Week in Review: Poetry Edition

This week we had a little bit of rain, a little bit of sunshine, and lots of fun stuff going on in the library!

Throughout the week we had the 7th Grade History classes working on their China/Japan culture documentaries. And we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to snap a photo of one of the 7th Graders, Olivia, checking out our copy of Olivia: 


The Sophomore Project Presentation Battles happened Monday and Tuesday, where Sophomores enlightened us with their chosen topics. We had quite the variety this year—from dog breeds, to sports psychology, to dreams, to Mount Everest!

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Thursday we celebrated Poem in Your Pocket Day, where we gave out candy to anyone with a poem in their pocket. Some of our High Schoolers visited the Lower School library to work with Kindergarteners on some interactive activities. Some of the poems involved acting like a tree (Ben was a very convincing tree!), drawing bugs, and pretending to be corn (shout out to Christian for making a map of where corn grows in the U.S.!). Ms. Melinson snapped a bunch of photos of our kids in action:

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We were honored to have the Matthews family stop by for a visit on Thursday. It was kind of like getting visited by royalty. If the name sounds familiar…

Friday we had a Leadership Lunch, where members of the Latinx Student Union talked about their recent trip to the Latinx Youth Summit in San Francisco, where they attended workshops, heard some powerful keynote speakers, and were able to bring back some great ideas to promote diversity on campus. Plus, they got to dance on stage. We’re a bit jealous.



April Book Club



Last week we had our last High School Book Club for the Class of 2016 (where did the year go!?). Ms. Melinson traditionally reads a poem for the Seniors, the lovely “Summer Day” by Mary Oliver. In the spirit of National Poetry Month, Anny read a couple of poems by Robert Louis Stevenson, and Dr. Bell read “My Father is a Simple Man,” by Luis Omar Salinas.

Ms. Melinson asked the Seniors to share any reading advice they might have for the younger book club attendees. Amelia said she highly recommended reading short stories, because it’s a great way to get an idea of a writer’s style before reading their larger bodies of work. Vanessa and Jake agreed, adding that it’s also a good way to “find your genre” and discover new ones that you might not otherwise try.

Everyone agreed that it’s always a a great idea to venture outside of your favorite literary genres. Dr. Bell said that he enjoyed reading a book by Dean Koontz that he picked up randomly in a coffee shop one day—someone had left it with a note saying “Read and leave for someone else to enjoy.” Ms. Nellis said that when she was traveling in Europe as a student, her peers would often trade books with each other, and this is how she ended up reading Jaws. Fels said that she found herself reading “big books” like Dune when she was spending time in Mexico.

Saachi offered some very insightful advice, which was to “read poems for inspiration” before a writing assignment or a test. Zoe D. said she loves reading books with illustrations and art, such as The Phantom Tollbooth, which she plans to take with her to college. Everyone shared the sentiment and agreed that it’s fun to go back to our “comfort books” every now and then.

For a complete list of books recommended during this book club and previous book clubs, check out our Goodreads list here!

Week in Review: Prom and Reptile Edition


This week in the library we had a couple of surprises. As the High Schoolers prepared for the prom on Saturday (on a train!), we got to see some very entertaining promposals—like Manson’s proposal to Saachi—complete with coffee puns and surprise lattes.

And we were really impressed by MJ’s promposal to Gracie, one of our biggest Harry Potter fans:


While we can definitely get on board with chocolate frogs, we can’t really say the same for the other surprise guest we had in the library: a local campus lizard. This little guy decided he needed to check out some library books. He was kindly scooped up by Mr. Stainbrook and returned to nature, since we have a strict no-reptile policy in the library.


After school on Friday the Glass Knife had another production night. And we gotta say, the book is shaping up to be pretty cool…stay tuned!

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Here’s What We’ve Been Reading!

As we enter the final stretch of the school year (hooray!), we’d like to take a moment to share what our faculty and staff read over Spring Break. We hope everyone had a relaxing couple of weeks filled with sunshine, fun, and a good book or two. Participating readers were entered into our Reading Raffle to win fabulous prizes (sound familiar?).

Without further ado, here’s the handy-dandy list of reads! In no particular order:

  • Dr. BellMaster and Margarita/Mikhail Bulgakov
  • Ms. FelsBrooklyn and Nora Webster/Colm Toibin and World Gone By/Denis Lehane
  • Mr. MercadoA Chicano Theology/Andrés Guerrero
  • Ms. Covey – Carry On/Rainbow Rowell; Shadowshaper/Daniel Jose Older; and Serafina and the Black Cloak/Robert Beatty
  • Ms. Bloedau – At the Edge of the Orchard/Tracy Chevalier
  • Dr. WhitedIs Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns)/Mindy Kahling
  • Ms. LaComb – The City of Thieves/David Benioff
  • Ms. Nellis – The Past/Tessa Hadley
  • Ms. Batarseh – David Copperfield/Charles Dickens, and The Wise Man’s Fear/Patrick Rothfuss
  • Mr. Day – Un Royaume de Femmes/Anton Tchekhov
  • Ms. Myers – I am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban/Malala Yousafzai 
  • Mr. Cunningham – White Noise/Don Delillo, and Patience/Dan Clowes
  • Ms. Wessels – Double Fudge Brownie Murder/Joanne Fluke
  • Ms. Manning – The Thing Around Your Neck/Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and Our Endless Numbered Days/Claire Fuller
  • Ms. Monahan – Mistress Shakespeare/Karen Harper; The Fourth Bear/Jasper Fforde; Murder Unleashed and A Nose for Justice/Rita Mae Brown; The Shell Collector/Anthony Doerr
  • Mr. Billings – The Wisdom of the Myths: How Greek Mythology Can Change Your Life/Luc Ferry; Greek Gods, Human Lives: What We Can Learn from Myths/Mary Lefkowitz; Mr. Bridge/Evan Connell.
  • Mr. Neukom – Age of Innocence/Edith Wharton
  • Ms. Fackenthall – Beautiful Ruins/Jess Walter
  • Ms. Melinson – Brilliant/Roddy Doyle; The Global Achievement Gap/Tony Wagner

Week in Review: Back from Break; Off to L.A. Edition

This was a fairly quiet week in the library, and by quiet we mean the noise was deafening on Monday as students reunited after two weeks away and shared their tales of Spring Break fun, trips, and sleep (of course!)

Ms. Melinson was able to visit the 9th Grade History class to see some of their World Heritage site presentations. It was fun to learn about Persepolis, Timbuktu, the Historical Town of Ouro Preto, and the Colonial City of Santo Domingo and how they came to be on the UNESCO World Heritage Site list.

Ms. Melinson also got to visit the 6th grade to see their Passion Project Pitches. This is the second year the 6th grade is doing Passion Projects based on Google’s 20% Time and Genius Hour, both are explained in this article. Students will spend part of their time this quarter working on projects of their own choosing and then presenting them to the community. Some of the ideas they have so far include:

  • learning to do stop motion video
  • learning 3-D origami
  • making a cooking blog with videos and recipes
  • teaching another student basketball and posting lessons to a YouTube channel
  • learning business practices from a lemonade stand
  • creating comics
  • learning palm reading and tarot in order to create a Book of Fates

We can’t wait to help them with their research next week!

While Ms Melinson holds down the fort here in the Matthews Library and gets The Glass Knife staff ready for their first Work Night tonight, Ms. Hawkins is in L.A. with the Medallion and Octagon staffs at their annual conference.

Thank you to Mr. Wroten for the 6th grade photos.

Week in Review: Spring Break Edition

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Ah, Spring is in the air! That means warmer weather, pretty flowers, and allergies are all on the horizon. It also means Spring! Break! Is! Here! The week kind of flew by in the library—like so many bees carrying sneeze-inducing pollen…

We had  Dr. Bell’s AP English 12 and English 12 classes in the library to work on a couple of short story projects. Along the same line, the Glass Knife had some super serious board meetings during lunch, where they worked on submissions and discussed other top secret things for the magazine.

On Friday, we had an exciting day checking out books to students and teachers to read over the break. Ms. Melinson shared a delightful cup of tea with Sophie, Tori, and Lia as they worked on some yearbook spreads before heading out. We hope everyone has a fun, safe Spring Break—we’ll see you all in a couple of weeks!

Week in Review: Masked Edition

We were very happy to see more sunshine this week! The weather was warmer, no one had to wear rain boots, and we got some really cool additions to the library: student art! Ms. Didion shared some of her class work with the library and we’re honored to feature them on our slat walls!


We also had some fantastic discussions during our monthly High School Book Club on Wednesday. Click this link to read more about the discussions and the Great Brownie Debate of 2016.

On Friday, Ms. Melinson’s advisory had their end-of-quarter lunch, and they ate Indian food while listening to Bollywood dance music. Big shout outs to Mrs. Naify who generously donated her time to pick up the food and deliver it to the happy advisees! We had so much fun, we forgot to take pictures!


March Book Club



On Wednesday we had our monthly Book Club meeting, where students and faculty join together in the library for the love of all things books! Ms. Melinson made the second round of her “experimental brownies,” where she asked the kids to compare the flavor qualities of these with last month’s brownies. She baked last month’s brownies at a “normal” temperature and then this month she decided to try a new way: “low and slow” at 250 degrees, which experts have told her is the absolute best way to bake the tasty treats.

The results?

The first month’s brownies were standard and tasty, and these brownies were a bit more fugdey—yet equally delicious. The verdict: brownies are delicious, and none of us discriminate. Just give us brownies.

Ms. Melinson talked about Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie We Should All Be Feminists, an adaptation of the author’s powerful TED Talk about feminism. If you haven’t seen the Talk yet, here it is! And if you love Adichie, you might also enjoy checking out Roxane Gay’s essay collection, Bad Feminist.

The students have been busy reading books like Paul Kalanithi’s When Breath Becomes Air, and Cassandra Clare’s first installment of the Dark Artifices trilogy: Lady Midnight. Avi mentioned that she finally got around to reading Eleanor and Park, which sparked a conversation about the latest criticism of the book and its questionable racism with the descriptions of the characters. To read that criticism, click here.

We all circled back to what it’s like to have to read Young Adult fiction as a school assignment—or any book for that matter. The faculty agreed that everyone should revisit the classic books they read in school after a couple of decades have gone by; they found that they typically enjoyed and appreciated them a lot more after the fact.

What a lively Book Club we had this month! For a full list of all the books discussed during this and previous Book Clubs, check out our Goodreads list here.

Week in Review: Rainy Week Edition


Oh, what a rainy week it has been at Country Day! We’ve been holding down the fort (not literally; we had to take that down last week) here in the library…some of us wonder if we’ll be needing to ride our kayaks to school next week.


On Monday Ms. Melinson gave a presentation to the Grandparents Club, where she discussed all things library! The ladies were able to learn about some of the programs and projects that we offer throughout the school year.

Tuesday we had another lovely Musical Lunch, where the High School Orchestra delighted us with several selections to carry us through the rainy afternoon.

We had several of the 7th Grade classes in the library throughout week to work on Renaissance Fair, March Madness, and Feudal Japan projects. Whew!

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And after completing all of their Renaissance plant books, the Middle School hosted the annual Renaissance Faire. While this event usually takes place outside, the rain moved the festivities indoors. Nonetheless, it was a frolicking good time!


Week in Review: Seuss Edition


This week we primarily focused on celebrating Read Across America Day, where we had outrageously cool and comfortable seating all day in the library for students to quietly read. We had tea/hot chocolate for students and specialty coffee and treats for teachers.

Tuesday we had a short-but-sweet visit from the woodwind chamber group during lunch; they played us a couple of songs and we can’t wait to hear more of their selections in the future!

Throughout the week, we had Ms. Burns’ 7th Grade Science class in the library to work on their botanical books for the Renaissance Faire. Students spent their class time researching the origins of plants and their uses during that time period and tracing illustrations. Lookin’ good, you guys!

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