Summer Reading Challenge 2020

Welcome to this year’s AGGS Summer Reading Challenge – 20 for 2020. The challenge is to read or listen to something in each of the twenty categories listed in the poster attached.

This is a tough challenge but I thought that, in view of this, you could count anything you’ve read or listened to at home or in school or in class from January this year. Please don’t go further into the past than that!

A book can only be used once in one of the categories and must be read in full.

There will be a winner in each year group – the person who completes the most categories – and they will win a book token. In the event of a tie, names will be drawn out of a hat by the student librarians.

Bring the PDF, marked up with the names of the books you’ve read, back to the School Library in September.

Download the PDF here

AGGS Library Pointless Quiz

Written by Eva G, Year 10

On Friday 13th December, AGGS hosted their very own Pointless Quiz. The event had been kindly organised by the IT Technicians and took place to raise money for the library. Mr Adshead was also the compere. The quiz’s contestants were:

  • Mr Lovelady and Mr Murray,
  • Mr Carr and Mrs Hulme;
  • Mr Starnes, and Mr Gough,
  • Dr Roberts and Mrs Russell.

The game consisted of six rounds, each with a different category (the aim of the game being that each team had to try and guess the least common answer). After a brief introduction from each teacher, the game began.

Round 1 – Words without vowels (Mr Lovelady + Mr Murray were eliminated)
Round 2 – Geography/flags (Mr Starnes + Mr Gough out)
Round 3 – Theme tunes
Round 4 – Breed of dogs
Round 5 – Fruit in foreign languages (Mr Carr + Mrs Hulme came second place)

Last round – 50 most followed twitter accounts

Dr Roberts and Mrs Russell won a glass plate, engraved with the AGGS Pointless Quiz logo. The quiz managed to raise over £160 for the library. It was a wonderful event, and a great start to the festive season.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Safiyyah Is Reading Cloud’s Star Reviewer!

One of our librarians, Safiyyah S, Year 11, have won a book review competition and was nominated A Reading Cloud Star Reviewer!

Capita Reading Cloud said: “Safiyyah has blown our team away with her book review on “The Life You Can Save” by Peter Singer. Our Star reviewer Judge, Sue Polchow said “Safiyyah’s thought provoking and heartfelt review challenges the reader to pick up and consider “The Life You Can Save’ and make a difference by doing so.’”

Safiyyah will receive a Student Star Reviewer Certificate and National Book Token worth £15 and her review is also be published on the ReadingCloud website.

See the competition page here

Read Safiyyah’s review here

Summer Reading Challenge Winners

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.

Summer Reading Challenge

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.

Happy summer reading !

See the form for each year group below:

Year 7&8: Library-Reading-Challenge-Y7-8

Year 9&10: Library-Reading-Challenge-Y9-10

Year 11, 12 & 13: Library-Reading-Challenge-VI


The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson

Reviewed Annabelle F (Year 10)

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

Chocolat by Joanne Harris Reviewed by Annabelle F (10-3)

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.

(Also, just found out, it’s a series!)

Summer Reading Challenge

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:

Let the Summer Reading Challenge commence…

  • Beach Read: take it easy- light and breezy


  • Summer Romance: featuring a (preferably soppy) love story


  • Overboard: sail the seven seas between the pages


  • Bright as Day: the front cover has a bright image


  • Take Off: fly away abroad to explore another country


  • Ice- Cream Needed: book + food= amazing, book featuring food= true summer


  • Strawberries and Cream: read about any summer sport


  • Sun’s Out: anywhere based in a sunny land with lots of outdoors


  • Season Change: a change of all the seasons in one book


  • Summer Tunes: listen to an audiobook


  • Lemonade and an Umbrella: a character can’t not drink a summer drink


  • Not so Long and Dreary: immerse yourself into a classic


  • B for Beach: read any book written by another who’s name starts with ‘B’


  • Paradise Island: set on a desert Island


  • Quests aren’t Holidays: a character goes on an adventure, mission or quest


  • Verses of Sun: read some poetry… honestly, they’re so much better than you think!


  • Flourishing: the front cover features a flower


  • Giggles: read a funny book that makes you lol


  • Outside the Box: crosses between universes


  • Book’s Better: read a book that was later turned into a film


  • Sunburnt Kids: a group of young children outside or on holiday


  • Short and Sweet: read a book of short stories


  • Indian Summers: read a book set in mainland India


  • That’s my Name: one of the main character’s name begins with ‘T’


  • Once Upon a Time: based on a fairy-tale or old folk story


  • Back in Time: set in the past centuries


  • Proud of Pride: in the genre of LGBT+


  • Curiouser and Curiouser: something that you’ve been waiting to read for a very long time


  • Glinting in the Sun: featuring a special/ magical object


  • Red: read a book that has ‘red’ in its title or the colour red on it’s front cover


  • Let it Out: characters argue or fight with 2 people


  • Spend it: a book that costs more than £8.99 (tag on  back)


  • Joy: the protagonist smiles a lot


  • Refreshing the Senses: involves somebody taking a splash in the pool or sea


  • Go Long: a book with more than 650 pages


Great prize, great books, great summer


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?

How to Read More

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

Fandom Day

Fandom Day, May 2018Thanks to all the Year 7s who raised money to buy new books for the Library through Fandom Day.  The Year 7 School Council have chosen some excellent new books which are now available to borrow.