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Roundwood Park School
Harpenden, Herts

Reviews are coming in thick and fast! The first batch of books have all been taken and read, and the next lot are all set to go. Every years I'm surprised and delighted by the quality of the work our students do on these books, thanks guys!
Posted on: 27 Apr 2012

All systems are go!
Well, we're back, and it looks as though our Carnegie shadowing group has grown yet again! I'm delighted that all of our Nerdfighters have signed up to shadow the award. All our copies of the shortlisted novels are out and in the hands of readers, but we're still waiting for a few titles to come in, so there's still hope for those who don't have them yet! Fingers crossed they'll be here by the Easter holidays.
Posted on: 29 Mar 2012

All done for another year...
Or is it...? This year we'll be carrying on to shadow the Guardian Young Book award over the summer, and of course our Nerdfighter group is getting louder and more active with every week! For more about what we've up to (there are photos and things that we can't post here) please take a look at our home blog, HUGE congratulations to Patrick Ness for winning the medal this year! Richly deserved for a wonderful conclusion to a gripping and complex series.
Posted on: 23 Jun 2011

Marcus Sedgwick Day!
It’s not often that our students manage to delight, entertain and frighten me half to death all in the same day. The 25th of May was one of those days. It all started last year, on the way to the Carnegie Awards. I began to hear whispers as we waited at the station, rumours on the Tube, hints at the possibility of a planned kidnap attempt. Shortlisted author Marcus Sedgwick was in danger. They’d all really loved Revolver and had had decided, in a marvellously Stephen King-esque way, that the best way to show their admiration would be to kidnap him and seal him in the library office with nothing but food, water, wine and a computer with no internet connection. Research requests would have to be passed under the door to an eager group of volunteers. Luckily, that day passed without incident. Marcus was warned and managed to step over the trip wires. I though their plans had been forgotten. I was wrong. The day started with delight. Preparations for the visit had been going on for several days and from 8am that morning, there was a steady stream of baked goods being delivered to the library. Among others, tiny sentence cakes made by Ellie, a gorgeous White Crow cake by Louise, wonderful personalised cupcakes by Elle and a huge cake topped with more glitter* than a nineties club night were delivered safely to my desk.**. The time, care and enthusiasm that had gone in to all these cakes was truly remarkable and I admit I teared up a little bit***.It all started to change at break time, when the conversation turned suddenly ugly. Their plans from last year had not been forgotten. In fact, they were now being added to. A larger Carnegie group also means that there is a larger field of crazy for all these ideas to be drawn from. The kidnap plan was back in place, with the added bonus that the poor unsuspecting writer would innocently bring himself right here, to their clutches. Tempted through the door by cake, he would then be fed almost to the point of death and forced to work off cake calories by writing new stories for us****. It didn’t stop there. The added crazy and the influence of White Crow also led to ideas of religious interrogation, chaining to chairs and possible beheading. The crazy led to more crazy, the pitch of conversation increased as Ellie got more and more shrill, and by the end of break I was scared. Very scared. I tried to warn him. Concerns were posted on Twitter, and Marcus had the very good sense to be concerned. But then he arrived and was delighted by the mass of baked goods awaiting him. At 1pm an excited mass of Shadowers poured into the library with their packed lunches. Slightly star-struck, everyone settled down to demolish the feast in approximately five minutes, rendered their plans unfeasible as they scoffed their way through the most shocking quantities of cake to ever be consumed in such a small time frame. Sated by sugar and loaded up with questions, everyone settled down for the interrogation. Evil machinations of the Shadowers aside, Marcus was a wonderful guest and took the time to speak to everyone, answering every question incredibly honestly and in detail. He talked about the process of writing, the way that ideas come together from the strangest places, writing as a business (I think we were all horrified at how little money from the sale of a paperback goes to the author) and the publishing process. He told us about his evolution as a writer, from the early stories that were rejected, to finding an agent and securing a publishing deal.There was a lot of interest about the early years and about what he’d been like a teenage reader, what he’d read then (Gormenghast) and tips for those who would like to take their writing further (Plan! Finish everything!) and how being a writer has influenced his role as a reviewer too. After answering every question we had time for, the entire group lined up to have books and postcards (thanks Marcus!) signed and the last remaining questions were mopped up while the rest of us finished off the cake table. We’d all like to say a massive thank you to Marcus for visiting us and being so very generous with his time! Anytime you need cake, you know where to come… * THERE IS STILL GLITTER EVERYWHERE... ** They really were safe! I ate very few of them before everyone else got there. Very few. *** It must be remembered that I was ill and taking lots of over the counter medication. **** I was later assured that this plan would have failed as Marcus, being some sort of super human, is incapable of gaining weight.
Posted on: 17 Jun 2011

Fan Art
We've had some wonderful fan art submitted on our blog this week, by Emily S and Molly. Do take a look and leave them a comment!
Posted on: 24 May 2011

Ace progress everyone!
Cross posted from There are now FORTY-FIVE reviews up on this site, being read by about a hundred people a day. Congratulations! I think nearly everyone has written their first reviews now, and some of you have done as many as five, which is totally awesome and should win you some sort of prize. In fact, yes, it should! Over the next day or two, make sure you've ticked off your completed reviews on the sheet on the library and I'll have a look to see who has done the most reviews and there will be A PRIZE. Unless it's a tie. And then there will be PRIZES. \o/ P.S. Make sure you check out the recent batch of amazing book trailers. The Death Defying Pepper Roux, by Holly, White Crow, also by Holly, And Will's latest for A Monster Calls, the new novel by Patrick Ness (which made me weep and weep and weep)
Posted on: 16 May 2011

Catching the Buzz
Cross posted from A couple of weeks in and the buzz surrounding the shortlisted titles is really getting loud. Students throughout the school are reading the mini-reviews up on the library board and the gossip around these books is spreading as half of us spend most of break and lunchtime talking about them! Marvelous. We're all a little distracted today by the release of Patrick Ness's new novel, A Monster Calls, which was supposed to arrive in multiple copies at some point during the day but hasn't yet appeared. *shakes fist at Amazon* Clearly they don't understand the importance of this day! Fingers crossed, they'll be here soon. The temptation to buy the Kindle edition is very strong, but at £6.39, it's only 30p cheaper than a hard copy. Can this be right? An electronic copy that simply downloads to a device that you've already paid out for, costing only 30p less than a real, true, paper copy that you can hold in your hands, sniff (yeah, I know, I'm weird) and lend to other people? I know that the price of the hardback on Amazon is heavily discounted, to the extent that we no longer even look at the recommended retail price, but what do you guys think about book pricing? If they're discounting physical books, should we be expecting a proportionally cheaper electronic copy? Discuss.
Posted on: 06 May 2011

Ace work everyone
Cross posted from It seems every time I log on someone else has posted a review - brilliant work, all of you :D The standard has been set really high, but please don't worry if this is your first review, everyone just wants to share your thoughts. Many of you have finished your second books now, which means it's time to start leaving comments for each other. Remember, you can comment using your own Google account or the rps one - just make sure you leave your first name and year group so that people can tell who you are! All comments come to me for checking, just for safety, but I'll get them live on the site as soon as I can. We're starting to get noticed now, as you can probably see by the number of people who have been viewing the blog. Check out the numbers at the bottom of the page. You're all doing so well, keep going! Miss A :)
Posted on: 01 May 2011

If you haven't already, check out Will's fantastic animated trailer for Monsters of Men on our page! Brilliant work.
Posted on: 29 Apr 2011

Meeting Day!
Cross posted from At lunchtime we met up for only our second formal Carnegie Shadowing meeting and I'm delighted to announce that our group has grown, and that nearly everyone has finished reading at least one book already! Well done everyone. That means that there's a lot of reviews to write... Several people started their review writing today and I'm really looking forward to reading them. Don't forget the guidance page on the tabs along the top, where there are easy to follow instructions on how to write a detailed review. If you find that you can't write that much about a book, don't worry! Just a couple of paragraphs about what you liked and what you didn't will be fine. The important thing is that as many of us as possible are reading these books, reviewing them and talking about them. As I said, there are some exciting things on the horizon. If anyone needs help logging in or posting reviews, please let me know on my school email address (adkinsn etc) and I'll be happy to help out. And don't forget to comment on each other's reviews! If you've read the same book, what did you think of it? Do you agree with what the reviewer has said? It's ok to disagree, and not that that I would advocate fighting (ok, that's slightly untrue - book fights are totally awesome) having a discussion is to be encouraged. Keep going, Ninja Readers!
Posted on: 27 Apr 2011

Cross posted from: We just had our first Shadowing meeting and there are 34, yes, THIRTY-FOUR Shadowers this year. Absolutely amazing, a big thank you to all of you! Letters will be going home to those of your without your photo consent forms so that we can feature you all on this site, and the first books have already been read, so the reviews will start to trickle in now! Just think, by the time we finish this process, we'll have written, between us, over TWO HUNDRED reviews. That's just... cool.
Posted on: 06 Apr 2011

And so it begins...
Cross posted from: A large batch of our new books arrived today and were rushed through cataloguing and covering so that they'd be ready for lunch time. Most of them are now out on loan! The enthusiasm and uptake for the Shadowing group this year looks to be outstanding, I'm so looking forward to working with this group :D A couple of those from last year have asked why we're not using our official Shadowing page. We are still using is, and will be cross-posting reviews and videos across, but this blog enables us to do so much more. We can post more photos, more videos, link to the author sites and blogs that we're following. But more than that, we can do something important, the lack of which drove me* to distraction last year. We can USE PARAGRAPHS. Also, it seems that we can't actually get on the official site half the time. So the books are out, the review cards are all set to go, and the sticker and bookmark pack arrived from CILIP (thank you, CILIP!) earlier today. Though you've all been up here and collecting books already, please don't forget that our first official meeting is this Wednesday at 1.30pm. There will be biscuits. Oh. Yes. *Sure, I'm a pedant, but I used to teach English, so what were you expecting? Srsly?
Posted on: 05 Apr 2011

Less than 24 hours to go!
It's March 31st, and tomorrow we'll find out what the shortlist is for this year's Carnegie Medal! At this stage, Miss A is more excited than the students, but I think that's because she's spent longer staring at the longlist than they have. The first meeting of our new Shadowing group will take place tomorrow lunchtime, and then we're off!
Posted on: 31 Mar 2011

Counting down the days
It's March 3rd, World Book Day. And you'd think we'd be excited about that, yes? We are. There are books everywhere and we've just handed out a mass of £1 book tokens, which is just cool. But it's also got us thinking.... The Carnegie shortlist is less than a month away. It's so close we can almost smell it. And let me tell you, it smells like waffles.
Posted on: 03 Mar 2011

Yesterday ten Ninja readers and their two escorts made their way into London to attend the Kate Greenaway and Carnegie award ceremony. Battling through city heat and packed trains, we managed not to lose anyone or their Travelcards and made it to Green Park for a picnic brunch before heading to BAFTA. Will was in charge of directions and merrily pointed out that we were on the wrong side of the road… Luckily we bumped into Marcus Sedgwick at the crossing who was an absolute gent and showed us where we needed to go! After a couple of minutes of shyness and uncertainty, the Ninjas got the hang of accosting their favourite authors and were soon scattered through the room collecting autographs and taking photos. The writers were universally amazing and generous with them all, taking the time to chat, write notes, draw pictures and thank them for their interest. The ceremony itself was emotional and jubilant, with Freya Blackwood winning the Kate Greenaway Award for Harry & Hopper, and Neil Gaiman accepting the Carnegie Medal for The Graveyard Book. Both authors gave lovely speeches, but Neil Gaiman in particular spoke out for the importance of the award and the significance of libraries and librarians. To an audience of library professionals who had heard nothing but doom and dismissal for the last couple of months, these were touching and encouraging words that had many dabbing at their eyes. The reception gave the Ninjas the chance to circulate further and complete their collection of signed books. Some star-struck folks were beside themselves with glee, clutching their signed copies to their chests. They’d like to extend a thank you to CILIP for arranging the day and having us there as guests, it was an honour to be there. And a huge thank you to the shortlisted authors who took the time to talk to our Shadowers and sign for them. They now have several life-long fans!
Posted on: 25 Jun 2010

It's Official!
Your ballots have been cast, the votes have been counted. Our Carnegie Shadowing winner is.... *insert fanfare here* Revolver, by Marcus Sedgwick. The Ask and the Answer by Patrick Ness came in a close second, with votes also going to Chains and The Graveyard Book. Good work Shadowing Ninjas! Now let's see what the rest of the groups think...
Posted on: 23 Jun 2010

Crunch Time
Yes, it’s an important England match today but it’s also the day before the much more important announcement of the Carnegie medal winner! The final voting slips are in and later I’ll be counting up to see which novel we have voted as our Shadowing winner. The students have suggested that we make our own medal to give to the author of our book tomorrow, just in case (as has happened before) the winner picked by the judges isn’t our own favourite. Excitement is growing about our trip, with plans being made for accosting authors (I apologise in advance) and asking questions. I fear I may have uncovered a potential kidnapping plot by a couple of our Shadowers, which will hopefully be scaled back to a mere signing request. Those planning to take the entire Chaos Walking trilogy clearly have stronger arms than I do, or a small trolley. Hopefully we’ll have to chance to post a round-up blog after the event, but if not, I’d just like to say a big thank you to our Shadowers, who have read tirelessly since the shortlist was announced and have managed to spread the word about the great books they’ve been reading with such enthusiasm that the reservations list is now huge! Also, thank you to CILIP for hosting the award and for letting us get involved.
Posted on: 23 Jun 2010

The Great Book Grab
We can't quite believe that the winner will be announced in less than a week! Everyone's on a last-ditch attempt to get through their reading; several group members have succeeded in reading the entire shortlist, so a big well done to them, but an even bigger well done to those slower readers who have really pushed themselves hard to read as many books from the shortlist as they can! I'm really proud of the way you've all dedicated yourselves to being Shadowers and you absolutely deserve to be attending the ceremony next week. I'm on my final read now, Rowan The Strange. It feels really different to the other books I've read and I'm enjoying it so far. Go Ninja Readers!
Posted on: 18 Jun 2010

Presto Voto, Team Ninja!
In our last poll, we voted for our favourites so far. Now, with just over a week to go before the winner is announced (*squee!*) it's time to look at the figures and take it down to a final two. The results were as follows: Chains, 20%; The Ask and the Answer, 28%; Revolver, 52%. So our own shortlist comprises The Ask and the Answer by Patrick Ness, and Revolver, by Marcus Sedgwick. Our final decision will be made via a formal vote in the library, of official polling cards, as the site's poll voting system is easy to skew (not that we would intentionally, but even refreshing the page can add a vote). Let the discussions begin!
Posted on: 15 Jun 2010

We've returned to school to be greeted with the fantastic news that we've won the Shadowing Site competiton: we're going to the Awards' ceremony! The group reacted with a gratifying mix of jumping and shrieking, and I think we're all already thinking of lists of questions for any poor, unsuspecting authors who may cross our paths. Big thank yous must go to the folks at CILIP who have given us this chance, and the lovely ladies of the school's trips office who have waived their usual six week rule and are being absolute stars helping us to make the arrangements. - - Miss A.
Posted on: 09 Jun 2010

Half-Term Reading Marathon
On your marks... Get set... Go! With a week off school it's time for all of us to dedicate a day or two to curling up in a chair and getting utterly lost in the great books that we've been reading. It's miserable and slightly rainy out there: perfect reading weather! So grab a blanket, a large mug of tea/hot chocolate/coffee, and turn some pages. Have a lovely break everyone! Don't forget you can still post reviews, blog posts and email suggestions for the next Poll :D P.S. I finished Nation and loved it! I know the opening was off-putting for a lot of you, but if you've finished your other reading, I really think you should give this one another go. This is particularly galling for me as I'm not a Pratchett fan at all, but this book is superb and I need one of you to talk about it with! Miss A.
Posted on: 31 May 2010

Nation - love it or hate it?
Everyone so far seems to have hated Nation, but I have a confession to make. I'm only about fifty pages in, but.... *whispers* I really like it! I can understand why some people were thrown out by the opening; it throws you straight into a historical setting with a lot going on and hints at politics and intrigue, then zooom, you're off to an island and an entirely different culture and belief system. A lot of what happens is inferred (hinted at) instead of being stated clearly, which could also be a little off-putting if you're just not sure what's happening. Perhaps it's an age and experience thing? (Anyone making jokes about my age will NOT get a biscuit!) Most people I know who have loved this book are adults. Is it just missing its target audience? What do you think? Miss A.
Posted on: 27 May 2010

To Battle!
As more of us have read more of the books, opinions on which should win are starting to be expressed: discussion has been fierce! With some members of the Express group racing a head and ploughing through two books in a weekend (Jenna, how did you do it?!) I’m struggling slightly to keep up with you all! Our review board continues to grow, and the queue waiting to read the Chaos Walking trilogy is growing, largely down to the p2p marketing that’s spreading around the school. It’s meeting day today, so I look forward to hearing about how everyone’s progressing. Miss A.
Posted on: 24 May 2010

Excitement is growing!
We’re flying through the reading at a great rate, well done Shadowing Ninjas! We’ve been keeping track of our reading using the reviews section here, and also adding mini-reviews to a display up in the library, which has been attracting a lot of attention from other readers across the school. There’s now a huge list of reservations of the nominated books based on the reviews, which is fantastic news and is acting as a good impetus to speed us up! This breaktime we gathered to take our group photo, though sadly we were missing our leaders, Abi and Amy, who will have to appear in a picture of their own somewhere, possibly with the crowns that are appropriate to their status… ;) Excitement is also gathering about the competition to attend the awards ceremony, which everyone would really like to win! I think there’s been some quiet working out of questions that they would fire at their favourite authors if given the opportunity, and I for one would like to have some stern words with Mr Ness about what he put those lovely characters though (if, that is, I got over my fan-girl squealing attack enough to speak coherently). So we’ll have to keep writing our reviews and keep our fingers crossed!
Posted on: 20 May 2010

Elle Here!
Hi Everyone I have finished reading The Knife of Never Letting Go, it was soooo good! I am now more than halfway through The Ask and the Answer. So far, out of the two carnegie books I have read, I want it to win!!!
Posted on: 29 Apr 2010

...And we're off!
The Shadowing has begun! We’ve split ourselves into two groups to make sure that we make it through all of the shortlist in time to come up with a winner of our own. One group, led by Amy will be tackling four books: The Graveyard Book, Chains, Revolver and Fever Crumb. The accelerated group, led by Abi, will be concentrating on The Ask and the Answer, Nation, The Vanishing of Katharina Linden and Rowan the Strange, but will also be aiming to read the other four, hopefully enabling us to get an overview of all the shortlisted books! Our group will be meeting every Thursday lunchtime to chart their progress, and will also be adding their reviews to the site whenever they complete a novel. If you’d like to get more of an idea of our group and their reading habits, our Wiki page is ever-evolving! It’s still fairly new and we’re just getting the hang of using it properly, but please check back to see how we’re doing!
Posted on: 29 Apr 2010

Hello everyone!
We're all getting ready for the release of the shortlist on Friday! Our shadowing group has taken on a secret, ninja identity - our shadows are our weapons! Fear us. All of us. And we like reading a lot. Clearly.
Posted on: 21 Apr 2010