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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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Four to Read More — New Points of View

Four to Read More — New Points of View

And now we present Four to Read More, mini collections of four books that share some common theme, whether it’s the name of a character, a cover design quirk, or something else. Inspired by Kelly Jensen’s “Three on a YA Theme” series at Book Riot (take a lookwe’ll wait!), this series will highlight some books you may have missed on the shelves.

To kick off the school year, we are looking at novels offering new perspectives on classic stories. They are books that let us into the point of view of characters other than the original narrator. Gregory Maguire’s Wicked one example of a book using this device, building backstory for The Wizard of Oz. Here are four others that you can find in the library.

March by Geraldine Brooks

The Third Witch by Rebecca Reisert

march cover third witch cover
Throughout Little Women, Jo and her sisters pine for their father. This book follows Mr. March through his experiences as a soldier in the Civil War.
(available in print)
Shakespeare’s Macbeth, from the point of view of one of the witches.
(available in print )

Grendel by John Gardner

Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys

grendel gardiner cover wide sargasso sea cover
Perhaps Beowulf‘s Grendel just needs someone to hear his side of the story….(available in print) In this prequel to Jane Eyre, Mr. Rochester’s first wife tells of her childhood and early marriage.
(available in print)

Do you have an idea for a Four to Read More theme? Email us and let us know!

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Upcoming Bay Area Literary Events

Upcoming Bay Area Literary Events

As you get ready to start the new school year, be sure to schedule time to visit with some of your favorite authors, too!

September 4, 7:00pm, @ Kepler’s
Are you waiting to find out what happens next with Trial By Fire’s alter-egos, Lily and Lillian? Hear from author Josephine Angelini and check out the sequel: Firewalker.

September 11, 7pm, @ Books Inc.
Nicola Yoon shares her debut novel, Everything, Everything; and David Levithan discusses Another Day, his sequel to Every Day. In San Francisco.

September 18, 7:00pm, @ Kepler’s
Cassandra Clare and Holly Black come together at Kepler’s to discuss their latest book, The Cooper Gauntlet.

September 22, 7:00pm, @ Kepler’s
Rae Carson, author of Girl of Fire and Thorns, is visiting to discuss her hew novel,Walk on Earth a Stranger. Following a young woman with magical powers through the California Gold Rush, Carson said of this book that she wanted to explore a rare time and place in history when women had financial power equal to men.

September 28, 7:00pm, @ A Great Good Place for Books
Ava Dellaira celebrates the paperback debut of Love Letters to the Dead.



Have you gone to one of these events? Tell us about it!

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Thank You To All–Another Successful Edible Book Festival!

Thank You To All–Another Successful Edible Book Festival!

Credits: Eva S., Anna P., Robin S. '19; Sarah R. '21; Margot B. '21, Caroline H.  '18

Credits: Eva S., Anna P., Robin S. ’19; Sarah R. ’21; Margot B. ’21, Caroline H. ’18

Yesterday, Casti celebrated our 2nd annual Edible Book Festival. We played literary games, decorated cupcakes, and viewed (and then ate) many very edible books!

Without a doubt, however, the highlight of the afternoon was viewing the Edible Book Contest entries and voting for favorites. The almost sixty creations submitted made it difficult to chose, but in the end all the ballots were submitted and counted.

Congratulations to the winning entries, selected by popular vote:


Screen Shot 2015-03-31 at 9.07.30 AM

“Harry Squatter and the Chamber Pot of Secrets” by Linnea L., Mackenzie F., and Laura-Ann M. ’21

Best Food Eaten in a Book

"Canary Creams" by Lauren B.-R. '20

“Canary Creams” by Lauren B.-R. ’20

Technical Mastery

"Romeo and Juliet" by Riona Y. '19

“Romeo and Juliet” by Riona Y. ’19


“Where the Wild Greens Grow” by the Casti Middle School Gardening Elective

Best Simple Idea


“A Mango Shaped Space” by Kendall T. ’21

Most Original

Screen Shot 2015-03-31 at 9.44.11 AM

“Eat Me, Drink Me” by Margot B. ’21

People’s Choice

"The Fault in Our Cake" by Kelly Y. and Honor P. '21

“A Fault in Our Cake” by Kelly Y. and Honor P. ’21

And the special add-on category: Most Othello-licious

"Othello" by Jessa M. '18

“Othello” by Jessa M. ’18

A huge thank you to all our wonderful parent volunteers, and to our planning committee, all of whom made this event possible! Our committee this year: Honor P. ’21, Mabelle P. ’20, Sam N.-L. ’19, Arushi G. ’18, Molly L. ’16, and winner of Best Committee Chair, Jessa M. ’18! Also, we want to express our gratitude to the Food Service and Maintenance teams, who offered us such amazing support.

Screen Shot 2015-03-31 at 11.45.17 AM

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The Edible Book Festival is here! Once again, there will be butterbeer!

The Edible Book Festival is here! Once again, there will be butterbeer!

Edible book festival examples 2014

On Monday, March 30, the library will celebrate its 2nd 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! All members of the community are also invited to donate non-perishable foods to the We Won’t Stop club’s Edible Books Middle School Food Drive.

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 last year.

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
  • Technical mastery
  • Best simple idea
  • People’s choice

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!



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Non-Perishable Food Drive by WWS Club-Part of the Edible Book Festival

Non-Perishable Food Drive by WWS Club-Part of the Edible Book Festival

wws photo

Do you remember the Edible Books Festival that the library hosted last year? Well now it’s back, in all of its glory, but with an awesome, community action themed addition! The We Won’t Stop Club, working in collaboration with the library, is hosting a book themed food drive, with proceeds going to the Ecumenical Hunger Program.

You, the students, will be able to give back to the community by voting for your favorite books, through your food donations. To vote, simply drop your canned or boxed nonperishables into the container representing the book that you like best. We will have competitions between Out of My Mind and Wonder, Divergent and The Hunger Games, and the ultimate competition between The Fault in Our Stars and Harry Potter. The food collection containers will be outside of the library, middle school lobby, and the green doors.

The foods most needed by the Eccumenical Hunger Program are canned soup, boxed milk, nuts, vacuum tuna or tuna salad kits, ready-made meals, pop top cans (especially chili and soup), oatmeal, and crackers.

The food drive will start on March 16th, and finish the day of the Edible Books Festival, March 30th. Get excited to show some literary spirit and contribute to a fantastic organization!

by Sophie N.L. ’19 and Claire S. ’19

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