Back to School, with Dark Academia

If you’re anything like me, when September rolls around, you wind up lost in nostalgia for school. It’s hard to forget the excitement of new school supplies and getting to see friends you haven’t seen all summer. Combine that with a lack of adult responsibilities and the time to learn new stuff all day? It’s a yearning that’s hard to shake. The start of school also leads into Fall and eventually Hallowe’en – which frankly I’ve been looking forward to since the previous Hallowe’en (or at the very least since the beginning of Summer). If you’re looking for something to satisfy both parts of your nerdy dark heart, let me suggest a genre known as dark academia.

I will admit that I haven’t read much of the genre, so this is as much a reading list for me as recommendations for you. The book that really introduced me to dark academia is Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo. Lots of books have been written about the secret societies at Yale, but this book asks – what if they also had magic? The main character, Alex Stern, is there on scholarship and part of a group that is supposed to keep the secret societies from performing forbidden magic. The best part is, if you really love this book, you only have to wait until January for the sequel, Hell Bent!

Books in the genre don’t necessarily have magic in them though. Basically the formula is academic setting + sinister plot/tragedy = dark academia.  If We Were Villains by M.L. Rio is a good example of this. The book is about a group of Shakespearean actors at a conservatory. In their fourth year, competition gets ugly and someone is murdered. However, the person serving prison time may not be the one who committed the crime, and the retiring detective wants to find out the truth once and for all.

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What to Read if You’re Missing High School

Since the sudden closure of Seattle schools, I have been missing the daily routine of school, and especially wishing that I could see my friends and schoolmates. One way I’ve been escaping the sometimes lonely feelings of social distancing is by reading books that transport me to fantasy high schools and the drama of friend groups going through adolescence together. 

Sam & Ilsa’s Last Hurrah by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan
To celebrate the end of their senior year of high school, twins Sam and Ilsa plan an unusual dinner party. Each sibling invites three guests who are unknown until they arrive. When the partiers arrive, Sam and Ilsa have to face some guests who they’d rather avoid at their final Drama, romance, and nostalgia make for a memorable end to the gang’s final party of high school. Continue reading “What to Read if You’re Missing High School”

A Football Championship from the Archives

South School Football Team, 1895-1896, (spl_shp_22725)
South School Football Team, 1895-1896

~posted by Jade

Still got football on your mind? While perusing our Special Collections Online after Sunday’s game, I came across these photographs of the South School Football Champions of 1895-1896. Needless to say, they piqued my curiosity and I decided to do a little digging. What was the South School and how did its team become the football champions nearly 100 years ago?

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Make Learning Fun and Keep the Mind Young

“Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning stays young. The greatest thing in life is to keep your mind young.” ~Henry Ford

With school in full swing, maybe your child is having difficulty with a subject, or perhaps you want to explore an interesting topic together. The library has a wide array of materials that will help make learning fun.

Art Up Close is a book is for all ages. Learn to appreciate art with this big colorful book of world famous art. The author takes snapshots of small details, so young ones have fun searching the images while they learn about history and culture.

Discovering the natural world is exciting with Time for Kids Science Scoops and National Geographic Kids. Learn about creatures that used to roam the earth in Little Kids First Big Book of Dinosaurs, and natural disasters in Volcanoes! Then, watch the fascinating Disney Nature videos Migration, Predator and Prey and Oceans. Continue reading “Make Learning Fun and Keep the Mind Young”

Books for Teachers: Library Friends help put thousands of books in Seattle classrooms

The Friends of the Library, a grassroots organization, is perhaps best known for the two huge book sales held each spring and fall (next book sale is April 16 and 17; find info here). In addition to fundraising, the Friends advocate for the Library and literacy. We asked Joan Abrevaya, a board member, to tell us a bit about one of their annual programs that puts thousands of books in Seattle Public Schools:

Dr Seuss collection photo by EvelynGigglesThe Friends of the Library board has been honored to receive a grant from the Fisher Foundation to provide Books for Teachers who work in high-need (Title I) schools. Through this grant, teachers in the Title I Seattle Public Schools can receive $100 vouchers to buy books at the Friends’ Book Sales held in April and September. In the last two years, we’ve placed more than 9,000 books in Seattle classrooms. In 2011, we hope to put another 10,000 books in our schools.

I have coordinated the Books for Teachers’ program, identifying interested teachers in qualifying schools. Nothing makes me happier than telling a teacher that the Friends can provide him or her with $100 worth of books from our Book Sale. Continue reading “Books for Teachers: Library Friends help put thousands of books in Seattle classrooms”