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Author Visit: Nina LaCour

Author Visit: Nina LaCour

Picture of author Nina LaCour: a brunette white woman wearing a yellow velvet shirt, looking at the camera.

Coming to the Castilleja Library in late September is Nina LaCour, author of five young adult novels! LaCour seems to charm every reader with her stories of love, grief, and friendship. Her novels are a true and candid study of her characters’ identities and emotional journey to find themselves in the world around them. Her novel We Are Okay received the Michael L. Printz Award for Best Young Adult Novel of 2017, and all of her novels have been recognized by Publishers Weekly.

 

What is most striking about LaCour’s novels to young adult readers is her beautiful writing and narrative that truly allows readers to connect with her characters. She tells stories about all forms of love, and as a member of the LGBTQ+ community herself, LaCour’s novels are a testament to all young adults and their experiences with love and friendship by centralizing their character development and emotions rather than their queer identities. LaCour’s literature stands out for this as well as her outstanding quality of writing, earning LaCour her critically-acclaimed status.

a collage of Nina LaCour's books

Nina LaCour will visit our library and campus from September 24th-26th. She will speak at an Upper School assembly on the 24th, and will visit all the tenth grade English classes. She will also have lunch with student writers, hold office hours in the library, and host a writer’s workshop in the Ace Center during late start on Wednesday.

–Meher S., ’20

 

Ms. LaCour’s Schedule:

Monday, September 24th:
Assembly for grades 8 – 12, Chapel Theater: 2:35pm – 3:15pm
Book signing and informal Q & A, Library: 3:20pm – 4:00pm

Tuesday, September 25th:
Lunch with upper school student writers, ACE Project Room: 12:10pm – 12:55pm

Wednesday, September 26th:
Writing workshop during late start, Library: 8:00am – 9:00am
Office hours, Library: 9:00am – 11:00am
Lunch with middle school student writers, Room 9: 11:15am – 11:50am

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The Joy of Ebooks

The Joy of Ebooks

Text: The Joy of Ebooks over a picture of a rainbow and the link https://baislca.libraryreserve.com

Summer’s approaching, classes and final projects are wrapping up. We know that you’re worried how you’ll survive without the library this summer. But never fear! We have a huge ebook library online just waiting for you. You can access it online anywhere: at home, at camp, in the car. Ebooks are super easy to pack; you can pack 10+ ebooks in your suitcase, and the suitcase won’t get any heavier. You don’t need wifi to read an ebook; you can easily download ebooks onto your phone or computer and read them offline.

Recently, our ebook library merged with other Bay Area schools, so there are even more options than before, including books and audiobooks. Have you discovered the joy of audio books? They are a wonderful way to pass time on a long road trip or plane flight.

There are so many books available in the ebook library, you won’t know how to decide between the numerous possibilities. But we’ve got your back! The librarians are more than happy to give recommendations for good ebooks or audiobooks available.

-Ella H. ’19

 

Header picture: “Last Minute Rainbow” by Andrew is licensed under CC BY 2.0

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Four to Read More: Sweet Treats!

Four to Read More: Sweet Treats!

Edible Book Festival is coming up soon! To get us in the mood, Sophia N. put together a Four to Read More all about those sweets we crave.

 

cover of Bittersweet by Sarah Ockler

Bittersweet by Sarah Ockler

When she was younger, Hudson knew she was going to become a professional figure skater. However, her parents’ divorce when she was fourteen forced her to abandon the life she dreamed of and spend the rest of her life in sadness over what she could have achieved. After baking cupcakes for her mom’s diner for a few years, Hudson gets the opportunity of a lifetime to pursue her dream. She is excited but also terrified, and it’s up to her to decide how much she badly she wants her dream and how much she is willing to sacrifice for it.

Penny and her mother move from the bustling New York city to a small, quiet town called Hog’s Hollow. The worst part? Penny’s father doesn’t come with them and Penny is also tasked with balancing work at her mom’s new cupcake shop, making new friends, and avoiding Charity, the meanest girl in Hog’s Hollow who seems to have something against Penny. Just when Penny is starting to settle in and feel at home in her new town, her parents ask her to make a decision that will change her life forever.

cover of The Cupcake Queen by Heather Hepler

The Cupcake Queen by Heather Hepler

cover of Beneath the Sugar Sky by Seanan McGuire

Beneath the Sugar Sky by Seanan McGuire

The third book in the Wayward Children series gives us new characters and old friends. Rini drops from a land called Confectionary into a pond at the home for Wayward Children, looking for her mother Sumi. But in this world, Sumi died years before Rini was even born. Rini must somehow find a way to bring Sumi back, so Sumi can fulfill her destiny to defeat the Queen of Cakes. Despite their rule of “No quests,” a few Wayward Children join Rini on a cross-dimension trip to Confectionary, where the sea is strawberry soda and candy corn grows in fields, to resurrect their old classmate.

Twelve year old Foster has a passion for baking and hopes to someday have her own baking show. After moving into the town of Culpepper with her mom, she is invited to bake for the local coffee shop and is able to receive help to overcome one of her weaknesses: learning how to read. However, just when she and her mother begin to feel at home in their new town, their tumultuous past catches up to them and it becomes difficult for Foster to imagine pursuing her dream. Will she be able to rise above and follow her dreams?

cover of Close to Famous by Joan Bauer

Close to Famous by Joan Bauer

 

Come celebrate Edible Book Festival with the library on Monday, March 26th! We’ll have trivia, games, puzzles, a raffle with an amazing prize, and most importantly, CAKE! Click on over here for more information.

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Keshav Dhir, Literary Entrepreneur and Gunn Student

Keshav Dhir, Literary Entrepreneur and Gunn Student

TA Sophia N. ’19 spoke with Keshav Dhir, a Gunn student who founded an online literary journal for teens.

Keshav Dhir, a freshman at Gunn, is no ordinary high school student. At the age of 15, he created a free online literary journal to give middle and high school students a platform to share their writing and be inspired by the writing of other students around the country.

When he was very young, he discovered his passion for reading through J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series and from then on would spend hours each day immersed in the fictional worlds of Rick Riordan, C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, and many more. When he got a bit older, he grew curious about how authors managed to write so descriptively and transport others to their fictional worlds. After asking himself these questions, he gave writing a shot and found that he not only loved consuming written works but also creating them with his own two hands. Inspired by his favorite authors, he currently loves to read and write fantasy and sci-fi. He has also forged his own path in journalism and has interviewed people such as Sal Khan, the founder of Khan Academy, and Steve Rasmussen, the owner of Milk Pail Market in Mountain View.

Scribere, Winter 2017 Issue

He soon reached out to a children’s publishing company to see if his work could be published, but he never gota response as to whether they would consider publishing his work. Frustrated by his experience, Keshav made it his mission to create a platform for young writers to share their work and read short stories and poems from other talented students. He founded Scribere, an online literary journal, to promote creativity in students and give them the opportunity to submit their own work for publication and receive feedback from other student writers. Scribere is growing rapidly across the Bay Area and is now sponsored by Disney, ThinkFund, Youth Service for America, and the City of Palo Alto.

However, despite his success, Keshav is no stranger to criticism and writer’s block. When faced with writer’s block, he says, “I usually take a step back and think about what I’ve written, and see how I can improve it through description or dialogue or something else. Sometimes, I will just take a break completely and wait for something new to come to me. You can’t force the creative flow; it has to come to you.” When I asked him if he had any advice for young aspiring writers, he said “Writer’s block happens, rejection happens, criticism happens. Don’t let it get you down, just keep writing! Your writing is your own, so you decide when you’re finished or how much to add, not anyone else.”

Keshav encourages aspiring writers in the Castilleja community to submit their work to Scribere, following the guidelines outlined on their website (scribere.org). He and his editorial board, which only consists of middle and high school students, will review the submission and decide whether it should be published in their journal. If not, they’ll give the author feedback on how it can be improved and invite them to resubmit. If so, they’ll reach out to the author and let them know when their work will be published.

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New Periodical Alert: frankie Magazine!

New Periodical Alert: frankie Magazine!

Lexi B. ’19, our very own Aussie, takes a look at Australian magazine frankie:

cover of frankie, October 2017frankie magazine could simply be described as Australia’s answer to the Rookie Yearbook, except it’s so much more than that. The trendy magazine consists of “design, art, photography, fashion, travel, music, craft, home, and life,” as proclaimed on the front cover, and includes a writer’s piece section containing works of unknown poets and other contributors, all-inclusive beauty tips, cute craft and home life sections, and did I mention that the entire layout of the magazine is super cute? The colorful, disposable camera-like aesthetic of the entire magazine makes it just as appealing to

cover of frankie, December 2017read as the engaging content. Though some parts of the magazine aren’t necessarily applicable to our daily lives — unless you’ve somehow suddenly become Australian — the rest of the magazine contains information that is both necessary and fun! I always enjoy reading frankie and get super excited every time it comes to the library. Check out the latest issue of frankie in the library!

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Magazine Review: Riposte

Magazine Review: Riposte

Library TA Emmeline S. ’19 tells you all about one of the new magazines we picked up:

Self-described as the “smart magazine for women” and a decided (and welcome) respite from mainstream media coverage of rumored Kardashian pregnancies and other mundane celebrity “news,” London-based Riposte magazine offers short stories, articles and interviews on topics aimed at educated women.  

Issue 8 of Riposte

Started in 2013 by London-based art gallery curator Danielle Pender, Riposte is a bit of a publishing anomaly.  While many other magazines and media houses are increasingly moving more content online, Riposte’s website features single topic photos and brief teasers for in-depth articles that can be accessed only via the printed bi-annual magazine (Issue 8 is currently available in the Castilleja Espinosa Library).

Riposte is not light reading, nor is it appropriate for the modest reader.  Issue 8 contributors address heavy topics including racism, failures of science education on gender, motherhood, fashion and innovation. This particular issue also features semi-nude and powerfully untouched photos of breast cancer survivor Erika Hart, accompanying a candid article on real-life information gaps she encountered while being treated by her team of medical professionals.  The discussion of sexuality and sexual matters are more European in their openness; however, there are no advertisements or photos of young, photoshopped models in provocative poses.

The visual aesthetic of the magazine is somewhat chaotic with varying typefaces, full page borderless photos immediately followed by distinctly bordered images, and jarring discontinuities of layout. Surprisingly, the former art-gallery curator has not stamped the magazine with a readily identifiable look-and-feel nor has she established a consistent tone or language usage embodied by some of the most prominent magazines in circulation in North America (e.g. The New Yorker).  There are some well-written creative pieces–Adventure (essays) on pages 15-19–a few beautiful photos such as pages 50, 94, and 120-121, and some interesting articles–a the feature on architect/designer Farshid Moussavi on page 20 for example. However, there is a lack of flow across the issue, and the quality of the written and photographic content is inconsistent.  

Lastly, while many of the women covered in the magazine are role models, many of the topics–e.g., motherhood, balancing work/life–are aimed at women at different stages of life than the average Castilleja student.  

While Riposte has yet to fully mature into a consistent, high-quality publication, it is well worth scanning twice a year for insights as well as an introduction to interesting topics and women role models.  

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