The best things in life are free, and one of those things is a service called Hoopla. Hoopla gives you free access to movies, music, audiobooks, eBooks, graphic novels, comics, and television shows (think Netflix, Kindle, Amazon Prime, and Audible all in one place for free).
All you have to do is to set up a Boston Public Library eCard here (you all have access as Massachusetts residents and/or educators in Massachusetts). Then you create an account on Hoopla's website using your fancy, new library eCard. You are now free to walk about the digital streaming service and to start binge streaming/reading/listening.
As always, send me an email or a Google Chat if you have any questions. You can also click here to see a very brief walk through of the service.
Here are a few of our print magazines available in the Gov. Volpe Library:
The Gov. Volpe Library subscribes to over twenty periodicals. Textbooks quickly become outdated. The library provides magazines with highly visual and current information to students and faculty.
Here are three easy ways to access periodicals:
Google Slides only offers a few options for backgrounds or templates. Try out Slides Carnival and instantly make your presentations more professional and stylish.
All you have to do is find a template you like, click on it.
>It will bring you to a page where you can preview the presentation.
>Click the yellow button that says "USE THIS PRESENTATION TEMPLATE."
>It will bring you to a Google Slides presentation that you can't edit.
>Click "FILE" and then "MAKE A COPY"
It will automatically save a copy to your drive folder. Make sure to keep the credits page at the end of the presentation and give the developers the credit they are due.
Enjoy! Please let me know if you have any questions.
While it is not by any means a comprehensive list, this post focuses on what is popular amongst students at WMHS in 2015. To add the title to your Goodreads "to-read" list click on the image and it will direct you to the Goodreads page.
Chris Kyle & Scott McEwen
American Sniper is the real story of Chris Kyle, US Navy Seal who was awarded with the most recorded sniper kills in US history. The release of American Sniper in theaters popularized the title, but many students come to the library looking for books on warfare.
Eleanor & Park
The Gov. Volpe Library has loaned out this title 30 times in the past year. What makes this book so great? Well, while the cover might make you think it is a cutesy love story, there is a lot of depth to the novel. It covers topics like abuse and bullying, and the ever present obstacles that seem to come as part of being a teenager. You don't have to take it from me, just look around the cafeteria and you'll see at least three copies of the book in any given direction.
This book is as popular as it is polarizing. For some John Green aficionados, the book is too similar to Looking for Alaska. Some readers are able to get past this, others do not. The book is currently on the New York Times best seller list, in response to an adaption of the book set to hit theaters this summer (starring no less than supermodel Cara Delevigne). If you like to "read it before you see it" a number of copies are available in the library for circulation.
Go Ask Alice
Go Ask Alice is the oldest text on this list (published in 1999), but it still regularly circulates in our library. Go Ask Alice follows a teen as she suffers from depression and drug abuse. Some of the language in the title is a little dated, but this book is highly recommended by students.
YA's got Bite
There are many books that one is told they ::must:: read in their lifetime. Lucky for us, many of these books show up in high school and college courses. There are also many books that we read, even though it might perhaps be time to allow older texts to retire and let a rookie have a chance. The following is a list of new young adult titles with enough bite to entertain and educate adolescents. The list has been compiled using a number of prominent literary award committees including YALSA, the Robert F. Sibert Medal Committee, the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE), and the Pura Belpré Award.
The title of each suggestion includes a hyperlink to Goodreads. If you're interested in adding that title to your "to-read" list click on the link to reach Goodreads.
The Family Romanov: Murder, Rebellion & the Fall of Imperial Russia
A 2015 Sibert Award Honor Book, The Family Romanov discusses the decadent and tragic story of the last Russian royal family the Romanovs. The title isn't just a list of facts and quotations. It is rich in literary merit, and many readers will be engrossed in the suspense of the yarn, regardless of whether or not they know the fate of the Romanov's.
Related Texts / Authors: Animal Farm, The Great Gatsby, Anton Chekov.
I Have Lived a Thousand Years: Growing Up in the Holocaust
This is the survival story of a thirteen year old Hungarian girl who was sent to Auschwitz. The story is written in the present tense which both gives the reader a front seat to the atrocities and makes the retelling seem like the holocaust happened yesterday. With so few holocaust survivors remaining, we must cultivate these texts into our curriculum and cherish their testimony. While these atrocities seem very distant for students, it is clear that injustice and anti-semitism remain pervasive in our society (see: April 2015 edition of the The Atlantic "Is it time for the Jews to Leave Europe?").
Related Texts / Authors : Night, Maus, Number the Stars, Diary of a Young Girl, Chaim Potok, Elie Weisel, Friedrich, The Book Thief.
I Lived on Butterfly Hill
I Lived on Butterfly Hill is set in war-torn 1970's Chile. The protagonist is eleven years old, and while much of the text seems aimed at tweens/early high school, for older students allusions to history and the connections to other texts will keep them engaged. While the story reads as a lyrical dystopia, many of the events that occur in the text are centered on true events.
Related Texts / Authors : When I was Puerto Rican, The Arrival, Peter Sis, Animal Farm, Stealing Buddha's Dinner.
FEAR THE BOOK : Scary Stories
Edgar Allen Poe once stated that "perversity is the human thirst for self-torture." Why do we watch movies that scare us? What is it about the thrill of the unknown, of the uncontrollable that keeps us coming back for more? Why is it fun to torture ourselves with fear?
The following books all focus on horror, mystery, and fear.
I am a BIG chicken. I haven't read much of any of these titles, but they get a thumbs up from people who love to be scared. I might give them a try, too- on a really sunny day, with lots of people in my house, and a blanket to hide under when it gets too scary... because having a light and hiding under the sheets always keeps you safe, right?
It's a Mad World: Dystopian Novels
Here is a selection of dystopian novels available in the school library:
Between prom-posals and the warm, sunny weather it seems like spring always seems to make the lovebirds come out in full force. The following books are all about the many types of love, intimacy, and heart-break. These three titles talk about love on the rocks, but if you're looking for warm and fuzzy suggestions- feel free to email me.
Author: Craig Thompson
One Sentence Summary: In this coming-of-age autobiographical graphic novel, Craig finds himself wrapped up in love, tragedy, and a faith which seems to be breaking.
Where I found the book: Boston Public Library - Mattapan Branch
What makes it great: This book is a behemoth of a graphic novel at 592 pages. A review on the Barnes and Noble website states that the book "may well be the single largest graphic novel ever published without being serialized first." That being said- the novel is worth every page. The illustrations are vivid and gorgeous. New York Times reviewer Ken Tucker summarizes the book best: "In telling his story, which includes beautifully rendered memories of the small brutalities that parents inflict upon their children and siblings upon each other, Thompson describes the ecstasy and ache of obsession (with a lover, with God) and is unafraid to suggest the ways that obsession can consume itself and evaporate".
Author: Marjane Satrapi
One Sentence Summary: Written and illustrated by Marjane Satrapi (Persepolis) this graphic novel is autobiographical discussion of love, virginity, and marriage with a group of Iranian women over an afternoon tea.
Where I found the book: Boston Public Library - Mattapan Branch
Why you should read it: I first fell in love with Satrapi's illustration and story after reading Persepolis. Like Persepolis this book focuses on understanding the plight of women living in Iran and the lengths they will go to live up to Iranian femininity and piety. The novel is incredibly candid- Satrapi holds nothing back. Some of the stories told over tea are horrifying- others hilarious. If you come from a family with a bunch of crazy aunts- you'll feel right at home in Embroideries. If not, you are certain to learn amazing stories about Iranian marriage culture.
Author: Julie Anne Peters
One Sentence Summary: Luna (formerly Liam) is a Transgender teen who hopes to emerge as a girl with the help of his sister- but she's not sure how she'll be received.
Where I found the book: Wakefield High School - Gov. Volpe Library
Why you should read it: This is a touching story about sibling love and love for one's parents. The lives of transgender teens are often difficult and many LGBTQI teens suffer in silence. While this book is not perfect, nor an all encompassing portrayal of how to be a respectful ally, it is groundbreaking as young adult literature.
LOL: Humor Books
Sometimes you just need a book that will make you laugh.