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

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.


Fri Mar 4: what we talked about

posted Mar 4, 2016, 8:28 AM by Monica Tolva

  • A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness
    • Thirteen-year-old Conor awakens one night to find a monster outside his bedroom window, but not the one from the recurring nightmare that began when his mother became ill--an ancient, wild creature that wants him to face truth and loss.
    • movie planned for 2016
  • In the Unlikely Event by Judy Blume
    • Thirty-five years after a series of airplane accidents rocked Elizabeth, New Jersey, Miri Ammerman returns to her hometown for an event commemorating the disasters, and finds herself surrounded by three generations of families, friends, and strangers whose lives were irrevocably altered by those events in the 1950s.
    • Remember this author of Tales of a Fourth-Grade Nothing and Superfudge?
  • Illinois Teen Choice Award winners at VHHS:
  • Why do teens not read that much?
    • lure of electronic entertainment
    • easier to watch than to read
    • reading assignments may have tainted enjoyment
    • prescribed summer reading takes away the joy
    • the prevalence of being read to as a child

Fri Feb 26: what we talked about

posted Feb 26, 2016, 9:11 AM by Monica Tolva   [ updated Feb 26, 2016, 9:13 AM ]

  • How fun to see so many Book Clubbers today! Thanks for coming!
  • Mrs. Stevens prompted: What books did you NOT like? We certainly had some strong opinions!
    • poor writing style
    • unlikable characters
    • repetitive writing or action
    • death of a character; Mandy says it is even worse when one twin is killed off
  • Books made into movies, as promised to Jacky
  • Predictions for the winner of the Illinois Teen Choice Award

Fri Feb 19: what we talked about

posted Feb 19, 2016, 7:20 AM by Monica Tolva

  • Look for Book Club video clip at today's Winter Recognition Assembly. Help answer the question: was Ellie there, or not?
  • Vote for your favorite book nominated for the Illinois Teen Choice Award! You could win a free book, like Alex and Kara and Jacky and Valerie!
  • Waiting for Electricity by Christina Nichol
    • In the republic of Georgia, the Communists are long gone, replaced by . . . well, by what? Something much more confusing, that’s for sure. There are no jobs in the cities. And when thereare jobs, employees aren’t compensated. And when they arecompensated, it’s because the jobs are . . . not strictly scrupulous. In the village, life goes on much as it always did, but these days, the homemade farmers cheese is giving way to the oil pipeline. And as for romance in this strange, confounding modern age . . . the less said, the better. But there’s one man in Georgia who remains unseduced by corruption, unfazed by nostalgia, and unable to abandon chivalry, no matter how antiquated a notion it may be. This man is Slims Achmed Makashvili, a humble maritime lawyer and the hero of this brilliant novel. When Slims discovers an application for an American small business internship program sponsored by Hillary Clinton, he knows that he has found his calling. In his letters to Senator Clinton, Slims dreams of bringing efficiency, opportunity, and the American dream to his homeland, even as his friends and relatives embrace decadence, lethargy, and a staggering array of unsavory business practices. But when he finally gets to America—specifically to utopian San Francisco—Slims sees what reform and progress look like up close. And suddenly, his loud, bickering family and his anguished, joyful country no longer seem so grim.
    • Kat recommends this book as a view of life in the country of Georgia, from where her family originates.
  • Pride Prejudice and Zombies by Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith
    • An adaptation of "Pride and Prejudice," in which Meryton is overrun with zombies and Elizabeth Bennet does what must be done to rid the world of the flesh-eating fiends, but she is distracted by the arrival of Mr. Darcy, a rich man who harbors an air of arrogance.
    • movie in theaters now
  • Inside the O'Briens by Lisa Genova
    • Seasoned, respected Boston police officer Joe O'Brien discovers that he has Huntington's disease and that each of his four adult children have a fifty percent chance of inheriting it, and as they watch the disease progress in their father, the children must find the courage to live with a life at risk or to learn their fate.
  • The Prince by Niccolo Machiavelli
    • Treatise on political power, statecraft, and the qualities of the ideal ruler.
    • David recommends the pragmatism present in this classic text.
  • Anything by Rick Riordan! Especially new Magnus Chase series.
    • "That guy is on a roll," according to Kat.
  • Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
    • 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.
    • also companion book Carry On
      • Simon Snow is the worst Chosen One who's ever been chosen. That's what his roommate, Baz, says. And Baz might be evil and a vampire and a complete git, but he's probably right. Half the time, Simon can't even make his wand work, and the other half, he starts something on fire. His mentor's avoiding him, his girlfriend broke up with him, and there's a magic-eating monster running around, wearing Simon's face. Baz would be having a field day with all this, if he were here. It's their last year at the Watford School of Magicks, and Simon's infuriating nemesis didn't even bother to show up.
  • Code Name Verity by Suzanne Wein
    • In 1943, a British fighter plane crashes in Nazi-occupied France and the survivor tells a tale of friendship, war, espionage, and great courage as she relates what she must to survive while keeping secret all that she can.
    • also companion book Rose Under Fire
      • When young American pilot Rose Justice is captured by Nazis and sent to Ravensbrück, the notorious women's concentration camp, she finds hope in the impossible through the loyalty, bravery, and friendship of her fellow prisoners.
    • also Flygirl by Sherri L. Smith
      • During World War II, a light-skinned African American girl "passes" for white in order to join the Women Airforce Service Pilots.

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