The library was bustling with activity this week, mainly human sexuality for the sixth through eighth-grade students. But when not in use by middle schoolers, the library hosted the High School drama class for a look at their play, Anxiety is Orange. Students performed several scenes from this thoughtfully funny play. Also happening this week was the final Leadership Lunch of the school year. Ryan interviewed Samhita and Saheb about their experiences on the Quiz Bowl and Science Bowl teams. We look forward to seeing them both in the future on Jeopardy!
The sixth graders were in the library on Monday with Ms. McGinnes to begin research for their passion projects. Student topics include various sports, animation, organic food, Lego, and music.
It’s hard to believe, but we held the final high school book club of the year on Tuesday. To start us off, Ms. Melinson shared a number of books she got on Independent Bookstore Day, including the Joan Didion classics Let Me Tell You What I Mean and The Year of Magical Thinking, Call Us What We Carry, and All About Love. She also shared some cool-looking books like The Coasts of California, a beautifully illustrated field guide, an oddly sized edition of 1984, the graphic novel adaptation of 1984, and the Maya Angelou poem Life Doesn’t Frighten Me with illustrations by Jean-Michel Basquiat.
Avery shared she’s only reading a school book right now, The Tempest. Jordyn talked about returning several books, including Scythe, which reminded Ms. Melinson to share that a prequel to Scythe will be released this year. Mrs. Strong read The Personal Librarian and liked it well enough. Samhita is re-reading House of Leaves, although it’s much less weird the second time around. Dra. Portillo read Circe and said it’s really good and makes you wonder about gender roles in that time period.
We only have one more book club before the end of the school year, but first, let’s recap our March and April meetings.
Our March book club was short but sweet with Ms. Melinson sharing some new books in the library. There were some new books to add to ongoing series, like Rhythm of War by Brandon Sanderson, and new Thrawn Ascendancy books by Timothy Zahn. Ms. Melinson also shared some new favorites by beloved authors like Amor Towles, E. Lockheart, and Anthony Doerr. She also shared a fun graphic novel cookbook called Let’s Make Dumplings, featuring adorable artwork and tasty recipes.
In the April book club, Ms. Melinson began by sharing that the Brooklyn Public Library was waiving its fee for teens across the country in order to access its ebook collection. This is in effort to combat the increasing book censorship nationwide.
Jordyn shared that she’s reading Sherlock Holmes and is enjoying it. She was expecting the book to be slow, but found that it’s well-written and translates well to modern times. Jennifer read Radium Girls and said it’s “so good!” Mrs. Strong mentioned that the book is getting the graphic novel treatment and is set for release this July.
Ms. Reynolds states that she has trouble talking about books without oversharing, but she discussed The Vanishing Half without giving anything away. She said she liked it, particularly the question the book asks – what is lost and what is gained when you hide who you are?
Anniston read What Once Was Mine: A Twisted Tale and said that she uses the Tangled movie voices in her head when reading. Samhita said she tried reading 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami, but found it to be disappointing and misogynistic. However, she loves White Teeth by Zadie Smith and is also trying to read more books by Indian authors.
Mr. Wells finished our meeting by discussing what he’s been reading lately. He loved Libertie, but couldn’t get into Flights. He found it to be self-indulgent and couldn’t engage with the material. He also enjoyed book club favorite All the Light We Cannot See and Amor Towles’ latest, The Lincoln Highway.
The library hosted the Sophomore Symposium this week where the Top 10 finalists shared their presentations on a variety of topics:
Kaitlyn D. – The Benefits of the Mental Health Court
Aarushi R – Multi-Cancer Detection Blood Test Galleri
William H. – Artificial Intelligence and Its Uses in Healthcare,
Luke S. – The Effects of Climate Change on the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta
Gulzar S. – Farm to Fork
E R. – Mental Health in Transgender Youth
Mia C. – To Bee or Not to Bee
Grace Z. – Chinese-American Conservatives
Imani C. The Math and Science behind 2D Character Animation
Katie E. – Changes in the Vietnamese Language Over Time
Congratulations to the winners Mia, Grace, Imani, and everyone who presented!
Later this week, Ms. Melinson worked with Mr. Hobbs’ eighth-grade history class to learn about misinformation. Students learned about lateral reading vs. horizontal reading and the important of checking where their information comes from as well as fake news and deep fakes.
Last week, Sage brought her magnificently fuzzy cat to the library for another visit. Just look at that majestic floof!
The library was hopping this week with classes and events. It almost felt like a return to the before times!
On Monday, the library hosted an Enlightenment Salon with Ms. Kahn’s seventh-grade history class. Students became a variety of Enlightenment figures, including Voltaire, Diderot, Wollstonecraft, and Benjamin Franklin, as well as some lesser-known people from that time, like Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz, Toussaint Louveture, and Phillis Wheatley. Students discussed such enlightened topics as should their characters support monarchy or democracy? What is the role of women in society? And what does it truly mean to be an enlightened society?
We also had the March edition of book club on Wednesday. Ms. Melinson presented a number of new books that recently joined the library’s collection. Her focus was on beautiful book covers like Drawn Across Borders, Star Child: A Biographical Constellation of Octavia Butler, and Watch Over Me. Ms. Melinson also talked about new releases from popular authors like Rhythm of War, Cloud Cuckoo Land, The Lincoln Highway, and Again Again.
We ended the week with a lovely springtime concert courtesy of the Middle School Orchestra. Click here to watch a clip on our Instagram page!
Check out these great shelfies from Read Across Country Day!
Happy 3,672nd Annual Read Across Country Day! Just kidding, but it is our 20th anniversary of celebrating Read Across Country Day! Much like the last few years, our celebration looked a little different. Instead of transforming the library into the Starbooks Lounge, we created a cozy reading nook with the comfy chairs and played classical music all day while still remaining open for quiet study.
Instead of visiting classrooms, the Candy Fairy got an assistant this year, and they met middle and high school students in their respective quads to distribute candy and buttons. Ms. Melinson made Read Across Country Day kits for the teacher to help facilitate the All-School Read. That took place at 2 p.m. when Waldo, of Where’s Waldo?, announced the beginning of the All-School Read, where everyone in the school dropped what they were doing to read. We can’t wait to see all of your reading shelfies! Check back next week for those photos.
The High School Book Club met last month right before Mid-Winter Break. Ms. Melinson talked about book censorship, a current topic of great debate. The last week of February also happened to be Freedom to Read Week in Canada, so Ms. Melinson shared some recently challenged and banned books. Those titles include Drama by Raina Telgemeier, Maus by Art Spiegelman, New Kid by Jerry Craft, and Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz. Ms. Melinson emphasized the importance of reading these books now in case someday we can’t.
Ashleigh shared that she had just started reading Imaginary Friends by Stephen Chbosky. She said it’s really cool and is similar to Stranger Things. Adam was on a George Saunders kick, reading Lincoln in the Bardo and CivilWarLand in Bad Decline, with the latter reminding him of The Man in the High Castle. Jackie discussed reading The Lord of the Flies for English class. Mr. Wells read a book he would not recommend called Forging Fire, describing it as “really bad.” But he also read All the Light We Cannot See and would highly recommend it, saying it was “very good.”
The library was drama-central this week as the space was used for two different productions. At the beginning of the week, Mr. Panasiti’s tenth-grade English class was in the library to perform scenes from Anna Deavere Smith’s play Twilight: Los Angeles, 1992. Students read the play in class and then adapted scenes to perform a dramatic monologue in front of their peers.
Later in the week, Ms. McGinnes’ high school Drama elective rehearsed for their upcoming play. It was a neat opportunity to see all of the work that goes into putting on a performance.
On Friday we had a furry visitor – Elton, Sage’s cat. Elton is a munchkin cat and looked quite content to be carried and have his fluff pet by his adoring fans.
This week saw the beginning of Black History Month as well as the Lunar New Year. For Black History Month, the library is engaging in a #readingblackout where all of the books on the endcaps (the display at the end of each aisle) are devoted to works by Black authors. Each endcap features a different theme, such as Black joy, new books, adventure, and history. The display cabinet in front of the library also got a new look. Student Masai decorated the cabinet to feature books, art, and music by Black creators and used QR codes to direct people to more information about the history and importance of Black History Month.
On Tuesday we celebrated Lunar New Year with a countertop display featuring the gorgeous San Francisco’s Chinatown by Kathy Chin Leong with photographs by Dick Evans. This week also saw the return of the Leadership Lunch series. Students Craig and Ryan interviewed senior Sanjana, who discussed her experience working in one of Sac State’s research labs. Sanjana is researching how people age by using fruit flies and said she’s excited to be a part of research early in her education, and to be able to use the skills she’s learning in college and beyond.
We held our first book club of 2022 recently where students got together to discuss what they’ve been reading. As she does every at every January Book Club, Ms. Melinson talked about new cookbooks. On her list this year is Best American Food Writing 2021 and Chef’s Fridges. She also talked about reading Native Speaker and poetry from The Book of Insects by former teacher and alumni parent, Susan Kelly-DeWitt.
Sage read The Master and Margarita and found it to be slow, but captivating. She also mentioned having a long list of books on her to be read pile inspired by the Netflix show You. Ashleigh has been re-reading the Shadowhunter series by Cassandra Clare, having read four of the six books recently. She also mentioned wanting to read the entire collection of Grimm fairytales. Arijit finished The Count of Monte Cristo and now wants to read Dante’s Divine Comedy. Avery read Beauty, a take on Beauty and the Beast, and wants to read it again.
This week saw the return of the library’s virtual fireplace. While eighth-grade students worked on citations for their National History Day projects, a warm (looking) fire roared on the screen to add a sense of coziness to their class time. The fire returned later in the week when tenth grade students were in the library working on their Sophomore Projects.
Leadership Lunches returned in person in the library! Craig and Ryan interviewed Samhita and Simone on their different experiences working with Breakthrough Sacramento over the summer as a volunteer and teacher, respectively.
The library also hosted its Book Club this week. Students shared what they’ve been reading and hope to read over break, while Ms. Melinson talked about several new books in the library. View our Instagram for some of the top books of the year!
On Friday, Ms. McGinnes and Mrs. Frandrup announced the results of the Scientists in the Field showcase. Congratulations to all of our scientists for their excellent work!