Learning Links

Great Reading!

Students learn a tremendous amount about history, geography and science, and grow their vocabulary and writing skills by reading good literature.  Reading helps students of all ages raise their academic achievement levels while broadening their worldview.  The librarian can help your student choose books that are the right reading level. Historical fiction with young people as the main characters have won awards through the years. Favorites include Shades of Gray by noted children’s author Carolyn Reeder (1990), Sarah Plain and Tall by Patricia MacLachlan (1986), and Bud, Not Buddy by Christopher Paul Curtis (2000).

The Scott O’Dell Award for Historical Fiction for Children has been honoring books for more than 30 years and the complete list can be found at:


Since 1938, the Caldecott Medal has honored beautifully crafted picture books with stories that are enjoyed by both adult and child.  They make excellent gifts for birthdays and for new parents. Among older favorites that are still published are Make Way for Ducklings by Robert McCloskey (1942) and The Funny Little Woman, by Blair Lent and Arlene Mosel (1973).  To find the entire list go to:


The Newberry Medal was first presented in 1922 and the winners are works that capture the imagination of young people and their parents and grandparents. Ask your librarian to help your young person select books that are the right reading level. These are great books for reading aloud to one child or for a family read.  Look at the list for some ideas:


The website for the Association for Library Services for Children gives lists of the most recent notable books that may not have actually won an award. Categories are given for younger, middle, and older readers, which is very helpful for selecting books that are appropriate to the student’s age and interests as well as reading level.  For the 2011 Notables List:


Healthier Cosmetics and Cleaning Products

Almost all shampoos, lotions, deodorants, and make-up are manufactured from petrochemicals and other ingredients that are absorbed through the skin, which is the human body’s largest organ. Personal care products are a serious source of exposure to toxins, and children and teens are especially at-risk. Some products say on the label that they are “natural” or “organic” but a reading of the label shows that they may contain only one healthy ingredient mixed in with a variety of chemicals that should be avoided.

There are several companies that produce high-quality non-toxic products. Here are the links to two companies that you might want to look at:

Cleaning products for your home or office:


Cosmetics and personal care products: