Skyping Ruta Sepetys in America

Salt to the sea

When Carnegie Shadowing Groups were offered a Skype event with the author of Salt to the Sea, we jumped at the chance. Luckily we managed to secure a date – 1.15pm here, 7.15am in the US!

By the time the day arrived over half the group had read the book and many are urging it to win, as seen on our Barometer reading taken yesterday:

Barometer reading May

As well as reading the book, we also watched the video on the Shadowing website, where Ruta talks about her work and gives the little-known background to her heart breaking story of passengers on the torpedoed Wilhelm Gustlov ship in 1945:


Unfortunately the network was unable to allow us to have a video conversation, so we got messaging instead. This might well have worked better as with a room of 35 excited students it could have got rather noisy. So, we set Mrs Gibson up with the laptop and students clamoured behind her in the queue to ask questions! We publish the transcript here, but please excuse the dodging spelling and punctuation (Mrs Gibson was struggling to keep up!) and a few time delays:

Skpye transcript

Click here for the Skype transcript with Ruta Sepetys

We hope this inspires you to pick up the book too. Hidden stories need to be heard and you may never feel the same again.






The power of stories, with Non Pratt

Things are quieter again in Library Land after a hectic and inspiring day with Non Pratt yesterday. She came in to school to work with Year 9; running two writing workshops and giving a presentation on the Power of Stories to 150 students in the afternoon.

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Writing workshops focused on building a step-by-step realistic character background for old favourites like Dora, The Explorer, Scar and Darth Vader. We finished by flipping well know characteristics to see how that would alter the story, so Darth Vader became good, Scar transformed into an elephant and Dora developed a visual impairment!

Creating interesting dialogue can be really tricky but with Non steering students through a scene of Hansel and Gretel we were so proud of the final achievements.

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Non’s presentation on The Power of Stories urged students to engage with and question the stories they encounter in books, film, TV and the news. She encouraged them to use the Bechdel Test when watching a film and challenge dated stereotypes still promoted by the  media. We loved the Ask-me-anything session in the middle of her presentation!

Thank you so much Non for spending time with us and firing us up with your enthusiasm and humour. Your lunchtime companions were thrilled to meet you and are fighting over our lovely signed copy of your new book!!!



The power of stories: Non Pratt working with Year 9.

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Hurrah, we invited Non Pratt back into school, after a great day with her last year – and she accepted!

She will be giving a presentation to half the year group in the afternoon about her work as a writer and the Power of stories – as usual bringing in ideas from films, TV and the news, not just books.

In the morning two lucky groups of students, chosen by their English Teachers, will be working more closely with her on Character creation and Doing the Dialogue.

Students Y8-10 who are not doing English P5 on Wednesday 10th May can come to the library and ask for a ticket for the Presentation, The power of stories.