Congratulations to Naomi from Year 8 (pictured to the right of her friend Ayanfe), one of the winners of this year’s Summer Reading Challenge. Naomi will be taking over the library budget this term and selecting the books we buy for you to read.
Well done to Alekhya in Year 10, our other Summer Reading Challenge winner. Alekhya read an astonishing 20 books over the summer holidays and won a box of Krispy Kreme donuts for her efforts.
Congratulations to everyone who participated. Certificates will be presented to you during assembly.
Reading regularly and reading for pleasure has a huge impact on your wellbeing and academic attainment. Try to read every day of the summer holidays if you can and join in our Summer Reading Challenge. Read at least 6 books between now and September to enter the draw to choose the books the library buys in the Autumn term. Read any 6 books from the list on the entry form and you can also win a box of Krispy Kreme donuts! Make sure you get the right list for your year group.
The books are recommendations from the librarians but remember, you don’t have to read them to enter. Try to include one non-fiction book, a graphic novel or manga, some poetry, a magazine and listen to a podcast.
Fill out the details on the back of the form and hand it in to the library in September.
I know there are some mixed opinions about this book, but personally I think it deserves Book of the Month. I love the way it is written, I love the characters, how crazy it is, the poems, how it explores grief. You can really tell that it means a lot to the author, it really comes through in her writing, because whilst there are some moments that might seem very tumblr, I think it is genuine. Something as honest and genuine as this book could only come from real emotion, real experience, and I think she has done a brilliant job of communicating that with the world.
Grief stricken, lovesick, Wuthering Heights obsessed Lennie Walker aka John Lennon is a bit of a mess, even by the standards of the (out of its tree and running around the park) crazy, hippy place she lives in Northern California. Juliet, that is, her sister Bailey has just died. Lennie now knows that the worst can happen at any time, and she struggles with the fact that her sister, her best friend, is never coming back. Lennie, in her agony, starts to shut the people she loves out, as she herself shuts down. That is until Toby (Bailey’s boyfriend) and Joe (a crazy French musician with the amazing signature Fontaine smile) come along….
Lennie thought her life couldn’t get more complicated, she thinks she’s only just started to wake up, that her sister was made for this, she was the actress, made for all the drama, not her, not Lennie, and so we follow Lennie as she realises that she was awake all along and she stops fighting against her grief and realises that as long as she lives, she will grieve because that is the way that love works.
Along the way, a few (many, beautiful) poems are strewn around town, and we get to read some of them. Personally, I adore them. They capture Lennie so well and I think foreshadow who Lennie grows to become, show us who she has been all along. Not a companion pony but a whirlwind of love and light and craziness and imagination. They capture her, her grief and her love in such a thoughtful way, but are also kind of like a wrecking ball of emotion, you can’t avoid it, you can’t not feel what she’s feeling, not know what she knows. I really love them, and I think they are the empirical evidence that poetry is not dead, but very, very alive to those who doubt.
So do I love this book? Yes. Do I think that you should read it or reread it? Yes. And do I think it deserves book of the month? Yes! (100%, affirmative, amen, right, aye, beyond a doubt, by all means, certainly, definitely, gladly, most assuredly, naturally, of course, sure thing, undoubtedly, unquestionably, without fail, yep, ja, oui, sí, joo, áno, hej, 是, ae, yebo, you should definitely get the message if you’ve get this far, which I do not expect but well done if you have, in all honestly, would I have written this review if I didn’t think it was worth one, if not, twenty three reads? I hope someone spots all my references…)
Jandy Nelson is also the author of: I’ll Give You The Sun (another brilliant book)
If you like this book you might also like… We Were Liars (E. Lockhart), Eleanor and Park (Rainbow Rowell), All the Bright Places (Jennifer Niven)
To check the availability of these books in the school library, go to the Reading Cloud
I doubt any review, least of all mine, could do this book justice. I read this book a while ago, I was going through a bit of a phase- I read the Perks of Being a Wallflower and A Catcher in the Rye at the same time. It was a good phase, one I’m glad I had, because they were all brilliant books. And since this is the month of World Book Day, I thought it would be a good idea to review a book which is really, really brilliant, a book which isn’t too new (since I usually review newer books), and should continue to be celebrated. I decided Chocolat was that book.
The thing about Chocolat, is that it really is understandable, and there is a clear memorable plot at the same time as having a few very clear messages. When I was reading A Catcher in the Rye, I understood what was happening and I remember parts, but if you asked me now to explain it, I would probably struggle. I didn’t get very invested in it when I read it, whereas I was completely addicted to Chocolat.
So, about the plot. A woman, who I guess we could describe as rootless, moves to a village in France with her daughter, and she opens a chocolate cafe. However, they do not exactly receive the warmest of welcomes, especially from the church across the square.
I don’t really think I can say more than that. But the messages? I guess I could tell you one. There are secrets behind every door (oooh how ominous). Chocolate is meant to be a metaphor for love and tolerance. It’s also particularly suitable at this time of year, since the book is set around Lent.
So this month, if you’re in the mood for a trip to France, to visit the very pompous people of Lansquenet-sous-Tannes, and unwind a story about our expectations and those that we most trust, but also, I guess, our own weaknesses, the strength of temptation, the fragility of sanity, I recommend a little book called Chocolat.
Looking for something to do this summer? Oblivious to an obvious choice?
If not only for your own enjoyment, then for a little competition- the Summer Reading Challenge gives everyone something worthwhile to read.
It’s all completely up to you! Read as many books from any of the following categories as you can. But make sure you only enter one book per category. Either pick out your own book from outside school, or books that the library has categorised especially.
The winner with the most amount of books read can choose new books to join the library shelves. Which book do you keep begging for the library to get? Well, now you have a chance to choose!
Keep a record of the book title that you have read and their category- either print out the form below or go old school and write it down. Remember to include your name and form!
All entries are to be returned to the library for back to school in September. But that’s more than a month of page- turning excitment away. So for now:
Don’t get the brain drain over summer and turn into a robot- interpret the titles however you wish, as long as there is some sort of plausable reason. Have fun this summer and make sure to comment below:
Which books are you most looking forward to read?
Which books do you think need to be in the library?
I agree. Reading’s hard work; especially when you’re thinking of all the other books that you just have to read. The stress of it all can make you want to skip the book you’re on- if only for the satisfaction of getting through your 49th book this year.
The book you’re reading at the moment, however breath-taking, can still become a bit of a drag when you look at the long, dreaded, ever-growing list of books to buy and read. It’s like some sort of serpent that grows longer and longer until it’s ready to coil itself around you…okay- maybe not that serious.
Sitting down (even finding the time to do that) and reading with all these distractions flying around your head can make you struggle to enjoy the present page flicking moment.
If only you had a little more time…*
1. Trust the person who brings a book. Everywhere. If there’s one advantage of technology, it’s that you can (not only read this time- consuming blog) read on your phone, kindle or kobo. Not only are they light, but super easy to carry around which means…yep! You can take your book anywhere and everywhere. Journeys to school, trips to the shops, in the car and basically wherever you want. All those small 5 minute bursts of reading will add up before you know it.
2. Remember those old-fashioned heavy lumps of papers? They were pretty popular back in the day. It can help sometimes just to change the format that you’re reading on. Don’t get put off by the weight of 459 pages. Real life, hardback paper books can be a real investment. Expensive, yes- but owning a book that’s yours- and only yours- one that you can hold in your hands and feel the weight on your hands covered with paper cuts-that’s a reading experience. Changing to either a digital or paper book could also change your attitude and motivation to reading.
3. Audiobooks. A gift from God. Whether you borrow one from the library to listen to on car journeys or download one on your phone- you can never go wrong. Unless, of course, the reader’s voice is so irritatingly annoying. In which case, I advise you to find another version of the book. When you can put up with the most terrible pronunciation of names, you can put up with anything. Think about the time you can save and how much you can read- or listen too- when walking from one place to another.
4. Shorten your too read listen. Yep- you heard me.
‘So many books, so little time’.
So use those great prioritisation skills to help you fine tune what books you really want to read. Use libraries to help- try reading a few chapters of a book before buying a copy yourself, especially if it’s a new author. You’re welcome, I’ve just saved you a ton money! Of course, the downside to a reader’s open mind is that you’ll probably end up with a few more books on your mind after a library visit. Perhaps even try a few short stories, poetry or even blogs… it is still reading after all!
5. Do you have a regular reading habit? Find a quiet place. Sitting in the same room as a sibling playing ‘fortnite’ and constantly hearing the roar of guns is not very helpful. Sit in your own comfort- try to make it a regular pattern, that way you’re more likely to stick to it. Through doing this you’re automatically reminded of the peaceful reading times you spend nearly every day at the same place.
Now- do you really have any excuses for not having the time to read? Stop reading this blog: go and find yourself a good old book.
*I am not a magical witch who can summon and create time- but there are so many ways to make time for time… so I guess I am a magical after all
Schools, libraries, and bookshops all celebrated the 21st World Book Day on March 1st. Here at AGGS staff shared their favourite stories with pupils during a special lunchtime book reading session. Thanks to Mrs Clark, Mr Lovelady, Mrs Cleary, Mr England and Mr Hodgson for dazzling us with a diverse selection of novels and poems.