Riveting Reads: The Carnegie Challenge 2019

We all begin the year with new resolutions, and the Library Ladiez always try to inspire our Y7 students to read more and maybe try a new genre for a change. We also run a Reading Group from Easter into the Summer term who follow the Carnegie Book Award (an annual award for the “best written book” of the year)

This year, we wanted to include all students who have a Reading Lesson, ie Y8 and Y9. And so we have taken an idea used in Gordano School and are encouraging KS3 students to read as many of the books, which at this stage, have been nominated for the Carnegie award. 85 titles were suitable for Backwell School and they are now displayed at the entrance of the Library for all to borrow. There really is something for everyone there: mystery, adventure, retelling of myths, gritty realism and non-fiction. 

Even a selection of books written in verse:

novels in verse

Our challenge?

  • To take a look and borrow what takes your fancy. You will be given a bookmark with space to write a review on the back. Post this in the box and you will be in for a chance to win a fortnightly sweetie prize.


  • Read 12+ titles before the Easter holidays and we have some Amazon vouchers up for grabs. 

To find out  more about the challenge, and Carnegie Medal, read our leaflet here:

coverRiveting Reads: the Carnegie Challenge 2019

It will be interesting to see if we have read any of the 8 shortlisted titles which will be announced on 18th March. And we may have encouraged more students to join our Reading Group to decide which title, overall, should win the gold medal. 

For those interested, here is a list of all 137 nominated titles:


Click here to find out more about the Carnegie medal and the the Shadowing process



Another year, another Battle of the Bookatrons!

Backwell School is proud of its traditions and our Y7 quiz, The Battle of the Bookatrons is no exception. The Library Ladiez have had a busy day preparing, running and tidying up – but one they wouldn’t miss!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

50 students formed 12 teams to sit through 6 rounds of video shorts, quirky questions, character links and story readings – all based on books/films that they (think) they know so well. 

Big thanks to our magnificent English teachers for joining in and reading so dramatically, and to Mr Nunes for announcing the winners. 

Great festive fun!

Christmas Readings to everyone!

December has arrived (all too soon as usual!) and we are ahead of the game, for once; with out Wintery, Christmasy, Booky Advent Calendar. There is a seasonal book for each day with a You Tube clip of a book trailer, review, author talk, reading or animation to entice you to read. And now is a good time to promote our own You Tube Channel which you can find in the right hand column of this blog. All the Advent book clips can be found on the Advent playlist.

There are many different types of books and they are suitable for a wide range of readers to do take a peak. All are available in the Library and are on display.

The calendar can be found using the link below, on Frog and will be on the Library Plasma screens throughout December. 



Click on the link below to view the whole calendar and You Tube clips

2018 Advent

Happy viewing, and reading!

Talking Gorilla with Gill Lewis

Local author Gill Lewis has visited us before, and having written several new books we felt it was time to invite her back to work with Y7. And what a fantastic morning we all had!

We began with a writing workshop, designed to help students think of different ways to get their creative juices flowing. English teachers chose those they thought would enjoy and benefit from this – 23 in all.

Gill, also an accomplished artist, always begins with sketches and doodles to help her create her landscapes and characters. We looked at graphic novels where the pictures are the most important aspect of the story before Gill unveiled a fantastic object to fire up a story: a real wolf’s skull! As a group we imagined what it would look like, where it would live and who might have killed the last one (back in the 1700s) and why. Then students lost themselves in their own imaginations, sketching and writing their own version of the story. 

After a quick break, we set Gill  up in the main theatre so that all 270 Y7 students could meet her to hear about her early work as a vet, how she came to write (we all want our own tree house btw!)and the topics that inspire her. They enthusiastically returned her greetings in Gorilla speak, before settling down to an amazing presentation of pictures, films and readings. We learnt about the dwindling numbers of Hen Harriers on the moors in this country (40% fewer in the lifetime to a Y7 student) and the not so different plight of Gorillas losing their habitats for the sake of our smart phones.

There were plenty of questions and then Gill spent 30 minutes meeting students for a quick chat while she signed their books.


There has been a lovely buzz around school since, and the Library reading room was quiet at lunchtime as students got stuck into their new and thought provoking books!

Many thanks to Gill and all the teachers involved in the morning – the logistics for it are pretty crazy!

Lest we forget – whole school Breakout


To mark the very special World War 1 Centenary Backwell School collapsed the timetable for most of the day on Thursday so that we could all pause and consider exactly what these brave men and women did for us. Teachers prepared lessons looking at conscientious objections, the role of women, Post Traumatic Stress and medicine, and musical and dramatic moments were inspired by some of these themes.

To support all this thought-provoking and inventive work, the Library displayed stories, poetry, memoirs, films and informative books with WW1 as their backdrops, publishing lists for students to pick up on later in time.


Lest we forget list for KS3

Lest we forget list for KS4 & 5

We made Readings of Remembrance for  KS3 and KS4/5 so that teachers could read excerpts of titles on the lists above at the beginning of each lesson:


P1 KS3 Reading Armistice Runner

Thanks to Twitter, we unashamedly copied another library’s idea to display objects alongside the books. We asked staff, parents and relatives for objects to really bring the period to life – and have been inundated!

Display in Library

Lunchtimes have been busy with students keen to get their hands on the items (especially the rifle!) Mr Derrick, who lent several weapons and helmets, kindly gave up his lunchtime on Thursday to be on hand (wearing cotton gloves obviously!) to explain the intricacies of his items. He was joined by some of our visiting veterans, and staff who were involved in the day. 


This slideshow requires JavaScript.

We all made a poppy in the morning to contribute to our lasting memento of the day. Cedric and is now residing in the school foyer against an amazing backdrop created by students today, in the style of Paul Nash.



Bristol Teen Book Award

The Bristol Teen Book Award is an exciting new award celebrating diversity in Young Adult novels. It was launched this summer and has shortlisted six recently published books from the UK all with a theme of diversity and identity. Young people in Bristol and the surrounding area are invited to read as many titles as they can and it is THEY who will be voting for the winner early next year!

BTBA 2018 shortlist slide

We will be promoting these titles to students in Y9 and above. They are displayed in the Library and available to borrow.  

Books for Gamers

Our latest Reading list was compiled as a result of the Library Ladiez belonging to a new Facebook group, Secondary School Librarians. We honestly can’t remember life before Social Media – what a change it has made to our work! School Library staff are often lone workers with a different professional background to the vast majority of teaching staff in their school. We now have online “Staffrooms” where we can go for support, advice and ideas from Library workers across the country and often, the world!

Click on the link below the graphic for the pdf version of this wonderful visual list created by Patt Barr who compiled it from suggestions made by members of the Facebook Group. 

Books for Gamers

Books for gamers Poster Pdf

Backwell Library staff post irregularly on this blog, but are also visible on Twitter and Instagram.  Look in the column to the right of this post to see our latest posts.