The Googlization of Everything by Siva Vaidhyanathan looks at Google history and it's growing reach of services across the internet. The thesis is tha...moreThe Googlization of Everything by Siva Vaidhyanathan looks at Google history and it's growing reach of services across the internet. The thesis is that Google is striving to control the world's access to the internet to harvest as much marketable data as possible.
Right off the bat, though, Vaidhyanathan approaches the different pieces of Google's services with a clear anti-Google agenda. With such negativity regardless of the evidence presented, it's hard to take any of his observations seriously.
The book first outlines the different services Google offers and how it uses the data it collects both through its robots and through user interaction. These observations, though, are done as an outsider — as a user of Google — without an effort to get Google to respond to perceived abuses. I suppose I am spoiled by the Google articles written by Barbara Quint.
The most interesting section is the examination of search usage by languages spoken. Google's saturation as a search index is highest in multi-lingual countries and amongst multi-language speakers. Google's flexibility of search in multiple and simultaneous languages makes it an invaluable tool.
The take away messages of The Googlization of Everything is that Google isn't as all present as the title implies. It does have its adopters — namely in multi-lingual countries like India, but it's not the world dominant behemoth you might think. (less)
The Owl and the Pussycat illustrated by Anne Mortimer is among Edward Lear's best known nonsense poems. It's also a family favorite, one we recite on...moreThe Owl and the Pussycat illustrated by Anne Mortimer is among Edward Lear's best known nonsense poems. It's also a family favorite, one we recite on a semi-regular basis. It's perfect for a family of owl and cat lovers. The owl and pussycat go on a long sea journey in their pea green boat. After sailing the world for a year and a day they decide to get married.
It includes elements listed as children's preferences in The Essentials of Children's Literature (Lynch-Brown, Tomlinson & Short, 2011, p. 64). Anne Mortimer specializes in cat paintings and her attention to detail brings new life and whimsy to this classic poem. Children can discuss friendships, travel, how cats and owls are in real life and if they'd make a good couple as well as how the poem is structured. They could even be asked to do their own illustrations for the poem.
I read this delightful version the first time for the materials for children ages 5 to 8 course I took.(less)
Clementine's Letter by Sara Pennypacker is the third book in the series. It won the Christopher Award in 2008. It was also the first book in the serie...moreClementine's Letter by Sara Pennypacker is the third book in the series. It won the Christopher Award in 2008. It was also the first book in the series I read, as part of my notable books and materials for children 5 to 8 project.
Clementine is having a rough week. Her beloved third grade teacher, Mr D'Matz has been nominated for a year long trip to an archeological dig in Egypt. To make things worse Clementine just can't seem to do anything right for the substitute. At home she wants to get her mother a special box to keep her art supplies but her money making scheme has upset nearly ever single person in the apartment her father manages.
Frazee's line drawings capture Clementine's every emotions as things go from bad to worse, helping to make her a sympathetic and likable character.
The book highlights the importance of routine, ground rules, good communication and the adjustment period needed for anyone starting a new job or for students to get used to a new teacher.(less)
I first heard of My Brother Charlie by Holly Robinson Peete and Ryan Elizabeth Peete is a picture book about a family of fraternal twins, one of whom...moreI first heard of My Brother Charlie by Holly Robinson Peete and Ryan Elizabeth Peete is a picture book about a family of fraternal twins, one of whom has autism. The book was inspired by the Peete family's experience with having an autistic child, Ryan's fraternal brother.
Told from Callie's point of view, the book introduces Charlie positively. It's clear from the very first page that Callie and her parents love Charlie. Through the introduction Callie explains how alike she and he are and only then does she begin to explain how they are different.
Charlie's autism is only one part of what makes him different. Callie though is clear that even though Charlie needs a little more time and sometimes needs things to be quiet, he's still an important and loved member of the family.
I read this book originally because it was recommended in my Materials for Children ages 5 to 8 class. I chose it because so many of the books about autism, especially autistic children. My Brother Charlie is the most positive and realistic I've read.(less)
Usually the illustrations in these nursery rhyme collections have dull, rathery samey, uninspired illustrations. Not here. These are works of art, don...moreUsually the illustrations in these nursery rhyme collections have dull, rathery samey, uninspired illustrations. Not here. These are works of art, done with naturally dyed wool, beads, buttons, lace and embroidery. They are amazing!
The poetry collection itself is a nice collection of things you'd expect to find as well as some ones you might not expect. Folk song fans will see some old favorites tucked in with the more traditional rhymes.
I borrowed this from the library but I would seriously love to own a copy some day.(less)
Calvin Coconut: Trouble Magnet is the first in a new series by Graham Salisbury. Trouble always seems to find Calvin even when he's doing his best to...moreCalvin Coconut: Trouble Magnet is the first in a new series by Graham Salisbury. Trouble always seems to find Calvin even when he's doing his best to avoid it. At home he has to give up his room to a girl from Texas. At school he's got a couple of bullies to avoid. To make matters worse, one of the bullies has a crush on the girl from Texas!
The Calvin Coconut books are set on the island of Oahu. As Graham Salisbury explains on the series website, he has set the books in his old elementary school. What this means is that the characters in Calvin Coconut seem real without being an obvious lesson on Hawaiian multiculturalism.
Instead of focusing on Hawaiian culture being different, Calvin and his friends learn through trial and error how different Texas culture. What strikes them as normal strikes Calvin's house guest as weird. Being in a Pacific rim state too, I find Hawaiian culture more normal than Texan, so I can relate to Calvin's bewilderment.
The books are best for children in second through fifth grade. There are delightful illustrations by Jacqueline Rogers to accompany the silliest of the scenes in the book.
There are four books planned and I've read two. I hope to read the others.(less)
We Are in a Book by Mo Willems is the third Elephant and Piggie book to win a Cybils. It was the first book in the series that Harriet and I read. I c...moreWe Are in a Book by Mo Willems is the third Elephant and Piggie book to win a Cybils. It was the first book in the series that Harriet and I read. I chose it for her when it became obvious that she was able to read.
While not all of the Elephant and Piggie books are metafiction, We Are in a Book! is from its title all the way through. It plays with the sort of humor Willems used in Sheep in the Big City but aimed at the beginning reader audience.
Gerald tells Piggie that they are in a book. As the two work out what that means, they come to the conclusion that if the reader is reading aloud (as many early readers do), then they, as characters in the book, can make the reader say things.
They try out their theory with the word "banana!" That choice set Harriet and me in stitches. We are in a Book was the book she read right after having read Ed Vere's Banana for a solid week.
The Elephant and Piggie books are good early reader books because they use an easy to read vocabulary and visual clues to help children know who is speaking and what emotions they feeling. All of Gerald's bubbles are gray and Piggie's are pink. The text gets larger for shouting and smaller for whispers. These clues have really helped Harriet learn how to read smoothly but with emotion.(less)
Big Red Lollipop by Rukhsana Khan was inspired by her own childhood as a younger sister who desperately wanted to go with her sister to a birthday par...moreBig Red Lollipop by Rukhsana Khan was inspired by her own childhood as a younger sister who desperately wanted to go with her sister to a birthday party even though she wasn't invited. It's told from Rubina, the oldest sister's point of view. She is invited to a birthday party, something her immigrant mother has never heard of and she tries to explain that only she is invited. Her mother though says she can only go if she can take her middle sister.
Things don't go well and Rubina isn't invited to many parties after that. When the middle sister is ultimately invited to a birthday party, Rubina steps in and convinces their mother to leave the youngest sister at home to avoid a repeat.
The story gave me pause, not over the realization that birthday parties are a very Western thing, but over the fact that where I live all of the siblings are typically invited. We live in a very diverse neighborhood and until I read Big Red Lollipop I never wondered if diversity had anything to do with the inclusion of siblings at birthday events. Whatever the reason, I'm glad we typically invite everybody.(less)
Teeth, Tails & Tentacles by Christopher Wormell has a striking title and cover. The title alone was enough for me to seek it out when looking for...moreTeeth, Tails & Tentacles by Christopher Wormell has a striking title and cover. The title alone was enough for me to seek it out when looking for titles for the second of two projects in the materials for children ages 5 to 8 class I took in 2011.
Christopher Wormell makes his own woodcuts to create bold illustrations with eye catching details ready for counting. The book goes through twenty different animals and invites children to count one to twenty by looking at specific details on an animal (the spots of a ladybug or the diamonds on a rattlesnake, and so forth).
The book includes an appendix that gives facts about each of the animals as well as the author's artistic process.(less)