies; an analysis of the Battle of Waterloo.

This article was published in School Library Journal's August 2017 issue. Subscribe today and save up to 35% off the regular subscription rate.

Nero’s Sunken City | SLJ DVD Review

Nero’s Sunken City. (Secrets of the Dead). 55 min. PBS. 2017. $24.99. ISBN 9781531701758.

Gr 9 Up –This episode examines the archaeological remains of Baiae, an ancient Roman city in the Bay of Naples. One half of the ruins are now underwater, as the land has shifted over time owing to seismic forces. This city is the site of ruins of palaces of the Roman Empire’s elites in the first through third centuries AD. Emperor Claudius (10 BC–54 AD) had an […]

Friendshape | SLJ DVD Review

Friendshape. 7 min. Weston Woods. 2017. $59.95. ISBN 9781338184501. POP

PreS-Gr 1 –Never have circles, triangles, squares, and rectangles had such personality! Author Amy Krouse Rosenthal and illustrator Tom Lichtenheld’s picture book has become a fully animated, joyfully scored video. Rosenthal narrates, but children voice the shapes, who bounce and wiggle adorably when they laugh. Their outlines give and bend, suggesting a wide range of movement, and their simple facial features move expressively. They wrinkle when they have a disagreement and straighten […]

Right Footed | SLJ DVD Review

Right Footed. 82 min. Nick Spark Productions. Rightfootedmovie.com. 2015. $200. ISBN 827377000583.

Gr 5 Up –Jessica Cox was born without arms, and this documentary traces her journey, beginning as an angry, frustrated child. As time went on, she embraced her differences, eventually becoming a renowned motivational speaker as an adult as well as a disabilities activist traveling the globe. The program highlights Cox’s amazing ability to use her feet in place of her hands to do everything from opening […]