World Book Day Winners

As with everything in the last 12 months World Book Day looked a bit different this year but thanks to everyone who entered the Pupil Librarians’ World Book Day Competition. The variety of submissions really surprised and delighted us. From fan fiction, to songs, dressing up and food entries, we loved them all.

The Year 9 Pupil Librarians met the day after World Book Day (on Teams naturally) and voted on their favourites. It was a difficult choice given that the standard of entry was really high but the winner was clear. Congratulations to Advika W. (7-6), your picture was beautifully executed and perfectly captures the mood of the time.

WINNER!
Advika W 7-6 – This storm will pass
SECOND PLACE!
Sheena S 7-1 – Hermione from Harry Potter – a picture of her drawn using words that describe her personality. (Just like the saying, a picture is worth 1000 words :))

I have circulated an electronic version of the £1 World Book Day book token on Teams but when we get back in the library, if you’d prefer, you can come and collect a paper token. We also have a limited number of the £1 World Book Day books to buy with your token. You can use the token after the expiry date advertised so you’ll be able to use it when the shops reopen.

Take a look at all the entries. We hope you enjoy them as much as we did:

Staff Entries:

World book day competition

Recreate your favourite book character.
You can use any medium you like: write a song, use arts & crafts, food or dress up.
It’s up to you!

Enter the competition to win a book token.

Email your entry to:
library@aggs.bfet.uk by Thursday 4th March

September Book of the Month

Death Sets Sail by Robin Stevens

Death Sets Sail is the 9th and final book in the hugely successful Murder Most Unladylike series.  It is the most popular series of books for Years 7 and 8 in this library and copies are rarely to be found on the shelves.  It’s also a popular choice in the Hodgson household, my daughter having fallen in love with Daisy and Hazel from the moment she read the first investigation by the Wells and Wong Detective Society.  (She loves the floor plans, the suspect lists and the guides at the back of the book too!)

We started to read it together until she read the words “perhaps that way I can bring Daisy back to life”.  At this point, she opted out and couldn’t bring herself to read about the demise of the detective duo that had clearly made an enormous impression on her.  I carried on solo and I’m so glad I did.  As a series finale, it is everything a true fan could have wanted with our favourite characters returning to help out and so many plot twists and turns you are kept guessing all the way through.  It’s a quite brilliant last hurrah for Daisy and Hazel.

Inspired by Agatha Christie’s Death on the Nile, the plot centres around a group of English tourists who believe themselves to be reincarnations of the Ancient Egyptian Pharoahs.  Naturally, one of them is murdered and the MMU detective team is tasked with finding the killer before the boat reaches its destination.  There is a great sense of place in this story, you are immediately transported to the dusty, hustle and bustle of Egypt.

For me, the beauty of these books, and why I think they are so loved by young people, is in the development of the characters and the friendship between Daisy and Hazel.  By Death Sets Sail they are 16 years old and the book accurately reflects the changes and the challenges of female friendship, in particular when romantic interests are inserted.

This has been a wonderful series and I will miss Daisy and Hazel’s adventures enormously.  Thankfully, there’s a hint that further mysteries are to come in 2022 with Hazel’s little sister May, in the Ministry of Unladylike Activity, so we need not feel so bereft.  If you haven’t yet already become obsessed with the series, I suggest you reserve a copy from the library right now so you can catch up!

October Book of the Month

Wrecked by Louisa Reid

In Wrecked, the author Louisa Reid, again revisits the verse novel form she executed so beautifully in last year’s Gloves Off.  This time we follow the story of Joe, who we meet as he stands in the dock, facing a trial for murder, death by dangerous driving.  Little by little, as the court drama unfolds, we learn more about Joe and his relationship with Imogen, his girlfriend and the events in their lives that lead up to the night of the crash.

As with Gloves Off, the reader can genuinely feel the emotions of the characters.  Both Joe and Imogen are facing tough times at home but how they each deal with their problems is different, and ultimately drives them apart.  All the characters are well drawn and believable but it is Joe, who despite the apparent crime, we are rooting for.  Stereotypes are challenged here.  Joe himself understands that jurors will see him as a teenage boy racer but we know better and though we understand how he has come to be standing here, charged with murder, how we wish he wasn’t.  He’s a decent boy, who loves his parents and wants only to do the right thing.

It’s a strikingly written and moving story.  Momentum and tension build, much like the car being driven too fast, as we race towards the final verdict.  I found it impossible to put down, so compelling was the story.  A perfect read for Years 9, 10 and 11 who like a fast paced but profound read.

March Book of the Month

The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris

The Tattooist of Auschwitz is a Holocaust love story. It is based on the true story of Lale and Gita Sokolov, two Slovakian Jews who were two ordinary people living in an extraordinary time deprived of their freedom, their dignity, their families, and even their names replaced by numbers, and how they survived Auschwitz concentration camp in 1942.

This is their story, a story of beauty, hope, courage and survival against the odds. A story about the love between two young people destined to be together. Their hidden romance in the most difficult of conditions proves that love conquers all. Not for the vast majority of prisoners, but in this specific case. This book provides great description of the living hell they went through. It demonstrates the heartbreak, the pain, the torture they had to endure. It also shows finding love, patience, and most important staying humble and putting yourself before others in such detrimental times. It is a must read.

Similar Books: The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank, The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak, The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas by John Boyne

By Khushi S (9-6)

The Life You Can Save by Peter Singer

Reviewed by Safiyyah S (Year 11)

I am not one to read non-fiction books and I most definitely would not expect me to say a non-fiction book is my favourite book- yet here I am. Unfortunately, I can’t say this book takes you to some magical world where shadow hunters and warlocks exist. Instead, it takes you to the harshest place I can think of- reality. Although this book is an easy read, it challenges us individually. The main gist of the whole book is that since our money can save lives in poor societies, we have a responsibility to hand it over. And I know that sounds extremely brutal but I can promise you that when you read this book, your eyes will be opened. I never considered myself a huge charitable person that donated constantly out of the goodness of my heart, but I thought I gave a reasonable amount. However, my opinions on a variety of topics changed whilst reading this book-including how I see myself. He doesn’t just say why we should be helping; he shows how we can do it and why our pitiful excuses to not help eradicate poverty when we clearly have the ability to, are wrong. Nearly ten million innocent children die each year from poverty-related causes. 1.4 billion people live on less than $1.25 a day–the Starbucks tea I drank the other day is approximately someone’s salary for 4 days of work. If your excuse for not reading this amazing book is that it’ll make you feel guilty, fun fact-it’s supposed to. We all should feel some sort of guilt. I really recommend this book for everyone and I hope that we don’t ignore such a predominant topic that this book educates us on.

 

“If we are not to turn our backs on a fifth of the world’s population, we must become part of the solution.”  

The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown

Reviewed by Annabelle F (Year 11)

I am aware that this is not the first book in the series, however much like the films, I read this book first and the rest of the series in a very mixed up order too, though I am still to finish. This book is among the top ten most read books, along with the Bible and Twilight, and is perfect for those who love conspiracy theories, history, mysteries and controversy. It is so effective a mix of fact and fiction that, at times, it is very easy to forget where fact ends and fiction begins.  

Robert Langdon is a world-renowned symbologist and Harvard professor, in Paris to talk about his new book. Only whilst in Paris he becomes entangled in the murder of the curator of the Louvre, a beloved figure in France, and finds himself and detective Sophie Neveu (the curator’s granddaughter) in a chase to solve one of the greatest mysteries of all time- that of the Holy Grail. Of course, they have some competition and are wanted fugitives with the French police at their heels, to make things even more complicated.

 Whilst there were some points I found a little contradictory, overall it was a very well composed thriller- an intricate web of puzzles to be solved against the clock. It’s one of those Scooby Doo novels where you really don’t know who is really who and what people’s true motives are; the plot just gets thicker and thicker. It keeps you on your toes and keeps you guessing.  It’s one of those books that when you shut it, it kind of feels like waking up, kind of like remembering that the world exists, it’s so vivid and intense that it doesn’t feel like a story. And it will keep you’re mind busy for a good while.

It’s in the library, Senior Fiction.

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!)

World Book Day at AGGS, 1st March 2018

World Book Day, 1st March 2018Schools, 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.

Mr. England Read World Book Day Mrs Clark Read on World Book Day