Friday, December 18, 2015

WW Encyclopedia: The Definitive Guide to World Wrestling Entertainment by Brian Shields and Kevin Sullivan

Have you ever heard of Buddy Rogers, Shawn Michaels, Hulk Hogan, or maybe John Cena?  The WW Encyclopedia serves as an archive of World Wrestling Entertainment’s various characters spanning nearly 50 years; it is, as the title states, a definitive guide not only for WWE fanatics, but those new to the sport. Entertainers and Tag Teams are cataloged alphabetically by their ring name, then further distinguished by the formatting to signify when the personalities were active. Although not every detail of each performer’s career is highlighted, their most memorable events, battles, and adversaries are noted alongside the common statistics of height, weight, land of origin, and signature move, if relevant. Breaking up the alphabetical rhythm of the encyclopedia are topics pertinent to a WWE enthusiast, such as Hall of Fame, Signs, and WWE Studios. An index located at the end makes this guide a quick reference companion while talking or viewing the WWE.--Allison Trevaskis

Shields, Brian and Sullivan, Kevin. WW Encyclopedia: The Definitive Guide to World Wrestling Entertainment. Indianapolis: DK/BradleyGAMES, 2009. Print.

Noble Warrior by Alan Sitomer

In this sequel to Caged Warrior, underground teen MMA fighter McCutcheon Daniels is now working undercover for the FBI. He opts to take down the leader of the High Priests, the gang he thought he’d left behind in Detroit, by willingly entering the city’s most notorious prison while disguised as an inmate.  Well-plotted and full of street language and extreme violence, Noble Warrior will be immediately popular with fans of Caged Warrior and readers looking for “jail books.”  Weak editing, especially at the start of the story, will lessen the appeal of this book to many ELA teachers.  Strongly recommended independent reading for older teens looking for something to sink their teeth into. --Jessica Fenster-Sparber

Sitomer, Alan. Noble Warrior. New York: Hyperion, 2015.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Percy Jackson and the Olympians series by Rick Riordan

Rick Riordan takes the Greek myths we all grew up loving and creates a dynamic and compelling modernized setting for the melodramas to re-unfold.  Riordan’s demi-gods are all products of single-parent homes and mostly diagnosed with both dyslexia and ADHD.  These qualities, rather than bringing the characters down, are spun to be empowering.  Characters are raised by single parents because their absent parent is a god or goddess, forbidden from significant involvement in their children's lives.  The demi-god brain is hardwired for reading and writing in ancient Greek and each must be prepared for battle at a moment's notice; they aren't supposed to sit still.   When Percy Jackson, the eponymous son of Poseidon, and the other demi-gods arrive at Camp Half-Blood, Chiron, the esteemed teacher-centaur, explains it all as they train for their adventures.  In each of the 5 novels, selected demi-gods (and satyrs, and cyclopes...) go on quests in order to prevent Kronos, the fallen king of the Titans, from rising up and defeating the Olympians.--Julia Weber

Riordan, Rick. The Lightning Thief. New York: Disney-Hyperion, 2006. Print. Percy Jackson and The Olympians (Book 1).

Riordan, Rick. The Sea of Monsters. New York: Disney-Hyperion, 2007. Print. Percy Jackson and the Olympians (Book 2).

Riordan, Rick. The Titan's Curse. New York: Disney-Hyperion, 2008. Print. Percy Jackson and the Olympians (Book 3).

Riordan, Rick. The Battle of the Labyrinth. New York: Disney-Hyperion, 2009. Print. Percy Jackson and the Olympians (Book 4).

Riordan, Rick. The Last Olympian. New York: Disney-Hyperion, 2010. Print. Percy Jackson and the Olympians (Book 5).

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Class Trip: Pedal Punk

On Thursday, December 10th, nine students from Passages Academy's Belmont site visited the New Victory Theater to take in Cirque Mechanics' Pedal Punk performance.  Students were prepared during the days leading up to the trip by lessons co-taught in the library with Erica Nadel, ELA and Special Education teacher, and with a pre-theater visit from the talented New Victory teaching artists Chad Beckim and Shela Rhoulhac.  Literacy for Incarcerated Teens generously purchased the tickets for students and staff, all of whom seemed to enjoy the experience.  Said one participant, "After the show I felt very calm and satisfied.  I felt this way because the show was so entertaining that it had me concentrated and amused." Indeed.  --Jessica Fenster-Sparber

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Spotlight Interview: Elaine Roberts


Thank you for joining us!  We are in the middle of introducing our newest team members.  Please meet Elaine Roberts who took over the school library at Crossroads this September.--Jessica Fenster-Sparber

JFS:  Can you tell us a little bit about what you were doing before you arrived at Passages' Crossroads school library?

ER:  Prior to working at Passages I worked at The Laurelton School in Laurelton, Queens.  I taught elementary classes, seventh grade ELA and was also the literacy coach.  As a coach I worked with all the grades planning curriculum and selecting books to complement the curriculum.

JFS:  What is your favorite kind of text to read?
ER:  I love reading religious or historical fiction.  I love history because it shows how society changes based on the action of the citizens.  It also shows how things may change but how our fundamental characteristics remain the same.

JFS:  What was your favorite book when you were a teenager?

ER:  Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

JFS: What is your favorite book to share with teenagers at Crossroads?

ER:  The Giver by Lois Lowry.  This book shows how following rules and doing what is expected will be noticed. This gives one the capacity to make the right decisions.

Monday, December 7, 2015

What My Father Gave Me Edited by Melanie Little

This collection of short stories is a powerful read on the theme of father-daughter relationships. Each of the seven stories features a different family dynamic used to demonstrate how said relationships evolve over the course of time and how complex they can be. From an abusive father to the perfect stepdad, each story is carefully told to show the reader how these relationships affect the daughter’s future relationships and for some their future lives. Although short (8 to 16 pages,) writers manage to convey their thoughts and feelings in a way that encourages the reader connect with the characters. Some of the stories are followed by an interview with the story’s author where she answers questions about her life and what inspired them her to write. My favorite story was by Jessica Raya. She writes about the string of stepfathers in and out of her mother’s life. In and out until the least likely one to stick around does. He sees her grow into a young woman and helps their family as a whole overcome their past challenges. This title would be a good resource for students and teachers seeking short narrative nonfiction as well as looking for alternative texts within the short stories unit.--Claudio Leon

Little, Melanie (Ed.) What My Father Gave Me. Buffalo: Annick Press, 2010. Print.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Spotlight Interview: Allison Trevaskis

Passages Academy Libraries is pleased to introduce our new team members.  First up is Allison Trevaskis who took over the library at Bronx Hope this September.--Jessica Fenster-Sparber

JFS: Can you tell us a little bit about what you were doing before you landed in Bronx Hope's library?

AT:  This is my 8th year with Passages Academy, I have held a lot of different courses along the way such as ELA, Art, Math, Science and Health, but at heart and in practice I am a Physical Educator. 
JFS: What is your favorite kind of text to read? 
AT:  love learning a little something about every topic that impacts or interacts with my life, so I would say my favorite kind of text is Informational, second to the broader category of texts included in Health, Mind & Body.
JFS:  Where is your favorite place to read?
AT:  My ultimate reading spot is snuggled up in a thick blanket and sitting in a soft recliner.
JFS:  What was your favorite book as a teenager?
AT:  The book that got me really into reading as a teenager was J.D. Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye, and the book that I most enjoyed learning about how to read for details and deeper meaning and writing was The Bean Trees by Barbara Kingsolver.
JFS:  What is your favorite book to share with teenagers at Bronx Hope?
AT:  I like to connect students with books on a topic that speaks to them. I feel as though I've won the lottery when I get to know a student and they come back to say they read the entire book I recommended to them!
JFS:  What do you like to do for fun when you're not reading?
AT:  Outside of reading I spend my time with my nine month old daughter and family.