Internet Reviews

Joni R. Roberts; Carol A. Drost

Confronting Suburban Poverty in America. Access:

Vivian Linderman, Citrus College,

This website offers an online presence to the Brookings Institution’s book of the same title, written by Brookings fellows Elizabeth Kneebone and Alan Berube. The homepage of Confronting Suburban Poverty in America has a clean look, which uses responsive design features that are easy to navigate and read on desktops or mobile devices. A menu bar across the top provides a dropdown option to site “Resources,” “Newsletter,” “Blog,” “About,” and a search tool. On the homepage, one can scroll down to highlighted resources, social media links, and an explainer video. The deftly produced short video (1:45) describes the landscape of suburban poverty, changing perceptions of poverty, and ideas for combating this growing problem of suburbia.

The homepage adds a compelling subtitle—Suburban Poverty Resources: Take Action and Be a Part of the Solution. The Take Action subtitle links to the video; data, including an A to Z list of community profiles; a short executive summary from the Metropolitan Policy Program at Brookings; and an infographic on suburban poverty. This page, however, does not include the resources available from the dropdown menu at the top of the homepage. From this menu, one also can link to practitioner “Briefs & Case Studies” documenting suburban areas and neighborhoods from throughout the country. Researchers can view FAQs, “Policy Recommendations,” “What You Can Do,” and read about six highlighted communities. Information on the book also is available from the Resources dropdown menu and offers the ability to read the first chapter, complete with bibliographic materials.

Users may find the site a bit confusing as information resources are scattered around the site from different links and pages. Using the “Sitemap” at the bottom of the homepage may prove helpful.

The site provides current, relevant information, since the 2013 publication of the book, through its complementary blog posts and, presumably, the newsletter to which one must subscribe.

Anyone interested in the causes and solutions to suburban poverty, whether students, researchers, advocates, or philanthropists, will find this site of interest. Visitors to the site can garner basic information on the topic, or zero in on specific details related to implications, trends, solutions, or unique communities. The site is a definite plus for students seeking a credible online source to research a pro/con or issues paper on poverty in America.

International Childrens Digital Library. Access:

Lea Currie, University of Kansas Libraries,

The International Children’s Digital Library (ICDL) is operated by a nonprofit foundation whose goal is to build a collection of children’s books that represents every language in the world. The ICDL Foundation negotiates the copyright for all of the books that are available from its website. These rights do not allow downloading, printing, or further distribution of the material. The ICDL Foundation also supports research on children’s literacy and their perception of cultures other than their own.

Initially created by researchers at the University of Maryland, ICDL requires materials to meet certain criteria before they can be included on their website. Books must support understanding of similarities and differences among cultures, promote tolerance and acceptance, appeal to ages 3 to 13, meet a high degree of quality standards in publishing, and be relevant and appropriate for children today.

The “Read Books” link at the top of the ICDL homepage takes the user to a pull-down menu with links to a simple search or advanced search, books by country, award-winning books, an author and illustrator list, and more. A user-friendly interface in the simple search allows the user to search for books by language. Additionally, the text of the interface can be changed to one of 20 different languages. Users can choose an age group; short, medium, and long books; the color of the cover; make believe or true books; books with animal or kid characters; fairy and folk tales; and picture books or chapter books to name a few.

Searching books by country is easy, as well. Users can choose a continent from a globe. Books from the chosen continent are listed, but the user can use a pull-down menu to choose a specific country. ICDL also has links to activities for children, which includes play-acting, writing stories, and researching cultures represented in books. A link to “Exhibitions” provides the user with books centered around a theme. There are many great suggestions for activities and helping children navigate the site.

Finally, users can create an account, which allows them to choose their preferred language, save books to a personal bookshelf, and return to the last page they were reading. With simple navigation tools, this is a wonderful resource for children, parents, teachers, and librarians.

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