Bookshelf Bits & Bobs

Bristol's Festival of Children's Literature part one!


Today, I joined lots of lovely people at the wonderful Horfield Primary School. What a wonderful school it is with reading obviously at the heart of every classroom and it was here that the first Bristol Festival of Children's Literature was held.


What a brilliant programme packed full of excellent events! It was really hard to choose which to go to, but after much deliberation, I selected four sessions. Before I made it to any of them, the day started well when I bumped into the lovely Andy Seed and had a chat with him while he was waiting for his first event! 


I was also delighted to see that Book Island had a little shop, offering their wonderful books. They really offer something a bit different and special as well as being really high quality.


First, I went to see Leigh Hodgkinson, author of 'Are You Sitting Comfortably?' and 'The Big Monster Snoreybook'. 


Leigh read 'Troll Swap', one of her lovely picture books, which the audience really enjoyed. The book celebrates the importance of being who you are and recognises how different we all are. She then drew a troll as directed by the audience, valuing all contributions and making sure that the quieter children had an opportunity to offer their ideas as well as the confident ones. It was lovely to watch their enthusiasm!


Each child then made their own troll/ child picture, creating a flip book. They had great fun. I was chatting to a very nice lady who has been training to teach and will start her first job in September! We agreed this would make a great activity to do in class!


Next, I went to find out how to make a picture book with David Lucas. He talked about plot structure and showed us how he had formed the plot of 'The Robot and the Bluebird' over a number of spreads. David also talked about how pictures and works support each other.  He then read us 'Grendel: A Cautionary Tale About Chocolate' and taught us how to draw Grendel using letter shapes!


Next, David encouraged everyone to develop ideas for their own stories. He circulated, supporting people and helping them to develop their ideas. He suggested that everyone tried to finish their ideas and that children create their book over the summer to show their new teachers in September- something I would absolutely love if one of my children had a go!


After this, I was sitting in the sun, enjoying a sneaky ice lolly, when I was joined by Margaret Pemberton and Amy Wilson. It was lovely to have some bookish chat with these fab folk before heading off to my next session. Amy held two sessions during the day which were very popular. She has a new book, 'Snowglobe' out in October which I have a copy of and am looking forward to reading and reviewing very soon!


And that was all before lunchtime! More about this brilliant new festival tomorrow...

Egmont Reading for Pleasure Awards 2018


Yesterday, I went to The Open University in Camden to attend their Research Symposium: Reading for Pleasure: what next? As part of this day, the Egmont Reading for Pleasure Awards were to be presented by Michael Rosen.


Having caught the 6.20am train, I had plenty of time to catch up on some reading. 'Thornhill' is a fantastic read, told through journal entries and pages of illustrations.It is an incredible story- one which we will be reviewing very soon.


Read number two was the next in the wonderful 'Secret Diary of...' series by Philip Ardagh, illustrated by Jamie Littler. Full of fun facts and information, these books are extremely entertaining! I'm sure the man siting next to me was trying to read it over my shoulder whilst pretending to work! This is another title we will review soon.


My final read for the journey to London was this - 'Lifters' by Dave Eggers. This was a very enjoyable read- another for the to-be-read pile!


I finished my books just as the train arrived at Paddington station where I took a moment to visit my favourite bear! I then made my way to Camden and to the offices of The Open University, arriving just in time for tea and pastries. Fortified by my nine-thirties, I was ready for a morning of research and discussion about reading.


Chris Routh from the FCBG was there and I realised one of the speakers was someone I had gone to school with- it's a small world!



And was time for the awards. Mendip Green had entered in the whole school category and were awarded Highly Commended. The only drawback was having to have my photo taken! It would have been lovely to have the whole staff there to receive our certificate!


The day continued with lots of thoughtful discussions, including a panel of speakers who spoke about the reading projects they are involved in and the impact these are having. I made copious notes which I plan to share with everyone at a staff meeting soon!


All too soon the conference was over, so I made my way to Piccadilly and Hatchards Booksellers, a beautiful 'Brilliant Bookshop' where I purchased some new reading material for the journey home!


It was a wonderful day! Lots of food for thought and focusing on reading- what more could anyone want?!


Flying High with Reading!


For World Book Day this year, we entered the 'Flying High with Reading' competition. We thought long and hard about what we could do to show our love of reading in display form. Inspired by Emma Carroll's book 'Sky Chasers' and the Bristol Balloon Festival, we eventually decided to take hot air balloons as our theme. Each class chose a favourite book and worked together to create a balloon based on it. Having 22 classes, there was quite a selection!

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The effort and enthusiasm each class put into their balloon was amazing! The children love them and each one has caused a great deal of discussion about books as they are keen to identify the book and share what they know about it. Many have been borrowed from the library!


Books ranging from The Jolly Postman, Hairy Maclary and Owl Babies to Sky Song, Shackleton's Journey and The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe all hang alongside each other. We didn't win the 'big prize', but the children were delighted to learn we had won a bronze prize, giving us £500 worth of books for the library.


Book Group couldn't resist getting involved as well and added Odd Dog and Nibbles to the collection. The project was great fun, got the whole school involved, parents and children talking about books and gave us a great display for the hall. A win all round!