Author Archives | tbergsonmichelson

Recaptains: A New Reading Resource

Are you excited for Leigh Bardugo’s next Grishaverse book? Counting the days for the sequel to Children of Blood and BoneMaybe you just learned there’s a third book in Jenny Han’s To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before series. But if you’re anything like us, there is just one problem: you cannot quite remember where the last book left off. What had the main character just discovered about her magic? Who was left dead; who had just arisen from the dead? Who was dating whom?

the logo for the Recaptains websiteFortunately, we have discovered Recaptains, if you need “a refresher before the sequel is released, this is where you need to be.” Beyond a short synopsis and a longer, bullet-pointed step-by-step review of the plot, the “How did it end” section of each entry reviews the major plot details of the last few chapters–leaving you ready to pick the story up once more.

A lot the entries are user submitted, so beyond finding the information you need without rereading the whole series, you can also submit summaries of books that you love and hope to share with other readers. Check out their website or follow them on twitter!


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Got Audiobooks? (Your Library Does!)

Got Audiobooks? (Your Library Does!)

elizabeth enjoying audiobooks

The library is delighted to announce that we now have audiobooks that you can check out!

Our collection, offering a range of choices for listeners age 11-18 and beyond, is with the ebooks in Overdrive. If you want to see which of our audiobooks are recommended for someone your age, check out our Pinterest board.

If you are not an audiobook devotee already, you might be wondering what there is to get excited about. Click on a cover below to take a listen to some samples from our collection and find out:

William Shakespeare's Star Wars: Verily, A New Hope (Gr. 8+) Full Cast Reading

William Shakespeare’s Star Wars: Verily, A New Hope (Gr. 8+) Full Cast Reading

The Night Circus (Adult for young adult) Reader: Jim Dale

The Night Circus (Adult for young adult) Reader: Jim Dale

The Graveyard Book (Gr 5-8) Readers: Tim Dann and Neil Gaiman

The Graveyard Book (Gr 5-8) Readers: Tim Dann and Neil Gaiman


Bloody Jack: Being an Account of the Curious Adventures of Mary "Jacky" Faber, Ship's Boy (Gr. 6+) Reader: Katherine Kellgren

Bloody Jack: Being an Account of the Curious Adventures of Mary “Jacky” Faber, Ship’s Boy (Gr. 6+) Reader: Katherine Kellgren

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe (Gr. 9+) Reader: Lin-Manuel Miranda

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe (Gr. 9+) Reader: Lin-Manuel Miranda

How It Went Down (Gr 9+) Full Cast Reading

How It Went Down (Gr 9+) Full Cast Reading

Most Dangerous: Daniel Ellsberg and the Secret History of the Vietnam War (Gr 7+) Reader: Ray Porter

Most Dangerous: Daniel Ellsberg and the Secret History of the Vietnam War (Gr 7+) Reader: Ray Porter





















So check out some audiobooks today, an tell us how you enjoy experiencing books in a whole new way!

Learn how to check them out on our how-to page.

Posted in Did You Know?, Reviews & Recommendations, Cool Stuff, Technology0 Comments

Paraphrasing with Taylor Swift!

Paraphrasing with Taylor Swift!

A notebook, pages blowing in the wind, sitting on an electric keyboard.

Image source: “Music with Lyrics” by Tarun Kumar from Flickr

Original: “But I’ve got a blank space, baby/And I’ll write your name.”   (“Blank Space,” by Taylor Swift, Max Martin, and Shellback)

Paraphrase: I’m single, so we should date. (Lindsey E., ’21)

It can be challenging to learn to use your own words to express ideas and facts that you get from reading you do while carrying out research. Conveying an idea from your reading in your own words is called paraphrasing. Recently, the seventh graders got some great paraphrasing practice, translating Taylor Swift lyrics into “everyday” spoken English. Here are some lyrics, if you want to give it a try:

  • “’Cause, darling, I’m a nightmare dressed like a daydream.”(“Blank Space,” by Taylor Swift, Max Martin, and Shellback)
  • “But she wears short skirts/I wear T-shirts/She’s cheer captain/And I’m on the bleachers” (“You Belong with Me,” Taylor Swift and Liz Rose)
  • Nice to meet you, where you been?”(“Blank Space,” by Taylor Swift, Max Martin, and Shellback)
  • “Someday I’ll be living in a big ole city/And all you’re ever gonna be is mean” (“Mean,” by Taylor Swift)

Students listed tips on paraphrasing effectively, which included:

  • Read until you understand what the sentence is saying,
  • Identify terminology that is specific to your topic (you can use it in your paraphrase),
  • Articulate the big idea, and
  • Cover it up the original source and say it in your own words.

Of course, when you paraphrase, what you write is often about the same length as the original.

When you want to quickly convey the big ideas of a longer passage, that is called summarizing.  A fun way to practice summarizing is picking a song you love, and telling the story or the moral that song conveys in one, short sentence:

Song title: “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” (Richard M. and Robert B. Sherman)

Summary:A fun word to say and make you feel good with also confusing people.” (E. Lewis, ’21)

Song title: “Sorry” (Julia Michaels, Justin Tranter, and Justin Beiber)

Summary:I let you go and now I want you back.” (E. Smith, ’21)

Can you take your favorite song and summarize its meaning? How about paraphrasing some of your favorite lines? It is a great way to get a feel for the difference between the two skills.

Of course, whether you are paraphrasing or summarizing, you have not done it right if you don’t give credit to the source that gave you the information or ideas that you use. So, a huge “Thank you!” to Amber Lovett, a library school students at the University of Michigan, for the idea of using Taylor Swift lyrics.

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Join Us for the Third Annual Edible Book Festival!

Join Us for the Third Annual Edible Book Festival!


On Monday, March 28, the library will celebrate its 3rd annual Edible Book Festival. Everyone in the Casti community is welcome to join us from 3:30-6:00 for literarily-inspired games and food. Everyone who comes can vote in our Edible Book competition. Don’t forget to RSVP or volunteer to help out!

Community members are invited to create entries for the competition. The rules are simply that all creations must be made out of edible components and must either illustrate a concept from a book or be food that appears in a book. Families or groups of students are welcome to collaborate on entries. They may be dropped off in the morning or just before school ends for the day. Please label all entries with creators’ first and last names, and bring in the book that inspired your creation, or a printout of the cover. Check out these examples from past years.

Samurai's Garden, Very Hungry Caterpillar, Bunnicula, Charlotte's Web

All attendees will get to vote to award prizes to their favorite entries…and then eat the creations!

This year’s prize categories are:

  • Most original
  • Best food eaten in a book
  • Healthiest
  • Funniest/punniest
  • Best simple idea
  • People’s choice
  • Most Shakespeare-licous


Whether you create an edible book, want to play literary games, do word-inspired art, or admire the creative work of our community (and groan over bad puns), we look forward to seeing you there!

When: Monday, March 30–3:30 to 6pm

  • Contest entry registration all day    7:45am-3:30pm
    • be sure to register all entries before 3:30
  • Voting   3:30-4:15
  • Snacks  4:00
  • Games and Edible Book Festival creation-viewing throughout

Where: Espinosa Library

Who: Students, family members, adult members of the Casti community and their families

What: Games, projects, treats, and voting!

Click here to RSVP!

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Pioneer Girl: A Review by Ms. Pang

Pioneer Girl: A Review by Ms. Pang

Source: Pioneer Girl By Laura Ingalls Wilder Edited by Pamela Smith Hill

Source: Pioneer Girl
By Laura Ingalls Wilder
Edited by Pamela Smith Hill

Have you ever read historical fiction and been consumed by the question of what really happened? If you wondered about the real life of the Ingalls family from the Little House on the Prairie series, Pioneer Girl is the book for you. I grew up reading about Laura, Mary, Pa, Ma, and little baby Grace, their dog Jack, and their travels across the west by covered wagon in the decades after the Civil War. The books were written in the 1930s for children, and they were based on Laura’s life. I wondered, as I grew older, what was real, and what was fiction? Now, thanks to editor Pamela Smith Hill, I have been able to dive into Laura Ingalls Wilder’s first autobiographical account, Pioneer Girl, fully annotated with extensive research, illustrated with amazing primary sources. Hill includes an extensive introduction covering Wilder’s writing process and her collaboration with her daughter, Rose Wilder Lane, who also published novels based on her mother’s experiences. If you ever wondered about the real Nellie Olson (based on several girls) or the railroad company Pa worked for, or the cutter Almanzo Wilder drove, it is all here, footnoted and ready for you to dive in.


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My Favorite Things: Political Fact-Checking Websites

My Favorite Things: Political Fact-Checking Websites

Source: "Academic fact fight - debate" by Frits Ahlefeldt-Laurvig on

Source: “Academic fact fight – debate” by Frits Ahlefeldt-Laurvig on

With just over a year until the 2016 presidential elections, we have a broad field of candidates and many debates in our near future. But when you hear the claims and counter-claims the candidates are making, how do you decide what to believe?

Luckily, there are increasing numbers of political fact-checking websites, non-partisan political watchdog organizations that research the veracity of what politicians say. Here are some sites that you can visit if you have a question about any of the arguments you hear:

Screen Shot 2015-08-18 at 9.28.06 PM The League of Women Voters is a great place to start. Often, candidates will make claims about other candidate’s positions. The LWV is a citizen-run organization that provides voter information, so it is a great place to see what candidates say about their own positions on various topics. Also, it has the broadest coverage of all the sites mentioned here. is a project of the Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania. It describes itself as being a “nonpartisan, nonprofit ‘consumer advocate’ for voters that aims to reduce the level of deception and confusion in U.S. politics.” It follows and critiques TV ads, debates, speeches, interviews and news releases. Screen Shot 2015-08-18 at 8.38.55 PM
Screen Shot 2015-08-18 at 9.22.08 PM From The Center for Responsive Politics, an organization originally founded by a bipartisan group of Senators who were worried about the impact of money on politics, advocates for transparency in government through exposing political contributions. It tracks and analyzes federal campaign contributions and lobbying activities., by the researchers and reporters of the Tampa Bay Times, keeps an eye on promises made by President Obama, congressional Republicans, and governors and mayors around the country. They use Truth-O-Meters and Flip-O-Meters to rate the quality of arguments politicians make and how they vacillate on issues. Screen Shot 2015-08-18 at 8.29.45 PM
Screen Shot 2015-08-19 at 3.11.00 PM is an independent newsroom that covers a wide variety of topics. This non-profit organization “produces investigative journalism in the public interest,” including coverage related to elections and political campaigns.
Ever wonder who runs our elections? Learn more about how our voting system works, what your district is, what ballot measures are up-and-coming, and more at the California Secretary of State’s Election Division. Screen Shot 2015-08-19 at 2.58.12 PM


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