Week 2: Celebrate Black History Month through literature! The following is a list of titles that are available at the WMHS library as well as a list of recommendations for books available at other libraries. As always, please do not hesitate to contact me if I can be of assistance.
Books available at the WMHS Volpe Library
"The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
Young Adult Fiction
"Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter moves between two worlds: the poor neighborhood where she lives and the fancy suburban prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. Khalil was unarmed.
Soon afterward, his death is a national headline. Some are calling him a thug, maybe even a drug dealer and a gangbanger. Protesters are taking to the streets in Khalil's name. Some cops and the local drug lord try to intimidate Starr and her family. What everyone wants to know is: what really went down that night? And the only person alive who can answer that is Starr.
But what Starr does or does not say could upend her community. It could also endanger her life." (GoodReads)
Don't Call Us Dead by Danez Smith
"Award-winning poet Danez Smith is a groundbreaking force, celebrated for deft lyrics, urgent subjects, and performative power. Don't Call Us Dead opens with a heartrending sequence that imagines an afterlife for black men shot by police, a place where suspicion, violence, and grief are forgotten and replaced with the safety, love, and longevity they deserved here on earth. Smith turns then to desire, mortality the dangers experienced in skin and body and blood and a diagnosis of HIV positive. "Some of us are killed / in pieces," Smith writes, some of us all at once. Don't Call Us Dead is an astonishing and ambitious collection, one that confronts, praises, and rebukes America--"Dear White America"--where every day is too often a funeral and not often enough a miracle." (GoodReads)
Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
"As teenagers in Lagos, Ifemelu and Obinze fall in love. Their Nigeria is under military dictatorship, and people are fleeing the country if they can. The self-assured Ifemelu departs for America. There she suffers defeats and triumphs, finds and loses relationships, all the while feeling the weight of something she never thought of back home: race. Obinze had hoped to join her, but post-9/11 America will not let him in, and he plunges into a dangerous, undocumented life in London.
Thirteen years later, Obinze is a wealthy man in a newly democratic Nigeria, while Ifemelu has achieved success as a blogger. But after so long apart and so many changes, will they find the courage to meet again, face to face?" (GoodReads)
Beloved by Toni Morrison
"Staring unflinchingly into the abyss of slavery, this spellbinding novel transforms history into a story as powerful as Exodus and as intimate as a lullaby.
Sethe was born a slave and escaped to Ohio, but eighteen years later she is still not free. She has too many memories of Sweet Home, the beautiful farm where so many hideous things happened. Her new home is haunted by the ghost of her baby, who died nameless and whose tombstone is engraved with a single word: Beloved." (GoodReads)
Kindred by Octavia Butler
Science Fiction / Graphic Novel
"Butler’s most celebrated, critically acclaimed work tells the story of Dana, a young black woman who is suddenly and inexplicably transported from her home in 1970s California to the pre–Civil War South. As she time-travels between worlds, one in which she is a free woman and one where she is part of her own complicated familial history on a southern plantation, she becomes frighteningly entangled in the lives of Rufus, a conflicted white slaveholder and one of Dana’s own ancestors, and the many people who are enslaved by him." (GoodReads)
The Souls of Black Folk by W.E.B. Du Bois
"William Edward Burghardt Du Bois (1868-1963) is the greatest of African American intellectuals--a sociologist, historian, novelist, and activist whose astounding career spanned the nation's history from Reconstruction to the civil rights movement. Born in Massachusetts and educated at Fisk, Harvard, and the University of Berlin, Du Bois penned his epochal masterpiece, The Souls of Black Folk, in 1903. It remains his most studied and popular work; its insights into life at the turn of the 20th century still ring true." (GoodReads)
Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston
"Fair and long-legged, independent and articulate, Janie Crawford sets out to be her own person -- no mean feat for a black woman in the '30s. Janie's quest for identity takes her through three marriages and into a journey back to her roots." (GoodReads)
The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead
"Cora is a slave on a cotton plantation in Georgia. Life is hellish for all the slaves but especially bad for Cora; an outcast even among her fellow Africans, she is coming into womanhood - where even greater pain awaits. When Caesar, a recent arrival from Virginia, tells her about the Underground Railroad, they decide to take a terrifying risk and escape. Matters do not go as planned and, though they manage to find a station and head north, they are being hunted.
In Whitehead's ingenious conception, the Underground Railroad is no mere metaphor - engineers and conductors operate a secret network of tracks and tunnels beneath the Southern soil. Cora and Caesar's first stop is South Carolina, in a city that initially seems like a haven - but the city's placid surface masks an insidious scheme designed for its black denizens. Even worse: Ridgeway, the relentless slave catcher, is close on their heels. Forced to flee again, Cora embarks on a harrowing flight, state by state, seeking true freedom." (GoodReads)
February is rife with reasons to celebrate other cultures. From St. Valentines Day to Black History Month to Lunar New Year to Presidents Day, there are a ton of ways you can read your way through the wintertime.
Week 1: A Year of Reading the World
Ying Wang (@whatyingdid), one of my high school classmates, always shares awesome posts from her travels across the planet on Instagram. Recently, she started cruising around the world through literature as inspired by Ann Morgan's blog A Year of Reading The World. Ann Morgan committed to a year of reading the world, or rather reading books originally published in other countries.
Watch the Ted Talk below to learn more.
If you're interested in looking for books in translation or books from other countries in our high school library, the Boston Public Library, or the Beebe Library, stop by the library and have a chat with me. As always, please feel free to email me or send me a message via Google Chat.
Each of you has a Follett Destiny (library catalog) login and password.
To get to the catalog, either go to wmhslib.org and hover over Read or Research (it's in both drop down menus) and click on catalog. You can also get their directly by using this link.
The username is your student ID # - xxxx
The password is your 8 digit date of birth - MMDDYYYY
It will redirect you to Destiny Discover (the newer, more aesthetically pleasing way to look at our catalog).
From there click on the three lines icon in the top right corner. A drop down menu will appear. Click on checkouts. You should see all of your borrowed materials and a button to renew.
If you have any issues, stop by to chat or email me! I've also created a video tutorial below to help you.
Good luck with midyear exams, and, as always, do not hesitate to stop by if I can help! We're open next week during exams if you want a quiet place to study. I'm also going to put out coloring pages, puzzles, and board games if you need a place to relax and decompress.
N.B. Please remember, the overdue email address inbox is not read and all messages are automated.
P.S. You can also use the catalog to place a hold on a book you want to borrow. I'll get a message to save the book for you in the library.
Our Library Catalog: Follett Destiny/Destiny Discover
This year we bought a ton of new titles for you to read! We have access to hundreds of eBooks and hardcopy titles.
To find out if we have something available, visit our catalog which is linked to our library website under both the "Read" and "Research" tab.
Place a Hold or Renew a Book
To place a hold or renew a book, simply log into the catalog using your info. See below for details.
LOGIN INFO for Students
Student ID # - xxxx
Your password is your 8 digit date of birth - MMDDYYYY.
Borrow an eBook from the Gov. Volpe Library
You will also use this ID to borrow eBooks from our library on Destiny Discover (one of the tabs on the catalog).
Commonwealth eBook Collaborative
Similar to our eBooks, we also share access to eBooks with a few other schools on this platform called the Commonwealth eBook collaborative.
whslc + "firstnamelastname" = e.g. whslcjanedoe
Boston Public Library eCard / Hoopla
BPL eCard: The BPL eCard will give you access to anything the Boston Public Library has free digitally. This includes their access to their databases (including JSTOR), Hoopla, their audiobooks/eBooks (Overdrive), RBDigital Magazines (formerly Zinio), and also allows you to borrow museum passes. Anyone that is a resident of Massachusetts can sign up online. You'll get an email with your account info. Nota Bene: Use your personal email to log in so that you can use this card after you graduate. You can also sign up for a real library card by visiting any BPL branch.
Hoopla: With a Wakefield Library Card or a Boston Public Library Card (hardcard or eCard) you can create an account on Hoopla. Hoopla is awesome. It has free movies, albums, audiobooks, ebooks, graphic novels, comic books, etc.
Here are a few of their current offerings:
Rupi Kaur's Milk and Honey; The Sun and Her Flowers
Sarah Schmidt's See What I Have Done
Philip K. Dick's Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? - Graphic Novel Adaption
Film: What We Do in the Shadows (It's like The Office mixed with a vampire movie- hilarious and spooky).
Feel free to send me an email or drop by the library if you ever need help with eBooks or anything related to your studies.
Over the summer we started a massive renovation and reorganization process. It took ages to get the library in working order, but we are finally done! Every single book had to be organized and put back on the shelves. We got rid of a ton of old materials to make way for new resources. The collection is in better shape than ever. We have new books and supplies on the way, and we now have a streamlined, dynamic space for you to use as you learn at WMHS, including a growing makerspace in our former library workroom.
Here are some of the opportunities and resources that the library provides to you!
Access to books, databases, & magazines; access to Hoopla and other eMaterials, research assistance; citation guidance; application expertise; first-level technology assistance; craft and project materials; access to our makerspace/conference space (with a reservation); tutoring space; presentation space (great for practicing); reading recommendations; book club; social media accounts promoting opportunities for teens (@volpereads on Twitter, Snapchat, and Instagram; we also have a Facebook page); etc!
The Boring, but ever so important, Gov. Volpe Library Expectations
A Song for Ella Gray by David Almond
GoodReads Review / Summary: "Claire and Ella and their friends are bound by ties so strong they seem unbreakable. Then the strange and handsome Orpheus strolls onto the beach, and he sings them all into an astonishing new understanding of themselves. Ella is caught the hardest, fastest, deepest—and Claire feels the pain of looking on.
Raw, emotional, lyrical, and funny, A Song for Ella Grey is a tale the joys, troubles, and desires of modern teens. It takes place in the ordinary streets of Tyneside and on the beautiful beaches of Northumberland. It’s a story of first love, a love song that draws on ancient mythical forces. A love that leads Ella, Orpheus, and Claire to the gates of Death and beyond."
Scythe by Neal Shusterman
GoodReads Review / Summary:
"Thou shalt kill.
A world with no hunger, no disease, no war, no misery. Humanity has conquered all those things, and has even conquered death. Now scythes are the only ones who can end life—and they are commanded to do so, in order to keep the size of the population under control.
Citra and Rowan are chosen to apprentice to a scythe—a role that neither wants. These teens must master the “art” of taking life, knowing that the consequence of failure could mean losing their own."
Nobody by Marc Lamont Hill
GoodReads Review / Summary:
"In Nobody, scholar and journalist Marc Lamont Hill presents a powerful and thought-provoking analysis of race and class by examining a growing crisis in America: the existence of a group of citizens who are made vulnerable, exploitable and disposable through the machinery of unregulated capitalism, public policy, and social practice. These are the people considered “Nobody” in contemporary America. Through on-the-ground reporting and careful research, Hill shows how this Nobody class has emerged over time and how forces in America have worked to preserve and exploit it in ways that are both humiliating and harmful.
To make his case, Hill carefully reconsiders the details of tragic events like the deaths of Michael Brown, Sandra Bland, and Freddie Gray, and the water crisis in Flint, Michigan. He delves deeply into a host of alarming trends including mass incarceration, overly aggressive policing, broken court systems, shrinking job markets, and the privatization of public resources, showing time and time again the ways the current system is designed to worsen the plight of the vulnerable."
If I Fix You by Abigail Johnson
GoodReads Review / Summary: "When sixteen-year-old Jill Whitaker’s mom walks out—with a sticky note as a goodbye—only Jill knows the real reason she’s gone. But how can she tell her father? Jill can hardly believe the truth herself.
Suddenly, the girl who likes to fix things—cars, relationships, romances, people—is all broken up. Used to be, her best friend, tall, blond and hot flirt Sean Addison, could make her smile in seconds. But not anymore. They don’t even talk.
With nothing making sense, Jill tries to pick up the pieces of her life. But when a new guy moves in next door, intense, seriously cute, but with scars—on the inside and out—that he thinks don’t show, Jill finds herself trying to make things better for Daniel. But over one long, hot Arizona summer, she realizes she can’t fix anyone’s life until she fixes her own. And she knows just where to start . . ."