Juno directed by Jason Reitman

Bibliographic Information: Reitman, J. (director). 2008. Juno (DVD). Los Angeles, CA: 20th Century Fox.  ASIN: B000YABYLA.  96 minutes. Movie Rating: PG-13.

Plot Summary: Sixteen and pregnant, Juno MacGuff, has a lot to figure out.  First, she must tell her dad and stepmom the news; they are supportive.  She knows she is not ready to be a mother, so she has some decisions to make.  She discovers that she does not want to have an abortion.  The option she chooses?  Adoption.  She then sets out to find the perfect parents for her as yet unborn child.  She finds what she deems to be the ideal couple in Mark and Vanessa Loring and she begins to establish a somewhat awkward but honest relationship with them.  She is also not quite sure how she feels about the boy who fathered her baby, Paulie, who has been her close friend for years and has had a crush on her for a long time as well.  While she remains somewhat coolly distant from him, Paulie and many viewers suspect she feels more than she is willing to admit.

Critical Evaluation: Juno is a charming movie.  The dialog is witty, straightforward, and intelligent and the characters possess a truthfulness not always found in movies.  The storyline and the characters are compelling, making viewers care about what happens to the young protagonist and her friends and family.  The movie demonstrates that  a person does not have to be a grown up to become pregnant, but becoming pregnant, as least for Juno, can make a person grow up.  Her obvious caring about the life of her soon to be born child and her decisions around that demonstrate that her pregnancy forced her to grow up fast.  Her teen angst and insecurities demonstrate that she is not all grown up yet.  With its humor and warmth, to some extent, this movie romanticizes teen pregnancy, but the honesty and integrity of the movie as well as the fact that it is highly entertaining make it worth a watch.  “The film received four 2008 Academy Awards nominations: Best Original Screenplay, which Diablo Cody won, Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Actress for Ellen Page” (Juno, Wikipedia).

Reader’s/Viewer’s Annotation: When sixteen year old Juno MacGuff discovers she is pregnant she realizes she is not ready to be a mother, so she goes in search of the perfect parents for her as yet unborn baby.

Information about the Author/Director: When asked in an interview about his first reading of Diablo Cody’s Juno script, director Jason Reitman stated, “Page One and I was just like, it was instantaneous. I was like “Oh my god, this girl can write.” Then it just becomes a question of, “Well she can write, but is there a story here?” then about halfway through, by the time we got to the ultrasound scene, I was pretty confident that if I didn’t direct this movie I would regret it for the rest of my life [emphasis mine].” (Douglas, 2007).

Genres: Comedy, Drama, Romance

Curriculum Ties: n/a

Reading Level/Interest Age: Ages 15 to 19 to adult

Challenge Issues: Premarital sex, teen sex, sexuality, teen pregnancy.  In response to any challenges, one can refer to the library’s collection development policies.

Why is this film included? It is a great movie, and with its humor and honesty, I believe  it is destined to be a teen classic.

References:

Juno (film).  Wikipedia.  Retrieved from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Juno_%28film%29

Douglas, E. (2007). Jason Reitman Tackles Teen Pregnancy in Juno. ComingSoon.net. Retrieved from http://www.comingsoon.net/news/movienews.php?id=39765

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Britannica Online Academic Edition

Bibliographic Information: Britannica Online Academic Edition (n.d.). Retrieved from http://sfpl.org/index.php?pg=2000028601&cat=6 (library card barcode and pin number required)

Plot Summary/Resource Description: Britannica Online Academic Edition (Britannica Online) is an online reference source for students and information seekers of all ages, but it is particularly well-suited for middle and high school students’ curricular needs.  Britannica Online’s content and purpose parallel the content and purpose of a set of print edition encyclopedias, except the online edition contains much more data, more updated information, more special features, and many more ways to search for needed information.  Britannica Online contains information about a huge range of subjects from history and science to current events and world literature.  The website lists additional features such as: “atlas, world data, the Classics, biographies, news, multimedia, and more.”  “The Classics” are “225 works by 140 authors [which] offer an introduction to significant works of history, literature, philosophy, and science.”  There is also access to hundreds of magazines, a media collection including long-playing videos, quotations, and ebooks.

Britannica Online contains numerous ways to search for information.  There is a search field where one can type in a query.  There is an A to Z subject guide.  There are several featured subjects on the home page, where one could search around to find a topic of interest.  One could search for a specific topic or browse by subject or alphabetically or all of the above.  Britannica Online contains unique features in addition to access to the encyclopedic information.  The Britannica Online home page includes direct access to Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary and Thesaurus, New York Times and BBC News, and a Britannica Blog.  One can also compare statistical information about two countries, look up a particular day in “This Day in History,” and view historic timelines on various broad topics including Childhood, Medicine, Science, and Religion.  There are also several “Spotlights,” which are special features, for example, Reflections on the Holocaust, Encyclopædia Britannica’s Guide to Black History, All About Oscar (the award), Guide to Shakespeare, and more.

Critical Evaluation: Britannica Online covers a wide range of topics with accuracy and intelligence.  Britannica Online would be a great resource for a student starting research on a particular topic.  The topic’s article would likely provide a useful overview of the topic and provide additional information about subtopics or related topics, as well photographs and videos.  For in-depth research, Britannica Online would not be sufficient as the only source, but would likely provide a significant amount of useful information at the initial stages of research.  Britannica prides itself on the accuracy and authority of its articles.  The website states, “Unmatched Accuracy and Unique Perspectives: Written by Nobel laureates, historians, curators, professors, and other notable experts, the Encyclopædia Britannica articles are trusted resources with balanced, global perspectives and unique insights that users will not find anywhere else.”  Britannica Online is subscription based, so it is available from Library websites that have subvscribed.  At least in San Francisco and San José Public Libraries, users must log in with a library barcode and pin number to access the encyclopedia, so a person without a library card would not be able to use this resource.  With user-friendly search functions and a huge breadth of information, Britannica Online is a practical and useful resource for young adults as well as all library patrons.

Reader’s Annotation: Britannica Online Academic Edition is a comprehensive reference source for information seeking young adults.  It provides accurate, current, and trustworthy information on a broad range of topics and themes.

Information about the Author: Written and continuously updated by about 100 full-time editors and more than 4,000 expert contributors

Genre: Non-fiction, Reference

Category: Online Reference

Curriculum Ties: Useful for all areas of the curriculum

Booktalking Ideas: Use an interesting bit of trivia as the answer to a question you formulate, something that none of the students is likely to know, then ask the students the question.

Reading Level/Interest Age: Ages, 5-14, Ages 15-19 to Adult

Challenge Issues: There are no obvious challenge issues associated with this well-known and respected reference source.

Why is this book included? Middle and High School teachers often require their students to do research for reports, projects, or writing assignments.  Britannica Online is a single source that can provide information on any number of topics to assist students with their information gathering.  Additionally, sometimes young adults are seeking information and need a more trusted source than Google, or need more information than a standard web search engine can provide, so Britannica Online serves that need.