Jennifer Lees from Wolverhampton Girls’ High School tells us about her school’s obsession with Harry Potter – and how she became obsessed too!
‘The students at our school are OBSESSED with Harry Potter. When I first started 2 years ago (having never worked in a school library before) they were incredulous to hear that I had never read any of the books and from that day forth made it their mission to ‘encourage’ (or browbeat) me to get on board. I eventually did, and obviously fell in love with the whole series. A few weeks ago I ended up taking part in a Harry Potter quiz at a local arts centre. It turned out that a team of Sixth Form library ‘regulars’ from school were also taking part. I immediately knew my team was scuppered – the girls won, of course! I thought you might be interested to see how our prefect has used the series to highlight different aspects of our library collection, even though we don’t have much space.”
Val Dewhurst, the librarian at QEGS, sent me this article:
“The senior school library recently received a wonderful gesture and gift from author Dan Freedman which included a copy of his prequel to the Jamie Johnson series, Born to Play to use as a prize for the most promising football player in Year 7, and to celebrate the end of the school year and football season. This was swiftly forwarded on to our PE Department where Mr Hindle took control and was quick to announce that Tom McCann 7NJP was the student who deserved this award. The author Dan Freedman is eager to know of our student choice and has promised to include this news on his own website www.danfreedman.co.uk Dan commented “over the last few weeks to celebrate the end of the school year we have been sending copies of Born to Play to some of the schools around the country, that I know well (QEGS being one of those schools) and have asked that they be presented to their most talented footballer in Year 7. I’m sure it’s been a very difficult choice for them but I am very much looking forward to hearing their news.” Dan Freedman who came to visit QEGS 2 years ago, has himself a strong passion for reading, writing and for football and loves nothing more than to encourage reading through sport and sport through reading… particularly football.”
The author Marcus Alexander @getyourreadon has produced another fantastic short video for library advocacy. If you follow him on YouTube you will find more of these amazing short films, all entitled Why You Should Be Reading. Looks like an author you want in your school too!
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.
Librarian 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.
Cotsen Children’s Library has interviewed children’s authors since 2009, and has just made these interviews available for free as podcasts. There is a good mixture of well known authors on there – Philip Pullman, Sharon Creech, Joseph Delaney and Kaye Umansky, to name a few. To read about the programme, and how the author Lloyd Alexander inspired the interviews, see here. To read more about the featured authors including transcripts of the interviews, see here. This is a great archive that Cotsen Children’s Library has built up – thanks to them for making all of this freely available.
BiblioFiles artwork by Aliisa Lee. Used with permission.
Anita, Librarian at Merchant Taylors’ school in Liverpool, sent me her account of what they got up to on Harry Potter Night. It sounds fantastic! She says:
“I had 80 years 3 and 4 for 90 minutes doing three of a ten activity programme. Somehow I managed to persuade eleven teachers to run an activity after school for no extra pay (lots of approval points though) and then further persuade our deputy head to be Professor McGonagall complete with sorting hat. Altogether there were 20 of us last night all gowned up, playing Quidditch,making mini Hedwigs,watching an amazing science demonstration,learning Latin spells,following a mischief map,learning about the history of magic,doing mini science ,astronomy and making wands. Even refreshments were HP themed green jelly with sour spiders,pumpkin juice and cupcakes.”
A fuller description and photos can be found on the school website. Pictured here is Deputy Head Jane Tyndall in the guise of Professor McGonagall.
QEGS were delighted to be a part of National Storytelling Week and celebrated in the Library with a wealth of stories and tales all during this special storytelling week. From our Telling Tales group sharing scary tales to Mrs Verner reading The Viper, to our key event and guest storyteller Sue Allonby who shared lots of traditional tales including working with different year groups and also presenting a lunchtime event – to Mr Hargreaves complete with his flat cap and then finally to Mrs Foxley adding her own original touch to her delightful story which included delicate bones, frogs, lashing reeds and Little Duke.
Head of Library, Mrs Dewhurst commented ” it’s been an exciting week packed with a variety of stories and different members of staff volunteering to read – for which I am extremely grateful. A web of stories was spun, exciting sessions created much interest, with all events being extremely well attended. NSW is celebrated by all ages and often includes folk tales, fairy lore, figments, phantoms, dragons, serpents, storms at sea. A good teller will conjure intriguingly – our storytellers did just that! It’s good to see that NSW appears to be steadily growing each year as more and more schools now get involved and celebrate, we are very proud of our contribution. My thanks must go to all storytellers including my own Telling Tales group, and also to many of Year 7 who joined in with the celebrations. A very big thank you to the Grandmother of Ruth Brown (8RMW) and Jane Brown (7NJP) who created a beautiful handmade storyteller’s gift for our visitor/storyteller, Sue Allonby. This has been a busy, eventful and successful week, which now leads on to our annual Book Week in March when we will welcome author Tom Palmer.”
Do let me know if you also celebrate National Storytelling Week – and how you do it!