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Mrs. Sonya Stevens, literacy teacher, sonya.stevens@d128.org
Mrs. Monica Tolva, library media specialist, monica.tolva@d128.org

What we talked about Fri Sep 16

posted Sep 19, 2016, 9:09 AM by Monica Tolva   [ updated Sep 19, 2016, 9:24 AM ]

  • 20 books nominated for the 2017 Illinois Teen Choice Award
    • Gabi, a Girl in Pieces by Isabel Quintero
      • Sixteen-year-old Gabi Hernandez chronicles her senior year in high school as she copes with her friend Cindy's pregnancy, her friend Sebastian's coming out, her father's meth habit, her own cravings for food and cute boys, and especially, the poetry that helps forge her identity.
    • I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai
      • Malala Yousafzai's describes her fight for education for girls under Taliban rule, the support she received from her parents to pursue an education, and how the Taliban retaliated against her by trying to kill her.
    • All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven
      • Told in alternating voices, when Theodore Finch and Violet Markey meet on the ledge of the bell tower at school, both teetering on the edge, it's the beginning of an unlikely relationship, a journey to discover the "natural wonders" of the state of Indiana, and two teens' desperate desire to heal and save one another.
  • The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
  • My Sister Rosa by Justine Larbalestier
    • Seventeen-year-old Aussie Che Taylor loves his younger sister, Rosa. But he's also certain that she's a psychopath--clinically, threateningly, dangerously. Recently Rosa has been making trouble, hurting things. Che is the only one who knows; he's the only one his sister trusts. Rosa is smart, talented, pretty, and very good at hiding what she is and the manipulation she's capable of. Their parents, whose business takes the family from place to place, brush off the warning signs as Rosa's "acting out." Now that they have moved again--from Bangkok to New York City--their new hometown provides far too many opportunities for Rosa to play her increasingly complex and disturbing games. Che's always been Rosa's rock, protecting her from the world. Now, the world might need protection from her.
    • Cook Memorial Public Library discussion group 6-7 p.m. Thurs Nov 3
    • author visit Thurs Nov 17 
    • should we do this as a group?
  • Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver, sequel to Delirium
    • After falling in love, Lena and Alex flee their oppressive society where love is outlawed and everyone must receive "the cure"--an operation that makes them immune to the delirium of love--but Lena alone manages to find her way to a community of resistance fighters, and although she is bereft without the boy she loves, her struggles seem to be leading her toward a new love.
  • The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins
    • Rachel takes the same commuter train every morning ... past a stretch of cozy suburban homes, and stops at the signal that allows her to daily watch the same couple breakfasting on their deck. She's even started to feel like she knows them ... Their life-as she sees it-is perfect. Not unlike the life she recently lost. And then she sees something shocking. It's only a minute until the train moves on, but it's enough. Now everything's changed. Unable to keep it to herself, Rachel offers what she knows to the police, and becomes inextricably entwined in what happens next, as well as in the lives of everyone involved. Has she done more harm than good?
  • Azula Trilogy, fan fiction connected to The Last Airbender
  • Crown of Dragons by Chris d'Lacey
    • Would you keep reading a series when the second or third books are not of the same quality as the first?


What we talked about Fri Sep 9

posted Sep 15, 2016, 9:15 AM by Monica Tolva

  • Emmy & Oliver by Robin Benway
    • Sheltered seventeen-year-old Emmy's childhood best friend Oliver reappears after disappearing with his father ten years ago.
    • Nominated for 2017 Illinois Teen Choice Award
  • Bittersweet by Miranda Beverly-Whittemore
    • On scholarship at a prestigious East Coast college, ordinary Mabel Dagmar is surprised to befriend her roommate, the beautiful, wild, blue-blooded Genevra Winslow. Ev invites Mabel to spend the summer at Bittersweet, her cottage on the Vermont estate where her family has been holding court for more than a century. But as Mabel becomes an insider, a terrible discovery leads to shocking violence and reveals what the Winslows may have done to keep their power intact - and what they might do to anyone who threatens them. Mabel must choose: either expose the ugliness surrounding her and face expulsion from paradise, or keep the family’s dark secrets and make Ev’s world her own.
  • The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah
    • Vianne and Isabelle have always been close despite their differences. Younger, bolder sister Isabelle lives in Paris while Vianne lives a quiet and content life in the French countryside with her husband Antoine and their daughter. When World War II strikes and Antoine is sent off to fight, Vianne and Isabelle's father sends Isabelle to help her older sister cope. As the war progresses, it's not only the sisters' relationship that is tested, but also their strength and their individual senses of right and wrong.
  • Emma by Jane Austen
    • A novel of Regency England that centers upon a self-assured young lady who is determined to arrange her life and the lives of those around her into a pattern dictated by her romantic fancy.
  • The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
    • Trying to make sense of the horrors of World War II, Death relates the story of Liesel--a young German girl whose book-stealing and story-telling talents help sustain her family and the Jewish man they are hiding, as well as their neighbors.
    • And most of us liked the movie version, too!
  • A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas
    • Dragged to a treacherous magical land she only knows about from stories, Feyre discovers that her captor is not an animal, but Tamlin, a High Lord of the faeries. As her feelings toward him transform from hostility to a firey passion, the threats against the faerie lands grow. Feyre must fight to break an ancient curse, or she will lose Tamlin forever.
    • Nominated for the 2017 Illinois Teen Choice Award
  • Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell, and all of her other books! (Carry On, Eleanor & Park)
    • Feeling cast off when her twin sister outgrows their shared love for a favorite fictional character, Cath, a dedicated fan-fiction writer, struggles to survive on her own in her first year of college while avoiding a surly roommate, bonding with a handsome classmate who only wants to talk about words, and worrying about her fragile father.

Second meeting - even better than the first!

posted Sep 6, 2016, 12:20 PM by Monica Tolva   [ updated Sep 6, 2016, 12:36 PM ]

Welcome all students to a fabulous year of reading and sharing together. 
We'd love to see for as many Fridays as you can make it. No explanation, no worries if you have to miss. Know that you are missed, though!
  • Land of the Stories series by Chris Colfer
    • Alex and Conner Bailey's world is about to change, in this fast-paced adventure that uniquely combines our modern day world with the enchanting realm of classic fairy tales. "The Land of Stories" tells the tale of twins Alex and Conner. Through the mysterious powers of a cherished book of stories, they leave their world behind and find themselves in a foreign land full of wonder and magic where they come face-to-face with the fairy tale characters they grew up reading about. But after a series of encounters with witches, wolves, goblins, and trolls alike, getting back home is going to be harder than they thought.
  • Pearl by Deirdre Riordan Hall
    • Pearl Jaeger is seventeen and homeless after drugs, poverty, and addiction unraveled the life she shared with JJ, her formerly glamorous rock star mother. "This moment of happiness is fleeting; someone will take it from me." When tragedy brings a chance to start over at an elite boarding school, she doesn’t hesitate. Yet the only salvation comes from an art teacher as troubled as Pearl, and she faces the stark reality that what she thought she wanted isn’t straightforward.
  • Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher
    • High school student Clay Jenkins receives a box in the mail containing seven cassette tapes recorded by his crush, Hannah Baker, who committed suicide, and spends a bewildering and heartbreaking night crisscrossing their town, listening to Hannah's voice recounting the events leading up to her death.
  • Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi
    • When Aria, a sheltered and fragile Dweller, is exiled from her home in Reverie, she must face The Death Shop, a land filled with cannibals and dangerous energy storms, and her only hope for staying alive depends on Outsider Perry, a savage hunter.
  • With Malice by Eileen Cook
    • Eighteen-year-old Jill Charron wakes up in a hospital room, leg in a cast, stitches in her face and a big blank canvas where the last six weeks should be. She discovers she was involved in a fatal car accident while on a school trip in Italy. A trip she doesn’t even remember taking. She was jetted home by her affluent father in order to receive quality care. Care that includes a lawyer. And a press team. Because maybe the accident…wasn’t an accident.
  • Lingo: a Language Spotters Guide to Europe by Gaston Dorren
    • Welcome to Europe as you've never known it before, seen through the peculiarities of its languages and dialects. Combining linguistics and cultural history, Gaston Dorren takes us on an intriguing tour of the continent, from Proto-Indo-European (the common ancestor of most European languages) to the rise and rise of English, via the complexities of Welsh plurals and Czech pronunciation. Along the way we learn why Esperanto will never catch on, how the language of William the Conqueror lives on in the Channel Islands and why Finnish is the easiest European language.
  • White Dolphin by Gill Lewis
    • Frustrated at school and haunted by her mother's disappearance, Kara only feels truly alive when she is sailing the ocean's waves. But when she and Felix make a startling discovery on the beach, it sets in motion a dramatic chain of events. And soon they must make an impossible choice. Risk their own lives or face losing everything ...
  • The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey
    • Cassie Sullivan, the survivor of an alien invasion, must rescue her young brother from the enemy with help from a boy who may be one of them.
  • Marvel comics
  • The Heist Society by Ally Carter
    • Fifteen-year-old Kat schemes her way into the best boarding school, hoping to leave the thieving antics of her family behind her, but Hal, a former co-conspirator, appears on campus to tell Kat that a powerful mobster believes her father stole art from a priceless collection, and in order to save him, Kat will have to recover the paintings.
  • Batman: Knightfall graphic novel
    • After the Joker, Amygdala, the Mad Hatter, Poison Ivy, Zsasz, Killer Croc, the Firefly, the Riddler, the Ventriloquist, and Scarecrow escape from Arkham Asylum, Batman must fight them one-by-one, leading him to a battle with Bane.
  • The Great Hunt by Robert Jordan, second book in Wheel of Time series
    • Rand, a farm boy, is thought to be the prophesied leader who will save his people.
  • Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J. K. Rowling
    • Harry Potter, a fourth-year student at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, longs to escape his hateful relatives, the Dursleys, and live as a normal fourteen-year-old wizard, but what Harry does not yet realize is that he is not a normal wizard, and in his case, different can be deadly.
  • Crown of Dragons by Chris d'Lacey, 3rd in the Unicorne series
  • Ellie says she's been spending a lot of time reading her US History textbook. Hey, sometimes that happens.

Welcome to Book Club!

posted Aug 26, 2016, 9:13 AM by Monica Tolva   [ updated Aug 26, 2016, 10:13 AM ]

Meeting you all and hearing your love for books made your Book Club advisors so happy! See you next Friday, and all of the other Fridays, to share about the books you're reading or want to read.

Welcome to Book Club members:
  • Cindy, senior, wants to read To All the Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny Han
  • Jacky, senior, wants to read Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling
  • Caralynn, junior, is reading The Alchemyst: the Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel by Michael Scott
  • Anna, sophomore, is reading Pearl something by somebody with a pink cover (sorry!)
  • Drew, sophomore, read Purple Hibiscus by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
  • Elaina, freshman, is reading A Darker Shade of Magic by V. E. Schwab 
  • Dani, freshman, is reading We are the Ants by Shaun David Hutchinson
  • Esther, freshman, is reading A False Princess by Eilis O'Neal
  • Our mascot! Sophie, freshman, reading The Lord of something series (sorry again!)
  • Avery, freshman, is reading Binge byTyler Oakley
  • Julieta, freshman, is reading Traitor Heir
  • Jackie, freshman, is reading Harry Potter fan fic online
  • Drshika, freshman, is reading fantasy by classic author Robert Jordan
  • Benny, freshman is reading Alexander's Army by Chris D'Lacey
  • Max, freshman, wants to read Last Words by Michael Koryta
  • Valerie, sophomore, popped in to say Hi!
  • Ellie, junior, zipped in on her scooter

Fri Apr 29: what we talked about

posted May 2, 2016, 9:18 AM by Monica Tolva

  1. Welcome to Jocelyn, Yoselin, and Jeremy! Please keep coming!
  2. Book Club on Fri May 6 will be in Mrs. Stevens's Room 2305 due to AP testing.
  3. Find a book with about 200 pages that you could use for our book folding project. We'll be sharing directions to fold a heart into the pages of a book.
  4. You scored bags of great books at the Aspen Drive book sale.
  • Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen
    • Sydney's charismatic older brother, Peyton, has always been the center of attention in the family but when he is sent to jail, Sydney struggles to find her place at home and the world until she meets the Chathams, including gentle, protective Mac, who makes her feel seen for the first time.
  • The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness, author of A Monster Calls and The Knife of Never Letting Go
    • What if you aren't the Chosen One? The one who's supposed to fight the zombies, or the soul-eating ghosts, or whatever the heck this new thing is, with the blue lights and the death? What if you're like Mikey? Who just wants to graduate and go to prom and maybe finally work up the courage to ask Henna out before someone goes and blows up the high school. Again. Because sometimes there are problems bigger than this week's end of the world, and sometimes you just have to find the extraordinary in your ordinary life. Even if your best friend is worshiped by mountain lions.
  • Waterfall by Lisa Tawn Bergren, first in "River of Time" series
    • Most American teenagers want a vacation in Italy, but the Betarrini sisters have spent every summer of their lives among the romantic hills with their archaelogist parents. Stuck among the rubble of the medieval castles in rural Tuscany, on yet another hot, dusty archaeological site, Gabi and Lia are bored out of their minds...until Gabi places her hand atop a handprint in an ancient tomb and finds herself in fourteenth-century Italy. And worse yet, in the middle of a fierce battle between knights of two opposing forces.
  • Beastly by Alex Flinn
    • A modern retelling of "Beauty and the Beast" from the point of view of the Beast, a vain Manhattan private school student who is turned into a monster and must find true love before he can return to his human form.
  • Positive by Paige Rawl
    • A teenager's memoir of the experiences of bullying, being HIV positive and surviving the experiences to become a force for positive change in this world.
  • "Cirque du Freak" series by Darren Shan
    • Book 2: The Vampire's Assistant: After traveling with Mr. Crepsley, the vampire who made him into a half-vampire, Darren returns to the freak show known as the Cirque du Freak and continues to fight his need to drink human blood.
  • Escape from Camp 14 by Blaine Harden
    • Chronicles the life of Dong-hyuk Shin, who was raised in a political prison camp in North Korea, and describes the inhuman conditions inside, his harrowing escape from the camp and the country, and his efforts to raise awareness of the camps to others.

Fri Apr 22: what we talked about

posted Apr 22, 2016, 6:21 AM by Monica Tolva   [ updated Apr 22, 2016, 6:23 AM ]

  • Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys
    • As World War II draws to a close, refugees try to escape the war's final dangers, only to find themselves aboard a ship with a target on its hull. Features Joanna, the cousin of Lina from Between Shades of Gray
  • Moby Dick by Herman Melville
    • Captain Ahab's determination to find and kill the great white whale becomes an obsession driving him to disaster.
  • The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger
    • An adolescent boy, knowing he is about to be dropped by his school, spends three days and nights in New York City.
  • 1984 by George Orwell
    • The cautionary tale of a man caught in a political nightmare in which the power of a totalitarian state is pitted against the personal freedom of the individual.
  • Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
    • Raskolnikov, a former Russian student, murders an old pawnbroker and her sister, but the guilt which enfolds him and with which he struggles result in a tragedy of tension and terror.
  • The Year of Secret Assignments by Jacklyn Moriarty
    • Three female students from Ashbury High write to three male students from rival Brookfield High as part of a pen pal program, leading to romance, humiliation, revenge plots, and war between the schools.
  • Bone Gap by Laura Ruby
    • Eighteen-year-old Finn, an outsider in his quiet Midwestern town, is the only witness to the abduction of town favorite Roza, but his inability to distinguish between faces makes it difficult for him to help with the investigation, and subjects him to even more ridicule and bullying.
  • Book Club on Fri May 6 will meet in Mrs. Steven's Room 2305. LMC will be closed for 2 weeks May 2-12 for AP testing, so stock up now! Fri May 13 we'll meet back in LMC classroom.
  • Ms. Tolva will bring a pattern for us to make our own book folding project - a heart on the pages of a book. Start looking for a 200 page book now! We'll work on the project starting Fri May 20.
  • Heard at Book Club:
    • "So many books. So little time."
    • "I only come for the hot chocolate."
    • "Could we get exempted from Lit class because we come to Book Club?"

Fri Apr 8: what we talked about

posted Apr 8, 2016, 6:38 AM by Monica Tolva

  • Michael L. Printz Award given each year to the best books for young adults:
    • Winner: Bone Gap by Laura Ruby
      • Eighteen-year-old Finn, an outsider in his quiet Midwestern town, is the only witness to the abduction of town favorite Roza, but his inability to distinguish between faces makes it difficult for him to help with the investigation, and subjects him to even more ridicule and bullying.
    • Honor: Ghosts of Heaven by Marcus Sedgwick
      • Four linked stories of discovery and survival begin with a Paleolithic-era girl who makes the first written signs, continue with Anna, who people call a witch, then a mad twentieth-century poet who watches the ocean knowing the horrors it hides, and concluding with an astronaut on the first spaceship from Earth sent to colonize another world.
    • Honor: Out of Darkness by Ashley Hope Perez
      • Loosely based on a school explosion that took place in New London, Texas, in 1937, this is the story of two teenagers: Naomi, who is Mexican, and Wash, who is black, and their dealings with race, segregation, love, and the forces that destroy people.
  • The French and Indian War: Deciding the Fate of North America of  by Walter R. Bourneman
    • Presents the triumphs and tragedies of this epic struggle for a continent, placing them in the larger context of France and Great Britain's global conflict—what Samuel Eliot Morison called truly the first world war—and emphasizes that the seeds of discord sown in its aftermath would give root to the American Revolution.
  • I am Malala by Malala Yousefzai, adult version and young adult version
    • Malala Yousafzai's describes her fight for education for girls under Taliban rule, the support she received from her parents to pursue an education, and how the Taliban retaliated against her by trying to kill her.
  • Winter by Marissa Meyer, 4th book in The Lunar Chronicles series, which starts with Cinder
    • Princess Winter, admired by the Lunar people for her grace and kindness, teams up with the cyborg mechanic, Cinder, and her allies, to defeat Queen Levana and find their happily ever afters.
  • Cirque du Freak #4 by Darren Shan
    • Along with two other members of the Cirque du Freak, Darren and Mr. Crepsley travel to Vampire Mountain, where they meet evil vampaneze and the boy's fate is decided after he faces the council.
  • The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah
    • Vianne and Isabelle have always been close despite their differences. Younger, bolder sister Isabelle lives in Paris while Vianne lives a quiet and content life in the French countryside with her husband Antoine and their daughter. When World War II strikes and Antoine is sent off to fight, Vianne and Isabelle's father sends Isabelle to help her older sister cope. As the war progresses, it's not only the sisters' relationship that is tested, but also their strength and their individual senses of right and wrong.

Fri Apr 1: what we talked about

posted Apr 8, 2016, 6:24 AM by Monica Tolva   [ updated Apr 8, 2016, 6:25 AM ]

2017 Illinois Teen Choice Award
Complete list
We've already read some of the 20 nominated books:
  • I am Malala by Malala Yousafzai
    • Malala Yousafzai's describes her fight for education for girls under Taliban rule, the support she received from her parents to pursue an education, and how the Taliban retaliated against her by trying to kill her.
  • Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers
    • Seventeen-year-old Ismae avoids an arranged marriage by making a place for herself at the convent of St. Martin, where she learns of her unique gifts and must determine whether she will be trained as an assassin and serve as a handmaiden to Death.
  • Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard
    • In a world divided by blood--those with common, Red blood serve the Silver-blooded elite, who are gifted with superhuman abilities--seventeen-year-old Mare, a Red, discovers she has an ability of her own. To cover up this impossibility, the king forces her to play the role of a lost Silver princess and betroths her to one of his own sons. But Mare risks everything and uses her new position to help the Scarlet Guard--a growing Red rebellion--even as her heart tugs her in an impossible direction.
  • A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas
    • Dragged to a treacherous magical land she only knows about from stories, Feyre discovers that her captor is not an animal, but Tamlin, a High Lord of the faeries. As her feelings toward him transform from hostility to a firey passion, the threats against the faerie lands grow. Feyre must fight to break an ancient curse, or she will lose Tamlin forever.

Fri Mar 18: what we talked about

posted Apr 8, 2016, 6:17 AM by Monica Tolva   [ updated Apr 8, 2016, 6:26 AM ]

Weclome author Allen Zadoff!
  • Wrote questions for our lunch with visiting author Allen Zadoff
  • Lunch went so well! He wanted to hear from each Book Club members what they like to read and why. We also talked about issues and themes in Zadoff's I Am the Weapon series

Fri Mar 11: what we talked about

posted Mar 14, 2016, 6:31 AM by Monica Tolva

  • We had a very "meta" Book Club, where we talked about books about books.
  • Quote of the day: "Once you read the dictionary, every other book is just a remix," said Matthew.
  • People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks
    • In 1996, Hanna Heath, a young Australian book conservator is called to analyze the famed Sarajevo Haggadah, a priceless six-hundred-year-old Jewish prayer book that has been salvaged from a destroyed Bosnian library. When Hanna discovers a series of artifacts in the centuries' old, she unwittingly exposes an international cover up.
  • The Book of Lost Things by Connolly
    • Twelve-year-old David's grief over his mother's death at the start of World War II intensifies with his father's remarriage and the impending birth of a sibling, so when his books begin talking to him, tempting him to enter a portal into a magical world, he decides to take the risk.
  • Inkheart by Cornelia Funke
    • Twelve-year-old Meggie learns that her father Mo, a bookbinder, can "read" fictional characters to life when an evil ruler named Capricorn, freed from the novel "Inkheart" years earlier, tries to force Mo to release an immortal monster from the story.
  • The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
    • Trying to make sense of the horrors of World War II, Death relates the story of Liesel--a young German girl whose book-stealing and story-telling talents help sustain her family and the Jewish man they are hiding, as well as their neighbors.
  • How to Make Books by Esther K. Smith
    • Provides illustrated, step-by-step instructions for making different types of books, including instant books, accordions, stab-stitch, pamphlets and chapbooks, long stitch, coptic, and so-called "mutant" books, and showcases artist books published by Purgatory Pie Press.
  • The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde
    • Thursday Next, a Special Operative in literary detection in a time-altered Great Britain in which messing with the classics is a punishable offense, sets out to apprehend a criminal who is murdering characters from works of literature and has chosen Jane Eyre as his next victim.
  • Shelf Life: Stories by the Book, edited by Gary Paulsen
    • Ten short stories in which the lives of young people in different circumstances are changed by their encounters with books.


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