Summer reading feedback from new Y9s – ‘The boy at the top of the mountain’ by John Boyne

 

john-boyne-pcsIt was lovely to receive your postcards with comments on your responses to ‘The boy at the top of the mountain’ by John Boyne. We appreciated the positive feedback and are looking forward to having our book discussion tutorials with all of you as term progresses. This is an opportunity for all our new Y9s to share their views on a book they are read over the summer and to recommend favourite books to their peers.

Here are two insightful reviews:

‘This book is filled to the brim with emotional scenes, touching moments and inspirational messages. Although depressing and dark at times, John Boyne manages to convey a meaningful message of how the people you grow up around can influence your life forever. A similar book to this is ‘The boy in the striped pyjamas’ That book is also based on WWll and the life of a German boy during the war.’

Torsten writes:

‘To Wellington Library,

Powerful, devastating and tragic are the three wors that most strongly come to mind after reading this book. The theme of manipulation scared me and that Pierrot could be controlled and transformed into a different character…..Tragic! A must read!

(I removed a small section to avoid a plot spoiler!)

Fun and fierce competition characterised the Y9 library induction sessions. After a whistle-stop tour around the library our house groups (mixed boys and girls’ houses where possible) had a go at a Kahoot online quiz based on information about the library. We were impressed at how much they’d taken in on a very busy, information rich day!

file-09-09-2016-12-26-00

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

file-09-09-2016-12-25-41

 

 

 

 

 

The Carnegie Book Award 2016 shadowing takes off!

Carnegie group 2016The Carnegie Book Award Shortlist 2016 has been announced and our Y9 shadowing group members have collected their first books to read over the Easter holidays. It’s a fantastic shortlist this year including ‘The Lie Tree’ by Frances Hardinge; Costa Book of the Year 2015 and much praised and recommended by both librarians here. I thought ‘One’ was amazing and Sarah Crossan’s trademark style of writing in blank verse works well with the subject matter. Tipi and Grace are conjoined teenage twins and each chapter conveys a poetic snapshot of their life.

Read more about the shortlists here  You can watch author and illustrator videos here

Guardian reviews of all the books can be found here

Having multiple copies of the shortlisted books enables a large group of students to read the books simultaneously and provokes heated discussions about the merits and drawbacks of all of them. After the award process is over they become useful sets of contemporary fiction which can be read by tutor groups.

CdrlUHYXIAArWUn[1]

The 8 shortlisted books are:

One by Sarah Crossan

The Lie Tree by Frances Hardinge

There Will Be Lies by Nick Lake

The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness

Five Children on the Western Front by Kate Saunders

The Ghosts of Heaven by Marcus Sedgwick

Y9 recommended reads and reading for pleasure at Wellington

IMG_3728

We’ve had a wonderful start to this academic year in terms of seeing a great deal of the new Y9s in the Library. Not only have they been joining us for research sessions during their geography lessons (getting to grips with the wealth of online resources on the e-Library) but they are also coming to us for ‘book chat’ tutorials – sharing their likes and dislikes and recommending books to their peers. This year each tutor group will have a discussion with one of the librarians – starting off with a Kahoot to quiz what they remember about ‘Revolver’ by Marcus Sedgwick (the book they were all given to read over the summer) and another to hear about their responses to it.

Each Y9 class is having a one hour session in the Library every fortnight providing the opportunity to choose books freely, bring books or e-readers from home, recommend books for new stock and where multiple copies exist read the same book as friends so that they can discuss it afterwards. We are particularly encouraging the pupils to try different types of books and are currently developing our collection of graphic novels – both in size and range. We now have our first Manga and comic books and graphic novels on topics in history such as Palestine by Joe Sacco and Barefoot Gen: a cartoon story of Hiroshima. Author Sarah Crossan did an excellent presentation on verse novels at a librarians’ conference and we have a small collection of free verse novels – an unusual form but surprisingly compelling as well as generally quick to read.

It has been incredibly encouraging to see how enthusiastically the new students have shared their favourite books and at the same time how honest others have been about not being ‘readers’. We have a hugely supportive staff who share their reading recommendations through posters on their classroom doors, the loan of books and chatting to students. Here is a blog post by an American school librarian that I wholeheartedly agree with:  Learning to read alone is not enough. Your students need a reading champion. 

Let’s hope we can keep this reading momentum as they progress up the school!

Here are some of the Y9 student suggestions (many more to come!)

Y9 Orange Book Recommendations

The House of Silk – Anthony Horowitz (this was the first official new Sherlock Holmes mystery)

Before I Die – Jenny Downham

Cuckoo Song – Frances Hardinge

My Sister’s Keeper – Jodi Picoult

The secrets we keep – Jonathan Harvey

An island of our own – Sally Nicholls

The London Eye mystery – Siobhan Dowd

Cherub series by Robert Muchamore

We need to talk about Kevin – Lionel Shriver

The Leopard – Jo Nesbo (and any of his crime novels!)

It’s kind of a funny story – Ned Vizzini

We all looked up – Tommy Wallach (the story of an asteroid on a potential collision course with Earth as told from the alternating viewpoints of four high school students.)

Tuesdays with Morrie – Mitch Albom (on the Wellbeing Top Ten Reads list)

Mum, can you lend me twenty quid? – Elizabeth Burton-Phillips (subtitled: What drugs did to my family)

Archangel – Robert Harris

An officer and a spy – Robert Harris

Y9 Picton – recommended reads:

Noughts and Crosses series – Malorie Blackman

My swordhand is singing – Marcus Sedgwick

Midwinter Blood – Marcus Sedgwick

Paper Towns – John Green

Alex Rider series

Holes – Louis Sachar

Journey’s End – R.C. Sherriff

Curious Incident of the dog in the night-time – Mark Haddon

Pig-heart Boy – Malorie Blackman

Tell me no lies – Malorie Blackman

Any and all of John Green’s books

‘If you haven’t read the whole of the Harry Potter series you haven’t lived’ Lucas

See more pupil book reviews here

reading lesson

 

More reading suggestions and book lists

Avid readers and pupils keen to read a wide range of styles and genres this summer have a look at Mr Wayman’s Middle School Reading List. There is something for everyone here, from incoming 3rd form to U6th in fact. How many of the books have your parents read? Fahrenheit 451 is on my “to be read” pile!

Mr Wayman also includes some excellent advice on how to choose the ideal book for you.

Don’t forget to re-visit the Wellington Top Ten reads, chosen by the academic departments and designed to help you extend your subject specific reading. The lists are structured so that the first book is the most accessible to younger pupils and the final book the most challenging.

A reminder of a stylish website which is a fantastic source of reading suggestions – Five Books.

Five Books asks authors and experts to recommend the best books in their subject. In an interview they then discuss why the books are important and what they are about. You can browse by topic or interview or search for a particular book or author/expert. It covers a huge range of subjects range from Espionage to The Mind and Comedy to How to Be Good.

Try Tom Holland on Ancient Rome, Jo Nesbo on Norwegian Crime Writing or Marcus du Sautoy on The Beauty of Maths. There’s a whole section on Being a Parent and plenty of Fiction suggestions too. Definitely something for everyone on this very attractive website.

Happy Reading!

Here’s a fun infographic proposing routes to finding the perfect book.

summer reading

Y9 Carnegie Book Award Shadowing Update

Carnegie Book Prize – 3rd form reading and reviewing

Mrs Lunnon challenged her 3rd form English class to read all 8 shortlisted Carnegie Book Award titles over the Easter break and very impressively Mira, Anna and Ella succeeded. All of the pupils read a variety of the books and it was lovely to see the class writing reviews and discussing their opinions of these books in the Library this morning.

carnegie discussionsHere are some of their comments on ‘All the Truth that’s in me’ by Julie Berry which has proved a popular story.

Anna: This was a quite disturbing read and I wouldn’t recommend it if you are afraid of gore. The story is set in a peaceful village when a young girl returns home at the age of 18 after an awful trauma, two years ago she was kidnapped, her best friend was killed and her tongue was severed. Because the loss of her tongue she can’t explain what happened to her. It’s dark and depressing however, its language is lyrical, it has a good mystery and a compelling heroine. I really enjoyed this book.

Francesca: I really enjoyed ‘All the truth that’s in me’.  Julie Berry uses such an unusual and unique style of writing to describe a young girl’s return to her hometown following her kidnapping which really engages and intrigues the reader. I found there to be continuous twists and unpredicted points throughout the novel, and would definitely recommend it.

Edie: It has a thrilling plot, and is highly original. Although it can be extremely dark and sinister (maybe too much for some people), I would definitely recommend it.

Lucy Atherton: The Carnegie Award judges books on 3 criteria – style, characterisation and plot and I would say this book excelled at them all. A thrilling read which unravels details tantalisingly slowly.

Read more of the 3rd form reviews on the Carnegie Shadowing website

Watch a video of the author Julie Berry talking about writing the book and giving advice to young writers.

 

3rd Form reading kicks off in the library with the Picton boys

This morning we welcomed the Picton 3rd form tutor group to the library for an informal discussion about the book “In the Sea there are Crocodiles”. Each year the librarians agonise over the choice of book to send to all new 3rd form pupils. We search for a book to suit both boys and girls, something readable and interesting as well as thought-provoking and memorable. We have  a lot of reading  to get through to find something we are happy with. Last year’s book ‘Trash’ proved very popular with its incredible plot and fast pace. This year’s book may have been a slow starter but it rapidly became an involving and inspiring story.3rd form reading Pn

‘In the Sea there are Crocodiles’ is the account of Enaiatollah’s life from the age of 10 to 15. It is based on his recollections of the perilous journey he made from his home in Afghanistan all the way to Italy as a child and teenager without any family support. He is amazingly resilient and recounts his life story to Fabio Geda, the Italian author who wrote the book.in-the-sea-there-are-crocodiles

Here are some of the 3rd form comments on the book:

“Exhilarating, tense, funny and moving”

“I loved the calmness of the book and the good moments I enjoyed”

“…extremely inspirational and it really made me think about the world”

“….very interesting and enjoyable. My Mum read it too!”

“I loved the book. It has opened my mind. It has made me more aware of how tough and how unfair people’s lives can be and makes me feel very privileged.”

….very moving and a good demonstration of what the world is like in some places”

We are looking forward to more book chat sessions with other tutor groups in the coming weeks.

3rd Form English Projects

We look forward to seeing more 3rd form pupils in the Library researching their English projects. Here is a recap of some of the resources we offer. Please ask the Librarians if you need help.

  • iPads – we have 12 iPads you can use for researching in the Library. (there are fantastic new apps on London – A City through Time, Leonardo da Vinci, Evolution from the Natural History Museum, Prof Brian Cox’s Wonders of the Universe, Titanic, T.S. Eliot’s Wasteland, Shakespeare’s Sonnets and many more)
  • Newspapers – daily  print broadsheets: The Times, Telegraph, i and The Guardian.
  • Magazines and journals – paper copies of sports, general interest, news and current affairs and subject specific titles.(including New Scientist, The Economist, BBC Music, BBC Focus, National Geographic, Cosmos, New Statesman and The Spectator)
  • E-Library – Don’t forget to look at NewsBank (for newspaper articles from as recently as yesterday and going back many years). The Day is an online newspaper with 3 stories written for schools everyday it offers useful additional links and is searchable by subject too. We have the electronic version of “The Week” which is an excellent resource and the whole archive is subject searchable.
  • Need a dictionary? Access the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) online
  • The Spiritual Room (also known as the Auchinleck Room) houses the bulk of the non-fiction bookstock. Access the catalogue from the e-library to see what resources are available in the Library and the departmental libraries.
  • Issues and Fact File 2013 are available in the Spiritual Room. These are printed pamphlets on a wide range of topical issues (eg. drugs in sport, poverty, war, religion, abortion, environmental issues, health)
  • Issues Today Online – this is a great resource for topical and controversial issues – similar to the above but in electronic format.

 

 

 

 

Another tip – learn how to mobile print – once you’ve found out your pin number and printed a couple of times it is very quick and easy. You will be able to print from your mobile phones and laptops and collect the print from printers around college. Detailed instructions here.

 

 

 

Researching House History in the Library

This morning Dr Dunn’s 3rd form History class spent a productive lesson researching the History of their boarding houses. They used the big screens and iPads to search the online Dictionary of National Biography and scoured the historical book stock for references to Picton and Hill, Murray and Orange etc. See the photos in the post below.

Did you know that apparently Wellington called Picton:

“a rough, foul-mouthed devil as ever lived”

Griffiths, Arthur. Wellington his comrades and contemporaries.(George Allen, 1897), p319