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Sir John's Shadowers

How to choose?
This year has a wonderful mix of great stories - humour, science fiction, historical, current issues, coming of age, and friendships, relationships and communities. And the great thing is, that if we all tried to sort the titles by these categories, then I suspect that we would end up with different opinions on which genres are applicable to each title! How do you compare Railhead, a finely detailed other world, with a fast-moving inter-galactic plot, to Wolf Hollow, where the suspence lies in waiting to see what will happen, in this American country community, with its inbuilt prejudices? I don't envy the judges their job, but we shall have fun discussing these shortlisted titles.
Posted on: 02 May 2017

Which will be the SJL Shadowers' favourite?
One of the joys for me, in running the SJL Carnegie Shadowing group, is that we are all reading the stories in parallel and revising our favourites as we go. Judging by the number of reviews, Wolf Hollow seems popular so far, and the comments made have certainly wet my appetite to read it. I am currently reading The stars at Oktober bend, and I can sympathise with the student who admitted that she read it twice to enable her to understand it - it is the most linguistically challenging (so far!), but certainly intriguing, in the desire to find out what happened when the heroine was 12. Then in contrast, Sputnik is, as one of our reviewers says, a very simple plot, but certainly very entertaining and for me even laugh aloud at one point. So the beauty of Carnegie shadowing is the mix and the challenge of reading what might not be your usual choice of book! Happy reading.
Posted on: 09 Apr 2017

Wellcome to Sir John's Shadowers
We have the largest shadowing group we have had for many years, so I hope you are all going to enjoy the books. So far, I have read 4 of the shortlist, and thought that all of them would be worthy winners! Do post a review as soon as you have read a book, so we can begin to share ideas and opinions.
Posted on: 31 Mar 2017

Lies and more lies
From the titles, there seems to be a Carnegie theme of mendacity (lying) this year. I am reading There will be lies - and there are! Lots! And so lots of plot twists. This one passes the 'can't put down' test for me. The lie tree is a completely different take, with an amazing fantasy twist embedded as you would expect from Frances Hardinge. When you've read all the Carnegie books, (!) I recommend her Cuckoo Song.
Posted on: 21 Apr 2016

2016 Shadowing under way!
For someone of the librarian's generation, Five children on the western front has to be a book to read. Having loved E.Nesbit, this might have been really good or a disappointment - and it didn't disappoint! A lovely start to Carnegie reading!
Posted on: 30 Mar 2016

Kate Greenaway
This is the first time we have shadowed the Kate Greenaway shortlist, for book illustrations, and students have some great insights. When the Librarian was growing up, only books for small children had pictures, but the Kate Greenaway books offer a whole other dimension and way to interpret a story - as well as lots of enjoyment.
Posted on: 16 Jun 2015

Growing up
Several of the books this year are about growing up. In Apple and Rain, Apple seems more grown up than her Mum. In Cuckoo Song, an over-protected child is growing up and rebelling - we gradually find out why she is so protected. Then in Buffalo Soldier, Charley is growing up as an ex-slave in a very un-free world. Growing up is a different experience for everyone, but some people's experiences are very strange or frightening.
Posted on: 22 Apr 2015

Is there more to life?
Patrick Ness is an author who makes you think. His famous trilogy, Chaos Walking, is set in a fantasy world. But when you start reading More than this, you think it is going to be a real world story. But this is a book where you are forced to keep changing your mind, as new ideas keep bubbling to the surface. If you like certainty, this isn't a book for you!
Posted on: 22 Apr 2015

Do elephants really remember?
Some books make you wonder about how much of a story could really happen... If you were as inspired as I was about the Child's elephant, you might be interested to read: Love, life and elephants by Daphne Sheldrick or The elephant whisperer by Lawrence Anthony. Both available in the library!
Posted on: 20 May 2014