LitPick is a site I only found about recently, and it is one I really like the look of. Although the site is based in the US, it is just as relevant to your keen readers in the UK, or any other country where students are happy to read books in English. I contacted the people who run the site, just to check that there were no hidden costs, and was reassured that it was completely free to use. Students can join to review books, which are then sent to them as eBooks if they live outside of the United States. Once a student submits a review, it is evaluated by one of their adult underwriters. Feedback on the writing is given, and once the review is approved, the student is able to choose the next title. Students can sign up to Litpick here. Students can earn points and badges for good reviews as well as the feedback, which is invaluable. If you wish to sign up a group of students instead and have an overview on what they write, that is also possible here. I have spent a little while looking at this and thinking about it, and can see no downside. Pupils get to read new books, and they are theirs to keep. Have a look – we all have keen readers who would love to be the first to get their hands on a book! And, just to make clear, as with everything I post, I do not get any financial reward for posting this. Enjoy!
A lot of readers will already know about the amazing email list called School Librarians’ Network (SLN). In fact, most of the articles on Heart come from SLN members. But for those of you who have not caught up with this amazing resource, this is how you join. School Librarians’ Network is a Yahoo Group, and to join SLN you first have to have a Yahoo identity. This is quick and easy – just ensure that you put that you are a school librarian, or if your job is of interest to us. We have many authors on the list, for instance. There are 1000+ of us on there so it is probably best that you use a different email to your school one, as there are a large volume of emails a day. (You can of course access all emails straight on the site). SLN is a wonderful source of knowledge and wisdom – whatever you ask, someone, somewhere, has done it before and has great advice to offer. We also have a huge files section, worth it’s weight in gold! You won’t regret joining SLN, the brainchild of school librarian Elizabeth Bentley, who moderates the group. Simply send a blank email to :
to access the group. You will still need your Yahoo profile set up to access the files. Hope to see you there!
Cotsen Children’s Library has interviewed children’s authors since 2009, and has just made these interviews available for free as podcasts. There is a good mixture of well known authors on there – Philip Pullman, Sharon Creech, Joseph Delaney and Kaye Umansky, to name a few. To read about the programme, and how the author Lloyd Alexander inspired the interviews, see here. To read more about the featured authors including transcripts of the interviews, see here. This is a great archive that Cotsen Children’s Library has built up – thanks to them for making all of this freely available.
BiblioFiles artwork by Aliisa Lee. Used with permission.
Lenny Dutton, the inspirational @missedutton who calls herself – rightly – An Excited Educator, has once more come up with a great video and a way of engaging pupils using the interactive quiz tool Kahoot. Read about it on her blog, and watch the video to be inspired!
Most – though not all – of Heart’s readers know about SLN (School Librarian’s Network) and are members of this Yahoo Group. Most of the work on Heart comes from members of SLN. However, if you are a school librarian anywhere in the world, and you are not a member, you are missing out on a fantastic source of support and CPD. The group was set up by Elizabeth Bentley, who is on the SLG Committee, more than 10 years ago. The group runs as a completely free chatroom where we can exchange ideas, put those questions that only another librarian colleague can answer, and have the occasional moan! The group also has a large collection of very useful files. If you would like to join, create a Yahoo profile which includes the fact that you are a school librarian. Then send a blank email to this address and Elizabeth will join you up.
It is a closed group, but it doesn’t take too long for you to be approved. Then you can join the most lively and informative online group of school librarians I have ever come across. You will still need your Yahoo Profile to access the files. See you there!
The Hay Levels is a new YouTube channel, with 3-5 minute short films by leading academics and experts on various subjects to do with AL subjects. They include Simon Singh talking about the Big Bang Theory, Marcus du Sautoy talking about Trigonometry and Logarithms, Richard Dawkins on Irreducible Complexity in religion and Simon Schama on the Weirdness of History. Great as lesson starters to get pupils thinking – and free!