Thursday, March 19, 2020
Straight Talk for Librarians: A good story for discussions on emotions.
Straight Talk for Librarians: A good book for young children. Great for a read aloud.
Straight Talk for Librarians: This would be a fun read aloud book for small children.
Straight Talk for Librarians: I loved this book. It was funny, thoughtful, and tone appropriate for sixth graders. John David Anderson did an amazing job combining real life, heavy topics with the language of eleven year old boys. I really liked that Anderson never treated his audience like they could not understand heavier topics. I think this book is a must-have for any library, be it classroom, school, or public. I think it would be an amazing read-aloud for sixth grade classrooms. There are multiple perspectives, but they are each labled and seperated by chapter. If there are students who have had personal experiences with losing someone they love to cancer, you might want to check in with them as they read, as the ending is a bit sad, but I think the language that Anderson uses to discuss it is amazing. I am absolutely going to add this novel to my library.
Straight Talk for Librarians: I thought that this was an amazing graphic novel! The art style is bright, colorful, and fun; and the story manages to be humorous while still touching on serious topics. For example (spoilers ahead), Izzy and Eric have a falling out - Izzy feels guilty that she is lying to Eric by playing the game, and lashes out at Eric while refusing to admit that anything is wrong. This, of course, upsets Eric, but by the end, after Izzy comes clean and apologizes, Eric tells her that it was okay, because Izzy made a call that in retrospect was wrong, and that since Izzy admitted she made a mistake they were going to be okay. It was heartwarming, and a mature way to look at arguments with friends. I think it is hugely important for anyone, but especially a middle school student, to see examples like this one. I think that you could use it in the classroom if you were teaching a social skills lesson, but this is absolutely a graphic novel that I will be putting into my library. I think my students will love it as much as I did.
Straight Talk for Librarians: Albeit predictable, this is simply a great series to have in the collection for young female readers. The first book in the series has high interest, and the second installment is sure to follow. Cala does a great job with the three main characters’ narration, so that the chapters and story as a whole flows, despite jumping around to different story plot points. This is a great pick for discussions on responsibility, peer pressure, innovation, and managing stress. It is an easy to follow book, and luckily, there is a third book (“Miss Impossible”) that will round out the collection. Unfortunately this series most likely won’t appeal to young male readers, but it is one that is recommended to have added to library shelves for its leading popularity with young female readers.
Girls Think of Everything: Stories of Ingenious Inventions by Women, written by Catherine Thimmesh, reviewed by Anneliese White
Straight Talk for Librarians: A great pick for upper elementary and lower middle school, “Girls Think of Everything: Stories of Ingenious Inventions by Women,” is a near perfect nonfiction selection. It does a great job of showing the process of innovation including trial and error, and helps readers understand that inventing is not just thinking of a good idea, then becoming a millionaire. Thimmesh also does a great job showing the discrimination many women inventors faced in the past based on their gender. Inspiring for sure, many students will enjoy this title for its interesting information, and a final chapter entitled ‘Your Turn,’ walking readers through the process of protecting their ideas and moving forward with their own designs. The only critique is it would have been nice to have each woman’s life span years featured at the beginning with the year of their actual invention, and some more biographical background on each inventor. Don’t let the pink lettering fool you, this book would be beneficial for both male and female students to read for discussions on history, innovation, and STEM related topics.
Friday, February 28, 2020
Straight Talk for Librarians: This simple, colorful picture book portrays Snail and Worm’s friendship with humor and fun, teaching life lessons about the importance of caring for others along the way. Large text and short sentences allow early readers to take a stab at reading to themselves.. The lack of a narrator also makes this an excellent choice to practice voice in reading aloud; the story is told in dialogue only, the color of the text alternating to make it clear which character is speaking. A great choice for early reader and picture book collections.
Straight Talk for Librarians: Every young reader will be able to see aspects of themselves in one of Mr. Wolf’s students, from the constantly-in-motion Abdi to perfectionist Penny. The story meanders throughout different storylines and characters, with just enough connecting them to feel like one cohesive story. From the kindergartener asking someone to tie his shoe to the student who makes ten stops on their way to the office, Mr. Wolf’s Class is hilariously true to life and will resonate with any elementary school student. Any graphic novel fan will love this series!
Straight Talk for Librarians: This second installment in the series is a marked improvement on the first, and fantasy fans looking for illustrated early chapter books will love Cora and her eclectic group of sea-creature friends. Blue and black illustrations depict Cora as a pudgy, expressive mermaid, and the other characters - particularly the earless, eyeless, fingerless sea cucumber, Larry - are comical and well-drawn. Cora’s journey outside of her comfort zone and into self-empowerment is inspiring to follow, and the lessons she learns along the way - about brainstorming, the difficulties of putting your experiences on paper, and animal migration - could make for a great companion to either a writing or science lesson.
Fierce 44, The: Black Americans Who Shook Up the World, written by the Staff of The Undefeated (Website), reviewed by Anneliese White
Straight Talk for Librarians: Overall, this is a great purchase for upper elementary/middle school aged students to get a quick overview of 44 important African Americans. The biographies are concise and have a conversational tone which young readers will appreciate. This is not a title intended to be used for serious research, but does a great job giving a swift general overview of facts of lives to pique readers’ interest. Some mature content about a few persons might prompt younger readers to need an adult to discuss with, but this is something I would recommend for purchase, even though there are a plethora of African American biography collections out there, for the main reason that writing is done in an interesting and hip way, and the collection holds profiles of unknown individuals that many other books don’t feature. Good for upper elementary, better for middle school, add this title to your non-fiction section.
Monday, February 24, 2020
Straight Talk for Librarians: Full-color illustrations and a rhythmic rhyme style reminiscent of Dr. Seuss’ early reader texts fill these short chapters. From the opening lines - “A mob of Bobs lives like slobs. A mob! Of Bobs! Oh, such slobs” - readers will be curious about the boldly drawn characters. While the families themselves are fairly one-dimensional caricatures, and a simplistic compromise solves the book’s main conflict, there is a lot to like in this quick read. The repetitive rhyme scheme makes this a perfect choice to teach poetry and vowel sounds for young readers, and the differences between the families could serve as the foundation for a class discussion of compromise and conflict resolution.
Friday, February 21, 2020
Straight Talk for Librarians: The almost frenetic pace of the crew’s journeys can be a lot to keep up with, but adrenaline seekers (and of course, all Geronimo fans) will find a lot to love about this book. Geronimo’s natural clumsiness leads to slapstick humor, and there is certainly never a dull moment. Each time period is introduced with factual blurbs explaining important people, events, and customs, including traditional wardrobes for all walks of life. Readers will learn a lot about history without even realizing it! The travel journal appendix includes quizzes, crafts and activities to extend the learning on the three time periods visited in the book. Use as an extension for strong readers looking to learn about history, or hand to those who have graduated from “Magic Tree House” that are looking for a similar read.