Congratulations, Ashwini Kulkarni – Poetry Out Loud State Finalist!!

This morning, in Framingham, on the strength of her excellent recitations of Zacuanpapalotls by Brenda Cardenas and Life Cycle of Common Man by Howard Nemerov, Ashwini Kulkarni (Class of 2015) was selected to move on to the state finals for the 2015 Poetry Out Loud competition. After this weekend, there will be only 26 students remaining in the Massachusetts competition, out of the 20,000+ who participated this year statewide.

The competition in Framingham was excellent, and was easily the toughest semifinals competition in Framingham to date.

On Sunday, March 8, Ashwini will present her poems in the Old South Meeting House in Boston, and will compete for the state championship. Between now and then, she must memorize a third poem, which she will present if she moves on into the final six performers. Good luck, Ashwini!

At this year’s semifinals, BHS was also recognized as being one of the exemplary Poetry Out Loud programs in the state, having participated for the past nine years.

Poetic Ramblings Hosts Writing Workshop

Poetic Ramblings, the BHS poetry and culture club, hosted a writing workshop today, which featured Mass LEAP representative and slam poet Alex Charalambides.  The ten students who attended had the opportunity to hear Charalambides discuss the art of slam poetry and view him perform some of his own work before engaging in writing exercises to help them develop poems of their own.  The creativity and energy of the group has inspired some members of the club to start a slam poetry team and participate in this year’s Louder Than a Bomb youth slam competition in May. Any students who are interested in joining should contact Mrs. Janovitz.

Huge Book Purchase for the Well-Read Devils – Get Free Books!

While we were disappointed in the news that PaperBackSwap has stopped being a free service, which will make it more difficult for us to use that site to acquire books for the Well-Read Devils, the BHS Book Buying Program. But the Used Book Superstore in Burlington is having an insane sale, and that means great deals for YOU. If you wish to get free copies of the books we’ve just purchased, check out the titles in the (slightly blurry) photographs below, and then add your requests to THIS PAGE. Preference will go to students who have not yet received anything, and the total cost came out to about 50 cents per book, which means they are FREE for you! (NB: If you request more than one of these titles, you will receive one at least, but we’ll hold back on the rest of your requests to ensure that everyone gets a fair crack at them)

Keep an eye on the book giveaway table in the English hall for some of these titles as well.

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Fiction helps prepare you for life

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Other books prepare you for standardized testing

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And check out our overstock from before today

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Good Luck to Ashwini Kulkarni in the Poetry Out Loud State Semifinals!

On Saturday, senior Ashwini Kulkarni will represent Burlington in the tenth-annual Massachusetts Poetry Out Loud competition. She will compete against around 15 other state semifinalists in Framingham, around a third of whom will move on to the state finals in Boston on March 8. Ashwini will be reciting Zacuanpapalotls by Brenda Cardenas, and Life Cycle of Common Man, by Howard Nemerov.

Good luck, Ashwini!

Join the Burlington Town Read – Check out Orphan Train

Burlington is once again participating in a Town Read, where people are encouraged to read the same book, and participate in events surrounding the novel. This year’s book is Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline (click the title to find out more) and you can pick up free copies to borrow from the library, or True North Coffee.

Taken from the Burlington Public Library’s website

What would happen if everyone in Burlington read the same book?  Join your friends and neighbors and find out!  Read “Orphan Train” by Christina Baker Kline, a novel based on little-known events in American history, in which turn-of-the-century orphans from eastern cities were loaded on trains and sent out to the Midwest in search of adoptive families.  Copies of the book are available NOW at the Library, and at selected locations around town.


Thursday, March 5, 2015, 12:30 – 2:30 p.m. — Lunch at the Library and a Video-chat about the Children’s Aid Society in New York City.  Enjoy a homemade Depression-era style lunch;  then hear from Paul Clarke, current director of the Children’s Aid Society, which organized the Orphan Trains in the late 19th and early 20th Centuries.  Lunch and program sponsored by Mercedes-Benz of Burlington.  Sign Up please, via the Library’s on-line calendar or by calling 781-505-4985 so that we’ll know how much food is needed.

Monday, March 9, 2-3 p.m. – Book Discussion at Stonebridge at Burlington, 50 Greenleaf Way.  Refreshments will be provided.

Thursday, March 12, 10:30 a.m. — Book Discussion at the Library.  Light refreshments served.

Thursday, March 12, 7 p.m. at the Library — Film showing of “The Orphan Trains,” a PBS documentary hosted by David McCullough and narrated by Stacy Keach.

Tuesday, March 17, 9:30 a.m.  — Book Discussion at the Council on Aging, 61 Center Street, Burlington.

Wednesday, March 18, 4-5 p.m. at the Library — “Booking It” for grade school kids. Orphan Train stories, craft and snacks.

Thursday, March 19, 12-1 p.m. — Book Discussion at Mt. Hope Christian School, 3 McGinness Drive, Burlington.  Bring a brown bag lunch; extra refreshments provided.

Thursday, March 19, 7 p.m. at the Library — “Depression-Era Cooking” with Ellie Deaner. Cooking demonstration, free tastes, and recipes to take home.  Sponsored by the Friends of the Library.

Friday, March 20, 2 p.m. at the Library — “Orphan Train Riders” lecture and video with historian, aughor and photographer Tom Riley.  Sponsored by Lindsay Curylo of Doctors Express.

Wednesday, March 25, 7-8:30 p.m. at the Library —  Book Discussion.  Light refreshments served.

Thursday, March 26, 7 p.m. at the Library — “Vintage Songs and Guitars” with Ken Lelen. A program of ragtime, jazz and swing tunes from the 1920’s, 30’s and 40’s, played on vintage acoustic guitars from the same era.  The program will include a special song about Orphan Train Riders.  Co-sponsored by DCU and Herb Chambers Honda of Burlington.


362.73 — The Orphan Trains: Placing out in America, by Marilyn Holt.
362.73 — Orphan Trains:  the Story of Charles Loring Brace and the Children He Saved and Failed, by Stephen O’Connor.
Biography Martin — Mail Order Kid, by Marilyn Coffey.
Fiction — Riders on the Orphan Train, by Alison Moore.

WEBSITES OF INTEREST: — Website of an organization founded in 1853 by the Rev. Charles Loring Brace, dedicated to giving orphaned children an alternative to life on teeming city streets.   The Orphan Train Movement is now recognized as the beginning of modern foster care in the U.S.  Currently the mission of the Children’s Aid Society is to help children in poverty to succeed and thrive. — Website of the National Orphan Train Complex in Concordia, Kansas, a museum and research center dedicated to the preservation of the stories and artifacts of those who were part of the Orphan Train Movement from 1854-1929.

Writing & Reading Lab – Open Periods 2, 3, and 5 in the Spring Semester

The Writing and Reading Lab, located in room 216 in the English hall, is now open periods 2, 3, and 5 for the second half of the year.

The Writing & Reading Lab is an opportunity for any BHS student to receive help with an essay, or with a book that he or she is reading for school (and not just for English!) Students are free to stop in and get help any time – just bring a signed pass from your teacher.

New Summer Reading Option: Cat’s Cradle (Juniors)

Over the next few months, we will be revealing the titles that will become the summer reading options for the summer of 2015. Students will select one title from a list of around five novels per grade (In the subject line of the post, “Freshmen” means that the book will be read by incoming freshmen, not existing ones, etc.). 

Cat’s Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut

cats-cradle2When Time Magazine published an article at the beginning of the 21st century, asking which contemporary author would be seen as the voice of the early 2000’s when we look back in 50 or 100 years, they gave examples of authors who really captured the feel of their era better than anyone else. Want to read the Jazz Age? Pick up F. Scott Fitzgerald. The “Me Generation” of the ’80s? Try Bright Lights, Big City. And to understand the paranoia of the Cold War and the skepticism of the Vietnam era, they pointed to Vonnegut. In this title, a fictional republic has been created in the Caribbean by the son of a scientific genius. This dictator was given a very powerful gift from his father when he died – a gift that would allow him to destroy all civilization. This novel tracks a character who wishes to seek out this dictator and write a biography about him and his family. Along the way, you’ll see Vonnegut’s madcap humor, his political edge, and his sharp satire of American politics. The pace is quick, and if you’ve never read Vonnegut, this book is a good introduction to one of America’s most distinct literary voices.

Check Out “Call Me Ishmael” – A Website for Book Lovers

Call Me Ishmael has a clever premise; You call a phone number and leave a voicemail explaining why you love a certain novel, and if your voicemail stands out, the creator of the webpage will turn it into a video that everyone can see. You can, of course, simply browse the site as well, and see what other people have had to say about some of your favorite books. Check it out!

Superhero Writing Workshop at Woburn Library – 2/18

The Woburn Public Library recently announced that it will be holding a one-day writing workshop for teens on February 18 from 1 to 5 PM with author Matthew Phillion, where young writers will learn about the craft of writing Superhero stories. The workshop is open to students from grades 6-12. Interested? Read their press release below:

Superhero Writing for Teens

So you want to write about superheroes?

It used to be comics or bust if you wanted to tell superhero stories. But things have changed, and for writers with superheroes on the mind, this is a change for the better. Authors, screenwriters, and artists all have many more options than ever before to tell their tales—what type of storyteller are you?

On Wednesday, February 18 from 1 to 5PM at the Woburn Public Library, Matthew Phillion, author of the Indestructibles series of Young Adult superhero novels, will share his experience writing for the genre while going over what sorts of options are available for aspiring writers to create super-stories. He will help writers learn what opportunities they have, which style might be best for them, and how to find the right collaborators to bring their stories to life. Attendees are encouraged to bring samples of their superhero writing with them.

This 4-hour intensive workshop is open to teens in grades 6 through 12. Interested? To register, please call 781-933-0148 or visit the Reference Desk. Refreshments will be served. Handicapped access can be arranged by calling 781-933-0148. This program is sponsored by the Friends of the Woburn Public Library.