Carnegie Greenaway Award 2017

I expect you have all heard by now who the long-awaited winners of the prestigious Carnegie and Greenaway awards are.  But if you hadn’t, Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys won the Carnegie and There is a Tribe of Kids by Lane Smith won the Greenaway.  In addition, the Amnesty Honour Award went to Bone Sparrow by Zana Fraillon and The Journey by Francesca Sanna.  Read more about the books and the acceptance speeches here.  This year there was an emphasis on the refugee crisis, and coincidentally the awards came at the start of refugee week.

The ceremony was a special one, as it is 80 years since the Carnegie Medal was created, and 60 years since the Greenaway, so it was also a celebration of all of the past winners of the award, many of whom were at the ceremony.  This book award has remained the gold standard for authors and illustrators, promoting what is best in children’s books throughout the years.

Reigate and Banstead writes!

Kay Hymas, Librarian, The Warwick School, Redhill  writes about a highly successful venture she set up in her area:

“When I was 10 years old, I won a story competition, which was run by my local paper. I can remember the thrill of being told I had won and my great pride in receiving not one but two Easter Eggs as a prize.

Fast forward to May 2016 and I am now working as a School Librarian (The Best Job in the World), at the Warwick School, Redhill.  A conversation with a student, who wished to enter a smallish writing competition, led me to search for something suitable but to no avail.  Coming up with nothing suitable I had a brainwave. Why not set up our own?

What comes first, the chicken or egg? The very first step was to check my Head Teacher, Ron Searle was happy for me to proceed, especially with using the Warwick School’s name in the promotion.  The idea as then put to rather wonderful local school librarians.  Katie Hill, Sue Sullivan and Helen Connor from St. Bede’s, Redhill, Reigate School and The Beacon in Banstead respectively. Did they think an inter-school competition would work? They agreed with much enthusiasm and offered to promote any competition in school. Without this support, there would have been no Reigate Writes! Local primary schools, with whom I had strong links were also keen enough to justify setting up a separate competition for children in years 5 and 6.

We now had the seeds of our ‘hyper-local’ competition.  The name and logo had to be settled without delay. I needed to assemble judges and prizes.

Jane McGowan, Editor of the Surrey Downs Magazine and theatre critic, readily agreed to act as ‘Head judge.’ She has been amazing with publicity, advice and hammering out the golden rules for judging the competition.  She was ably backed by Chris Bedford from our local Waterstones, Neil Richards from Surrey Library Service, a local Councillor – Frank Kelly, and Michael Rattigan a peripatetic supply teacher and published poet. All have been just brilliant and I own them all a huge debt.

Attention turned to prizes, as Katie Hill had said, decent prizes would incite the students to get writing! Here is where I struck lucky. I composed a large email out to local businesses asking for support with prizes.  Andy Nash (hereafter known as the magnificent Andy Nash) the General Manager of the Belfry Shopping Centre responded within 20 minutes with offers of prizes and in helping to promote the competition. This was closely followed by support from local cinemas, leisure centres, coffee shops, Sainsbury’s, signed books from authors as and the Recycling plant close to my school. I perhaps make this sound easier than it was. I have had to do a lot of chasing up both with prizes and publicity.

November 2016, Reigate and Banstead Writes is ready to launch. Entry forms and rules were distributed and School librarians went into action and we had several straplines to fire up the imagination and to grab attention.

A murder mystery in Priory Park. Or a Timeslip in Reigate Castle Grounds. Have Aliens landed on Earlswood Lakes? Is the Merstham Landfill site a Secret Volcano? A day out with friends on Banstead Common, or a voyage of discovery from Redhill Train Station. Do Merstham F.C Make it all the way to the Premiership? Are Reigate Caves a secret base for spies? Can you write a story set in your area?

January 2017. @RBWrites1, the twitter account promoting the competition went live. More than anything this got the word out and helped to cement the competition. Various authors such as Eve Ainsworth tweeted and retweeted. Jane McGowan published a piece in her Surrey Downs Magazine. My librarian colleagues worked tirelessly to promote in their own individual schools and made sure details ran in their school newsletters. Local councillors (from all parties) and the local MP Crispin Blunt, tweeted and promoted the competition and the local shopping centre put up a big display, complete with entry forms outside Waterstones.

Closing date 28th February. After verifying and counting. Reigate and Banstead Writes received 402 Entries from both primary and secondary age groups. A mammoth judging process lay ahead. Each judge shortlisted their favourites from their ‘pack’ which met the Entry criteria with the favourites being read and discussed by them all. The stories that did well were all set very clearly in our local area and had done exactly what we had asked.

Grace Moore, (pictured with her Year 5 teachers

Grace Moore won the Primary Category with her mystery story, BENEATH

Ben Herneman, a Year 8 student won the Secondary Category with his hilarious story, LORD OF THE RAILS (all southern rail users should read this)

We also had 2 x runners up in each category and several highly commended students who will be invited to the planned celebration afternoon taking place in June. I am busy organising that and on the hunt for an author to come and give out the prizes!  It has been a marathon and much more exciting, demanding and bigger than I thought. But the moral of this is:

Nothing was behind Reigate Writes, no publicity budget, no funding, no money set aside for prizes no big name supporters.  Rather, a good grassroots idea which harnessed the power of School Librarians working together to provide an exciting, creative opportunity for local children.

Pictured: Leon Patey 2nd place in Secondary and Laura Edwards, a ‘highly commended’ entry.

The winning stories can be read at:

http://www.warwick.surrey.sch.uk/2016/reigate-and-banstead-writes/

http://redhillbelfry.co.uk/news-events/news/reigate-and-banstead-writes-winners-announced/

www.readingzone.com (thanks to Caroline Horn)

 

Southwark Book Award 2017

 

 

Top to Bottom: Alex Wheatle, MG Leonard, Taran Matharu

On Thursday March 9th 2017, selected children from several different schools around Southwark packed into Canada Water Library to find out the results of the Southwark Book Award 2017. The Award had been relaunched this year, with six shortlisted books published during the school year 2015/2016, and voting was open to children in Years 7 & 8.

Three of the shortlisted authors – Taran Matharu (The Novice)  M.G.Leonard (Beetle Boy) and Alex Wheatle (Crongton Knights) were present at the ceremony, which caused an extra frisson of excitement amongst the children present. The three other shortlisted books were The Boy at the Top of the Mountain by John Boyne, Jessica’s Ghost by Andrew Norriss and The Wolf Wilder by Katherine Rundell.

The pupils had already voted for their favourite book online, but once at Canada Water Library they were split into groups to discuss and rank each book in terms of its style, characterisation, plot, setting and theme. Later, they were treated to a short talk from each of the authors present.

The highlight of the morning was the presentation of the Award. Jo Mead, Learning Resources Manager at Harris Boys’ Academy, East Dulwich, first announced the results of the morning’s discussion – which saw the honours for the different elements of the books fairly equally divided between the six titles. The overall winner of the Southwark Book Award 2017 however, was Andrew Norriss, for his book Jessica’s Ghost. Sadly, the author was unable to be with us on Thursday, but he sent a video in which he professed himself “absolutely delighted” and thanked all the students for their votes.

Before leaving to return to their respective schools, the students swarmed the authors present with requests for books, posters and bookmarks to be signed – a sure sign that a love of reading is alive and well in Southwark!

The Southwark Book Award is organised by the Southwark Education Librarians’ Forum, and we’re looking forward to making it even bigger and better next year. Southwark schools who would like to take part in future awards should contact Jo Mead (J.Mead@harrisdulwichboys.org.uk) to join our mailing list.

 

 

 

 

UKEd nomination for best Educational blog!

Clipart

I am proud to announce that Heart of the School has been nominated as one of the best Educational Blogs in 2016!  This is in UKEd Magazine, and the blog is featured alongside teacher’s blogs.  Thank you to everyone who has contributed stories to Heart – all your hard work has been acknowledged!  Please do keep your contributions coming in – everything from lessons you teach on information literacy to displays you put up.  It is really important to show the breadth of things that school librarians do – we don’t just stamp books, we have a vital role to play in educating children.  If you wish to read the UKEd magazine with the nomination in, then you can download it from here.  Thank you everyone – and keep it coming!  We passionately want to show that school librarians make a difference to every school!

Pupil Library Assistant of the Year Award

play

The Pupil Library Assistant of the Year Award is a joint venture between the School Library Association and the CILIP School Libraries Group. As well as promoting the work and achievements of pupils within their school libraries, work which involves dedication and commitment but which often goes unnoticed and unrewarded, it also highlights the benefits and values of the school librarian.

Do you have a pupil librarian who could become the Pupil Librarian of the Year 2017?

Someone who is reliable, volunteers regularly and who has made a difference to the library, being a role model for others?

Someone who is an example of the synergy between a school library and the pupils?

Why not nominate them?

Watch out for more details when the award opens on September 19th

The award is supported by a number of leading children’s books publishers and the company, Authors Aloud UK, and judged by a panel of leading figures from the children’s book world and school library community.

For further information including nomination forms, contact details and sponsorship: http://libpupilaward.wixsite.com/home

About the CILIP School Libraries Group

The School Libraries Group (SLG) of CILIP affirms that school libraries and school library services are fundamental to the development of a literate population able to participate fully in a thriving democracy, culture, civilization and economy. www.cilip.org.uk/slg

About the School Library Association

The School Library Association is an independent charity that believes that every pupil is entitled to effective school library provision. The SLA is committed to supporting everyone involved with school libraries, promoting high quality reading and learning opportunities for all.  Website: www.sla.org.uk

Information Literacy and Teen Tech Award

Snip20160112_2There is some fantastic new material available if you are involved in teaching information literacy in your libraries.  Members of the CILIP Information Literacy group and the School Libraries Group have been collaborating on documents to support the  Teen Tech Awards, and they have produced some excellent sheets which are free to download which you can use in order to support teaching this subject.  You can find the sheets here  and more information about how to enter the Teen Tech Award here.

Pupils star at the Carnegie and Greenaway Awards

Angela Yates and Emma Hopkins, librarians at Swanshurst School Library, sent me this fantastic story about the achievement of two of their Year 8 pupils.

“We have been running four C&G shadowing groups in our school library during lunchtimes each week throughout the duration of the shadowing scheme, with almost 80 students involved. We celebrated the official awards last Monday with our own lunchtime award ceremony for group members, rewarding achievements such as best review, video review and picture.

This year as part of the shadowing scheme students entered a national creative writing competition organised by Authors’ Licensing & Collecting Society Ltd (ALCS) on the theme ‘what reading means to me’. One of our students, Aleena Ali in Year 8, was one of three national prize winners.

Aleena’s reward of a box of books was presented to her at our award ceremony by our head teacher. Aleena’s work is now on the ALCS website and will be published by ALCS News next month.

At the national C&G awards ceremony, in her acceptance speech for ‘Buffalo Soldier’ Tanya Landman quoted at length from a review posted on the shadowing website by Firoza Ahmed, also in Year 8 at our school.

With well over 11000 reviews on the website, it was an outstanding achievement for Firoza to be noticed in this way! Tanya Landman wrote a lovely letter to thank Firoza and is sending her a signed book.”

Both Firoza and Aleena are in the same shadowing group and English class at Swanshurst School in Birmingham. Aleena’s prizewinning article can be read here.  Swanshurst’s Carnegie Shadowing page is here,  and their Greenaway page is here.  What an inspiration, and how proud the school must be of these two girls!

 

Carnegie and Greenaway winners – and all that fuss!

Carnegie logo

Congratulations to Jon Klassen for winning the Greenaway Medal with ‘This is not my hat’ and Kevin Brooks for winning the Carnegie with ‘Bunker Diaries’.  You can read more about the winning books on the official page.  However, you can’t have missed the controversy surrounding the Bunker Diaries, with some newspapers deeming it unfit to be read  by children, too disturbing and damaging, whilst others took the completely opposing view.  Here are the links, judge for yourselves.

Telegraph: ‘Why wish this book on a child?’

Guardian: ‘Why teenagers need bleak books’ and ‘Why we’re glad the Bunker Diaries won the Carnegie’

Also Shoo Rayner, children’s novelist, believes that the Carnegie has taken the wrong turn, and that the Carnegie Medal should be for children’s, and not young adult, books.  It has caused a Twitter storm from angry YA authors and librarians – read his post here.

And finally, Barbara Band, CILIP President and school librarian made an excellent speech about school libraries on announcement day, advocating for school libraries.  Read her blog post which includes the speech in full here, or watch it on Vimeo here.

Let us know what you think – at least it has got people reading the book,  and commenting, if nothing else!

Libraries Change Lives Award – will you enter?


CILIP

Have you heard of the Libraries Change Lives Award?  This is for UK libraries, and the criteria specifically mention that school libraries are welcome to enter.  The website states that ‘The CILIP Libraries Change Lives Award highlights and rewards partnership work that changes lives, brings people together and demonstrates innovation and creativity. Our judges, from the CILIP Community, Diversity and Equality Group, are keen to promote social justice through the use of library, information and knowledge services to empower people and improve their quality of life.’   

This is the very thing that school libraries are good at, and I think that it is time that we considered putting school libraries forward for this award.  I know that many of you run reading schemes to help pupils who have difficulty reading, we use differentiation, we include and encourage Looked After Children and EAL pupils; and some of you even run Adult Literacy classes, or Computer Literacy classes.  Our main work usually consists of promoting social justice through our libraries.   So have a think – entries have to be in by the end of April.  If you would like to discuss this further, CILIP President and School Librarian Barbara Band is very keen to include a school library in this year’s submissions, and is happy for you to contact her to discuss your eligibility further.  Contact Barbara on: barbara567band@hotmail.com. Or use the contact button on Heart to contact me. Please do think seriously about this – what better way to promote school libraries and the reason we desperately need them in schools, than to win a national award like this!