Fiction suggestions for Y8 Parents Evening

As always we have updated our Read on Y8 book list ready for Parents Evening this evening. English teachers have bookmarks to give out should they wish to encourage students to read more widely, and parents who are looking for ideas to support their child can ask for one.

We have placed a pdf copy here for you to see/print off should anyone have missed the above opportunity:

Read on Yr 8 leaflet

Read on Y8



Football fever hits the Branford Boase Award

The display on Mrs Gibson’s desk recently has contained the books shortlisted for this year’s Branford Boase Award. 

Display pic

The BBA was set up to reward the most promising new writers and their editors, as well as to reward excellence in writing and in publishing. The Award is made annually to the most promising book for seven year-olds and upwards by a first time novelist.

We are pleased to announce that the winner is

Kick by Mitch Johnson

the book we have been promoting in Y7 Reading Lessons this week

Kick is about a young sweatshop worker, Budi, who dreams of being a famous footballer one day just like the stars he watches on the TV. But a misguided kick will soon threatens his life as well as his dreams. The story behind the trainers we all aspire to will make us think about those in far away countries, whose lives are lived on the edge. It is also a tale of danger, friendship and family, that is funny,  heartening and inspiring. Perfect for readers 10-12 years old. 

Here are the other titles on the shortlist, most of which are available in the school Library:

2018 shortlist


Backwell Book Day shenanigans

With Activities week over, Y11 and Y13 out of school, so we could relax a little and focus on being creative with literature for a day. The English Department and Library Ladies encouraged all teachers to add a literary flair to their lessons for the day, devised some booky competitions, a Book Swap and invited some inspiring performers in to work with us. 

Steven Camden has been on our radar for a while and we were thrilled that he had the day free to visit us to work with Y9, Y10 and even Y12. We have never seen a speaker engage a whole year group in the way that Steven could with his style of poetry, story creation and story telling. Y9 were a group of 300 and he held them in the palm of his hand, encouraging them to share what they had devised with much aplomb and hilarity. (Can you remember YOUR most embarrassing moment – and are you prepared to share it?!) Every group left reminiscing (staff as well as students!) and fired up for their next English lesson. Teachers say they came in raring to share their new ideas and some had been asked to buy one of Steven’s books because their students demanded to read them!

We also invited Y9 & 10 keen writers, to a working lunch where Steven had them creating their own most contrived rhymes and then building them into a story. 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

We were keen to invite local theatricals, Living Spit to entertain Y7 and Y8 with their witty mix of drama, storytelling, rhyme and song. One Man and his Cow had everyone giggling at the gurning, and humming the songs for the remainder of the day!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

A huge thank you goes out to our performers for tweaking their acts to fit in with our timetable, so that every student in school could watch a show. 

Congratulations to our competition winners, Emily, Y8 for guessing all 20 book titles on the Book Trail, and Frankie, Y12 for being one of the many to guess the Book in a Jar was Harry Potter and the Order of the Pheonix!

Carnegie 2018 – a day of celebration

Group photo

This year’s shortlist reading period seems to have flashed by and today was the day, when we met with our old and new friends from Churchill Academy to debate the merits of all eight books up for the Carnegie medal. It was our turn to host and we made a full day of activities, quizzes and discussion by adding an author talk in the morning. Mimi Thebo lives nearby and we had seen her books nominated for Carnegie (Dreaming the Bear was also Longlisted last year) so thought she would be a good person to enlighten us about book awards. What a great day we had!

After breaking the ice and getting to know one another we settled into teams for the annual quiz – the new round contained a Grab-Bag full of items featured in the books, each one with a bonus question:

It was a closely run contest with joint winners choosing a book prize and sharing home-made shortlisted book chox: 

Mimi provided the highlight of the day with a fascinating talk looking into the perils of trying to become a published author, let alone one who wins an award. We were left inspired to search out well written books and to share them with others. Students queued up to purchase a signed book (or two) and Mimi spent time chatting with each one. Oh and we loved her bears!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Lunch is always another highlight with our visitors bringing Carnegie themed cake:


And last but not least is our regular big debate on the merits of all 8 shortlisted books and a vote for the best of the bunch. This year our winner was obvious with 2/3 of the votes going to Will Hill’s After the Fire:

So now all we need to do, is hold our breath until Monday 18th June, when the adult judges announce the winner of the best written book for children and young adults for 2018. We shall be live-streaming the event in our Reading Room at lunchtime for anyone who wishes to attend.

On their way home, I asked students to write their view of the day on our new wipe-board, using their initials to begin the words, so I will leave you with them.


We are recommending our group members now try some of the different titles shortlisted for the YA Award (although our favourite, Will Hill won this last week with After the Fire)  Click below  for details of both lists

Carnegie Longlist & YA shortlist



Shelf Help: books to support Mental Health Awareness Week 2018

It has been  Mental Health Awareness Week this week, and time for us to remind you about the Shelf Help collection in the School Library.

Part of Books on Prescription, the self-help books have been chosen with the help of several agencies and the collection is aiming to support young people, their parents/carers and friends. (Our collection has been kindly donated to us by North Somerset Libraries)


Book List for Shelf help

The books have information and advice as well as personal stories about dealing with feelings of anxiety and depression, experiences including bullying and eating disorders and conditions such as ADHD and autism. There are personal stories, graphic novels and fiction: reading about other people’s experiences and feelings can often help you understand your own.

The books aim to support those who are waiting for treatment, maybe young people who might not have told someone yet,  or carers and friends needing more information. The collection is clearly sign posted and be assured that staff can help with knowledge and discretion.

Our collection is on display near the main desk. Titles can be requested and items borrowed for 6 weeks at a time.

Shelf Help display 2017

The list of the books can also be found on the Library Search page on Frog – choose Shelf Help.

We are happy for you to contact Library Staff by phone or email us at

More information can also be found on the Reading Well website.

Books featuring characters on the Autistic spectrum and/or with ADHD: a periodic book list

We frequently collect together resources on a particular theme/topic/genre for school and have decided to store them here. We have also given them a “corporate” style following on from the success of our last list for Y7 readers.

Many of our families have members who are on the Autistic Spectrum and we are sometimes asked specifically for books reflecting such households. You will already know one or two of the fiction titles: Curious incident of the dog in the night time and maybe The London Eye mystery, which are popular mainly for their fascinating narrators who view the world in an alternative way. So we have looked out similar, less well known stories and added some non-fiction titles too. All are available in the school library either in the general collection or our Shelf Help section (supporting mental health and well-being). The Library Ladiez can help you find them.

We hope they provide support and enjoyment.                                                                                   Click on the link below for a pdf of the full list.

Autism pic

Books featuring AutismADHD

This and other lists can also be found under the Reading List Tab at the top of the page. 

Carnegie preparations in hand

This term is busy here in Library-Land as revision for GCSE and A Levels get serious. In fact we have many students getting their heads down to work from 8am – 4.30pm every day. We almost feel bad for turning them out at 4.30!

Anyway, our workload has calmed down and so while we watch over and support Y11 & Y13s we busy ourselves with preparations for Carnegie Celebrations yet to come. Our Shadowing Group are meeting weekly and reading constantly –  some have already read 6 books – and we are having trouble keeping up with them! Our day of celebration with Churchill Academy students will be early this year to make way for Enrichment Week and French exchanges, on 5th of June. We have already booked local author, Mimi Thebo (who was nominated with Coyote Summer) to speak about her writing and what she thinks of book awards. We have placed the buffet lunch order. So now we must plan our activities: icebreakers, quizzes and competitions to warm everyone up before the big debate in the afternoon.

Trinkets and prizes are always treasured, and this year we have gone all-out to give them a Carnegie flavour (quite literally). We hold our hands up to admit they are not original ideas, having found them on Twitter (God bless Twitter!) The biggest thanks go to @playbythebook, @librarymice and a certain German supermarket for the idea, template and chox for the minibook shortlisted titles. The empty key-rings were found online (probably from China, so allow plenty of postage time!) Also thanks to our 6th form assistants for showing the Library Ladiez who to resize photos and a lot of cutting and sticking!

Happy to share – find the pdfs to print below:

Book Covers for Carnegie Key-Rings

Shortlist chox 2018