October Book Club

The high school book club was back this month to discuss what students and staffulty had been reading lately. Ms. Melinson shared some new books, including Ain’t Burned All the Bright, Alone Out There, The Truth About White Lies, Dungeons & Dragons Art & Arcana: A Visual History, The Crossover graphic novel adaptation, and Their Eyes Were Watching God with a new cover.

Ms. Melinson also mentioned that House of Leaves has returned to the library collection. Jordyn is currently reading the book and said she’s never read anything like it. She described it as “well-written, poetic in its psychoticness [sic]” and creepy in an unknowing way. Perfect for spooky season!

Suketa read I Am Malala and said it’s a really good book. She also enjoyed Save Me Seat. Natalie read Imaginary Friend and warned that the rich and complex world the author creates is ruined by an unsatisfying ending. She suggested reading Bone Gap instead.

Samhita has been reading books by Jhumpa Lahiri, including The Namesake and The Lowland. She says they’re excellent books but too depressing, attributing the sadness to what the immigrant experience was like in the ’80s.

Mr. Comer began reading an ethnography of the Colusa indigenous people in southwest Florida but said it became too much. He mentioned that the author of Damnation Spring, a book he discussed last month, is too fond of the word pumpkins, prompting a brief detour into overused words.

Mr. Wells read The Thousand Crimes of Ming Tsu and loved it. He said it’s reminiscent of Cormac McCarthy and flips the western genre. He thinks it would make an excellent film.

View all of the books we’ve talked about by visiting our Goodreads page!

Week in Review: Sophomore Project Round-up + Return of Leadership Lunches

The sophomores visited the library every day this week to work on some aspect of their project. And there were many! Students worked on focusing their topics and went on “The Walk,” where they discussed their subject with a classmate while walking around the track. They also learned about Boolean search techniques and lateral reading, two important research skills that will help students find accurate and authoritative information for their papers.

The Leadership Lunch also had its first interview of the school year—and it returned to its pre-COVID lunchtime slot! Junior Ryan interviewed senior Amaya about her involvement with the Latinx Club. Amaya talked about wanting the club to focus on art in the Latinx community and hopes to have a bake sale in support of Latine artists. She plans to have the first meeting of the club before Hispanic Heritage Month ends in mid-October.

Week in Review: Orientations, Projects, and Other Assorted Fun

The sixth graders finished their library orientation last week. To demonstrate what they learned about evaluating sources, they finished up with a game of Friendly Feud to test their knowledge. Good thing Steve Harvey was on hand to host!

To practice their new skills, they spent the rest of the week learning more about algae and soil to get some background information for their trip to Clay Banks.

This week, the tenth graders joined us daily for lessons relating to their Sophomore Projects, including how to paraphrase, determine their research question, and use NoodleTools. Students were also visited by archivist James Scott of the Sacramento Room at the Sacramento Public Library. He talked about the research tools available at the public library, like databases and ebooks, as well as the wealth of local information in the Sacramento Room. Students will learn more about the Sacramento Room when they visit in person next week.

Students have been enjoying the new whiteboard in the Quiet Room. This week they used it to play Boggle!

In bookish news, the Middle School Book Elective met in the library to read and discuss their books. We also drew winners for the Summer Reading Raffle. Congratulations to Zachary, Phoebe, and everyone else who participated!

We also acknowledged Banned Books Week with a counter display showing where and why books are most often challenged.

Finally, Ms. Melinson’s advisory proved that they have the best snacks. Advisee Ava D. made cannolis to share with the group.

Week in Review: We’re Back!

The new school year began last week and the library was off to a running start with the 10th grade visiting to learn about their big assignment, the Sophomore Project. We were also visited by the Middle School Book Elective, who came in to browse the shelves for a new favorite.

The High School Book Club met for its first meeting of the year—and the first to take place at its previously usual time at lunch. Students and faculty shared what they read over the summer, and Ms. Melinson shared some new-to-the-library books. Read more about book club here.

This week, the library held its 6th grade orientation. Sixth graders were introduced to their new library and went on a silent conga through the stacks to learn how the books are organized. Then they rotated through stations where they learned about the library’s databases, watched videos on evaluating websites (which will come in handy next week when they further explore the topic), practiced sorting call numbers, and then used those skills for a library scavenger hunt.

Bonus:

It’s always a good day when we get dog visitors, and today we said hello to Ms. Adams’s dog, Ruby, and Mr. French’s dog, Fritz!

September Book Club

A new school year means the start of the High School Book Club. Students and faculty met on Wednesday to share what they read over the summer.

Ms. Melinson started us off by reminding us that the On the Come Up movie will be released soon. She then talked about some new books in the library, including The Lincoln Highway. Ms. Melinson described the book as a road trip and said if you like The Odyssey or O! Brother Where Art Thou, then you’d probably like the book.

Ms. Melinson then discussed reading The Sentence, a somewhat meta book about a bookstore the author owns. She touched on The Coasts of California field guide by Obi Kaufman, a beautiful full-color guide to water in California. Ms. Melinson also shared the updated covers to classics like Nine Stories and Red Mars.

Then Jordyn said she read Dry by Neil Schusterman and loved the layered plot and character growth. Avery has been mostly been reading for school, but did enjoy reading The Alchemist over the summer. Samhita read The Sympathizer and The Refugees, both which made her feel like a changed person. She also gave Murikami a second chance and returned to Kafka on the Shore.

New Latin and Humanities teacher Mr. Comer shared his love sci-fi author Kim Stanley Robinson. He also discussed an interesting book on economics, The Dawn of Everything, that tries to disprove the use of bartering in ancient times. He also mentioned reading The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which discusses the development of Christianity from a different viewpoint than usually presented.

Mr. Wells talked about reading Damnation on Halfaday Creek, a book he describes as starting out sad and just getting sadder. But he also started a fun historical fiction book called Doc to clean his palate.

Visit our Goodreads page to see what we’ve discussed in book clubs past and present!

Week in Review: DRAMA

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!

Week in Review + May Book Club

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.

March and April Book Clubs

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.

Week in Review: Sophomore Symposium

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.

Bonus Cat:

Last week, Sage brought her magnificently fuzzy cat to the library for another visit. Just look at that majestic floof!

Week in Review: EVENTS!

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!

Bonus:

Check out these great shelfies from Read Across Country Day!