Book Elective Book Reviews

For this trimester, Ms. LaMay’s Book Elective class had the opportunity to review their books for a prize. The kids read some great books and submitted informative, interesting, and entertaining reviews. Congratulations to Connor for his review of Matilda and Vivian for her review of Life in Motion: An Unlikely Ballerina! Check out all of the reviews below!

Connor recorded his review of Matilda by Roald Dahl, which you can listen to below.

Vivian reviewed Life in Motion: An Unlikely Ballerina by Misty Copeland and rated it 5 stars. She wrote:

“This book is so inspiring. That’s why I love it. It shows that just about anyone can do anything. It is about Misty Copeland who is the first black ballerina at ABT. How she came from nothing to one of the world’s best ballerina’s. This is a good read for everyone from kids to adults most people will like it. The book is very well written Misty is obviously a very talented ballerina but she is also a good writer. In the middle of the book it has pictures of her as a dancer which is good because it gives a nice visual of what life was for her. This is overall a great book.”

Jake reviewed The Icebound Land by John Flanagan and rated it 5 stars. He wrote:

The Icebound Land is the third book in the Rangers Apprentice series and is the most tragic of the books in the series. It is a very close tie to Halts Peril which is book nine. This is a heartbreaking tale about how Will who is the main character has been taken by savages that live in the north with a young girl. Meanwhile, his friend Horace and his mentor, Halt have gone off to rescue him traveling around the continent in order to find him. This book is part of a larger series called Rangers Apprentice which is about Will who is an orphan being taken into secret training for his kingdom as a ranger which is an elite group of combat scouts. His adventures take him all around the world fighting to protect his friends and his kingdom. His two best friends Horace and Alice also join him occasionally and help him fight these evil plans. The Icebound Lands is a good book and I enjoyed it very much.”

Hannah reviewed The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins and rated it 5 stars. She wrote:

“The Hunger Games takes you into the life of a scared but brave girl named Katniss Everdeen. District 12 was one of the twelve districts that made up the country of Panem. Every year, children’s names, ages 12 through 18, are put into a bowl and drawn out during a ceremony known. This is a dreaded time and no one wants to be a part of it because it is almost like a death sentence. When a name is called, you are then taken and thrown into what is known as “The Hunger Games.” This book was really good because it kept me on my toes the whole time. I would rate it a solid 10. The unexpected seemed to happen a lot and things popped up all the time out of nowhere. The book also kept a good pace and you could picture what was going on in your head while the story kept moving. I would definitely recommend reading this book!”

Will reviewed A Long Walk to Water by Linda Sue Park and rated it 5 stars. He wrote:

“The book is about a boy named Salva who was in school when war broke out in his village in Southern Sudan. Salva has run as far away into the bush as he can. As he runs from his village, he can’t help but think about his family. Through the book Salva meets a friend and finds his uncle. I think the biggest problem they had was having water. In the middle of the book it explains how people were dying from dehydration. I think the book was great because of all the details the author put into the. The only thing I would say I didn’t like was how repetitive it was talking about walking. Otherwise I feel like this is a great book to read in your spare time because of how short it is and how the rest of the book lures you in to reading more. Overall, I thing this is a great book”

Hayden reviewed Brisingr by Christopher Paolini and rated it 4 stars. He wrote:

“The book Brisingr is the third book of the Inheritance Cycle. It unlike the other two is very action filled and doesn’t contain a lot of “filler”. Filler is where in order to progress the story it tells a tale of something mostly unrelated. The main setting of the book is during one of the great wars in which the main characters are trying to overthrow the tyrannical overlord. I like the book so much because all of the characters certain power gaps and weaknesses are fixed during this book really setting the stage for the story to transition into the next book. In other words the book Brisingr is a well rounded book that is used as perfect stepping stone to Inheritance, the final book of the series.”

We also had two video submissions. For their review, Kellen and Malek filmed a scene from the Percy Jackson series.

For Colin and Cooper’s review, they filmed a scene from the Eragon series.

Thank you to all of our participants!

Week in Review: Penultimate Edition

Well, here we are! The second to last week of school and a shortened week at that. Things are wrapping up as students prepare for their finals and the library rounds up delinquent books. Here’s what happened this week:

 

On Wednesday, the library was host to a retirement party celebrating Dr. Baird, Dr. Bell, Lonna, Ms. Kassel, Ms. Kelly, Ms. Kren, and Mr. Neukom. Their combined experience totals 172 years!

On Thursday and Friday, Ms. Melinson finished up her summer book talks with the soon to be 6th graders.

And speaking of 6th graders, your assistant was able to view some of the current 6th graders presenting their passion projects on Friday. Students spent weeks researching and putting together their projects, which included creating a recipe book, making slime and a slime recipe book, and learning to bake and cook. Students discussed their successes and failures then participated in a Q & A with their classmates about their experience.

May Book Club

We had our last book club of the school year on Wednesday, which also was the last book club for Dr. Bell and Dr. Baird as they head into retirement. Ms. Melinson wondered, with Dr. Bell’s retiring, how will we know when to start Book Club next year?

For Dr. Bell’s final recommendation, he discussed The Last Lawsons by Jason Hinojosa’s (who happens to be the new English teacher). He said he enjoyed the different narrative devices used and that it offered good psychological insight into family drama.

Dr. Baird reminisced abut his history of reading (fitting for a history teacher). He said he wasn’t a big reader as a kid, but started reading a lot of novels in college, which led to historical fiction and biographies and encouraged an interest in history.

Ms. B started a lively discussion when she said she thinks summer reading should be for classics and books you don’t have time for during the school year and not for racy beach reads. Dr. Bell thinks that people should read the classics when they’re young and then reread them later in life, which many agreed with.

Anny talked about reading The Dark Prophecy and Lord of Shadows, which is centered around the Edgar Allen Poe poem “Dreamland.” Heloise read All the Light We Cannot See and loved it, calling it “amazing.” And she learned a bit of history from it!

For all the books we talked about, check out our Goodreads page!

Week in Review: Cupcakes are fun!

The countdown is on as we head into the last week of school!

On Monday, Sean, who is a cook at Hawk’s Restaurant, visited with 6th graders who are doing cooking for their passion projects. He showed them how to ice cupcakes and answered cooking questions.

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On Tuesday and Thursday, Ms. Melinson began summer reading book talks for the incoming 7th and 8th graders. Students are given a list of books to choose from and a corresponding activity sheet. Summer Reading will be available online soon.

On Wednesday we had our last book club of the year, which you can read about here.

On Friday the library was host to the Career Day Panel, which concluded the Senior Seminars. The panel consisted of parents and alum who offered insight into their careers.

Friday also featured a Glass Knife informational meeting for 8th graders who are interested in joining next year.

Week in Review: Busy Edition

The library was back in action this week after being closed for most of the last two weeks for AP testing–just in time for Senior Seminars!

The Senior Seminars began this week and the library was host to some of these interesting and informative presentations: Financial Literacy with Mr. Talamantes, What to Take to College with Mrs. Talamantes, Forensic Case Studies with Ms. Dozier and Mr. Himes, College Research with Ms. Melinson, and Famous Supreme Court Cases with Mr. Strumpfer.

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On Tuesday we had music in the library with the Middle School Jazz Band, High School Jazz Band, and High School Concert Band as they prepare for the Forum Music Festival competition.

On Thursday Ms. Nellis’ AP US History class was in to get research materials for their end of the year project. Students chose topics they previously learned about in class that interested them and could be expanded into a presentation that Ms. Nellis might use in her AP US History class next year. Topics include the U.S. reconstructing Japan after World War II, eugenics and DNA affecting the Civil Rights Movement, and how television affected US viewership of the Vietnam War.

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On Friday we had a special lunch, the First Annual Raffle Lunch with Dr. Bell, where we celebrated Dr. Bell’s impending retirement. A group of former students and colleagues along with current students and colleagues gathered to celebrate Dr. Bell who has been “Bringing Back Smart” to Country Day for many years!

Week in Review: AP Edition, Part 2

It’s been another quiet week in the library as students finish up their AP exams. On Friday, Mr. Neukom and his students dressed in their finest finery (including Swiss flag pins: in honor of Mr. Neukom wearing them each year, his students decided they’d wear them, too, this year) before embarking on their final AP test, European History. Mr. Neukom also led an inspiring cheer (his final cheer, as he’s retiring at the end of this year) as one last bit of motivation.

Wednesday was the last day of classes for seniors and at lunch time, they announced the colleges they’ll be attending. Afterwards, we all watched and cheered at Alexa’s signing to play volleyball at Wellesley. Later, students and faculty took pictures wearing their college gear.

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Bonus puppy:

Alan brought his German Shepherd puppy back for another visit featuring lots of belly rubs!

Week in Review: AP edition

It’s been unusually quiet this week as AP testing has taken over the library.

However, the quiet was more than made up for on Thursday when we had a full day of classes in for research. Starting in the morning were Ms. Nellis’ 9th graders researching European Colonialism in America.

For the rest of the day, we had Ms. Little’s 6th graders in working on their Passion Projects.

The library will have limited hours next week as well as students continue taking AP tests, but we’ll be back in full force the following week with Senior Seminars!

(Last) Week in Review

We’ve been moving right along this week as we head into the last month or so of school!

On Monday Brandy presented during our Leadership Lunch series. She talked about why she loves her church and the many roles she plays in it.

The 6th graders returned at the beginning of the week to continue their research for their passion projects. Check out some of the topics they’re researching!

On Tuesday we had a Speakeasy en Espanol, with students from Doctora Portillo’s class reading poems in Spanish.

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Also visiting this week were Ms. Lyon’s and Mr. Kuipers’ 7th graders, who began looking at sources for their China and Japan cultural projects.

And to cap off National Poetry Month, Thursday was Poem in Your Pocket Day. Students with poems in their pockets (or their head or their phone) were rewarded with a piece of candy.

Harry Potter Book Club

 

We were jam-packed for our special Harry Potter themed Book Club this month. The library was transformed into Diagon Alley with shops on display, including Eeylops Owl Emporium, Honeydukes, Pottages Cauldrons, Ollivander’s Wand Shop. Students snacked on Cauldron Cakes, Butterbeer, and Chocolate Frogs with trading cards.

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Dr. Bell discussed the psychology of Harry Potter and if magic is real. He explained that the idea of magic doesn’t go away as we get older, but it goes under the surface and takes the form of feelings like “bad juju”.

 

Ms. Connor talked about the science of Harry Potter, specifically potions and chemistry. She discussed how alchemy is the beginning of chemistry and how Harry Potter follows the history of science and the use of herbal remedies, such as the mandrake root.

Ms. Batarseh wrapped up Book Club by discussing the Latin of Harry Potter. She explained how J.K. Rowling plays “fast and loose” with Latin in the books by not using literal translations and by combining Latin words with Anglo-Saxon words.