Friday, November 21, 2014

Giving Thanks......

At this time of year it is so important to remind ourselves what we have and how we can give back to others. We decided to get back to the basics with this month's board. Ms. Carrick created a "giving thanks" board. Reminiscent of our elementary school days, a huge turkey was on the board and students and staff were asked to fill out a feather with what they were thankful for. Most students were very touched by this and the majority filled out feathers stating their family and friends were what they were thankful for. It is nice to see us all take a minute to calm down with all the hustle and bustle in our lives and reflect on what truly matters!!

Book Blog of the Week:

Mortal Heart / Robin LeFevers

I have been waiting for a year for this book to arrive! The third and final installment in the Grave Mercy trilogy, Mortal Heart follows the story of Annith, one of Death's handmaidens. The book did not disappoint!! This has been a fantastic series and we were so fortunate to have Robin LeFevers come to the library and speak to a class as part of our visiting author series.
Starred Review. Gr 9 Up-This thrilling series conclusion narrates the fate of 17-year-old convent-raised Annith who impatiently awaits her assignment to serve as the god Mortain's Handmaiden of Death. When the Abbess appoints her as Seeress, Annith is even more distraught, knowing that the position will condemn her to a life of celibacy and isolation. Vowing to confront her superior and aided by both the Helloquins (damned souls seeking redemption) and the Arduinnites (protectors of women and innocents), the teen escapes to the Breton court, where Duchess Anne and her followers are strategizing against the invading French. Distressed over her true parentage, Annith finds comfort in the Helloquins leader Balthazar, who has secrets of his own. LaFevers again mesmerizes her readers through the political struggles of 15th-century Brittany and the intrigues of the followers of Mortain. Details of court and village life in 1489 add vitality to the historic background, and back matter will further aid readers' understanding of the times. Clear, fast-paced, dramatic prose reveals the story via short, action-packed chapters, and the expert craftsmanship of the writing is worth savoring. The protagonists' sometimes-contradictory natures enrich their characters, and the intertwined relationships of realistic and Netherworld personages add depth to their personal stories.

Tea with Principal Lee!
The library staff was honored to have tea and discuss the workings and teaching that happens in the library with Principal Lee! It was a great opportunity and we were grateful to be a part of Principal Lee's visit to Natick!
Principal Lee with Natick High School Mandarin Teacher Lei Zhao in library conference room

Friday, November 14, 2014

Books, Books, and More Books.....

One of my favorite things is to walk into the library and see boxes sitting on my desk, this means books have arrived!!! Our latest arrivals are full of mystery, intrigue, ambition and life choices. They range from Hamlet in graphic novel form, to a biography about a man who went from the inner city, to Yale only to fall victim to a life of drugs. There are books about mystery and thrillers to a great batch of children's books. The best part of receiving the new books is having the students standing around waiting for them to be cataloged and processed so they can begin to read them. For those they believe reading is dead, they should come down and see the excitement on our student's faces.

Speaking of reading, one of the highlights of this week was when Ms. Michelson brought down her students for a lesson on using the catalog and finding books in the library. We spent a block learning how to search in our online catalog, choosing topics that interested us and browsing the shelves for great books. I also spent time discussing with the students what kind of books they would like to see on the shelves and have begun to order books that appeal to them. Everyone left with a book either in their hands or put a request in for a book from one of our other school libraries. Nothing pleased me more than to see the happiness in their eyes when they found a book that excited them. Ms. Michelson is going to make this a regular visit!

Blog Book of the Week

We Were Liars / E. Lockhart

This was one of my favorite books I read in the last few months. It is a chilling tale that leaves you guessing right until the end. It was a page turner and kept me up at night with just "one more page" before I turned in. I felt invested in the characters, I loved that it took place in Massachusetts, and the story flowed so that you were always on your toes but never lost!

From School Library Journal: Gr 9 Up—Cadence Sinclair Easton comes from an old-money family, headed by a patriarch who owns a private island off of Cape Cod. Each summer, the extended family gathers at the various houses on the island, and Cadence, her cousins Johnny and Mirren, and friend Gat (the four "Liars"), have been inseparable since age eight. During their fifteenth summer however, Cadence suffers a mysterious accident. She spends the next two years—and the course of the book—in a haze of amnesia, debilitating migraines, and painkillers, trying to piece together just what happened. Lockhart writes in a somewhat sparse style filled with metaphor and jumps from past to present and back again—rather fitting for a main character struggling with a sudden and unexplainable life change. The story, while lightly touching on issues of class and race, more fully focuses on dysfunctional family drama, a heart-wrenching romance between Cadence and Gat, and, ultimately, the suspense of what happened during that fateful summer. The ending is a stunner that will haunt readers for a long time to come.—Jenny Berggren, formerly at New York Public Library

Friday, November 7, 2014

Author Visits!!!

 Students As Authors! Ms. Eriksen's Sociology Students

Winning Sociology Picture Books
It has been a busy week in the library with budding authors abound! This week we were so fortunate to have students from Ms. Eriksen's Sociology class read to the preschoolers. Students assignment was to look at Mass media, specifically books, as one of the main agents of socialization.  As such, students created their own children's books which focused on reinforcing societal norms and values. The classes then voted on the best books, and the winning books are displayed in the library.  The students were given the opportunity to read their books to the preschoolers. Most of the students took advantage of this and the preschoolers were THRILLED to have the "big kids" read to them. They had questions for them about the books and a great time was had by all!!!
Seniors Dakota Bryon & Valerie McMahon
Senior Leah White
Senior Brandon Thornhill

Author Visit with Lisa Maxwell
Author Lisa Maxwell

As part of our visiting author series, Ms. Carrick arranged for author Lisa Maxwell to Skype into the library with Ms. Napier-Bernstein's Creative Writing Class.  Lisa just released her first book "Sweet Unrest" to amazing reviews. Lisa began the session by telling the class she  always loved books and always loved reading so she decided to write one! Lisa discussed with the students how much revising goes into writing a story and that most of it happens after the book has been bought by a publisher! The students had amazing questions for her and focused many of their questions on character development. One student commented that what really stood out for her from Lisa's talk was when Lisa said, "it's okay to not be ready" when it comes to writing. She did not begin writing until she was 30. The student said it felt as if a weight was off her shoulders knowing it is not something she HAS to do as soon as school is completed. I was so impressed with the students enthusiasm and maturity during the discussion! It was a rewarding experience for all and we are so excited about our continued success of author visits at the library!! THANK YOU to Ms. Napier-Bernstein who had her students read an excerpt from the book, complete a lesson connected to it and had questions prepared! It made all the difference!!





Book of the Week

Sweet Unrest / Lisa Maxwell

"When seventeen-year-old Lucy Aimes moves to New Orleans and meets Alex, a boy who behaves as if they've known each other forever, she becomes caught up in a centuries-old vendetta" This book was filled with mystery, suspense, love and intrigue. I found it to be a cross between Beautiful Creatures and Into the Easy. I originally picked it up because the author Lisa Maxwell was Skyping into the library and I wanted to be prepared. I am so glad I did. It was a fun read and one that held my interest from beginning to end! I thoroughly enjoyed it!