Carnegie Long List – continuing the challenge to read them all….

I’m setting myself the challenge to read all of the books on the long list before the winner is announced. 52 titles in 6 months. That’s 2 a week….. I’d better get reading!

Since my last post I have read….

Bracelet of Bones” by Kevin Crossley-Holland

This seems like a re-run of “Gattys’ Tale” where a girl goes on a journey. This time it is set in Viking Times. There are a few incidents on the way – but very little character development of Solveig, the central character – a daughter travelling to join her father.



“Put Out the Light” by Terry Deary

War stories are probably my least favourite genre, so I struggled with this book for that reason. It is based around the night air raids, when two children ( brother & sister) discover that there is a thief who steals  whilst everyone runs to the shelters. Can they solve the mystery without having a bomb land on their head? (Yes). Does the culprit come as a surprise? (No). At the same time two German boys have a scheme of their own and end up rescuing a polish girl. Overall a fairly simple read with some nice references to Shakespeare.

“My name is Mina” by David Almond

I wasn’t a big fan of “Skellig” so when I realised that this was a prequel I was a little apprehensive. However this book is much better than “Skellig”! Based around the life of Mina, a girl who is seen as a strange misfit and is excluded from school, she records her thoughts and her slightly excentric home schooling in her journal. The topics that are covered are at times bizarre at others times thought provoking. A really good read.



 Books I’ve read so far….




Drop in on DEAR 4.1

The current focus of the Authors Page on the DEAR Homepage is…

World Book Day!


Promo Video for the £1 Books!


Promo Video for the Book Posters in unusual places!


Book of the Week


 Click HERE to find out if this book is still available from the MRC.


Carnegie Long List – Excellent, Really Enjoyed, Okay, Arghh

I’m setting myself the challenge to read all of the books on the long list before the winner is announced. 52 titles in 6 months. That’s 2 a week….. I’d better get reading!

in the Excellent  Category:-

 In the Really enjoyed catergory:-



In the “It was Okay” Category:-

See full size image



In the “Arggh, a struggle to read….” Category:-

 See full size image



Carnegie Long List – continuing the challenge to read them all….

I’m setting myself the challenge to read all of the books on the long list before the winner is announced. 52 titles in 6 months. That’s 2 a week….. I’d better get reading!

Since my last post I have read….

“You Against Me” by Jenny Downham

Is this a ‘love’ story or not? Thrown together by the actions of their siblings, Mikey and Ellie lives are reeling from the two different accounts of ‘that night’, when they meet due to Mikeys’ intentions of revenge. Their subsequent relationship is  fairly predictable and the outcome is satisfying even when the book ends so abruptly. The only thing that kept me going was “What does Ellie know?” and does she have the guts (and parental support) to tell.

“Small Change for Stuart” by Lissa Evans

A book for younger readers. This story is very easy to read, where strange, magical things keep happening to Stuart when he returns to his ancestors town and he dicovers his inheritance in the form of a mystery and some old coins (small change). The story ends well with everyone getting what they diserved, but some of the characters were two dimentional (the ‘girl’ next door for example) and the plot suffers from lack of depth in places.

Search for Wondla” by Tony Diterlizzi

And now for something completly different. Eva Nine is desperate to go beyond the confines of her underground home, and her robotic carer Muthr is slowly preparing her when her homw is invaded and she is thrown into an adventure in a world that bears little resemblance to the world in her training. Where is she? Is she alone? I had several theories as I read the book and not all questions were resolved – yes its another part one of a series,- but this time I do want to know what happens next!



 Books I’ve read so far….




World Book Day – Book signing opportunity next week

As part of our World Book Day celebrations next week Malcolm Rose will be spending the morning with our Year 8 students.


If you are lucky enough to be in Year 8 then you will be looking closer at one of his books in your English Lesson and you will have the opportunity to order books for him to sign on the day! Click here to have a sneak preview of the lesson.


So if you want to buy one of these books for a reduced price of £5.00 – just pop into the MRC.

Carnegie Long List Challenge

I thought that as I was about half way through my self-imposed Carnegie Longlist Challenge I stop and reflect on my experiences so far.


So back when the Carnegie Long List was announced (4th November 2011) I set myself the challenge to read them all before the overall winner is annouced  (14th June) or ideally before the shortlist is announced (27th March). This involves reading roughly 2 books a week.


So 12 weeks in, 29 books read, 23 books to go, 5 weeks to shortlist time, and 12 weeks to final result is announced… I feel like I am on target.


But…. but I have a confession to make. This weekend I lapsed.

I read a book that WASN’T on the long list.



it was great!

The joy of choosing a book that I wanted to read instead of one I ‘had’ to read… the sense of freedom was amazing!

By the way it was a Non-Fict

ion book about Enid Blyton, someone who was perhaps overlooked in the Carnegie Awards in the past – a bit like the Harry Potter never being recognised in the oscars/baftas! My love of Enid, and the impact of her books on my life… well that’s for another blog!


Back to Carnegie longlist – well I’ve really enjoyed reading the books that I couldn’t put down, the ones that I HAD to read in one sitting (Patrick Ness’  “A Monster Calls“, Anne Fines’ “The Devil Walks“, Suzanne LaFleurs’ “Eight Keys” (surely they will be on the shortlist?). At the same time I’ve hated a few – the ones that have slowed me down because I couldn’t get into them, that were a drag to read and took over a week of painful slogging to read through them. (Lindsey Barracloughs’ “Long Lankin“, Frances Hardinges’ “Twilight Robbery” and John Stephens’ “The Emerald Atlas“.


(How dare they take up so much of my reading time and offer so little reading thrill in return!)


What usually happens with the shortlist is that the one I like the least wins…… so I will watch and wait.


So I’ve got straight back on my wagon and have started my next Carnegie Longlist book – this time Kevin Crossley Hollands’ “Bracelet of Bones”. I just hope that over the next 12 weeks and 23 books I have more page turners and fewer tales dull as ditchwater!


I’ll keep you posted, and of course feel free to disagree with me!


Happy Reading!

Future Trends in Libraries

Latest “Call to Arms” for Now is the Time for Libraries


A-Z of Internet Tools and Techniques: Letter M

So here we are with Letter M of the tools and techniques which you can use to get the most out of the Internet.

M stands for….

Mobile Learning

Possible the most interesting, challenging and exciting change happening in schools right now.

Your average blanket school policy on “No Phones in School” has got to be the most disregarded rule, perhaps ever!

And who can blame them when I love and adore my own mobile device. (iPad)

The trick for schools is to stay ahead of the game (or the students) and have a “Responsible Use” policy rather than an impossible to enforce blanket ban. This debate is currently happening here in TDAc.


So what makes me a fan of Mobile Learning?

As phones become another educational tool, it is likely that ‘misuse’ or frivolous use will fall, especially in school.

and there are so many fantastic things that we (yes this does include staff) can use to aid our learning (and our teaching!)

Use the camera to take pictures of notes, the whiteboard, different stages of a piece of art work, design projects, timetables….

They can film roleplays, science experiments, teacher demonstrations, lectures, drama rehearsals, dance practices, sports skills….

Foreign Language students or dyslexic students can use it to record notes which they can re-listen to at their leisure. Or to record their own ideas when they can’t write as fast as they think.

Science, Maths, Technology can use them to record measurements and data logging.

Use Apps like Evernote to collate ideas on a project and keep them all together.

Use JotNot Scanner to scan paper documents and convert to PDFs, or JPEGs.

Use EasyBib to scan in ISBN’s and turn into citations (okay so Harvard isn’t included yet…) but how I’d love to promote this in yet another tool against plagiarism.

Do I need to mention Kindle? or iBooks? or Overdrive (there are plans to link this with our LMS Oliver, so students could borrow ebooks from the MRC – watch this space!)

Plus many of the Apps have authority – that is the information can be trusted and is more reliable than random internet searches. Have a look at Science 360 or The Elements or BBC Bitesize….the list is endless, and talking of revision have a look at Cramberry for creating your own flashcards, or InQuizitor – where testing your knowledge becomes a game!

And all this choice – well that is exactly where the role of your friendly librarian comes in. There is so much to choose from, where do you start? The information is essentially the same – just the media that is a bit different but the skills to organise and find the right information at the right time are the same.

I’d like to start an App Club at the Academy so we can share the latest and the best Apps.


I could go on, and I’ve probably gone on too much, but Mobile Learning excites me – all those possibilities…


QR codes are fab too! Endless uses – but perhaps I ought to save that for the letter Q!


Bibliography Scott, Elspeth. (2009). All kinds of e-verything. School Librarian. 57

Carnegie Long List – continuing the challenge to read them all….

I’m setting myself the challenge to read all of the books on the long list before the winner is announced. 52 titles in 6 months. That’s 2 a week….. I’d better get reading!

Since my last post I have read….


Eight Keys by Suzanne LaFleur

Okay so the popular theme of death is again covered in this book, but in a slightly different way. Elsies parents died when she was very small and she lives happily with her Aunt and Uncle. Life is fine until she starts her new school and whilst things start to go wrong she finds a key. The first of eight keys that unlock the mysterious rooms in the barn. What she finds in each room helps her to adjust and cope with her ever-changing world. A Fabulous book!



Twilight Robbery by Frances Hardinge

Twilight Robbery. Does what it says on the cover. Robs you of all that wasted time spent reading at the end of the day in the “twilight” hours.

I haven’t read book one, and this book does not inspire me to race out and read it. But perhaps it was because I hadn’t read book one, that I had very little interest in the characters and their never-ending series of mishaps. It became very frustrating as the end of the book approached and there was yet another twist in the tale that meant it wasn’t all over yet.

I got through it – but boy was it hard going!


The Devil Walks by Anne Fine

Another fantastic book by Anne Fine. I read this in two sittings as I couldn’t put it down. It was interesting and different and is a page-turner. It is quite easy to read but has a gripping plot. Looking back there were clues to what was going on – but these were subtle and only hinted at what was to come.

Daniels strange childhood, his sudden rescue into ‘normality’ and subsequent return to his family home, all form a backdrop for a page-turning chiller.

Go read it NOW!

 Books I’ve read so far….