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Hillhead High School Library
Glasgow,

Starlina's Response: Freezing The Past
Freezing The Past When I read the first few pages of this book, the main character, Apple talked about something called Childhood Amnesia. But she could remember one horrendous memory. She explained how it’s the inability of us to remember anything before three years old because we haven’t practiced the skill of remembering yet. While I was reading it I felt very engaged, because when I was younger I couldn’t remember much of if I could it was very hazy but there is one memory that I can remember. It was on an extremely warm sunny day. I was wearing pink sunglasses with a lovely flowery pink t-shirt and also some denim shorts. I remember I was playing in a park which everybody I know refers to “The Happy Park”. Even to this day I wonder what the parks real name is. I was really excited and happy at the time because I loved this park very much and I didn’t ever want to leave. As soon as my mum and I got near the park I started running to the gate. As soon as I got to the gate I started jumping with joy and wanting my mum to hurry up and get here because the gate had a bolt In the ground for so the children wouldn’t run out and I couldn’t reach it. As soon as my mum got to the gate I started jumping even higher and as soon as the gate opened it sprinted into the crowded park and took a look at everything. Firstly I went onto the shoot but then so warm that I had to stop. I tiredly went over to my mum and she gave me an ice cold carton of strawberry Ribena. I used to adore that drink as a child but now I absolutely despise it. But after I drank it I was sill extremely warm so I asked my mum if we could get an ice cream. So her and I went to this very small shop. It felt like I was melting. The young man in the shop looked very red and tired. Although there was a fan spinning like it was some helicopter propellers trying to take off. But I quickly got a Cornetto and we paid the man and I ran out the shop as fast as anything. I was too excited to get back to the busy park and to get my ice-cream. My mum gave me my ice cream and I can remember my mum said “Don’t eat it too fast or you will get brain-freeze” but it was too late and I can say that was my first time of getting brain-freeze and it sure wasn’t enjoyable. But after the brain-freeze went away I munched my ice cream as fast as lightening. I’m lucky I didn’t get brain-freeze again.
Posted on: 28 May 2015



Eli's response: Three Hundred Times
I am locked in a box. A room so small if I stretch out my arms I can almost touch both walls at the same time, it’s been so long since I’ve heard voices I’m struggling to make them up in my head. It’s dark. I don’t think I can take much more of this before I go crazy that’s if I haven’t already. I’ve just been left with what few thoughts I have and all the time in the world. Think of everything in the world I can think of. I feel banished but finally the door opens. This was a rare occurrence. By my count, they had been feeding me every three days. A smile came across my face as I realised, Meal number three hundred. My nine hundred days in solitary confinement where over. I screamed out for hours with a smile across my face “I’m free! Today is the day” I had almost forgotten my name I had been in this hole so long. The door finally swung open “Shut up “the guard yelled in frustration. This had been my first human contact in almost two and a half years, “Oh my god it smells like someone died in here”, this is true the room had neither a bed nor a toilet. “Today is nine hundred, I’m out!” I never thought I would be so joyous to return to a normal prison schedule. Meals every day, showers, a bathroom. Toilet paper seemed alien to me. “How do you figure that bud?” He chuckled. “Well, I’ve been fed tree hundred times, you feed me every three days…. ”Hold up” he interrupted. We feed you three times a day”. The guard laughed and slammed the door. I’ll always remember that laugh.
Posted on: 28 May 2015



Louis' Response: I Was Bored of the City
I was bored of the city, the noise, the smell. It was too similar. Everything was happening yet nothing was new, nothing was extraordinary. I closed my eyes, stood there, blocking out the normal. I was hoping for something different. I opened my eyes, immediately forced to close them. The wind was whistling past my face, it was dark, the darkest anything could be. It wasn’t like our dark, there simply wasn’t any light. I decided to focus on the wind, or more importantly, why it was going up. Or was I going down? I didn’t feel weightless. I had only a few seconds of thought before the wind stopped, just like that, and the dark. I didn’t know dark could stop but I have no other way of explaining it, it just stopped, I could see. I was stood in a huge cavern; I sat and waited for some time before my eyes adjusted to light again. I tried to reason with myself to explain my little predicament, maybe I was asleep. Yes that was it, a dream. Or maybe I hit my head. I would wake up with strangers all around me checking to see if I was OK. Wouldn’t that just be dandy? That was the phrase they use isn’t it? I figured I might as well explore my dream world, only till I wake up of course. I looked around for something to hint at where I was. The cavern was big and shiny, so big the other end faded away like a horizon and looking up all I would have wanted to see was shrouded in clouds. I walked for what felt like two or three hours before stumbling upon a crystal clear pond, a little trickle of a stream running into it. Three hours of walking would make anyone thirsty so I plunged my face straight in. I drank until I was satisfied, and then drank more. I decided to bring some with me in case I was dreaming for a long time. I reached for my bag on my back, it was gone. My bag was gone. My laptop with the business’s financial report on it was gone. I had barely enough time to take this in before a woman, no no, a young lady, rose from the pool. She reached up with one pale hand gently brushed my face ‘You have drunk until you are satisfied stranger, you must now repay the favour’ I jerked backwards and scrambled away from the water’s edge in fear, for the lass had not opened her lips to speak. She climbed slowly out of the pure water. I averted my gaze, her body was completely bare. ‘There is no clothing here; the people feel no shame in their bodies. Were you not a stranger I would take it as an insult’ I tried to apologise but I simply couldn’t make the words, no matter how much I forced them. ‘You must think, do not speak. Think to me’ So I thought. ‘I’m sorry. Can, can you help me?’ ‘What is your name, stranger?’ I couldn’t remember my name. I thought harder, I couldn’t remember my friends, family, my job. All I could remember was the city. ‘Can you help me remember?’ I thought-questioned the lady. ‘You have nothing to remember, you pushed your friends away. You stopped talking to your family.’ ‘The city?’ ‘you are bored of the city’ I am bored of the city. I am stood on the edge, looking down at the city below I am bored of life, the noise, the smell. It was too similar. Everything was happening yet nothing was new, nothing was extraordinary. I closed my eyes, stood there, blocking out the normal. I was hoping for something different. Then I jump
Posted on: 28 May 2015



Madoc's response: Gods and Afterlife.
I personally do not believe in god or the afterlife’s that come with them but in the book ‘more than this’ Seth thinks he is experiencing hell. An abandoned version of his home town in England. This to me feels more like limbo because of his aloneness and lake of fire. If I was to choose an afterlife to go to after death I would like to believe that the Viking got it right with Valhöll, the Norse version of heaven where you dink and party with the gods until the end of days (Ragnarok) or be chosen to go to Flokvang with Freya to become a Valkyrie but to even have a chance of this you must die in combat in the services of the gods. If not you will be sent to Hel where u must drink snake poison until the end of time. I probably will not die in battle nor in some blaze of glory but it’s the simple yet complicated way this religion is set out. I think most religions are used for power and evil doing more than good thought history with the crusades and other religious battles that have killed millions but I do understand that it does give people hope in a time of great struggle. There are those who abuse the powers that the people have given to serve under there god and those who take their religion to the extremes like the K.K.K and other religious extremist but again there are those who do good with the power that has been given to them. Giving up their life to help others living on basic thing with no luxuries or comfort from family just those who follow them and their religion. In this book Seth is not a Christian but he believes that he has been sent to hell and I would think most none religious people would think that as well. So does this tell us that in certain situations we will believe or at least hope there is a god to pray to in a time of need or a place for the dead to go?
Posted on: 28 May 2015



Olivia's 'Apple & Rain' poetry anthology (3A1)
Apple & Rain Creative Response I chose these poems as they created vivid pictures in my head through what they were about. I enjoyed the challenging language of these poems and how in some of them you had to think about them to find out what they were about. *Night – Poem by Michael Hofmann It's all right Unless you're either lonely or under attack. That strange effortful Repositioning of yourself. Laundry, shopping, Hours, the telephone—unless misinformed— Only ever ringing for you, if it ever does. The night—yours to decide, Among drink, or books, or lying there. On your back, or curled up. **Fear – Poem by Broken Heart Fear follows us, Fear stalks us, Fear controls us, Fear is all we Think. Fear sleeps with us, Fear eats with us, Fear surrounds us, Fear is everywhere. Fear can be stopped, Fear can go away, Fear is only an emotion, Fear will be stopped. Stopped by Love ***Lights Out – Poem by Edward Thomas I have come to the borders of sleep, The unfathomable deep Forest where all must lose Their way, however straight, Or winding, soon or late; They cannot choose. Many a road and track That, since the dawn's first crack, Up to the forest brink, Deceived the travellers, Suddenly now blurs, And in they sink. Here love ends, Despair, ambition ends, All pleasure and all trouble, Although most sweet or bitter, Here ends in sleep that is sweeter Than tasks most noble. There is not any book Or face of dearest look That I would not turn from now To go into the unknown I must enter and leave alone I know not how. The tall forest towers; Its cloudy foliage lowers Ahead, shelf above shelf; Its silence I hear and obey That I may lose my way And myself. ****You Smiled, You Spoke, And I Believed - Poem by Walter Savage Landor You smiled, you spoke, and I believed, By every word and smile deceived. Another man would hope no more; Nor hope I what I hoped before: But let not this last wish be vain; Deceive, deceive me once again! *****Disappointment – Poem by Sararose Ellen I hate the look that you have when you look at me when I disappoint you. I am nothing but a failure, with nothing to blame but myself.
Posted on: 28 May 2015



Nour's 'Apple & Rain' poetry anthology (3A1)
Poetry is a recurring theme in Apple and Rain. Apple used poetry to express her feelings that she couldn’t tell to anyone. She used inspiration from well-known poems and made up her own. There are five different categories that her poems were put in: 1. Solitude 2. Fear 3. War 4. Love 5. Disappointment *Solitude In the poem, the author describes the emotion of solitude: first, the poet writes that when you are alone in nature, you aren’t in solitude, and he describes some situations in nature. On the other hand, he says that when you are with a lot of people but no one special, that is when you are really in solitude. Solitude – by Lord George Gordon Byron To sit on rocks, to muse o'er flood and fell, To slowly trace the forest's shady scene, Where things that own not man's dominion dwell, And mortal foot hath ne'er or rarely been; To climb the trackless mountain all unseen, With the wild flock that never needs a fold; Alone o'er steeps and foaming falls to lean; This is not solitude, 'tis but to hold Converse with Nature's charms, and view her stores unrolled. But midst the crowd, the hurry, the shock of men, To hear, to see, to feel and to possess, And roam alone, the world's tired denizen, With none who bless us, none whom we can bless; Minions of splendour shrinking from distress! None that, with kindred consciousness endued, If we were not, would seem to smile the less Of all the flattered, followed, sought and sued; This is to be alone; this, this is solitude! **Fear In this poem, the author explains how we must leave our shell and leave the past behind us, forget our worries and learn to accept love. But there are consequences and we also need to learn to accept them. Touched by an angel – by Maya Angelou We, unaccustomed to courage Exiles from delight Live coiled in shells of loneliness Until love leaves its high holy temple And comes into our sight To liberate us into life. Love arrives And in its train come ecstasies Old memories of pleasure Ancient histories of pain. Yet if we are bold, Love strikes away the chains of fear From our souls. We are weaned from our timidity In the flush of love's light We dare be brave And suddenly we see That love costs all we are And will ever be. Yet it is only love Which sets us free. ***War This poem is very short but it has a clear meaning. It is about how war can cause death to young men, and destroy and shame their land. Here dead we lie – by A.E Housman Here dead we lie Because we did not choose To live and shame the land From which we sprung. Life, to be sure, Is nothing much to lose, But young men think it is, And we were young. Life, to be sure, Is nothing much to lose, But young men think it is, And we were young. ****Love In this poem, the author praises a woman’s appearance. He describes how a woman looks as if she’s always going for a feast. But not all beauty represents personality, and how they can win a man’s eyes, but not his heart. Still to be neat – by Ben Jonson Still to be neat, still to be drest, As you were going to a feast; Still to be powder'd, still perfum'd: Lady, it is to be presum'd, Though art's hid causes are not found, All is not sweet, all is not sound. Give me a look, give me a face, That make simplicity a grace; Robes loosely flowing, hair as free: Such sweet neglect more taketh me Than all th'adulteries of art. They strike mine eyes, but not my heart. *****Disappointment This poem is about feeling neglected as a child and how the only place to play in is a graveyard, and how even depression can cover your eyes on the most important things in life. Depression – by Darren Harris Depression is running through my head, These thoughts make me think of death, A darkness which blanks my mind, A walk through the graveyard, what can I find? Black shadows walk in between the graves, How many lives have not been saved? Six feet under if not more, How I'd like to go down and explore, The feeling of lying in a box, I can't get out, is it locked? Is it day or is it night? Are birds singing or have bats taken to flight? I know one day this is where I'll go, Am I afraid? I don't think so! Will I be able to explore the feeling of death? After I've taken my last breath? Or will I be a shadow in between the graves? Will I know how many lives have not been saved? After this life is there another one? With a different moon and a different sun, I won't go to hell as I'm already there, A place full of sadness, a place full of despair, So there's nothing to live for, no future no past, So I might as well end it, end this life at last.
Posted on: 28 May 2015



Sylvie's 'More than this' playlist (3A1)
For Seth: *Creep- Radiohead, *I can't make you love me- Adele, *The Drowning Man- The Cure For Regine: *Happy- Marina and the Diamons, *Carmen- Lana Del Ray, *Teen Idle- Marina and the Diamonds
Posted on: 28 May 2015



Alice's brilliant acceptance themed folk tale inspired by 'The fastest boy in the world' (3A1)
Degu lived in a small neighbourhood, although it wasn’t uneventful, he felt very bored living there. His Father worked very hard and worked for most hours of the day so unless Degu was in school, he was usually alone. His brother Migote often teased him as he was old enough to travel to the bigger parts of Ethiopia, whereas Degu was always told he was way too young. At the age of only ten, he was said to be in: “No right state of mind to be travelling such a distance” it was his Father Zere who often said this. What Degu was unaware of though, was that Zere didn’t want Degu to travel because on the out skirts of the village there were people who were prejudice against the natives. Particularly the natives who were coloured. Over the years, although many had been unbearable, Zere had learned to tolerate the men and women when he journeyed out. This would be a hard thing for Degu to be taught of, and Zere wasn’t prepared to do so. It was a sweltering summer. The ground was so hot it was almost impossible to go walking on, as Degu’s bare feet would itch and burn with every step. However this would not stop him from going outside. Anything was better than staying in with Migote, whose idea of fun was counting how many bugs were on the ceiling, or on his arm. In these months Zere became more and more busy. Work had become more laborious than ever and with food running low back home it was also high time he went out to the market - the market outside of their neighbourhood. But in the summer many students were looking for something to do, and to work tending livestock was a popular job for the children who lived there. Zere was strongly built but was a lot older than some other workers. If he wanted to keep his job he would have to work longer hours and a lot harder than before. Without hurting his pride, he had to get one of the boys to go to the market so he could continue working. Later on Zere agreed with Migote to let him go the market place. Inside Degu was screaming and was built to burst. He kept this feeling inside though, to show he had grown up over these few months. He was a real man by now, Zere must of been aware of this. “I know what you are thinking, Degu” His Father said, with a look of hidden sorrow that was covered by a look of superiority. “But Father…” “I know what you’re thinking. And I’m not going to stop you. You are a wise young man and I know I can’t hide these things from you. I can’t teach you either, as I don’t understand myself.” Degu was confused by this statement, but he quietly anticipated his Father’s next sentence. “I will teach you to tolerate and accept things. Like how you have learnt to tolerate my absence during the day. You may not like it, but you have accepted it.” “Father so what is it I’m actually doing then?” Degu was becoming irritable with slight confusion at his Father’s ramblings. “You are doing what you’re told Degu. You are going to go to the market place with your brother tomorrow morning, you are going to hold your head up and accept remarks but you are not going to remember them as something that should be said.” Degu knew not of what his Father was talking about. But he knew one thing for sure, tomorrow was his first time out of the village and he was never going to forget this. “Now I know you both don’t usually really listen to me and I know that often I do not have much to say, but please pay attention to me when I say this: Your self-worth is not determined by anyone else other than you” Degu went to sleep with butterflies in his stomach, his Father’s speech had actually made him hesitant, but he knew that if his Father had agreed to let him go, it was the right thing to do. Degu and Migote took themselves around the market place the following morning, with nothing other than respect for everyone. Migote taught him of the indifference people wrongfully felt and although Degu was angry he knew he was wise enough to handle it with decency. At least for now this was what Degu was going to have to become familiar with. Degu and Migote always remembered this day. As the day they grew up together.
Posted on: 27 May 2015



Immanuel's wonderful short isolation themed story 'The Last Warrior in Wales' (3A1)
Not all stories have happy endings. When you go to war you think victory and death. On my account there was no victory, only death. My name is Rhodri Jones y Cymraeg Diafol, the Welsh Devil. That is the name the English gave me after the battle at Ceredigion. This fight was over the Ceredigion mountain range and it was bloody. In a year, the English scum built a fort on the east side of the mountain range and when they came down the, they brought fire with them. Their King George V is mad with power and couldn’t let the Welsh get out of hand though we had done nothing. The English demons burned my brodyr, brothers, homes and slaughtered their families. If only I wasn’t in the mine. I lost not only my family and my friends but the land of my fathers too that day. That is why is retaliated. I sliced down those English scum with my sword of iron and hate. I sent their souls back to the pit from which they came. I and the few men that were in the mine with me destroyed their fort with our hate and we pushed English back to their homeland with many casualties but, our casualties were worse. The few remaining brodyr, brothers, that I had died that day. For all I knew I was the last man in all of Ceredigion. I did not know what the situation was with Powys or Anglesey but if they had the same fate of Ceredigion then I might be the last man in Wales and for that I feel so alone. Now I’m an outcast. You may ask how I could be an outcast as I have nac ydw pentref i mynd i, no village to go to, and no man can exile me, but my fathers have banished me from my home as I was not there to protect it when it needed me most and for that I have been shunned by my ancestors. Now I walk across the land as a stranger and I feel so alone. I stride across what was once my homeland and view all the hills in the distance covered in grass, sheep and stone. I see the fields of green grass and golden wheat and rivers of a cold blue rushing by but I have no one to share this with. It is not humbling it is sadness and with no one to comfort me I feel so alone. Today I went hunting for deer and rabbits but with no luck. Even the animals of this land have shunned me and they won’t let feed on them and that is why my spear strikes true but will not hit the creatures. In fact they rabbits flee when I walk near for they know of my exile and for that I feel so alone. My tools have started to break. My spear has snapped, my clothes have holes in them and my sword has grown blunt. My ancestors have done this to me so I understand how my village felt when they were alone without me. My ancestors have made me weak and defenceless with no one to help me and for that I feel so alone. Now I stride into Powys, hoping to find others. The land has grown rocky and mountainous with sheer cliffs left, right and centre. This valley scares me for it is quiet yet brimming with danger. I have this unsettling feeling that I’m being watched by something but in this valley it might just be my imagination but, it might also be Powys folk as they don’t like strangers in their land and I am now a stranger. To think my fore fathers have turned my fellow countrymen against me and now I feel so alone. I have found great joy. I see other men walking this land I know I am not alone. My feet, they rush forward without thinking and charge at the men looking for comfort of my fellow brodyr, brothers, to warn them of the English and perhaps get some shelter. Yes now I see and I don’t feel alone anymore. I was wrong. I am alone. The men that I thought brodyr, brothers, have sliced me through my stomach and I am dying. Their cold eyes looking at me like I was English man. I have been shunned by the land, the creatures and the ones I once called brodyr, brothers, and I now die alone without myself. I will at least warn them the English to receive some comfort. To them and all of Cymru, Wales, I shout “Ddial ein tir ar gyfer y Saeson wedi gwenwyno ac mae'n rhaid i'r pobl Ceredigion yn cael eu dial ond gallaf roi mwyach iddynt!” “Avenge our land for the English have poisoned it and the people of Ceredigion must get their revenge but I can no longer give it to them!” hoping that my cry will reach the heavens where my ancestors reside and that they will accept me back for I have given my message. Now the men of Powys must do what I can do no longer. Now all I can do is hope that my ancestors will accept me back so I can see my family and friends once more for I have felt their pain. I have felt so alone and it was like torture and hopefully I won’t be alone any longer.
Posted on: 27 May 2015



Zahid's thoughts on the afterlife, inspired by 'More than this' (3A1)
In the book; “More Than This”, the author slightly looks at the concept of afterlife. In reply, I will explain beliefs of people worldwide, and write a creative response. *Re-incarnation The idea of re-incarnation is generally believed by Indian religions, although Abrahamic religions of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam have some sects that do believe in re-incarnation as well. The basic idea of re-incarnation is that when you die your soul is still alive and you will be born again (Some believe that you will be born on the same day) according to your deeds and actions that you have done in your past life. You do not remember everything from your past life but just glimpses and flashbacks. If you have been good and have done good and virtuous deeds in your past life, you might be a king or a wealthy person in the next life. But, if you were wicked and have done bad deeds in your past life, you might possibly be and animal or a pauper. *My Response My opinion is that the idea of re-incarnation is, quite unreasoned. If you are going to be born again as soon as you die, what is the point of dying in the first place? The universe began about 18 billion years ago. Scientists say that it might have an end as well (but not yet). So, if the universe can end, humans die too and that is the end. It doesn’t make any sense to me that once you die you are born again according to your deeds. That means you are going through some kind of test. If you do well, you are rewarded but if you don’t than you are punished. This happens over and over again until….until what? When does this end? When the universe ends? Why are we here then? Just to be born and then die? And do that process over and over and over again? So, in my opinion, the idea of re-incarnation can be used in fairy tales, stories, movies etc. but not in real life. *Islam In Islam, it is believed that you are here in this life for a purpose and that this life is a test. You are born into different regions, religions, caste, colour, culture, situation for a test. To pass that test you must be patient in life and do good deeds and restrain for doing bad deeds. After you die (once), you will stay in your grave until “The Day Of Judgment”, when all the humans will be called and be put on trial for what you have done in your life. If you have done good and righteous deeds, you have passed the test and you will be rewarded with heaven and you will live forever but if you have done wrong and bad deeds, you will be punished by being put into hell where again, you will stay forever. *My Response I think that this is a better and more sensible belief compared to that of re-incarnation. You are born, you live, you die, you are and rewarded/punished according to your deeds and that is it. This gives some purpose to our lives rather than just living and dying all over again. *Christianity Although there are some Christians that believe that there is no hell and there is just heaven, most of it is actually similar to Islam, just as many others, which are quite similar to Islam. *My Response I think that this is also a sensible belief, except that some people believe that there is no hell and just heaven. If you do good deeds and live a virtuous life, you will be rewarded with heaven. But what if someone weren’t a good and virtuous person but a bad and evil person? He should have to be punished because of all the trouble he caused in the world. For example, Adolf Hitler killed 6 million innocent Jews during WW2. Should he not be punished for the crimes he did? In this world, the biggest punishment you can ever give for a massacre is…death. But death just comes once in this life. If you kill him, it would account for only 1 Jew out of the 6 million Jews that he killed. There must be a place where he will receive the full punishment of the 6,000,000+ people that he killed. So, there has to be a place like hell where all the criminal and cruel people can be punished for their wrongdoings.
Posted on: 26 May 2015



Soroush's thoughts on the afterlife, inspired by 'More than this' (3A1)
The book has a connexion to the afterlife, and so creatively, I will describe what I believe to be in the afterlife. The afterlife in my opinion is Re-incarnation, but with a twist. When you die you will be born as a baby, with the same personality but without the memories of your previous life, in a new world. When you die in the new world, you wake up as a baby in another new one. When you die, your life situation would be different to your past life, so you could be put into the position of a person who is born into a wealthy family, or a poor one. You could have a disability, or you might not. You could change the world, you might not. If you died with a desire you had before death that wasn’t fulfilled, you would enter the same world you died in but as a spectator. You wouldn’t be able to interact with people or animals; but you would be able to interact with inanimate objects. This is different from the Hindu, Sikh or Buddhist view that you may be reincarnated as an animal or plant; I believe you will be reincarnated as a human being.
Posted on: 26 May 2015



Holly's 'More than this' Playlist (3A1)
*Wake Up Alone – Amy Winehouse *Asleep – The Smiths *Dance Little liar – Arctic Monkeys *Leave My Body – Florence and The Machine *Iron Sky – Paolo Nutini *Atmosphere – Joy Division *Cast No Shadow - Oasis *Made of Stone – Stone Roses
Posted on: 26 May 2015



Flora's 'Cuckoo Song' Playlist (3A1)
*Sunset – The XX *Miracle – The Temper Trap *Bad Blood – Bastille *Get Home – Bastille *Playwright Fate – I Blame Coco *The Outsider – Marina and the Diamonds *Dust Clears – Clean Bandit *Sleep Alone – 2 Door Cinema Club *The Gospel of John Hurt – Alt-J *Sights – London Grammar *We’re Not the Same – Wolf Alice *Heavenly Creatures – Wolf Alice
Posted on: 26 May 2015



Sarah's short story 'Wandering', Creative response to 'The Middle of Nowhere' (3A1)
Being dead was hard work. It was a bullet that got Harmony, a bullet from an L1A1 Rifle to be exact. It had hit her in the back, just above her waist. The death was instant and painless but what came afterwards was not. She had been a very pretty girl with wavy hair and bright blue eyes, the generic ‘Barbie Doll’ look. Harmony’s ghost shared her charming appearance despite the huge gunshot wound. When Harmony had hit the ground on that fateful night, she had awoken shortly afterwards. Shocked to be alive, she had immediately jumped to her feet. Screaming for help, Harmony felt for her wound. The hole was there, bloody and deep but there was something else that she was more interested in. Her skin was no longer the deep tan it had been. She was a ghostly pale colour. Harmony regarded it as shock and moved on to trying to construct a bandage for her injury. It wasn’t sore which worried her. Harmony lifted her head and took in her surroundings. Her house was there with the path and the white picket fence and her cat, Smog. It seemed like a normal day. The usual clouds in the sky, the washing drifting slowly on the line and the flowers in the window box, dead from her mother forgetting to water them. Harmony walked towards her house slowly. The steps she took were strange, she almost glided. Pushing the door open, Harmony called for her mother. After no reply, she took a seat on the couch. Everything was how she had left it. Harmony remembered the shot, the running, the falling but she didn’t know how long she had been away. Suddenly, there was a thud. It was followed by three more thuds. The thudding grew louder and Harmony recognised them as footstep, coming down the stairs. Then a singing voice, soft and slightly out of tune. It was her mother. Harmony stood as her she entered the main room. Prepared to be questioned on her disappearance, Harmony took a deep breath. Her mother took one step towards her, and then another and another. She kept going. She walked forwards until she walked right into Harmony. But they didn’t collide. Her mother had walked through Harmony. Screaming and screaming until her lungs hurt, Harmony spent the rest of the day trying to get her mother’s attention. Was this some twisted joke that she was pulling? Was it just all a big laugh to ignore your daughter who had been shot no longer than an hour ago? Harmony tried everything; knocking over the cans, shouting in her mother’s face, slamming the door, but nothing made her mother even blink an eye. When it got late and her mother went to bed, Harmony went with her and pulled off the covers. Nothing. Not one twitch of her mother’s hand. The next day was exactly same. Nobody noticed Harmony. Nobody waved at her or said hello or moved out her way when she was walking. It wasn’t just her mother as well. Harmony had taken a trip to town and hadn’t even been served in her favourite shop. What was happening?! Things would get better she told herself, it was probably all just a dream. It wasn’t a dream though. This was real life and Harmony was going crazy. She hadn’t had a real conversation in an extremely long time. She hadn’t eaten anything or hugged anyone or went to school. She was completely alone. Harmony couldn’t work out what had happened on that night or why she was trapped in this strange place where she was unheard and ignored. She didn’t know if there was something she had done to deserve it or if somebody was punishing her. Whatever it was, whoever was responsible, Harmony never found out. She spent her days watching people. It was all she could do to stop herself going insane. Harmony learned with time that she could whistle and rattle things to get the attention of the public. It scared them usually, she made little children cower and scream. There was no escape to this land and she was imprisoned. Harmony floated around the town, a ghostly pale with tears in her eyes. The gunshot wound had never healed and it probably never would.
Posted on: 26 May 2015



Cuckoo Song: Creative Task Options
• ‘Cuckoo Song’ is a wonderfully unusual book which is best appreciated by continuously imagining what the unique characters and setting the author has created would look like. Either individually or as a group imagine you are adapting the book into a movie. Select a scene from the book and consider the following: 1. Set, Location & Costume 2. Content, Characterisation and Formatting 3. Dialogue & Storyboard 4. Direction • In ‘Cuckoo Song’ the impact of the First World War and the corresponding fundamental change in society act as catalysts for the actions of many of the books key characters. Inspired by this, select one of the characters and write either a series of diary entries or a collection of letters to a loved one at the front from that characters perspective. Both options should include at least three pieces of writing reflecting the characters changing feelings at the start, end and after the war.
Posted on: 26 May 2015



The Middle of Nowhere: Creative Task Options:
• The sense of isolation is key to ‘The Middle of Nowhere’, conveyed to us both by the location and time period in which the novel is set. Think about how it would feel to be almost completely alone and write a short story with that premise. • Herbert Pinny’s job at telegraph house was vital to helping people communicate across the country at that time. Telegraphs despite seeming very primitive to us now, given the significant advancements in communication technology over the last 20 year, were in stark contrast to Aboriginal people who communicated with each other predominately orally or via Rock Art. Inspired by Aboriginal forms of communication, create either a verbal or visual response to an aspect of the book which you found most engaging.
Posted on: 26 May 2015



Buffalo Soldier: Creative Task Options
• ‘Buffalo Soldier’ is inspired by a true story. Throughout history real women have gone through extraordinary experiences. Research the role women have played during wartime and find an example of a real woman forced to do something out with the norm at that point in history. Discuss the common and differing issues faced by both Charley and the woman you have selected. • In class you have recently been working on ‘Roll of Thunder Hear my Cry’. Both Charley and Cassie grow up in tough situations facing similar issues such as racism, sexism, loss etc. Discuss the differences and similarities between the two female characters and imagine how each would have behaved in the others shoes.
Posted on: 26 May 2015



The Fastest Boy in the World: Creative Task Options:
• The author spoke of her long association with Ethiopia and her work collecting traditional Ethiopian folktales. Read some of the Ethiopian folktales and compare these to traditional Scottish folktales. Choose three themes (e.g. Love, Death, War etc) and produce a booklet containing an Ethiopian and Scottish folktale for each of your three themes. Booklets must be creatively presented and include a short introduction explaining why you chose the folktales included. • The revelation of family secrets is a key aspect of ‘The Fastest Boy in the World’, in particular learning more about his grandfathers’ past has a profound impact on Solomon. Learn more about your family history by talking to older members of your family. Find out 3 things you didn’t know about your grandparents or great grandparents and discuss how these made you feel or research the topic further and prepare a presentation on what you discovered (e.g. If you found out that your great great grandmother was a nurse during the first world war, you could prepare a presentation on this topic etc)
Posted on: 26 May 2015



More Than This: Creative Task Options
• For the author songs are an inspiration for his books. Create your own playlist to accompany ‘More Than This’, include an explanation as to why you selected each song. Playlists should be creatively presented either in a PowerPoint presentation, uploaded on YouTube or in a printed album booklet format. • In ‘More than this’ the author explores the question of life after death. What do you believe? Either: describe in detail how you personally imagine an afterlife, or research established religious beliefs (Heaven/Hell, Re-incarnation etc.) or pop culture portrayals (Movies, Art, Music etc.) of what happens after death and explain which you find most convincing/comforting/intriguing or unlikely.
Posted on: 26 May 2015



Apple & Rain: Creative Task Options
• Poetry is a key component of ‘Apple & Rain’. Create your own anthology booklet of poems (these can be well published poems or original works of your own) inspired by the book’s section titles: Solitude, Fear, War, Love, and Disappointment. Booklets must be creatively presented and include a short introduction explaining why you chose the poems included. • In ‘Apple & Rain’ a recurring theme is the idea that sometimes our memories are not always as reliable/accurate as we believe. Think of a strong memory you have (favourite birthday, first day at school etc) and write down your recollection of events. Ask a friend/relative who was part of that experience to do the same (focusing on you). Do both accounts correlate? E.g. do you remember loving your first day at school but your mum remembers you coming home adamant that you were never going back?
Posted on: 26 May 2015



Tinder: Creative Task Options:
• The author said that she felt that a Hans Christian Anderson Fairy Tale she had enjoyed as a child would have great application in the context of war. Thinking of the fairy tales you remember from early childhood, re-read some of these now and rewrite one in a new setting (historical or contemporary) in your own words either as a short story or comic. • The artwork which accompanies the text is very striking resulting in the book unusually being nominated for both the Carnegie (Text) and Kate Greenaway Medal (Illustrations). The author commented that she gave the illustrator free reign to create dark images to accompany the book in any style he felt appropriate. Either create your own alternative artwork/front cover for ‘Tinder’ or read ‘A Monster Calls’ (a previous joint winner of both the Carnegie and Kate Greenaway Medals) and compare this to Tinder exploring the concept of visual literacy and how pictures can add to a story.
Posted on: 26 May 2015



When Mr Dog Bites: Creative Task Options
• The author said that he felt that the characters and the language they use in ‘When Mr Dog Bites’ are an accurate depiction of teenagers as he experienced them whilst a teacher in Glasgow. Do you disagree with this? Re-write a school scene from the book in your own words adapting the language and the characters to better reflect what you feel is an authentic picture of teenagers. • Dylan’s Bucket List is central to the book, helping to guide the characters actions during the last few months of his life. This concept is mirrored on social media where there have been a number of Bucket Lists which have caught the public imagination. Research some real life examples and consider: What kind of things might go on a bucket list – should they be realistic, ambitious, inspiring? Then create your own bucket list.
Posted on: 26 May 2015



Carnegie creative responses
To accompany the texts they were given 3A1 and 3A2 have been working on creative responses to the titles. The deadline is this week so watch this space for both classes finished efforts.
Posted on: 26 May 2015



A Day With Team 3A2 (3A2)
Miss Valentine shadowed Ms Phenix’s 3A2 today while they were working on their book reviews. She had an interesting chat with #TeamTinder about the book’s placement of illustrations, as well as discussing alternate endings to the book with #TeamFastestBoyInTheWorld. As well as getting to chat to the class about the books, she got to see early versions of some of their creative pieces! She’s particularly looking forward to seeing the finished versions of #TeamAppleAndRain’s emotional poetry scrapbook and #TeamBuffaloSoldier’s flipchart collage comparing Charley to other Young Adult heroines.
Posted on: 21 May 2015



Finlay's alternative blurb for ' When Mr Dog Bites' (3A1)
Dylan Mint is your average teenage boy except for something… he has Tourette’s and he is going to die in March. This book outlines the struggles and hardship people with Tourette’s have to deal and how some have to come to terms with deaths inevitable claw. This is his story…
Posted on: 21 May 2015



Immanuel's alternative blurb for 'The Middle of Nowhere' (3A1)
Comity’s peaceful life at the telegraph house changes forever when a tiger snake kills her mother. Left feeling alone, Comity has to defend herself and her new friend from the delish Quartz Hogg, in a land torn apart by racial divides. Will Comity be able to save the day?
Posted on: 21 May 2015



Ella's alternative blurb for 'Tinder' (3A1)
Otto Hundebiss is a soldier, a deserter. After Escaping death, he runs to the safety of the woods-where he stumbles upon a life of magic and prophecy. He falls for Safire, and will do anything to be with her, even kill… Discover what happens next in this gripping tale!
Posted on: 21 May 2015



Robyn's alternative blurb for 'Apple & Rain' (3A1)
After eleven years of Apple’s mum being gone, Apple is left with one question, why? Apple’s excitement for her mum coming back over-rules the safety and well-being of Apple herself. It isn’t until Del comes into Apple’s life, she feels loved again. Is Apple’s mum all that she seems?
Posted on: 21 May 2015



Flora's alternative blurb for 'Cuckoo Song' (3A1)
Triss, waking up from an accident, knows at once that something is wrong. She wakes up to what seems like the perfect family, yet only to discover the dark promises that bind them. Where are all the leaves coming from? Why does she have a hankering to eat dolls? Who is the mysterious, eccentric architect and is she really who she thinks she is..?
Posted on: 21 May 2015



Nabila, Naveen & Alice's alternative blurb for 'The Fastest Boy in the World' (3A1)
Solomon’s lifestyle was always quiet and he had never seen beyond his backyard, but soon his life was about to change, on his journey to Addis Ababa, a city of secrets. Soon the excitement becomes too much for his Granddad and Solomon will have to think on his feet, literally…
Posted on: 21 May 2015



Olivia on the characters in 'Apple & Rain' (3A1)
The book starts quite suddenly with the fact that Apple mentions straight away that her mum left her when she was young. At the start of the novel there are a lot of unanswered questions. We find out why her mum left but at the same time when we find that out, a whole new list of questions begin. For instance, when Apple moves in with her, “why didn’t she make her go to school?” “Why was she always having parties?” and most importantly “why didn’t she tell Apple that she had a ten year old sister?” I think when Nana told Apple “be careful what you wish for” that it’s good advice in some ways but others not so much. At first when Apple found out she had a sister she wasn’t pleased but in the end I think she loved Rain more than ever. It’s good that she wished for her mum to come back but the way that her mum treated her and that she was always having parties I don’t think the wish was so good.
Posted on: 18 May 2015



Robyn discusses the issue of whether people can change in 'Apple & Rain' (3A1)
Apple has visions of the night her mum left, one winter when she was younger. For eleven years she has been living with her Nana. We learn that Nana is strict and Apple would rather someone younger and more fun to live with. Her Nana picks her up from school which Apple is embarrassed about since none of her friends get picked up anymore. Her new neighbour, Del seems weird at first but since he started attending her school, Apple grew fond of him and they grow a strong friendship. When Apples mum comes back and asks Apple to live with her, Apple is overjoyed. Her young, trendy American mum is trendy and takes her out for treats, but by the end of the book her mum is not all as she seems. Her mums daughter, Rain is very wary of Apple at first but as the book goes on, their sister relationship grows and they become close. Apple introduces her to books and poetry to keep Rain busy when Mum is out. Apple’s best friend Pilar ditches Apple when Donna invites her out for chips one day after school. Now the two girls just laugh and snigger at Apple during school. Apple says in the book ‘People change’. I agree with this as I think different experiences change the way people act or feel towards a certain thing, or a certain someone. And it especially is relevant in the book as Apple thinks her mum has changed because she isn’t the fun, outgoing mum at the start. She changed into leaving Apple and Rain in the house without keeping contact. Also Apple has changed throughout the book. At the start Apple seemed young and vulnerable, but by the end she has grown and seems stronger.
Posted on: 18 May 2015



Sarah on the setting of 'The Middle of Nowhere' (3A1)
The book is set in the Australian Outback. The characters are isolated from society and, as the title suggests, are in the middle of nowhere. This is such an unusual place for a story to take place and gave the book a unique feel. Although the Telegraph House seems a terrible place for a young girl to live, Comity is happy with her life there. She is staying with her father, and at the beginning of the book, her mother too. It’s all she’s ever known so it’s not unusual for her to be in such a desolate landscape. I think the author, Geraldine McCaughrean, chose such a remote setting to give her story a distinctive and original finish. The desert is a strange place to build and create a story with little opportunity to alternate characters, yet in this book, it definitely works well. Most books aimed at teens are made to be ‘relatable’ but ‘The Middle of Nowhere’ is an exception. Although I enjoyed a fresh setting, I also found it hard to share Comity’s feelings. I have never experienced a uninhabited and isolated landscape for longer than a few hours and I don’t know how a young girl would manage to stay blocked out of society with no more than one friend. She has many more jobs than kids in the city and has several talents from living in the Outback. Comity can ride horses, cook meals and read and write which are all unusual for a child of her age. I didn’t like how the story mixed in unfamiliar language. I found it difficult to remember what the words meant and often had to flip back to check. This slowed my reading down and made certain parts of the story confusing and unclear.
Posted on: 18 May 2015



Soroush on the themes of Technology, Bereavement and Loss, Sexuality and Being between two cultures in 'More than this' (3A1)
(WARNING: May Spoil the Book) The book has a strong connexion with technology. We can say this as the story is set into the future and revolves around a “Matrix” theme, with a system called ‘Lethe’ that lets people go into a ‘link’ and said ‘link’ is a virtual world that wipes and overrides most of the participant’s memories. The book also contrasts with this as we see that no electrical objects work, and that all the energy is diverted in these ‘chambers’ that put the people into the ‘link’. The book sets itself deep into being bereaved and the fact that you are the last person on earth (although we see later that this isn’t true) and how lonely it is to be that last person in the world. We see that Seth really misses his family, his friends and especially Gudmund. The book is a love hate type in the sexuality theme, as the main character has a liking for the same gender as him. My peer readers found this fact cute but I think that some people may find this to be a little off-putting. The Book is multicultural in a sense that British, American and Polish cultures mingle inside this book and the characters of this book. Patrick Ness is definitely questioning the reality of our world and how we feel about the things we think to be virtual and the things we think to be real. This can be verified as the book centres around the real world and the ‘Lethe’ world.
Posted on: 18 May 2015



Sylvie on what the title tells us about 'More than this' (3A1)
The common saying is that we shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, yet we do. By looking at the cover and the title I did not expect the book to be based on the topic of afterlife in fact when I first read the title I thought it would be a cheesy teen romance , but now that I have an understanding of the books plot it’s easy for me to see the connection the title has to this interesting and controversial subject. In my opinion the title is suggesting that there’s is more to life after we die which after reading the first few chapters clearly links to the story. It also brings up the unforgettable question of what happens to us after we die, do we move on to another place i.e. heaven or hell , do we reincarnate or do we simply just leave the world and enter nothing?
Posted on: 18 May 2015



Taweel on the artwork in 'Tinder' (3A1)
‘Tinder’ is a book by Sally Gardener based on the renowned fairy tale by Hans Christian Anderson. At first glance the book looked dark and gloomy. The book would not have been as enjoyable as it was without David Roberts’s illustrations; he helped create the atmosphere of the war and to convey the dark setting of the story. Roberts’s use of colour also helped
Posted on: 18 May 2015



Isla discusses the various attitudes towards others shown by the characters in 'The Middle of Nowhere' (3A1)
Comity knows she is supposed to look down on Aboriginals, but she doesn’t know why. As she sees it, Fred , the aboriginal yard boy, is just a potential friend. Herbert Pinny- Comity’s father, also has more respectful views towards the aboriginals. He doesn’t involve himself with them more than he needs to, but doesn’t avoid them or treat them worse than anyone else. In contrast, Quartz Hogg, Herbert’s new assistant, hates the aboriginals and is savagely racist. He thinks himself better than anyone at the telegraph house, and does not try to hide it. ‘Comity’ means ‘courtesy, especially between nations who respect each other’s laws and customs’. This is significant for the story because the main character is called Comity, and she does respect other nations and is courteous to the people around her. I think this book is highlighting the fact that things aren’t always good between nations and different races, but children don’t always see people any different from themselves. Comity is a Christian and firmly believes in Jesus, but has been influenced by her new friends stories. Fred however, believes in many gods, from his own culture, but also incorporates Jesus into his religious thoughts and actions. The book shows the complications people face with their families and friends. Comity and her father’s relationship has been difficult since her mother’s death, and this has impacted on her relationships with her friend Fred.
Posted on: 18 May 2015



Zahid on the function of the driver in 'More than this' (3A1)
1. In the parts following after Seth sees the Driver and he runs away from him with Tomasz and Regine, the driver seems to have a villainous character as he is chasing the kids. It seems like he is coming for Seth. He is trying to take Tomasz and Regine, but he hasn’t done anything but punch him on the chest so hard that is sends him flying, back at his house. But nearing the end of the book, he actually saves Seth’s life by healing his wound. He also seems to be taking care of the people who are in their coffins back at the prison. So, his function is a caretaker of the people who are in their coffins. He has just come to get the three kids back to the prison to put them back in their coffins. The driver’s character certainly adds excitement and suspense to the book.
Posted on: 18 May 2015



Flora on the themes of reality, fantasy and magic in 'Cuckoo Song' (3A1)
Cuckoo Song is set in the 1920s, but not the historical 1920s that we know. ‘Ellchester’ in the fantasy 1920s is a totally different place, where dark magic runs deep, and where the ‘besiders’ have made their home. When Triss wakes up in a completely confused state, the reader starts to sense that something is wrong. The ‘hallucinations’ are way too vivid and make too much sense, in a way, for them to be fake. They would also be way too bizarre for a sheltered child at that time, such as Triss, to dream up. Things such as the talking dolls, and the ravenous hunger that is all too desperate and real to ignore. The mysterious architect, who we learn about as the book goes on, is a very key character. His powers are very unique; to be able to manipulate space is a very original power that isn’t used in books that often. He is described as being able to ‘fit a hundred spaces into the thickness of a coin’. With this power he is able to create the secret ‘Underbelly’, hidden under the bridge from humans. He builds the 3 bridges that Piers Crescent takes the credit for which is fitting for someone who is named the ‘Architect’.
Posted on: 15 May 2015



Nour on why she felt poetry was important to Apple in ' Apple & Rain' (3A1)
• Poetry was important to Apple because she expressed her feelings through poetry. All that she was thinking and feeling, she wrote in poetry. • Apple’s English lessons with Mr Gaydon were far more different that her English lessons with Ms Savage. Mr Gaydon didn’t ask the pupils for their names, didn’t write a list of words to copy from the board, and didn’t do what any other teacher would do. Instead, he read them poems and asked them questions about what the poet was feeling at that time. • After the eleven years living with her nana, Apple was just an average teenager, always thinking of her mother. Then, when her mother returns and the more poetry she wrote, the more different view she had on her life. She could see and understand stuff she never knew before. • “Tell the truth but tell it slant” means to tell the honest truth, but not directly. This relates to her life, because she is having problems with her friend Pilar and problems at home. She can’t tell anyone of this and the only way she can is by writing poems. Poems played a big part in the book.
Posted on: 15 May 2015



Ella on the themes of superstition and belief in 'Tinder' (3A1)
‘Tinder’ is a book in which superstition plays an important part. There is a heavy focus on foreshadowing, especially at the start. We meet several characters who have more significance later on in the book, but we don’t realize this until the end. One example is that when Otto is in the woods, he meets one of the three brothers. The readers don’t realise the significance this encounter has on the rest of the book. Another important character who appears at the start is Death, who is implied to show up again at the end. An example of a superstition is Otto’s dice, supposedly, once the belongings of the devil. He rolls them to figure out where to go, and always heeds their advice, except for one time. The dice tell him to go east, but he stays in the town-and has to face the consequences. Prophecy plays its role in this story, with the Lady Safire prophesised to marry a common soldier-like Otto. Because of this, she is locked up, away from the world because her family wants her to marry a prince. This is important to the story and carries the theme of love-portraying Safire and Otto as soul-mates, while still keeping the dark themes with the idea of black magic and superstitions.
Posted on: 15 May 2015



Alice discusses her thoughts of the character of grandfather in 'The Fastest Boy in the World' (3A1)
In the book ‘The Fastest Boy in the World’ The Grandfather of Solomon is very important to him although he is not a sympathetic character. The Author, Elizabeth Laird, has made it hard for us to warm to him. The Grandfather’s slightly closed off demeanour and dated sexism means that -for the modern reader and for me personally- there will be a very big difference of opinion and it will be hard to see past his way of thinking when reading it for the first time. Solomon at first has a good amount of respect for his Grandfather but this is overcome by his fear of him. As the book continues the secrets that are discovered of his past reveals a different side to his Granddad, one of great friendship and adventure. Solomon’s views change on his Grandfather as it shows him that his Granddad wasn’t always one to stay at home and shy away from danger. I think what Elizabeth Laird’s intentions were when telling us that Grandfather has kept this secret for a long time was to give us a reason to become more fond of him as a character. From first reading I felt that the reason why Grandfather never told anyone his secrets was because he didn’t want to show off. However, I feel that from a deeper evaluation of him, it was probably because the secrets that he was keeping, if widely known could result in a bad ending for him, or his family. Elizabeth Laird gave us many hints as to what was going to happen to Grandfather at the end of the book. We are given evidence of his elderliness and tiredness by his constant need of a companion to lean on, or a break when the trek has become too exhausting. All in all Grandfather was quite a shady character but we are left with the impression that he and his family loved each other in return, and that was what mattered the most.
Posted on: 15 May 2015



Amber discusses 'Apple & Rain' (3A1)
The book named Apple and Rain is a book about two sisters one called apple which is short for appolina and one called rain, these are unusual names chosed by their parents and it tells you that there parents are different as they are both unique names At the beginning of the book you are told about the night apples mum left her and her nana from apples point of view but she says sometimes you remember things differently from when you were younger and memorys can be deceptive, I agree with this.
Posted on: 15 May 2015



Benjamin discusses whether Triss is right to think of herself as a monster in 'Cuckoo Song' (3A1)
Throughout the book Triss describes herself as a monster, this is partly true. As she is physically what someone may describe as a monster but mentally she isn’t. She is just as normal as anybody else in her own head. Even though she is quite disorientated and confused throughout a great majority of the novel. I do agree with what Triss referred herself to, but only partly as it’s only physically not mentally. After meeting Jack’s family Pen and Triss start to appreciate that they have had a sheltered life and also that there problems are quite insignificant compared to Jack’s family in the novel. They then realise just how lucky they are with their family and everything they own and how easy there life is. Yes the novel ‘Cuckoo Song’ has a dark story and the meaning behind the story is also dark. Throughout the story it does make you feel quite uneasy and weird because it’s a very peculiar storyline which includes some very questioning moments throughout. It overall has that feeling of darkness and something being not quite right during the whole story.
Posted on: 15 May 2015



Charlie discusses the narrative voice and how the story is told in 'When Mr Dog Bites' (3A1)
I think Conaghan chose to make it sound like Dylan is speaking to you as you read so as to immerse you in Dylan’s character. When Dylan is speaking to you it gives you a true understanding of who his character is, it shows he even thinks the way he acts around people. I think the use of strong swear words is an absolute necessity to portray a character with Tourette’s, especially in a case as serious as Dylan’s. The strong language realistically shows what it is like to have Tourette’s and shows how Dylan struggles with not being able to control his language. I think Dylan doesn’t really know how to fully express himself. He just wants to be normal and tries to contain his outbursts and emotions to fit in.
Posted on: 15 May 2015



Leon discusses the characters in 'Cuckoo Song' (3A1)
Triss’s parents act overprotective towards her because they have already lost one son, Sebastian. Triss’s sister Pen is not happy with what happened to Triss because she caused it. Pen and Triss have a mutual aim to get the real Triss back. Despite Triss having multiply identities, she remains the same character throughout the book. Not-Triss’s feelings of pen go from not liking her to liking her. Violet Parish was an enemy of the Crescent family; she goes from being an enemy to and ally. Triss likes her mum and dad at the start of the book, but starts to hate them after they try to throw her in fire. Mr Grace seems like a nice guy; however any affectionate feelings were gone after he tried to kill her.
Posted on: 15 May 2015



Holly discusses the effect of shifting between two worlds in 'More than this' (3A1)
By shifting between the two worlds, Patrick Ness creates a clear contrast between Seth’s past and his present. His past is filled with good and bad memories, family and friends and lots of experiences, while his present is the opposite, completely alone in a dusty and deserted town he lived in years before he died. Moving between Seth’s memories and his present helped me understand his character more as it shows us his old thoughts and experiences; it also makes the story easier to understand as there are some connections between the two worlds. The two worlds worked well together as even though they are clearly different, the emotions Seth experiences in both worlds are similar at some points. His memories help keep the story intriguing and keep me turning the page, as I want to know what is happening to Seth in the past as much as I want to know what is happening to him now. It also makes the book more enjoyable for the reader as they can relate to some of the things happening in Seth’s past while his afterlife is completely different to anything the reader will have experienced. Although it can be slightly confusing at some points , the use of the two worlds make the book more enjoyable and interesting.
Posted on: 15 May 2015



Isla discusses the characters in 'Buffalo Soldier' (3A1)
The book ‘Buffalo Soldier’ by Tanya Landman is about a young girl who had been freed from slavery during the war that has to pretend to be a man in order to join the army. The main character Charley, has a really strong personality. I think the original appeal for Charley of joining the army would be the safety aspect, as ironic as that may be. I don’t think that she had anywhere to go, all of the people who had loved and cared for her were dead, and she had no money or a home. She knew that joining the army would have its risks, but she also knew that she would earn enough money to feed herself, and she would always be given somewhere safe to sleep at night. The deaths of the people that Charley loved stayed with her after she had joined the army, where she was then faced with yet more deaths. The way she dealt with this was to simply try and block it out. She tried to bottle up her emotions and focus on the fight she had to face. This happened up until her friend Henry died. After he passed, he then began to feature in her dreams. The same with another man in Company W named George. However, she didn’t give up. The people in her dreams, in my opinion, seemed to be encouraging her to go on. Telling her that they were going to beat the Indians. I think this is what kept her going. While her friends featured in her dreams, people she feared also featured in her nightmares. Jonas Beecher, her childhood tormenter, is a regular occurrence in her dreams. Although Charley hadn’t seen him in years, she still remembers all the little things about him, such as his cruel laugh. When the white men were hanging cookie and Amos, Charley was certain she could hear his laugh, taunting her once again. I didn’t really get the impression that Charley hated her life all that much, I thought that Jonas was the only one who really made her feel completely worthless, and that’s the reason he stands out in her life.
Posted on: 15 May 2015



Louise discusses the characters in 'Middle of Nowhere' (3A1)
Quartz Hogg is, at first glance, a very nice man who is very enthusiastic about arriving at the Telegraph House. His fellow residents also take a liking to him as he is the opposite of Herbert Pinny. Herbert Pinny is a quiet, anti-social man who only cares about his work whilst Quartz Hogg is a very loud man who loves to chat to the residents of the Telegraph House and tries to do as little work as possible even if he was sent to be Herbert Pinny’s assistant. Another major difference is how they treat the Aboriginals but for simplicity we’ll just focus on Fred. Herbert Pinny, along with his now late wife Mary Pinny, has ideals about all nations joining together and destroying racial boundaries and so respects Fred and treats him equally as he would a white child. On the other hand Quartz Hogg is a war veteran and so he hates all other races but white and he deeply expresses this hatred on Fred by making him suffer and even going so far as to shoot him. In the book Comity realises that Quartz Hogg is actually a evil with greedy ambitions when he starts to treat Fred badly as Fred starts to make up stories about demons he’s hiding in the Jesus’ gunyah. He calls this creature the Kadimakara. As Fred is Aboriginal, he speaks through a mixture of English and his own native language. Examples of this language are used throughout the book such as gunyah meaning home, kert-kert meaning quickly and malka karak meaning doctor. Fred really likes the Pinny’s especially Comity and the late Mary Pinny. He likes Comity as she is his only friend and therefore the only person he share his secrets. He also liked Mary Pinny as she taught him how to read and she also told him stories from the Bible. This enabled him to mix his native religion and the Christian religion together instead of disregarding one.
Posted on: 15 May 2015



Mikele discusses how effective the prologue is in ' More than this' (3A1)
In my opinion, from what I have read so far in the book, I think the brief prologue is effective and creates a strong impact and impression of how the book will unfold. Although the prologue leaves us readers with many unanswered questions, this just makes the book more intriguing and hard to put down. The opening of the main character drowning leaves the audience to question and ponder why the author has decided to end the book at the start. I think this is interesting as it’s different and opens up a whole different way of how a book can be structured. The dramatic introduction of Seth’s violent death experience is described in detail to get across to readers that he is in fact going to die and that there aren’t any twists or plots to reverse or explain what happens next. I think this makes readers want to explore the book further and see what else the book has to offer.
Posted on: 15 May 2015



Anmol on the different attitudes of Captain Smith and General Michaels in 'Buffalo Soldier' (3A1)
In Buffalo Soldier, written by Tanya Landman, the United States Army is fighting against the “savage” Indians. The army claim to be taking their territory in order to civilise them. I think what they mean by “civilising” is to make them obey them. The way they do that could be with or without force but back in the period of time it was more common for them to battle the Indians. Captain Smith was the main leader of the coloured army and General Michaels took care of the white army. In my opinion, Captain Smith and General Michaels act completely differently towards black people. Captain Smith was more caring and willing to guide Company W as long as it would take and he didn’t care much that they were coloured because since slavery was abolished any colour of man was a proper man. However, General Michaels didn’t care much for black soldiers. He was always complaining about them being able to do the same things a white man could do, but he always thought coloured people couldn’t fight at the same standard as white men. General Michael’s attitude towards black soldiers was more common at the time because most white men still hated black men. I think Captain Smith was a better leader because he was fair, he didn’t underestimate the black people and he didn’t think white men were superior.
Posted on: 15 May 2015



Ivan on the themes of good & evil in 'Cuckoo Song' (3A1)
In ‘Cuckoo Song’ the main antagonist is the man called The Architect who is out to get revenge of Triss’ father after he broke a magical promise. He is clearly portrayed as being evil, cruel but there are other characters that are portrayed as evil at some point in the book, such as: Mr Grace. Mr Grace is at first introduced as a friendly dress maker who at first seems to show concern for Triss but later he and Triss’ parents, after finding out what she really was, tried to kill her by putting her into a fire. After she escapes he tries to hunt her down as well as Violet and Pen and we are made to think that he is also an antagonist. But when we find out that creatures like Triss killed his wife and his child you start to feel sympathy for him despite what he has done. Despite what he does he just wants other people not to suffer the same things that happened to him.
Posted on: 15 May 2015



Jude discusses how he thinks Dylan appears to other characters in 'When Mr Dog Bites' (3A1)
I think to his mum he is the most important thing in the world, as most mothers would think of their children. To Amir he seems like his only friend even though they shout at each other a lot. I think readers see Dylan differently to the way he sees himself. He can seem quite childish at times by the vocabulary he uses. At most times he can just seem like an ordinary boy but he goes to two different extremes of the way he talks. To Dylan, having a friend who won’t call him mean names probably means a lot. Probably everyone has been called names before and are probably happy that there are people who don’t call them names. In the book Dylan will get called mean names by lots of people so for Amir to just call him Dylan might feel special.
Posted on: 15 May 2015



Nabila discusses the theme of running in 'The fastest boy in the world' (3A1)
Running is important to Solomon because he wants to achieve something and be as good as the athletes of Ethiopia one day, he wants to have a name for himself and be known in Ethiopia. The vision in his head was a bigger Solomon running for Ethiopia, being a champion for his country, coming back from the Olympics and winning medals and trophies. Solomon is proud of his country and proud of the runners that represent his country in the Olympics, and to watch the runners come back makes him feel like a part of Ethiopian history. I think he means that if you have a good idea in your head of what you want to achieve, you can achieve it but you have to think positive thoughts and work hard for it.
Posted on: 15 May 2015



Naveen discusses the setting of 'The fastest Boy in the World' (3A1)
This book has taught me a lot about Ethiopia, and what kind of things you would expect there. It has also educated me about how people live in this country and what is expected from different parts of it. Whilst I was reading the book I didn’t really expect to get too much info about the country, but all I can say is that by reading the book I wanted to learn much more. The way the writer makes Solomon describe his home makes me aware about how much I actually have in my life. My home compared to Solomon’s just makes me feel that we take things for granted, because Solomon lives in a small little village and doesn’t really have many things to play with. Also his home isn’t that big either and his family doesn’t have as much furniture as we do, but even then we ask for more.
Posted on: 15 May 2015



Isla, Anmol & Sophie's initial impressions of 'Buffalo Soldier' (3A1)
*‘Buffalo Soldier’ by Tanya Landman is a novel about a young black girl pretending to be a man so that she can join the American army. *Our first impressions were that the start was quite interesting, but as we got further into the story, we lost interest. *The story covers a lot of issues such as racism and sexism, but it’s not very gripping. *Others in the group disagreed with this and found that it got more interesting as it continued.
Posted on: 15 May 2015



Jude, Charlie & Finlay's initial impressions of 'When Mr Dog Bites' (3A1)
*Our first impressions on ‘When Mr Dog Bites’ were mainly the same. *We can understand how it would be good but it feels like it was written for a child, minus the swearing. Dylan Mint, who is 16, speaks like a ten year old, he gets embarrassed when he talks about sex and his talks with Amir are so slow that it becomes frustrating. *We feel that the author is trying too hard to portray a teenager.
Posted on: 15 May 2015



Taweel, Eli & Alhadji's initial impressions of 'Tinder' (3A1)
*We found start of ‘Tinder’ to be quite dark but that this gripped us and made us want to read on. However, it was initially hard to understand as it was a little strange. *We love the magic aspects of the story and the good descriptive language. *We loved the illustrations.
Posted on: 15 May 2015



Mikele, Soroush, Holly, Zahid & Sylvie's initial impressions of 'More than this' (3A1)
*Our first impressions of ‘More Than This’ were that it was confusing and left a lot of unanswered questions. *We think that the book is quite “dark” but that it makes you think. .
Posted on: 15 May 2015



Nour, Olivia & Amber's initial impressions of 'Apple & Rain' (3A1)
*We think that Apple is a well suited character for this story but we think the Nana is nice but bossy. *We think that Pilar was nice at first but she ends up being mean to Apple. *Overall, we think that the book is very enjoyable and easy to understand.
Posted on: 15 May 2015



Sarah, Isla & Immanuel's initial impressions of 'The Middle of Nowhere' (3A1)
*We think that it’s boring, we don’t like the characters – they are underdeveloped. *We were confused about what was happening. It’s unrealistic and hard to stay focussed on the story. *We liked the ‘funny’ letters to Comity’s cousin. It’s unusual to be set in the outback and it tells us more about Australia’s racial injustices. *We all dislike Hogg but find him the most interesting.
Posted on: 15 May 2015



Flora, Ivan, Leon & Ben's initial impressions of 'Cuckoo Song' (3A1)
*Our first impression of the book ‘Cuckoo Song’ was that the book was intriguing. *The first few chapters have a sinister feel and leave the reader wanting to read more as they are plunged into a world of mystery.
Posted on: 15 May 2015



Naveen, Nabila & Alice's initial impressions of ‘The Fastest Boy in the World’ (3A1)
*We thought that the book was about someone who just runs at school but can’t achieve his dream because people take him for granted. *We didn’t like the Grandfather as he is portrayed as being sexist. *The actual story does not go into much detail to do with the character’s appearances. *The plot is good but there is not much depth or anything to keep us reading more. *We didn’t know about Ethiopia’s past, so this gave us more general knowledge about the subject.
Posted on: 15 May 2015



Eli's 'Middle of Nowhere' opinions so far... (3A2)
Personally the book “The Middle of Nowhere” does not intrigue me nor the title or the blurb. The cover to me does not stand out; I would not notice this book on a shelf. The cover however is very stunning once I take a good look at it. It looks like a lonely place the two figures are in, which kind of relates to the title. The way the words are written above the tree and how bare the tree looks is very appealing to me for some reason. The author’s note at the beginning really interested me in the book and the writer herself. This one page got my mind picturing all the things she was writing and made me look forward to what I was about to read. Four of the first pages are taken up for a glossary. Although this may be useful to some (normally to me), I find this rather annoying and It disappointed me that I did need to turn back and find out the meaning of words, because I would finally begin to get into the book and have to stop as the story/sentence wouldn’t make sense from the difficulty of the new word. “The piano arrived too late to stop the sky falling.” This first line, to many I have talked to about this book, has both either gripped or pulled them in. This does not apply to me. I found this line disappointing many of the books I read I continue on writing depending on the first line. Personally I don’t like this book and would not be continue reading it if I didn’t have to. However saying all these negative things I am hoping I get more into this book and I would perhaps recommend this book to a few people, it is just not my style. By the end of this book I would love to love the author and the book and hope that my first thoughts were wrong and that continuing to read something you didn’t like at first is worth it.
Posted on: 13 May 2015



Elise on 'More Than This' (3A2)
My first’s impression on ‘MORE THAN THIS’ written by Patrick Ness, is that it is quite slow and confusing at the start and as to where the character, Seth is and what he is experiencing. As the book continues things start to unravel and become very interesting. Flashbacks are used to explain the background, as to where he is and what he is doing there; this makes the book much more intriguing. This book is a very good read and can’t wait to find out more about the character.
Posted on: 13 May 2015



Taylor discusses 'Buffalo Soldier' having read the first nine chapaters. (3A2)
Blog – Buffalo Soldier I have recently started reading the book Buffalo Soldier by Tanya Landman. I think the book has an interesting story line. However, I am very disappointed with what I’ve read so far. The beginning of the story is set during the American Civil War and is told from the point of view of a young African-American slave. Not long into the book the War ends and even though the slaves become free, there is still a lot of racism. When I first read the blurb I thought it might be quite an interesting book though my opinion changed fairly quickly as I began reading. I am quite confused as to who a lot of the characters are as I feel they are not very well introduced. I also don’t find it very exciting and not much has happened so far.
Posted on: 13 May 2015



Thomas, Stefan and Declan's initial thoughts on 'When Mr Dog Bites'. (3A2)
‘When Mr Dog Bites’ portrays a very negative stereotypical point of view of Glasgow. My first impressions of this book were that is uses childish and “cringy” language. I think the book portrays a positive image of people with tourette’s. This book tries to represent teenagers as a bag of raging hormones, which is demeaning to girls with the language that Dylan and Amir use. Personally I don’t think I would be friends with Dylan not because he has Tourette’s but because he is irritating and socially awkward. During the book Conaghan makes it sound like Dylan is speaking to you this gives you the full effect of his tourette’s syndrome and his character. Conaghan uses strong swear words and language to a point where it becomes ridiculous and surreal. During the book Dylan uses his tourette’s to express himself. Out of the group of three, two of us like the book to an extent but the other member strongly dislikes it.
Posted on: 13 May 2015



Starlina's Inital Impressions: 'Apple and Rain' (3A2)
Recently I have started reading a fiction story called Apple and Rain. At first I found it quite hard to get into because it never really drew me in but now I have started reading on a bit more I find it very interesting and I find myself not being able to put the book down! At the start the little girl, Apple is talking about something called “childhood amnesia” which I can relate to because when I think back to when I was young I cannot remember much. After she talks about this she tells us that she has one memory which is negative in nature. She talks about a stormy Christmas Eve when she hears her mum and grandmother shouting and goes down stairs to see what’s going on. She finds out that her mum is leaving to go to Broadway and leaving her with her grandmother. Anytime she asks her grandmother why her mum left, she would always talk negatively about her and blame it all on her for example she says “mum was the one who ran off to New York to be on Broadway, without once thinking about the child she’d left behind.” So far the story is very over-whelming because as soon as you open the book she’s explaining her feelings which I really enjoy because from my perspective I think that there is going to be a heart trenching story line.
Posted on: 13 May 2015



Let the battle commence
On Friday (8th May) over 50 unsuspecting pupils from 3A1 and 3A2 were called to the library. Despite unforeseen techinical difficulties [aarrrghhh :( !!!!!] pupils were advised that for the rest of this month they would be shadowing the Carnegie Awards. This is the first year at Hillhead High more than one class have been involved in the shadowing process so i'm really looking forward to seeing the different creative and critical responses to the titles from both Ms Logan and Ms Phenix's lovely classes! I hope that all pupils enjoy the books they have been allocated as well as having the opportunity to end the school year shadowing my favourite childrens book awards scheme Thanks Miss Summers PS- I will try to add some more adoreable pictures of Boris working his way through the shortlist! Alas my other cats Ruben and Snoopy are "reluctant readers"....
Posted on: 13 May 2015



Congratulations S3
Today Miss Deacon's 3rd year english class finished their shadowing of the Carnegie Awards. Over the past few weeks everyone has read one of the titles, completed a blog post and submitted a review to the website. Pupils were treated to a reward period today where they were asked to post their reviews to the site, vote for their favourite author and then relax with some cake! Prizes were given to those pupils who had performed particularly well over the course of the shadowing with top prizes of books going to Simon, Ayleen & Wing Kei (pictured on the main page).
Posted on: 17 Jun 2014



New Members for the Book Group!!
I just wanted to say a big hello to new book group members today- Fionn, Lewis, Ralph, Miriam, Duncan, Alice, Alexa, Ella and Erin. It was really nice to see you all at the bookgroup today+hope you all enjoy reading the books you chose.
Posted on: 05 Jun 2014



Ramene's thoughts on reading Blood Family as part of Miss Deacons S3 Carnegie Shadowing Group
I thought that the book was very predictable and cliché but it was decent. I would not read this book again. I would not recommend this book to others.
Posted on: 22 May 2014



Waqass' thoughts on reading Blood Family as part of Miss Deacons S3 Carnegie Shadowing Group
I thought that the book was dull and depressing because there is not that much excitement. I would not read this book again. I would not recommend this book because I didn’t enjoy the book myself.
Posted on: 22 May 2014



Ammar's thoughts on reading Blood Family as part of Miss Deacons S3 Carnegie Shadowing Group
I thought that the book was too long and boring; there wasn’t much excitement in the book. I would not read this book again. It was too dull. I would recommend this book to people who like predictable books.
Posted on: 22 May 2014



Haseeb's thoughts on reading Blood Family as part of Miss Deacons S3 Carnegie Shadowing Group
I thought that the book was decent but dull. I would not read it again, but would recommend this book to readers who would read any kind of book.
Posted on: 22 May 2014



Stephanie's thoughts on reading The Child's Elephant as part of Miss Deacons S3 Carnegie Shadowing Group
I am happy with the book I am reading, I think The Child’s Elephant is better than the usual class reading. I think it is worth reading the Carnegie books next time. I didn’t think I would enjoy the book at the beginning but when you start reading it you really enjoy it.
Posted on: 22 May 2014



Simon's thoughts on reading The Wall as part of Miss Deacons S3 Carnegie Shadowing Group
I have been given the book named The Wall by William Sutcliffe. The plot so far of it is about a thirteen year old boy named Joshua who has found a secret tunnel taking him to the other side of The Wall. Once Joshua sees what happens on the other side, his opinion on his life changes. This book is really enjoyable, and was glad the teachers chose our books for us, as I doubt that I would have picked this up. I think that this was a very useful scheme as it will open our eyes to other genres of books. I think everyone should be given this opportunity.
Posted on: 22 May 2014



Garry's thoughts on reading Ghost Hawk as part of Miss Deacons S3 Carnegie Shadowing Group
am not happy with this book because it is not something I would read. it is worse than school books I like my own book.id rather I picked a book on my own instead.
Posted on: 22 May 2014



Scott's thoughts on reading Ghost Hawk as part of Miss Deacons S3 Carnegie Shadowing Group
I am not really impressed with this book as it is not a book I would like to read. It is worse than school books because I would rather read a book that I like and picked.
Posted on: 22 May 2014



Thomas' thoughts on reading Ghost Hawk as part of Miss Deacons S3 Carnegie Shadowing Group
I think the book was not as enjoyable as I’d hoped for. I’d rate the book 4.9/10.
Posted on: 22 May 2014



Zamzam & Kevin's thoughts on reading Kevin Brooks' I See you Baby as part of Miss Deacons S3 Carnegie Shadowing Group
We like this book but we think this book is a little boring; perhaps we will change our minds when we finish the book. It is better than the class reading. There are two characters in this book. There is a special connection between them.
Posted on: 22 May 2014



Wing Kei , Unsa, Ki Yuen & Jian Sheng 's thoughts on reading Liar & Spy as part of Miss Deacons S3 Carnegie Shadowing Group
We think this book has been very average, we think that next time we should pick our own books. We think it was worse than our usual class reading as we had no choice to read this book. We think the book was average; it doesn’t have a lot of descriptive language and had no action within the book. We thought that the book had no complicated words which we would have enjoyed to test our brains. The scenes were too dragged on for example, George’s life in school. We thought that the ending could have been done better. Personally we thought that the author could have described his past more and the character more; so that we could at least enjoy the character. We would rate this book 3 out of 5 stars
Posted on: 22 May 2014



Gavin, Habeeb & Mohammad's thoughts on reading The Bunker Diary as part of Miss Deacons S3 Carnegie Shadowing Group
We liked the book that was given to us. It’s good because it is like a diary. It has very mature language which is good because it makes it seem more realistic. The book is better than usual class reading because it looks modern while class books look old.
Posted on: 22 May 2014



Georgia & Ayleen's thoughts on reading All the truth that's in me as part of Miss Deacons S3 Carnegie Shadowing Group
We are happy with the book that we were given and we are happy to take part in the Carnegie awards. It is better than normal class reading as we have a reason to read this book. We like how the book has been written, it isn’t just telling us the story but it is actually speaking directly to a character in the story –the boy that she loves. Also, the lay out of the paragraphs makes it easier to read and not get bored of the book/story because the author Julie Berry wrote in a poetic sort of way which also makes it more unique and interesting.
Posted on: 22 May 2014



Peri & Aleksandra's thoughts on reading Rooftoppers as part of Miss Deacons S3 Carnegie Shadowing Group
We like the book; we think it is really good. We think shadowing these awards has been better than normal class reading and we would like to do it again.
Posted on: 22 May 2014



Book Group 15th May: Katy's thoughts
Katy is currently reading Rooftoppers and thinks it "is a good story because the girl is like me because she travels to Paris and she is an adventure seeker ". Some of the books we enjoy most are often the ones where we see ourselves in a character and Sophie from Rooftoppers is a brilliant character who I think a lot of group members will identify with.
Posted on: 15 May 2014



May Day now known as Carnegie Day
As of yesterday at Hillhead High, we now have both a thursday lunchtime Awards Book Group for S1/S2/S3 and Miss Deacons 3rd year class shadowing the Carnegie awards!
Posted on: 02 May 2014



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