Saturday, 31 December 2016

February's picks

Books choices for February. Book covers and blurbs from Goodreads. Vote here

1. Poison's Kiss by Breanna Shields

Marinda has kissed dozens of boys. They all die afterward. It s a miserable life, but being a visha kanya a poison maiden is what she was created to do. Marinda serves the Raja by dispatching his enemies with only her lips as a weapon.

Until now, the men she was ordered to kiss have been strangers, enemies of the kingdom. Then she receives orders to kiss Deven, a boy she knows too well to be convinced he needs to die. She begins to question who she s really working for. And that is a thread that, once pulled, will unravel more than she can afford to lose.

2. A List of Cages by Robin Roe

When Adam Blake lands the best elective ever in his senior year, serving as an aide to the school psychologist, he thinks he's got it made. Sure, it means a lot of sitting around, which isn't easy for a guy with ADHD, but he can't complain, since he gets to spend the period texting all his friends. Then the doctor asks him to track down the troubled freshman who keeps dodging her, and Adam discovers that the boy is Julian--the foster brother he hasn't seen in five years.

Adam is ecstatic to be reunited. At first, Julian seems like the boy he once knew. He's still kind hearted. He still writes stories and loves picture books meant for little kids. But as they spend more time together, Adam realizes that Julian is keeping secrets, like where he hides during the middle of the day, and what's really going on inside his house. Adam is determined to help him, but his involvement could cost both boys their lives.

3. Air by Ryan Gattis

When 17-year-old Grey witnesses the tragic death of his mother in Colorado, he is shipped off to live with his aunt in inner-city Baltimore. Grey struggles to fit in to his new school and environment until his new friend, Akil, introduces him to the enigmatic Kurtis, the leader of a group that uses high-octane sports as a form of social activism. By challenging the police with death-defying stunts and then posting videos of them online, Kurtis, Grey, and their group become unlikely heroes in the fight against the prejudice that surrounds them. 
As Kurtis takes Grey under his wing, they come up with a name, an insignia and attract more and more followers to their extreme acts. The lines between social activism and criminal behavior blur and their escalating stunts become a rallying point for the underprivileged and disenfranchised around the country, spreading like wildfire across the Internet. How far will Grey and Kurtis go to push their message, and can their fragile alliance withstand their growing power?

4. History is All You Left Me by Adam Silvera

When Griffin’s first love and ex-boyfriend, Theo, dies in a drowning accident, his universe implodes. Even though Theo had moved to California for college and started seeing Jackson, Griffin never doubted Theo would come back to him when the time was right. But now, the future he’s been imagining for himself has gone far off course.

To make things worse, the only person who truly understands his heartache is Jackson. But no matter how much they open up to each other, Griffin’s downward spiral continues. He’s losing himself in his obsessive compulsions and destructive choices, and the secrets he’s been keeping are tearing him apart.

Thursday, 22 December 2016

5 things I most proud of from 2016

It's that time of year when I reflect on the last 12 months and recognize what I have accomplished and where I need to grow. I've had an awesome year and am very proud of the library program we are running at CNB. The five things I'm most proud of are:

1. Advocacy. This September I found myself with yet another new principal. I sighed as I knew that I had a long road ahead of me explaining to my prinicpal what it is that I do. I was especially concerned as his previous school didn't have a teacher librarian. My last principal told me to continue having monthly meetings with my new administrator to go over my monthly reports as it is a great opportunity to showcase my work. I have been doing that and I had felt like my principal was starting to understand my role in the building but this was confirmed when I asked him to write a letter of support for a grant application I was putting together. When I read the draft, I was blown away and when I handed it to him, my feedback was, "This letter is awesome. You do understand what I am doing!". Advocacy is very hard but I feel like I am finally getting the hang of it.

2. Embedding skills. I have also made the commitment to really embed skills within each project that comes through the library. I was apprehensive about my aggressive approach with teachers as I know that teachers are already feeling the pressure of time. The grade 7 Humanities teachers and I decided to take a day and teach the structure of PBL and it was extremely successful. We created a PBL road map to show students the structure and then used that road map in our first Social Studies PBL project and I felt it went much smoother. I then talked to the Math/Science 7 teachers and took two of their classes to teach the grade 7s note taking and then non-fiction text features. Both of those lessons were well received. The grade 9 Social Studies teachers and I created a one day lesson for the grade 9s on how not to plagiarize by teaching them how to summarize, paraphrase, and quote. Next challenge: scheduling the grade 8s in the library for some lessons.

3. Awards. This September, two colleagues and I received the Government of Canada's History teaching award for a PBL project we designed and implemented. I am very proud of this award because it highlights the wonderful teaching that is going on at CNB; teachers are cutting edge, looking at the curriculum to create innovative projects, and doing this all through collaboration. I also received the Diana Poole Memorial Award as the BC teacher librarian of the year. This award is an incredible honor and is something I will always cherish.

4. Speaking. I am an introvert and I am terrified of public speaking. I have been, over the last few years, challenging myself to speak more often. I've signed myself up to present at conferences and then berated myself every moment after signing up until the actual presentation was over with. I presented at the BCTLA conference in October and I also delivered my acceptance speech at that same conference and felt that both went better than expected. I feel like I am slowly getting better at conquering my nerves but I recognize that I still have a long road ahead of me.

5. Technology. I'm not one of those tech savvy tls that's on the cutting edge of everything. This year I have really tried to set up my game around technology - I have taken on running the virtual field trips, I've embraced GAFE and hope to implement it at my school, and I'm trying new web tools more frequently.

Sunday, 11 December 2016

Questions for This is Our Story

Q1 Initial thoughts? Likes and dislikes?
Q2 Did you find Kate a believable character?
Q3 How did you manage to keep the characters straight?
Q4 Who did you suspect?
Q5 What did you think of the ending?
Q6 Other titles like this to recommend?

Friday, 2 December 2016

January picks

Book covers and blurbs are from Goodreads. Vote here

1. The Secret of a Heart Note by Stacey Lee

An evocative novel about a teen aroma expert who uses her extrasensitive sense of smell to mix perfumes that help others fall in love while protecting her own heart at all costs

Sometimes love is right under your nose. As one of only two aromateurs left on the planet, sixteen-year-old Mimosa knows what her future holds: a lifetime of weeding, mixing love elixirs, and matchmaking—all while remaining incurably alone. For Mim, the rules are clear: falling in love would render her nose useless, taking away her one great talent. Still, Mimosa doesn’t want to spend her life elbow-deep in soil and begonias. She dreams of a normal high school experience with friends, sports practices, debate club, and even a boyfriend. But when she accidentally gives an elixir to the wrong woman and has to rely on the lovesick woman’s son, the school soccer star, to help fix the situation, Mim quickly begins to realize that falling in love isn’t always a choice you can make.

2. Teach Me to Forget by Erica M. Chapman

This is the story of Ellery, a girl who learns how to live while waiting for the date she chose to die.

Ellery's bought the gun, made arrangements for her funeral, and even picked the day. A Wednesday. Everything has fallen into place. Now all she has to do is die.

When her plans go awry and the gun she was going to kill herself with breaks, she does the one thing she has control over--return it and get a new one. After tormenting the crusty customer service associate by trying to return the gun with the wrong receipt, Ellery gets caught by the security guard who also happens to be someone she knows--the annoyingly perfect Colter Sawyer from her English class.

3. The Odds of Loving Grover Cleveland by Rebekah Crane

According to sixteen-year-old Zander Osborne, nowhere is an actual place—and she’s just fine there. But her parents insist that she get out of her head—and her home state—and attend Camp Padua, a summer camp for at-risk teens.

Zander does not fit in—or so she thinks. She has only one word for her fellow campers: crazy. In fact, the whole camp population exists somewhere between disaster and diagnosis. There’s her cabinmate Cassie, a self-described manic-depressive-bipolar-anorexic. Grover Cleveland (yes, like the president), a cute but confrontational boy who expects to be schizophrenic someday, odds being what they are. And Bek, a charmingly confounding pathological liar.

But amid group “share-apy” sessions and forbidden late-night outings, unlikely friendships form, and as the Michigan summer heats up, the four teens begin to reveal their tragic secrets. Zander finds herself inextricably drawn to Grover’s earnest charms, and she begins to wonder if she could be happy. But first she must come completely unraveled to have any hope of putting herself back together again.

4. Shooter by Caroline Pignat

A lockdown catches five grade 12 students by surprise and throws them together in the only unlocked room on that empty third floor wing: the boys' washroom. They sit in silence, judging each other by what they see, by the stories they've heard over the years. Stuck here with them--could anything be worse?
There's Alice: an introverted writer, trapped in the role of big sister to her older autistic brother, Noah.
Isabelle: the popular, high-achieving, student council president, whose greatest performance is her everyday life.
Hogan: an ex-football player with a troubled past and a hopeless future.
Xander: that socially awkward guy hiding behind the camera, whose candid pictures of school life, especially those of Isabelle, have brought him more trouble than answers.

Tuesday, 29 November 2016

Books and Breakfast

We've been doing Books and Breakfast every year in the library for at least the last 7 years. Each December, we pull all the nonfiction books we have purchased in the last year and put all the resources out on display. There is also coffee and tea as well as baking available for teachers to snack on. We make the library available to teachers only from 8-9 and invite teachers to come and browse the resources.

Why I love Books and Breakfast

1. Teachers get to see firsthand the new resources which we arrange according to subject. We all know how valuable it is to have the time to pick up books and flip through them, but this rarely happens in our busy school day.

2. A whole bunch of teachers in the library with books and food means that conversations happen and when there are conversations, ideas are shared which spark new ideas.

3. As teachers move forward in their planning for the school year, hopefully they'll remember the new resources that they can tap into. And that they'll tap into the library program and teacher librarian in the process.

I also love seeing how we have spent the library budget on nonfiction resources over a period of 12 months across 2 school years. I'm always amazed at the wide range of purchases both in terms of topic and reading level.

Saturday, 5 November 2016

December picks

Photos and book blurbs from Goodreads. You can vote here

1. The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon
Natasha: I’m a girl who believes in science and facts. Not fate. Not destiny. Or dreams that will never come true. I’m definitely not the kind of girl who meets a cute boy on a crowded New York City street and falls in love with him. Not when my family is twelve hours away from being deported to Jamaica. Falling in love with him won’t be my story.

Daniel: I’ve always been the good son, the good student, living up to my parents’ high expectations. Never the poet. Or the dreamer. But when I see her, I forget about all that. Something about Natasha makes me think that fate has something much more extraordinary in store—for both of us.

The Universe: Every moment in our lives has brought us to this single moment. A million futures lie before us. Which one will come true?

2.  We are Still Tornadoes by Michael Kun and Susan Mullen
Growing up across the street from each other, Scott and Cath have been best friends their entire lives. Cath would help Scott with his English homework, he would make her mix tapes (it's the 80's after all), and any fight they had would be forgotten over TV and cookies. But now they've graduated high school and Cath is off to college while Scott is at home pursuing his musical dreams.

During their first year apart, Scott and Cath's letters help them understand heartache, annoying roommates, family drama and the pressure to figure out what to do with the rest of their lives. And through it all, they realize that the only person they want to turn to is each other. But does that mean they should be more than friends? The only thing that's clear is that change is an inescapable part of growing up. And the friends who help us navigate it share an unshakable bond.

3. This is Our Story by Ashley Elston
No one knows what happened that morning at River Point. Five boys went hunting. Four came back. The boys won’t say who fired the shot that killed their friend; the evidence shows it could have been any one of them. 

Kate Marino’s senior year internship at the District Attorney’s Office isn’t exactly glamorous—more like an excuse to leave school early that looks good on college applications. Then the DA hands her boss, Mr. Stone, the biggest case her small town of Belle Terre has ever seen. The River Point Boys are all anyone can talk about. Despite their damning toxicology reports the morning of the accident, the DA wants the boys’ case swept under the rug. He owes his political office to their powerful families.

4. Scythe by Neal Shusterman
In a world where disease has been eliminated, the only way to die is to be randomly killed (“gleaned”) by professional reapers (“scythes”). Citra and Rowan are teenagers who have been selected to be scythe’s apprentices, and—despite wanting nothing to do with the vocation—they must learn the art of killing and come to understand the necessity of what they do.

Only one of them will be chosen as a scythe’s apprentice. And when it becomes clear that the winning apprentice’s first task will be to glean the loser, Citra and Rowan are pitted against one another in a fight for their lives.

Wednesday, 26 October 2016

BCTLA conference

What an incredible day of professional development on October 21st down at Byrne Creek Secondary in Burnaby. The BCTLA planning committee outdid themselves by having The Daring Librarian, Gwyneth Jones, as the keynote presenter. Jones set the tone for the conference with her humour and stories from life in the trenches. She highlighted various tools from Vine to Kahoot to BrainPop that teacher librarians can use to become technology troopers. It was good to revisit digital resources that I had forgotten about and see new ways of incorporating them into projects. I was also inspired to try something new and have a list of tools to go and play around with. I also attended her second session, Mobile Media in the Library and Classroom, and left with yet another page of new ideas to try.

My third session was about Breakout Edu. I purchased a Breakout box last year and I've played around with it but I haven't seen it go out. It was interesting to see Breakout happen with a group of adults who didn't know each other. I think that Breakout looks very different with adults than it does with students. I decided that I really need to encourage teachers to take the risk and try Breakout Edu with their classes. As a result, I've made a note to schedule a Mesopotamia Breakout with the grade 7s when I get back.

After attending a teacher librarian conference, I am always amazed at the level of innovation and creativity that teacher librarians employ in developing an adaptive, cutting-edge library program. I always leave re-invigorated and eager to try new things and this BCTLA conference was no different.

For more information about Gwyneth Jones, aka The Daring Librarian, check out her website here

If you want more information about Breakout Edu, check out their website here

Tuesday, 25 October 2016

Diana Poole Memorial Award - BC TL of the year

It's been a whirlwind since it was announced in June that I was the recipient of the Diana Poole Memorial Award - the BC teacher librarian of the year for 2016. Since that was revealed, I've been interviewed for the local paper, asked to write an article, and acknowledged at a school board meeting. It's been interesting because I really don't like being in the limelight but I am passionate about highlighting what teacher librarians do. Advocacy takes many different forms.

This past weekend at the BCTLA conference in Burnaby I was officially honored and presented with the award. As always, I am incredibly in awe of my fellow teacher librarians and their passion, intelligence, and ingenuity around teacher librarianship. I had the opportunity to talk with one of the Val Hamilton lifetime Achievement recipients and I was inspired by her enthusiasm, insight, and down to earth approach to library programs.

Receiving this award has been a tremendous honour.

My acceptance speech:
Thank you for this incredible honour.
Before I became a teacher librarian, I job shadowed the legendary Sharon Bede who at the time was at Mount Boucherie. I thought I was going to sit down and talk with her about teacher librarianship and maybe chat a bit about books. Imagine my shock when I walked into her library and saw her at the circulation desk, a desk in absolute disarray with seemingly random piles of books, open and dog eared magazines, and bits and pieces of paper. And here I thought teacher librarians were organized! There was no sitting and talking with Sharon as she was constantly moving – grabbing random books, checking in with students, and monitoring her computer. And talking! Well, I don't think she was able to string more than two sentences together before she was interrupted by a student, a teacher, or the library assistant. Don't even get me started about how she and the library assistant spoke, as I wondered if they had their own language as random sentence fragments were clearly understood. I left that job shadow and headed back to my school where I confided to my teacher librarian that I didn't think I could be a tl. She assured me that I'd be an excellent teacher librarian. But, I explained to her, I still didn't really understand what was teacher librarians do.
That was well over a decade ago and now the CNB library is my second home. It looks like a bomb went off on my circulation desk and my library assistant knows not to throw out a single piece of paper no matter what illegible scribble might be on it and she understands when to swoop in, distract, or pick up pieces. And as for stringing more than two sentences together? That never happens in my library either. But you know what has stayed with me the most from my job shadowing experience? That after being with Sharon for half a day, I had no idea what it was that she was doing.  It was this that has shaped my advocacy – I cannot advocate for a fulltime TL and a fully funded library program if teachers, administrators, students, and parents are unclear as to what it is that I, as a teacher librarian does.
With this school year ahead of us, I urge each one of you to be quietly aggressive and educate as many as possible as to what it is a teacher librarian does. Take photos of what goes on in a day, tweet out, tag your administrator –or trustee or superintendent, do monthly reports and meet and talk with admin about them, tell admin what your year goals are and what your vision of the library program is. Show them that the library is the hub of the building and the teacher librarian is the heart. Collaborate, collaborate, collaborate. Get teachers into the library space and using resources – print, digital and you. And if they won't leave their classrooms then slide into theirs. Use the new curriculum as way to establish new connections.  Persevere and promote so that when someone asks your administration what it is that a teacher librarian does they'll actually know and their answer will start with: "Everything"

Sunday, 2 October 2016

3 faves from September

And the blur of September has passed. I didn't do as much reading as I usually do in a month, but startup tends to make life hectic.

My favourite reads from this month are:

Non fiction
Women in Science - 50 fearless pioneers who changed the world by Rachel Ignotofsky

A beautiful and much needed addition to the science collection at my school. 50 female scientists, recorded in chronological order. What I love about this book is the layout. Each scientist is given her own page with beautiful illustrations. This book is inviting and informative. In fact, I had a science teacher who wandered through the library, saw this book, flipped through it and commented on how good it was. Now I want Ignotofsky to write an equally stunning book on Men in Science to help update my scientist section.

Graphic novel
Snow White by Matt Phelan

Very rarely does a graphic novel catch me completely off guard. From the outset, with its beautifully designed cover, this book lured me in. I loved the modern retelling of Snow White and could see students loving this book. I did recommend it to a student and she came back gushing about how beautiful it was. A graphic novel that really relies on its art to tell the story. A great addition to any graphic novel collection.

Wolf Hollow by Lauren Wolk

One of those reads that will stay with you. This story reminded me very much of To Kill a Mockingbird though I think it could be used with younger grades. A book about how prejudice people can be and how truth is often very elusive, this is a must read.

November's read #yabookchat

Here are the blurbs, courtesy of Goodreads, of the potential November reads. Vote here

1. Ghost by Jason Reynolds

Ghost. Lu. Patina. Sunny. Four kids from wildly different backgrounds with personalities that are explosive when they clash. But they are also four kids chosen for an elite middle school track team—a team that could qualify them for the Junior Olympics if they can get their acts together. They all have a lot to lose, but they also have a lot to prove, not only to each other, but to themselves.

2. Holding up the Universe by Jennifer Niven

Everyone thinks they know Libby Strout, the girl once dubbed “America’s Fattest Teen.” But no one’s taken the time to look past her weight to get to know who she really is. Following her mom’s death, she’s been picking up the pieces in the privacy of her home, dealing with her heartbroken father and her own grief. Now, Libby’s ready: for high school, for new friends, for love, and for EVERY POSSIBILITY LIFE HAS TO OFFER. In that moment, I know the part I want to play here at MVB High. I want to be the girl who can do anything.

3. Our Chemical Hearts by Krystal Sutherland

Henry Page has never been in love. He fancies himself a hopeless romantic, but the slo-mo, heart palpitating, can't-eat-can't-sleep kind of love that he's been hoping for just hasn't been in the cards for him—at least not yet. Instead, he's been happy to focus on his grades, on getting into a semi-decent college and finally becoming editor of his school newspaper. Then Grace Town walks into his first period class on the third Tuesday of senior year and he knows everything's about to change.

4. Phantom Limbs by Paula Garner

Otis and Meg were inseparable until her family abruptly moved away after the terrible accident that left Otis’s little brother dead and both of their families changed forever. Since then, it’s been three years of radio silence, during which time Otis has become the unlikely protégé of eighteen-year-old Dara—part drill sergeant, part friend—who’s hell-bent on transforming Otis into the Olympic swimmer she can no longer be. But when Otis learns that Meg is coming back to town, he must face some difficult truths about the girl he’s never forgotten and the brother he’s never stopped grieving. As it becomes achingly clear that he and Meg are not the same people they were, Otis must decide what to hold on to and what to leave behind.

Wolf Hollow questions

Q1. What was your first reaction to Wolf Hollow?
Q2 Annabelle learned to lie at 12. Would the truth have made any difference?
Q3 Aunt Lily. Is she the only secondary character who really changes?
Q4 The camera. What does it reveal about characters?
Q5 Why do you think Toby carry the guns on his back?
Q6 What was your favourite quote/scene?
Q7 Can you see this being taught in schools? If so, what grade. If not, why not?

Monday, 5 September 2016

Evening before the first day

Well, it's that evening - the evening before the first day of school. As usual there's that odd concoction of emotions: nervousness, excitement, and hope. This summer I made a decision to really try and relax and turn my brain if not off, at least down. I did read and I did think about curriculum connections but just not in my usual overdrive.

As is always the case, I've set goals for myself and for my library program.

1. Slow down. We have new curriculum across the board and I'm excited about the new projects that we will be working on. That said, I need to slow things down and really focus on the key skills that we'll be incorporating into those projects.

2. Write. I need to spend more time writing. I find that writing helps me reflect on my librarianship as it's one of the few ways that I can slow down and analyse my practice. It's simply one of the many problems of being the lone teacher librarian in a school.

3. Learn. I know that learning is always the goal. I want to seek out different learning opportunities and step out of my comfort zone.

4. Balance. I realize that I certainly didn't achieve balance last year because I really felt burnout by the time summer started. Maybe this year I can achieve better balance. Wishful thinking, I know.

Thursday, 30 June 2016

Breakout Box

I had been hearing about Breakout Education for some time and wondered how it would work in the middle school setting. I decided to just buy one and test it out with the students and some teachers and see their reactions.

As soon as it arrived, Kristie and I set up one of the games called "The Timekeeper: A Journey through Mesopotamia" and told the grade 7 Social Studies teachers about it. In B.C., the grade 7 Socials curriculum is all about ancient civilizations, starting with Mesopotamia so we felt it was a perfect pairing. The teachers were excited about testing out the Breakout Box and were planning to tackle it on their next prep however, they had to postpone. I left the Breakout Box all set up awaiting the teachers but the box proved to be too intriguing to students.

I have two grade 8 boys who have been with me for the third term for their p.e. block as they have both undergone surgery. They asked about the box and when I told them, they asked if they could try it. These boys came back and worked on the Breakout Box for almost 3 hours before they met with success and they were delighted when they finally broke in. They reset it and another set of students tried it, working through lunch to crack the codes.
What was fascinating for me was to listen to the conversations, hear the thinking that was going on, and the collaboration that happened.

These photos show the students at lunch working together. They kept going back and forth between sitting and standing which was interesting.

When the teachers had time to try the Breakout Box, it was interesting to hear and see the similarities differences between the teachers and the students. The first set of teachers broke in after 90 minutes and the second group met with success in 45 minutes. What became apparent from observing the different groups was how important it is to have different thinkers within the group.

I'm looking forward to incorporating the Breakout Box into classes next year and the possibilities are endless. I already have math and science teachers looking at how to use this. I'd love to try this in an English class doing literature circles with clues based on each of the novels read.

I would strongly suggest purchasing a Breakout Box. For more information, go here 

Saturday, 25 June 2016

Frank conversations

I've been having a lot of internal conversations over the last week as I've been struggling with a lot of work related decisions. It's times like these that I really wish I had another teacher librarian in the building. I'm always going through the day to day librarian activities and making decisions and for the most part, I can handle it. Every so often though, I start second guessing myself. I think it's one of the problems of being the only (or as one of my students told me, the lonely).

Today I had a scheduled meeting with my principal. It was announced that he is being moved at the end of the month and I wanted to chat with him before he left. After four years of working together, we've finally come to understand each other - and it's been a long and difficult road. Our chat today was very frank and I walked away feeling that I had done my job; my principal knows how important the teacher librarian and the library program is to a school. We spoke about how a teacher librarian is really an instructional leader and how that is only really possible if the TL is full time. We also spoke about moving into administration which is something I have entertained since I entered the teaching profession. I have come to realize that leadership doesn't have to mean administration.

We also spoke about professional growth as my principal is a huge proponent of constantly exploring new educational theories to find something that works to propel an individual forward. He did mention that he thought that he hadn't pushed me enough. It's an interesting thought, but I don't think I'm one that needs pushing. I have always loved learning and am constantly reading and looking for new ideas that I can use in the library and the classroom. Over the past 18 months I have really focused on developing my leadership outside of the school by presenting at conferences and taking a more active role in LSAs (local specialist organizations). I still have a long way to go, but for this introvert, what I've accomplished in the last year and half often catches me off guard.

I left the principal's office feeling positive. Positive because I knew I had made my principal a believer and strong advocate of library programs and teacher librarians. And I'm ready to work with my new principal and show him how the library is the absolute heart of the building.

Tuesday, 7 June 2016


To say change is hard is understatement. Change is hard. It's also frightening and nerve-wracking but if I look past those emotions, I recognize that change is exciting as well.

I have an administrator who, in his own way, encourages change. I think what he's trying to say is don't be content with where you are - push the boundaries and always look for areas of growth. Sometimes that's hard to do if you are looking at the same four walls, interacting with the same colleagues, and wrestling with the same curriculum year after year.

At CNB, we are looking at many changes ahead. We have new curriculum in all subjects for this September. And we are also looking at possible grade realignment for the following September as we move from a 7-9 school to a traditional middle school of 6-8 as our enrollment goes up. As a result, we have staff looking to move this year, while others will move next year. June is typically an emotional time of the year but I foresee an emotional year ahead as we face so many changes.

For myself, I'm looking at starting my 13th year at CNB and some might think it's time for me to look at changing. I decided last year that moving to a different school wasn't really something that appealed to me because I have no desire to tackle a new collection or spend years developing trust so I can collaborate. But I also recognized that I didn't want to stay and become stagnant. I'm looking forward to implementing the new curriculum and the fabulous projects we will create for the curriculum.

Don’t be afraid of change, because it is leading you to a new beginning. -Joyce Meyers

Saturday, 4 June 2016

Qs for Symptoms of Being Human

Q1 What was your initial reaction to the book?

Q2 Even Riley is guilty of labeling people. Why do we do this?

Q3 How important is Riley's blog?

Q4 What makes Riley such a likeable main character?

Q5 Riley settles for neutral because students can't handle gender fluidity.  Is Riley correct?

Q6 Favourite secondary character?

Q7 What was your impression of Riley's parents?

Q8 Favourite scene?

Q9 Could you see parents wanting this book banned?

Tuesday, 31 May 2016

Busier than normal

I haven't blogged in long time and truth be told, I haven't been reading my usual amount of YA literature either. What's going on? How on earth am I busier than normal? After 9 years of teacher librarianship, you would think I would streamlining it all a bit better. I'm not and it's all because of the project planning. And I couldn't be happier.

Since spring break, I have been inundated with requests to collaborate on new projects as a result of the new curriculum that we are implementing this September. With a term left in the school year, a lot of teachers decided to try out a bit of the new curriculum and see what projects they could come with. It has been very exciting for me - I have new topics to explore and design PBL projects for. The downside is that: PBL projects take a lot of time to create and I need to find, borrow, purchase resources to support the new curriculum projects. It's been a whirlwind of activity in the library, that's for sure.

The other element that put me a little of kilter is that I have had a couple of teachers approach me about collaborating that I have never collaborated with before. Collaboration is a lot of work and is based on trust. With teachers I have collaborated with multiple times before, the process is pretty straightforward. We each know what to expect. When collaborating with someone new, it's more of a delicate dance as we figure out each other's style and approach to teaching and learning. As a result, a lot more conversations occur to ensure that we are understanding each other and creating the fabulous project we both envisioned.

I love collaborating with teachers and coming up with projects that I know are gems. And I'm looking forward to working with the new curriculum and designing engaging projects, but what excites me more are those new teachers coming to realize what a teacher librarian does and how important the library program is.

Saturday, 30 April 2016

Booked questions

1. What were your initial thoughts about the book?

2. What makes Nick such a realistic main character?

3. Is it possible to really get to know a character in a verse novel?

4. Parents are often absent in YA. What did you think about Nick's parents?

5. What is appealing about verse novels?

6. Big words abound in Booked. Did their inclusion work?

7. Who was your favourite secondary character?

8. What other verse novels would you recommend?

June book picks

Book blurbs and images from Goodreads. Vote here

1. Scarlett Epstein Hates It Here by Anna Breslaw

Meet Scarlett Epstein, BNF (Big Name Fan) in her online community of fanfiction writers, world-class nobody at Melville High. Her best (read: only) IRL friends are Avery, a painfully shy and annoyingly attractive bookworm, and Ruth, her weed-smoking, possibly insane seventy-three-year-old neighbor.

When Scarlett’s beloved TV show is canceled and her longtime crush, Gideon, is sucked out of her orbit and into the dark and distant world of Populars, Scarlett turns to the fanfic message boards for comfort. This time, though, her subjects aren’t the swoon-worthy stars of her fave series—they’re the real-life kids from her high school. And if they ever find out what Scarlett truly thinks about them, she’ll be thrust into a situation far more dramatic than anything she’s ever seen on TV…

2. When We Collided by Emery Lord

We are seventeen and shattered and still dancing. We have messy, throbbing hearts, and we are stronger than anyone could ever know…

Jonah never thought a girl like Vivi would come along.

Vivi didn’t know Jonah would light up her world.

Neither of them expected a summer like this…a summer that would rewrite their futures.

In an unflinching story about new love, old wounds, and forces beyond our control, two teens find that when you collide with the right person at just the right time, it will change you forever.

 3. Symptoms of Being Human by Jeff Garvin

Riley Cavanaugh is many things: Punk rock. Snarky. Rebellious. And gender fluid. Some days Riley identifies as a boy, and others as a girl. The thing is…Riley isn’t exactly out yet. And between starting a new school and having a congressman father running for reelection in uber-conservative Orange County, the pressure—media and otherwise—is building up in Riley’s so-called “normal” life.

On the advice of a therapist, Riley starts an anonymous blog to vent those pent-up feelings and tell the truth of what it’s REALLY like to be a gender fluid teenager. But just as Riley’s starting to settle in at school—even developing feelings for a mysterious outcast—the blog goes viral, and an unnamed commenter discovers Riley’s real identity, threatening exposure. Riley must make a choice: walk away from what the blog has created—a lifeline, new friends, a cause to believe in—or stand up, come out, and risk everything.

4. Truthwitch by Susan Dennard

In a continent on the edge of war, two witches hold its fate in their hands.Young witches Safiya and Iseult have a habit of finding trouble. After clashing with a powerful Guildmaster and his ruthless Bloodwitch bodyguard, the friends are forced to flee their home.

Safi must avoid capture at all costs as she's a rare Truthwitch, able to discern truth from lies. Many would kill for her magic, so Safi must keep it hidden - lest she be used in the struggle between empires. And Iseult's true powers are hidden even from herself.

In a chance encounter at Court, Safi meets Prince Merik and makes him a reluctant ally. However, his help may not slow down the Bloodwitch now hot on the girls' heels. All Safi and Iseult want is their freedom, but danger lies ahead. With war coming, treaties breaking and a magical contagion sweeping the land, the friends will have to fight emperors and mercenaries alike. For some will stop at nothing to get their hands on a Truthwitch.

Sunday, 3 April 2016

Book choices for May

Blurbs and images from Goodreads, you can vote here

1. Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton

She’s more gunpowder than girl—and the fate of the desert lies in her hands. Mortals rule the desert nation of Miraji, but mystical beasts still roam the wild and barren wastes, and rumor has it that somewhere, djinni still practice their magic. But there's nothing mystical or magical about Dustwalk, the dead-end town that Amani can't wait to escape from.

Destined to wind up "wed or dead," Amani’s counting on her sharpshooting skills to get her out of Dustwalk. When she meets Jin, a mysterious and devastatingly handsome foreigner, in a shooting contest, she figures he’s the perfect escape route. But in all her years spent dreaming of leaving home, she never imagined she'd gallop away on a mythical horse, fleeing the murderous Sultan's army, with a fugitive who's wanted for treason. And she'd never have predicted she'd fall in love with him...or that he'd help her unlock the powerful truth of who she really is

2. Wink Poppy Midnight by April Genevieve Tucholke

Every story needs a hero.
Every story needs a villain.
Every story needs a secret.

Wink is the odd, mysterious neighbor girl, wild red hair and freckles. Poppy is the blond bully and the beautiful, manipulative high school queen bee. Midnight is the sweet, uncertain boy caught between them. Wink. Poppy. Midnight. Two girls. One boy. Three voices that burst onto the page in short, sharp, bewitching chapters, and spiral swiftly and inexorably toward something terrible or tricky or tremendous.

What really happened?
Someone knows.
Someone is lying.

3. Booked by Kwame Alexander

Like lightning/you strike/fast and free/legs zoom/down field/eyes fixed/on the checkered ball/on the goal/ten yards to go/can’t nobody stop you/
can’t nobody cop you…
In this follow-up to the Newbery-winning novel THE CROSSOVER,  soccer, family, love, and friendship, take center stage as twelve-year-old Nick learns the power of words as he wrestles with problems at home, stands up to a bully, and tries to impress the girl of his dreams. Helping him along are his best friend and sometimes teammate Coby, and The Mac, a rapping librarian who gives Nick inspiring books to read. 
This electric and heartfelt novel-in-verse by poet Kwame Alexander bends and breaks as it captures all the thrills and setbacks, action and emotion of a World Cup match!

4. The First Time She Drowned by Kerry Kletter

Cassie O’Malley has been trying to keep her head above water—literally and metaphorically—since birth. It’s been two and a half years since Cassie’s mother dumped her in a mental institution against her will, and now, at eighteen, Cassie is finally able to reclaim her life and enter the world on her own terms.

But freedom is a poor match against a lifetime of psychological damage. As Cassie plumbs the depths of her new surroundings, the startling truths she uncovers about her own family narrative make it impossible to cut the tethers of a tumultuous past. And when the unhealthy mother-daughter relationship that defined Cassie’s childhood and adolescence threatens to pull her under once again, Cassie must decide: whose version of history is real? And more important, whose life must she save?

Questions for Faceless

Q1 Maisie has lost so much. Has she gained anything?

Q2 What are Maisie's greatest strengths?

Q3 How would a sibling have changed the story?

Q4 Did you find it realistic that the accident brought her parents together?

Q5 Who was your favourite secondary character? Why?

Q6 Does drastic change on the outside change the inside?

Q7 Comment on the quote: "You have to learn to love yourself before you can love someone else" page 283

Q8 Are we doomed to incorrectly remember the past?

Thursday, 10 March 2016

Our foray into Virtual Field Trips

We've had our Lifesize unit for several years now but it only recently was moved onto a mobile structure. As a result, since January we have participated 5 virtual field trips from 3 different content providers.

1. Royal Botanical Gardens
We've been fortunate to tap into 3 different vfts from Karin at the Royal Botanical Gardens. Teachers have commented that Karin is extremely knowledgeable, well organized, and able to adapt to each teacher's needs. I would highly recommend vfts with the Royal Botanical Gardens, especially these three that we participated in.

a) Chocolate: From Treasure to Treat
Our first vft with Royal Botanical Gardens, we learned how adept Karin is at changing technologies on the fly. Karin incorporates video, photos, and specimens into her talk. Students enjoyed being able to try the cacao bean, and the nibs although many students took a bit more than they could handle. It was a great lesson for the Foods and Nutrition 9 class and spilled over into the next day's lesson as they tested different chocolates.

b) How far has your food travelled?
Another virtual field trip we did with the Foods 9 class. In this lesson, Karin spoke about the distances food travels. Students had map work to do and a lot of math to figure out which was excellent to see the cross curricular tie-ins. The conversation towards the end of the presentation was extremely enlightening and a good starting point to richer conversation in class.

c) Healing plants
This virtual field trip we did with our Outdoor Education 9 class. This class is an academy class and they were working on putting toether their flora/fauna of BC books together so Karin's presentation worked perfectly. Students had pieces of fresh rosemary, garlic, oregano, sage, and aloe vera to touch and smell as Karin led the students through the uses of these plants. She also talked about the environmental issues of harvesting these plants.

2. Amon Carter Museum of American Art
This was the first time I had dialed into a bridge and thankfully I had a teacher troubleshoot it for me because I would have been flustered doing it by myself. Now that I know how the bridge works, it won't be as daunting next time.

a) Let Freedom Ring
With this virtual field trip we decided to look at the civil rights movement through art to compliment the novel, In the Heat of the Night, that the English 9 class was reading. What I loved about this vft is that Nancy took us around the museum on her mobile unit and our students could see other people looking at various pieces of art. While we were being wheeled around, students could ask to stop and find out more about a certain piece of art.

3. Sheffield Museum

We did one vft last year and it was with Marty at the Sheffield Museum. Marty is extremely knowledgeable and entertaining and I really wanted to do a virtual field trip with him again.  I knew we had the perfect grade 8 class to work with Marty this year and so we managed to schedule a presentation just before spring break.

a) Meet the Medieval Peasant
With this virtual field trip, Marty plays the role of Andrew the Medieval peasant and he manages to do this without breaking character. This grade 8 class had been looking forward to meeting Andrew and it was hard to contain their excitement. Marty manages to convey an incredible amount of information in an extremely entertaining fashion. The students asked very good questions and Marty didn't even hesitate when answering. Students willingly participated in a medieval dance while peasant Andrew played live music.


If you have the opportunity to participate in or organize I virtual field trip, I highly recommend it. A fabulous resource is

Saturday, 5 March 2016

PAX questions for #YAbookchat

Join us on March 6th at 6pm PST/9pm EST to discuss Pax.

Q1 What words do you associate with this image after having read Pax?
Q2 Comment on the quote, "People should tell the truth about what war costs".

Q3 Setting: both time and place are ubiquitous and we can discuss that. Did you have a visual/image of where and when the novel takes place? Share.

Q4 Vola is such a layered character. What did you like best about her?

Q5 Peter's mother liked that a phoenix rises from its own ashes. Why include this idea in the book?

Q6 At what point did you know that Pax was going to stay in the woods?

Q7 What do you envision Peter doing next?

Q8 Overall, did you like this book? Why or why not?

March's #yabookchat titles and blurbs

Blurbs and images are from Goodreads. You can vote for the one your want to read here.

1. Faceless by Alyssa B. Sheinmel
When Maisie Winters wakes up, she’s in the hospital. The last thing she remembers is running through the hills of her neighborhood one misty morning. Slowly, she puts the pieces together. Before she could make it home, a storm gathered. Lightning hit a power line and sparks rained down, the hot-burning electrical fire consuming her. Destroying her face. Where her nose, cheeks, and chin used to be, now there is…nothing.

Maisie’s lucky enough to qualify for a rare medical treatment: a face transplant. At least, everyone says she’s lucky. But with someone else’s features staring back at her in the mirror, Maisie looks—and feels—like a stranger. 

2. Mad Miss Mimic by Sarah Henstra
London, 1872. Seventeen-year-old heiress Leonora Somerville is preparing to be presented to society -- again. She's strikingly beautiful and going to be very rich, but Leo has a problem money can't solve. A curious speech disorder causes her to stutter but also allows her to imitate other people's voices flawlessly. Servants and ladies alike call her "Mad Miss Mimic" behind her back...and watch as Leo unintentionally scares off one potential husband after another.
London in 1872 is also a city gripped by opium fever. Leo's brother-in-law Dr. Dewhurst and his new business partner Francis Thornfax are frontrunners in the race to patent an injectable formula of the drug. The mysterious Black Glove opium gang is setting off explosions across the city. The street urchins Dr. Dewhurst treats are dying of overdose. As the violence closes in around her Leo must find the links but first she must find her voice 

3. Titans by Victoria Scott
Ever since the Titans first appeared in her Detroit neighborhood, Astrid Sullivan’s world has revolved around the mechanical horses. She and her best friend have spent countless hours watching them and their jockeys practice on the track. It’s not just the thrill of the race. It’s the engineering of the horses and the way they’re programmed to seem so lifelike. The Titans are everything that fascinates Astrid, and nothing she’ll ever touch.

She hates them a little, too. Her dad lost everything betting on the Titans. And the races are a reminder of the gap between the rich jockeys who can afford the expensive machines to ride, and the working class friends and neighbors of Astrid’s who wager on them. But when Astrid’s offered a chance to enter an early model Titan in this year’s derby, well, she decides to risk it all.


4. The Girl From Everywhere by Heidi Heilig
Nix has spent her entire life aboard her father’s ship, sailing across the centuries, across the world, across myth and imagination.

As long as her father has a map for it, he can sail to any time, any place, real or imagined: nineteenth-century China, the land from One Thousand and One Nights, a mythic version of Africa. Along the way they have found crewmates and friends, and even a disarming thief who could come to mean much more to Nix. But the end to it all looms closer every day.

Tuesday, 1 March 2016

February's reads

What I read in February. Certainly didn't read a book a day, but I did read some fabulous books.

1. Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
Kady and Ezra have just broken up and now the end of the world as they know it is upon them. Told in a variety of texts, this well crafted book outlines AI going haywire. Great read of romance, science fiction, and suspenseful adventure.

2. Simon vs The Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli
Simon is gay but he hasn't told anyone yet, except a boy he has met online who just happens to attend the same school as Simon. Things quickly take a turn for the worst when Simon forgets to sign out of his email on a school computer. A great read.

3. Underneath Everything by Marcy Beller Paul
Mattie walked away from her best friend a year ago, or did she? Mattie betrays all her friends throughout the novel. Always difficult to like a book when you can't stand the main character.

4. The Memory of Light by Francisco X Stork
Vicky wakes up in the hospital realizing that her suicide attempt failed. the novel follows Vicky as she becomes aware of her depression and the steps she must take to deal with it. A very honest look at depression but I found it very difficult to get to know Vicky.

5. Losers Take All by David Klass
Jack's new principal has decided every student must belong to an athletic team. Jack and his friends aren't really fans of the new policy and decide to form their own soccer team whose goal is to lose. A quirky and refreshing take on the drive to win championships.

6. The Year We Fell Apart by Emily Martin
Harper is trying to deal with her mother's cancer but everything is falling apart around her. When Declan returns to town, Harper needs to decide if she's still the same Harper that fell in love with Declan.

7. Stick by Michael Harmon
Stick has lost his love of playing football. Preston is the school scapegoat. An unlikely friendship blossoms between the two and they help each other through the mine fields of life. An absolutely fabulous read.

8. Faceless by Alyssa B. Sheinmel
An accident leaves Maisie with parts of her face missing. Maisie makes the decision to get a partial face transplant. Everyone keeps telling Maisie how lucky she is but she certainly doesn't feel lucky. She can't look at the stranger in the mirror or deal with her friends and family because she doesn't know who she really is anymore. Great novel for middle school and high school students.

9. Awkward by Svetlana Chmakova
Peppi is new to the school and has found her place within the art club. The trouble with being a member of the art club is that you can't be friends with someone, like Jaime, in the rival club, the science club. When the rivalry gets out of hand, Peppi decides to talk to Jaime and try to put an end to the fighting. I can see why this graphic novel is so popular; it's a wonderful read.

10. Pax by Sara Pennypacker
Peter rescued Pax when he was a kit but now Peter has to abandon Pax. Wrecked with guilt for what he has done, Peter is determined to trek back and find Pax. Meanwhile, Pax has to learn how to be a fox. A brilliant read illustrated by the great Jon Klassen

11. Prince S by Mikayla Spence

I don't usually mention picture books but I had to review this one. Spence is a former student of our school district and her picture book is stunning. Prince S doesn't want to be a prince, he wants to be a princess and attempts to be just that. A great addition to any library.

12. The Memory of Light by Francisco X. Stork
Vicky wakes up after a failed suicide attempt. The reader follows Vicky as she deals with her suicide attempt and tries to get to the bottom of her depression. A different approach to depression and suicide but a very real book that I think most teens will enjoy.

13. Losers Take All by David Klass
Jack's school is sport crazy, so much so that the new principal has decreed that every student must be on a sports team. Jack and his friends aren't fans of the new rule and decide that their soccer team is going to be the best - at losing. A very good read.

14. Ms. Marvel by G Willow Wilson
I finally wrestled the first Ms. Marvel away from my boys and I can see why they love it. Kamala is an ordinary girl who suddenly has been given superpowers that she has to learn how to control. I'm looking forward to reading the rest in this series.

15. Superheroes Don't Eat Veggie Burgers by Gretchen Kelley
Charlie's in middle school and everything is changing. The icing on the cake is Charlie's science teacher who hands out journals and expects Charlie to write something other than lab reports in it. A different book that sadly falls a tad too short.

Sunday, 28 February 2016

Reflections on my leadership goal

As a result of tonight's #bcedchat, I've been reflecting on one of my goals for this year. I decidedd to look back at what I think is my most challenging goal: leadership outside of the school.

What I've accomplished so far:
1. I've managed to pluck up the courage to present at the BCTLA conference. I did go many shades of red, but it went quite well.
2. Presented to the February COTLA meeting about collaboration. It was great to have the teacher librarians at CNB as this was the first time in my 9 years as teacher librarian that I had been asked to host.
3. I was asked to help facilitate Civix Canada's 2016 #Democracy Bootcamp. I was honored to be asked but also extremely nervous. In the end though, it was all worth it.
4. Joined the SSLSA executive and so happy I did as the executive is an incredibly amazing group of people who love history as much as I do!

What I've struggled with:
1. By far the hardest challenge would be myself. I doubt myself: "Why would someone want to hear from me?" "What do I have to offer?" "Good grief, how can I possibly talk for an hour?"
2. Time. It takes a lot of time to do any leadership outside of the building. The prep time for the actual presentation is one thing, then the prep time for a TTOC, and then as a non-enrolling I find there are things that I just can't get a TTOC to do because a lot of my job is about relationships and trust and lots of conversations.
3. Being an introvert. I get exhausted very quickly if I am constantly out. I need to make sure I give myself balance and enough at home time.

What's next:
1. Help the SSLSA plan the summer pro d days. I would like to plan a road trip pro d.
2. Award writing. I want to nominate a couple of colleagues for some awards. Leadership isn't always about me.
3. Look out for some more leadership opportunities!

Monday, 8 February 2016

Differentiated Instruction

At our last staff meeting we had a vice principal come in and talk to us about what differentiated instruction is and what it isn't. The presenter was a lovely individual and did a fabulous presentation but I was feeling somewhat disappointed.

It would be nice to have someone present who was in the trenches themselves. Even if you've only been out of the classroom for a couple of years, teaching has changed drastically in even that short time. I am constantly amazed by my colleagues and how much they have adapted to the increasingly trying classroom configurations and parent/administrative expectations. I often wonder how I would cope if I returned to the classroom.

I also would love to hear a presentation that was cutting edge and spoke to the middle school setting. In middle school, we don't have parent volunteers in classrooms, we don't have either the space of the schedule flexibility to combine classes. In middle school, we have all the students in every class. Students can't yet choose what type of math class or elective they are in. Fitting with middle school philosophy, we have all students of all abilities in every class. The problem is that the divide between the lowest student and the highest student is becoming an overwhelming gulf. And the supports (LA teacher, Resource teacher, CEAs) are being slashed.

Perhaps we in the middle school setting need to have a different discussion first. Maybe we need to talk about student apathy. Maybe we need to talk about chronic absent students. Maybe the system needs to realize that not every student flourishes in the traditional public school system.

Maybe. But we all know that change will not be happening any time soon.

Maybe we need to talk about what wonderful things are happening with the students that are attending and are engaged in learning. When we focus on those students, we realize how much we have adapted our teaching already to meet the needs of our students. Teachers are developing highly engaging classes that really invite students to challenge themselves and wrestle with the curriculum. Teachers are already differentiating instruction for the myriad of learners they face and often they differentiate on the fly as they identify the student's current needs. Teachers are working harder than ever to make sure each and every student is given the opportunity to succeed.

I think we, as teachers, need to acknowledge all that is being done well and build upon it.

Sunday, 7 February 2016

February's #yabookchat titles and blurbs

Please read the blurbs and vote here for the novel you would like to read.

All blurbs and images are from

1. Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda by B Albertalli
Sixteen-year-old and not-so-openly gay Simon Spier prefers to save his drama for the school musical. But when an email falls into the wrong hands, his secret is at risk of being thrust into the spotlight. Now Simon is actually being blackmailed: if he doesn’t play wingman for class clown Martin, his sexual identity will become everyone’s business. Worse, the privacy of Blue, the pen name of the boy he’s been emailing, will be compromised.
2. Salt to the Sea by R Sepetyx
Winter, 1945. Four teenagers. Four secrets.

Each one born of a different homeland; each one hunted, and haunted, by tragedy, lies…and war.

As thousands of desperate refugees flock to the coast in the midst of a Soviet advance, four paths converge, vying for passage aboard the Wilhelm Gustloff, a ship that promises safety and freedom. Yet not all promises can be kept.

3. Pax by S Pennypacker

Pax was only a kit when his family was killed, and “his boy” Peter rescued him from abandonment and certain death. Now the war front approaches, and when Peter’s father enlists, Peter has to move in with his grandpa. Far worse than being forced to leave home is the fact that Pax can’t go. Peter listens to his stern father—as he usually does—and throws Pax’s favorite toy soldier into the woods. When the fox runs to retrieve it, Peter and his dad get back in the car and leave him there—alone. But before Peter makes it through even one night under his grandfather’s roof, regret and duty spur him to action; he packs for a trek to get his best friend back and sneaks into the night.

4. Infinite in Between by C Mackler
Zoe, Jake, Mia, Gregor, and Whitney meet at freshman orientation. At the end of that first day, they make a promise to reunite after graduation. So much can happen in those in-between years….
Zoe feels like she will live forever in her famous mother’s shadow. Jake struggles to find the right connections in friendship and in love. Mia keeps trying on new identities, looking for one that actually fits. Gregor thought he wanted to be more than just a band geek. And Whitney seems to have it all, until it’s all falling apart around her.