Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Award-winning Readers

What makes a book an "award winner?" Who decides? Are these winners just something your teacher or your parent makes you read? Are these books any GOOD?
You can definitely find a good read from these lists of books! You just need to browse one that interests you. Don't be afraid of some classified as "historical fiction" -- that just means someone put an interesting spin on facts and events of the time. The characters are usually very intriquing.

Read the short descriptions of what criteria are being used to judge the books. Are you looking for a book by an African American author -- check out the Coretta Scott King Awards. Are you looking for a book that really appeals to a teen -- try the Michael L. Printz Award.

Make sure you check out the "Honor books" in each category. After all, you don't have to be #1 to be a great read! Click on the name of the award if you would like to learn more about the award and how the books are judged. Click on the list link if you would like to browse past winners.

Awards for Younger Readers

Given to "the author of the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children." This is the oldest and most prestigious award given in the United States.

The 2010 Newberry Winner is
When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead.

Caldecott Medal (an illustrator award)
This award is given annually by the American Library Association since 1983 "to the artist of the most distinguished American picture book for children."

The 2010 Caldecott Medal winner is
The Lion & The Mouse written and illustrated by Jerry Pinkney.

Awards for Teen and Young Adult Readers

This award is given by a group of book puplishers and was intended to increase the popularity of reading in general. Its goal is "to enhance the pulic's awareness of exceptional books."

The 2010 winner of the National Book Award are
for Fiction, Mockingbird by Kathryn Erskine

This award was named for a school librarian who was a longtime member of the Young Adult Library Services Association. It is given to a book that "exemplifies literary excellence." (Special Note: Judges on the awrds committee are usually young, hip librarians. Read these books!)

The 2010 Printz winner is
Going Bovine by Libba Bray

Awards Based on the Author

This award is intended to honor distinguished books that "promote an understanding and appreciation of the American Dream." Separate awards go to authors and illustrators.

The 2010 Coretta Scott King Author Award was for
Bad News Outlaws: The Remarkable Life of Bass Reeves, Deputy U.S. Marshall by Vaunda Micheaux Nelson.

The 2010 Coretta Scott King Illlustrator Award was for My People, illustrated by Charles R. Smith, written by Langston Hughes.

This award is named after the first Latino librarian at the New York Public Library. It is given to an author "whose work best portrays, affirms, and celebrates the Latino cultural experience in an outstanding work of literature for children or youth.

The 2010 Pura Belpre Award went to
Author Julia Alvarez for Return to Sender and

Illustrator Rafael Lopez for Book Fiesta!: Celebrate Children's Day/Book Day (written by Rafael Lopez.)

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Color Matters

Do animals see in color? What do our dogs and cats see? Which animal sees heat instead of color?

Why do some people see colors differently? Does our brain instantly recognize color? What do the insides of our eyes look like?
Why can we trick our eyes sometines to see different colors?

What colors are in the rainbow? Why are the colors always in the same order?

What colors are soothing? What colors make you hungry? Who decided that all school busses should be yellow?

What does it mean when people are color blind? Check your vision to see if you see all the colors.

Does it matter what color you wear? Do some colors make you feel differently?

Challenge 1
Ask yourself these questions: Can a color affect how food tastes or smells. Can a color help make you smarter or relax more? Can color make you angry? Does a color have the ability to make you feel hot or cold? What types of experiments can you do to answer these questions.

Challenge 2
Make up some new color names for a crayola or paint factory. Ask a friend if they can guess the color just by hearing the name.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Interactive Chicago Museum Online Activity Sites

Wish you could take an afternoon trip to the museum but you're stuck at home? Try logging on to one of these free web sites to experience the latest in games, exhibits, and more.

The Art Institute of Chicago: Curious Corner
Curious Corner is for ages 3-12. You can access the storytime area to hear stories about pieces of art within the museum, "Play with Art" , or practice matching sounds and textures associated with famous paintings.
The Adler Planetarium: Cyberspace for Teens
Play interactive space trivia games and listen to Teencasts that feature area students talking about space and conducting experiments.
Field Museum of Natural History:Animal Adventure
Animal ADventure is a fun and educational game about biodiversity in the Wetlands. Collect pictures of animals, create puzzles, and then vote on sollutions that might save endangered habitats. For Kids in grades K - 6. This museum also offers games about the Wild Reef and Underground Ecosystems.
Museum of Science and Industry
Learn about many basic science principles by playing interactive games, watching videos, or listening to podcasts.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Famous Women We Should Know

March is Women's History Month. Unfortunately, it is just in the past few years that attention has been given to researching and recording womens' roles in history. Are you looking to find an interesting woman to write a report on or just someone that may inspire you? Check out these websites:

Clandestine Women: Spies in American History

"Throughout American history, espionage has played a major role in how this country evolved into the international power it is today. While a critical contributor to the creation and growth of the nation, spying and related intelligence gathering efforts have often gone unacknowledged. "

Young and Brave: Girls Changing History
"Too often, young girls are unaware of role models who are similar to themselves in age and circumstance. Because they do not know of historic examples, girls too often feel forced to use questionable actresses and singers for their personal inspiration and ambitions. "

American Women in the Olympics
A look at participants and events over the past 100+ years.

Women of the National Hall of Fame
A list of 326 women who have achieved greatness.

Women Inventors

Winning the Right To Vote

National Women's History Project
Biography resources for hundreds of women.

Women in History -- Historic Figures
Includes quite a few interesting vignettes of African American women.

Famous Wome Inventors of the Modern Era

Women in Science
Not just a biography resource site -- this web site has links to interviews with women scientists, live question areas, and a place for young women to tell about their future plans in science.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Wild World of Reptiles

Coming Soon! Dave DiNaso's Traveling World of Reptiles Show!

Earn a ticket to this performance at the Park Forest Public Library on July 30 by advancing to the third level in the Read on the Wild Side! summer reading program.

Want to learn more about reptiles? Check out these great slithery sites of information.
Dave DiNaso has always had a passion for wildlife. As a child he spent many summers at his family's cottage catching every critter imaginable. He's been hooked ever since. Over the years he has cared for hundreds of different species of reptiles, from the pet store variety such as iguanas and pythons to some of the most dangerous including alligators, crocodiles rattlesnakes and cobras. He has also owned, raised and rehabilitated many types of local mammals including racoons, opossums, skunks, squirrels and bats. Most recently, Dave worked with a television crew in Florida filming the abundant wildlife in the Everglades National Park. He helped relocate twenty Nile crocodiles from Tampa to a crocodile farm in Homestead Florida. In addition to the Crocs, he handled some of the worlds most dangerous snakes and lizards including black mambas, king cobras, cottonmouths, several species of rattlesnakes and gila monsters. Future plans include a trip to the Galapagos Islands and an expedition to the Guadalupe Islands to film great white sharks.
Videos, games, pet care information, species profiles, and more. Sponsored by the Animal Network.
Take the Sea Turtle Quiz, learn about King Cobras, check out the Rattlesnakes Photo Gallery. A fun project on this web site is the Wildlife Filmmaker -- put together your own nature film with animal clips, sound, and more and then share with friends. Sponsored by National Geographic.
Looking for a specific reptile? This is one of the biggest databases you will find. Last updated January 2009 with a Summer 2009 update expected. Over 8,000 species listed. this site is for the serious reptile enthusiast, and does not advocate reptiles as casual pets.
Caution reports from the Center for Infectious Diseases regarding pet ownership.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Native Americans

Start your research at authentic sites that tell the true history and culture of native tribes. Some of these sites provide written and audio first person accounts 0f events in history.
A teacher sponsored site – here is very basic elementary level information about tribal cultures with links to more detailed information on each tribe.
Minnesota State Museum’s Emuseum. Geography, language and cultural information for most tribes. Links to additional resources.
Links to all tribal information.
Simple, easy to understand information for kids. Links to more complete cultural fact pages for older students.
Sponsored by the world’s largest publisher of history magazines. Advanced articles for jr. high and up featuring American Indian wars and prominent figures in Native American history.
Wisdom of the Elders, Inc. “records and preserves traditional cultural values, oral history, prophesy and other messages of guidance from indigenous elders in order to regenerate the greatness of culture among today’s and future generations of native peoples.”
Listen to some of the stories, music, and first person accounts to get a closer look at the people you are researching.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Blast Off/ Space Facts

Are you considering a career as a scientist or astronaut? Curious about what's really out there? Looking for serious facts about the cosmos? Check these sites!
If it is about space, then it is covered on this site. Great student sections broken down by grade level. Explore the planets, learn about current space travel, find biographies, and listen to NASA podcasts.
How was the Hubble telescope made, what does it see? Also has monthly constellation guides, videos, and lessons on using Google Earth.
View the interactive timeline that outlines all major “space” events. Submit questions to “Ask the Experts.”
Find out how old you would be and how much you would weigh in another world. Directions for building a solar system.
An amazing site! Learn about black holes and galaxies in “Capture the Cosmos.” See pictures of Mars taken by the Hubble telescope. Many ideas for research reports and science experiments – check out “homework help” and “online explorations.”
Windows to the Universe. Who were the first astronomers? Check out the history of space exploration as well as biographies of today’s scientists and astronauts. See tables of missions flown and hours in space.
For older teens. Sections on gravity, space weather, magnetism, big bang, how to write a research paper on astronomy, and more. Includes 61 FAQ about careers in astronomy.
An exhaustive combination of links concerning space flights, equipment, and more. Caution: not well authenticated about source of information. Double-check facts through more searching.
Just for fun research!