Alessandra Naccarato – Spoken Word Poet @ NWSS Library

The Vancouver Writer’s Festival generously funded a school visit by Spoken Word Poet, Alessandra Naccarato on June 1, 2015.  Alessandra performed some incredible poems to Mr Gebert’s and Mr Forsythe’s English classes, including “Coyote Medicine/ Medicine Coyote” which was a CBC Poetry Prize Finalist.  Ms. Naccarato is a recipient of a Canada Council Grant, writes creative non-fiction and is an RBC Emergent Writer.  She  is set to release an album of spoken word and music in the coming weeks. She is also working on her first YA novel, an environmental thriller set in a dystopic Canadian future.  If you want to read further works by Alessandra Naccarato, “Re-origin of Species” is a free ibook put out by the Writers’ Trust of Canada.

Student Q & A:

Why does your speaking voice sound different from your reciting voice?

I use my training in theatre to change octave, rhythm and tone to accompany and emphasize the message of the poems.

Metaphors or similes : which do you prefer ?

Similes are easier to insert into poems and are effective for conveying imagery. However, extended metaphors can structure an entire poem and are effective for drawing your audience into your thought process as they provide multiple points of entry into the poem.

Who are your literary influences?

howlIn Grade 10 I had an English teacher  introduce me to Howl by Allen Ginsberg. Howl showed me what poetry was capable of , in particular, its revolutionary aspect; Howl inspired me to become a poet. My  other influences are Ursula K. L Guin and Gabriel Garcia Marquez.


Where can young people hear and participate in spoken word ?

Check out the Vancouver Poetry Slam and monthly open-mic events at Café Deux Soleils

Do you have any hobbies?

I like to make jewelry, teach yoga, and read tarot cards.  I study tarot cards with mentors who use the cards as storytelling devices through the analysis of archetypes.

Any words of advice ?

“Inspiration is for amateurs – the rest of us just show up and do the work.” This means that sometimes, poems come easily to me; most times, I just have to write everyday and refine my work, sometimes for years.  Basically, the more I write, the easier it becomes.

Ribbet collage a naccarato

Hyack Teen Read Winner 2015 !

This year’s Hyack Teen Read Winner is ….. Our Interrupted Fairy Tale, by NWSS grad, Megan Williams. As a partnership between the NWPL and NWSS Library, the Hyack Teen Read program promotes reading for pleasure by recommending 10 books every year and encouraging New West teens to rate their favourite.  Fiction, non-fiction, and graphic novels are shortlisted by an Advisory Group of teens and librarians.  New West teens are always invited to join the Advisory Group.  This year’s promotion events included author visits by Megan Williams, book clubs, flyers, bookmarks, and contests.  Our next year’s Hyack Reads will be announced in October !

This year’s grand prize winner : Jennifer Dewan – A Kobo eReader !

Secondary winners : Hyack Teen Read book bag and Scholastic certificates.

Ribbet collage hyack reads 1Ribbet collage hyack reads 2

Global Issues Week 2015

photo of posterDid you know that in addition to being the best selling author of Daaku, Ranj Dhaliwal, also….

-Restores Harley Davidsons
-Works as a legal researcher
-Was invited to run for political office
-Is a Red-Seal electrician
As an expert on IndoCanadian gang violence, Ranj Dhaliwal is a highly sought out speaker by police and community groups vested in stopping youth from joining gangs. Ranj’s presentation shared his teenage years growing up in Surrey with friends who joined gangs and his road to educating and improving himself by getting a trade, working full, juggling family life, all while finding the time to write (ie: on the Skytrain and on his Blackberry).

Run by the People’s Law School, Justice Theatre re-enacts Canadian trials in order to educate the public about their legal rights and responsibilities. This year’s re-enactment of a gang related kidnapping was timely due to the recent violent shootings in BC this spring. Students formed part of the jury and the rest of the audience was invited to ask questions.

Ribbet collage bc alphaBC-ALPHA delivered two presentations related to human rights violations committed during the Asia-Pacific War (1931-1945). The topics, “Biochemical Warfare and Human Experimentation” and “Japanese Sexual Slavery” examined concepts of exploitation, propaganda, and restitution. Powerful visuals, art, and interactive participation strategies engaged students in small and large group discussions about these important historical events, the root causes that continue to be relevant, the interpretative nature of history, and what values are important in democratic societies.

Ribbet collage AI 2015Amnesty International’s BC coordinator, Don Wright explained the origins of Amnesty International and its grounding in the UN Declaration of Human Rights. Don informed students about current campaigns such as freedom for journalists, girls’ access to education, and privacy issues. He also included various avenues for student involvement in Amnesty’s work through volunteer opportunities, campaigns, and the AI Book Club.

Ribbet collage mmiwFormer NWSS Student Teacher, Emily Menzies, created an interactive workshop for our students on the topic of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women. Classes participated in cooperative activities which gave them to chance to explore the the importance of the women in their own lives to understand the extent of the tragedy of violence against First Nations women. The students of Ms. Sacco’s English class were inspired to take action and wrote letters to Prime Minister Harper asking for more action on this issue.

Ms. Amy Patterson, NWSS English teacher and Certified Sexual Educator, spoke to 300 students on the topic of Sexual Health. Her principal messages were that accurate vocabulary about our bodies protects our rights and it is important for individuals to recognize and respect their values. Ms. Patterson also answered questions she collected from students and covered 20 key points that students want to know. Ms. Patterson suggested some books for further information, available in the library, and through the website

ashley littleTwo-time BC Book Prize winner Ashley Little concluded Global Issues Week. She spoke about the process of researching Anatomy of a Girl Gang, which included living for three weeks on the Downtown East Side and researching youth gang involvement. Ashley Little has just completed her MFA in Creative Writing and shared with students the rigors and discipline of the writing process.

Spanish Club Photo Contest – Deadline May 1

Ribbet collage spanish club contestGuidelines

1. Photo must be an original taken by you.

2. Photo must relate to the Hispanic world or culture, broadly interpreted.

3. Submissions may be made by email or printed copies. Email Ms. Jones, Teacher-Librarian/ Spanish teacher. or nwsslibrary AT

4. No visible faces in photo

5. School appropriate

6. The winning photo will be incorporated in the Spanish Club mural and receive a $50 gift card.

Célébrons la Journée internationale de la femme

The library is celebrating International Women’s Day with book displays and promotional materials.  Note that the Government of Canada Status of Women has prepared a series of resources  to highlight the contribution of women to Canada’s economy in a range of areas.  Aussi disponible en français

ribbet collage intl womens day

NWSS Dream Courses – Electives Fair 2015

Just because you are planning to major in dentistry, doesn’t mean you couldn’t benefit from a course on Social Justice. Electives offer students the opportunity to delve into an existing interest or hobby. For example, courses such as Psychology and Creative Writing can benefit your success in many careers. Elective courses are often the most memorable ones in high school – don’t leave here with wishes unfulfilled !
Elective fair 15 Ribbet collage
elective fair 15 pt 2 Ribbet collage

Reading Challenge Contest !

reading challenge 2015READING IS THE NEW BLACK.  Join the 2015 Reading Challenge and win prizes !!  Read books in a variety of categories and enter to win recognition and loot. Log booklets and contest details are available in the library.

“Double-dipping” categories is allowed. However, the student(s) with the most unique titles (singletons) will be declared Grand Prize winner.

Students entering and successfully completing the Challenge will have their names entered for random prizes. Teachers, teacher-librarians, parents, and public librarians can assist students to choose the Reading Challenge books that are appropriate for their age, interest and maturity levels. Download a booklet here.
reading challenge booklet

Climate Reality Project 2015

The Environment Club hosted a return of the  Climate Reality Project presentation by UBC Sociology professor David Tindall on January 15, 2015 in the school library.  The event was attended by 150 students and their teachers – interest was high as the event “sold out” in one day. Dr. Tindall spoke about Climate Justice: how global warming affects the future of youth and to consider sustainable energy practices as a human rights issue.  Thanks to Environment Club member, Sophie Labrosse,  for organizing this ! climate justice (1)