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.
In my inbox this afternoon was one of those emails that just brightens up your day! Jenny Bartlett from the North London Collegiate school emailed me to show off this wonderful display that her colleague Mr Chan had created in the library. She told me that it is creating quite a buzz – as well it might! Jenny explained the reason for the display:
‘Our school has an annual ‘Fantasy Fashion’ event, a charity fundraiser where pupils design and produce fantasy fashion outfits around a given theme, culminating in a fashion show complete with catwalk. We like to create library displays to tie in with school events, and for this year, bought some new books on fashion, design, creative textiles etc. Mr Chan, one of our librarians, has created an incredible display that is placed right at our main entrance. We’ve extended the theme by incorporating and adapting well known book titles – so we have ‘A Streetcar named Denim’, ‘To Kilt a Mockingbird’, ‘Tender is the Nightgown’, ‘All the King’s Menswear’, amongst others!
He has also dressed a mannequin using withdrawn books, and this will be placed outside the library to publicise a competition, ‘Strike a Prose’, where pupils are invited to write a piece around the year’s theme. It will be interesting to see if extending our display beyond the library itself will bear fruit. We are hoping that the mannequin itself will take part in the fashion show, possibly on a set of wheels!
‘Fantasy Fashion is inspired in memory of a pupil. She spent part of her gap year working with the Karenni refugees in Burma, changed career direction and ended up working and living amongst them, but was sadly killed there in a motorbike crash. Fantasy fashion each year is in her memory, and money raised goes to the refugees. Always a big thing here, and still attended by her parents.’
This is one of the most beautiful and innovative displays – especially the mannequin! – that I have seen for a while. Don’t forget if you have a great display in your library, we would love to share it on Heart.
Annabel Jeffery, the school Librarian, writes:
‘It was National Poetry Day on Thursday 2nd October. The Library and English Department made the most of the opportunity to celebrate poetry with activities to promote this year’s theme of ‘Remember’ (which also ties in with the WW1 Centenary). A poetry competition drew over seventy entries from pupils. Many chose to respond to the theme by writing poems of Remembrance for WW1 soldiers, but we have also received many moving poems in memory of pets and loved ones. These are displayed in the Long Gallery alongside a display of classic ‘Remember’ poems, and will be judged next week.
At lunchtime the Headmaster, teachers, and Library staff read their own choice of poems in the Library. Amongst war poems (from the Illiad to Vergissmeinicht), poems that were about memory, poems that brought back memories, or were memorable to the reader for a particular reason, a highlight was Miss Lewis’s reading of one of her father’s recently published poems, about the moment when his mother heard that her husband had been killed in WW1. Dr Head also read a poem written by his grandfather, one of the founders of the Worcester Writers’ Circle. It was a delightful occasion, enjoyed by pupils and staff.”
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!
Last year, Backwell School Librarian, Anne Gibson was chosen to give Ness’s The knife of never letting go to teachers at her school (knowing they have little time to read for pleasure and concerned that they didn’t know how far teenage literature has come). Inspired by the runaway success of her actions (just about all teachers returned to the library desperate to borrow the following two books in the series and saying they had passed the book onto family and students) she decided to tackle 6th formers this year. Thrilled to see Matt Haig’s The Humans on the list, she encouraged four teachers to join her in applying to be “givers”. Each chose their favorite title which they also thought would appeal to 6th formers who are rarely seen reading for pleasure about school. She publicized the lunchtime event on the common room plasma screen and assembly on the day, setting up a display with sweets to encourage takers in the common room. Unbelievably, 10 minutes later it was all over! The only things left on the stand were a few sweets! Two weeks later and students are telling staff what they enjoyed and who they have passed their book onto. Anne also received a surprise call from Elodie and Joshua’s granny asking to “give” WBN book, The Recruit by Robert Muchamore to boys in school as her granddaughter had told her that they are not keen readers! Mr Conkie’s marvelous Random Generator was used during a Y7 assembly to choose lucky recipients, both boys and girls (as we couldn’t think of a fairer way!). Library staff have noticed Robert Muchamore’s books disappearing from the shelves as a result and one girl told us she was borrowing for her Mum!! Next year Anne is planning to ask staff to be Community Givers, by donating a book from their own library to students in their tutor groups or houses. She aims to package them attractively to heighten interest. (Brown paper bags and badges are going to feature!) This will leave more books on the website for you to apply for. She thoroughly recommends having a go and encouraging staff and students to share and talk about books. The effects will last for weeks. If you want to see more about Backwell School’s reading journey, visit their fantastic blog.
Have you had a change to look at the Carnegie and Greenaway shortlists yet? They look really exciting, with a wide range of themes and issues, as usual. The Bunker Diary is already causing some controversy, with some librarians feeling that they are unable to let their Year 7 and 8 pupils read it. All the Truth is controversial too – looking forward to reading them all myself, looks like I have a busy weekend reading ahead of me! What are your thoughts?
Carnegie Award shortlist
Greenaway Award shortlist
At LVS Ascot, the Librarian Sue Bastone ran the theme of Banned Books for the week, which she said really got staff and students thinking and talking about books. On World Book Day itself Sue says: ‘Staff and students dressed up and we raised nearly £500 for Book Aid. At lunchtime we had a World book Day party with a parade and student prizes and a fabulous cake with our logo on it. We had a banned books balloon debate with Yr 11s making fantastic speeches in defence of their books. Our highlight of the day was the unveiling of an amazing “Otherworlds signpost” made by our Technology Department. The man in the picture is the DT technician who made it dressed as the Wizard of Oz which was the department’s theme for the day! ‘
Tayo Agboola, Librarian at St. Peter’s School in Huntingdon, transformed the School Library into a Starbooks Cafe for World Book Day. What an original idea! This is what went on:
‘This year the school library wanted to give students a chance to redeem their World Book Day book tokens within the school – so the school library was transformed into the Starbooks Café for World Book Day, 6th March 2014. The school library was redecorated with colour-coordinated table runners, flowers, low lighting, and flameless tea lights to create a sophisticated and relaxed ambience – a cross between a book shop and a coffee shop. Students and staff could browse and buy books in a cosy atmosphere while being served free hot chocolates, cappuccinos, cakes, and biscuits. Scholastic Book Fairs supplied the paperback and hardback books, while a local business (Niche Comics) supplied comic books and graphic novels. Cakes and biscuits were generously donated by St Peter’s staff. The event was hugely successful with approximately 500 students and staff visiting the Starbooks Café throughout the school day. The best aspect of the event was that it gave students a huge buzz and thrill about the school library. Students experienced the library in a way that they hadn’t before, which greatly excited our regular readers and piqued the interest of our less regular readers. Based on its success, Starbooks Café will return on World Book Day 2015.’
Well, my previous post had not been up on the site more than 10 minutes when school librarian Chris Routh at Leighton Park School, an independent school in Reading, sent me pictures and info about their World Book Day. These pictures were so beautiful that I had to share them with you all as well! This is what Chris told me: ‘WBD celebrations were part of our annual Book Festival, which also featured author visits and a day conference local school book groups about Writing for Teenagers. We celebrated World Book Day with the help of our fabulous catering team this year, who rose to the challenge of creating a book-themed menu for lunch-time. Each item on the menu was inspired by a book or book title. We supplied bunting and balloons and copies of our #caughtreading posters to decorate the serving area. We were all surprised by the magnificent ‘enormous crocodile’ which greeted us at the entrance. During lunch students and staff enjoyed the challenge of an international-themed ( points mean prizes!) WBD Quiz. The event involved everyone in the school and created a great buzz of excitement.’ The photos are amazing, and the crocodile is fantastic! Looks like a great day!