Monthly Archives: October 2014

Ten Easy Steps to Get Your Halloween On

Have you noticed the cold tinge in the air? 

That’s not just the temperature dropping, that’s Death slowly taking center stage.  Halloween, or All Hallow’s Eve, marks the passage of the season–harvest is over, plants are withering, and the leaves, despite their colorful defiance, are dying.  Many cultures have believed in this night when the dead walk the earth, and different practices evolved into the jack-o-lanterns, costumes, and trick-or-treating of today.  We can’t keep winter away, but don’t let this day of spooky revelry pass you by.  Start Halloweening!

Here are some ideas:

1)   Take this Zombie Bite quiz.  Then make your friends take it.  This is good for figuring out which friends you really want on your team in case of a zombie apocalypse – which is even more likely to occur on or near Halloween.

2)   Read a ghost story.  “Oh Whistle and I’ll Come to You, My Lad” by M.R. James is perfect to read at night, in bed, right before you go to sleep. Check out this list for more recommended ghost stories.

3)   Carve a pumpkin! If you didn’t get a real one, find a pumpkin carving simulator online like this one.  Check your smart phones for similar apps.  Continue reading

Ocean at the End of the Lane: Bewitching Tale of Memory and Magic

oceanattheendofthelane Title: The Ocean at the End of the Lane
Author: Neil Gaiman
Summary: A middle aged man returns to his childhood home to attend a funeral. Although the house he lived in is long gone, he is drawn to the farm at the end of the road, where, when he was seven, he encountered a most remarkable girl, Lettie Hempstock, and her mother and grandmother. He hasn’t thought of Lettie in decades, and yet as he sits by the pond (a pond that she’d claimed was an ocean) behind the ramshackle old farmhouse where she once lived, the unremembered past comes flooding back. And it is a past too strange, too frightening, too dangerous to have happened to anyone, let alone a small boy.
I started reading it because I love Neil Gaiman’s work.
I kept reading because it was so gripping and so compelling. The story had me mesmerized by the first page and the writing is so amazing. Neil Gaiman created a beautiful story with masterful characters and plot twists. Neil Gaiman is daring to create the impossible. The magic in the story is kept alive so well by all of the characters.
If the narrator was in a yearbook, he would be voted: “Believer”
Six Word Summary: Bewitching tale of memory and magic
I would recommend this to anyone who loves dark fantasy. For those who believe in fairy tales and magic, coupled with truly terrifying evil doers.
–Rachel, 17, Greenlake

Between Shades of Gray: Hope in the Most Horrible Circumstances

between shades of greyTitle: Between Shades of Gray

Author: Ruta Sepetys

Summary: Fifteen-year-old Lina in Lithuania has a future (art school), but when the Soviet secret police arrest her, her mom, and her brother for unknown reasons, her entire world is turned upside down. Lina still has hope to find her father (locked away in another camp), and escape the prison camp alive. She puts her hope into drawings that she passes from person to person, in hope that her father will eventually be the recipient. But in a place where so much hope is lost, how is she supposed to hold on to her own?

I kept reading this book because I HAD to know what happened to Lina and her family. I wanted to know if her hope was enough to get her home.

I loved the theme about always having hope even in the most horrible of circumstances. I liked how Lina was a strong heroine in a place where everyone expected her to be weak. I hated that so many people were actually put through this in that time, but it emphasized that it actually happened. The characters may be fiction, but their struggle wasn’t.

This book reminded me of Code Name Verity because in both the main character is imprisoned because of conflicts between countries, and the only thing they have to hold on to is hope for the future. If you liked Code Name Verity, you should check out this book.

— Corinna, Greenwood Teen Blogger


“The Story in the Sound” by Maddy

orchestraThe Story in the Sound

by Maddy S., Teen Blogger from Northeast.

I have been preparing for this moment for months. Countless hours practicing; a thousand mistakes corrected; breaths and fingerings; rests and downbeats; they chisel this performance to perfection. Like a sculpture, all smooth curves and sharp angles. My foot taps the dusty floor to a rhythm only I can hear. The rest of the orchestra stands behind the curtain with me. We hold out instruments with tapping fingers, waiting for our turn to perform. Waiting. Waiting. Waiting. This is agonizing.

The lights on the stage are extremely bright. They come from all direction, making odd shadows by my feet and chair legs. The sound of rustling pages, squeaking chair legs, coughing, adjusting, is everywhere. Lights shift, and now I can’t see the audience. This feels like an interrogation. Everything is silent, waiting. Waiting. Waiting. Waiting. This is agonizing.

Our conductor saunters onstage to a meager smattering of applause. It is hot in this auditorium and no one is that excited for their son or daughter’s middle school end-of-year performance. Sadly, we in the band know this. My shirt is too tight and did I mention it’s really hot and now my hair is coming loose from its ponytail and we are all just waiting. Waiting. Waiting. Waiting. This is agonizing.

The conductor turns to us, in an exaggerated way that is the cue to lift our instruments up. We do so. I imagine it looks like a wave from the audience, with a few ripples from the people who aren’t paying attention. They get elbow-nudges from stand partners. The baton hovers in the air. A few prep beats. Breathe, and—everything lifts away.

All I can hear is music. All I can feel is my instrument–we move together, weaving a story in a universal language. There is no before and there is no after. I do not have anything to think about except now and this music, this story, this sound.

I know the people around me; we have gone to the same school for a long time now. Some I have known since elementary school. We are classmates, friends, supporters, allies, confidants…but that feeling of unity is more intense now. It feels like we are hearing the music for the first time again, because it is also the last. We are hearing all the parts as one because it will never be so again. After this, we are all going to different high schools. We will lead our separate lives, play out different stories. But for now, in this moment, we are all playing the same story. We know it by heart.

And it is incredible.

Bouncing, moaning, flitting, pounding, tip-toeing, screaming, whispering…this is music. Not notes, rhythms, not even practicing. Music is how you play it. How you feel it in the soles of your feet and your neighbor’s too. Music is an emotion.

We receive a standing ovation at the end.

standing ovation




And then it’s over.

Greenwood Family Forum on 10/29!

Studying by fanzWhen:  Wednesday Oct. 29 from 6:30-7:30.

What:  An introduction for families about free school support resources.

Cosponsored by The Seattle Public Library and 826 Seattle.

The Greenwood Family Forum is an event at the Greenwood Public Library this Wednesday (before Halloween). It is a free event open to any families with children interested in learning about free student resources. Come if you’d like to learn more about:

All families are encouraged to come if they are at all interested in learning more about these resources.  Students may come unaccompanied if they are in sixth grade or above.


Greenwood Library

8016 Greenwood Ave. N.



Free Music! Get It! Take Me to Church by Hozier


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