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. 

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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!

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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!

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Carnegie 2018 – a day of celebration

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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!

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

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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.

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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

 

 

Fact and Fiction for Y7 with Christopher Edge

What an interesting morning we had with author Christopher Edge, a writer who incorporates scientific theories into his story lines. He was not daunted by the prospect of talking to all 270 Y7 students in our theatre, and didn’t wrong-foot on the Chicago set (ready for our school production)! He was here to promote his recent novels, The many worlds of Albie Bright and The Jamie Drake equation.

Christopher spent an hour checking what scientific knowledge we had before offering his own versions of the workings of parallel universes and thoughts on alien life communities. Students were engaged and keen to contribute throughout the presentation. As groups returned to their classes around 80 students stayed to purchase a book of their choice and speak to Christopher while he signed it for them.

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After a quick break we had him up and running again but this time in the smaller setting of our Reading Room, where he ran a workshop for 30 students who had asked to come to find out the best way to begin a story. If you look at our photos you may recognise some of the opening lines that Christopher used to illustrate the best way to tackle this; from authors like Patrick Ness, Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett. Christopher gave  everyone the opportunity to choose their favourite and then encouraged them to begin writing a story of their own to follow it. There was just time to read out his favourites.

We would like to say a BIG THANK YOU to Christopher for coming to visit and share his work with us. The students for participating in both events and their teachers for giving up their lessons for Periods 1 and 2.

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.

 

Yr 9 Avoiding Trouble with Non Pratt

It took a while to finalize dates and events with the new writer on the block, Non Pratt, but so worth it! She came into school on Wednesday after a 5.15am start from Enfield and worked with our Y9 students non stop until the end of school.

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We ran 2 workshops in the morning for selected students, on Character building and Devilish dialogue – and the Library Ladiez think they were our most successful ones to date. Non came well prepared to deliver 1hr 20 minute lessons with pace, humour and plenty of feedback. All students eagerly participated in describing characters from popular culture (from Dora the Explorer to Cat Woman) and reading aloud from their work to collect positive and constructive feedback from Non. The dialogue students worked on creating interesting and insightful words that might have been spoken by Hansel & Gretel – with the help of a Norwegian badger (but that is another story!).

Great fun! The activities were good and got you thinking very easily.      Ben & Rowan

I was expecting someone trying to make an aspect of writing I thought boring, sound fun in a cheesy over-excited manner but Non wasn’t like that at all. She made everything sound interesting, even fairy tales.        Helen

I really enjoyed the workshop! Non made even the simplest things seem exciting. She was hilarious and all the activities were very interesting. The time flew by and I wish it could have been longer.       Amber

We invited some keen readers and writers to a picnic lunch with a couple of English teachers and our Library Link Governor before taking over the 6th form theatre – for Non to present a thought provoking show about Gender stereotypes in popular culture to 150 English students.

Non was very engaging and the issues she talked about were relevant. She used points that were correct and persuasive. she made you think.      Molly

The talk that Non gave was really interesting because I didn’t realise how much women are stereotyped and put into passive roles in films and books. I really enjoyed the talk and it made me think.      Becky

Totally rad.        Anon

The talk made us think about how girls don’t get as much credit/opportunity and Non addressed it to the right audience.    Lucy, Chelsea & James

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Find more words and information from Non at https://authorallsorts.wordpress.com/non-pratt/

 

Thank you Non, for stirring us up for the day. We now have waiting lists for you books!

Y7 space jacked by author, Huw Powell

Local author, Huw Powell came in to visit Y7 today as part of their Library Induction Programme. We kicked off with lunch for 6 lucky students who had asked to meet him:

Daniel said ” I am obsessed with English and meeting him would boost my knowledge.”

Sophia said “I really struggle in writing and get too many ideas! I need help.”

Grace asked “I would like to have lunch with Huw because I might like to be an author one day and maybe he could give me some tips on starting a book.”

We shared our packed lunches and Huw even brought in chocolate biscuits. Everyone, including Governor Mrs Edwards, enjoyed a great chat about books, reading, writing, food and how life in Backwell School is going!

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Then it was time to get all 300 Y7 students seated comfortably in the school theatre for the main event. We will let the students tell you about it:

“Huw Powell was great fun. He was quite talkative and interesting when he read a few passages from this first Space Jackers book and the new one, The lost sword.”
Tom

“It was amazing. I never knew he was such a good artist!” Shaz

“I enjoyed the author visit because it wasn’t just him talking, it was interactive and exciting. I will definitely read his book!” Student 7C3

“I enjoyed how he said ‘never give up’ and he’s a good author!” Tim

All in all it was a great event. Many thanks to Huw, everyone who helped out with the logistics of such a large event and the teachers who gave up their lessons to allow their students to meet a real author.

An afternoon in the company of Chris D’Lacey

After a busy week, the Library Ladiez were able to settle down with a group of Y7-8 students and a large contingency of Y5 students from Backwell Juniors, for an afternoon of stories from the author Chris D’Lacey. Chris visited us a few years back to promote his Dragon Chronicles, and this time he was talking about his new trilogy, The Unicorne Files. As always, he told us a lot about his background and how he came to write his stories and then gave us some tantalizing tasters of his new books. Students had plenty of questions when he had finished and he stayed late to sign copies for those who wanted to get reading over the weekend.

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We have copies of all books in the library and if you want to find out more about Chris and his work, click on the links below:

Click here for the Dragon Chronicles website

Click here for the Dragon Chronicles website

Click here for The Unicorne Files website

Click here for The Unicorne Files website