Archive for the videos Category

Honus and Me by Dan Gutman

Posted in book reviewers, further reading, videos on August 11, 2011 by Anita


Joe Stoshack lives for baseball. He knows everything there is to know about the game — except how to play well. His specialty is striking out. Stosh feels like a real loser, and when he takes a low-paying job cleaning a bunch of junk out of his neighbor’s attic, he feels even worse — until he comes across a little piece of cardboard that takes his breath away. His heart is racing. His brain is racing. He can hardly believe his eyes. Stosh has stumbled upon a T-206 Honus Wagner — the most valuable baseball card in the world! And he’s about to find out that it’s worth a lot more than money….

Summary from Goodreads


Many baseball experts will ague that Honus Wagner was the greatest player that ever lived.  A contemporary of the more well-known Ty Cobb, Wagner actually out played Cobb in the 1909 World Series, which Wagner’s Pittsburgh Pirates won.

Wagner is perhaps even more well known for the T206 Honus Wagner, the rarest and most expensive baseball card in the world.  The T20 baseball card series was produced from 1909 – 1911 by the American Tobacco Company, and Wagner, who objected to smoking, refused to allow the company to continue production of his card.  Only 57 copies were distributed to the public.

The Card has had multiple books written about it, including the adult book The Card: Collectors, Con Men, and the True Story of History’s Most Desired Baseball Card by Michael O’keeffe and the children’s book All Star!: Honus Wagner and the Most Famous Baseball Card Ever by Jane Yolen.

This card is at the center of the first book in Dan Gutman’s Baseball Card Adventures series.  After finding the rare and valuable card while cleaning out his neighbor’s attic, Joe Stoshack discovers he can use it to travel through time.  Joe first brings Honus to him, but then travels back with Honus to witness the 1909 World Series for himself.

Luckily for Joe, Honus’s card isn’t the only one that holds this power for him.  Joe can use many baseball cards to travel through time, allowing him to eventualy meet Jackie Robinson, Babe Ruth and Ted Williams, among others (interestingly, Joe never meets the great Ty Cobb, perhaps because Cobb is known to have been an angry and unstable man.)

Boys and girls who are fans of baseball will love the Baseball Cards Adventure series, which is packed full of baseball facts, history and exciting baseball games.  Gutman also places baseball in it’s social context, exploring how the game influenced and was influenced by history.  In Jackie and Me, Joe goes back in time to meet Jackie Robinson for a school project, and has the chance to see what it was like to be an African American in America in the 1940s.

Of course, there are many places to explore baseball on the web and many enhancements to a series like this.  Nearly all the players Joe meets are members of the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York.  In fact, Honus Wagner and Babe Ruth were both among the original five inductees.

Ken Burns: Baseball


Students looking for more information about the history of their favorite game would do well to watch Ken Burns’s Baseball.  Burns dedicates his amazing talent to exploring not just the game’s history, but it’s place and import in American society.  Baseball is currently available for Instant View to Netflix subscribers.   

Of course, those looking for information on current teams and players and the current baseball season must visit Major League Baseball’s official site.  Video clips and highlights are posted daily from games around the league.  Clips from the annual All Star Game and Hall of Fame acceptance speeches are also available.

Additional Reading

There are many choices out there for kids who want to read more about baseball, but Samurai Shortstop by Alan Gratz provides a perspective most might not recognize.  Japanese players have found a home in Major League Baseball only recently, despite the widespread popularity of baseball in Japan, and the existance of professional baseball in Japan since 1920.  Samurai Shortstop explores the origins of the game’s popularity in Japan.







Anna and the French Kiss

Posted in create your own, further reading, videos, ya lit with tags on April 14, 2011 by Anita

Anna is looking forward to her senior year in Atlanta, where she has a great job, a loyal best friend, and a crush on the verge of becoming more. Which is why she is less than thrilled about being shipped off to boarding school in Paris—until she meets Étienne St. Claire: perfect, Parisian (and English and American, which makes for a swoon-worthy accent), and utterly irresistible. The only problem is that he’s taken, and Anna might be, too, if anything comes of her almost-relationship back home.

As winter melts into spring, will a year of romantic near-misses end with the French kiss Anna—and readers—have long awaited?

–Summary taken from Goodreads


This book  was sort of an unexpected “hit,” getting a lot of buzz in the YA lit blogging community before the holidays.  I wasn’t able to get my hands on a copy until recently, but it was worth the wait.  It’s a wonderful, sweet (but not saccharine), quirky romance.  While I was really frustrated with Etienne for leading Anna on for a while, and even more frustrated with Anna for letting him, I thought it was completely believable.  I can’t wait for the companion novels.

My rating: 5 stacks


A Tour of Anna’s Paris

I made this photo story a few weeks ago in anticipation of our presentation at the AAIM conference, but my laptop crashed before I was able to post it.  We’ve finally retrieved all my files, so I’l happy to be able to share it now.

Since Paris is such an important part of Anna and the French Kiss, I wanted to see all the places Anna visits during her stay.  I thought others might be interested as well.


I used Photo Story to make this video.  For schools & libraries that cannot access online video sites like Animoto, Photo Story is a good solution.  It has to be downloaded to each individual machine, but it’s free and pretty easy to use.


  • Download Photo Story
  • A one page handout for students on Photo Story 3: photostoryforstudents.doc
  • A 7 page step-by-step guide for Photo Story 3: photostorystepbystep.doc
  • Want to add music to your Photo Story from your iTunes account? Download CDex to convert your iTunes files to mp3 files. NOTE: you’ll probably need to burn your iTunes musci to a CD, then upload the CD tracks into CDex to convert.

    Stephanie Perkins Links

    Stephanie Perkins’s Website

    Stephanie Perkins’s Blog

    More to Read and Watch

    Watch French Kiss with Meg Ryan and Kevin Kline for the story of another awkward American who falls in love in, and with, France.

    Recommended Reads from Stephanie Perkins

    Upcoming Books from Stephanie Perkins:

    Lola and the Boy Next Door (September 2011)

    In this companion novel to Anna and the French Kiss, two teens discover that true love may be closer than they think.


    Isla and the Happily Ever After (Fall 2012)

    Isla is the final companion to Anna and Lola.


    Find more Reading 2.0 ideas at the Reading 2.0 Wiki.

    The Nature of Jade by Deb Caletti

    Posted in further reading, videos, ya lit with tags , on April 2, 2011 by Anita

    Humans may watch animals, but animals also watch humans. The Australian Lyrebird not only observes humans, but from its forest perch, imitates them, as well. It’s been known to make the sound of trains, horns, motors, alarms, and even chainsaws…
    — Dr. Jerome R. Clade, The Fundamentals of Animal Behavior

    Jade DeLuna is so comforted by the elephants she watches on the zoo’s webcam that she leaves the cam on in her room all the time. The first time the boy in the red jacket visits the elephants, she’s intrigued. Not only is he cute, but the baby he carries on his back certainly makes him different from the other guys she knows.

    Despite – or because of – suffering from panic disorder, Jade is looking to take control of her life, and meeting the boy in the red jacket seems like a good place to start. Instead, however, she ends up face-to-face with Chai and baby Hansa, Bamboo, Tombi, Flora and Onyx – the elephant residents of Seattle’s zoo. Working with the animals proves to be even more therapeutic than watching them, and when the boy in the red jacket finally appears again, Jade is not just ready to meet him, but ready to fall in love.

    Jade and Sebastian [the boy in the red jacket] are characters you’ll want to get to know, but the elephants are the stars of the book, and the element that takes Deb Caletti‘s The Nature of Jade beyond your typical teen love story.

    If the elephants intrigue you as much as they did me [like Jade, I live just blocks from a zoo – a little one with no elepants & no webcams, though], you’ll find you can watch real elephants on the live 24 hour elephant web cam at the San Diego Zoo’s web site.

    If elephants aren’t your thing, use the Live Cams & Videos menu at the top of that page to see the other annimals.  If you’re as lucky as Jade, you might meet the man of your dreams while watching the Panda cam.

    Moving on from the relationship between animals and humans to human relationships, Jade’s eventual involvement with Sebastian, a single dad, creates a love story unusual in teen literature. Most YA books that contain single teen dads are the story of their struggles to raise their babies – Margaret Bechard’s Hanging on to Max, for example, or the Printz Award winning First Part Last by Angela Johnson. In The Nature of Jade, Jade has to be willing to risk loving not just Sebastian, but his son Bo as well. And she has to be willing to forgive Sebastian for the things a father will do to keep his son.

    Additional Resources

    Animal Books

    (don’t miss Colleen Mondor’s review of these books )

    Check here to find out more about other books by Deb Caletti.

    See an interview with Deb on Book Lust with Nancy Pearl

    “Smart, engaging (and occasionally awkward) first-person narration, genuinely complex relationships and strong secondary characters…combine to make this a sure hit for fans of Sarah Dessen….All in all, a pleasure.” Kirkus Reviews“With intelligent yet emotion-drenched prose, Caletti expertly weaves a story of humor and pathos featuring a cast of unforgettable, multi-faceted human and animal characters.” Children’s Literature”Jade’s first-person voice seems overly sophisticated, and her story is sometimes needlessly complex….On the other hand, the author does a fine job of developing [her] characters…describing their emotions deeply as well as authentically. The love story is also quite captivating.” Booklist

    “In telling about Jade and Sebastian, Caletti pushes her readers to consider these same moral choices, and perhaps to realize that sometimes there are no correct answers in life.” KLIATT


    Find more Reading 2.0 ideas at the Reading 2.0 Wiki.