Creature of the Night by Kate Thompson

Bobby is a Dublin kid, always in trouble. He thinks nothing of stealing money, crashing cars, or dodging the police. In fact, these are the things he most enjoys. Only when he’s out of control does he feel truly alive.

To save her son from inevitable trouble with the law, Bobby’s mother moves the family to a small house in the Irish countryside. There, she says, they will start a new life.

“I won’t stay,” Bobby tells her. “I’ll go back to the city, first chance I get.”

Bobby thinks the country is a bore, with its cows and daisies and broken-down stone walls. And it isn’t just boring, either. It’s creepy. The man who last rented this house disappeared without a trace. The people before him were rumored to have murdered their own daughter. And now, Bobby’s little brother is talking about strange noises during the night.

Suddenly, Bobby is scared: scared of the wild energy inside him, of the future that seems so hopeless, and most of all, of whomever — or whatever — is visiting their house in the dark.

(For all you eighth-graders: this is a really good novel for book forms because it’s full of symbolism and character development. And it’s also very suspenseful — I read it in one day.)

Ms. Ryan is reading five books right now…

masterpiece.jpgcandyfloss.jpgskeep.jpgmrslincoln.JPGbroken-soup.jpg

Whew! It’s one of those seasons where there are WAY too many great books to read and WAY too little time. So I’m reading these five right now: Masterpiece because it’s supposed to be an awesome mystery (by the author of Shakespeare’s Secret); Candyfloss because at least fifteen girls (who all love realistic fiction) have recommended it to me; Dragon’s Keep because it’s on CD, so I can listen to this fantasy in my car; Mrs. Lincoln’s Dressmaker because I need some non-fiction in honor of Abraham Lincoln’s coming birthday; and Broken Soup because it’s supposed to be the best, most tear-jerking teen novel ever (at least for right now). I’ll let you know how they all turn out…

Art and the Library!

inoneear.JPGThe library hosts many exhibits of student art work, from collage and pottery to mobiles and and Zen gardens! We’re also lucky enough to sometimes collaborate with the Art teachers on special student projects.

Most recently, the Art Department, the Library, and the Technology Integration Specialist planned an exhibit of sculptures representing cliches and idioms, such as “In One Ear and Out the Other” (above, by Aastha N.) and “Don’t Cry Over Spilled Milk.”

After completing their sculptures, students wrote and recorded statements about their artistic visions, processes, rewards, and challenges. The final exhibit in the Library included both the sculptures and the Artist Statements, in audio format. Visitors acquired headphones to “tour” the exhibit, just as they do at many museums and galleries around the world. This allowed visitors more partipation in the exhibit, as well as a greater understanding of the concepts and techniques behind the pieces, which really were labors of love, creativity, and intellect.

Click here for an online sample of this exhibit on the Art Department’s website.

Click here to read the 42 Questions students used to write their Artist Statements.

Click here for a presentation on answering the 42 questions and preparing an Artist Statement.

Camilla by Madeleine L’Engle

camilla.jpgLife has always been easy for 15-year old Camilla Dickinson. She receives good grades at her private Manhattan high school, visits the MOMA and Central Park on weekends with her best friend Luisa, and is adored by her handsome father and beautiful mother. But nothing perfect can last, including Camilla’s dreamy childhood. Suddenly, things around her start crumbling; her parents begin bickering, her mother falls into a depression, and her father threatens to send Camilla to boarding school. In the midst of this turbulence, Camilla falls in love with Luisa’s older brother Frank. The young couple walks hand-in-hand through the streets of New York, talking about life, family, God, and war. These are the most grown-up days of Camilla’s life, and she wonders if the world around her has really changed, or if she’s only looking at it with new eyes. Once again, Madeleine L’Engle delivers a realistic portrait of what it’s like to be young and waking up to the promises and realities of life. My favorite thing about the novel, though, is its description of 1950’s New York City. How lucky Camilla is to spend her days in nights in such a romantic, exciting place! It made me quite wistful, actually, and sorry that I’ll never get a chance to visit.