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Chobham Academy Book Group
40 Cheering lane, London

Hurrah for Annabel! Hurrah for Patrick! Hurrah for you lot! Hurrah!
So, this year's shadowing ends with a marvellous finale tea and the announcement that we voted Annabel Pitcher's My Sister Lives on the Mantelpiece as our winning read. A worthy winner I think. As is A Monster Calls which won the official prize. Here's a link you should all read because it's just brilliant and something that Mrs Lawson and I know to be true! http://m.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/jun/15/teenagers-deserve-better-carnegie-medal?cat=commentisfree&type=article Well done to everyone who came to tea last Thursday - we had a lovely time and we hope you did too. Your parents are all just the best. A last thank you to each and every one of you from Mrs Lawson and myself - it's been a brilliant last few years full of brilliant things which involves a brilliant group of beautiful people.
Posted on: 18 Jun 2012



South West judge refuses to reveal the winner ... again ... Double drat, Muttley!
Well, I hope the maths exam went well today - I'm sure you all did brilliantly! For those who didn't have to revise yesterday I hope you all enjoyed the visit of Sarah Hillier, the South West judge. You were all wonderful (as ever) and it was lovely to hear you talking and enthusing about all the books with her. Alas, despite devious means both fair and foul we failed to find out the winner - not even an inkling! Good try though everyone. Which just leaves tomorrow's finale tea and the revelation of who's won what, why, how, where, which and probably a few other "w"''s as well. Looking forward to seeing you all there. Can't wait.
Posted on: 13 Jun 2012



Why I love each and every one of you - part 368
As you all know I'm definitely a glass half full type of bloke ... which apparently means I'll live a bit longer than someone who isn't (scientific research I heard about today on the radio) ... but, more importantly, I genuinely have this outlook on life, love and the universe that, despite all that this world throws at us, everything is going to be fine in the future. How do I know this? Well, because I quite often receive really, really inspiring and breathtaking book reviews about the shortlisted books that leave me in tatters with their beauty and sheer genius. Which is what happened when I read the last few reviews by Amber and Rose. They just made me smile and my heart beat just a little faster, and it makes me think that you all, as a group, embrace everything about reading, and books, and the world that I know to be right and true. You lot are just mindblowingly fantastic and you just make me so, so happy.
Posted on: 12 Jun 2012



Eleanor - what a wonderful book review!
Eleanor has written a terrific book review of Between Shades of Gray so make sure you all read it - thank you Eleanor. Have a lovely half-term!
Posted on: 01 Jun 2012



... Oh, and vote on the latest poll ... democracy works ... sort of ...
Just to remind you to use your vote and choose your dream train ride! There's been a sudden rush on the Bergen line ... by which I mean one person has voted for it! Well done. Actually, you can vote as many times as you want - ask Amber and the great apple cake conspiracy.
Posted on: 31 May 2012



Great authors are just great people who write great things ...
Phew! What a week! Broken washing machines, hands down toilet bowls to retrieve IPODs, keys snapping in front doors and having to use garden paraphernalia and other implements of destruction to retrieve the other set of keys on the doormat ... but you really don't need to know about my domestic and personal life do you? Suffice to say, toilet bowls feature a lot. BUT ... in the world of Carnegie Shadowing I think you'll all agree that we have had a spectacular week! First up, thanks for all your book reviews and discussions about the shortlisted books. I love, love, love talking to you about them. You inspire me and you give me a warm glow inside. Secondly, thanks to all of you for helping Teresa Cremin with her research. She loved you all and thought you were / are a brilliant group and that made me (and it should make you) very proud. Thirdly, well done to all those who did the Skype session with Lissa Evans. I thought she was great and, for a first attempt, the skyping went really well. And it was with great joy that we saw Berry again! Berry, you're just the best! Good writing exercise too. Is it too much to ask who Shangus is? ... Ah, I might have an inkling Shakira! It'll make a fine, romantic story! Luckily I haven't discovered Eleanor rooting through the bins again since our last blog. Fourthly, well done for making Annabel Pitcher so welcome on Tuesday. I thought she was just fantastic and really inspiring and she loved you lot! She was thrilled with your questions and just thought you were all delightful. I tried to put her right on a few of these things but she was not dissuaded so well done! That just leaves a visit from Sarah Hillier, the South West judge, on the Tuesday after half-term and our final tea on Thursday. Have a beautiful half-term off, well done on all your exams, well done on all your hard work, well done on all your reading and cake eating, well done on your progess towards red-ties (Rachael, Kate, Natalie, Jess and Katie your time will come!) and have a bit of a rest. Comrades, Mrs Lawson and I love you all.
Posted on: 31 May 2012



Rachael and Faith (and Philippa) are very cool indeed!
A quick one - read the beautiful book reviews by Rachael and Faith because they are both brilliant and I love you both massively for putting them on the site and writing them. It only remains for me to ask, no, demand why Philippa is not Shadowing the Carnegie Medal as well. Is she shambolic enough to join the group? Well, of course she is - she's a friend of Faith and we all know how shambolic Faith is! So, Philippa's in ... and we've got some of Rachael's cakes left from Saturday for after school and the impending and thrilling visit of Annabel Pitcher. How there are any left is a mystery because they are delicious and I've had to massively restrain myself from over-eating on Sunday and Monday. There's also flapjacks, chocolate cake and lemon cake so we're spoilt for choice really. Let's all have a bit of each! Oh, and I think I ticked a Brown Argus butterfly yesterday on the Cerne Abbas Giant. Well, not actually on him but there or thereabouts. I was very excited and the Cerne Man looked pretty pleased too. But then he always does.
Posted on: 29 May 2012



Authors, Research, Butterflies, Cold Water and Common Twayblades ... and other such random ramblings
So, here's hoping you all had a spectacular weekend of sun, sea and surf music par excellence. First up, remember that Annabel Pitcher is coming (all the way from Wakefield, Yorkshire) to see us tomorrow (Tuesday) after school ... and I for one am very, very excited. Cakes and biscuits supplied, obviously, so come along, relax and enjoy an hour or so in the company of a lovely person. Equally lovely, on Wednesday afternoon we are skyping. We've never done it before so if the technology allows we'll have a top conversation with Lissa Evans. And at lunchtime we have our last meeting with Teresa Cremin so please come along and help me out. This weekend turned out to be a top butterfly ticking weekend so you'll be pleased to know that I found the Common Blue, Dingy Skipper, Grizzled Skipper, Small Heath and the particularly beautiful Marsh Fritillary on Sunday. And I was overjoyed to find my first Common Twayblade orchid. Apparently they're very common but when you're colourblind like me the whole countryside looks the same. I can tell where the sea is though. And I know from experience it's blue. As I was when I plunged in for the first time this year, on Saturday. I lasted a minute before I thought my heart had stopped. Luckily it hadn't. And I managed to get out and stagger up the beach. Jill shook her head and rolled her eyes, an all-too-frequent occurance nowadays, and fell back asleep while I checked to see I still had a pulse. I did. Just. An eventful weekend then.
Posted on: 28 May 2012



What a wonderful lunchtime!
Yet again you have made our day! I so, so, so enjoyed lunch time. Thank you to eveyone who read out loud - it was just so beautiful. And, thank you to eveyone else who listened so intently. We love you all and you really do make us the happiest people on this planet, and possibly any other planet that's out there. You all provided an oasis of calm and tranquility amidst the chaos and shambolism of the school day. And we really appreciated that! I was so happy that I played Waiting to Derail by Whiskytown very LOUD indeed on the way back from the station ... and that sort of thing is reserved for very special occasions only. It's a precious song and you are all very precious people.
Posted on: 23 May 2012



Wednesday's lunchtime meeting - cake included naturally
We've got a meeting at lunchtime on Wednesday (that's tomorrow) and Mrs Lawson and I would like you all to pick a passage of writing from the book you're reading at the moment and be prepared to read it out to the group and talk a bit about why it is important to the book, and what you love about the passage ... it can be a few lines long or a page or so - it's up to you. Hopefully it will be a bit of fun and we'll see a bit about what makes the book a shortlisted book. Bring your sandwiches and we'll all have lunch. And cake. Lots of cake.
Posted on: 22 May 2012



The legend of Amber Pavey, rigged voting, new polls, wonderful workshops, and the joys of Philadelphia cheese spread ...
Ronan Keating once said that life is a roller-coaster ... although he probably didn't write it - he just sang it and "roller-coaster" has far too many syllables in it to have been thought of by the lovely Ronan. However, it is relevant in that this week, mainly because of the lovely Reading Group, and the delectable Amnesty International group (basically you lot again) I've had a wonderful week. Amber has written a no-holds barred but fair and constructive review of My Name is Mina and it made me really happy. Read it. And thank you Amber. You are just brilliant. And on Wednesday Mrs Lawson, myself and Wendy were over the moon with your posters for the shortlisted books. They're fantastic! As was Shakira's cake and Eleanor's fudge. Has there ever been a more perfect meeting! I was a little perturbed to still find Eleanor rooting around in the waste paper bin on Thursday after school for random photos of interesting members of the male human species (in the loosest sense of the term) but c'est la vie. There is a new poll on our bit of the website so please get voting. The last poll was well received, and after a run on the lemon drizzle cake by the Sargeant household, there was a late surge for the Dorset apple cake, courtesy of Amber. Well done! Even if you did make the computer system crash! The power of apple cake knows no bounds! Which (almost) leads neatly on to the delights of Philadelphia cheese spread and the joys of the new pepper and sweet chilli flavoured varieties. They are very, very addictive ... as opposed to the chocolate flavour which is NOT very, very addictive. At all. If you are going to make cheese and chocolate, make a cheesecake ... not chocolate cheese. To be fair this is not really the forum to be discussing cheese. Since when has cheese ever, ever, ever been seen anywhere remotely near a Fiesta en la Biblioteca meeting. The closest is in the fourth stomach of a cow up on Ham Hill. And that is as close as it's ever going to get. Here endeth the lesson.
Posted on: 18 May 2012



Wednesday's meeting ... and Tom Jones ... Now there's a pair I didn't have down for being together
As time floats effortlessly on, and the sunshine occasionally bursts through the cracked blanket of cloud, it seems only right that I remind you that Mrs Lawson's second mellifluous workshop will take place tomorrow after school in the library. We'll be continuing your glorious posters about the books and eating copious amounts of lemon drizzle cake and whatever Shakira has promised to bring in. She's ace and we love her, especially in her new glasses. And, even though it's not on the shortlist, she will be giving us a short critique on the sequel to I Am Number Four. We're looking forward to seeing you all. We might even spin a few tunes so if you want to bring something in we'll try and sort something out. I know I'm old, and I don't really watch The Voice, but I watched Tom Jones on Later ... this week and, just like every other time I watch him, I am totally blown away. He is absolutely startling. Let's add him to the Carnegie shortlist, just for the sheer hell of it.
Posted on: 15 May 2012



Rachel - you're wonderful!
Rachel - why did you tell me that your book review wasn't very good! It's just beautiful and your observation about Tomas just wanting to be a child, whilst facing up to the pressures of caring for his brother and sister, is just perfect. That review just gave me a big lump in my throat. It's lovely. Everyone ... read it! And - all of you have a terrific weekend, make sure you watch all those dodgy Saturday night shows you love to talk about and be ready to fill me in next week. In return I'll tell you about National Lampoon's Animal House (though only if you're year 10 or above) which I hadn't seen for ages and which reminded me of why John Belushi was such a wasted genius. Happy days!
Posted on: 11 May 2012



... and then there was 27 ...
Thank you, thank you, thank you to Lottie and Eleanor for their latest book reviews which are are both terrific and have ended a fine week of furious and phrenetic activity - 27 book reviews is a great effort and they read brilliantly. It is probably too much to expect any book reviews from Shakira in the near future, but who cares when her beautiful face lit up yesterday having been given the sequel to I Am Number Four ... The Power of Six. By the end of the year Shakira will be able to count to ten - result!
Posted on: 11 May 2012




Well, I don't know about you but I had a lovely day yesterday, and you all made me very, very happy. First off thank you for lunchtime because you were all brilliant and Mrs Lawson, Ms Crees, Miss Priest, Miss Boyland, Miss Flanary and even our old friend in Stoke with all the doors outside his house were really proud of you. You make us so happy when you all just talk about reading and books. Secondly, thank you all for a brilliant after school workshop. The posters are looking spectacular and the gossip and intuitive insights into One Direction, The Voice and Britain's Got Talent meant I didn't have to watch any of the programmes myself, or listen to Harry's tuneless singing (sorry Rose) so all that was an added bonus. And chatting with Megan and Issy about talking animals was a definite highlight. And as highlights go (and we're not talking peroxide streaks in the hair ... though it might be something you lot, as a group, might like to think about) a big hurrah! to Amber for three tremendous book reviews. They're perceptive, thoughtful and just beautiful. Read them! Eleanor's review for Trash will be added forthwith and, rumour has it, Rachel and Lucy have a few in the pipeline. So thank you all. And, lastly, there's been some excellent comments from Robbie (and Katie) about the Greenaway books. Robbie (and Katie) have been particularly taken by Solomon Crocodile ... Robbie noting (rather incisively) that the "Double Trouble" storyline is a interesting and damning indictment of the Lib-Con coalition, whilst Katie just thinks it's brilliant! Blimy ... a blog entry without any reference, however fleeting, to second-rate, bargain bucket bin country rock music. A record! Though, now you mention it, I'm very excited by the voice of Ren Harvieu and I shall be seeking her album out forthwith and waxing lyrical about it in the coming weeks. That and Teenage Fanclub which made me smile at 6.30am this morning!
Posted on: 10 May 2012



Big Wednesday!
As well as being a brilliant surfing film (and don't let anyone tell you otherwise), and being the day after my birthday (that means my birthday is today!!!) tomorrow is a very exciting day as Teresa is coming from the Open University to listen you you all wax lyrical about the shortlisted books. This is at lunchtime so try and make it to the LRC as soon as possible after the bell, bring your lunch, I'll bring the biscuits and we can all indulge in some healthy literary debating. Then, after school, Mrs Lawson takes centre stage with the first of her all singin', all dancin' workshops. It'll be fun. Guaranteed. With cake. And more biscuits. And general mayhem and frivolity. Mrs Lawson is the best. At everything. Particularly Houdini style tricks with North Face bags. Looking forward to seeing you all tomorrow. Hurrah!
Posted on: 08 May 2012



Lovely reading group meetings, and the Sargeant lemon drizzle cake conspiracy
First up, well done for a short but very, very sweet meeting yesterday ... you all make me very happy (as ever) and you inspired me with your tales of reading, particularly your enthusiasm for Between Shades of Gray. Well done to Rose, too, for standing up for My Name is Mina. Don't let anyone harrass you, Rose. It's a free world, despite what the conspiracy theorists may tell you. A big hurrah to Lucy and Georgia who have taken to reading the shortlist with gusto, and not been fazed by the shambles that our motto heralds, and that the rest of you lot are used to / immune to. Do you know what excites me most? ... the fact that you're all looking beyond the basics of the books, particularly when you talk about things like landscape and environment, which appear to be very strong in the list this year. It makes me smile, it makes me glow and it makes me very happy ... which is something I've needed this week after a replacement windscreen that leaks and floods the car, and a freehub on the bike that broke in Norton and forced me to walk 7 miles to Crewkerne. As you can probably appreciate (except possibly Miss Priest) I try can get through Crewkerne as quickly as possible most of the time (you'd understand if you've ever been there) so having to walk through it was quite painful. A tumbleweed kind of moment. And so, to the ongoing poll on our website ... and the sudden popularity of lemon drizzle cake as the delicacy of choice with which to read. Rumours from the underground (Metropolitan line mainly) suggest vote rigging in the Somerton area so fingers (and toes) are obviously being pointed in the Sargeant direction. A recount is being demanded by the carrot cake-apple cake coalition, and a full investigation is being undertaken. Though, to be fair, lemon drizzle cake is very, very nice.
Posted on: 03 May 2012



Book reviews, wind, rain, the Alabama Shakes, The Housemartins, and a missing dustbin lid
A massive welcome back to all the year 10s in the group. I feel complete again. We've all missed you ... and we've missed you all. And with their return comes a lovely book review from Eleanor (thank you), and equally lovely and brilliantly perceptive review from Isobel Sargeant (thank you) and what is close to being a book review from Amber ... but it fell out of the book ... thank you anyway Amber. And lucky person, whoever it may be that finds it in the street. Maybe they'll be inspired to read Between Shades of Gray. But ... who needs inspiration to read when the weather is like this. Gale force winds and driving rain make reading all the more enjoyable. More rain please! But cut down on the wind. I woke up on Sunday morning to find our dustbin halfway across the close and our dustbin lid missing. Now, you wouldn't think a dustbin lid would get very far in a cul-de-sac but it has completely vanished. A mystery to us all. So, if anyone finds a loose dustbin lid floating around somewhere it's probably ours. The excitement and pulsating speed of life in Burton Bradstock continues relentlessly. It'll be headlines in the Bridport News this week. Front page. The other thing about wet weather is the possibility of catching up on things you've videoed and never have time to watch. So, in between reading, I've managed to watch Jools Holland and been blown away by the joys of the Alabama Shakes. They are quite beautiful aren't they? Splendid stuff... as are The Housemartins, that I've not listened to for ages and thought I'd give it a spin the other day ... and just forgot how joyful and entertaining they were / are. Go listen! And, I still haven't talked to you about Junior Masterchef Australia 2011 - bet you can't wait ... what do you mean, you can? Oh.
Posted on: 30 Apr 2012



Miss Crees we love you!
Thank you to Miss Crees for two top quality book reviews and all round positive vibes. You make us all very happy!
Posted on: 26 Apr 2012



Rainfall, sunshine, the rising River Parrott and yet more new readers
It's been a few days since I blogged and that's mainly because I've spent most of every waking hour dodging showers and hail stones the size of walnuts on my bike. It's been quite exhilarating actually and despite being permanently rain-sodden there are some definite up-sides. In between the showers the odd ray of sunshine is even more spectacular than normal. The South Somerset countryside looks stunning and the River Parrett is near to overflowing which is very exciting indeed. We could probably mention such things as levees breaking but that only happens in the deep-south of the USA and in blues songs sung by blind blokes, the (topical) Rainmakers, and Led Zeppelin. Though the latter lot came from somewhere round Birmingham, if I'm not mistaken, and whenever I've passed through that neck of the woods I've never seen any levees. I'll consult Mr Crees for a definitve answer. Anyway, I digress - the point is, there is a definite upside to rainy days and Sundays. You've just got to look for it. Our group continues to grow in size, faster than the average birth rate of the UK actually, and so with any luck we'll be able to declare independence from our mother country fairly soon, avoid the double dip recession, and become a breakaway republic. And therein lays a competition. A Crunchie Bar for whoever can come up with the best name for our new nation state. Oh, the newest members of the group are Faith and Issy, Mr Sargeant's young whippersnappers, and they are welcomed with open arms. You're both the best. Hello to both of you. Please, please, please can I have some book reviews and we can't wait for the year 10s to come back because we've got lots to do in the next few weeks. Excitement abounds.
Posted on: 26 Apr 2012



The snowballing effect of Shadowing ... and why The Blasters make me very happy
Our reading group is like the universe (or my waistline after one to many Lindt Easter bunnies) ... it just keeps expanding. So it is that we welcome into the fold the wonderful Miss Cornish, Miss Hawkins and Miss Flanary. If you were to mix them together (metaphorically speaking) you'd make a quality and delicious cake. See, everything comes back to cake. Incidentally, who would have thought we'd ever, ever, ever have two (count 'em on your fingers, it helps) PE teachers in the reading group ... that just makes me so so happy. And an enormous and big smiley welcome to our first ever primary member of the group - say a big hello to Mrs Hughes' daughter. She's ace. And, in case, you've forgotten, it's National Record Store Day tomorrow so enjoy it and celebrate the glory of vinyl and independent record stores countrywide. Suffice to say, I was listening to Hard Line by The Blasters last night and I'd forgotten just how brilliant it is. When I was 16 I saw them play at the Town and Country Club 2 in Highbury and they literally blew the place apart. I couldn't ever grow a quiff like them in those days and I'm certainly not likely to be able to do so now. I wanted to though. I did have a nice line in roackabilly plaid shits though - some things never change.
Posted on: 20 Apr 2012



More lovely book reviews ... amid the April showers
Forget the gale force winds and heavy downpours and read Freya two terrific book reviews instead. Thank you Freya. They're ace. And to make things just that little bit better we had a stunning rainbow over the house yesterday evening amid the intermittent showers. I love April. It's very refreshing. Oh, and I saw my first swallow of the summer last week. Spring has well and truly sprung.
Posted on: 18 Apr 2012



A splendid first book review ... hurrah!
I love you lot. I ask for book reviews and no sooner has the request gone out then I'm literally swallowed up by mountains of the things ... well long barrows full ... well, molehills ... well, one anyway ... hey, but what a terrific review it is ... thank you, as ever, to the top ukelele playing Eleanor. We shall definitely be requesting that she plays her ukelele mastered version of YMCA at the final tea. Can't wait. And, as I say, a great review. Very entertaining and somewhat controversial which is what we like. You're a star, Eleanor. Keep them there reviews flooding in. It's what I live for. That and the spectacular green tomato chutney and particularly fine sloe gin. There are many perks to being a librarian, and top of them all are those things that made my Easter.
Posted on: 17 Apr 2012



Welcome back, good luck at work experience ... oh, and I miss all you year 10s already ...
Hi comrades. Hope all your Easters were very chocolatey (if such a word exists) and that you've all had a lovely time off and have all enjoyed reading your books ... as well as doing a host of other exciting things. Me, I went to the London Transport Museum and got very excited about Routemaster buses and Circle Line tube trains ... and I went to Lodmoor RSPB reserve and saw a snipe and some black tailed godwits. I got very excited but the hardcore birders looked rather oddly at me as (apprently) they are both massively common. As befits a part-time rubbish ornothologist I should have been at Radipole Lake, just down the road from Lodmoor, as I missed a Glossy Ibis AND a Black Winged Stilt ... which, allegedly, are quite rare. C'est la vie. I enjoyed myself. Oh, and I managed to read My Name is Mina, which I quite enjoyed (but with reservations). Which leads me to the fact that we're seriously lacking in book reviews - please send me some so I can upload them and find out what you thought of some of the shortlist. Thank you. And to everyone who isn't year 10 ... come and say "hi" sometime this week and talk to Mrs Lawson and I about your books. You know how much we love it.
Posted on: 16 Apr 2012



Hurrah! Hurrah! Hurrah!
Sometimes (or all the time really) you lot just make me smile and you make me so, so proud. In the post today I received a letter and certificate from the Pride of Somerset Youth Awards saying that the group had been "Commended" in this year's awards, for your commitment to reading, your promotion of reading and literacy in school, and for being positive role models within the local community. You, as a group, fully deserve this accolade and you have made Mrs Lawson, Miss Crees and myself very proud. You are all just brilliant and you are the reason I became a librarian all those years ago. You are just the best and I thank you for being just that! Well done!
Posted on: 30 Mar 2012



And in scenes rarely, if ever, witnessed in this school before ...
Give it up for Miss Cornish who has joined our reading group to shadow with us. Two PE teachers!!! She has joined us entirely voluntarily though the Chinese burns on her wrists, roughly the same size as Miss Priest's hands are, we are assured, entirely co-incidental. She also claims she can't read so if any of you wish to use this opportunity to fulfil your community service for the DofE award ... We love you Miss Cornish. You make us so very happy!
Posted on: 29 Mar 2012



And I forgot to say ...
And I forgot to say ... if you want to write any book reviews over the holidays please do and send them to me, or put them straight on the website and I'll upload them. We love you all.
Posted on: 29 Mar 2012



The shortlisted books are finally out there ... as opposed to
First up, thank you all for coming yesterday for our first meeting of the shortlistin' year. And a massive welcome to a few newcomers who we're delighted to have along for the ride. Hello to the (collectively) beautiful Rhiannon King, Georgia Mann, Lucy Flynn, and Mrs Hughes daughter, Anna. So, what do you all think about the shortlist? Feel free to let me know verbally, telepathically, by paper aeroplane or in any other way imaginable and I'll add your wise thoughts to the blog. And remember, if you yourselves want to blog (and please, please, please do so if only to raise the shoddy standard of writing that I normally spout) then Mrs Lawson and I would love you to do so ... come and see me and I'll sort out a log on and password. Personally, and for what it's worth (sixpence in old money) I love the shortlist. Having read a few of the long list, these 5 on the short list that I've read really did shine through. Trash, in particular, is quite stunning, closely followed by My Sister ..., Small Change ..., and Everybody Jam. It only leaves me to say ... have a lovely holiday, rest, relax and read, year 10s have terrific work experiences ... we'll miss you massively on your two weeks away, and hopefully you'll all come back with tales of adventure, and enthuse vocally and otherwise about the books you've read. Me, I'm off to London to watch a bit of cycle racing at Herne Hill, hit the Record and Tape Exchange in Camden and invest in a few cds that Jill will groan about and complain are unlistenable (she probably has a valid point). Hey, and I might even go locomotive spotting. On Tuesday I passed Southhampton Docks and saw some splendid diesel shunters, and one diesel pulling 19 Bardon Aggregate trucks. I'd forgotten how exciting such things are. That is the problem with owning a car ... but we can debate that another day.
Posted on: 29 Mar 2012



The long list is very long isn't it?
I was inspired by Bridget's blog entry on the King's Bruton website and it seems a perfect time to kick off our blog for the year. With less than a week to go until the short list is revealed we are all waiting with baited breath to find out what's been selected. This is the first year we've done the long list properly and it's quite weird isn't it? The long list certainly casts its net far and wide and the group have been frenetically debating the good, the bad and the ugly over the last few months. Like Bridget we'll not reveal what any of those categories contain but there's more than a few in each. As well as all this last week's meeting threw up the interesting debate on whether carrot cake is a big YES or bigger NO. Vegetables and cake - right or wrong? Discuss. We were no closer to finding out the truth after an hour but, suffice to say, courgettes and chocolate were also brought up. Not literally, thank goodness. We're looking forward to getting involved with King's Bruton again this year, so all in all, drought or no drought, it looks to be a vintage year. More blogging next week. Hurrah!
Posted on: 20 Mar 2012



Shambolism rules again!
And so, another year of the Carnegie Medal draws poignantly to a close. And a splendid year it's been. The lunch finale was as roaring a success as it always is and I hope you all enjoyed it. Next year we'll just dispense with the sandwiches and order double quantities of cakes. And Monsters of Men is definitely a worthy winner. As ever, it's not what we voted but The Death Defying Pepper Roux was as worthy a winner as well. A big, big thank you to Sarah Hillier who came to visit us on Wednesday. I hope you all enjoyed her talk and well done on your questions. Sarah, I hope it wasn't too much of a grilling. An equally big, big thank you to Di Osborn and the pupils of Heathfield School who came to say "hi". You're all stars. We hope you enjoyed yourselves. Suffice to say, same time next year good people and well done on all your efforts. We've had a ball. Mrs Lawson and I have already got things up our very long sleeves for next year so we'll reconvene then for six weeks of mayhem. Remember our motto and you can't go wrong.
Posted on: 24 Jun 2011



I think I'm gradually learning ...
So, we definitely are round the third and headin' for home. But things are still happening at breakneck pace. Firstly, there's a new and glorious book review from Kate. Thank you. It's tops. Secondly, lesson 5 tomorrow we're meeting Sarah Hillier, the South West judge so don't forget. Not sure where we'll be - follow the waft of the Kit Kats and Jammie Dodgers. Could be Learning Zone 2 or it could be the playing field. I'll let you all know forthwith. Also, our first animation is on our bit of the website and it's brilliant!!!! Well done Berry, Sam, Lottie and everyone else involved. There'll be a full red carpet preview along with Eleanor's group's effort, and a special guest appearance from Dalek Lawson at our finale lunch on Thursday. Lastly, don't forget to vote. Because your vote counts - you don't need a referendum to know that. Happy days and, as ever, Mrs Lawson, Miss Crees, Miss Quantock, Mrs Gasser and I love you all.
Posted on: 21 Jun 2011



Soul, soup and salvation!
So, comrades - an eventful, exhilarating and ultimately fulfiling week of literary going-on's ... or going's on. First up, a new book review by Lily and a lovely one it is too. You're a shining star, Lily. Thank you. Next, a quite delightful and terrific trip to King's to meet Jason Wallace. He was a great guy, wasn't he? Tall, I thought but maybe it was just because I was sitting down but a great speaker and a very insightful look into the why's and wherefore's of Out of Shadows. I don't know about you but, for me, it threw a whole new light on the book and I keep pondering about it on my drive home. And that is a very good thing. I hope those of you who came enjoyed it too. Thanks to Mrs Lawson and Miss Quantock for just being ace (as ever). And so to the beach, Burton Bradstock and the book group down there. It was a brilliant afternoon and Mrs Lawson and I were so, so, so, so proud of you all. You were fabulous. We hope you enjoyed yourselves and got something out of it. Other than stones in your shoes and water and waves on your feet. Apologies, parents, for getting back a little late (particularly Sam's parents) and thank you all for all your support in what we do. We can't do these things without you and we LOVE doing these things, so thanks. You have beautiful sons and daughters and you're all beautiful too. Time for a little Velvet Crush on the stereo before I get all flustered and teary-eyed. In a very masculine way, obviously.
Posted on: 17 Jun 2011



Eleanor's book review, a trip to King's Bruton, and She's the Man!
A big high five to Eleanor for her latest book review. It's beautiful and so is she. Thanks Eleanor. Remember those of you who are coming that we're off to King's tomorrow to meet Jason Wallace. I'm very excited and I hope you are too. Meet at the minibus at midday for a trip of erratic driving, good food, enlightening entertainment care of Mr Wallace, and some even more erratic driving home again. Then, on Thursday remember we're off to the beach to have a chat about The Curious Incident ... afternoon tea thrown in (not literally) for good measure. Leaving at 2.50pm and back 5.45pm. And I promise to beep through Beaminster Tunnel. Lastly, why has it taken me so long to get round to seeing She's the Man? Splendidly anarchic and quirky film and one that made me chuckle somewhat. Recommended.
Posted on: 13 Jun 2011



Turn, Turn, Turn!
Oh, wow - I forgot. Some of the animations are finished and they'll be up on the site soon. Just the best work good people. That definitely deserves a Byrds headline!
Posted on: 09 Jun 2011



So join the struggle while you may - the Revolution is just a t-shirt away
Today we were floating on a sea of Hob Nob cookies, party rings and the obliatory pink wafers and we had an inspiring meeting. Those of you who came - well done, my faith has been restored and you're all very very cool. We're all excited about meeting Jason Wallace and we're all just as excited about next week's trip to the seaside to stroll along the beach, and have a healthy discussion about The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time. We just need a minibus so I'm off in search of one.
Posted on: 09 Jun 2011



In a perfect world we'd all sing in tune, but this is reality so give me some room
Well comrades – it’s been a few weeks and I haven’t ranted and raved and for all that I spologise. You’re probably all relieved. However, I should get you up to speed with everything that’s happening so here goes. I hope that Mrs Lawson and I will be able to take some of you over to King’s Bruton School next Tuesday to meet Jason Wallace, author of Out of Shadows …. Very exciting and a big thank you to Bridget at King’s for inviting us. She’s just so lovely. The animation is going swimmingly and we should have some finished in the next couple of weeks. They’re very cool. Thank you Miss Stonestreet for all your help. You’re also very lovely. A massive thank you to the legendary and equally lovely (there’s a lot of love in this blog today) Kerry McLaughlin who has written 6 very beautiful and uplifting and expressive reviews of the books. Read them on our website – they are really well written and very inspiring. We love you Kerry. Lastly, and by no means leastly (if that’s a word) there are muchos muchos muchos congratulations to our President, Laura, who has just got a 1st in her final dissertation and overall received a 2:1 degree from university. We are so proud of you Laura! Good people, Laura is just a fantastic role model for you all, a worthy President and just the loveliest (see) person ever. Happy days indeed! Reminders: Animation is on after school on Wednesday with Miss Stonestreet so please turn up, those who are involved. I’m not around but she’ll be lonely without you (there’s a song in there somewhere). We will have a meeting on THURSDAY lunchtime this week so bring lunch and bring enthusiasm and we’ll have a bit of fun. Honest.
Posted on: 07 Jun 2011



If no one out there seems to understand - start your own revolution and cut out the middle man
The shuffle facility on an Ipod is a wondrous thing. Anything that throws out Nick Lowe, Lou Ford, The Low Anthem, The American Music Club, Tom Russell and Nanci Griffith, The Scud Mountain Boys, The Del Lords, and Steve Wynn and the Miracle Three in succession on a Wednesday morning is a genius. Happy days. And whilst we’re on happy things I’d like to declare my undying love for Angela Hartnett … who is not only a very good chef, but also has a terrific sense of humour and got very excited indeed about the fish courses on The Great British Menu last night. Addictive viewing. Which is more than can be said for David Charlton, who spends most of his time in Strangeways Prison in what was a mildly disturbing programme this week. So, just to remind you that there’s a meeting today at lunchtime to catch up on how everyone is doing – hope you are all revelling in the books and enjoying them. We need more book reviews so please, please, please give me some to put on the website. And, animators … we’ll finish off the filming tonight. Oh, and last year’s South West judge, Julia Hale says hello to all of you. She’s cool. And, would you believe it, the shuffle now throws up Richard Hawley, followed by Neko Case. See I told you its genius.
Posted on: 18 May 2011



It's a mighty long way down rock 'n' roll - from Tops of the Pops to drawing the dole
Word up comrades! It’s been a few days and how things change in this wonderful and beguiling world of ours. I become a year older, though definitely not wiser … the marking in this week’s Great British Menu is ridiculously low, but isn’t one of the chefs incredibly tall (he dwarfed that lady he went to visit yesterday in the sheltered housing) … and the bright lights of the metropolis of London have captured my heart yet again after visiting the south side of the river on Tuesday. However, as ever I digress. A big high five to Eleanor for her terrific book review which is now our Review of the Week. Thank you Eleanor – you’re a star and you make me very happy! Elsewhere, there have been some seriously controversial views from Mrs Gasser about Out of Shadows and The Bride’s Farewell. She’s not happy! And Mrs Lawson is veering towards the same conclusions. This could get messy. I don’t entirely agree with them but we’re not going down that Harry Hill route. I’m a pacifist. And rubbish at fighting anyway. Hear their forthright and very entertaining views next week when we meet up at lunchtime … Wednesday 18th May in the LRC. Bring your lunch and have a bit of relaxing fun. And, for those doing the animation … it’s on tonight so meet me, not in St Louis, but in the library and we’ll have some fun. Hurrah! Oh, and just for the record I’m of the opinion that The Death Defying Pepper Roux is the literary equivalent of a Colourblind James Experience record. Which is a very fine thing indeed.
Posted on: 11 May 2011



Here comes the future and you can't run from it - you've got a blacklist, I want to be on it
So, yesterday was a big day for us as it was the first time Daisy, Jill and I got to vote together – exciting stuff indeed – for all the good it might do us. Following the impending collapse of the Yes AV vote and the Tories (inexplicably) actually increasing their share of the vote in the West Dorset local elections you might think (i) the whole world has gone mad (ii) there might be a general sense of spiralling doom and gloom in the tiny enclave of the Socialist Republic of Burton Bradstock (we wish) but you’d be wrong. After Wednesday’s totally inspirational and joyful animation session and general fondling of plasticine for an hour Mrs Lawson and I feel elated and massively fuzzy, fuzzy, big and buzzy. Our thanks to Ms Stonestreet for running the session and we will continue next week when we will be filming our efforts. It’s going to be ace! Well done to all those who are getting involved. Brilliant stuff.
Posted on: 06 May 2011



One step forward, two steps back - will politics get me the sack
Well, good people - I hope you enjoyed the Royal Wedding as much as I did ... a splendid day off and a beautiful walk along the coast at Kimmeridge Bay was just what I needed. To be fair, Jill and Daisy told me the dress was spectacular, and they had a lovely time too. As for the rest of the weekend – whilst Jill put the world to rights in London by watching Billy Bragg on International Workers Day, Daisy and I had a great day of vegetation and watched the utterly beautiful Easy A, the delightful Africa United, the sublime but irresistible Step Up 3, the fantastic lawnmower road movie that is The Straight Story and the appallingly risible and shockingly bad Get Him to the Greek. Sundays are sometimes made for things like this. I digress. What I meant to say was … a big thank you to Rachael, Sam and Bethany for their brilliant book reviews. They’re ace. And so are you. You make me so happy. Which just leaves time to remind you that we’ve got an animation workshop tonight (Wednesday) based around the shortlisted books so anyone who wants to … come along. Who can resist the charms of Ms Stonestreet and her media genius? It’s going to be fabulous. Guaranteed, or extra digestives for all of you.
Posted on: 04 May 2011



It's a cross between a waltz and a tango ... oh, it's a Wango
So, I was watching The Princess Diaries yesterday (as you do) and there’s this brilliant bit when Mia is learning to dance with Joe and they learn to do the Wango. You probably had to be there but it certainly brightened up the ironing I was doing at the same time. I love The Princess Diaries by the way. Well done everyone on yesterday's meeting ... you were all brilliant. Seldom do we get such forthright views so early on in the Shadowing process so the books are obviously interesting ones to read ... or not, as the case may be. I do love a good bit of sharing of views over a mini roll and a chocolate digestive biscuit (thank you Mrs Lawson). So, a few things to sort out … I desperately need book reviews so please get them in. Put them on the website yourself, type them onto Word and I’ll upload them, or just scrawl them on a bit of paper in anything remotely resembling legible text and I’ll type them up for you. Thank you. Secondly, next Wednesday, after school, anyone who wants to get involved with some animation of the shortlisted books just come along to the LRC and Miss Stonestreet (legend) will help us make some plasticine figures of some of the characters in the book and we’ll make some films. Hurrah! Thanks to Isabel, Bethany, Katie and Rachael for getting the ball rolling on this one – you’re all ace! We love you all. Lastly, don’t forget to keep swapping books when you’ve finished them so we can circulate them as quickly as possible. Well done all of you.
Posted on: 28 Apr 2011



Will you wear my coat of butterflies?
I appreciate that this blog is not, strictly speaking, relevant to the annual sightings of the Dorset Butterfly Conservation Society but I would just like to point out that I did tick my first Grizzled Skipper of the year on Sunday, and a spectacular (if titchy) sight it was too. They are quite beautiful. And I also managed to finish The Death Defying Pepper Roux and thoroughly enjoyed it. Life and death, living for the moment, men in women’s clothes, and a brilliantly anarchic take on what angels might really be like. I’m now re-reading The Bride’s Farewell and it’s even better second time round. It’s just effortless writing and reading. Our erstwhile, and quite lovely, president Laura Pearce came in today and says “Hello” to you all. She will be back soon to say “Hi” in person, if only to prove that she does really exist and is a de-facto member of the group who has been (sort of) democratically elected, and is NOT a made-up, cardboard cut-out of a pretend puppet state, financed by Russian oligarchs. She’s the best. Lastly, don’t forget that we have a meeting tomorrow lunchtime – that’s Wednesday – so bring your lunch into the LRC and I’ll provide sweets, biscuits and all other manner of heavenly delights. You lot rock, a bit like the Drive-By Truckers.
Posted on: 26 Apr 2011



White lines, blue skies, black top and a pink sunrise
So, how do you know it's summer ... or as close to summer as we're gonna get ... obviously you dig out your vinyl copy of Land of Opportunity by E.I.E.I.O, whack it on the turntable and all is definitely right with the world. Marvellous. So, comrades, I hope you're all enjoying the shortlisted books and engrossed in them whilst lazing about in the Spring sunshine. Yesterday I had a beautiful, beautiful walk along the Cerne Valley and, quite frankly I don't think there is a finer place on God's green Earth than that place. For the record I saw swallows dipping, treecreepers creeping, a roe deer stomping, early purple orchids flowering, blackthorn blossoming, bluebells blooming, a marsh tit skitting, orange tip butterflies fluttering, buzzards circling and a cuckoo cuckooing ... and I sat on the hillside, astride the Cerne Abbas Giant (not literally) and read some of The Death Defying Pepper Roux. And, genuinely, it was perfect. Some days are just magical aren't they? And last week I visited Joe in Dumfries and read White Crow atop one of Andy Goldsworthy's Striding Arches. That, too, was a pretty spectacular and uplifting day. Reading does that I guess. It just makes your day. Anyway, I'll put a few book reviews on the site and I hope that you lot will do the same. In the mean time have a lovely Easter, read, enjoy, listen to a few summer sounds and we'll discuss the books on the FIRST WEDNESDAY back. I love you all.
Posted on: 20 Apr 2011



A st-st-st stuttering start to Shadowing ... things can (truly) only get better
Ah, but they said that about Tony Blair on May 1st 1997 and he sold us all down the river. However, I promise you all I won't do that. Sorry about Friday. It all went a bit pear-shaped didn't it? However, at least it was a conference pear and not one of those other rubbish ones. So, well done today (Monday) for all turning up again and re-inspiring me. Hope you all enjoy the short list. Don't forget to add book reviews to the website, come and see me if you want to blog, answer the in-depth questionnaire on our bit of the site ... and generally enjoy your Easter reading. You're all stars.
Posted on: 04 Apr 2011



Will our addition of famous faces to the club never end?
We're now into single figures in our countdown to this year's Shadowing scheme which means that a) I'm very excited, rather like a cat on a hot tin roof, and Jill and Daisy keep telling me to calm down - never a dull moment in our house, except when Jill puts her Bjork records on b) I can properly count down and get it right because I can now use my fingers - Hurrah! Anyway, I'm delighted, ecstatic even, to welcome Mrs Gasser and Miss Quantock to the group - legends both of them, each in their own way but you'll all just have to work out what those ways are. Suffice to say they're numerous and definitely involve cake making. Remember, our first meeting is this Friday break time where we'll be distributing the shortlisted books, sampling some cake like delicacies and possibly spinning a few tunes. It's of absolutely no consequence to this scheme, BUT The Miracle Legion's magnificent debut album (The Backyard) is 25 years old this year and I'm re-discovering its beauty. I wooed Jill with the title track of the album in our early days of courting and it really is an absolute gem of a record. Very fine live band too. I took Jill to see them at the White Horse in Hampstead and we truly fell in love. Happy days.
Posted on: 29 Mar 2011



Give out but don't give up
With Primal Scream out on tour revisiting their marvellous Screamadelica album, and the Drive-By Truckers threatening to tear Bristol apart in early May (which is very exciting) it seems a fine time to revisit our blog and build up for the start of this year's Carnegie Medal. Suffice to say we're all very excited and can't wait for it to kick off. We've had a top year so far, reading wise, and the Fiesta en la Biblioteca group have been inspirational in their literary discussions. It really is a joy to listen to you all talk about the books you're reading ... you make Mrs Lawson and I very happy. So, we wait pensively for the short list to be announced on Holly's birthday and we'll celebrate both events with gusto. And a cake. Of course.
Posted on: 14 Mar 2011



What a lovely day!
Well, what a lovely lunch that was. Thank you all for coming - I thoroughly enjoyed myself and I hope you all did too. You are such a wonderful bunch of pupils and as I was driving home last night I felt safe and secure that the future of this beautiful world of ours is in your hands. I know that might sound a bit wishy washy, melodramatic and rubbish (and it is entirely posible that, whilst listening to Jackson Browne, I'm hitting a mid life crisis) but the fact that you lot read books and have an innate sense about what's going on in the world makes me very happy and hopeful, and at 43 years of age I need that. So thank you. Thank you Claire and Gemma for being so lovely and helping me and making me chuckle; thank you Wendy and Lucy for also being so lovely and making this a community group; thank you Laura and Hannah for also being so lovely and for just being here; thank you years 7-10 for being so positive and upbeat and enjoying the books; and thank you year 11s for just being so very, very, very cool. Same time next year then. It's a deal. Oh, and for everyone else reading this. We voted for The Ask and the Answer and for the tenth year running we haven't agreed with the judges. Which in no way matters because we love Julia Hale whatever. She's now a fully paid up, free member of the mighty, magnificent Fiesta En La Biblioteca Reading Group. The best reading group in the world. Ever. And ever.
Posted on: 25 Jun 2010



Tomorrow's Wimbledon lunch - Hurrah!
Hi Comrades - lunch tomorrow, strawberries and cream, tennis racquets, Pimms and lemonade and the announcement of this year's winners. I'm excited. It's been a lovely year and I love you all. See you at 1.05pm.
Posted on: 23 Jun 2010



Charlotte, Will and another reference to London buses
Book reviews are like the proverbial London buses. You wait and wait and then two come along at once. Unlike the number 45 from Bridport to Burton Bradstock which never comes after 5 o'clock anyway. Obscure. Anyway, a massive shout out to Will and Charlotte (that's two mentions for Will) for your beautiful book reviews. They rock ... in a mellifluous Mojave 3 sort of way - not in a death metal Metallica sort of way. Which is as it should be.
Posted on: 23 Jun 2010



William works wonders (as ever)
Will, you are - and always will be - quite legendary. A marvellous book review that has made me very happy indeed. Thank you. Happy days.
Posted on: 23 Jun 2010



Vote now .. it's your democratic right ... and the Carnegie winner won't be the real winner without you ... if that makes sense
Come and get your ballot papers from me as soon as possible. It's like a pressure cooker in the library this week as we count down to next Thursday and we need your votes. That bit about a pressure cooker ... there's a song in there somewhere ... from the mighty Plimsouls ... the stupendously brilliant Everywhere at Once. Pristine power pop!
Posted on: 18 Jun 2010



Georgia ... on my mind
Word up Georgia ... Have a look at the latest review from Georgia. She's a star, she's so love-er-ly and you've made me very happy.
Posted on: 18 Jun 2010



And in a packed programme tonight ...
Phew! What a week. Weeks like this make the job of being a school librarian so much fun! On Tuesday, we did what in the olden days was something like an inter-library loan and we swapped our library for the plush, idyllic and very beautiful surroundings of King's Bruton school ... to meet Julia Hale and Margaret Pemberton, two of the Carnegie judges. They were absolutely lovely. We couldn't prize the winner out of them, despite plying them with food, drink and good conversation but we had a splendid time and discussed all things literary. If we head back next year we'd also like to feed the calves on the farm, like Julia Hale did! Thanks to Bridget and the King's Reading Group for making us so welcome. On Wednesday we were graced by the presence of the lovely (and utterly beguiling) Helen Grant. She is a star! We love her! She wears a great leather jacket and (I suspect) could produce a very good rockabilly quiff with her hair if she wanted to ... which is very exciting indeed. Even more exciting was her talk about The Vanishing of Katharina Linden. Her photos of Bad Munstereifel, where the book is set, really brought the plot to life and there were some brilliant stories of German folklore. Helen was very laid back and quite beautiful with our Group and, all in all, we had a very inspiring and cool day. Thank you Helen. And thank you Helen's dad, who was equally lovely. And thank you Di and the Heathfield School posse who came to visit. You were all lovely too. In fact, a whole day of complete loveliness.
Posted on: 18 Jun 2010



Millie the magnificent (3)
Another glorious book review from Millie. Thank you. You're extremely inspirational!
Posted on: 16 Jun 2010



Mollie Langdon and the Beautiful Book Review from Way Left of Centre
Mollie - you're wonderful. What a terrific book review. Thank you. You make an old(ish) librarian very happy. Let's all celebrate by listening to one of my old favourites in the minibus on the way to King's Bruton today - you'll love it ... or your money back. The mighty "Temptation Pays Double" by finest purveyors of Swedish garage trash, The Nomads. It's got a great middle 8. Enjoy!
Posted on: 15 Jun 2010



10 days and counting ... so let's do that democratic thing
So, it's democracy in action time again. We need to vote for our favourite book of the campaign before our end of season lunch on the 24th June. So, come and get a voting slip from me as soon as possible. And there'll be no hung Parliament type ridiculousness where Helen Grant will be doing a deal with Patrick Ness, and Terry Pratchett will be weighing up the pros and cons of joining forces with Philip Reeve and Julie Hearn. No, this is a first past the post winner takes all, once in a lifetime opportunity to enter the Fiesta en la Biblioteca Hall of Fame. So use your vote. Apathy gets you nowhere and I haven't brought this glorious group up to be apathetic literary geniuses. Here endeth the first lesson and a party political broadcast for the Shambolic Party (Stanchester Branch).
Posted on: 14 Jun 2010



How I learnt to love this reading group - Or, I'm very sorry for upholding the group motto (Shambolism in Action) to such great effect
Ah, Comrades. I know, I know. I failed dreadfully. I didn't realise I was swanning off on a jolly to Weymouth to catch a few rays and have a paddle in the sea. So, the meeting for break time had to be cancelled. BUT, please come on Monday break time as we've got great things to discuss - including another jolly to King's Bruton and the visit of the lovely Helen Grant. Any more epitaphs still welcome. More book reviews always gratefully received. And, just to say, that War Horse at the New London theatre on Thursday was quite breathtaking in its beauty and sheer powerfulness (if that's a word). A really, really tremendous play with enough tears from our year10s to flood the place. Being a librarian I showed no emotion at all. Hard as nails, me. Maybe. Or, possibly not! We got a great photo with the lead actor afterwards as well and he was a lovely bloke. So, all in all, a fine week of literary to-ing and fro-ing.
Posted on: 11 Jun 2010



Millie the magnificent (2) ... and Kerry as well
The entries for the Graveyard Book headstone competition have quite literally trickled in so my thanks to Millie and Kerry for their sterling efforts. You're both beautiful and I personally loved your ideas. As a joint winning prize (unless hundreds more miraculously come flooding in this morning) I've ordered your epitaphs to be put on your own personal gravestones ... to be made immediately so they'll be ready whenever you need them! On top of that copious amounts of chocolate will be dispatched to you forthwith.
Posted on: 08 Jun 2010



Escapism, realism and 2:1 university degrees
First up, congratulations to our erstwhile President, Laura, who has passed her 2nd year at university with flying colours and is on for a majestic 2:1 next year. We are very proud of you. Secondly, thanks to Laura and Fred who heeded my pleas for more book reviews and so there are four more on the website. And tops ones they are too. It never ceases to amaze me that books and stories can pull people in such polar opposite directions. Fred brings up an interesting point and argues that he reads books to escape the difficulties and troubles of real life, only to find that some of the shortlisted books simply do not provide this escapism. I'd be pleased to see if anyone else agrees or disagrees with this view. Come and talk to me and Fred about it.
Posted on: 07 Jun 2010



Book reviews, Revolver, pacifism and seagulls
First up - Kerry, beautiful blog. We love you. Secondly, you and Georgia made me and Mrs Lawson weep (with joy) yesterday. Thirdly, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE can I have a few more book reviews over the half-term. I love reading them and so do half the country. Thank you. Lastly, before we sail off into the sunset for a week, I was cycling home this week contemplating the whys and wherefores of Revolver. Now, I've always brought you lot up to understand the importance of pacifism within the library and your roles about spreading the virtues of love, peace and understanding within your local community. I believe in it passionately and I hope that you do too. I've religiously (but non-religiously if you see what I mean) banged on about the beauty of Peter Zaremba's Love Delegation and Nick Lowe's (What's so funny 'bout) Peace, Love and Understanding. I want beauty, sweetness and light to rain down from the skies. What I DON'T want is for me to walk out of my front door every day and be rained down on by those seagulls nesting on my roof ... and if they attempt to attack me once more as I am forced to do three commando rolls to reach the car Mr Sedgwick's theory that a revolver is not a weapon but an answer will be sorely tested. Sorry about that. Normal transmission is resumed forthwith. Have a beautiful half-term comrades.
Posted on: 28 May 2010



Podcast - Glee - NATION!!
To be like everyone else, He must sail alone, He crashes on an Island, Terry Prachett writes it so. He meets a girl with too much clothing, She also had no toes, He's got to trust his instincts, and be rid of all his woes. He's got to try to change and grow up, he's got try to make his own tribe, Whisper goodbye he's making his vibe, and they wont bring him down. Don't accept Judy's crap, Just because she's royalty, Just keep on learning things, like milking a cow and spitting in beer. Too long he's been afraid of losing the nation that he loves, but for his nation, there's no high cost He's got to try to change and grow up, he's got try to make his own tribe, Whisper goodbye he's making his vibe, and they wont bring him down. He's got to try to change and grow up, he's got try to make his own tribe, Whisper goodbye he's making his vibe, and they wont bring him down. Kerry and Georgia did this to the Glee song defying Gravity but sang it and will be a podcast shortly. This song is tributed to Simon and Mr Guy, we love you both very much and hope Simon is not deaf because of us.
Posted on: 27 May 2010




So, half-term approaches and the year 11s are beavering away at their exams ... but I'm delighted to say that they're still reading the short listed books. What lovely people you all are. And what a joyous half-term it has been. You've given Mrs Lawson, Ms Crees and myself plenty of very good vibes and some really entertaining feedback on the books. I wouldn't like to suggest where our votes will be cast by June 24th. It's all to play for. So things to do over half-term: 1) Keep reading 2) Partake of our Graveyard Book competition - write your own headstone epitaph ... more details from me if you haven't picked them up yet 3) Look forward to a glorious trip down the A303 to King's Bruton School where we will indulge in cake and have a lovely chat with Julia Hale and Margaret Pemberton - who if they aren't already Carnegied out will be when you've all blown their minds 4) Make sure you look at the Watch and Listen bits of the website, particularly Helen Grant, as she's coming to have a chat with us, and we will indulge in more cake. 5) Go out and pre-order the mightily magnificent re-issue of The Dream Syndicate's legendary Medicine Show album. This is, without doubt, one of the greatest records ever made ... and I'm very, very excited becasue it's never, ever, ever, ever been issued on CD before and I've completely worn the grooves out on my LP. And you get the This is NOT the Dream Syndicate ... Live as a bonus. You really, really can't go wrong. Have a beautiful half-term. Read, and read a bit more. Throw a few shapes and bust a few moves. And, when they're on the website have a listen to our podcasts. They'll wig you out. We love you beautiful people.
Posted on: 27 May 2010



Eleanor is equally as beautiful
Thank you Eleanor for your book review. It's terrific. And spot on. Very evocative of that time in history. You, too, make being a librarian rather a lovely job.
Posted on: 25 May 2010



Julie Hearn is just beautiful!
Phew! What a day. Julie Hearn came to visit us and was just beautiful. That justs confirms what the headline says! She was ace. She did a brilliant question and answer session on Rowan the Strange, Ivy, Hazel, the Merrybegot and Follow Me Down, and gave us an exclusive glimpse into the outline for her new not-written-yet novel. It sounds very exciting but we can't tell anyone anything about it ... at least not unless vast sums of money in used banknotes are placed under my desk in the LRC by midnight on June 24th. Her talk was really inspirational and she was an absolute joy - so thank you Julie - we love you. Thank you to all of you at King's Bruton who came to visit. You were all stars. And brought very nice cake too. Much better than my apple cake which Alice pointed out was burnt round the edges. Though she still ate it. Thank you Alice. So, Julie Hearn, a day on the beach and a fine afternoon of butterfly spotting (Small Heath, Grizzled Skipper, Dingy Skipper and Green Hairstreak) and all in all a very, very good week to be a librarian.
Posted on: 25 May 2010



SORRY MR GUY
Mr Guy if you read this i am VERY sorry I couldnt come friday :( im disapointed that i missed the author but unfortuantly i fell down the stairs (again!) HEY everyone else, the podcasts are looking great and very creative, me and Georgia and Carol will do ours and then they will be up on the site!!! WE LOVE YOU SIMON From Kerry :D
Posted on: 21 May 2010



Julie Hearn - Period 4 tomorrow - don't forget - it will rock!
Last shout out about Julie Hearn - tomorrow - 12.50pm - LRC - it'll be ace. Guaranteed. Or your money back. That you haven't paid. Enjoy everyone. I'm very excited indeed. And a big hello to the King's Bruton Massive who'll be joining us.
Posted on: 20 May 2010



Podcast(aways) complete their message in a bottle
I'm aware that this headline makes absolutely no sense at all. But I was genuinely running out of puns and it was the best I could do. Sorry. However, well done to Shakira, Fred, Kerry, Caol, Georgia, Henry, and William ... and especially to Stanchester's very own Phil Spector (Simon to y'all) and his amazing Wall of Sound. We completed (nearly) three podcasts and they will be buffed and polished to a sparkling aural sheen over the next week and released forthwith. Fred's review of Chains is quite remarkable and Shakira's reading of the branding scene in the book is very powerful indeed. Kerry, Georgia and Carol's alternative take on Don't Stop Believing to the story of Nation will be extraordinary and Henry and William's interview with Rowan the Strange is ... well ... strange. I love you all. You make me sooo happy.
Posted on: 20 May 2010



Millie the magnificent
Well done Millie for your sparkling book review. We love you.
Posted on: 18 May 2010



Podcasting tomorrow - don't forget!
No snappy headline. Sorry. But don't forget that we're recording the podcasts tomorrow. Meet in the LRC straight after school and we'll indulge in biscuits before heading yonder to the wild wastes of the Media Suite where we'll lay down some banjo twang, a bit of hillbilly fiddle, a few spoons and some genius spoken word soliloquies. Should be good. Or better than that even.
Posted on: 18 May 2010



It's like the Gold Rush all over again (but of book reviews)
Good things come to those who wait (that's Jason and the Scorchers from their much under-rated 3rd album). Not only does my daughter Daisy get to play football on AFC Bournemouth's hallowed turf this weekend but I come into school today and find a monumental collection of new book reviews. An analogy to London buses come to mind. Particularly the Routemaster no. 15 route from Tower Hill to Trafalgar Square. And, rather like the no. 15 route, they're all absolutely terrific. So a massive thank you to Fred (as entertaining as ever), Dom (for positive vibes) and Kerry-Marie (for quite the most inspiring reviews ever). You three are why I love Shadowing the Carnegie Medal. I love you all. You make me very happy indeed.
Posted on: 17 May 2010



Competition time (to be sung to the tune of Delegation Time by Peter Zaremba's Love Delegation)
For those of you who I haven't seen yet we've got a competition up and running. Which is in no way morbid, sad or winsome. It's based around the headstone epitaphs used in Neil Gaiman's The Graveyard Book. I would like you to produce your own epitaph ... obviously not to be used straight away! It could be funny or honest or just weird but it should in some way relate to you. See me for more details. Happiness to go! (as Scruffy the Cat once sang. All entries to me by first week after half-term. Enjoy!
Posted on: 14 May 2010



Revolver (no, not the slightly overrated Beatles record))
Despite misgivings from just about everyone in the group who's read it, I thoroughly enjoyed Revolver. It certainly wasn't slow, I found it a gripping read, and, believe me, it was infinitely better than having to sit through Location, Location, Location and How The Other Half Live. God, my family watches some crass TV. As opposed to Mrs Lawson who loves to watch Grand Designs and guess whether Kevin McCloud will leave the screen from the left or right.
Posted on: 14 May 2010



(Pod)casting our nets far and wide
Well done to Kerry, Carol, Shakira, Eleanor, Fred, Francis, William and Berry for your efforts last night in creating the scripts for the podcasts. They are, quite literally, blinding. Recording next week folks so don't forget to gargle beforehand and get those larynxes in full flow. And my thanks to Mrs Lawson and Miss Crees for running this. It's tops. AND, a big thank you and Word Up! to Megan for two more beautiful book reviews. You are wonderful and I love you!
Posted on: 13 May 2010



The Graveyard Book - Am I Beginning to Get it?
After yesterday's blog I'm about to (begin to) change my opinion. The Graveyard Book is just beginning to click with me. The plot and storyline has begun to pick up pace and it's really drawing me in. Plenty of very beautiful writing too. Listen to this: "You're alive, Bod. That means you have infinite potential. You can do anything, make anything, dream anything. If you change the world, the world will change. Potential. Once you're dead, it's gone. Over. You've made what you've made, dreamed your dream, written your name. You may be buried here, you may even walk. But that potential is finished." (pp. 165-166). Isn't that brilliant? He also uses some great words. I particularly love the word "gloaming" and the verb "skirl". I'd never heard of that before and it's lovely. So, there you are. Thought I'd let you know. See you all after school.
Posted on: 12 May 2010



The Graveyard Book and why I desperately want to like it
Don't forget good people that Mrs Lawson and Miss Crees are going to take us all gently by the hand and guide us through the fine art of podcasting tomorrow after school. That's Wednesday. I'm very excited because I feel like I've finally arrived in the 21st century. I'm ready to cast off my retro 20th century shackles, I'm ready to don a shirt that isn't plaid, I'm ready to put on a pair of shoes that aren't Dr Martens, I'm ready to embrace music that is post 1989 and I'm ready to accept that the political Left is a spent force. However, I refuse to accept that a mass march is a thing of the past and that the last decent one was the anti-war march of 2001. I therefore will happily embrace the joys of podcasting if you, comrades, take my hand and let me lead you on a March for a March. Let's campaign for more marches. We need to go on more marches. And I'm not the only one who believes in this. That bloke over the road who buys the Morning Star is, I'm sure, with me on this one. Oh, and I'm kinda struggling with The Graveyard Book. I desperately want to like and enjoy it but I'm finding it hard. It does have some really beautiful writing in it and sometimes I think some things Neil Gaiman writes are a pure delight. But I can't seem to get it to flow. I know a lot of you have enjoyed it so please write your thoughts down so I can compare yours with mine and we can let those in Carnegie Land know what we think.
Posted on: 11 May 2010



Biscuits, jelly babies and the art of reading
So, The Gaslight Anthem are cranked up to 11, Spinal Tap like, and Dom has put a new review on the site. You're a star Dom. A fine review. Well done eveyone for Friday's meeting. I feel far more confident that you're actually enjoying some of the books now. Clearly biscuits are the key to good reading. And don't forget Wednesday after school when, along with jelly babies (as demnaded by Freya) we'll be creating our glorious podcasts. It's gonna be a beautiful week. I love you all.
Posted on: 10 May 2010



Watch, Read, Listen!
Hi Comrades. A quick reminder really. When you're reading the books also have a look at the Watch, Listen, Read features on the website. They're really good for finding things out about the books. I've just finished Rowan the Strange and then watched Julie Hearn talk about it and it fills in a lot of gaps and gives a great insight into how and why she wrote it. Highly recommended. And an informative and relevant blog to boot. I must be slipping.
Posted on: 06 May 2010



We'll meet again ...
Comrades, we need a meeting tomorrow lunchtime. Mrs Lawson, Miss Crees and I want to know how you're progressing with the books. All welcome and bring your lunch. Biscuits provided as well as several blinding anecdotes about the guitar heroics of Chuck Prophet. A tempting offer, eh? And we can either drown our sorrows, or whoop with joy over the election result. Democracy in action, apparently. However, we've also got exciting news. As well as the lovely Julie Hearn confirmed as our guest on lesson 4 Friday 21st May, we now also look like we might have Helen Grant visiting on June 16th. Happy days. And Julia Hale. Fiesta. Fiesta. Sundazed to the core. See you all on Friday. Very important you attend. Please!
Posted on: 06 May 2010



Megan we love you!
Ah, Megan. Excellent book review. You're a star. You make me very happy.
Posted on: 04 May 2010



And in a packed programme tonight … (© The Two Ronnies, 1970 -)
Hi comrades. First up a big thank you to Fred for his book reviews. Fred, they're ace so well done. You're a star! And to anyone else out there we'd love a few more reviews so please put pen to paper, paint to parchment, fingers to keyboards or sounds to mouths (I know you're all very good at the last one of these) and send us your esteemed thoughts on the books. No genuinely honest efforts are ever refused. And rewards are aplenty. Now then, as the cherry blossom on my tree at home bursts into effervescent bloom and the sea gulls attempt yet again to convert the colour of my car from blue to white, it can only mean one thing … that it's May and we therefore need to get organised and let you know what we're doing and when. So, first up Julia Hale is coming to visit in the first week in June to discuss the books and why she chose them … As you know from last year she's lovely so we're in for a treat. Rumour had it that she was going to arrive in a gypsy caravan but, alas, that has been postponed so it's the Inter City 125 from Plymouth. Which is fine by me because everyone likes a train journey, don't they? Apart from Dr Beeching, that is. He didn't. But I digress. We're also going to produce a few podcasts. Hurrah! On Wednesday 12th May between 3 and 4pm Mrs Lawson and Miss Crees will be stepping up to the mic, dropping a few wicked beats, throwing a few interesting shapes and taking us by the hand to create informative, inspirational and (quite possibly) odd aural sound sculptures about the Carnegie shortlist. Bostin! (as Dodgy used to say on their album covers back in the day). Lastly, sometime during the week of 17-23 May we're hoping to get author Julie Hearn in to have a chat about Rowan the Strange. This is very exciting indeed. We're in final negotiations and just need to figure out the finer details of Julie's demands for her rider … whether to go for dandelion and burdock or ginger ale, whether to agree to the removal of all blue Smarties from the bowls and whether to agree to provide all 25 of the Danish pastries she's asking for. We'll let you know but it's looking good. So, get reading, have a beautiful long weekend, and enjoy the Bank Holiday. For ideologically sound reasons it's the best one.
Posted on: 30 Apr 2010



Our Carnegie Medal launch causes a bigger eruption than Iceland!
Catchy headline, eh? Ah, well. Anyway, we launched this year's Shadowing the Carnegie Medal with a glitzy, star-studded black and green tie do in the school LRC. Remarkably, every pupil had a black and green tie. Weird. We also welcomed President Laura back for the launch and it was wonderful to see her. She hasn't changed a bit. After a few shambolic opening remarks from Mr Guy the 40 odd pupils (I lost count when my fingers ran out) eagerly chose their first books to read ... the excitement was quite thrilling actually. Mrs Lawson, Miss Crees, Laura and I were equally thrilled. The books were snapped up and reading has officially commenced! Hurrah! In all, a fine first meeting. Well done all!!!
Posted on: 26 Apr 2010



Eleanor we love you
Eleanor. What a terrific book review. Thank you. I'm sorry we didn't include you in the group earlier. My fault entirely and very rubbish indeed. You've made my day. Hurrah!
Posted on: 26 Jun 2009



The end is nigh ... boo ... but there's free lunch ... Hurrah!
There's an old addage (as well as a glorious Green on Red album) that says "there's no free lunch today" and here at the Fiesta en la Biblioteca Reading Group this certainly rings true. However, comrades, you have worked extremely hard over the last six weeks and you have earned your lunches. Ms Lawson and I hope you have enjoyed the shambolic and chaotic mayhem that constitutes the Reading Club and hope you've enjoyed at least some of the shortlisted titles. Personally, I have. They have been a far more wide ranging set of books than many people have claimed and they've all made me think afterwards, particularly as I've weaved my merry way to Crewkerne on my bike. Thinking on my bike is one of life's greatest pleasures and so if all the books have achieved that kind of status that is a recommendation in itself. Anyway, I digress. As is my wont. Thank you to everyone who's submitted book reviews. I've loved reading them and there's been some ace ones. When you lot write beautiful things it's very inspirational and makes me realise why I became a school librarian in the first place. It certainly wasn't for financial gain. Kerry. Thanks for the Ostrich Boys review ... fantastic. Hannah, I've requested that next year the judges pick at least one cheerful book just for you ... though I really do think that Airman and Bog Child and The Ostrich Boys are quite upbeat ... much like a Velvet Crush record. Thank you Ms Lawson for just being a star and helping us. I've heard rumours that William Shakespeare has a posthumously published novel out next year ... a sex, drugs and medival lute music expose of life at the Globe rather in the shape of Jackie Collins and Harold Robbins, so we look forward to that being on next year's short list. Hang 10 all of you and thank you. I love you all. Enjoy lunch.
Posted on: 25 Jun 2009



Hurrah for Hannah!
Well done Hannah! Top reviews. Very entertaining. You're a star. In fact. All of you that have written book reviews are stars and we've now got enough to make a constellation ... which is excellent.
Posted on: 24 Jun 2009



Vote, vote, vote!
If you haven't voted yet please come and see me in the LRC a.s.a.p because the clock is ticking. We need your votes! Oh, and don't forget lunch on Thursday. We're almost at the finishing line and I've got strange palpatations. Jill says it's nothing to do with her so I can only assume it's the excitement of who's going to win the Carnegie Medal.
Posted on: 22 Jun 2009



Hooray Henry!
Henry - you're a genius. And you wear cool shoes. Well done. Lovely book reviews. You make me very happy.
Posted on: 22 Jun 2009



Get up, stand up, stand up for your rights
A bit of Peter Tosh there. Which leads me effortlessly onto the fact that within our tranquil corner of literary utopia we are still bound by the building blocks of democratic convention. Which means that you all get to vote for your favourite shortlisted book. The Pankhurst sisters didn't spend their lives fighting for their rights so you didn't get a chance to vote in the Carnegie elections. So, pick up a ballot slip on Monday from the LRC and cast your vote. Voting will end soon after as we obviously need the obligatory count and then up roar from the opposition about questionable voting practices and voting irregularities. Then, there'll be questions about the President's and Treasurer's expenses which will all be blacked out ... and, hey, if Ms Lawson wants to spend the Carnegie budget on baby clothes and Laura wants to blow the rest on a session at the Fleece and Firkin so be it. Where was I? Oh, yes. Vote - and we'll announce our winner and the other winner on Thursday at our lunch. Remember - boaters and blazers are a must. Have a lovely weekend. Keep reading. I love you all, in a very egalitarian way.
Posted on: 19 Jun 2009



Kerry Gold!
Apologies yet again for the pun. However, please all read Kerry's latest book review. It's beautiful. It's lyrical. It's poetic. Kerry, we love you.
Posted on: 19 Jun 2009



Hollie Go(es) Lightly
A big shout out to the genial and lovely Hollie for her book review. It's beautiful. Thank you. You've made my day.
Posted on: 18 Jun 2009



Greetings comrades (from our President)
Our erstwhile and extremely hardworking President, Laura Pearce, (who remains utterly lovely) has sent us a message from her Bristol haunt (where she is holed up with a crate of Budweiser and a hotline to Domino's Pizzas, avoiding the papparazzi who have been camped outside her pad ever since she was (un)elected). She says she would love to have met you all and sends her best wishes and congratulations on all your enthusiasm and hard work. She says that you're all wonderful (which Ms Lawson, Ms Crees and I agree with) and that she knows you'll vote with both your head and your heart for which author deserves to win. And any other body part that you feel might also be useful.
Posted on: 17 Jun 2009



Ms Lawson and her box of tricks
Hi everyone. Don't forget period 5 tomorrow (that's Thursday for those of you struggling with the rigours of daily life and where we are in the weekly scheme of things). Meet in the LRC where Ms Lawson will startle and beguile you all with what I guarantee will be a thrilling Carnegie workshop. Top drawer entertainment or your money back. It may go on after school so don't forget to sign up for the late bus. Fun, fun, fun as the Beach Boys (or even better, The Housemartins) once said. If time allows (and I genuinely know you'll like this bit and really can't wait) we'll be spinning the reissued BoDeans album - Love and Hope and Sex and Dreams - the extra demo tracks of which are particularly thrilling and very Chuck Berryesque in places. Plaid shirts are therefore strictly essential.
Posted on: 17 Jun 2009



All Hale Julia!
Another appalling pun and for that I'm truly sorry. To Julia mainly. However, I thought it was a brilliant hour of entertainment and a really rewarding insight into the shortlisted books. Your questions, everyone, were ace and I really hope you got something out of it. Julia, thank you for coming. You were a star and automatically go to the top of our Fiesta en la Biblioteca Hall of Fame. A cool day. Don't forget Thursday lesson 5. Ms Lawson, Ms Crees and I are very excited.
Posted on: 16 Jun 2009



Top stuff Fred and Lucy
Hey, Fred and Lucy. Thank you for your reviews. You've both made me smile and chuckle and for that alone I owe you an extra jammie dodger. You're both stars.
Posted on: 15 Jun 2009



By the way it's period 5 on Monday 15th June
Hey, y'all. I forgot to remind to to meet in the LRC period 5 to meet Julia. Don't forget. I've told her what a heroic and lovely bunch of people you are.
Posted on: 15 Jun 2009



Judge Julia (geddit?) to visit the school
Today we're delighted and very excited to welcome the South West regional judge Julia Hales to school to talk about the Carnegie Awards, the joys of being a Carnegie judge and what she judges to be the best of the shortlisted books. We will try, under the heady influence and temptation of multiple jammy dodger biscuits, to weedle out of her the winning book after which we will sell our souls to the devil and blag to the tabloids or the broadsheets (either, we're not proud) thereby earning huge bucks, multiple holidays in Mustique and the best record collection money can buy ... or at least the Richmond Fontaine back catalogue which I'm seriously lacking at present.
Posted on: 15 Jun 2009



We love Ms Crees
Thank you everyone for coming this lunch time. Good vibes were experienced (I hope). I'm glad you're all enjoying some of the books and getting something out of them. A big hello to Ms Crees as well who is joining us and has immediately been installed as the de facto Vice President. Solidarity comrade Crees. We love you.
Posted on: 12 Jun 2009



Let's meet (as Nick Lowe once almost said)
Don't forget the meeting at lunch time today (Friday). Exciting things are afoot!! And there's vast amounts of sugar for you to end the week on. What more could you want? See you in the LRC.
Posted on: 12 Jun 2009



Let's have a meeting
Word up y'all. Let's have a meeting this Friday lunch time to catch up on things and see how you are all doing. Jelly babies on arrival so switch on, tune in and come prepared to tell Ms Lawson and I just how muchyou're enjoying your reading. We love you all.
Posted on: 10 Jun 2009



Lucy in the sky with diamonds
A big thank you today to Lucy Braithwaite who Mrs Lawson and I love very much. Your enthusiasm and passion for the nominated books is a joy to behold!
Posted on: 03 Jun 2009



There might just be a God ... of some sort ... or other
My prayers and pleading and resultant holes in my jeans have been answered. We love Megan! She's written some beautiful reviews. Thank you, Megan. Hurrah!
Posted on: 02 Jun 2009



Book reviews required!!!
Guys, I down on bended knees pleading with you. I'd love a few more book reviews ... as soon as possible ... please ... thank you.
Posted on: 01 Jun 2009



Fred we love you
Thank you, Fred, for your book reviews. You're a star!
Posted on: 22 May 2009



Butterflies flutter by
This has absolutely nothing to do with the Carnegie Medal but I had nowhere else to write it and no one else to tell it to ... the Cerne Abbas valley is definitely one of the most beautiful places on this hallowed planet. If anyone is ever in need of inspiration (or just a peaceful place to read a book ... see it is relevant) then I can think of no better place than this. And to cap it all, yesterday I saw a Dingy Skipper, a Grizzled Skipper, loads of Small Heaths, a Common Blue, and three Marsh Fritillaries. What a place. What a world.
Posted on: 22 May 2009



We love the year 7-9 readers!
Well done all you lovely year 7-9 pupils for such a positive vibe you created when chatting about the books yesterday. You make my job as a librarian truly joyous, so thank you. That doesn't mean to say I don't also appreciate all you year 10 readers, and parents / helpers / staff. You all make me feel warm and fuzzy inside too. It's just you weren't here for me to tell you that.
Posted on: 20 May 2009



Meeting next week - Tuesday 19th May
Let's have a meeting! We'll have a very laid back, informal meeting on Tuesday at lunchtime just to see how you're all doing with your books ... no pressure ... just enjoyment. Bring your lunch and luxuriate in the quiet and relaxing ambience of the LRC. Hang 10.
Posted on: 14 May 2009



Book reviews wanted!
Guys, please put your book reviews on the website when you've finished reading each book. The more the merrier!
Posted on: 08 May 2009



Chris Mills doth protest too much!
We were extremely excited to welcome singer-songwriter Chris Mills to school today to discuss the history of protest songs and songs of conscience. God, was he brilliant! For the record (geddit) he sung things by Pete Seeger, Bob Dylan, Woody Guthrie, Randy Newman, Steve Earle, Billy Holliday, Joe Hill and Joni Mitchell. And then we had a top discussion about art, books and music and how relevant it is to everyday lives. Chris was excellent and I was in heaven. Absolutely nothing to do with Shadowing but, hey, it was just brill.
Posted on: 08 May 2009



Shadowing lift-off!
Well, we've started and everyone's getting stuck into the shortlisted books! And they're ace. A fine short list which everyone is very enthusiastic about! Keep reading folks!
Posted on: 08 May 2009



Ally Kennen goes Berserk!
We were delighted to welcome author Ally Kennen to school to launch this year's Shadowing the Carnegie Medal scheme. She was brilliant! She read extracts from her three (excellent) books and ran a very successful workshop ... in fact she got the pupils to do some brilliant creative writing in one hour, which is more than I've achieved in five years! Thank you Ally!
Posted on: 08 May 2009



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