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Brood X Has Entered the Chat

It’s that time of the year (OK, it’s that time of the every 17 years): the cicadas are back! And they’re here to stay (for the next few weeks anyway). Curious to learn more about these just-a-few-times-in-a-lifetime insects? Take a look at some of the resources below.

Cicada on leaf

Oh! And a shout out to the Howard County Public Library for sharing these resources in their weekly newsletter, HiLights, from May 24, 2021. You can subscribe to the HCLS eNews on their website. And remember, all HCPSS students have access to all of the library resources with their A+ student library card, available by clicking on the HC Library button on

Now, on to the cicadas! has some really interesting information about these periodic visitors. For instance, did you know that only the male cicadas sing? Or that adult cicadas don’t eat solid food, but do drink fluids to avoid getting dehydrated? This website also has some fun activities for you to try at home, like folding an origami cicada! Plus, they have an app to help you find cicadas in your area (though at this point you may not need an app). And lots of other resources too.

The Howard County Conservancy has created a Cicada Scavenger Hunt.

Finally, if you’re looking for more information about cicadas, try searching in one of our databases in MackinVia, available to all students and staff via A good database to start with might be Gale’s Science in Context. And here’s one article (again, thanks HCLS!!) about the brood of cicadas visiting us this year:

“Like Clockwork: Ready or Not, the Brood X Cicadas are Coming – Maybe to a Park Near You”

And because our brains work this way, here are a few awesome books that popped to mind as we were discussing Brood X and all its glory:

Brooding YA Hero by Carrie Anne DiRisio


I Am Princess X by Cherie Priest

and of course, the unique tale that just might warm your heart to these little creatures:

Cicada by Shaun Tan


Christopher, Todd. “Like Clockwork: Ready or not, the Brood X cicadas are coming–maybe to a park near you.” National Parks, vol. 95, no. 2, Spring 2021, p. 22+. Gale In Context: High School, link. Accessed 25 May 2021.

Image credit:

17-Year Cicada. Photography. Britannica ImageQuest, Encyclopædia Britannica, 25 May Accessed 25 May 2021.


Celebrate AAPI Heritage Month!

This month, we celebrate and honor the heritage and culture of our Asian American & Pacific Islanders community. We’ve curated a few of our favorite book titles for you to get empowered, learn, or escape into some wonderful fiction. Any of these listed here are available at OMHS, many of them in e-book also, so put in your request through our catalog! These are just a few of the many awesome AAPI titles we have available, so browse the catalog or reach out to Mrs. Florida or Ms. Trzesinski if you’d like something beyond what you see here.

Unboxing – Jump for Joy!!

We just recently received our last book order from last school year! It was placed before the Covid-19 shut down and sat languishing in a warehouse somewhere until we could finally welcome it to our Media Center. We were overjoyed to have the chance to do one of our favorite library things together again: the book unboxing. Enjoy this time lapse video of all the fun and catch a peek of what new items are available for check out. Below, we’ll tell you some of the ones we checked out to take home immediately. You can also see a scrolling list of all the new books from this order in our school catalog. So, if any of these new titles make you want to jump for joy, look back at last week’s blog post about how to request a book for curbside pickup!

Ms. T’s most anticipated from this order:

#Murdertrending by Gretchen McNeil

The cover and title first attracted me to this book, and then the premise described in the front flap drew me in. Particularly that the main character’s crew is known as the Death Row Breakfast Club, which made me think of the movie The Breakfast Club.

Dragon Hoops by Gene Luen Yang

I have loved everything that Gene Luen Yang has written and am always excited when a new title by him is published. Mrs. FL gave it a glowing review, and I’m looking forward to diving in and sharing it with students!

How To: Absurd Scientific Advice for Common Real-World Problems by Randall MunroeI very much enjoy Munroe’s xkcd webcomic. And when I read that this book is a guide to accomplishing a task in “a way so monumentally complex, excessive, and inadvisable that no one would ever try it” I was sold. I absolutely want to know the most ridiculous (yet scientifically accurate) way to dig a hole.

Don’t Read the Comments by Eric Smith

The title drew me to this one. “Don’t read the comment” are wise words to live by, and something I’m always reminding myself of when I fall down the rabbit hole of comments on social media. Then I read the blurb on the front flap: gamers standing up to and fighting against online trolls. I’m definitely intrigued.

Magus of the Library volumes 2+3 by Mitsu Izumi

I don’t normally read manga, but Mrs. FL assured me that I would enjoy this series. I picked up the first volume over the summer and fell a little bit in love with Theo and the librarians that come and change his life. Libraries are revered. Our hero loves books. What’s not to like?

The Great Nijinsky: God of Dance by Lynn Curlee

First, the cover drew my eye. Then I flipped through a few pages, and the artwork is gorgeous. Finally, the bio of Nijinsky. I took ballet lessons when I was very young, and I’ve always enjoyed watching ballet, and I’m looking forward to learning more about this legendary dancer.

Mrs. FL’s most anticipated from this order:

Attack on Titan 29 by Hajime Isayama

I mean, once you get into this series, you just have to keep going to see how it ends. This has been quite a journey and I hope we get some answers to really big questions soon, but you never know… I’ll just have to read to find out!

Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You by Jason Reynolds and Ibram X. Kendi

I read Mr. Kendi’s last book How to Be and Antiracist, and have loved Jason Reynolds fiction, so I’m excited to check out this team-up.

Chronin, Volume 1 by Alison Wilgus

I like the cover design and was intrigued by the time-travel plot. It seems like a really unique story!

Empire of Dreams by Rae Carson

Here I am again, wanting to read a book because of its cover. This is also a fantasy, find your true identity, overthrow the evil overlords kind of book, which is my fav.

I’m Not Dying With You Tonight by Kimberly Jones and Gilly Segal

Two girls get caught up in a fight that spills into a protest and they’re trying to make it home safely. They have to rely on each other and end up confronting a lot of biases and stereotypes along the way. This is timely and relevant. 

When We Were Magic by Sarah Gailey

Magic goes awry, love and friendships on the line, and, you guessed it – really cool cover art. I’m sold.

We’re both super excited about:

Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia

Another Media Specialist highly recommended this book. It’s about fandoms and fanfic, so of course we’re excited!

Nancy Drew: The Palace of Wisdom by Kelly Thompson

We’re willing to give anything that Kelly Thompson writes a shot. And we both used to read Nancy Drew. So it seems like a pretty winning combination.

Super Adjacent by Crystal Cestari

Twists and fresh takes on superheroes are always fun. The title gives the impression that this will be loaded with all kinds of puns and banter. Plus, the tagline on the cover caught our eye: “Dating a hero isn’t always super.” Truth.

The Dysasters by P.C. Cast

Another twist on a persona with powers? Yes please. There’s also some cool mixed media going on, with illustrations and hand written notes scattered throughout.

The Dark Matter of Mona Starr by Laura Lee Gulledge

We enjoyed Laura Lee Gulledge’s previous books, Will & Whit and  Page by Paige, so we were super excited to read this new one.

We’re Open for Curbside Service!

The Books are Back!

Sharing books with our students and staff is one of our favorite things to do. And we’ve missed it since schools have been closed. But now, we’re back in business!

The OMHS Media Center is now open for curbside service! So, if you’ve run out of books to read and haven’t been able to get to the Howard County Library, check out some books with us.

We’re open every Wednesday (except when schools are closed) from 10am to 2pm for pickup and dropoff. All books will be held in quarantine for one (1) week.

If you’re as excited as we are, please keep reading! There are a few steps you’ll need to take to look at what books we have available and place a hold on the ones you want. Getting your account linked to our library catalog does require a few steps, but you’ll only have to do it once! Get set up and start requesting – we can’t wait to get you reading again!

Directions on how to do all the things can be found here:

How to Find a Book

How to Set Up your OMHS Library Account

How to Request a Book

My holds requests when the library resumes book circulation.

Happy book shopping and happy reading!

Summer Reading Wrap-Up!

During the summertime, Ms. T and I always take home overly-ambitious summer reading piles. Neither of us ever make it all the way through our “to-read” list in the summer, but it’s fun to try! This summer, in the midst of all that 2020 has thrown at us, we found ourselves struggling to enjoy books we normally would have loved, or even struggling to read at all! But we both found some real gems that we loved escaping into.

Here’s our 2020 Summer Reading Wrap-Up. Maybe you’ll find one you’d like to check out!

Ms. T’s Top 3

What I Carry by Jennifer Longo

While my tastes run more towards fantasy/sci-fi, I love a solid entry in the realistic fiction genre. As long as there are characters I can connect to and root for, I’m in. And this story had that in spades. A story of a girl, Muiriel, who has spent her whole life in the foster care system and gave up all hope for adoption years ago. She stays under the radar, doesn’t make waves, and doesn’t get attached. She never stays in the same home for very long and is a master at packing everything she needs in a single suitcase. Until this last placement. Her last placement, and the foster parent’s last foster child. She just needs to make it to 18, when she ages out and is on her own for good. But then she meets Francine, and Kira, and Sean, and her carefully constructed persona and outlook on how relationships work, how trust works, starts to unravel. It’s a slice-of-life book full of fluff, angst, a fantastic old dog named Terry Johnson, and a cast of characters that I really enjoyed spending time with. 

The Extraordinaries by T.J. Klune

I could not put this book down. It was like reading an epic work of fanfiction. Nick Bell is a huge fan of the resident superheroes – Extraordinaries. In particular, Shadow Star. He’s actually the author of many a fanfic about Shadow Star and his nemesis, Pyro Storm, the latest of which is a 250,000+ epic in which he’s inserted himself as the love interest for Shadow Star. In real life, Nick’s a 16-year-old with ADHD, a small, sassy, quirky, loyal and loveable group of friends, and a dad who’s struggling to be a good single dad after the death of Nick’s mom. While much of the story is devoted to Nick’s obsession with the Extraordinaries (and becoming Extraordinary himself), it’s much more than that. It’s about the ups and downs of friendships, the relationship between father and son, and navigating being a teenager who’s filled with angst and feelings.

The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl, Vol. 12: To All the Squirrels I’ve Loved Before by Ryan North

I’m cheating here just a little bit, because this is really a recommendation for the entire series. North does a masterful job of bringing this delightful – and less-well-known – superhero to life. In his hands, Doreen Green, aka Squirrel Girl, leaps off the page, defeating her foes through the power of her words and the help of her friends (human and squirrel alike) rather than her fists. She even manages to turn some of those enemies into friends, which winds up being pretty crucial in this final volume. (As are her collection of Deadpool’s Guide to Supervillain Cards). The footnotes alone are worth the price of admission (which, these being available in our library and at the HCL, is 100% FREE!), as they are filled with North’s trademark wit, science facts, and puns (you’ll want to squirrel away these gems).

Mrs. Florida’s Top 3ish

Dragon Hoops by Gene Luen Yang

Unbelievably compelling storytelling. This is an engrossing graphic memoir that is so good, even my friends who hate reading in this format couldn’t put it down. You don’t need to like basketball or graphic novels to enjoy this story. Told from multiple perspectives, this book is a testament to Gene Luen Yang’s masterful narrative ability and the power of just a good, honestly told human story. Everyone should read this!

Aurora Burning by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

This was the non-stop, action-packed sequel to Aurora Rising. If you loved Illuminae Files by this author duo, you may love this series even more. The characters are fabulous, you will care about them and their safety with alarming speed, and you will not be able to put this down. My heart was racing during multiple scenes that had me completely invested. Read this series so you can join us in our anguished wait for book 3. **Ms. T: DITTO. LOVED. IT. Am wondering why the next book in the series is not in my hands right. Now.**

Shadow of the Batgirl by Sarah Kuhn

I am a sucker for superhero reimaginings, especially when there’s canon crossover. While this take on Batgirl was something different than we’ve ever seen, new readers and old fans alike will find fun references and nods to the traditional superhero story that were absolutely delightful. This was so endearing and empowering. The humor was perfectly placed, and having Barbara Gordon as the teen services librarian was awesome! Cassandra and her supporting cast were wonderful to get to know. Highly recommended!

Bonus Book!!

**Bent Heavens by Daniel Kraus – I can’t help but highlighting

I’m cheating and adding a fourth book. I technically didn’t read this during the summer – it was my last book before everything shut down due to Covid-19. I’m highlighting it, though, because I never read books in this genre. I normally hate horror, but read this on a whim because I saw another librarian’s blog post about it. I was surprised at how very quickly I was drawn in and couldn’t look away. It was both tragic, like looking into a cursed mirror and seeing the worst parts of humanity, and captivating in it’s empathy. It horrified me, angered me, saddened me, and shocked me – and I don’t think I’ve devoured a book that quickly in a while!

Welcome! We’re new here.

Welcome to our Media Center blog! We have lots of wacky library fun in our school, and now that we’re in a virtual learning environment, we’re exploring ways to keep the access high for our colleagues and students. One of the ways we’re going to do that is to share ideas and connection opportunities here. We may reminisce a little about the way we used to do things and hope to again someday. There will be a lot about books. We hope you’ll enjoy this peek into what we do. 

To get to know us a little, we’ve interviewed each other about several crucial topics:

Tell me a little bit about yourself!

Ms. Trzesinski is one of OM’s media specialists. She has been working in the Media Center since 2008. Ms. Trzesinski is also a co-adviser of OM’s chapter of the National Honor Society. Her favorite genres are sci-fi and fantasy, though she has read some amazing realistic fiction recently, and is always up for a good mystery.

Mrs. Florida is the other of OM’s media specialists. I started at OM in 2005 as a Spanish teacher and moved to work in the library with Ms. T in 2015. I’m the Student Government Advisor and resident bad joke connoisseur. I love reading science fiction, fantasy, and lots of comics + manga.

What Avatar the Last Airbender character do you identify with the most?

Ms. T: I identify most with Mai. She’s a good person at heart and is there to support you when it counts. She and I both sometimes have a face that looks like we don’t want to be bothered, but it’s not true! And we may have an outwardly calm appearance, but we’re actually frantically working away behind the scenes.

Mrs. FL: I identify most with Sokka. We have a similar sense of humor (the best, lol). I work really hard to make the team’s plan happen even if adjustments are needed along the way. I’ll complain loudly if I haven’t had enough to eat, but just like trusty boomerang, I’ll have your back and always try to help out. 

If you could only eat one food for the rest of your life, what would it be?

Ms. T: Pizza. Hot, cold, with toppings or without (though I am partial to the plain cheese variety), it’s the perfect food. 

Mrs. FL: Definitely tacos. There’s so many varieties I could switch it up a lot and not feel like I was eating the same thing all the time. Personal favorite: tacos al pastor

What animal would you find most terrifying if it could talk?

Mrs. FL: Shoebill stork, hands-down. You know what I’m talking about. If you google “scariest bird” this is the first result. They are horrifying in a still picture, video gives me the shudders, and just the thought of one of them turning its head to look at me and say, “You shouldn’t be here” makes me want to fling my laptop across the room in terror just typing this.

You see it, right? I’m not wrong. *Shudder*

Ms. T: This is a tough one, mostly because I refuse to Google “scariest animal” which would probably just be fuel for my nightmares. 

If you could jump into a swimming pool filled with something other than water, what would it be?

Ms. T: Bubbles. In all the colors of the rainbow.

Mrs. FL: Something carbonated. I feel like it would feel neat to swim in a bubbly pool. Like root beer.