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Find more Twenty Best Reference Bets for Student Researchers
As the new school year gets under way, our annual “Best Bets” list features titles we reviewed in the past 12 months that we recommend for students. Most of these resources are appropriate for the high-school level; every year we see fewer reference sources for students in younger grades.
American History Online. 2011. Facts On File [www.factsonfile.com]. Gr. 9–12.
Updated to include the revised Encyclopedia of American History (2010) in addition to more than 1,000 newsreel videos. Encompassing biographies, primary sources, and functional time lines, American History Online effectively simplifies research for both students and teachers.
Battles That Changed History: An Encyclopedia of World Conflict. Ed. by Spencer C. Tucker. 2010. 550p. illus. ABC-CLIO, $95 (9781598844290). Gr. 9–12.
The 214 conflicts included in this chronologically arranged volume range from the Battle of Megiddo (May 1479 BCE) to the Iraq War (March 19–May 1, 2003), selected for not only their decisiveness but for their influence on history.
Berkshire Encyclopedia of World History. 6v. 2d ed. Ed. by William H. McNeill and others. 2010. 3,152p. illus. Berkshire, $875 (9781933782652). Gr. 9–12.
To cover 250,000 years of human history, knowledge from various disciplines is synthesized, summarized, and presented in an easy-to-read fashion. Emphasis is placed on social change and cultural contact over time and place.
Biography in Context. 2010. Gale [www.gale.cengage.com]. Gr. 9–12.
What sets this database apart from its previous incarnation, as Gale’s Biography Resource Center, is that in addition to standard resources, researchers are also linked to current news articles and contemporary works that reflect the evolving impact of individuals on history and popular culture.
Career Cruising. 2010. [www.careercruising.com]. Gr. 9–12.
Comprehensive online career-planning, vocational-guidance, employment-seeking database to assist all levels of users in planning a path that will lead to a desired career.
The Concise Encyclopedia of World War II. 2v. By Cathal J. Nolan. 2010. 1,000p. illus. Greenwood, $195 (9780313330506). Gr. 9–12.
Dedicated to the operations, campaigns, battles, and principal political and military actors of WWII, this encyclopedia turns a complex and expansive subject into a usable reference tool.
The Elements: A Visual Exploration of Every Known Atom in the Universe. By Theodore Gray. 2010. 240p. illus. Britannica, $29.95 (9781615354320). Gr. 9–12.
Gray, an element collector and Popular Science columnist, has created a visual homage to the periodic table of the elements. This eye-catching book is certain to appeal to students and casual browsers alike.
Encyclopedia of Earth and Space Science. 2v. By Timothy Kusky. 2010. 873p. illus. Facts On File, $170 (9780816070053). Gr. 9–12.
This work is intended to complement material typically used in high-school science classes. Entries cover concepts, theories, subdisciplines, methods, techniques, important people, and other topics related to earth and space science.
Encyclopedia of Themes in Literature. 3v. By Jennifer McClinton-Temple. 2011. 1,224p. Facts On File, $195 (9780816071616); e-book, $195 (9781438132686). Gr. 9–12.
This set provides 50 essays on general literary themes, followed by entries for more than 300 individual novels, plays, and poems. Works likely to be studied by high-school students were selected using anthologies, reading lists, study guides, and available syllabi.
The Forties in America. 3v. Ed. by Thomas Tandy Lewis. 2010. 1,296p. illus. Salem, $364 (9781587656590). Gr. 9–12.
Like The Fifties in America (2005), The Sixties in America (1999), and similar titles from Salem, this set gives an overview of the people and events of a decade. Entries provide information on U.S. (and some Canadian) history and culture.
Milestone Documents in African American History: Exploring the Essential Primary Sources. 4v. Ed. by Paul Finkelman. 2010. 2,100p. illus. Schlager, $395 (9781935306054). Gr. 9–12.
Chronologically arranged documents portray the story of African Americans from the introduction of slavery in the 1600s to the inauguration of President Barack Obama. High-school students looking for paper topics will appreciate the “Questions for Further Study” provided for each document.
Milestone Documents of World Religions:
Exploring Traditions of Faith through Primary Sources. 3v. Ed. by David M. Fahey. 2010. 1,500p. illus. Schlager, $325 (9780979775888). Gr. 9–12.
The focus is on the five major religious traditions (Buddhism, Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism, and Islam), but documents from other religion-based practices, like Baha’i, Gnosticism, and even atheism and witchcraft, are included as well.
Oxford Dictionaries Online. 2010. Oxford [www.oxforddictionaries.com]. Gr. 9–12.
Offering content from several modern Oxford dictionaries and thesauri as well as writing, grammar, and spelling support, this database is likely to find favor with students (as well as teachers) as a better choice than free dictionary sites.
PebbleGo:Earth and Space
. 2010. Capstone [www.pebblego.com]. K–Gr. 3.
With articles leveled so that they are age-appropriate for an emergent reader, this visually appealing and easy-to-navigate database offers a wealth of information for young researchers.
Popular Controversies in World History: Investigating History’s Intriguing Questions. 4v. Ed. by Stephen L. Danver. 2010. 1,436p. illus. ABC-CLIO, $380 (9781598840773). Gr. 9–12.
Rather than a collection of stale facts and dates, these volumes present world history in a way that allows students to exercise their analytical-thinking skills, moving them beyond knowledge and comprehension and ultimately to the levels of synthesis and evaluation.
PowerKids Life Science. 2011. Rosen [www.pklifescience.com]. Gr. 3–6.
Offers more than 400 articles on key life-science subjects, drawn from Rosen’s PowerKids Press. Teacher and librarian resources include online training, lesson plans and reproducibles, and curriculum correlations linked to state and national science standards and to Canadian provincial learning outcomes.
Scientific Exploration and Expeditions: From the Age of Discovery to the Twenty-First Century. 2v. Ed. by Neil A. Hamilton. 2010. 416p. illus. Sharpe, $165 (9780765680761). Gr. 9–12.
Geographic explorations and expeditions often included scientists who were able to observe and collect data. The emphasis on science sets this resource apart from others on the often-studied topic of explorers and exploration.
Student’s Encyclopedia of Great American Writers. 5v. Ed. by Patricia M. Gantt. 2010. 2,250p. Facts On File, $425 (9780816060870). Gr. 9–12.
Surveys the work of familiar authors, chosen from those most frequently included in high-school textbooks and searched for in Bloom’s Literary Reference Online, along with less-studied authors whose writings have more recently gained critical attention.
Student’s Guide to the Supreme Court. Ed. by Bruce J. Schulman. 2010. 384p. illus. CQ, $95 (9780872895539). Gr. 9–12.
Using the familiar format of the Student’s Guide to the U.S. Government series, this volume is a classroom-appropriate tool for understanding and appreciating the evolution of the Supreme Court.
World Geography and Culture Online. 2010. Facts On File [www.infobasepublishing.com]. Gr. 6–12.
This updated and expanded version of the Facts On File World Atlas database not only provides an incredible amount of appropriate and accurate material but also the tools that allow students to work with all the data.
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