Check it out

September 10, 1999

Once that back-to-school wardrobe is in place, classroom

assignments are a student's next mission. Whether the task involves

constructing a mission model or researching a country, Newport libraries

provide ample resources for making the grade.

Elementary and junior high school students typically face numerous

reports about the world's countries. For such assignments, "Worldmark

Encyclopedia of the Nations" includes nine volumes profiling 193


countries. Geared for fourth- through 10th-graders, the write-ups cover

climate, topography, flora, fauna, ethnic groups, languages, religions,

history, government and industry.

"Lands and Peoples," a similar six-volume set for students in fifth

grade and above, is organized geographically and updated every two years.

There's coverage of geography, culture, economy, history and government

in the articles about countries and their peoples. Sidebars highlight

political subjects, cultural events and social movements.

Students seeking information about people in specific ethnic groups

will find help in 10 volumes of "Peoples of the World." Arranged

alphabetically, the set includes descriptions of native groups covering

language, history, religion and culture.

Moving to the animal kingdom, "Encyclopedia of Mammals" features 17

volumes profiling aardvarks through zebras. Articles explore ancestry,

habits, habitats, anatomy, social structure, reproduction and survival

predictions. The final volume features indexes covering classifications,

endangered species, scientific names, and wildlife reserves and parks.

For those studying prehistoric through medieval times, 12 volumes in

"The History of the Ancient & Medieval World" cover the origins of

humanity, religions of the world, the ancient Greeks and Romans, and

medieval politics and life. Time lines, glossaries, further reading

suggestions and indexes contribute to fine coverage of primeval eras,

ancient cultures and non-European history.

There are 10 volumes dedicated to 17th and 18th century American

history in "Colonial America." Illustrations, sidebars, maps and further

reading bibliographies contribute to a user-friendly set for junior and

senior high school students.

Progressing to contemporary times, "Junior Chronicle of the 20th

Century" reconstructs the past 100 years, for history buffs age 9 and

older. Written in a "you are there" newspaper-style format, this engaging

resource chronicles fashion, events, inventions, art, science, toys and

space travel through lively time lines, color photos and reference


Mission projects are a rite of passage for local fourth-graders, who

can turn to the "Lerner's California Missions" series for assistance. In

addition to six volumes concentrating on missions in specific areas, a

"Projects & Layouts" reference details how to construct bases, walls,

towers and decorations.

To further aid students, the library urges teachers to complete an

"Assignment Alert" at least one week before assigning a project or

report. This allows staff to hold available materials in temporary

reference, for availability to the widest possible number of young

scholars. Teachers can call Children's Reference at (949) 717-3800 to

request a form, or to alert library staff about upcoming assignments via


* CHECK IT OUT is written by the staff of the Newport Beach Public

Library. This week's column is by Melissa Adams, in collaboration with

Lin Look.

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