Anime Club at Fort Pitt Grammar School

Kim Davis, Librarian at Fort Pitt Grammar school in Medway, wrote to tell me about the Anime Club she runs in the Library.


“We run Anime club weekly after school where we show two episodes of an all-ages Anime followed by two of a slightly more mature theme. Manga club runs fortnightly at lunchtime and focuses on drawing, craft and sharing Anime/Manga news. We also run special events such as “Live Action Day”, when we showed live action drama adaptations of Anime and compared them to the cartoons, which was really popular! This term we also made “Naruto” style ninja headbands and next term we are going to hold a “Cherry Blossom Picnic”, collaborating with the food technology department to make our own Japanese bento style lunches and then eat them under the blossom trees.

Anime and Manga can be educational in much the same way as literature, but with a distinctly Japanese flavour. It can engage reluctant readers, help develop visual literacy, encourage creativity and has a valuable role in widening perspective. We’ve even presented these benefits to a school focus group for enrichment to promote the club! Many people worry about violence in Anime and Manga, but there is a lot out there that is suitable for younger years, just like with any media. Legal streaming on subscription websites such as Crunchyroll provides an easy way to show anime in school.

It can be difficult to get support from parents, who may not understand “the point” of Anime or Manga and who may be apprehensive about it. To combat this I made a leaflet outlining some of the benefits of anime and manga and introducing parents to Anime they might like to share with their children at home. I love to watch students from all years chatting eagerly with each other, especially those with social difficulties who struggle otherwise to make friends. School can be a very stressful place for students today, but the students who enjoy Anime and Manga are creative, more able to create a home/school balance and bounce through the halls, knowing there’s something to look forward to (apart from homework!) when they get home.”

You can download the wonderful leaflet that Kim has so generously shared with us here.

Being Me – book resource pack around being different

SLG logoThe CILIP School Libraries Group have produced another excellent book pack, following on from the World War One resource pack.  This time the theme is ‘Being Me’, and it centres around difference and disability.  The books cover a wide range of subjects, with questions and exercises suitable for all reading groups.  Primary as well as secondary books are included, as well as poetry.  SLG members can download the pack for free from the CILIPSLG website here; non members (and members) can buy a beautifully produced pack at a very reasonable price. Details on the flyer here.  Please contact Sarah Masters   for more details.

Alive Poets Society

Michael Hughes, who is an English teacher has set up Alive Poets Society site for pupils to publish their own poetry.  Schools can request access for their own area of the site. It looks like a wonderful idea to me! Great for encouraging pupils to write poetry, especially leading up to National Poetry Day (October 16th). For further details please contact Michael on

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.

LitPick – Read and review new books!

Snip20150707_62LitPick is a site I only found about recently, and it is one I really like the look of.  Although the site is based in the US, it is just as relevant to your keen readers in the UK, or any other country where students are happy to read books in English.   I contacted the people who run the site, just to check that there were no hidden costs, and was reassured that it was completely free to use.  Students can join to review books, which are then sent to them as eBooks  if they live outside of the United States.  Once a student submits a review, it is evaluated by one of their adult underwriters. Feedback on the writing is given, and once the review is approved, the student is able to choose the next title.  Students can sign up to Litpick here.   Students can earn points and badges for good reviews as well as the feedback, which is invaluable.  If you wish to sign up a group of students instead and have an overview on what they write, that is also possible here.  I have spent a little while looking at this and thinking about it, and can see no downside.  Pupils get to read new books, and they are theirs to keep.  Have a look – we all have keen readers who would love to be the first to get their hands on a book!  And, just to make clear, as with everything I post, I do not get any financial reward for posting this.  Enjoy!

School Librarians’ Network – an essential resource

A lot of readers will already know about the amazing email list called School Librarians’ Network (SLN).  In fact, most of the articles on Heart come from SLN members.  But for those of you who have not caught up with this amazing resource, this is how you join.  School Librarians’ Network is a Yahoo Group, and to join SLN you first have to have a Yahoo identity.  This is quick and easy – just ensure that you put that you are a school librarian, or if your job is of interest to us.  We have many authors on the list, for instance.  There are 1000+ of us on there so it is probably best that you use a different email to your school one, as there are a large volume of emails a day. (You can of course access all emails straight on the site).  SLN is a wonderful source of knowledge and wisdom – whatever you ask, someone, somewhere, has done it before and has great advice to offer.  We also have a huge files section, worth it’s weight in gold!  You won’t regret joining SLN, the brainchild of school librarian Elizabeth Bentley, who moderates the group. Simply send a blank email to :

to access the group.  You will still need your Yahoo profile set up to access the files.  Hope to see you there!