Banned Books Day!

We had a wonderful celebration on Wednesday of our freedom to read banned books. Tables were set up with centerpieces of banned books, along with “Read” wristbands and library buttons.

Once students and faculty got their lunches, the library filled up quickly.

We had 18 readers who chose selections from their favorite banned books to read aloud to the audience, and the selections ranged from The Perks of Being a Wallflower to a poem by Catullus.

Come check out some of the banned books we have on display in the library, and join for our banned books celebration next year!

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Welcome Back!

The library is open, and full of students studying, creating origami and Lego sculptures and (gasp) eating and drinking! The library seemed too quiet over the summer without all of our students, and we’re so glad to have you all back. We know that you spent the summer doing exciting things, but you might be wondering…how do librarians spend the summer?

Mrs. Abarbanel
Favorite Thing You Did This Summer: Went paddleboarding with my family! It was really fun. I also spent a lot of time at the beach.

Favorite Summer Book: Silver Linings Playbook, which I liked better than the movie! I was surprised.

Most Excited About This School Year: I’m excited to get to know more of the Upper School students through the Maker Break activities and the library overnight.

Ms. Lara
Favorite Thing You Did This Summer: Went to the Rose Bowl to see the Mexico vs. Panama soccer game!

Favorite Summer Book: Unbreakable by Jenni Rivera. I read it in one night!

Most Excited About This School Year: Having all the kids back! The library is not the same without all the teenagers.

Ms. James
Favorite Thing You Did This Summer: Went to Chicago for a library conference! I got to meet Tamora Pierce, who’s one of my favorite authors. I also finally went to the Getty for the first time.

Favorite Summer Book: The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman. One of the best books I’ve ever read, and now I’m reading my way through all of Neil Gaiman’s books.

Most Excited About This School Year: I’m really looking forward to the library overnight, and the 7th grade retreat!

Stop by the desk and let us know what good books you read this summer, and check out the new books that we’ve just gotten this week. And check out the Maker Break table for some fun activities – this week it’s Lego!

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Ender’s Game Trailer!

We’re so excited that the Ender’s Game trailer is out! This book has been a favorite of both middle and high school students for years, and the movie looks like it will be an exciting adaptation.

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Short Story Contest!

It is time to enter the Library and Amaranth’s

Annual Short Story Contest

The story must have the theme:

“It’s never too late.”

Due: Monday May 20


  • Stories should be approximately 3-6 pages

  • email stories from your school email to the  library as word attachments (with your name omitted)

  • A panel of teachers will decide the winners

  • Contact Ms. Abarbanel if you have any questions

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Ebrary Getting even Better!

One of our favorite new resources this year is ebrary – and it just keeps getting better! Now offering more than 90,000 scholarly books, it is also available through our ProQuest databases. Try a search in ProQuest, and an ebrary tab pops up. Click on that tab to see the e-book results from that search. Ebrary will require a login when you decide to download a book or keep one to your bookshelf. This should make searching even more efficient!


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Library Overnight!

Recently we held the 11th annual Upper School Library Sleepover.  I was ready to let this tradition, which was originally started by students, retire with Karen Phillips who retired last year and chaperoned and organized this event for a decade. The students who thought of it as a Brentwood School tradition, however, demanded we do it again, and I am so glad we did! As soon as I advertised the event one time at assembly, it was full, with over 20 students wanting to attend. Members of the Student Library Advisory Council (SLAC-ers) decided we would read Arthur Conan Doyle’s A Study in Scarlet and watch the BBC Sherlock version of the Sherlock Holmes novella. Ashlynn M. (2013) created a role-play mystery game for us to solve, which we did at 1:00 AM. She creatively invented characters related to the novella, and gave us each clues on paper made to look old, complete with  wax seals. Madi K. (2015) shared that the “library overnight was a great way to bond and meet new people … My favorite part was when some people summarized the first half of the book by performing an interpretive dance version. Overall, I had a ton of fun, and I’m definitely excited for next year.” We set up our sleeping bags in front of the TV at around 1:30 AM and most of us were asleep by 3:00. It was a night of laughter, acting, books, mystery, and new friends,  and Ms. James and I are glad to keep the tradition going for another decade.

-Ms. Abarbanel

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Participatory Display: What do we do with Lance Armstrong’s Books?


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6 Word Story Contest Winners!

The winners of the Brentwood School 6 Word Story Contest with The Perkiomen School were announced on twitter last Friday morning. The librarians enjoyed slowly tweeting out all the winners, @bwslibrary tweeted the Perkiomen School winners, and @perklibrarian tweeted the Brentwood School winners.
The idea for this contest came from Kate Hammond, Librarian at Perkiomen School, who sent out her idea for a multi-school 6 word story contest via the listserv for AISL, the Association of Independent School Librarians. Ms. Abarbanel responded, and the 6 word story contest was born. Brentwood School community members competed against each other, with 223 entries. A committee from Perkiomen School judged our entries as we judged theirs.

We had 3 faculty winners, 3 middle school winners, and 5 upper school winners from each school. The results were tweeted (see the twitter stream here).
Congratulations to the Winners!
This pale handkerchief looked clean once-Lynn C.
. . . but officer, the python wasn’t mine-Laura F.
Press here and run like crazy!- Bob K.

Upper School
And then the rope went slack. – Annabelle C. (2016)
Saved my reputation. I lost myself. Shelby S.(2014)
Draft card in my mailbox. Unopened. Griffin Dell. (2013)
Four socks, slick hardwood-dancing lovers. Griffin Dea. (2013)
You burn. I’m smoke. I linger. Dylan B. (2013)

Middle School

Abundance of People, Absence of Peace. Taylor L. (2017)
Tattered, torn, leather vest well worn. Clark L. (2017)
Man stands, with grief and pride. Anna G. (2017)

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Faculty Book Reviews

Here’s what some of Brentwood School’s faculty have been reading!

Mr. Becker – This Beautiful Life by Helen Schulman

“I liked this novel about a 15-year old boy, in private school, who is sent an explicit video by a girl who likes him.  He mistakenly forwards the video to his best friend, and it soon goes “viral.”  The boy is suspended and his family is soon in crisis.  Good stuff!”


Ms. Todd and Ms. Kermott – Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

Ms. Todd: “One of those books where you think you know a person (character), but then you realize not all is as it seems.”

Ms. Kermott: “This book will keep you reading to discover who the sociopath really is!  It’s a fun read with only two voices, and written in an intriguing style.”


Ms. James – The Archived by Victoria Schwab

“A beautifully creepy book where librarians catalog the memories of the dead, and people called Keepers must patrol the space between the worlds so that the most dangerous ghosts can’t make their way back to the living world. But someone, or something, is waking the dead and sending them back to an old hotel where something terrible happened.”

You can check out all of these books up in the library! Want to have a review featured on the blog? Let us know what you’re reading!

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6 Word Story Contest

Open to Middle School, Upper School, Faculty, and Staff.

Ernest Hemingway famously wrote a short story in six words: “For sale, baby shoes, never worn.” It says so much with so little.*
The Library invites you to try writing your own SIX WORD SHORT STORY. We will be doing this contest in conjunction with The Perkiomen School, an independent school in Pennsylvania.

The RULES are simple:
1.It must be an ORIGINAL story.
2.It must be six words. No more. No less.
3.You may submit as many stories as you want between Nov. 30th and Jan. 11th.

Submissions must be done here by January 11th. You will need to log in to your school gmail to access the form below.

See Ms. Abarbanel or Ms. James if you have any questions.

*update: Did Hemingway really write that 6 word story? Find out on Snopes!

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