Week in Review: The One with the Walk

Happy end of the first full week of the school year!

The 10th graders were treated to a visit from Sacramento Room librarian, James Scott, this week. Scott spoke to students about the Sacramento room and the historical treasures it houses. He also talked about the kinds of resources the public library has available to help facilitate research for their Sophomore Projects and even did a virtual walk-through of newspaper archives on some of the topics shared.

The library also acted as host this week for the 9th and 10 grade initial discussions on the all high school read, Interior Chinatown. Mr. Hinojosa gave an overview of some of the themes and stereotypes found in the book in preparation for break-out groups later this month that will explore these topics more in depth.

Wednesday also saw the beginning of Hispanic/LatinX Heritage Month. Check out our Instagram post featuring some of our new library helpers holding some great Hispanic/LatinX literature. Be sure to follow us @matthewslibraryscds for more great recommendations!

On Thursday the 10th graders took to the back field to walk and discuss their paper topic with a partner. Each pair shared their topic as they walked around the track, sometimes more than twice, and then debriefed in the garden.

Week in Review: The One With the Wildlife Rescue

Happy second week of school! We hope you’re getting back into the groove of things after a long holiday weekend. The library is back to bustling business as usual. The sophomores took over the library this week, visiting with both their English and History classes. Students worked on focusing their research topics and learning how to paraphrase. They learned how to make outlines and navigated Noodletools, a research management platform. On Thursday, both English and History classes were in the library at the same time working on their zombie issues assignment, which helped students navigate the different features in Noodletools they’ll be using with their Sophomore Project.

The library had a special visitor on Thursday – a dragonfly! They flew into the library office and needed several helping hands to make it back outside. Wildlife rescuers Jacob and Rod helped gently catch the dragon fly with an empty garbage bin and a blanket after which Ms. Melinson set on a table outside. The dragonfly flew away after several minutes, hopefully not into anymore buildings.

Week in Review: Welcome back!

We’re back! Back in school, back in person, and back to our weekly review of what happens in (and, this year especially, around) the Matthews Library.

Mrs. Frandrup’s Book Elective stopped by on the first day of school to check out some new reading material. The library is positively bursting with new books so they had much to choose from.

The 10th graders were in the library on Thursday to learn about their big research unit, the Sophomore Project. Ms. Melinson introduced them to what they would be doing and then had them brainstorm ideas by searching through local Sacramento magazines and websites.

Ms. Melinson also met with her advisory for the first time and ate tasty, fancy snacks.

Meanwhile, Mrs. Strong was out some of the week practicing one of our most important civic responsibilities – jury duty. While she can’t talk about the experience yet, she can share some photos from the beautiful Robert T. Matsui United States Courthouse.

January Book Club

The high school Book Club met last week for a cozy evening discussion of what we’ve been reading. Ms. Melinson opened with a book called Season Creep, authored by Elana Mallov, a friend of Ms. Melinson’s daughter. Season Creep is a book of poems and observational drawings the author made while walking around Philadelphia in 2020 as the seasons all seemed to meld into one.

As longtime Book Club members might remember, January is when Ms. Melinson talks about what new cookbooks she’s reading. This year, it’s I Hate to Cook Book 50th Anniversary edition, a sassy book that focuses on recipes for people who might prefer to have cocktails with friends rather than cook! Ms. Melinson also discussed The Rise: Black Cooks and the Soul of American Food, a cookbook she’s on the fence about. She loves the idea of the book because it features Black chefs and others in the food industry, but the recipes are by the author himself and not the people he showcases, which works when it’s a food justice advocate. But when it’s a chef, she’d rather see a recipe by that chef.

Samhita shared that she hasn’t been reading as much, but has been listening to audiobooks of books she’s previously read. She’s currently listening to the Alex Rider series, a guilty pleasure, she says. Samhita then asked about books similar to A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder, an atmospherically dark and scary book. Some suggestions include:

  1. One of Us Is Lying and the sequel One of Us Is Next/McManus
  2. Two Can Keep a Secret/McManus
  3. The Cousins/McManus
  4. People Like Us/Mele
  5. Inheritance Games/Barnes
  6. Hand on the Wall/Johnson

Adam read some ‘weird’ books recently, which lead to a discussion of other weird books. He read Welcome to Monkey House stories and God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater, both by Kurt Vonnegut. Other weird books discussed include House of Leaves, The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, and Priory of the Orange Tree.

Mrs. Strong read The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead and really liked it, although she needed to take frequent breaks due to the subject matter. She also started reading The Memory Police, a dystopian novel that Adam also read and enjoyed. Mrs. Strong tried reading Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier but couldn’t get into. Ms. Melinson said classics are often best read over the summer so there’s enough uninterrupted time to get into it.

We discussed other favorites and classics and Adam gave The Night Circus the best compliment it will probably ever get, calling it “a banger book.” Samhita still hasn’t read it, but read the author’s other book, The Starless Sea, and said it has too many commas in it, to the point of it taking her out of the story.

December Book Club

We had a cozy final Book Club of 2020 on Wednesday with Ms. Melinson, Mrs. Strong, and Samhita in attendance. Ms. Melinson shared that she planned to read How to Connect, another book in the Mindfulness Essentials series (previously she shared How to Fight, a book not about actual fighting). Ms. Melinson said this book is perfect for right now because it discusses digital overload and not being able to connect in person. She then talked about some winter reads: Rent a Boyfriend by Gloria Chao (it’s like the YA version of Crazy Rich Asians); The Bear and the Nightingale (suspenseful and wintery) by Katherine Arden; and Uprooted by Naomi Novik (high fantasy).

Samhita shared that she read I Hope You’re Listening, a mystery with a true crime podcast twist. She also recently read Rent a Boyfriend and found it cute. Mrs. Strong talked about A Fire Story, a graphic novel about the author losing his home in the 2017 Tubbs Fire in Santa Rosa. She said it was good, but had to take frequent breaks due to how sad it was. She’s also planning on reading How We Get Free: Black Feminism and the Combahee River Collective over break for her upcoming class on women and gender studies.

Ms. Melinson brought up the upcoming Writer’s Night hosted by Mr. Hinojosa and featuring Country Day alum discussing their books, of which we have several in the library. She also mentioned her new favorite winter holiday, Jolabokaflod, an Icelandic tradition where you spend Christmas Eve reading and eating chocolate. Ms. Melinson asked what books we might be giving as gifts this year, with her top choice being a book from the Mindfulness Essentials series. Mrs. Strong said she doesn’t give books unless she knows for sure the person will enjoy it and Samhita said she’s not thinking about Christmas gifts until Christmas Eve.

President Barack Obama released his top reads for the year, as he does every year. They’re always great picks, although Ms. Melinson and Mrs. Strong agree that he should read some YA. Check out our Goodreads page to see all the books we’ve discussed in Book Club this past year and in many previous years. And if you’re need of reading suggestions, we have several Padlets for you!