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!
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.
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.
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.
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!
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!
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.
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
MiaC. – 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.