Library Garden and Book Benches

Librarian Rosie Pike from Bishop’s Stortford College Prep School shared with us this inspiring story.  I would love some of these beautiful benches in my school, wouldn’t you?  Rosie says:

IMG_1922“This project has been achieved with the help of a donation from the Friends, allowing the acquisition of book benches and colourful exterior bean bags and seating. Inspired by the National Literacy Trust’s book bench project in London we were able to buy two blank book benches. Author and illustrator of the Katie books, James Mayhew, who also created a ‘Katie in London’ bench for the ‘Books about Town’, joined Prep School pupils in the art room to help create a special ‘Katie in Bishop’s Stortford’ bench, painted by the pupils, and another inspired by the theme of gardens in children’s books. Pupils had previously engaged in a competition to design the two benches and the winners of this competition contributed toIMG_1915the final painting of them.


The College is extremely grateful to the Prep School Friends and James for making this fantastic project possible. The Prep School Librarian Rosie Pike said, “It was a thrilling day for all involved. Seeing how the benches developed during the course of the day was amazing, and an idea of the fun that was had can be seen in this time lapse video.

 The benches are now a focal part of our new library garden, and as you can see are well used by the children!”

(All photos of pupils used with full permissions)



If you would like to purchase one of these book benches, they can be backordered from the Wild in Art website.  Contact Joy Young, and she will be able to help you.


T. +44 (0) 1298 812189






Hogwarts Express to Old Buckenham

Andrea Hassan, Librarian at Old Buckenham High School in Norfolk, shares this wonderful event with us.  Sounds and looks like a wonderful time was had by everyone!  (Permission was given for all pupils shown to appear on the website.)

OBHS Harry Potter Eve 2015 Library

After months of planning it was time for Old Buckenham High School students and staff to share the magic at their first ever Harry Potter Big Event this week.

 Forty seven wizards and muggles convened after school for an evening of fun activities designed to celebrate the books. The event started in the school library with students donning the Sorting Hat to be placed into the four Houses; Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw, Slytherin. Once OBHS Harry Potter Eve 2015 Sorting Hatassembled they embarked on a Diagon Alley Hunt followed by a Quidditch Tournament in which the house teams received points for each Quaffle goal they scored before the Golden Snitch was thrown into the hoop – no mean feat considering everyone involved had to hold a wand during play!

 After their zealous performance refreshments were served, with drinks in potion bottles aptly labelled ‘Wolfshane Potion’, ‘Flesh-Eating Slug Repellent’ and ‘Bubotuber Pus’. Students also made wizarding name OBHS Harry Potter Eve 2015 Quidditchbadges, decorated cupcakes and had the chance to earn house points in the Harry Potter Bingo and Quiz with the winning house being announced at the end of the evening in the Prize Ceremony. There was much rejoicing as Slytherin received the title ‘House Victor 2015’ with a staggering 610 points, 130 points more than Ravenclaw in second place. Year 7 student Tilly Rawling won the best decorated cupcake competition and many more prizes were handed out in the raffle.OBHS Harry Potter Eve 2015 House Points

OBHS Harry Potter Eve 2015 cupcakes


Reasons to justify a visit from an Author/Illustrator

At a recent LibMeet author Chitra Soundar presented this great slideshare.  It gives lots of reasons why you should invite an author in, and ways you can justify it to your Senior Management Team.  Full of facts and quotes, this is an informative and useful piece of advocacy.  Thanks to Chitra for allowing me to share it more widely.

WBD at Dulwich College, Singapore

Snip20150316_9Laura Taylor, a fantastic school librarian whom many of us know from her years working in the UK, has taken on the task of creating a new library in a new school in Singapore.  This was her first World Book Day, and she was determined to make it go with a bang!  Dulwich College Singapore is an all-through school.  This is what she shared about World Book Day in her school:

‘1000 staff and students parading around the school today ( to sounds of Gotta Keep Reading and Paperback Writer over the tannoy) in some incredible book character costumes. Highlights for me were the Year 7 boy dressed as Walliams’s The Boy in the Dress (so original – looked brilliant ) and the Wimpy Kid with a huge papier mache white head along with the teachers dressed as The Paper Bag Princess, Mary Poppins, Pippi Longstocking, Dracula, Queen of Hearts, Cats in Hats, Sherlock Holmes, Little Misses, Goldilocks and her 3 Bears , several Wallys and Harry Potters of course, plus the Heads of school dressed as the Tin Man, Wicked Witch of the West and Wizard of Oz.”

Classroom doors were also decorated for the theme of Book Week, and you can see the fantastic results on the Flikr stream.

WBD at The Grey Coat Hospital, London

Penny Swan, the librarian, wrote to tell me about the great day they had at her school:

Lindsey BarracloughStarting with an assembly about the importance of choosing books to strengthen and inspire, this year’s celebration featured Lindsey Barraclough talking to years 8 and 9 about her books Long Lankin and The Mark of Cain. Lindsey told us about her childhood in the Essex marshes which inspired and shaped her writing. It was fascinating to hear how the people she had known found their way into her fiction; she gave them new names, and they changed as she wrote. Lindsey’s books are creepy and disturbing, taking inspiration from the haunting folk song ‘Long Lankin’, and the pagan folk tradition that continued to underlie village life long after Christianity was an established part of England. Lindsey also led two very enjoyable writing workshops for girls chosen from across the lower school, and she was most impressed with their creativity and knowledge. She wrote:

“I must say a huge thank you for inviting me for World Book Day. I really enjoyed myself and found the girls so interesting and knowledgeable. They are immensely fortunate to have you and your team and such a wonderful library to inspire them.”

At lunchtime the Library was filled with year 7 girls making bookmarks, doing quizzes, and watching author videos specially filmed for WBD. There was also a book swap, and an opportunity for students to exchange their vouchers for some of the WBD books.

‘Books are a uniquely portable magic’ * WBD at King’s School, Worcester

Librarian Annabel Jeffery tells about World Book Day at her school.  Sounds fun!

In an assembly which celebrated the importance and joy of reading  our younger pupils were entertained by two video clips which focused on the value of reading (one of which featured popular author John Green). Fourth form tutors and Library staff then joined together on stage to read out in turn inspirational (and moving) quotes about books and reading.

We had a select (but high quality) number of entries to the Library competition ‘In character’ where staff and pupils were invited to enter a photo of themselves dressed as a book character. We also had some very enthusiastic pupils coming in with armfuls of books to swap… and departing happy with armfuls of new books!( You can see two of the amazing entries beneath this article – one is a series of photos showing a pupil drinking Polyjuice Potion to transform into Bellatrix, and one is the Library Assistant, with family and friends, acting out The Railway Children.)

Elsewhere in school some of the MFL and Classics staff were keen to take the opportunity to read to the pupils. For example ‘Pablo diablo’ (Horrid Henry) was read in Spanish, and ‘Die kleine raupe Nimmersatt’ (Very hungry Caterpillar) in German! Classics staff also read their favourite myths and extracts from fiction set in Roman times.

“There are no days of our childhood lived so fully as those spent with a favourite book”. Marcel Proust

*Stephen King

Polyjuice Ali - Railway


World Book Day with author Tom Palmer

Snip20150309_1Librarian Mrs Dewhurst from QEGS Blackburn tells us of a great World Book Day her pupils enjoyed with the author Tom Palmer:

On World Book Day, Thursday 5th March, a day full of sporty reading took place with visiting author Tom Palmer. An energetic Year 6, 7 and 8 all joined in with the reading football game which was a massive success, with prizes for all the winners. The buzz of books and reading echoed throughout school while the sound of the penalty shoot out could be heard loud and clearly from the Library Annexe.

Head of Library, Mrs Dewhurst was delighted with the week saying ” we’ve had a lot of events taking place this week – we wanted to give everyone the chance to join in, making it a whole school book week. It takes a lot of planning to put a book week together, but absolutely worth it – to see just how many students got involved this week has been fantastic. The author session was the icing on the cake and extremely touching to see the love and passion for books shine through , and the enthusiasm from Year 6 was breathtaking with over forty Tom Palmer books being sold! The lunchtime book signing session was extremely popular with students queueing with their books, footballs, sportswear – all for signing. The author really did ensure every student left happy.

More details about Tom Palmer’s books and photos of the day can be found at:

World Book Day 2015 – what did you do?

EmiWBD15 Prestonly Corley, Librarian at Lightcliffe Academy in Halifax, writes about a very special World Book Day her pupils experienced. She wrote:

On Thursday 5th March year7&8 pupils from Lightcliffe Academy in West Yorkshire celebrated books and reading in style by travelling to Preston for the flagship World Book Day event. There were 5000 students at the event and the atmosphere was electric! We saw 5 authors including Cathy Cassidy who inspired us to use our local library and told us that daydreaming is a great way to come up with stories. Cressida Cowell showed us how to DRAW a dragon and Danny Wallace made us all laugh. As a final treat, all students received a signed copy of a book by their favourite author. It was definitely worth the two-hour journey to get there!

What did you do in your school that was special?  Let me know and I will either post it here, on Facebook or tweet it. Let’s celebrate all the wonderful work we do!