Say Yay! For Y.A.

I don’t think I am the only one who finds it difficult to pleasure read while in school is in session. With all the academic readings and assignments to tackle, more reading is the last thing I want to do. But, the term is finally over so we can slowly start to re-introduce pleasure reading back into our routines! My favourite way to get back into reading is to indulge my inner teen and read some fabulous young adult literature. You’ll be able to see a collection of some of my favourite young adult literature in the OISE library’s lobby display.

Without further delay, let’s get into my top recommendations!

The Outsiders /Starting off with a classic, The Outsiders, by S.E. Hinton. I think we all remember the famous line said to Ponyboy “Stay gold”, but, it might have been a decade or so since last reading this famous novel. Perhaps now is the time to refresh your memory and relive a novel from your youth. For those of you who haven’t read this classic or need a quick reminder, the novel is a coming of age story following a group of low income teens and the trials and tribulations against a gang of wealthier kids from across town. As tension escalates between the gangs that result in a murder, the boys find themselves in a dire circumstance.

Moving away from classics, Scythe is currently a popular young adultScythe / novel by Neal Shusterman, published in 2016. Scythe take place in a world where there is no misery, no hunger, no sickness, not even death. The population stays in check by the hands of the Scythes, a group of people whose job is to keep the population in check by ending lives. The story begins when the two teen leads are forced to take on the role as Scythes apprentices or face their own deaths. This dark dystopian novel tackles themes of morality and compassion, bringing the reader face to face with one’s own personal understandings of death and how our society treats this  delicate topic.

Strange the dreamer /Strange the Dreamer is a fantasy novel written by Laini Taylor. The story follows a young man named Lazlo Strange, a librarian who has dedicated his life to understanding and collecting knowledge about the lost city of weep. This story is beautifully told, and is at its best when you know as little as possible before you pick it up! I would highly recommend this book as an excellent adventure to embark upon to start your summer vacation!

Of course we don’t want to entirely fall off the academic bandwagon,From Hinton to Hamlet : building bridges between young adult literature and the classics / so take a moment to pick up, From Hinton to Hamlet: Building Bridges Between Young Adult Literature and the Classics By Sarah K. Herz with Donald R. Gallo. As the title puts forth, this work seeks to help the reader gain a better understanding of how to introduce and connect young adult literature with classic literature. There are many ways for people to enjoy and engage with literature, and so many modern works are deeply rooted in the histories of the classics! Learn how you can inspire your students with all levels of literature.

Teaching Young Adult Literature Today: Insights, Considerations, and Teaching young adult literature today : insights, considerations, and perspectives for the classroom teacher /Perspectives for the Classroom Teacher by Judith A. Hayn and Jeffrey S. Kaplan can help you teach students to make connections with young adult literature, with the goal of encouraging them to become lifelong readers. Introducing accessible and relatable works to young people can incite a love of reading and give them the ability to transport themselves to new places regardless of where they are. This work also makes recommendations of great young adult literature that you might want to introduce into your classroom.


I hope you find an excellent novel to transport you this summer! Happy Reading!

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May Lobby Display: International Workers’ Day

International Workers’ Day or May Day as it is often called, is a day celebrating labourers and the working classes. Although May Day can be traced back several centuries, the Haymarket Affair is generally considered to be significant as the origin of IWD. In the late 19th century, working conditions would be severe with 10 – 16-hour work days in unsafe conditions. Death and injury in these conditions would be common. In this context, workers started organizing for 8-hour workdays without decrease in pay. The Haymarket Affair started as a peaceful rally in Chicago with workers demanding eight-hour work days. It became chaotic once an unidentified person threw a bomb into the crowd. This resulted in police and worker deaths, and labour activists being rounded up with little evidence linking them to the bomb. The aftermath of the trials resulted in generations of labour leaders, activists and organizers around the world using this day to celebrate worker strength and unity.

This display features OISE Library books that relate to several contemporary labour issues—with a particular focus on Canadian unions and teacher rights. This selection also tries to reflect on whom we typically consider to be workers and looks at diverse texts that talk about care labour, household labour, sex work and many other topics.

Teacher unions in public education : politics, history, and the future was edited by OISE Faculty member Prof. Nina Bascia. This book looks at the important role that teacher unions can play in defending public education, as well as educational policies. The chapters look at topics such as the history of teacher unions and the surrounding discourse, the historical gender relations that informed teacher associations, and the evolving union strategies in the current globalized neoliberal context. Although, the book does not idealize these unions, it also challenges mainstream views that encourage reducing the power of teacher unions.

More work for mother : the ironies of household technology from the open hearth to the microwave by Ruth Schwartz Cowan is a classic that continues to be relevant today. Cowan traces the history of household technologies by looking at the way machines such as washing machines, vacuums, stoves and even white flour were supposed to make the lives of middle-class women easier. However, the liberatory promises of these gadgets remained unfulfilled as these machines mainly replaced the labour that men and children did, and women found themselves still doing just as much work, if not more, to keep up with rising standards and expectations. Although this book was written in the 80s, it serves to be a timeless cautionary tale about so-called labour and time saving technologies and to be more mindful of the implications that they may have on various types of workers.

The book Filipinos in Canada: Disturbing Invisibility edited by Roland Sintos Coloma is the “first wide-ranging edited collection on Filipinos in Canada.” With the Philippines being Canada’s largest source of short and long-term migrants, this book explores migrant labour alongside other topics that are relevant to the Filipino communities such as gender relations, deprofessionalization, stereotypes and representation, as well as community resistance. The title references the way certain tropes affecting the migrant workers are hypervisibilized while other issues affecting the community remain invisible.

If you’d like to check out these books, or see the other books relating to International Workers’ Day, you can find this display, on top of the New Titles shelf that is across the Reference and Circulation Desk. You can also find printed copies of the list with call number information for all of the books on display.

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Featured Activity Kit: Nature Blocks

April showers bring May flowers and all of the insects that make your garden their home! Introduce your class to intriguing insects with Nature Blocks: specimens of real insects preserved in clear acrylic blocks that are easy for students to manipulate and examine up close, bringing the outside in.

The common species preserved in these blocks include a wasp, a housefly, an ant, and a spider. The process of seed germination is also preserved in an additional block with three specimens of seeds emerging at various stages of development. All of these specimens can be looked at with the naked eye, but they are also compatible with microscopes, making them ideal for study in science labs as a part of ecology and environmental study units. They are accompanied by a small informational booklet that includes interesting facts about each species and labeled diagrams of their body parts.

These blocks are ideal for students in the junior and middle grades, and encourage children to be curious about the natural world unafraid of its smaller inhabitants. A teaching strategy hoping to elicit this response might group students together first, to list their preconceptions of these insects, and then to examine the specimens, record what they observe and note new things that they learn. The class can then regroup to discuss what they first thought of these insects and what they think about them now, after the activity.

Each set of Nature Blocks contains three blocks with four insect specimens and three seed germination specimens. They would be paired well with the Zoomy Digital Microscope, which allows students to take magnified digital images of any specimen they choose that can then be viewed on a computer.

Nature Blocks and the Zoomy Digital Microscope are currently on display in the Display & Play area on the third floor of the OISE Library.

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April Lobby Display: Academic Writing and Publishing

Display and post by Maddy Howard, OISE Graduate Student Library Assistant

Writing can be hard, and at times overwhelming. But never fear—OISE Library has plenty of resources to help you navigate the world of Academic Writing and Publishing. Here are just a few resources that can be used both in and out of the classroom, that can help give you the tools you will need to get started on your writing adventures.

The Handbook of Scholarly Writing and Publishing by Tonette S. Rocco, Tim Hatcher and Associates

This book offers emerging and experienced professionals alike a comprehensive overview of the essential elements that you need in order to craft scholarly papers and other materials for publishing. Rocco and Hatcher have divided their work into four sections to encapsulate the different types of manuscripts, submission processes, how to edit, as well as offer suggestions and advice for those of you pursuing publication. The Handbook of Scholarly Writing and Publishing can be used to help you better understand how to write an excellent academic paper and see it brought to life in any publication.

Steps to Academic Writing by Marian Barry

Steps to Academic Writing can be used to teach students, between the ages of 16-18 and speak English as a Second Language, how to make the transition from learning English in school to the expectations of University. Barry includes different exercises and tools in order to help students develop their academic writing skills, including writing for reports, essays, along with other formats. Steps to Academic Writing covers eight topic based units, including four units on essay-writing skills, two units on report writing, one unit on describing visual information (i.e. graphs and charts), and one unit on writing CVs and personal statements for university applications. This is an excellent resource that can be used both in the classroom or for independent study.

The Journey is Everything: Teaching Essays that Students Want to Write for People who Want to Read Them by Katherine Bomer

Katherine Bomer, an international writing consultant, lays out the ways in which students and aspiring academics can restore the way they understand essay writing. Sadly, many students only utilize the five paragraph essay. We all know the one—introduction, argument, argument, argument, conclusion. The Journey is Everything encourages you and your students to break away from that tired, standardized formula. Instead Bomer’s book provides students with the tools, strategies, and activities that can help them discover their own voice and can learn to structure their works organically. This is a must have book for any high school , university, or graduate student.

Academic Publishing: Issues and Challenges in the Construction of Knowledge by Ken Hyland

Writing for publications can be hard. There are so many different challenges that you can face over the course of trying to get your work into a publication. Ken Hyland provides an in-depth discussion of the key aspects involved in writing for academic publications. He explores issues and challenges surrounding academic publishing, including the impact of English as a global academic language, the growth of the assessment culture surrounding publications, and the emergence of Open Access and social media publishing. While a heavy topic to discuss, Hyland’s work is accessible, outlining key concepts and themes concisely and can help all aspiring academics to understand some of the challenges they might face.

Publishing Journal Articles by Lucinda Becker and Pam Denicolo

Who doesn’t get a little intimidated by the thought of getting their work published? It involves a lot of stress and a lot of time. But fear no more! Publishing Journal Articles is an accessible, informative, and entertaining book for all students. It provides practical strategies to help increase your chances of success in getting that paper published in any journal. Becker and Denicolo offer advice on several important topics, including how to write and get the style right, what to select for publication, how to cope with writer’s block, working with editors and reviewers, and more. This book is a must-have for anyone seeking professional journal publication, and the best part is you don’t even have to leave your room! This book is available online for you to read whenever and wherever you want.

To check out these books and more materials about how to write academically and how to get a paper published, visit the Lobby Display in the OISE Building, across from the OISE Library entrance. Ask a staff member for help removing these items from the display case.

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April New Titles: A [Spring] shower of Topics

I Love Sharks, Too! written by Leanne Shirtliffe and illustrated by Lorenzo Montatore   

Stevie LOVES sharks. He loves sharks more than he loves pizza (Can you imagine loving something more than pizza?)! Stevie likes to act like a shark, much to his mother’s dismay. So, whenever his mother asks him to do something, he does it as a shark would. Along the way, Stevie explains how a particular breed of shark would do a certain activity, or why they may not need to do things the same way humans do. For example, humans need to brush their teeth to keep them clean. Mako sharks do not need to brush their teeth because they are coated in fluoride. At the end of the book, teachers can find additional information on shark breeds that were not mentioned by Stevie. This hilariously and vibrantly illustrated book is excellent for teachers wishing to teach their young elementary class about sharks in an engaging, funny, and relatable way.    

 Sioux Code Talkers of World War II written by Andrea M. Page   

Andrea Page grew up in Rochester, NY, with one major rule drilled into her: respect your elders. She did not come to fully understand this rule until she began researching her great-uncle, John Bear King, and his possible role as a Lakota code-talker during the Second World War. This research led her to Wyoming, Buffalo, and Washington DC, and she was able to confirm her great-uncle’s role as a Code Talker and delve into the fascinating history of Code Talkers. The use of Code Talkers and tribal languages for telephone communication worked so well during both wars that it remains the only unbroken set of codes in history.   

 Catching the Light by Susan Sinnott  

Cathy cannot read. Words on paper do not make sense to her. Because of this, her classmates call her Lighthouse: no lights on up there. When Cathy is threatened with not passing eighth grade, she knows she is in trouble. Help comes in the form of Sarah Brooks, who understands that Cathy is an artist and has an artist’s brain. Cathy’s dream is to attend art school, but she has a long road ahead. Hutch lives to kayak with his friends. He is very much the opposite of Cathy: charismatic, popular, and smart. One night, Hutch and his friends take a road trip to see an American Hockey League game, and the icy evening quickly turns tragic. Hutch now leads a very different life. Set in Mariners Cover, Newfoundland, this young adult novel is told from the viewpoints of Cathy and Hutch as they try to navigate their futures.  

 A People’s Curriculum for the Earth: Teaching Climate Change and the Environmental Crisis edited by Bill Bigelow and Tim Swinehart   

The title of this book comes from the editors’ belief that there is an inextricable link between nature and people. This book aims to show educators that the time has come to build a curriculum for the Earth, and not merely in terms of the basic science aspect. The environmental crisis is also a social crisis and an economic crisis. This publication demonstrates these crises through topics such as climate chaos, teaching in a toxic world, and food, farming, and the Earth. Teachers looking to tackle better the issue of climate change should consider this book as an ultimate resource.   

The Neurodiverse Classroom: A Teacher’s Guide to Individual Learning Needs and How to Meet Them by Victoria Honeybourne   

Flowers are unique plants. Some grow best in sunlight, some grow best in the shade, and some grow best in rocky soil. Despite these differences, there is no such thing as an “inferior” flower. They’re just different. The flower analogy is what Victoria Honeybourne uses to explain neurodiversity. People are like flowers: they need different conditions to thrive. This book aims to use the neurodiversity paradigm to approach the issues of special educational needs and inclusion in schools for the twenty-first century. A few examples of topics covered are communication, student wellbeing and working with home. This book is an excellent guide for teachers looking to accommodate better neurodiversity in their classrooms.   

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