I’m constantly trying to spread the word about great new books in the library and I hit upon free advertising space in the ladies’ loos. To promote shortlisted Carnegie titles we created laminated A4 posters displaying the book cover image and the opening page. These were placed on the toilet doors. Apart from brightening up the place they have had the desired effect of directing people to the library to borrow the books, intrigued to know more. I am ridiculously pleased that three copies of ‘Rooftoppers’ and two of ‘Blood Family’ have been borrowed by our wonderful support staff. A number of staff have commented on how much they like the idea and enjoy reading about books they wouldn’t normally discover. Two 6th form girls have borrowed the books too having read the opening pages. No sign of any men borrowing these books yet although my male helpers insist they did put the posters up in the mens!
Teaching and support staff get ready for the Summer YA Challenge – more information soon.
Pupils get ready for more book openings on toilet doors and a brilliant summer read coming your way.
I’m already looking forward to National Poetry Day on 2nd October 2014 so we can do ‘WC Poetry’!
The CILIP (Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals) School Libraries Group Conference in April was an excellent opportunity for professional learning. The programme was varied and inspiring and the opportunity to share ideas with school librarians from a wide range of different schools invaluable.
Here is a presentation on the Conference delivered by Sue Bastone, Conference Programme Director and Head of Learning Resources at LVS Ascot, to the Rugby Group Librarians at their recent meeting.
Here are some brief thoughts on the key messages I took away from the conference:
- Importance of reading aloud. Teachers and librarians should increase the times they read out loud to pupils. It’s also important for pupils to read out loud to each other. I took the opportunity to read an excerpt from ‘The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole’ to a 3rd form tutor group during a discussion on diary reading and writing last Saturday. It was not something they knew but they seemed to enjoy it and we had a lively discussion. They will be submitting 12th May Diaries to the Mass Observation Archive.
- Illustrators. We had two fascinating talks by book illustrators about their work. Jim Kay showed us how he created the brilliant illustrations in “A Monster Calls” and talked about how pictures can be a good way of taking in information and remembering things for people like him. Something that came across strongly was an illustrator’s striving for perfection and never being content with their work. I’m keen to invite book illustrators to come and talk to our Art students and also to Shadow the Greenaway Book Award (awarded for illustration).
- All schools should have a reading for pleasure policy. Pupils should be reading widely and often for pleasure and information was one of the key messages of Patricia Metham’s presentation. Patricia is the Lead Inspector for English for OFSTED. Her inspiring talk emphasized the importance of school libraries and librarians to English and literacy levels. She also stated that librarians should be involved in curriculum committees and planning.
- School library award: Warwickshire School Library Service are doing excellent work in the area of school library self-assessment. Their pilot scheme enables school libraries to audit their services and obtain 3 different levels of awards. (Librarians assess a range of criteria on 3 levels: Developing, Establishing or Enhancing). This is something I would like to follow up at Wellington.
- Connell Guides As a direct result of the Conference the Library now has a full set of the Connell Guides to English Literature. These attractive, well-written, pocket size books are extremely useful to students of English. The online content accessed via the e-library contains additional material such as essays and quizzes.
Lucy Atherton, Senior Librarian, Wellington College
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.
Here 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.
Here’s a Christmas Animoto giving a flavour of what’s been happening in the Library this Michaelmas term.
I love the end of the year and the Christmas break for the plethora of themed booklists which spring up in all the papers. It’s a good opportunity to seek out the great books you’ve missed from earlier in the year. It’s also the season of book quizzes.
Reading Times 2013
School librarians are excellent sharers of good ideas. Here’s a lovely idea from Helen Smith, Learning Resources Manager at Eckington School. She has compiled a wonderful booklet called Reading Times 2013 in which she lists all the Christmas TV and radio based on or relating to books. Helen has very generously shared it with all of us. It makes fascinating reading.
Hidden Books Quiz
Caboodle website has two great pictoral book quizzes. Work out the title of the famous books from the pictures. Almost impossible to leave until you’ve cracked all 20.
Teamwork tackling the hidden books quiz.
The Guardian Children’s Book Website has a vast range of quick online book quizzes – from Elephants in Fiction to Graphic Novels and Comic books or banned books
Our head of Maths Mr Sproat just reminded me about Sporcle. This is the perfect site for quiz and trivia fans. Try the book cover quiz (identify the book by a portion of its cover) or can you name the book titles given their loosely based antonyms? or name the book titles without vowels or spaces? In fact there are 1000 quizzes relating to books!
Best books of the Year
Here is The Guardian’s Best Fiction List of 2013
The Telegraph: Best Fiction of 2013 …’a vintage year for lengthy fiction’
I’ve just discovered this fantastic book recommendation site. 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.
Follow @tweetingmanatee on Twitter for updates on interviews and authors.
If you would like the Library to order any of the books you discover or want to check stock email firstname.lastname@example.org or drop into the library.
Mrs Macgregor has set the 6th form a challenge – to read all six shortlisted Man Booker Prize titles in time to cast their vote when the winner is announced on 15th October. This is no mean feat as the first book ‘The Luminaries’ by Eleanor Catton is 832 pages long. However, 12 tenacious 6th form students have taken up the challenge and will be meeting each week to discuss one of the books.
Mrs Macgregor writes:
There was a wonderful interview with the author of The Luminaries, Eleanor Catton on Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour which should provide a good introduction to the novel. As we meet on Thursday 26th September you have a good 11 days to read this tome.
Additional Man Booker links:
NoViolet Bulawayo, Zimbabwean author interview on Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour.
Guardian article claiming this is the best shortlist for a decade.
Does Man-Booker-shortlisted novelist Jhumpa Lahiri’s real skill lie in short stories? Review of ‘The Lowland’ (Guardian 12th September 2013)
Guardian Books Blog – Video in which Richard Lea argues that Ruth Ozeki’s ‘A Tale for the Time Being’ should win this year’s Man Booker Prize. “The shortlisted novel begins with the discovery of a Hello Kitty lunchbox containing the diary of a young Japanese girl washed up on the shore in British Columbia.”
The librarians are attempting to keep pace with the reading and join in the discussions but we also have potential Carnegie longlist contenders to read for a discussion day on 9th October!
The library has copies of the shortlisted books if anyone else wants to join in the reading.
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.
‘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.
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.