National Storytelling Week 2015

Storyteller Sue AllonbyQEGS 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!

Stan Lee Excelsior Award Shortlist 2014

Stan Lee Excelsior Award

Regular readers of Heart will know all about this amazing Reading Award, now in its fourth year.  It is currently the only award for graphic novels in the UK, and is immensely popular.  Run by Sheffield Librarian Paul Register, the numbers grow from year to year.  If you wish to register, or just see which books made the shortlist this year so that you can buy them for your own library, then follow go to the website.

Bookbuzz Mini Projects

BookBuzzSchool Librarian Philippa Godwin from Alde Valley School in Suffolk has shared an amazing resource with us!  She has created a series of mini projects around the Bookbuzz books, and has shared them with us through the Heart Files, and generously left two not in PDF so that you can adapt them yourselves.  Please remember to be as generous back and acknowledge her as your source.  The files are in the Box Files to the right in a folder called Bookbuzz.  Enjoy this wonderful resource!

Urgent questionnaire about the impact of author visits on reading

The Children’s Writers and Illustrator group, part of the Society of Authors has asked all of us to fill in an important questionnaire (link to Google doc at end of post).  Children’s authors Bali Rai and Helena Pielchaty say that the group has met with representatives in the DfE about how to get the Government and Ofsted to recognise the value of libraries in schools and the impact of author visits on reading.  The committee was advised that any letter sent to Sir Michael Wilshaw (Ofsted) would have to have evidence to back it up.  This survey is to collect the evidence from all of us.  We all know that author visits always generate interest in that author’s books, and reading, so I think we can all give a positive response to this.  The responses need to be in by November 12th, please email them to  Thank you.  Link to survey here:

A Monster Calls wins double accolade

A Monster Calls made history when it became the first book to win both the Carnegie and Greenaway awards.  Patrick Ness became only the second author to win the award on two simultanous years, and Jim Kay won the Greenaway for his stunning illustrations.  It is fitting that this book, which I consider to be one of the must-read books of the decade, should win this unique accolade.  In his acceptance speech, Patrick Ness criticised the government policy of closing libraries.  If you would like to read more about this, then have a look at these articles:  (Guardian)  and (Telegraph)

Catalyst Book Awards 2011


Our Lady’s High School in Motherwell recently hosted the 8th North Lanarkshire Catalyst Awards, presented to the best teenage book of the year. Hundreds of 3rd and 4thyear pupils and 4 excited but nervous authors were present to see  Alex Scarrow awarded Catalyst winner of 2011for his book ‘Time Riders’.

“A lovely award to win – the RIGHT kind of award to win, because it’s the students that vote. I had a fantastic and memorable day.”Alex Scarrow awarded Catalyst winner of 2011for his book ‘Time Riders’.

Young People from all 24 secondary schools and public libraries in North Lanarkshire were invited to take part in voting for the overall winner from an exciting shortlist of 4 great books.

Grass by Cathy Macphail , Time Riders by Alex Scarrow, Where I Belong by Gillian Cross, and  When I was Joe by Keren David

The response to the voting this year was overwhelming, helping to keep the Catalyst awards driven by the people that matter – the readers. Young people were involved in every aspect of the Catalyst Awards, from helping to choose the shortlist, posting reviews on the Catalyst blog and voting for the winner. This year saw the continued use of the Catalyst blog, here young people had a chance to post reviews on the books they had read, find out information about each book on the long list and interact with pupils from across the authority. This year in conjunction with the Catalyst blog a competition was held to see which school could write the most reviews and which pupil could write the best review.The winners were:

Damon A from Caldervale High School, Airdrie – for the best individual review on the blog.

Our Lady’s High School, Motherwell – for the school that wrote the most reviews on the blog.

And their prize is an author visit of their choice for both schools.

The Catalyst Awards ceremony was hosted by pupils from schools across North Lanarkshire. Each author was introduced by different pupils and the pupils asked lots of interesting questions to the authors during the Q&A section of the ceremony. A special mention has to go to the pupils from Our Lady’s High School; they were involved in lots of different aspects of the ceremony. The Duke of Edinburgh pupils produced the programmes and helped set up the event and the pupils from Intermediate II Hospitality provided lunch for the authors and special guests. Photography club assisted with taking pictures on the day and the Writers Club were on hand to entertain the authors during the day.The Catalyst committee would like to express a huge thank you to everyone who was involved in making this years awards such a success. A special thank you goes to everyone at Our Lady’s High School Motherwell for hosting the awards.

To find out more about Catalyst please visit our blog @



Joe Craig tells us of his ideal school visit

Read this very funny, but straight talking guest blog post by Joe Craig on the best and worst author visits.  It gives some really good tips from the author’s perspective – and I know I had fun identifying whether my school visit with him had more of the School of Perfection or Hellsville!  Read it on the Library Mice blog.  The picture is of Joe signing books at his very successful and popular visit to our school during Book Week 2010.