Category Archives: Reading

January School Holiday Program

This January, the school holiday program will be hosted at the Evanston Gardens Library. Activities include the popular Summer Reading Club Packs with prizes to be won by simply reading; special Storytime and Craft-it! sessions (for Superheroes only) and traditional board games for all the family to share.
See details below:


What’s Your Dewey? 770s Photography – A Thousand Words or Less!

Is ‘a picture worth a thousand words’? Recent research into how we read and interpret information would suggest not. In his article As it turns out, a Picture is Not Worth a Thousand Words, Paolo Gaudiano states:

‘…just as words cannot really turn into pictures, pictures cannot replace words in terms of their ability to convey clear, (mostly) unambiguous information.’
[Full article: ]

Despite this, images as text  are on the increase and visual literacy is now as important to our educational development as digital literacy. This arguably rests with the technical advances in how we produce and reproduce images and the ease with which we are able communicate them widely.

51edvj4bf8l-_sx340_bo1204203200_Photography Visionaries by Mary Warner Marien is a chronological listing of the lives and images of 75 photographers spanning photography’s history from the 1800s to the digital age. Marien provides a fascinating insight into the art and inventiveness of some well known and not so well known photographers who have visually recorded and fashioned our collective view and memories for over 100 years. The imagery represented is captivating and indicative of the medium’s lasting impact. The list of inclusions is by no means exhaustive (and does appear to have a U.S. bias), however, there is great representative, historical detail to be found in the the photographs included.

We rely heavily on our visual interpretation of the world and visual literacy is as much about our world view as it is about what the world presents us.


In Photographs from the edge : a master photographer’s insights on capturing an extraordinary world by  Art Wolfe and Rob Sheppard, the enormity of the world’s diversity and complexity is on magnificent display. Wolfe’s expeditionary photography takes us to all corners of the globe capturing some never-to-be repeated moments in nature and culture. Many of these photographs will always remain a unique part of our visual history, and Wolfe shares the techniques, experiences and decisions that helped him capture them.

51k5mnnywtlWhile Wolfe’s work brings us a sense wonder at the largess of the world,  Macrophotography : capture magnified photographs of nature’s smallest subjects by Dennis Quinn draws us in to look more closely at the things we might miss. This unique book  teaches readers how to choose and use the tools needed to capture magnificent images of the smallest of the natural world. You’ll learn how to select and use your equipment and where to find your subjects. In each section of the book Quin shares the creative secrets behind some of his images as well as providing information on the life cycles of his subjects. This book is a fascinating mix of art and science.

Food photography : from snapshots to great shots by Nicole S. Young takes readers through the principles behind setting up, taking and editing great food photographs. The book contains some  large, vibrant photos, accompanied by expert shooting tips.  To look inside:

With the huge uptake of social media and smartphones, photographic images flood the internet and everyone has become an expert photographer, be it food, nature, fashion or portraiture.

Selfie : the changing face of self-portraits by Susie Brooks looks at the history of self-portraiture from the 40,000 year old hand stencils found in Indonesian caves, to famous painters like van Gogh & Picasso to modern photographic selfies. An interesting blend of stories, techniques and fashion insights into an activity that seems very recently trendy.

With Christmas just around the corner, getting a new camera or smartphone to record the festive celebrations may be on the agenda.

the-digital-photography-handbookNow in its 5th Revised Edition, The Digital Photography Handbook by Doug Harman is still considered one of the best guides to digital photography. The book includes expert advice on the art of digital photography as well as guidance to making the most of your current equipment and software or what to look for when replacing it. A comprehensive book well worth reading for anyone with an interest. Follow this link for a sneak peek:

The 770s also includes Computer Art, Cinematography and Videography, which is handy because the technology seems to have converged with cameras making movies, and editing software turning film into stills. Many words are written on the topic, certainly more than a thousand, so I think I’ll just close with one single picture!
Nola Cavallaro

What’s Your Dewey: 745.5 Recycling – Not Waste But Upcycling

You might expect to find Recycling under 363.7 (Environmental issues) and you will.  Strictly speaking, Recycling as a technology will be found in 628.4. While there are interesting titles in both those Deweys, what really fascinates me are the wonderful ideas that turn ‘junk’ into treasure, usually employing low-tech solutions. A term for this coined in the 1990’s is Upcycling. In a 2010 article in Upcycling is defined as:

A process that can be repeated in perpetuity of returning materials back to a pliable, usable form without degradation to their latent value—moving resources back up the supply chain.

My understanding is a little simpler – I call it ‘making useful and/or attractive things from things at hand’. The best place to find titles on this topic are the 745.5s. Below I have selected just a few to share but there are many, if you care to look.

craftsmartThe Craft Smart series of books is aimed at children and provides step-by-step instruction for 12 crafts in each title. Recycling by Danielle Lowy uses junk mail, bottles, socks, buttons and old ties to make toys, noticeboards, pincushions and jewellery. The instructions are well illustrated, clear and easy to follow – and not all completely ‘for children’.

greencraftGreen Crafts for Children by Emma Hardy is aimed at older children and young teens and gives step-by-step instructions for 35 projects using natural, recycled and found materials. The book is divided into 5 sections with the Recycling section providing 8 projects. My favourite is the felted bag made from an old, well-loved jumper.


Found and made: The art of upcycling by Lisa Hölzl is for teens and aims to arm them with a set of upcycling skills and resources for the future. In its Introduction it says ‘This book is about using your unwanted everyday household trash to make works of art.’ It also makes the point that ‘turning trash into treasured art is more than just recycling because it keeps rubbish out of the waste stream… finding a new purpose for your waste products before you throw them away.’ The book is very useful in encouraging readers to look at all materials in a new way and has some great suggestions worth pursuing.


Upcycling : 20 creative projects made from reclaimed materials by Max McMurdo photography by Simon Brown is a recent publication that is arguably an adult orientated, designer look at upcycling. At the onset, McMurdo points out that upcycling can also be re-purposing, reuse, reclaimed, salvaged, remade, preloved or reinvented. The book makes a good argument for not buying new, apart from the environmental benefits and possibly (though not necessarily) the cost-benefits, McMurdo makes a case for pushing design elements to review the way we create our living environments. Contents include Furniture, Storage & Display, Lighting and Accessories and a useful section on Tools & Techniques. Step-by-step instructions are accompanied by photographs and commentary.

index-aspxReclaim that : upcycling your home with style by Sarah Heeringa takes the view that we can and possibly should surround ourselves with things that have meaning and therefore re-use, re-purpose and redesign the things we love  for long term use. The book has many interesting ideas but anyone seriously wanting to pursue Sarah’s  views on interior design can also access them at her Facebook page

There are so many ideas and thinking outside the box is guaranteed to bring more. Next week is National Recycling Week so in the spirit of ‘waste not want not’ it may be a perfect time to Upcycle some things. I may even revisit the 363.7s and the 628.4s to see what else I can use.

Nola Cavallaro

Tech Savvy: A-Z Apps Series – B is For Books

B is for books and with the arrival of e-books and e-readers, there have been many ways to get your hands on the newest release or your childhood favourite.  From e-reader apps and social interaction for book lovers, to reading the latest title or cataloguing your own home collection, there are many apps to choose from.  There are also children’s books that have been turned into interactive apps for shared reading.  These e-books for younger readers contain surprises during the book reading and many have the option of listening to the narrated version. They are a lot of fun regardless of your age!  
For many, the act of turning the page and the tactile feel of paper is just something you can’t read without, so e-books are just not for you.  But if you don’t mind jumping into e-books, there’s a huge world of online books for you to explore! Here’s our list of e-reads, interactive books and social apps built just for that…

goodreadsThe Goodreads website and app is a great place to start if you’re looking for a new read.  It’s a community of book lovers that share their passion for reading.  You can find recommendations from Goodreads, join a discussion group or add your friends to see what they’re currently reading and what’s on their to-read list. There are also plenty of reviews for all genres of books to be had.  It’s available on the iTunes App Store and Google Play for FREE!
icon175x175iBooks comes as included software with Apple products for reading e-books and PDFs.  The iBook Store is the online side of the app, available to peruse, to search for free and paid titles which include the latest bestseller to Shakespeare’s works. Good settings include the functionality to change the size of the text, colour of the page and ability to create bookmarks to save your spot for later.

itchy-bear-appwrong-book-appThe Wheelbarrow company have produced a few interactive books for children and among them is The Wrong Book and the Itchy Bear Series. These titles, written by Nick Bland, are narrated by Frank Woodley and Angus Sampson respectively.  Both of these are available from the iTunes App Store for $9.99 each, but will provide lots of fun and enjoyment.  

bus-ipad2xThe Wheels on the Bus app by Duck Duck Moose is available for FREE on Google Play/Amazon  for Android and the iTunes App Store.  It has many sounds, songs and interactive surprises on every page for young kids to enjoy.  This company have also released numerous other interactive e-books for these platforms which you can find at the link;

So maybe novels are not your thing and you prefer a good non-fiction read. Or you’ve got a special interest that you’d like to pursue.  There are just as many reference or non-fiction books available to download as there are fiction books.  These could be How-to titles like cooking, mechanics and craft;  or perhaps you prefer learning more about the world around you like religion, biographies and science. Universities now offer their textbooks as an e-book option, replacing physical and heavy text books.

ebooks-australiaE-books Australia is a great place to start.  They have items to download on almost every subject and whilst this is not an app, it does have a mobile site which is great to download books on the go and start reading straight from your e-reader app.  Prices on this site will vary greatly so make sure you check before falling in love with the title.
Follow this link to check it out:

 Fancy yourself an author?  Would you like the opportunity to see your work published?  With the e-book medium, this is not just possible but also simple to do.  There are many apps out there that can assist with the creation and publication of e-books. 

Book Creator
is a FREE app available from the iTunes App Store and Google Play, that has everything you need to create your ‘fixed layout’ books.  These types of books contain varied visual accompaniment that enhances the text;  such as Children’s picture books, art books, photographic books, manuals etc.  In addition to the app, their website is a great place to find assistance with webinars, articles, videos and community space to discuss your ideas. The app will publish your book in ePub, which is the usual format but can also publish in video so you can export to Vimeo or YouTube.

Maybe writer’s block is in your way?  Not to worry there is an app called Lists for Writers for $4.49 from the company Thinkamingo. Need an injection to get your creative juices flowing?  This app will supply you with everything from colours to geographical names to physical characteristics of people and place.  It’s available from almost everywhere (iTunes App Store / Google Play / Nook / Amazon for Android / Windows Phone Store / Blackberry) so no-one will miss out.  Link:

 There’s now a whole new world of books available for you to download and read, create and publish and discuss with like-minded people.  Although don’t worry if you’re still a big fan of the physical paper and cardboard variety, they aren’t going anywhere soon. You might own a vacuum cleaner, but you still use the broom… The power blackout we had recently meant the good old book and candlelight was your best bet for riding out the storm without worrying about that blinking battery symbol!

Post Contributor: Melinda Kennedy  
#technology #app #book #ebook

What’s Your Dewey: 155.5 Too Tense Teens

It’s officially the silly season for teens, that time of year when things start getting desperate. The pointy end of the year where expectations from peers and adults are pressing – homework to be completed, parents to be appeased, social networks to be navigated and phone credit to be reinstated! Some teens seem to cope with minor incursions to those around them, while others flounder, taking any bystanders with them. There are quite a few guides out there aimed at teens and parents of teens on how to cope with the emotional maelstrom, and here is a quick look at just a few titles in the 155.5s  – Psychology, young adult .


A Guy’s Guide/Girl’s Guide to Stress by Travis Clark and Annie Belfield is part of the Flip-it-over Guides to Teen Emotions series that allows teenagers to get both male and female perspectives on the emotional issues that confront them. This reversible book talks about why stress happens and gives easy-to-follow advice that can help teens avoid a complete meltdown. At first glance the book seems dated (published in 2008), with a USA bias, however the offer of a ‘flip-side’ view to teen issues in an accessible format is interesting and reaffirms the idea that stress does not discriminate!

Transforming Stress for Teens, by R. McCraty, S. Moor, J. Goelitz & S.W. Sawyer teaches teens how to use HeartMath techniques to manage emotion and daily anxiety, with an aim to developing emotional resilience. The book describes how emotions can “drain your battery” and provides techniques that help control stress by showing teens how to use their heart-brain connections to regulate emotions. Emotion regulation skills like ‘heart-breathing’, help teen practitioners feel calmer, be more confident and think more clearly, to bounce back from challenging situations.
Follow this link to take a sneak peak inside:

The Anxiety Survival Guide for  Teens, by Jennifer Shannon begins with the introduction You are not alone and you are not to blame, listing the various types of anxiety the book addresses including Panic Attacks, OCD, and Phobias. The book acknowledges that teen milestones such as dating and taking on more mature responsibilities can leave them stuck in a cycle of worry and avoidance. The book uses both Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Acceptance & Commitment Therapy to help teens identify their ‘monkey mind’ where anxiety is thought to arise.
Follow this link to get a sneak peak:


Strictly speaking, The mindful teen: powerful skills to help you handle stress one moment at a time by Dzung X Vo, is a book about mindfulness rather than teen stress. Also strictly speaking, this is not a 155.5, it’s just a little further along the shelf. However, this practical and engaging guide uses mindfulness-based techniques to help teens keep stress at bay. Simple, memorable tips can be used every day to help ameliorate stressful times, be it at school, home, work or in social situations.  The book aims to help teens uncover their inner strength and resilience to take charge of their lives.

Author Dzung X. Vo, MD, FAAP, (a British Columbia pediatrician and clinical researcher) specializes in adolescent medicine and emphasizes that resilience in young people helps them thrive in the face of stress and adversity. His multi-media material on the topic is available to purchase online and view through YouTube. There is also a Blog site dedicated to teens for teens on mindfulness. You can link to the site here:

There are of course many other titles that help teens deal with the changes and challenges that confront them and they can sit anywhere in Dewey – like teen body image books and teen social media networking books and teen diet books and teen relationships books, to name a few other potential Dewey areas. There are so many (depending on the type of stressor being discussed), that it can be difficult to locate the right title at the right time for your teen – but I’m not stressing about it.


Nola Cavallaro