Ender’s Game. By Orson Scott Card. (1994). Tor Science Fiction. ISBN-10: 0812550706.

Plot Summary

Ender Wiggins is taken from his home in order to be trained at the Battle School, a training ground for genius children, in space, where he quickly rises to the top in command. But tensions are high in the school, and Ender fears that all the while, he is moving towards a path of destruction. Ender’s Game is about control, youth, love, and war.

Critical Evaluation

A bit like Lord of the Flies in space, Ender’s Game explores power struggles when children are given military rank, and real consequences for a society which puts warfare into the hands of children.

Card’s writing ability is such that readers will find themselves tethered to Ender, as well as to those he loves, and those he hates. Ender is a lonely outcast with immense mind-power, and a heavy conscience, something which is often missing from action-adventure, horror, and some science fiction stories.

Not only does the novel take place in a fantastical setting, engage the reader with the characters’ dilemmas, and offer a glimpse into the future of modern warfare, but it comments on the ethics of warfare and our role as individuals, in it.
Reader’s Annotation
Ender Wiggin was born to save the world. First though, he must make his way through lonely battle school, while Earth is at war with a race of beings known as “The Buggers.”
About the Author

Besides The Ender Saga and other science fiction novels, Card writes contemporary fantasy (Magic Street, Enchantment, Lost Boys), biblical novels (Stone Tables, Rachel and Leah), the American frontier fantasy series The Tales of Alvin Maker (beginning with Seventh Son), poetry (An Open Book), and many plays and scripts.

Card was born in Washington and grew up in California, Arizona, and Utah. He served a mission for the LDS Church in Brazil in the early 1970s. Besides his writing, he teaches occasional classes and workshops and directs plays. He recently began a longterm position as a professor of writing and literature at Southern Virginia University.

Card currently lives in Greensboro, North Carolina, with his wife, Kristine Allen Card, and their youngest child, Zina Margaret.

Retrieved December 13th, 2010 from http://www.hatrack.com/osc/about.shtml.

Genre
-Science Fiction
Curriculum Ties

-Literature

Booktalking Ideas

-What do you think of Child Prodigys being Child Warriors…in space? What about computerized warfare?

Reading Level/Interest Age

Ages 12+
Challenge Issues

Ender’s Game was challenged, as Card explains, for no reason other than his being a member of the Church of Latter Day Saints. The book was listed on a suggested banned book list, citing “profanity,” and “sexuality,” neither of which is included in the book.

Another incident included the book being banned because it includes a racist word in a scene where Ender makes a point to a racist character. The publishers have since removed the word from the title, but Card has stated that he still experiences trouble with censorship now and again because he is Mormon, even though Card states that his books are never used to preach any religion or advance any political agenda.

Retrieved December 13th, 2010 from http://www.hatrack.com/research/questions/q0122.shtml.
Why Did You Include This Book?

Ender’s Game is the winner of both a Hugo and Nebula Award, and is on the reading list of the U.S. Marine Corps.

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Posted in Science Fiction, YA/Adult Crossover | Leave a comment

Starship Troopers. By Robert A. Heinlein. (1987).

Plot Summary

“Come on, you apes! You wanta live forever?-Unknown Platoon Sergeant, 1918.

Juan “Johnnie” Rico lives in a society where citizenship is not promised, but offered as a trade for military or other government service.

Starship Troopers follows him through his high school Economics and Morality class, through a basic training which only 10% of recruits survive, all the way to officer. Nothing is easy for Johnnie Rico on the way, though, and if there is one thing that he can count on, it is brutality.

Critical Evaluation

Starship Troopers was one of the first of Heinlein’s young adult titles to be questioned, and it was finally published as an adult title in 1959. Heinlein wrote the novel in a matter of weeks as a response to current events, and some argue that the novel suffers for that reason, that it is far too focused on the military. At the same time, the focus is on a military infantryman, whom Heinlein hoped to bring more attention to.

Despite the controversy often surrounding the novel, its influence on the science fiction genre cannot be denied. One of the standout elements of the book is Heinlein’s imagining of soldiers with super-powered armor, a clear influence on the science fiction genre. For example, the armored supersoldiers in the Halo video game world, and the recent technological developments in real-life armor today.

Reader’s Annotation

Juan “Johnnie” Rico joins the military against the wishes of his father. His society’s military, however, operates out of outer space, as a war is being fought against an alien species known as “The Bugs.”

About the Author

Robert A. Heinlein was born in 1907 in Butler, Missouri. There, he attended the University of Missouri, and soon after joined the U.S. Naval Academy in 1925. He was discharged from service after contracting tuberculosis, but by then he had reached the rank of lieutenant.

Similar to Frank Herbert’s first publication, Heinlein’s was a short story which was accepted for publication in Astounding Science Fiction in 1938.

During World War II, Heinlein worked as a civilian engineer, and convinced Isaac Asimov and L. Sprague de Camp to join him. These writers had a strong component of science in their science fiction, which Heinlein included in his writings for young adults. His last novel written for young adults, before continuing the writing of adult fiction, was Starship Troopers.

“Heinlein, Robert A. (1907-1988).” Encyclopedia of World Biography. Vol. 28. Detroit: Gale, 2008. Discovering Collection. Gale. Los Angeles Public Library. 13 Dec. 2010 <http://find.galegroup.com/srcx/infomark.do?&contentSet=GBRC&type=retrieve&tabID=T001&prodId=DC&docId=EK1631009054&source=gale&srcprod=DISC&userGroupName=lapl&version=1.0&gt;.

Genre

-Science Fiction

-YA/Adult Crossover

Curriculum Ties

-Politics

-Literature

Booktalking Ideas

-Would you ever join the military? How about the military of the future? Would you join the military in order to gain the right to vote?

Reading Level/Interest Age

Ages 16-18+

Challenge Issues

This particular novel is known for drawing controversy, particularly by people who believe that Heinlein was promoting different forms of government. There is no doubt that Heinlein wanted to strike a controversy here and there, but it is difficult to pinpoint his exact beliefs when it comes to Starship Troopers. What has been agreed upon is that the book is about the responsibilities and duties of citizenship, in our own society and in those imagined.

Some scenes in Starship Troopers are traumatizing, as they describe the what it is like to fight in a bloody war. Basic training, in the book, includes deadly exercises and intense consequences for wrongdoing. This book is not recommended for younger teens, but for those who can generate their own ideas about philosophy, democracy, war, and citizenship.

Why Did You Include This Book?

Starship Troopers was the Hugo Award Winner for Best Novel in 1960. It is a classic in the arena of science fiction and it is a thought-driven work which has influenced the genre greatly.

Posted in Science Fiction, YA/Adult Crossover | Leave a comment

Dreamer of Dune: The Biography of Frank Herbert. By Brian Herbert. (2004). Tor Books. ASIN: B001OW5NR8.

Summary

Rarely are we offered such a detailed glimpse of the life of an author: their struggles, relationships with loved ones, and real-life inspirations for the worlds they create.

Here, Frank Herbert’s son Brian offers insights into the very personal life of the man who created Dune.
Critical Evaluation
At 536 pages, Dreamer of Dune is a hefty tome. While some argue that the book could have benefited from a further edit, there is so much here to learn from. This is a whole life story to behold, about a complicated man, after all. The book has been criticized for being more about the man than about his ideas, but we have his novels for that, as well as other literary essays. Brian Herbert does a wonderful job telling his father’s triumphant, and at times sad, story. Dreamer of Dune details Herbert’s relationships with his children, the love of his life Beverly, what sacrifices he made (along with the entire family) in order to become a writer, how the success of his work affected him, and what he was like even up to his death(writing as much as possible, of course!)
Reader’s Annotation

Brian Herbert writes about his father’s life, sharing with the world the very personal experiences which allow us to know Frank Herbert in a way that only a son could.
About the Author

Brian Herbert, the son of science fiction legend Frank Herbert, is a prolific and respected writer. His novels include Sidney’s Comet, Prisoners of Arionn, Man of two Wolds (written with his father), Sudanna Sudanna, and a trilogy of Dune prequels written with Kevin J. Anderson. A new trilogy of prequels, also written with Kevin J. Anderson, has begun with Dune: The Butlerian Jihad published by Tor Books. Herbert has also edited The Songs of Muad’dib, the Notebooks of Frank Herbert’s Dune, and created The Dune Concordance. Brian Herbert lives in Washington State.

Retrieved on December 13th, 2010 from http://us.macmillan.com/dreamerofdune.

Genre
-Nonfiction

-Biography

-Memoirs
Curriculum Ties

-None

Booktalking Ideas

-Dune

Reading Level/Interest Age

15+

Challenge Issues

Because Dreamer of Dune is a story about a man’s real life, it includes examples of life’s bittersweetness, and one man’s prejudices and faults. Yet, in reading about the man and his life, we can learn so much about our own.

Why Did You Include This Book?

Dreamer of Dune was nominated for a Hugo award, and it is an inspiring look at one of one of the world’s real geniuses. Brian Herbert has carried on his father’s legacy in the continuation of the Dune novels, written after Brian discovered his father’s notebooks about the series. In this novel, he carries on his father’s legacy in a new way. The tale is an inspiration and a joy to witness.

Posted in Memoirs | Leave a comment

New York City Ballet Workout, Vol. 2(DVD). (2003). Palm Pictures / Umvd. ASIN: B00008L3WX

Summary

Dancers and non-dancers alike will benefit from this DVD workout, which focuses on small movements rather than aerobics. Exercises are performed by four members of the New York City Ballet.

The workout consists of a moving warm-up, exercises for strengthening thighs, calves, and buttocks, and the core(stomach and back), finishing off with a ballet routine.

Critical Evaluation

Four dancers, (both male and female), demonstrate the exercises, which may be slightly difficult for ballet beginners. A glossary is included on the DVD for this reason.

While the exercises are useful for toning and sculpting, this DVD works best as a supplement to a regular exercise routine which contains more cardiovascular activity, such as a dance class, weight training, or playing a sport.

This edition does include a fun ballet routine which can be performed at the end of the other exercises, however, with daily use, this routine will become far too repetitive to perform over and over again.

Still, for dancers who are looking to sculpt and shape their muscles even more, these workouts for home are invaluable.

* This DVD can be paired with the popular paperback title of the same name, NYC Ballet Workout: Fifty Stretches And Exercises Anyone Can Do For A Strong, Graceful, And Sculpted Body.
Annotation

Sculpt and shape your body with ballet, along with real New York City Ballet dancers, with this tranquil and relaxing DVD routine.

About the Author/Filmmaker

Danish-born Peter Martins joined New York City Ballet in 1967 to play the title role in George Balanchine’s Apollo. In 1981, Mr. Martins was named Ballet Master for the New York City Ballet, and became Director of the Company in 1989.

Since 1977, Martins has choreographed more than 80 ballets, and has launched the New York Choreograph Institute in support of the creation of new choreography.

Retrieved December 13th, 2010 from http://www.nycballet.com/company/history/martins.html.
Genre
-Nonfiction

-Exercise DVD

Curriculum Ties
-Health

-Physical Education
Booktalking Ideas

-Ballet sculpting

-Exercise DVDs for serious athletes
Reading Level/Interest Age

Ages 15+

Challenge Issues
None

Why Did You Include This DVD?

While most exercise DVDs are not geared towards or generally enjoyed by teens because they are usually involved in other extracurricular activities, dancers are always looking to perfect their bodies and hone their craft, and this DVD is something they can use while in their homes.

The New York City Ballet is highly regarded, one of the “Big League” ballet companies, making their DVD an excellent choice for aspiring dancers.

Posted in DVD, Nonfiction | Leave a comment

Dune(40th Anniversary Edition). By Frank Herbert. (2005). Ace Trade. ISBN-10: 0441013597.

Plot Summary

On the desert planet Arrakis, also known as Dune, there is a spice which gives the Guildsmen the second sight they need in order to travel in deep space. Therefore, it is said that whomever controls the spice, controls the universe.

Paul Atreides has been trained by his mother,a Bene Gesserit “witch,” in the ways of self-control, voice control, and of keen observation. His father is the Duke Leto Atreides, and knowingly, the family will be traveling to Arrakis to take control of the spice production there, despite the probability of a trap set by the Harkonnens, a rival house. Paul’s abilities will come in handy in the deserts of unforgiving Arrakis, but so will the prophecies that precede him, and his prescient dreams.
Critical Evaluation

At once epic science fiction masterpiece, and commentary on ecology, politics, and religion, Dune is unlike any other book ever written. Frank Herbert’s storytelling capabilities are such that to read Dune is to live on Dune for a time.

Herbert used literary techniques, such as the superior observational abilities of his characters, to enrich the world of Dune with a heightened level of description. Not only is Herbert a master of description, but a master of plot, of setting, of detail, and of omnipresent narration.

Reader’s Annotation

All of Paul Atreides’ military and mental training leads him towards a terrible purpose on the desert planet of Arrakis.

About the Author

Frank Patrick Herbert was born in Tacoma, WA on October 8th, 1920. After attending college at the University of Washington at Seattle between 1946-1947, he worked many jobs, including that of a professional photographer and television cameraman, radio news commentator, lay analyst, oyster diver, jungle survival instructor, and newspaper reporter and editor for various West Coast City newspapers.

After publishing Dune, Herbert worked as a consultant in ecological and related studies to the Lincoln Foundation and to the countries of South Vietnam and Pakistan. He is an active campaigner for the conservation of natural resources, and for a time conducted an ecological experiment in his own home.

Kunitz, S., & Wakeman, J. (1980). World Authors 1970-1975. The H. W. Wilson Company. Retrieved December 13th, 2010 from Biography Reference Bank Database.

Genre

-Science Fiction

-Adult/YA Crossover

Curriculum Ties

-Science

-Ecology
-Political Science

-Economics

Booktalking Ideas

-Classic science fiction

-Description of the desert planet Dune, its inhabitants, and viewing all this through Paul Atreides’ eyes

Reading Level/Interest Age
Ages 15+

Challenge Issues

None, though there is some violence in the Dune series

Why Did You Include This Book?

Frank Herbert was the recipient of a Fantasy Award in1956 for The Dragon in the Sea, a Nebula award in 1965 for Dune, a Hugo award in 1966 for Dune, and he was awarded an honorary doctor of humanities degree from Seattle University in 1980.

Readers may learn how to be a more astute pupil-an observant and careful thinker, or an excellent descriptive writer, as a result of reading Dune. It may also interest readers in the further study of science, ecology, or politics.

“Herbert, Frank (1920-1986).” Encyclopedia of World Biography. Vol. 28. Detroit: Gale, 2008. Discovering Collection. Gale. Los Angeles Public Library. 12 Dec. 2010 <http://find.galegroup.com/srcx/infomark.do?&contentSet=GBRC&type=retrieve&tabID=T001&prodId=DC&docId=EK1631009055&source=gale&srcprod=DISC&userGroupName=lapl&version=1.0&gt;.
Posted in Science Fiction, YA/Adult Crossover | Leave a comment

How to Draw Comics the Marvel Way. By Stan Lee and John Buscema. (1984). New York: Simon & Schuster: Fireside. ISBN-10: 0671530771

Summary

Stan Lee and John Buscema paired up in 1984 to create a fun how-to guide for comic creators, specifically. The book covers everything from basic structure to paneling and gesture drawing.

Critical Evaluation

In what other book would artists writing a how-to book gain access to Marvel’s characters? This itself is a treat, but thumbing through the pages of the book is a bit like diving into the brain of two visionary heroes, with heroes on the brain!

Stan Lee writes with the easygoing wit of of Spiderman’s Peter Parker. Things start off silly (a list of tools includes a glass jar and a plain ol’ rag,) but quickly turn informative as Lee explains the terminology used in comics-creation, which can be expanded to the art form of visual storytelling. Exercises then help the reader/artist explore the basics of form(with the drawings themselves offering tips in thought bubbles), perspective, the human figure (using superheros to examine this element is quite fun!) and gesture (lots of action poses which include rough skeletons and finished panels.) Mystifying aspects of drawing such as foreshortening are explained in later chapters, as well as composition, paneling action, the comic book cover, and inking.

The Bibliography is a bit disappointing with only a few titles included, but as a whole, this book is an exceptional study aid, with an element of fun thrown in. Serious artists swear by this book and the techniques described throughout its pages.

*There is also a video version of this title, which would be great for instructing large numbers of people.
Reader’s Annotation

If you’ve dreamed of drawing comics for Marvel, here’s your chance to learn from two men who made comics what they are today! Pair this book with the original Conan comics and some Spiderman stories and you’ll be on your way to mastering the art of comics, and basic drawing, in no time!

About the Authors

Stan Lee is the famous creator of SpiderMan, The X-Men, and so many other favorite, essential characters in comics. John Buscema is the equally influential artist of comic classics such as The Silver Surver and Conan the Barbarian.

http://pages.ca.inter.net/~owenandsusan/bio.htm

Genre

-Nonfiction

-How-To

Curriculum Ties

-Art

-Animation

Programming Ideas

-Portfolio Day

-Storytelling and illustration party where patrons trade work together on art projects and play improv games in order to generate creative thinking.
Reading Level/Interest Age

Ages 12+, or younger, if skills are advanced enough

Challenge Issues

None

Why Did You Include This Book?

Many fans of comic books, Manga, and animation secretly would like to know how to become like their real-life superheroes: the comic book artists. This is one of the only how-to books with so much credibility that it has continuously remained in print for the past 26 years.

Fans would happily pick up any work by Stan Lee or John Buscema, but this treasure-trove of their tips and teachings has the rare qualities of serious mentorship and love of the craft.

Posted in Animation, Nonfiction | Leave a comment

The Cartoonist: Jeff Smith, BONE, and the Changing Face of Comics. (2009). Mills James Productions. ASIN: B002MFF1UU.

Plot Summary

The Cartoonist explores the real life world of Jeff Smith, who was responsible for bringing the cartoon world of Bone to life. Anyone who has ever wondered just what inspired Smith and just how he managed to finish and self-publish his 9 volume epic all on his own, can find their answer here.
Aside from the interesting interviews with Jeff Smith, are those of Scott McCloud, Colleen Doran, Paul Pope, Terry Moore, and Harvey Pekar, as well as others.
So many influences of Smith’s can be seen in the video, from his wife and her dutiful work publishing and distributing Bone from home, to the beautiful forest where Smith gained his inspiration for the forests outside of Boneville. The cinematic quality of the series is somewhat explained by Smith’s stint as a serious commercial animation artist, though he quickly went on to focusing his talents in his comics. We all know the end to the story which is that Bone became a huge phenomenon, but as they say, the joy is in the journey, and sometimes with a lot of elbow grease, dreams do come true.

Critical Evaluation

The word inspiring doesn’t seem to cut it as a description for this film. Yet this is the undeniable feeling even non-artists (myself included) have after viewing the film. Jeff Smith is many young artist’s hero, and after watching him in this film, it is clear that he deserves the title.

Included is the discussion of Bone’s place in comic book and animation history, which makes this glimpse into the creation of that masterpiece feel even more rare and special.

This film is recommended for any and every Bone fan, but especially if they are aspiring artists themselves.
Reader’s Annotation

Fans have long awaited the ending of the Bone series, the companion stories, and the prequel. Now that Smith has finally completed the stories of the Bone universe, luckily there is a film which details its genesis, development, and success: The Cartoonist.

About the Filmmaker

The film’s emmy-award-winning director, Ken Mills, has always loved a good story.
He has worked in television news, documentaries, radio, nature films, commercials, infomercials, public television pledge specials, a weekly public television series and more.

He was attracted to Jeff Smith’s story because he always thought that Smith was an interesting fellow, and that his story would be an inspiration to others

http://www.millsjames.com


http://www.thecartoonistmovie.com/

Genre

-Nonfiction

Curriculum Ties

-Art

-Animation

Programming Ideas
-Screen The Cartoonist for teens interested in comic books, graphic novels, writing or drawing, and hold a draw-a-thon! Create zines, comic books, and other art, and encourage teens to share their work with others.

Reading Level/Interest Age

Ages 12+

Challenge Issues

None

Why Did You Include This DVD?

Bone is now concluded, but its influence is still far-reaching. Many fans who are seriously considering becoming artists, or who simply want to know more about Jeff Smith, will be so happy to find this interesting film, which now explores a huge event in comic book history: the publication and subsequent success of Bone.

Posted in Animation, DVD, Nonfiction | 1 Comment

Bone: Out From Boneville(Vol.1). By Jeff Smith. (2005).New York: Scholastic, Graphix. ISBN-10: 0439706408.

Plot Summary

Part 1 of Jeff Smith’s 9 volume, 1300 page masterpiece, begins with cousins Fone Bone, Smiley Bone, and Phoney Bone are kicked out of their hometown, Boneville, because of Phoney Bone’s greedy antics. When Fone Bone is separated from his cousins as a result of a swarm of locusts and a mishap involving a cliff, he will meet bugs, a dragon, stupid stupid rat creatures, and finally beautiful Thorn and her tough-as-nails, cow-racing Gran’ma Ben, whose destinies are intertwined with the Bones’.
Critical Evaluation

With the self-publication of Bone, Jeff Smith proved that he was a master of whimsy and wit! Often compared to The Lord of the Rings, Bone is an epic adventure which comic book fans, and non-comic book fans alike, just can’t afford to miss!

The characters who populate the world of Bone are memorable, funny, and beautifully expressive. Forget bringing cartoons into the real world; right outside of Boneville is a place where journeys are long, colorful, and exquisitely told.

Bone can be purchased in its original black and white version, or the new colored volumes, which were carefully and painstakingly completed  by Steve Hamaker, with due respect to Smith’s original artwork.

Smith’s panels are cinematic, the races and chases jaw-dropping, and the designs as appealing as Popeye or Calvin and Hobbs.

It is absolutely impossible to find fault with Bone, other than its immense and far-reaching appeal, which means that it will be the number one book that your friends all ask to borrow, and never return.

Reader’s Annotation

Fone Bone is separated from his cousins, Smiley Bone and Phoney Bone, when they leave Boneville. There, beyond a desert and through a forest, he finds adventure, love, and strength in companions Thorn and her Gran’ma Ben.

About the Author

Jeff Smith had a natural talent for cartooning, as he stated that he mainly learned how to do it by studying comic strips, comic books, and by watching animated t.v. shows. In 1991, he created his own company, Cartoon Books, in order to publish Bone. Bone became hugely successful, was translated to many foreign language, and now is published in color by Scholastic, Inc. Jeff Smith most recently created SHAZAM! Monster Society of Evil, for DC Comics, with artist Alex Ross.

http://www.bone.com

Genre

-Graphic Novel

-Fantasy

-Action Adventure

Curriculum Ties

-Art

-Animation

Booktalking Ideas

-Animation Inspired

-Are comic books literary?

Reading Level/Interest Age

Ages 12+, but loved by all ages

Challenge Issues

None- this series is suitable for all ages

Why Did You Include This Book?

Bone’s easy readibility and subsequent suspense makes it one of the greatest introductions to graphic novels and comics available today.

Jeff Smith has won 44 awards for Bone since 1991;  including 10 Eisner Awards and 11 Harvey Awards, more than any other comic in history. In 2005, Time Magazine called Bone one of the ten greatest graphic novels of all time.

Best Books: 

Best Children’s Books of the Year, 2005 ; Bank Street College of Education; United States
Children’s Choices , 2007 ; International Reading Association; United States
Children’s Choices, 2006 ; International Reading Association; United States
Children’s Choices, 2008 ; International Reading Association; United States
Middle and Junior High School Library Catalog, Ninth Edition, 2005 ; H.W. Wilson; United States
YALSA Popular Paperbacks for Young Adults, 2007 ; American Library Association; United States
Awards, Honors, Prizes: 

Great Lakes Great Books Award, 2007 Winner Grades 6-8 Michigan
State and Provincial Reading Lists: 

Great Lakes Great Books Award, 2006-2007 ; Nominee; Grades 6-8; Michigan
Posted in Action/Adventure, Fantasy, Graphic Novel | 1 Comment

Gale Discovering Collection Database. Cengage Learning.

Summary
Comprehensive coverage of core school curriculum in Literature, History, Biography, Science and Social Studies, geared to teenage students. Includes Discovering Authors.

Critical Evaluation

Relevance is extremely high when searching the database, as if it were built just for teens doing research for projects. In this case, the challenge may very well be to get teenagers to use it instead of spending their time Googling for biographies, historical facts, or scholarly definitions.

Students and teacher can also browse by State Standards in order to find results relevant to their particular topic of study. In addition, the database can be browsed by Publication, Subject Guides, or by popular topic.

Users can limit their search by multimedia, primary sources used, color-coded content level (basic, intermediate, or advanced,) creative works, and reference. After searching, preferred subject term links are displayed for easy access.

The database includes a dictionary tool, printing and download capabilities, and a marking function which allows you to find previously marked documents after you have navigated away from the page.
Annotation

Search any current school topic here to find access to over 200,000 full-text articles. Once you’ve mastered the format, you’ll be finding biographical, scientific, historical, or political information much more quickly than your friends using Google will!
About the Provider

Gale is a leading global provider of digital and print product solutions that support education and research in public, academic and K-12 libraries.

Gale, Primary Source Media and Information Access Company — were combined in 1998 to produce the wide-reaching and robust company that today is known as Gale, part of Cengage Learning.

http://www.gale.cengage.com/publishers/history.htm

Genre

– Database

Curriculum Ties

– All Curricula included in the California State Standards is represented here.

Library Marketing Ideas

-Demonstrate the use of the database during library hours or lesson times, as well as demonstrating remote access.

-Post instructions and success stories where students will easily see them

Reading Level/Interest Age
Ages 12-18

Challenge Issues
On the homepage of Gale’s Discovering Collection, there are topics ranging from abortion to teen pregnancy, the Holocaust, to stem cells, steroids, and Huckleberry Finn. It is possible that many of these controversial topics are interesting to teens, or that they are required to write opinion papers on contemporary controversial topics. Either way, the database could be challenged by parents because they may not want their children to have all of this information at hand. When you click on a topic such as “abortion,” however, the results are generally historical facts, not self-help type topics. Therefore, results from this database can be relied upon to be much more scholarly than those found through Google’s search engine.

Still, this database contains no frills, and is most appropriate for teenagers, not younger children. The Help feature is slightly confusing as it uses standard information retrieval jargon.

Why Did You Include This Database?

This database is currently available through the Los Angeles Public Library system.

“…appropriate for elementary, middle school, high school, and even undergraduate libraries without question, although we would emphasize the primary through high school audience. Public libraries can benefit as well, as Discovery Collection includes the five core subject areas, making this an appropriate resource for anyone beginning a research project.”
Library Journal (Fall 2001)

“Gale’s Discovering Collection is a comprehensive database that includes the content of their Discovering, Exploring, Worldmark, and UXL series—four of their most popular CD-ROM collections. The two thousand biographies of noteworthy individuals, many with color or black-and-white photographs, comprise just a small section of this large product. Like Biography Reference Bank, a more detailed search screen allows users to identify biographies by ethnicity. Since all of this database’s content is original, all of it is full text. The biographies are clearly written and easily understandable.”
VOYA (August 2001)

“Biographical profiles, reference sources, and search flexibility make DISCovering Multicultural America a wonderful springboard for ethnic studies research. Highly recommended for academic, public, and school libraries, supporting ethnic/multicultural studies.”
Library Journal (December 2000)

Reviews retrieved December 12th, 2010 from http://www.gale.cengage.com/DiscoveringCollection/

Posted in Database | Leave a comment

The Vampire Diaries: The Complete First Season. (2010). Warner Home Video. ASIN: B002JVWR9U.

Plot Summary

Elena Gilbert (Nina Gilbert) and her brother Jeremy (Steven R. McQueen) move in with their Aunt Jenny (Sara Canning) after the death of their parents. Soon after, Elena meets Stefan Salvatore(Paul Wesley) and falls in love, but Stefan is a vampire, and he is not the only one in Mystic Falls, VA. His brother Damon,(Ian Somerhalder) more malicious and dangerous than Stefan, is deeply attracted to Elena as well. As Stefan and Damon attempt to deal with the past that has come back to life in the form of Elena, Mystic Falls experiences a shift in supernatural activity, which includes Elena’s best friend Bonnie (Katerina Graham) who has premonitions, and Vicki, (Kayla Ewell) Jeremy’s girlfriend.

Critical Evaluation

While this version of The Vampire Diaries differs considerably from the bestselling book series by L.J. Smith, it does have its own merits. The cast plays their parts more low-key than catty, and they smoulder on-screen together. Even fans of the books who have read the series over and over will be thrown for a loop with the unpredictable storylines.

If one can get past the overly-saturated pop music sprinkled throughout the series, and let the plot of the original books go a little, The Vampire Diaries can be a completely satisfying foray into a town where a vampire or two just might fall madly in love with you.

The DVD set includes 22 episodes, as well as the following special features:

Into Mystic Falls: Bringing Vampire Lore and the High School Experience from Page to Screen
When Vampires Don’t Suck!: The Popularity of Vampires and the Fans Who Love Them
The Vampire Diaries: A New Breed of Vampires — Casting the Series
The Vampire Diaries: Vampires 101 – The Rules of the Vampire
Creators/Director pilot commentary
Unaired scenes
The Vampire Diaries: A Darker Truth Webisodes
Second Bite: gag reel
Downloadable Audiobook of the Bestselling Novel The Vampire Diaries: The Awakening by L.J. Smith
Annotation

Two vampire brothers fight for the girl who greatly resembles one they loved long ago. Can they learn to live together and to deal with other supernatural goings-on in Mystic Falls, VA?

About the Author

L.J. Smith has been writing since the 1980s. She wrote her first book, Night of the Solstice, between graduating high school and graduating college. She then worked as a special education teacher, but now writes full time.

Her books range from stories about vampires, werewolves, and witches, to psychics and Norse mythology. All of them share one thing: stories about soulmates and fate, dashing male characters, and female characters that must use their wits to escape from evil!

Smith’s books always contain elements of romance, the supernatural, and the relatable.

http://www.ljanesmith.net

The show is produced by Kevin Williamson, who was responsible for early 1990s teen hits such as Scream, I Know What You Did Last Summer, and Dawson’s Creek.

http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0932078/

Genre

-Supernatural Romance

-Thriller

-Vampires

Curriculum Ties

N/A

Reading Level/Interest Age

Ages 15-18+

Challenge Issues

The Vampire Diaries show includes suggestive scenes of sex, and vampire violence which includes attacks, stakings, and drinking blood. While the content has been cleared to be on The CW, some parents may feel that this series is more appropriate for older teens, while the books are at a reading level which is more appropriate for younger teens.

Why Did You Include This DVD Series?

Teens interested in the television show may also be interested in the book series, vampire mythology, and other supernatural romance.

Posted in Supernatural Romance, Vampires | Leave a comment