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Ashton on Mersey School
Sale, Cheshire

Carnegie Group meets again
Everyone seems really excited about the books this year. There are such different themes in the shortlist. We are getting ready for the big debate day and we have started talking about the books now! Watch this space for book discussions
Posted on: 21 May 2014

My Side On The Carnegie Shortlist - (Technically) Day Four
Hello, again everybody, back - late as usual, but typing quickly nonetheless... ;) So, I was speaking to Miss Shephard about our Carnegie timeline ... We have 8 books ... Four of which i've read. Deadline = Tuesday 19th June. Which is when we'll be holding our final votes... Blogs left to be doing? 2. "Between Shades Of Gray," "A Monster Calls." ... Soo i'll be doing those sh0rtly. The real question is whether to read more from the remaining four! Well, I've given up on Almond a while ago ... That leaves, "A Small Change For Stuart," "Trash" and finally, "The Midnight Zoo." Well, truth to be told, I read the blurb of Trash and gave up hope really, I knew it was going to be a book I wouldn't particularly enjoy ... So that's done. "The Midnight Zoo" hasn't gleaned very many good reviews over here, truth be told. So I'm not too keen on that one either, really ... That leaves "Stuart" ... an alleged quick-read. Something I need with exams over the horizon, I could SQUEEZE it in before Tuesday ... We'll see ... So, that's the grand scheme of things ... Review time! :)
Posted on: 13 Jun 2012

My Side On The Carnegie Shortlist - (Technically) Day Three
Right, you've had two reviews, but, ridiculously, I'm STILL behind on reviews! My exams will be the death of me - I'm so glad I've gotten through 6, although I'm certain I failed my English Language one, (please don't tell me teacher - she thinks I'm intelligent, delusional? I don't know...), I only have two more to go. Time for a break this half term - I think! I also found out, that our head librarian, *who is like, emperor of this library that I am currently sat in - distracting more teachers as usual* is reading my blog, *GASP!* So, I'm starting to doubt the, professional ... -ness of my blog ... *Sigh* that there, is an example of my non-professional-ness ... I'm trying, hopefully that'll be enough. So, my next blog will be on "Between Shades Of Gray," which I am reallyreally eager to write about, I really have somethings to tell you all about that ... So look out for THAT one! :)
Posted on: 30 May 2012

My Side On The Carnegie Shortlist - 'Everbody Jam' - [8/8]
The story ends in a sugar-sweet style; and it made me as a reader, think, a lot. But not in the way a Carnegie book really makes me think, which is why this book confused me – I’m not sure if it’s Carnegie medal material, good though it is, almost wry actually, in the way that it works, like with the previous book, it’s not the most masterful book in the shortlist really. Enjoyable? Quite. Read it and tell me what you think.
Posted on: 30 May 2012

My Side On The Carnegie Shortlist - 'Everbody Jam' - [7/8]
People, in ‘Everybody Jam,’ are almost like little cogs in a machine, working towards the goal of the muster, regardless of who they are friendly towards. The conflict between the characters, small, or large, and the mending of rifts, or the growth of friendships is quite potent in this novel; and this theme is surprisingly interesting, though infinitesimal in certain chapters. This theme is where, everybody jam, the noun itself, comes in. It’s almost like a way of life, or a personality at the end of the book, not just the original conserve it was at the start. Throughout the novel it shows itself in little amounts, amounting to something great, and it deftly brings the characters towards one another ending in a *surprisingly* conclusive manner. The book itself has an interesting air of how a family works, and how a little ‘Everybody Jam,’ can bring them all together.
Posted on: 30 May 2012

My Side On The Carnegie Shortlist - 'Everbody Jam' - [6/8]
I think, as my English teacher and I discovered, this book is a very quaint one, and that is mainly because not much happens. This, I think, is to it’s advantage because, it makes the book slightly different to most books that make it to the shortlist. Whether that is enough, I doubt. It is enough to make it memorable though- certainly. Something I really wanted to convey in this blog is the theme of people in this book. Much like, ‘My Sister Lives On The Mantelpiece,’ people is an important theme, as is relationships, but instead of copying the theme, it takes an interesting twist on it.
Posted on: 30 May 2012

My Side On The Carnegie Shortlist - 'Everbody Jam' - [5/8]
Thinking about when I was planning this blog, I really don’t know what to write, just because of the answer to number 2, being that, well, not much happens. I will say one thing. ‘Everybody Jam,’ is a noun. Not an imperative verb/command. The author is not asking the characters to dance. Which is what I actually believed when I first picked up the book, and pretty much up until three quarters of the way through! Despite the fact that they explain the significance of the title … I don’t really know how I missed that to be honest but, I did. SO there. ~Best word of advice? It’s a noun~
Posted on: 30 May 2012

My Side On The Carnegie Shortlist - 'Everbody Jam' - [4/8]
So, you follow the story of Danny and his family, and you are thrown – headfirst into a world of Aussie Cattle Farming jargon that confused me quite a bit. I had to think, which frustrated me, really. I didn’t like it all that much. Although I suppose it kept the authenticity of the story. Thankfully, a few chapters in, the use of said lingo, is minimal and painless, and the story starts to kick start when Danny’s mother decides to bring in some help for around the house.
Posted on: 30 May 2012

My Side On The Carnegie Shortlist - 'Everbody Jam' - [3/8]
Which, interestingly enough, doesn’t affect the story becoming dry, or obscenely boring, which is easy to experience with Carnegie novels… Like Marcus Sedgewick’s novel, “Revolver .” Gosh, it was DIFFICULT to get through that one, but “Everybody Jam,” didn’t have that. It was surprisingly fast paced. Not fast-fast or anything, but faster than expected.
Posted on: 30 May 2012

My Side On The Carnegie Shortlist - 'Everbody Jam' - [2/8]
. Ironically similar to the previous novel I reviewed, Danny also lives in a slightly strained family. This becomes increased over the first few pages, when his 14 year old sister comes home, ‘up the stick,’ or rather … pregnant, which of course, isn’t easy at the time of the muster. Howeverrrrr…. Question numero dos, is a little bit of an iffy one. Why? Because, the art of this book is that – really, in terms of the main haul of the story, not much happens.
Posted on: 30 May 2012

My Side On The Carnegie Shortlist - 'Everbody Jam' - [1/8]
I think, when someone asks me about a book – I always get the same two questions, 1) what’s it about? 2) Gimme a sneak preview! What happens??? Well, I was discussing with my English teacher, actually, that this book is particularly interesting because, well … I can tell you the answer to 1) … It’s about a family who own a cattle ranching farm in the Australian outback – it’s set around one main character, Danny, who is thirteen years old, and is looking forward to his last ‘muster,’ on the farm before he goes onto Boarding School, (a muster being a period where the farmers which cows are kept and which are going to take a trip to the butcher’s.
Posted on: 30 May 2012

My Side On The Carnegie Shortlist - 'My Sister Lives On The Mantelpiece' - [8/8]
In terms of it as a piece of literature, I don’t think it is enough to make that large a jump. – I personally found it to be a pleasure read, something that made me think and open my mind, but it didn’t challenge me necessarily, (not including though, the fluctuation of emotions in this book – it’s pretty severe! I wouldn’t have been the only one to cry and laugh within the space of two chapters). That said, it’s a wonderful book. Insightful, and an inspiring tale of kindness and resilience – with an air of wisdom that can’t be ignored. This debut novel could easily be competition ... Maybe even surprise us, I don’t know. The main chink in the armour of Pitcher's novel, however, if it is really being perceived as it was intended, which could affect its performance. It might not come of as big as it could. What do you think? I guess we’ll have to see how well the Carnegie works out for Pitcher... The next book will be "Everybody Jam," and we'll finally get a glimpse of what competition's about ...
Posted on: 30 May 2012

My Side On The Carnegie Shortlist - 'My Sister Lives On The Mantelpiece' - [7/8]
I think that as an individual though, each reader could pick out something different for each character, right? So why not check out the book – tell me what you think about the characters. I’ve given you an insight onto one character. What else can you discover? The big question is. Is it a literary masterpiece? Is it good enough a novel - a debut novel, I might add - to swipe the Carnegie Medal from under the noses of our favourite big writers? I don’t know ... Story wise maybe, it IS possible ...
Posted on: 30 May 2012

My Side On The Carnegie Shortlist - 'My Sister Lives On The Mantelpiece' - [6/8]
Load of rubbish. I felt that reading about the relationship between the two characters was eye opening. Well written, and incentive, but not heavily burdened with the weight of sentimentality. It seemed important to read about Jasmine as a character because she provides a twist for the reader. In her instability, she is Jamie’s only stability; which perfectly and artfully describes our teenager. Does it not? I find Pitcher’s outlook on her character, and her relationship with Jamie to be very refreshing. Of course, there are other characters that are, in their own rights, important and well written and thought about. Pretty much all of them could fit into this category for different reasons ...
Posted on: 30 May 2012

My Side On The Carnegie Shortlist - 'My Sister Lives On The Mantelpiece' - [5/8]
The book’s narration doesn’t give the world a constrained outlook at all, but an innocent one, and it’s almost refreshing to see a new style of writing, or rather a newer style, as opposed to the typical range of 14-21 years of narrator. In depth it allows you to see the world again, but perhaps that is due to the serious topics that underlay the novel. In particular, I really enjoyed reading about the relationship with Jamie and his sister, (not the one on the mantelpiece, guys), Jas. Jasmine is our typical teenage girl people, defeated, neglected, pressured, and rebellious. She’s where the eating disorder comes in. Many people would roll their eyes at this – oh it’s a typical teenager, “No-one understands me, I’m depressed all the time” blah blah blah...
Posted on: 30 May 2012

My Side On The Carnegie Shortlist - 'My Sister Lives On The Mantelpiece' - [4/8]
Looking back on the book, I think it’s true purpose – or at least it’s theme was people. The world’s real people, but wonderfully placed through the eyes of a child. Jamie, aged 10 is submerged in a disjointed family and new school with problems of alcoholism, racism, bullying, eating disorders, and infidelity. Each are woven into the tale of what happens to this displaced trio that he has left of his family. Each scenario presents a new field of emotions, all heart-wrenching, though some more than others. The book really makes you think about people and relationships, their fragility and importance to others. It’s very interesting to read about, and to imagine. You really begin to feel for the character, Jamie, as he grows through the book, learning to deal with the unfortunate situations he gets placed in, by making a friend, Sunya. The story starts to take a heart-warming side, because the seriousness of the themes in the story are majorly diluted, because we remember – the main character and narrator is ten years old after all...
Posted on: 30 May 2012

My Side On The Carnegie Shortlist - 'My Sister Lives On The Mantelpiece' - [3/8]
"My sister Rose lives on the mantelpiece. Well some of her does. Three of her fingers, her right elbow and her knee cap are buried in a graveyard in London." < one of the first sentences. It of course, explained to me exactly what was going on – she’s in an urn – well her ashes are. That pulled me in straight away. How did it happen? When did it happen? How’re the family? What will this story come to? The story itself? I’m not leaking anything – nothing of substance anyways. I’m not going to wreck anything, I may well lure you in, though...The book isn’t a particularly difficult book – but it is emotionally moving – it certainly taught me how readers get attached to different people in the books, (remember ‘people’ is a loose term). Which is an interesting lesson to learn from a book of this style actually; it's kind of like, a re-realisation, if that makes sense..?
Posted on: 30 May 2012

My Side On The Carnegie Shortlist - 'My Sister Lives On The Mantelpiece' - [2/8]
I’d actually just come in for my free in the library, I think, Wednesday at half one every week, and I needed to work. Instead, *Of course*, I started talking to Miss Shephard, (I can almost guarantee being one of the reasons that Miss doesn’t get her work done? I’m always insisting on a new book – or telling Miss about one I’ve found. It’s not beneficial for her, but I do love a good read.) Yes, so as I was saying, I’d just asked Miss for a new book. And she told me about this book MSLOTMP! She said it was quite good, getting decent reviews and OH, it was on the Carnegie Long-list! We then talked about how we were quite excited about the Shortlist coming out soon and wondering which authors would be on it! *N.B. I had NO clue David Almond would be on, the judges must have been drugged or bribed or something…* I started reading it, and honestly? I got NO work done, at all – because I was completely absorbed!
Posted on: 30 May 2012

My Side On The Carnegie Shortlist - 'My Sister Lives On The Mantelpiece' - [1/8]
The title threw me too, despite the cover, seriously, I couldn’t work out what Pitcher meant. Maybe that’s the reason I chose to read it. I honestly don’t know. The blurb, from what I remember, significantly pulled me in, which seems to be increasingly difficult as of late, I don’t know why. Frankly, one of my current favourite books has a terrible blurb, I mean downright TERRIBLE! I almost didn’t allow people to read it! It was infuriating. I can’t even begin to explain! I’m sure some book just came into your head, with a terrible blurb but a great book. I can name a few … So, my first comment? Hats off Pitcher, you write a mean blurb. Always a good start when you’re up against some great authors in the Carnegie Shortlist. The smallest achievements go a long way. Oh believe me. So, this book I actually read a while back ... Brings back a few memories actually ... (Not nostalgic ones, I’m actually not that sad, I can just remember when I got it from the library!)
Posted on: 16 May 2012

My Side On The Carnegie Shortlist - Day Two [2/2]
So, something interesting came to my attention one week ago when I was supposed to be typing but, well, I was actually revising – [blame the exams] – Miss Shephard (our librarian) told me that people were actually reading my blog on the Carnegie! I was honestly confused on whether to be happy or completely frightened. What do you guys think? I mean after all, the Carnegie’s spreading a little, but NOW, people are actually READING, my blog! HMMM … I hope it’s good for you!!! I guess I'm going to have to start working harder! SOOOOO, finally! It’s time to talk - books – the shortlist! Starting with … I think I promised to talk about, ‘Everybody Jam,’ didn’t I? The thing is, I’ve read that and then finished ‘Between Shades Of Gray’ (which I' actually really excited about)! So I have a choice now! Man, it’s difficult because they’re all very good – so I guess I’ll go in chronological order. Next blog on, ‘My Sister Lives On The Mantelpiece.’ Tune in, on the Carnegie News at 6 < laugh guys, it's a joke ;)
Posted on: 16 May 2012

My Side On The Carnegie Shortlist - Day Two [1/2]
Alright, as some of you may have gathered, when I say, “Day” I really mean, “Week.” Honestly, I am really really sorry about that – but you’re going to have to blame my exams – year 10 is no walk in the park – let alone year eleven! I am dreading it! I mean, not only did I have two on Tuesday, but I have FIVE next week! Not one, not two –FIVE. That is why, my dear friends, the blog is a week late – And I am frantically typing – wishing I could type faster on these school keyboards – boy do I wish I was on my own laptop - I’d be done soon! But you’re just going to have to be patient. I do promise, however, to entertain you though, because I am now writing about the actual books! HOORAY!!! I can feel the silence of the library pounding with excitement. Well, that’s an exaggeration – because the year nines are in here, and they can be quite dull when they’re absorbed, good thing I suppose… Although, some are already dull talking about planes and stuff… Anyways…
Posted on: 16 May 2012

My Side On The Carnegie Shortlist - Day One [5/5]
SO that's one story about a past Carnegie - you will hear more, it's always a fun time of the year!! So yes, as the story suggests, I was, and am, quite annoyed - you'll have to forgive me, I am an opinionated person. :P Fear not, my reading-buddies, (yuhp, you have a nickname!), reading an opinionated blog will be sure to get the pot brewing and to send our Carnegie Reading Season off to a GREAT start. That's is all for today! Be sure to come here to check out more on this year's shortlist. - It's going to be awesome!!! In terms of the shortlist, I've already read "My Sister Lives On The Mantelpiece," and have proceeded with, "Everybody Jam," so expect something on the second one soon ...! It's a pretty good book. Till then, HAPPY READING!!! ~Sarah~ p.s. Oh, also, May the odds be EVER in your favour! < did I already say that???
Posted on: 02 May 2012

My Side On The Carnegie Shortlist - Day One [4/5]
SO what happened? I hear you ask?? We split up the library so that each group could plan. We had to effectively advertise our book so that we could come to a consensus as to which book would be our Ashton favourite, after all, there was only space for one book - of course, I was rooting for TAATA, whilst we had others rooting for TGB ... This particular event happened the day before the results we were debating ... We didn't have to think too long and hard because of the awesomeness of this series really ... We had lined up a good couple of points really ... My group selected me as advocate, and I had a secret 4 and a half minute speech up my sleeve which I WHIPPED out!!! Man, I was spewing persuasive adjectives like a dragon breathing fire, about the tremendous beauty of the literature and imagination of the story ~I really really love this book~ OF course, by the end of it, the majority Ashton Vote was TAATA - oh I was pleased, and hopeful, that TAATA would win this ... We all went home and awaited the results ... OF course, by the end of it, the majority Ashton Vote was TAATA and OF COURSE, the next day, TGB won! Guys, I'm still annoyed about this ... -________-
Posted on: 02 May 2012

My Side On The Carnegie Shortlist - Day One [3/5]
Right, down to business; Hellooooo again readers, (who are not so sad, and DO know about the Carnegie!) Welcome also, to our school blog on all things that is story-covered-sheets-of-paper! How are we all today??? It seems like everyone's just tired! Though I'm not surprised - a lot of us have exams coming up!!! Ahh well ... SO, Carnegie, and moaning - it's going to happen a WHOLE lot, ohhhh believe me! That's the spirit of it all!!!! You know, enjoying the reading, debating the stories and who should win? I've already started the moaning part! Seeing Almond's stories in here! I'm still getting over the terrors of reading Skellig!!!! *sigh* Don't know what's gotten into the judges THIS time!!! Speaking of moaning, I did say I'd tell you about a story, didn't I? Something to do with debating ...Righto ... So, as a previous reader, and a fellow Carnegie debater, I know ALL about the moaning. The story I will tell you is reflecting on a Carnegie two years ago. The two hot Ashton favourites were The Graveyard Book, and The Ask and The Answer, (BRILLIANT BOOK GUYS - IF YOU HAVEN'T CHEKED OUT 'CHAOS WALKING' ... YOU must DO that!) Some of you will remember this ... It was pretty tense, and the library was pretty much divided up - with the country favourites, not just ours ... It was tense... What happened??????
Posted on: 02 May 2012

My Side On The Carnegie Shortlist - Day One [2/5]
Right, where were we? Oh righttt! This year we have in the shortlist: •David Almond, MY NAME IS MINA •Lissa Evans, SMALL CHANGE FOR STUART •Sonya Hartnett , THE MIDNIGHT ZOO •Ali Lewis, EVERYBODY JAM •Andy Mulligan, TRASH •Patrick Ness, A MONSTER CALLS •Annabel Pitcher, MY SISTER LIVES ON THE MANTELPIECE •Ruta Sepetys, BETWEEN SHADES OF GREY It's quite a weird shortlist actually; I'm not sure on the combination. Experience tells me that the shortlist has gotten weirder and weirder over the years. I wouldn't even KNOW where to START on categorizing this year’s! I mean, my year seven shortlist was just stories to be fair, this is an absolute medley of ... stuff ...!!! *no better word for it, really!* And, I'm quite excited to get the chance to review them and blog about them to you! I was talking to our librarian, Miss Shephard today, and we were talking about people talking, about the Carnegie's books ... and how this blog would we a great way to get that to happen - and to get people REALLY debating ... I should tell you a story about that ... later... So yes, get ready for a series of opinion evoking entries, guys! Happy Reading! :D
Posted on: 02 May 2012

My Side On The Carnegie Shortlist - Day One [1/5]
In case you hadn't gathered, this blog over here is about the Carnegie! [Shortlist, specifically] SO, without further ado, welcome to our school blog on all things that is story-covered-sheets-of-paper...!! [My fellow readers just have to get some admin out of the way, bear with me for a few paragraphs ;)] "What is the Carnegie?" I hear you sad people ask? I can’t believe you don’t know! (Although I suppose I will let it go for our new readers, ‘Welcome to the Carnegie, May The Odds Be Ever In Your Favour- reading wise anyways...’) Well ... the Carnegie was established in 1936, in memory of the great Scottish-born philanthropist, Andrew Carnegie (1835-1919). It is an award given annually to children's authors. Boring answer though, isn't it? Let's do this Sarah style shall we? The Carnegie is a medal awarded annually to a writer of, "an outstanding book." Each year, we readers follow the shortlist of books which are competing for said medal and debate over which one is the best and why ... await the results, (and in my case), moan about them! The Carnegie is a whole lot of fun, believe me - and SO much better than school work - plus one could always argue it's helpful for your English ... So there we have it! READREADREADREAD! There’s no reason NOT to! Y’all are going to have a BLAST!!!
Posted on: 02 May 2012