Every Summer we join other schools all over the country to ‘shadow’ the judging process for the Carnegie Medal, awarded by the Chartered Institute of Librarians and Information Professionals for the best in contemporary young people’s literature. At HVC we buy sets of the shortlisted titles (there are usually eight), put together a group of enthusiastic readers, and meet regularly to discuss what we think of the books.
We have our own page on the CILIP website and our readers are encouraged to post their own reviews. It’s an opportunity to be opinionated, and opinions vary widely.
The official winner is announced in mid- June, when we have a bit of a ‘do’ with cake and pop and a vote of our own. We invariably don’t agree with the panel of judges, which always give rise to some healthy argument.
This year the official winner was Geraldine McCaughrean’s Where the World Ends, although our students felt Will Hill’s After the Fire should have won.
We were lucky enough to have a visit from author Jonathan Meres at the start of May and he went down very well withY7s and 8s and staff alike. Jonathan, who writes the World of Norm series of books, burst onto the stage with an explosion of energy and spent a full two hours talking, shouting, singing and making everybody laugh, before joining a select group of top readers for a noisy lunch in the library. In the afternoon he talked to a small group of Y7s about writing to catch a reader’s attention, getting published, selling ice cream, working with Harry Hill and being a zombie. Getting to the staff room for a break between sessions proved tricky because Jonathan was ambushed by students wanting autographs and selfies!
Our 2017/18 Reading Buddies scheme has finished until the Autumn. During a slightly emotional final session, readers and their buddies gave and received certificates of appreciation, postcards with messages of thanks and lots and lots of lollies. Seven months of weekly paired reading has certainly paid off, with confidences built, friendships made and fluency developed. Buddies logged their comments and observations in record cards as the year went on, and students’ reading progress is very clear to see.
We’ve had another Book Fair, this time with everything at bargain prices, which meant that we sold a lot of books and had some very happy customers. This was one of Scholastic’s Half Price events and as always they gave us a lot of support, sent some eye wateringly lovely books and gave us a box load of freebies at the end. There will be another Fair in the Autumn, when the selection will be the very latest in teenage books at full price. Keep an eye on the library blog for details.