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Ilminster, Somerset

Live announcement
Getting ready to watch the announcement live!
Posted on: 22 Jun 2015

Swanmead School's class of 22 people who are Shadowing the Carnegie Awards have posted a total of 48 reviews! This is an amazing feat, meaning that each person has read at least two books (on average.) I hope we will continue reading these amazing novels, ready for the announcement of the winner shortly. Well Done to all!
Posted on: 12 Jun 2015

Posted on: 11 Jun 2015

In answer to the question...
The blurb and cover is designed to intrige the readers so I think it certainly affects your choice of the book and what you are interested in. I also think the blurb is a taster to what you are about to read. For example, if a book was covered in plain paper, I don't think you would enjoy it as much as a bright and colourful cover design. Your overall opinion on the novel changes to what the cover looks like and the design inside, even though the moral is 'don't judge a book by it's cover'... by Rosie Cornelius-Light
Posted on: 04 Jun 2015

What makes us pick up a book?
Is it the cover? The blurb? The first page? Or a combination of all three. if a book was covered in brown paper we might read it as a mystery choice and love it- sometimes the cover convinces us that it is the book for us but the book may still disappoint. The blurb too may mislead. That's why the Carnegie Shadowing is so fantastic because we read books which we might not have chosen and we discover that sometimes we do love fantasy or we do enjoy mystery, we just usually pick up the same genres. It's great to step outside our usual choices and try a new author or genre; who knows where it will take us?
Posted on: 03 Jun 2015

First to complete!
I (Joey Phillips) have essentially completed (apart from half of Cuckoo Song, which i will not complete- see my review) all eight of this year's selection of Carnegie books. All of the books in approximately two months, with many new sides of life and emotions being revealed to me. All eight authors are amazing, and all (except perhaps The Fastest Boy in the World) i adored (please take a look at Swanmead's reviews to see my and my classmates opinions!) I am now commited to updated and 'jazzing up' the website, and hope that some of my fellow pupils will enjoy the books as much as i did and complete this year's amazing selection
Posted on: 19 May 2015

Nearly there...
The Carnegie awards are almost over! Our class definitely enjoyed reading these books a lot more as it went along. I think that it is going to be very hard to decide who wins this year as the standard of books is so high. My favourite so far is When Mr Dog Bites because it is funny and tells you a lot about how difficult life can be for people with Tourettes. But I'm sure lots of other people have different opinions about who they want to win. Any of the authors are deserving winners because all the books are great. Hopefully we will carry on with these awards next year in our new school because I have enjoyed reading the books and it has made me read other genres which I may not have read before.
Posted on: 19 May 2015

Question Time...
A question for the Carnegie book readers of Swanmead School! Please get back to me with your answer: How much do you think the cover and blurb of a book affects your enjoyment in reading it, and your overall opinion of the novel?
Posted on: 19 May 2015

The Variety... by Charlie & Taryn
We think that this year there is a great variety of different books. We are all enjoying reading the novels that have been nominated and with this being our first year shadowing the awards, the variety of books and genres of reading is making us want to become involved again next year. Being involved with these awards gives us a chance to make an effect on the winner and it makes us think very hard about who we choose to win. Also because we know we've got to write a review, we think more about the content of the book and how it could affect other readers and what age range we think is appropriate. We hope to become involoved next year in our upper school and we hope that our younger year groups will have the chance to become involved when they move up to our year!
Posted on: 12 May 2015

The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas By John Boyne- I (Joey) wrote this review as part of classwork and my teacher, Mrs.Turner, asked me to put it on the website...
The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas is amazing. It is set during World War Two, a time of dreadful segregation and mass murder in Hitler's Germany. It is primarily set in Auschwitz, the awful concentration camp where the protagonist, Bruno, and his family live. When Bruno moves from his perfect, aristocratic, five floors, sliding-down-banister and getting pushed from pillar-to-post on a Saturday afternoon life in Berlin, and to the Polish countryside of Auschwitz Concentration Camp; Bruno’s life is changed forever. Boyne explores the childhood ignorance and naivety of this priviledged nine year old, and, when Bruno meets Shmuel, his whole upbringing and his way of life is slowly brought into question by the dreadful misfortunes of his friend. Bruno’s nemesis is Lieutenant Kotler, who ‘thinks he rules the place’ and calls him ‘little man!’ These small, condescending factors seem highly insulting to Bruno, and his loyalty to his father, the Commandant, makes him dislike the Lieutenant strongly. His snobbish, mean sister Gretel and his 'medicinal sherry' drinking mother are the women of the house, and the servants at Auschwitz provide much confusion for Bruno throughout the book as they only ever half answer his questions. The ending is shocking and nearly drove me to tears, and really makes one live and breath the terror and dreadfulness of life at Auswitz. A seemingly difficult subject to analyse, John Boyne easily reveals the harshness and horror of the worst time in human history, and weaves in topics of love, affairs and illness while his use of language really illustrates the character of Bruno. He is also very clever in his use of a nine year old protagonist, and uses this technique to its maximum potential. Furthermore, I loved how Boyne used the metaphor of the weather; utilising the storm to express the graveness and sadness of the final scene. I would recommend this book to teenagers and adults alike, but the literature might not be appreciated by younger children, and this vivid example of a recount of the massacre of the Jews might be too much for younger children. John Boyne is a genius, and this is a truly wonderful, deeply moving novel.
Posted on: 11 May 2015

What Next?
Many of us are now reaching the end of our reading of the short-listed books and then what? The selection of books has been so strong, varied in style and plot but overall, great reads. So what do we do after we have read them all? We can read other books by these amazing writers, that's what!
Posted on: 11 May 2015

We all absolutely love reading, and I think this shows in the 39 reviews we have individually written so far. These were produced by me and my fellow classmates, with only minor corrections from our wonderful teacher Mrs.Turner and loosely structured writing frame. I have just been reading some of the reviews, and they were amazing! The standard of them blew me away. I would like to particularly congratulate Luke and Katie for their wonderful reviews on the books, and all the others in 8S who have spent copious amounts of time writing these reviews. Congratulations to all!
Posted on: 08 May 2015

Which is our favourite?
Well, it depends who you ask and on what day! Everyone is enjoying all the books and today in our lesson we discussed our Bank Holiday reading, wrote some reviews and decided that all the books are high quality reads. We like some characters more than others, some enjoy an unresolved ending, whereas others like everything sewn up but we are talking about the books every day and making recommendations-there can only be one winner...
Posted on: 05 May 2015

Read, Read, Read!
We're all still reading this year's amazing selection of books, and have already posted an amazing 35 reviews! We are all reading copiously, and have all at least read 1 book. All these books are truly amazing, and we love them!
Posted on: 01 May 2015

Not giving up!
We are all talking about these books! Debating our favourite ones and discussing what we think will happen next, Carnegie is a great way to spend our spare time. Sometimes it is a struggle to get through all the books so that everyone has one- but it's worth it!
Posted on: 01 May 2015

We are exchanging books as quickly as we can;we are a small school and have only two sets of the short-listed titles and a few that our teacher has bought.We are also borrowing books from local libraries where the librarians have been very helpful. Inevitably, there are some occasions when someone has no book to read so we are also reading Carnegie nominated books from previous years-titles such as: Wonder and The Bunker Diaries.
Posted on: 01 May 2015

We're still going!
Swanmead's reading group is doing really well reading all of the amazing books. All of us have read at least one book and we are all really enjoying the variety and general standard of all the awesome books!
Posted on: 16 Apr 2015

How are we doing?
This is the first time we have shadowed the Carnegie award and it is impressive that we have all read at least one book during the holidays; it was frustrating that we had to wait so long for our books to arrive but once they did-we have all made a huge effort to keep reading them. Not that an effort is needed-they are all strong novels and we can't stop talking about them.
Posted on: 25 Mar 2015