Sunday, November 24, 2013


This has been my second time using a blog for a class assignment, and overall I thought this was a good way to share information about nonfiction materials.  I enjoyed having freedom to choose the books I read and reviewed, and reading other blogs gave me the opportunity to read about books I may not have known about or been drawn to.  At the beginning of the semester, I visited some other blogs, such as The Nonfiction Detectives and I.N.K. just to see how other bloggers set their blogs up and what kinds of things they include in posts.  One of the most beneficial things about using blogs to review books is that anyone can access the information.  I use Book Review Digest Plus through IUPUI to look up book reviews, but obviously not everyone has access to databases like that.  Granted, those are professionally written reviews, but having a few blogs that you can rely on for quality information is a great tool!  Another thing I enjoyed about reading and posting blog posts was that there is more freedom to express ideas for extension activities and other resources than in a professional review.  There are just endless amounts of ideas when it comes to using a blog to share information about books with colleagues, parents, and kids.  Many of my posts included photos of pages of the book to support things that I wrote about, and I noticed that some other people in the class did this as well.  I liked this as a way to get a sneak peak into a book, though I wondered if it was frowned upon by publishers?  I suppose for a small, personal blog it might be alright but for larger operations perhaps not. 

While I enjoyed writing blog posts, sometimes I struggled more with commenting.  I enjoyed reading other posts, but I felt that sometimes my comments were repetitive.  This is something that I would like to improve on.  The main thing that would slow me down when commenting was if I had a hard time getting excited about a particular title.  I'm glad I had this experience though, because it's important to be able to find out information about books that may not be interesting to me.  Just because it's not appealing to me does not mean I shouldn't promote it to other readers.  This is also something I need to work on as a professional.  Another thing that can be frustrating about commenting on blogs is if you ask a question and it goes unanswered by the poster.  I know someone asked me a question in a comment on my blog and I forgot to reply back until a week or so later.  I felt bad about the late reply. So even though blogs are a relatively easy way to share information, it is still a commitment when it comes to communicating with readers. 

I recently learned about Feedly, which is a website and app for smart phones and tablets that basically organizes blog posts of blogs you follow in a news feed setup.  It's a nice, 'one stop shop' for keeping up on blogs you follow.  I'm still looking for some other blogs related to library science to add to my list, if anyone has any great suggestions.  :)

Here are the links to my comments:

Frogs Strange and Wonderful
My Two Moms
Swirl By Swirl: Spirals in Nature
Look Up! Bird Watching in Your Own Backyard
How They Croaked: The Awful Ends of the Awfully Famous
And Tango Makes Three
P is for Princess
Balloons Over Broadway

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Seeds's been a week!  I'm excited to finally be sharing this book though.  I came across Seeds by Ken Robbins (Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2005) while working on a project for my marketing class and I was really pleased with this book.  The book is intended for 1st to 4th graders, but I think it could even be used in Pre-K and Kindergarten as well.  Robbins uses photography and simple text to explore MANY types of seeds, including milkweed seeds, cherries, wheat, corn, berries, acorns, avocados, and even coconuts!  I really like that there is such a wide variety, including so many that children have either seen or eaten before.  This seems like a wonderful way to help young readers make text-to-life connections.  Here are some examples of how the pages are laid out:

I especially like the sticktights picture of the sock, because I'm sure that's something that many kids have encountered while playing outside, and this shows them up close what those tiny, prickly, things really look like!  

This book could be used for a read aloud, as well as for independent exploration.  The one thing I think could be stronger about Seeds is the "extras."  So many of the other nonfiction books I've read this semester have impressed me with the other features included such as resources for further exploration or ideas for extension activities, but Seeds does not have any of these "extras."  Which doesn't make it a bad book in my opinion, I think I've just grown so accustomed to seeing them that I was a bit surprised that this didn't include anything.  

Here are a few resources for exploring seeds with kids:

The National Gardening Association has a site for kids that includes information about seeds and gardening for kids, as well as information about family and school gardening projects.  The school gardening page has a lot of helpful resources, including Lesson and Activity Guides, Classroom Projects, and Professional Development Opportunities.

The BBC Gardening with Children guide is a fun page to explore!  There are plenty of interesting facts available about things from insects to cacti.  Ideas for indoor and outdoor projects are available, as well as detailed information pages about things such as seeds, compost, and worms.