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

Fri Feb 5: what we talked about

posted Feb 5, 2016, 8:24 AM by Monica Tolva

  • Please vote for your favorite book nominated for the Illinois Teen Choice Award
    • Pick up a paper ballot in the LMC, or vote here or on school homepage. If you already voted online, please submit again, as my form was not collecting names at first.
    • Each week in February, 10 students who vote will get to pick a free copy of the 20 books nominated for the award
    • And the offer still stands: if you tell me (and convince me, in some way) that you've read all 20 books, I'll have a separate, special prize for all who achieve this amazing reading feat!
  • We filmed a funny video clip for the Winter Recognition Assembly onFri Feb 19. Make sure to cheer when you see us on the big screens!


Fri Jan 29: what we talked about

posted Jan 29, 2016, 8:45 AM by Monica Tolva

  • Welcome Kate! We hope you come back to Book Club, with or without Ellie. "Come for the hot chocolate: stay for the books."
  • The 5th Wave (by Rick Yancey) movie vs. book
    • Hanson asked if anyone brings the book to the movie. Valerie was very practical when she said that this idea wouldn't work because you couldn't see in the dark. Ha!
    • The Martian (by Andy Weir) movie vs. book
  • Most Dangerous: Daniel Ellsberg and the Secret History of the Vietnam War by Steve Sheinkin
    • won YALSA Best Non-Fiction book of the year
    • The story of Daniel Ellsberg and his decision to steal and publish secret documents about America's involvement in the Vietnam War.
  • Fri Mar 18: author Allen Zadoff (author of I Am The Weapon) visits VHHS. Students can get a FREE copy of the book by donating a book. "Give 1, Get 1!"

Fri Jan 22: what we talked about

posted Jan 22, 2016, 7:09 AM by Monica Tolva

  • We blinged out our Chromebooks with new Starbooks Book Club decals. Come to the LMC and get yours!
  • Mrs. Stevens, Charli, Jacky and Cindy met 18 eighth-graders who said they were interested in joining Book Club when they come to VHHS next fall. They recommended these books:
  • Printz Award winners (Printz Award given each year by the American Library Association for the best young adult book of the year)
    • 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 books:
      • The 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.
      • Out of Darkness by Ashley Hope Perez
  • We are hosting an author! Allen Zadoff, author of I Am the Weapon, is visiting VHHS on Fri Mar 18. Book Club members will be invited to join him for lunch in the LMC. Stay tuned for details about which period.
  • An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir
    • Laia is a Scholar living under the iron-fisted rule of the Martial Empire. When her brother is arrested for treason, Laia goes undercover as a slave at the empire's greatest military academy in exchange for assistance from rebel Scholars who claim that they will help to save her brother from execution.
  • The 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 Maas
  • The Wrath & the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh
    • In this reimagining of The Arabian Nights, Shahrzad plans to avenge the death of her dearest friend by volunteering to marry the murderous boy-king of Khorasan but discovers not all is as it seems within the palace.
  • The movie version of The 5th Wave by Rick Yanceyopens tonight! Maybe see you there ...?
  • We know the book is usually better than the movie. Are there examples of when the movie was better than (or just as good) as the book?

Fri Jan 8: What we talked about

posted Jan 8, 2016, 9:57 AM by Monica Tolva   [ updated Jan 8, 2016, 10:05 AM ]

  • Welcome Alexa and Kat! We're glad you joined us. 
  • "Starbooks" decals will be passed out at next Book Club meeting Fri Jan 22. Make sure you come get some bling for your Chromebook (or wherever you want to stick it!)
  • Major Pettigrew's Last Stand by Helen Simonson (ask to borrow Mrs. Stevens' copy)
  • All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
    • A blind French girl and a German boy whose paths collide in occupied France as both try to survive the devastation of World War II
  • Complete Works of Arthur Rimbaud
  • Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult
    • The people of Sterling, New Hampshire, are forever changed after a shooting at the high school leaves ten people dead, and the judge presiding over the trial tries to remain unbiased, even though her daughter witnessed the events and was friends with the assailant.
  • Pride & Prejudice & 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.
  • Challenger Deep by Neal Shusterman
    • A teenage boy struggles with schizophrenia
  • Other books by Shusterman:
    • Bruiser
      • Inexplicable events start to occur when sixteen-year-old twins Tennyson and Brontë befriend a troubled and misunderstood outcast, aptly nicknamed Bruiser, and his little brother, Cody.
    • Unwind
      • In a future world where those between the ages of thirteen and eighteen can have their lives "unwound" and their body parts harvested for use by others, three teens go to extreme lengths to survive until they turn eighteen.
    • Everlost
      • When Nick and Allie are killed in a car crash, they end up in Everlost, or limbo for lost souls, where, although Nick is satisfied, Allie will stop at nothing--even skinjacking--to break free.
  • Hit by Delilah S. Dawson
    • Near future thriller about a teen forced to become an indentured assassin who has only three days to complete her hit list--with the added complication of her sole ally's brother being the final assignment.




Fri Dec 18: what we talked about

posted Dec 18, 2015, 7:27 AM by Monica Tolva   [ updated Dec 18, 2015, 7:29 AM ]

  • Seasons Readings to all Book Club members! We wish you time to savor a great story. Remember to tell us all about it when we meet Fri Jan 8, 2016!
  • Mrs. Stevens and Ms. Tolva are ordering our club's "Starbooks" logo as Chromebook decals for all of you. So add some Book Club bling to your Chromebook and show off your bibliophile nature. We'll pass them out in January.
  • Life as We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer
    • Through journal entries sixteen-year-old Miranda describes her family's struggle to survive after a meteor hits the moon, causing worldwide tsunamis, earthquakes, and volcanic eruptions.
  • Life After Life by Kate Atkinson
    • On a cold and snowy night in 1910, Ursula Todd is born to an English banker and his wife. She dies before she can draw her first breath. On that same cold and snowy night, Ursula Todd is born, lets out a lusty wail, and embarks upon a life that will be, to say the least, unusual. For as she grows, she also dies, repeatedly, in a variety of ways, while the young century marches on towards its second cataclysmic world war. Does Ursula's apparently infinite number of lives give her the power to save the world from its inevitable destiny? And if she can -- will she?
  • Hanson posed a literary question: do you like when a character ages throughout the book? For example, the character is 12 when the book begins and 20-something when it ends.
  • Harry Potter "new" book and movie
  • Next meeting: Fri Jan 8
    • no meeting Fri Jan 15

Fri Dec 11: what we talked about

posted Dec 11, 2015, 7:06 AM by Monica Tolva

  • Thanks Jillian for the strudel bites. Yum!
  • Books that deal with the question of where you go when you die:
    • Everlost by Neal Shusterman
      • When Nick and Allie are killed in a car crash, they end up in Everlost, or limbo for lost souls, where, although Nick is satisfied, Allie will stop at nothing--even skinjacking--to break free.
    • Elsewhere by Gabrielle Zevin
      • After fifteen-year-old Liz Hall is hit by a taxi and killed, she finds herself in a place that is both like and unlike Earth, where she must adjust to her new status and figure out how to "live."
    • The Journeyman by Michael Alan Peck
    • The afterlife, which is known as the Commons, has been taken over by a corporate raider who uses the energy of its souls to maintain control. Three people board a bus and after a horrific accident, they are the last, best hope for theCommons to free itself.
  • The Same Sky by Amanda Eyre Ward
  • Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge\
    • Betrothed to the demon who rules her country and trained all her life to kill him, seventeen-year-old Nyx Triskelion must now fulfill her destiny and move to the castle to be his wife.
    • Also Crimson Bound by the same author
      • Rachelle must protect the king's illegitimate son while searching for the weapons that will save her world from endless night
  • Amadeus by Peter Shaffer
    • Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and another composer meet in a drama of jealousy, intrigue, sexual betrayal, and artistic backstabbing in the Imperial Austrian Court in Vienna.
  • A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry
    • A three-act play concerned with the tensions in a middle-class African American family living on Chicago's Southside in the 1950s.
  • Deep literary thoughts:
    • Hanson: (paraphrase) Authors seems to have 2 choices: happy ending or kill off everyone. A good writer will find a middle place
    • Ellie: "I should write my own books so I can have anything I want to happen."

Fri Dec 4: What we talked about

posted Dec 4, 2015, 6:16 AM by Monica Tolva

  • We hope you have a chance to go see "Mockingjay - Part 2" movie, based on the 3rd book in The Hunger Games series by Suzanne Collins. Jacky, Christina and Mrs. Tolva thought it was a good movie!
  • The Boys Who Challenged Hitler by Phillip Hoose (VHHS has 1 copy)
    • Tells the story of a group of boy resistance fighters in Denmark after the Nazi invasion during World War II.
  • Moonbird by Phillip Hoose (VHHS has 1 copy)
    • Chronicles a year in the life of rufa red knot B95, also called Moonbird, following him through his migration pattern and discussing the environmental problems that caused the rufa population to collapsed by nearly eighty percent.
  • Memoirs of an Imaginary Friend by Matthew Dicks
    • Max Delaney has Asperger's and an imaginary friend named Budo. Budo defends Max from bullies in school and fears the day when Max will stop believing in him.
  • Game of Thrones series by George R. R. Martin
    • The kingdom of the royal Stark family faces its ultimate challenge in the onset of a generation-long winter, the poisonous plots of the rival Lannisters, the emergence of the Neverborn demons, and the arrival of barbarian hordes. 
  • Son of Neptune by Rick Riordan
    • Demigod Percy Jackson, still with no memory, and his new friends from Camp Jupiter, Hazel and Frank, go on a quest to free Death, but their bigger task is to unite the Greek and Roman camps so that the Prophecy of Seven can be fulfilled.
    • Then we had a bit of a Riordan rant: The Red Pyramid, The Sword of Summer (1st book in the series Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard)
  • Valerie has taken up the challenge to read all 20 books nominated for the Illinois Teen Choice Award
    • This Song will Save Your Life by Leila Sales
      • Nearly a year after a failed suicide attempt, sixteen-year-old Elise discovers that she has the passion, and the talent, to be a disc jockey.
    • Butter by Erin Jade Lange
      • Unable to control his binge eating, a morbidly obese teenager nicknamed Butter decides to make a live webcast of his last meal as he attempts to eat himself to death.

Fri Nov 20: What we talked about

posted Nov 20, 2015, 7:17 AM by Monica Tolva   [ updated Nov 20, 2015, 9:02 AM ]

  • New club motto, perhaps? How is this for a description of what reading could be perceived as, from a creepy point of view: "Book Club: where we stare at pieces of dead tree pulp for hours, while hallucinating." Thanks Isabelle!
  • Welcome to new member (we hope!) Alexander. He said he's been reading books by Ernest Hemingway, whom he called a great American writer.
  • The relative value of reading print book, ebook, or audiobook
    • Club members felt that any kind of reading is valuable!
    • Mrs. Stevens said that listening to an audiobook can make enjoying stories better for students who struggle with reading skills
    • Ellie said you can listen to a book *and* do another activity. So multi-tasking, yeah!
    • Audiobooks often have narrators, music, and sound effects to bring the story to life. Mrs. Tolva recommends the audiobook version of Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia.
  • Jacky proposed we take a FIELD TRIP to see "Mockingjay - Part 2"
    • 4 p.m. show Tues Nov 24 at AMC Showplace 8 on Lakeview Parkway
    • Check your email for details and required permission slip
    • Each student will pay his/her own way for movie ticket, popcorn, etc.

Fri Nov 13: What we talked about

posted Nov 13, 2015, 6:49 AM by Monica Tolva

  • Mrs. Tolva gave away some free Advanced Reader Copies and Uncorrected Proofs from her library convention trip. Please pass them around and share them when you're done reading the book you nabbed!
  • Girls Like Us by Gail Giles (VHHS has 1 copy)
    • Graduating from their school's special education program, Quincy and Biddy are placed together in their first independent apartment and discover unexpected things they have in common in the face of past challenges and a harrowing trauma
  • The Shift: One Nurse, Twelve Hours, and Four Patients' Lives by Theresa Brown (VHHS has 1 copy)
    • Practicing nurse and New York Times columnist Theresa Brown invites readers to experience not just a day in the life of a nurse but all the life that happens in just one day on a hospital cancer ward. In her skilled hands, as both a dedicated nurse and an insightful chronicler of events, we are given an unprecedented view into the individual struggles as well as the larger truths about medicine in this country, and by the end of the shift, we have witnessed something profound about hope and healing and humanity.
  • Free to Fall by Lauren Miller (VHHS has 1 copy)
    • In a near-future world where everyone is controlled by their smartphones, sixteen-year-old Rory Vaughn suddenly begins listening to the voice within--which kids are taught to ignore--and discovers a terrible plot at the heart of the corporation that makes the devices.
  • A Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson
    • On the morning of her wedding, Princess Lia flees to a distant village. She settles into a new life, intrigued when two mysterious and handsome strangers arrive--and unaware that one is the jilted prince and the other an assassin sent to kill her. Deception abounds, and Lia finds herself on the brink of unlocking perilous secrets--even as she finds herself falling in love.
  • The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken (VHHS has 5 copies, plus downloadable ebook and audiobook)
    • Sixteen-year-old Ruby breaks out of a government-run 'rehabilitation camp' for teens who acquired dangerous powers after surviving a virus that wiped out most American children.
  • The Martian by Andy Weir (VHHS has 1 copy)
    • Astronaut Mark Watney, having been stranded on Mars during a dust storm, relies on his ingenuity and engineering skills to stay alive and try to contact NASA.
  • Here's a challenge: read all 20 books nominated for the Illinois Teen Choice Award. Mrs. Tolva promises a really cool prize for all who succeed!

Fri Oct 30: What we talked about

posted Oct 30, 2015, 8:00 AM by Monica Tolva

  • CLUB PICTURE 7:25 a.m. Tues Nov 3 in field house
    • Please come!! Our picture won't be the same without you!
  • Thanks Mandy for the muffins!
  • Great costumes!
    • Mandy - blood everywhere
    • Jacky - scarecrow
    • Cindy - baby
  • Playing for Pizza by John Grisham (VHHS has 1 copy)
    • After losing an important game for his team, NFL backup quarterback Rick Dockery is fired, but his agent finds him an opportunity to play for the Panthers of Parma, and even though he has never been to Europe, he moves to Italy hoping for a second chance.
  • At the Water's Edge by Sara Gruen (VHHS has 1 copy)
    • A story about a privileged young woman's personal awakening as she experiences the devastations of World War II in a Scottish Highlands village.
  • Outlander, first in a series by Diana Gabaldon (VHHS has 1 copy)
    • While vacationing in Scotland in 1945, Clare stumbles upon an ancient stone circle and is hurled back in time two hundred years where she discovers a new life and a timeless love.
    • also STARZ Network TV show
  • The Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard (VHHS has 1 copy)
    • 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.

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