Thursday, March 30, 2017

Day of Silence Book List for our school library

 @your library

These books are ready for you to check out during our annual #DayofSilence sponsored by IA GSWA.  We have to have our Day of Silence earlier than usual because the national day falls during our break.  Here are some suggestions for books that are ready to checkout.

Non-Fiction Titles

The antigay agenda : orthodox vision and the Christian right
261.8 HER Herman, Didi.

The new gay teenager
305.23 SAV Savin-Williams, Ritch C.

A place at the table : the gay individual in American society
305.38 BAW Bawer, Bruce, 1956-

Cherry Grove, Fire Island : sixty years in America's first gay and lesbian town
305.9 NEW Newton, Esther.

Statistical timeline and overview of gay life
306.76 CHA Chastain, Zachary.

GLBTQ : the survival guide for queer & questioning teens : gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, questioning
306.76 HUE Huegel, Kelly, 1974-

The letter Q : queer writers' notes to their younger selves
306.76 LET edited by Sarah Moon ; with contributing editor James Lecesne.

Homophobia : from social stigma to hate crimes
306.76 PAL Palmer, Bill, 1957-

A new generation of homosexuality : modern trends in gay and lesbian communities
306.76 PAL Palmer, Bill, 1957-

What causes sexual orientation? : genetics, biology, psychology
 306.76 PAL Palmer, Bill, 1957-

Being gay, staying healthy
 306.76 SEB Seba, Jaime.

Coming out : telling family and friends
306.76 SEB Seba, Jaime.

Feeling wrong in your own body : understanding what it means to be transgender
 306.76 SEB Seba, Jaime.

Gay and lesbian role models
 306.76 SEB Seba, Jaime.

Gay issues and politics : marriage, the military, & work place discrimination
306.76 SEB Seba, Jaime.

Gay people of color : facing prejudices, forging identities
306.76 SEB Seba, Jaime.

Homosexuality around the world : safe havens, cultural challenges
306.76 SEB Seba, Jaime.

Smashing the stereotypes : what does it mean to be gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender?
306.76 SEB Seba, Jaime.

Gays and mental health : fighting depression, saying no to suicide
616.89 SEB Seba, Jaime.

Gay characters in theater, movies, and television: new roles, new attitudes
791.43 SEB Seba, Jaime.

Fiction Titles

Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens agenda
FIC ALBERTALLI Albertalli, Becky,

Am I blue? : coming out from the silence
FIC BAU edited by Marion Dane Bauer.

Entangled
FIC CAPETTA Capetta, Amy Rose,

Unmade
 FIC CAPETTA Capetta, Amy Rose,

The miseducation of Cameron Post
 FIC DANFORTH Danforth, Emily M.

If you could be mine
FIC FARIZAN Farizan, Sara.

The sweet revenge of Celia Door
 FIC FINNEYFROCK Finneyfrock, Karen.

Say the word
FIC GAR Garsee, Jeannine.

Will Grayson, Will Grayson
 FIC GREEN Green, John, 1977-

Geography Club
FIC HAR Hartinger, Brent.

Nothing pink
FIC HAR Hardy, Mark, 1965-

Totally Joe
 FIC HOW Howe, James, 1946-

We are the ants
 FIC HUTCHISON Hutchison, Shaun David,

Promise me something
FIC KOCEK Kocek, Sara,

Boy girl boy
 FIC KOE Koertge, Ronald.

The Arizona kid
 FIC KOERTGE Koertge, Ronald.

Openly straight
FIC KONIGSBERG Konigsberg, Bill.

Absolute brightness
FIC LEC Lecesne, James.

Boy meets boy
FIC LEV Levithan, David.

Two boys kissing
FIC LEVITHAN Levithan, David.

Gravity
FIC LIE Lieberman, Leanne.

Enduring love : a novel
FIC MCE McEwan, Ian.

Forbidden colors.
 FIC MIS Mishima, Yukio, 1925-1970.

Gone, gone, gone
FIC MOSKOWITZ Moskowitz, Hannah.

If I was your girl
FIC RUSSO Russo, Meredith,

Empress of the world
 FIC RYA Ryan, Sara.

Aristotle and Dante discover the secrets of the universe
FIC SAENZ Sáenz, Benjamin Alire.

Fans of the impossible life
FIC SCELSA Scelsa, Kate,

As I descended
FIC TALLEY Talley, Robin,

Afterworlds
FIC WESTERFELD Westerfeld, Scott,

Highly illogical behavior
FIC WHALEY Whaley, John Corey,

Parrotfish
 FIC WIT Wittlinger, Ellen.

Love & lies : Marisol's story
 FIC WITTLINGER Wittlinger, Ellen.


Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Are you still there by Sarah Lynn Scheerger - review by Isabella


Are you still there is a psychological thriller that is engaging from start to finish. The story begins with a school under lockdown. Desperately trying to remain hidden and cursing her untimely decision to use the bathroom, a girl is perched on a toilet seat. Luckily, the bomb is found in time and everyone is saved. However, the bomber is still on the loose and it could be literally anyone. Trying to move on and keep her life together, Gabi as well as several other students begin volunteer at the school’s anonymous helpline. There she connects in a Breakfast Club-esque way with her fellow helpline volunteers and realizes the danger of not living her life fully, but also the danger of judging people incorrectly. As the school year progresses, Gabi begins to receive ominous threats from the bomber that lead to her to believe that somehow she is a part of his morbid plans.
Overall, I liked the structure of this novel a lot. I thought it was creative to include messages from the bomber throughout the novel, so that although the plot line shifts, the main story arc is not neglected. Furthermore, I thought that these notes helped increase the suspense of the story, as well as give insight on the character of the bomber because he and Gabi hardly interact with one another. Also, I enjoyed the development of Gabi character because it stresses the importance of having a life outside of school, which students sometimes neglect. Also, in contrast to reviews of the advanced copy, many of the reviewers complaints were fixed in this final edition, which I believe should be commended. The changes the other reviewers suggested, really improved this novel and made it an enjoyable read. For instance, some reviewers complained about Gabi’s reluctance to approach her father (the detective in charge of the investigation) with the threats. In this edition, it is explained that she was worried about being separated from her friends, as her parents were considering to put her and her sister in a private school. Therefore, it makes sense for her to be reluctant, as speaking up would have cemented her parents’ resolve to put her in a different school.

Finally, I think that this novel presents a very important message: it is never right to judge others by their exterior, as rarely can a facade represent the whole story. Nowadays, social media has become an integral part of life for many teenagers and thus they often forget that there is more to a person than their tweets and posts. People are multifaceted and Are you still there really captures the importance of remembering to give others a genuine chance. I think text would be a wonderful read in an English or Psychology class. One thing to note is that this text deals with many mature themes: suicide, bomb threats, and  alcoholism.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Run by Kody Keplinger review by Rua

This book truly is a ride. A legally blind girl, who is known to be the perfect daughter, with good grades, goes to church every Sunday, and doesn’t talk back to her parents, meets another girl who doesn't go by the rules, and isn’t good by any standards. She takes an interest in her because this girl doesn’t treat her differently, or with pity but instead just the same as any one. This book focuses on the friendship and growth of the two main characters, and how close they become as they run away from their hometown. I loved the way it was written and the language used.

 This book hinted at teens questioning their sexual orientation. Although it is not directly told, or obviously implied, there are some scenes where you question where their love for each other is more than a friendship. If not focused on that, this book is very cute because it shows how strong a friendship could become if given the right amount of needs to grow. This book also stresses on the disability one of the characters have: being legally blind. When it is in her view the reader is walked through the hardships of barely seeing, and how it feels like to have this condition. It gives the reader an insight on what problems may arise, or how the character personally feels when dealing with this condition or with others around her treating her. In the book, we are shown how she feels like a burden to many because they have to walk her everywhere or look at her closely. She even says that she doesn’t usually go to parties because her close friend doesn’t want to watch her the whole time. When this new girl comes in and treats her normally, showing her she isn’t a burden, she starts to experience life in a fun way and starts to understand the meaning of just enjoying every day for itself.

This would be a good selection to share with a GSWA club and for a gay friendly book display. It could be a possible book choice for a book club. It is also a good free read book choice. There are no direct classroom curriculum connections, besides a genre study (realistic fiction). It is a good choice, especially if you are looking to diversify your book collection. 

Where the Rock Splits the Sky by Philip Webb - review by Nikhil

That friendship trumps selfishness is one of the most important life lessons to learn, and one would be hard-pressed to find a book that does a better job of teaching this than the dystopian futuristic novel Where the Rock Splits the Sky by Philip Webb.  In this novel, protagonist Megan and her two friends Kelly and Luis are forced out of their former lives and must navigate the Zone, a dangerous wasteland caused by an attempt by an alien race, the Visitors, who previously destroyed the Moon and stopped the Earth’s rotation, to wipe out the human race and inhabit Earth themselves.  In their quest to find the secrets of Megan’s lost father, which could help to rid the Earth of Visitors and stabilize the planet once again, the trio goes through all sorts of adventures ranging from playing a game of poker to ambushing a horse carriage to save the people inside.  The epic series of events that these characters experience changes them as people and reveals fundamental truths about human nature that overcome the boundaries of literature and apply to our own lives.

What impressed me most about the book was the author’s truly unique writing style: one that abounds with wit and of which every sentence is thoughtfully constructed.  It really engrosses the reader and makes the book engaging to read, rather than a chore.  This writing style of the author, which incorporates modern forms of sarcasm that may appeal to the younger generation while still remaining dignified in tone, is truly what makes the book great.

Furthermore, the novel is rich with literary devices such as irony, character development, foreshadowing, and metaphors.  It would be a good addition to a school library.  I think the book would be a good free reading choice.  It could also make for a good book club discussion for both boys and girls.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Mirage by Tracy Clark review by Isabella

Mirage is about Ryan Poitier Sharpe a teenage girl with a love of all that is dangerous. Whether she is jumping out of planes at her parent’s skydiving center or taking other risks, she challenges everyone around her to embrace life to the fullest. However, after a LSD trip gone wrong, Ryan is no longer the same. She is afraid of the things she used to embrace and her relationships begin to fall apart. Ryan must fight for her identity before it is too late and the new Ryan destroys everything.
Overall, I really enjoyed this novel because it surpasses the restrictions of reality and fantasy. Although the jump into the paranormal surprised me at first, after finishing the book I am glad that the author included it. Ryan is also a dynamic character whose range of emotion is both realistic and relatable. I think readers will really appreciate the nuances of Ryan’s personality, which shows that despite her self-confidence she is insecure just like the rest of us. Finally, I thought that this book dealt with issues such as PTSD and mental illness in a poignant manner that exposes readers to the complexity of both.

I think this book could be used to expose students to the difficulties of mental illness in a manner that is both engaging and relatable. It could be used as a conversation starter about how to improve access to mental health services, as the main characters are noticeably underserved.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

International Academy's MIT Inspire Essay Contest Winners!

As always, our students are amazing!  Out of the 105 finalists (from the entire nation), 12 are from Michigan (3 DCDS, 1 east coast private school - MI resident, 1 Troy High and 7 IA Student entries). Two of our entries are collaborative, so they count as 1 entry, but really we have 9 student finalists).

Nikhil Dwibhashyam (Lake Orion, MI) - 11th -  The Ethics of Linking Genetics and Crime


Alexis Yan (Rochester Hills, MI) - 11th - How Cities Contribute to Innovative Success



Jake Li (Bloomfield Hills, MI) & Sinan Abdulhak (West Bloomfield, MI) - 10th (partner entry) - The "Airpocalypse" in Cities Around the World


Anushka Dalvi - (Troy) 9th - Designer Babies: A Revolutionary Advancement or an Ethical Disaster!

 Sarah Bdeir (Bloomfield Hills, MI) - 12th - School lunches in the United States compared to England and Canada

Pratik Danu (West Bloomfield) &  Runik Mehrotra (Bloomfield Hills, MI) - 11th (partner entry) - Using Artificially Intelligent Swarm Optimization for Carry Trade Optimization to Generate Returns

Lenna Kanehara (Lake Orion) - 11th - Koreans Living in Japan: Chongryon’s Fight Against Assimilation

The official list

These students will be presenting their projects April 10, 11 and 12 at MIT in Cambridge, MA.  This is an amazing opportunity for them.  

This is the 3rd year of the competition and the 3rd year we have IA students presenting.  I have volunteered to be these students' mentor for the last 3 years. My profession as a school librarian is to be the research expert. I believe it is a critical skill for students to leave high school with the knowledge of how to find quality information. It is my strong belief that when schools cut their library programs, their students will not have the foundational knowledge to accomplish what these students have accomplished. They do most of the work, but we do discuss their arguments, where they are getting their research from, who are the experts in the field, and I sign off on their entry forms.  Because of their access to a school library, they know how to use our Gale Databases and have come to rely on QuestiaSchool for the bulk of their research.

Please congratulate them :)  This is a very prestigious national competition.  I'm not sure that we have given them the recognition they deserve for this accomplishment.  This is an incredible amount of university level work and I am super proud of them for accomplishing such a task in high school.  Even during the panicked emails during Christmas break 😊  They win because of what they learn in their classrooms, because of their research and writing skills and because of the "IB way". 

Most of these students write their papers during Winter Break.  This is about a 4000 word investigative essay.  They present an argument in their chosen topic and show evidence that leads to a conclusion.  The strong essays will acknowledge the different perspectives within their topic.  They also tend to provide a source analysis on 1 or 2 of their best sources.  This is not a typical report that list facts from secondary sources.  Conducting an investigation makes use of inquiry and higher level thinking skills.

INSPIRE stands for “Inspiring the Nation's Students to Pursue Innovative REsearch” in the arts, humanities, and social sciences.  For more information, click here.

These students make the International Academy proud!