New to our shelves, October 2015

……….I love getting new books for our collection. With an ever-decreasing book budget, I have to decide between replacing stolen or worn out copies of popular books (Go Ask Alice, Of Mice and Men, Thirteen Reasons Why, Speak) or ordering new/ popular titles (The Fault in our Stars, The Maze Runner, Just Listen, If I Stay). I also have to consider the research needs of our students, and, therefore, search for books that address current controversial issues such as online security, marijuana legalization, gay marriage, climate change and ongoing issues like immigration, abortion, and poverty.

……….Furthermore, today there are also many good writers who cover science, history, political theory, economics, social studies and just about every other intellectual niche. There are great books about past presidents, revolutionaries, inventors, trailblazers and ordinary people who did amazing things. Who could have imagined that someone could write an interesting book about Cod or Salt? Mark Kurlansky, that’s who.

……….So, with all these considerations in mind, and a very limited budget, I must choose books I hope will find some readers. Here then, is a handful of titles I hope catch your attention and find a temporary home in your hands. The summaries are lifted from Amazon or Barnes and Nobles (and sometimes edited for space); links will take you to a review from a site I consider reliable, that could help you decide if the book is for you. Stop by the LMC and take one home:

new books

Beyond the University: Why Liberal Education Matters, by Michael S. Roth.

“Wesleyan University president, Roth, adds his voice to the current debate about college education. Is it vocational instruction meant to lead to immediate employment after graduation or a time for expansive ideas and self-exploration? He argues that liberal education, with its emphasis on critical thinking, is an important part of American ideals of democracy. He traces the historical roots of liberal education from the ancient Greeks through the Middle Ages and the Enlightenment. But he focuses on American thinkers, including Thomas Jefferson, Frederick Douglass, W. E. B. DuBois, William James, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Jane Addams, John Dewey, and others.”

Read the Washington Post Review.

Looking like the enemy: My Story of Imprisonment in Japanese American Internment Camps, by Mary Matsuda Gruenewald.

“The author at 16 years old was evacuated with her family to an internment camp for Japanese Americans, along with 110,000 other people of Japanese ancestry living on the West Coast. She faced an indefinite sentence behind barbed wire in crowded, primitive camps. She struggled for survival and dignity, and endured psychological scarring that has lasted a lifetime. … Like “The Diary of Anne Frank,” this memoir superbly captures the emotional and psychological essence of what it was like to grow up in the midst of this profound dislocation and injustice in the U.S.”

Read the review by Sherry Wachter at Story Circle Book Reviews

Fabricated: World of 3D Printing, by Hod Lipson & Melba Kurman.

“Fabricated tells the story of 3D printers, humble manufacturing machines that are bursting out of the factory and into schools, kitchens, hospitals, even onto the fashion catwalk. Fabricated describes our emerging world of printable products, where people design and 3D print their own creations as easily as they edit an online document. … Fabricated takes the reader onto a rich and fulfilling journey that explores how 3D printing is poised to impact nearly every part of our lives … Aimed at people who enjoy books on business strategy, popular science and novel technology, Fabricated will provide readers with practical and imaginative insights to the question ‘how will this technology change my life? …” from the Wiley publishing (publisher’s site).

Read the review by Justin Slick at About.com

Sugar Changed the World: A Story of Magic, Spice, Slavery, Freedom, and Science, by Marc Aronson & Marina Budhos

“This meticulously researched, brutally honest, compelling book offers readers a different way to look at many events over the past 200 years or so. The title says it all. From the slave trade through abolition; from revolutions (American, French, and Haitian) to the Louisiana Purchase; from the decline of honey to the rise of saccharine, these events and many more are directly traced to the cultivation and production of sugar cane around the world. With a focus on slavery, Aronson and Budhos demonstrate how this one crop, with its unique harvesting needs, helped to bring about a particularly brutal incarnation of slavery.” … from School Library Journal, by Jody Kopple.

Read a short review from the Washington Post.

What the numbers say, A Field Guide to Mastering Our Numerical World, by Derrick Niederman & David Boyum.

“The bad news is that, in an age of science, complex financial planning, and competing deficit forecasts to support competing stimulus packages, the average citizen needs math more than ever. The good news, according to this delightful and eye-opening numeracy primer, is that it’s all sixth-grade math. Niederman, a mathematics Ph.D, and author of The Inner Game of Investing, and Boyum, a public policy consultant, assert that quantitative competence is mostly a matter of simple habits of mind, including: trust numerical data over anecdotal observations, but always question what the data are really saying; think in terms of probabilities rather than certainties; and make rough-and-ready estimates so your calculations don’t go off track. … This engaging book is a great challenge to fuzzy math of all stripes.” … from the publisher

Read a review by ATD here.

What I eat cover

What I Eat: The World in 80 Diets, by photojournalist Peter Menzel and writer Faith D’Aluisio.

“A stunning photographic collection featuring portraits of 80 people from 30 countries and the food they eat in one day. In this fascinating study of people and their diets, 80 profiles are organized by the total number of calories each person puts away in a day. Featuring a Japanese sumo wrestler, a Massai herdswoman, world-renowned Spanish chef Ferran Adria, an American competitive eater, and more, these compulsively readable personal stories also include demographic particulars, including age, activity level, height, and weight.” … from the publisher

Read a review by Aaron Spiegel, featured at the Huffington post.

……….We have also received a bunch of other fabulous books, but I just wanted to preview a few that I find interesting. I will let you all know about other new titles in future posts, but any teacher who wants to know what we’ve added can e-mail me and I will send them a complete list of our books orders.

……….Thank you for stopping by and I hope you found something useful.

Copyright © henry toromoreno, 2015. All rights reserved.

Little known (and therefore under-used) collections

The Haverhill High School Library Media Center (LMC) has a wonderful catalog of books, video tapes (yes, like those used in VCRs), DVDs and other materials that we would love to get into people’s hands. Today, I’d like to share with you a brief description of four collections we have available for students, faculty and staff.

Professional Development: We have a small, but interesting collection of books aimed specifically at people who like thinking, reading and learning about all things education. Perhaps you’d like to read a classic, like John Holt’s 1973 book, How Children Learn or Lev Vygotsky’s 1993 book, Thought and Language. Maybe you’re in the mood for something more current like Harold Foster’s 2008 book, America’s unseen kids: teaching English/language arts in today’s forgotten high schools or Terry Zawacki’s 2012 book, Writing Across the Curriculum : a critical sourcebook. Other titles deal with classroom management, critical thinking, standards & testing, second language acquisition, and other jargon only people in education ever say out loud.

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Graphic Novels: I’ve mentioned in earlier posts that I was a child of the comic book and have continued being a fan of the story told in pictures. I still read the “funnies” in the newspaper (yes, the news printed on paper) and I’m a huge advocate of illustrated stories. Some of my first real books were those Illustrated Classics titles that you can find nowadays at Walmart and Costco for $1.99. I’m not sure I could have understood some of those stories (The Three Musketeers or Orwell’s The Time Machine, for example) without the pictures helping me figure out what was happening. We have one hundred illustrated books including Fahrenheit 451, The Metamorphosis, The Odyssey, Beowulf, and Darwin’s On the Origin of Species. Many of our graphic novels are adaptations of classic books or in some other way connected to education.

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Literary Criticism: Helping students find online resources for most academic research projects isn’t usually that difficult. There are plenty of free .gov sites, pretty reliable news sources, and Wikipedia (when used in a certain way described in an earlier post) for students to begin their research. One topic that is usually difficult to find online sources for is literary criticism because, let’s face it, who’s thinking about what the green light in Gatsby symbolizes except English geeks? Fortunately, the LMC has a decent collection of “Lit Crit” books, especially for classic works and writers of the traditional literary canon. Best of all, our collection stretches across many generations of writers and critical theory. Among the series that we have are Norton Critical Editions (1960s & 70s), Twentieth century views (1980s), The Greenhaven Press literary companion to American & British authors (1990s), Bloom’s notes (1990s), and Social Issues in Literature (2000s).

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College Ready & Test Prep: Long before the MCAS and PARCC tests showed up, there was the PSAT, the SAT, the ACTs, the ASVAB and a bunch of other tests, known mostly by their acronyms, to strike fear into our teenagers’ hearts. Of course, nowadays there are great online resources such as Khan Academy to help students review complex or confusing topics in any subject, but the books in this collection familiarize students with the test formats and give them practice with actual past exams. We also have titles that cover topics such as preparing a resume, writing a college entry essay, and making the most of your college years. This section is highly recommended for the college minded student who wants to take a serious look at the tests that stand between them and their scholarships. Nothing improves your luck like preparation.

 

So there you have it. Four valuable print based resources that we have in the LMC ready for our students, faculty and staff to use. As a BONUS, I’d like to mention that we also have a number of maps and posters in the LMC that we offer for teachers to use in their classrooms. Most of these are old National Geographic maps and/or illustrations, but they are also in good condition and laminated to protect them from further wear.

 

Thank you for stopping by, and I hope you found something useful.

Copyright © henry toromoreno, 2015. All rights reserved.