Tag Archives: essays

April Book Horoscopes!

Book logoHi there, readers!  We promised you a special horoscope surprise this month, and the time has come to unveil it.

As you may know, April is National Poetry Month.  So, in honor of this event, our teen astrologers have carefully selected a phenomenal collection of poetry as your suggested reading material this month. It’s time for you to find out which poetry is best suited for YOUR Zodiac sign. 🙂

AriesAries  Pushing Through Solid Rock” by Rainer Maria Rilke.

Rainer Maria Rilke was a poet from Austria who wrote hundreds of beautiful, lyrical poems in different languages like German and French. To read more, check out Poems of Rainer Maria Rilke, an eBook compilation of his work.

It’s possible I am pushing through solid rock
in flintlike layers, as the ore lies, alone;
I am such a long way in I see no way through,
and no space: everything is close to my face,
and everything close to my face is stone.

I don’t have much knowledge yet in grief
so this massive darkness makes me small.
You be the master: make yourself fierce, break in:
then your great transforming will happen to me,
and my great grief cry will happen to you.

 

TaurusTaurus  “A Suggested Campaign Song” by Alice Duer Miller

Alice Duer Miller was a feminist writer and poet who wrote satirical poems for the women’s suffrage movement in the early 1900s. You can find more of her work by following this link or by checking out one of her books, such as Women Are People!, from the library.

We are waging-can you doubt it?
A campaign so calm and still
No one knows a thing about it,
And we hope they never will.
No one knows
What we oppose,
And we hope they never will.

We are ladylike and quiet,
Here a whisper-there a hint;
Never speeches, bands or riot,
Nothing suitable for print.
No one knows
What we oppose,
For we never speak for print.

Sometimes in profound seclusion,
In some far (but homelike) spot,
We will make a dark allusion:
“We’re opposed to you-know-what.”
No one knows
What we oppose,
For we call it “You-Know-What.”

Continue reading

Seattle’s 2015 MLK Unity Day!

Here’s a half-hour video featuring the MLK Youth Contest Winners that the City of Seattle sponsored in January as part of the City’s first-ever Unity Day.

It includes additional footage/interviews with the winners!

March Book Horoscopes!

IntroWhy hello there, lovely readers! A new month is here, and that means it’s time for the next installment in everybody’s favorite recurring blog series. We are pleased to present you with the March installment of Greenwood Teen Advisory Board’s (TAB) Monthly Book Horoscopes, book recommendations based on YOUR Zodiac sign!

This issue is packed with a great variety in genres and, as always, covers books from all reading levels. Get excited, readers, because SPRING!!! is finally just around the corner! To celebrate, we have a special treat planned for our April issue… so stay tuned!

Aries

Tomboy by Liz PrinceTomboy

This endearing memoir in the form of a graphic novel tells the relatable story of growing up and trying to find a social identity. Liz Prince has never identified with the girly girls, but she also doesn’t truly fit in with the bros. What does it really mean to be a girl? Anybody who has been through middle school (and anybody who still has that adventure ahead of them) will relate to this book.

Taurus

Good OmensTaurus by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett

If you like mythology, satire, and/or knee-slapping wit, then congratulations! – read this book.  Legendary authors Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett team up to tell the hilariously original and most decidedly fact-checked account of how the apocalypse actually happened. Angels, demons, and prophecies twisted together with some modern humor = this deliciously wordy bible of brilliance.

Gemini

The Eye of the World by Robert JordanEye of the World

Fantasy lovers looking for something new to read, your search is over! This book is the first installment of the Wheel of Time series, an epic saga that has been around since 1990. These adventures draw on all kinds of different mythologies to create a world crafted so intricately you won’t want to leave. It’s a good thing there are fourteen books in the series. You will be reading for a while!

Cancer

Ender's GameEnder’s Game:  Battle School by Orson Scott Card

You may have already read the great science-fiction novel Ender’s Game. You may even have seen the movie that came out in 2013! But the real question is, have you read it in graphic novel format? We didn’t think so. This special adaptation puts a new twist on the original story with illustrations that allow you to experience Ender’s adventures in battle school in a whole new way.

Leo

Something to Blog About by Shana NorrisSomething to Blog About

Libby Fawcett is blogging about her life online, in secret. The blog is where she can rant and vent about all the things she isn’t able to (or simply doesn’t wish to) discuss in person with anybody in her life. But what is going to happen when her blog is exposed for everyone to see? This book is a great coming of age story about the tribulations of being a girl in high school.

Virgo

Barrel FeverBarrel Fever by David Sedaris

This snappy collection of short stories and essays attacks everyone and everything – nobody is safe from David Sedaris’s cracking wit. If you are looking to bring a little more sarcasm and humor into your life, this should definitely be next on your to-read list! Please note that this book caters more towards an older audience – parental guidance is suggested for our younger readers.

Libra

Heist Society by Ally CarterHeist Society

Katrina Bishop was born into a family of con men, and now she believes to finally have left that life behind her. She attends a fancy boarding school and doesn’t want to go back to her family’s scheming ways. But when she finds out her father is in trouble for stealing a series of priceless paintings, she needs to intervene. The suspense and girl-power is awesome! This book is the first book in a series.

 Scorpio

Amy and Roger's Epic DetourAmy and Roger’s Epic Detour by Morgan Matson

This is a story about a girl named Amy Curry who has to spend her summer driving her mother’s car from California to Connecticut in lieu of their cross-country move. An old family friend, Roger, accompanies her on the trip. Roger and Amy, who is struggling to come to terms with her father’s recent death in a car accident, discover a lot about each through their journey through this cute, inspiring book.

Sagittarius

Redshirts by John ScalziRedshirts

Andrew Dahl is excited to assume his new position in xenobiology on the starship Intrepid. But soon Andrew starts to notice something fishy going on with the mysterious Away Missions, which always seem to render one lower-ranked crew member dead. Set hundreds of years in the future, this is an excitingly original sci-fi read packed with suspense and guaranteed to satisfy your thirst for adventure.

Capricorn

The SilmarillionThe Silmarillion by J.R.R. Tolkien

If you are an unsatisfied Lord of the Rings fan dying for more material to sink your teeth into, then you need to check out the Silmarillion. This book is Tolkien’s deeper look into the mythology of Middle Earth, with explicit explanations of its legends and painstaking accounts of its histories that give insight into the cultures, languages, and backstories of the characters we see in Tolkien’s famous epics.

Aquarius

Homer’s Odyssey by Gwen CooperAquarius

No, not that Odyssey – this book is about the journey of a very special cat named Homer. This heartwarming true story explains how Homer changed Gwen Cooper’s life, not only through his incredible persistence and will to survive through times of tragedy but also through the way she saw her own struggles reflected in him. Read this book if you like kitties, but also if you want to feel inspired.

Pisces  

Half MagicHalf Magic by Edward Eager

What happens when you wish on a magic coin that is only worth half as much as a normal one? The answer is described in this charming novel and contains just the right amount of silliness balanced with profound life insights. Readers of any age will laugh and sigh as they follow the mischief that ensues when four children misguidedly wish their hearts’ desires to come half true.

Remember to come back in April to get your next astrologically endorsed recommendation! We love you, happy reading!!

–Greenwood Teen Advisers

GWD

Grade-based Education System: Is it as motivating as we’d like to believe?

grades“You’re an Alpha and I’m an Epsilon,” he said in a defeated tone, “it’s that simple.”

“Why would you say that?” I replied confused as to why he’d reference the Brave New World caste system at a time like this.

“The reason is because it’s true; I’m always sub-par to you. I always get B’s and C’s even when I try, why is that?” he replied with aggravation in his tone.

I thought about this question for long after the incident itself has occurred.  What seemed like a normal day in my French 3 class has turned into a festered pot of jealousy that was dividing a good friend and I.  This jealousy was fueled by competition that I couldn’t help but wonder if education was to blame for.  I tend to be a strong academic student and he tends to have a bit more of a struggle.  He’s extroverted and outspoken.  I’m quiet and often too shy at times.  What could I say to him?  I didn’t know why he got B’s and below while I obtained A’s on most school assignments.

“Is intelligence a natural-born gift?  I mean, I try to surround myself with smart people and I think that it may help but it never does,” he asked in a concerned voice.  I remained silent—after all I was the one who “didn’t understand” what it was like to struggle in school.  “You’re so lucky, you have a high GPA and can get into any college you want when you’re older, you don’t worry like I do” he said very assured by his comment.  However, what he didn’t understand was that I faced the same worries; the “validation” of an A didn’t secure how I felt about my own work ability much less my intellectual competency.  I replied after some though in the most honest yet respectful way I knew how, “I don’t think it’s either or, I think intelligence is something we all have but it comes in a spectrum like everything else around us. Yet it doesn’t mean one can’t work to improve what they don’t like about how they perform, it’s one’s job to work towards improvement”. Continue reading

D.I.M.S. Authors and Scholars: Elephants

Denny Int'l MS Presents...

Denny International Middle School partnered with The Seattle Public Library and other local organizations to publish student writing in the community.  This is one of the best expository essays submitted:

Elephants

Did you know that wooly mammoths and elephants are related?  Ever since a few years ago, when I symbolically adopted an elephant from Africa, elephants have always been important to me.  We need to save elephants, because they are amazing, in danger, and it’s our fault.  Elephants should be saved.

One reason why elephants should be saved is because they are amazing, beautiful creatures.  What I mean is, imagine them walking across a wide open space with their herd, and happily playing in the water with their trunks.  Awesome!  This shows that elephants are amazing, because almost no other animal has a trunk like an elephant.  This is why elephants are amazing.

However, not only are elephants amazing, but also elephants should be saved because they are in danger.  In particular, according to an internet research, there are only about 60,000 African elephants left in the world.  This proves that elephants are in danger, because there aren’t as many as there used to be.  This is why elephants are in danger.

Third, and perhaps the most important reason that we need to help elephants, is because it’s our fault they are in danger.  For instance, poachers have killed many elephants over the years.  This is evidence that shows how humans have killed and are responsible for the loss of many elephants.  Elephants are in danger because it is our fault.

In conclusion, elephants are amazing creatures, they are in danger, and it is our fault.  Elephants need to be helped.  I bet the next time you think of elephants, you will be a bit sympathetic for them.

–Casey, Southwest, Teen Blogger

A Surprise Education

Nathan HaleI went to an after-school meeting, knowing only that it had to do with late start Tuesdays and education.  I went in expecting there to be lots of other students there, I thought this would be a huge group of students protesting the apparent end to late start Tuesdays.  It wasn’t. 

After tracking down the friends who had invited me, we went to the classroom this “meeting” was said to take place.  Given my previous conceptions of what this meeting would have in store, you can imagine my surprise and confusion when upon entering I was not greeted by the sight of other class members but instead, three history teachers whom I knew by reputation only (we were later joined by two Language Arts teachers whom I also didn’t know).  I also quickly caught on that this meeting was not just about the proposed cancellation of late start Tuesdays.  This meeting was about re-thinking the education system.

Almost every Tuesday at Nathan Hale High School, school starts at 10:00am.  From 8:00 until school starts students are given the opportunity to come in early and get homework done, retake tests, get help from teachers, work on group projects or sleep in.  Teachers will meet with one another and organize their curriculum so that their classes are in sync and complement each other.  These meetings allow for Integrated Studies, homework mediation, and a chance for teachers to collaborate on how best to structure their curriculum and plan projects and lessons that they think will be beneficial to all students not just the ones in their classes.  However because the school board has required all schools to meet a higher minimum amount of classroom hours, effective next year, these late start Tuesdays are slated for cancellation. Continue reading

Book first or movie? What say you?

recent & upcoming ya books to movies

recent & upcoming ya books to movies

When someone mentions a book being turned into a movie, the response is usually a loud cheer or a frustrated groan.  Many great movies have come to life from books.  Yet books and movies are very different.  For some people, seeing characters come to life is a magical thing.  They enjoy it much more than having pictures in their own heads.  However, for others their imagination is plenty.  The idea of someone making a movie that changes their ideas, or doesn’t match up with their interpretation, is a frustrating thought.  Some films that come from books are right on, with the majority of the people being satisfied with their outcome.  Take such films as Harry Potter and Twilight; while some people are annoyed at particular aspects of the films, they have still gained cult followings of satisfied readers and viewers.

I experienced some debate surrounding this topic recently, after my high school class read and then watched the seventies version of The Great GatsbySeveral people had also seen the recent remake of the story, so we talked about that as well.  I found many people annoyed at particular details that they loved about the story, which the movies left out.  As well as the way particular characters acted in the movie but not in their interpretation of the book.  It is interesting how many people think that two different art forms need to exactly mirror each other for the movie to be “good.”  I imagine that if people had not read the book, or if there was no book, people would have been perfectly satisfied with the films.  They were well made, just not exactly like the book.

Throughout my life, people have always urged me to read books before seeing their corresponding movies.  However, sometimes I find this strategy doesn’t make either form of the story enjoyable.  There are exceptions to this, but overall I find it difficult to so closely compare two very different art forms.  Even when I do see the movies made from books, I try (not usually succeeding but I try) to enjoy them separately and enjoy the great qualities of each.  Everyone has their own opinions, of course.

What do you think? Should books and movies constantly be compared?  Or on the other hand, should the pictures in your head from books be kept separate from the images in the movie?  The library has some great films that have come from great books.  I suggest you check them out sometime.

You can either compare them, or enjoy them separately.  The choice is yours; you get to experience great pieces of art either way!

–Maddie, Northeast Teen Adviser

NET