Winner Winner Sundae Dinner

Agamemnon had a whale of a time picking out the winners for the Teen Read Week raffle!

Middle School winners:

Elizabeth C., Miles M., Caleb, Sage, Eva, Lauren, Brooklyn, Chloe, Arikta, Keerti, Chase, and Ashi.

High School winners:

Sonja, Layla, Heloise, Lindsay, Chardonnay, and Emily H.

Congrats, readers! Remember to stop by the library to claim your prize!

Week in Review: Banned Books edition

This week is Banned Books Week and the library displayed some frequently banned and challenged books and the reasons for the challenges. Here’s Charlie and Elijah browsing the display.

Their favorite reason for a book being banned is “It is a real downer” for The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank.

On Monday, Ms. Thomas’ AP Computer Science Principles class visited to learn about where to search for tech innovations, what white papers are, and how to write concisely, which is not an easy task! Tuesday was a busy day with Mr. Crabb’s 7th graders visiting to learn about databases as well as Cookies, Coloring, and Conversation at lunch time. Wednesday and Thursday saw Ms. Nellis’ 9th graders in to begin researching for their Ancient Civilizations projects. They even got to go on a field trip – to the 930s (the corner where the ancient history books are–we didn’t actually time travel to the year 930 although that would have been pretty cool!) On Friday we had a visit from our local public librarian, Kim, to deliver library cards to the 10th graders and talk about resources at the public library to help the Sophomores with their projects.

Bonus:

It’s beginning to look like fall in the library office!

 

September Book Club

We had our first High School Book Club of the new school year on Wednesday, though we were a bit uncertain of when to start now that Dr. Bell isn’t here! It was nice to see old and new faces alike as students and faculty discussed what they read over the summer.

Ms. Melinson talked about The Hate U Give and mentioned hosting a special book club devoted to the book in October. Keep an eye out for that next month! She also read the book All American Boys, which has similar themes to The Hate U Give. Ms. Melinson also talked about A Gentleman in Moscow, a book loved by everyone who’s read it so far. Both Ms. Melinson and Mr. Wells declared it the “best book of the year”.

Luca said he jumped around a started several different books, including A Confederacy of Dunces (which caused groans from the faculty) as well as some biographies by Nick Offerman and John Cleese. He also mentioned reading Einstein’s Dreams, which Ms. Melinson said was one of her favorite books.

Josh also started a lot of books this summer including a collection of Winston Churchill’s speeches titled Blood, Toil, Tears and Sweat: The Greatest SpeechesWorth Dying For: The Power and Politics of Flags, and Empires of the Word: A Language History of the World, a large book he described as “interesting, but a slog” to get through.

Heloise read some amazing books this summer like The Alchemist, which she said was “life changing” (Doctora suggested that if you liked The Alchemist you should read The Little Prince and compare the two books). Heloise also raved about Mr. Palomar and The Night Circus.

Becca read Saving Hamlet and thought it was amazing with its fantastic, flowery writing and diverse cast of characters.

Ms. Batarseh read a book with a title almost as long as the book itself, Through the Eye of a Needle: Wealth, the Fall of Rome, and the Making of Christianity in the West, 350-550 AD. She said despite its dry title, she loved the book because of the passionate writing style of the author and because it was a book where she had to look up the meaning of words, which is not a usual occurrence for her.

Layla mentioned she likes dystopian books because anything can happen in them and said she read Red Blood over the summer, which she really enjoyed.

Ms. Nellis said she was re-reading Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis. She describe it as “eye opening” and for people who want to know what people outside of California think.

To view all of the books we talked about, check out our Goodreads page!

Week in Review: Labor Day Edition

While we technically had a shortened week thanks to Labor Day, the library felt as busy as ever this week.

We had our first Leadership Lunch on Wednesday featuring Gabi and Esme speaking about their enriching summer experience at the Chicano/Latino Youth Leadership Project. Their experience inspired them to promote the idea of bringing a Chican@/Ethnic Studies class to Country Day. They also talked about what DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) is and the impact it will have when it’s repealed.

Also on Wednesday we witnessed a silent protest take place outside the library on the gym wall. This was in response to the mural on the gym walls being painted over, which you can read about here.

On Friday Dr. Fisher’s 10th graders were in to learn how to narrow down their topics for the Sophomore Project and turn their subject into a research question. Friday was also the first meeting of the year for The Glass Knife, the High School’s literary magazine. New and returning students were encouraged to “sign over [their] souls to the Glass Knife” by Heloise while discussing jobs and potential theme ideas for this year’s book.

Here are five out of eight of our Summer Reading raffle winners! Good job and congratulations to Mia, Hailey, Kaitlyn, Nick, and Chance! Check out their Summer Reading activities here. Simone, Annabel, and Aidan – don’t forget to come to the library and claim your prize!

Welcome back! part 2

Welcome back, students – officially!

Orientation day kicked off the week on Monday. In the library we had the 6th graders who were learning how to access their Cavalier accounts and later the 9th graders who learned some do’s and dont’s from Student Council and information about their upcoming trip.

The school year was officially off and running on Tuesday and by midmorning we already had a class visit – Mr. Hagmann’s book elective! Middle School students were in to choose books to read and later review.

On Thursday Mr. Hagmann was back, this time with his 8th grade independent reading class. Students learned how to use their independent reading sites where they’ll review the books they’ve read and comment on their classmates’ reviews.

On Friday Dr. Fisher’s 10th graders were in to begin thinking about topics for their Sophomore Project. This year students are concentrating on local Sacramento area topics. Dr. Fisher had some good advice for students: find subjects you’re passionate about.

Outside the Matthews Library is a tree in honor of Lauren LaMay’s memory. Students, faculty, and anyone touched by Ms. LaMay are invited to write a memory on a leaf where it will be hung up or to place private memories in the knot where they will later be given to Ms. LaMay’s family. Here’s the tree’s progress so far.

Welcome Back! part 1

Welcome back! While students were (hopefully) enjoying their last few remaining days of summer vacation, staff and faculty were hard at work prepping for another great school year.

On Monday, staff and faculty had an all-day CPR lesson where they reviewed their CPR and first aid skills.

Also on Monday we had an orientation and meet and greet for new faculty, where they got to tour the nooks and crannies of the school and meet with their mentors. Welcome newbies!

On Wednesday, the high school faculty met in the library to plot and plan for the upcoming year.

On Thursday and Friday, seniors met with the college counselors in the library to begin working on their college applications.

 

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!

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: 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!