#ReadingRocks16 LIVE with Russell Prue

Listen to Russell Prue broadcast LIVE 01/10/16 from The District CE Primary School, with some of our pupils,  at the #ReadingRocks16 conference.

12pm – 3pm DON’T MISS IT!!!


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Defender of the Realm review



This is not, in all honesty, the kind of book I would have usually picked up to read. However, it was a fabulous read! Authors Mark Huckerby and Nick Ostler kept me reading way past my bedtime.

As the story starts and the scene is set it unfolds to reveal a world that is completely familiar to us. The authors have really done their homework, all the royal and cultural references are spot on and this gives the backbone of the story a sense of integrity.

Alfie is a whimp-ish, reluctant heir apparent.  The oldest, by a vital ten seconds, to his brother Richard and big brother to Princess Eleanor. The lad attends Harrow but this is not a happy or fulfilling experience for him. We meet him on one of his many ‘runners’ from the establishment.

When events take a tragic and dramatic turn the royal machine goes into overdrive. Alfie discovers that as if being King so prematurely isn’t enough he will be Defender of the Realm!

Historical facts that Alfie had learned from his beloved history teacher turn out to be not what he had been taught at all. He must take on this mantle reaching back over the centuries and he must learn fast.

Meanwhile, on the streets of London, indeed across the country, sightings of a superhero figure riding a white horse and ‘not-of-this-world’ occurrences are what everyone is talking about.

Whilst we are seeing the young king’s view of the proceedings the authors deftly weave Hayley’s character into the story- and just to say Hayley’s gran is fabulous, her one liners are classic!

Hayley, and what is in her possession, proves to be vital to Alfie’s quest. She enters Alfie’s world.

I loved the way the story built to some brilliant action scenes. These were so well written that it was like a movie playing out in my imagination and I do hate to hit pause! All the characters in this book were so fully formed that it was easy to associate and empathise with them. There were clever plays on historic stories that were wonderful twists. As Alfie takes on the role of Defender of the Realm you go on the rollercoaster ride with him, and what a ride it is.

This book would be your thing if you like a story with some dramatic twists. If you like a bit of action in your fiction, this is for you. Or, you could, like me, take it up as something a bit out of your comfort zone and, like me, you may end up wishing there was a sequel ready to read! The master story tellers must not keep us hanging too long for the next Defender adventure!

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Our review of The Sleeper and the Spindle. By Annie and Mrs Mc

Annie & Mrs Mc, District Book Worms

The Sleeper and the Spindle

The Sleeper and the Spindle is a magical fairy tale, filled with mysteries & discoveries. Written by Neil Gaiman and illustrated by, Children’s Laureate, Chris Riddell, this is a book that has reinvented a classic couple of fairy tales. The author tell us that, ‘ Names are in short supply in this telling.’ However, it is enough to say there are; a queen, three dwarves and an extremely old woman.
A queen postpones her wedding and journeys to a distant enchanted castle to discover if the stories are true that the ‘sleeping plague’ is spreading further out from the bewitched, thorn encrusted fortress. She feels it necessary, even though it may be dangerous The dwarves are her trusted companions.
Gaiman intelligently interweaves two ancient stories with sorcery, witchcraft and secrets.
this is a definite 5/5, you’d be mad to miss it!
This book is suitable for confident readers from around year four and above

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An Interview with CKG Judge, Matt Imrie



Our Shadowing Group have been incredibly lucky to be able to ask some judges their very own questions.


Check out this interview with Matt Imrie:


Some of the other judges also sent us their responses:

Annie: Who/what inspired you to be a judge?

I joined my regional Youth Libraries Group (YLG) through my job as I wanted to develop professionally; I had only recently completed my MSc in Information and Library Studies and so wanted a bit more experience. One of my colleagues on YLG was the judge for that year and hearing her talk about the process, the books, he fellow judges just sounded truly amazing and I knew I had to do it! I didn’t know at the time when I joined that to be a judge you have to be a member of YLG. So then I put my name forward to be considered as a judge and, happily, I was accepted.

Martha Lee, CKG Judge for YLG Wales


Skye: Is judging hard with lots of other people?

It’s not hard but quite scary; you have to be confident enough to voice your own opinions about a book in a room of 15 other people who are also librarians and experts. It can be very intimidating!

Martha Lee, CKG Judge for YLG Wales


I think having lots of people, with all different experiences, really helps.  Others will notice things in a book that you haven’t, and the discussions help you reach a decision in the judging process.

Jennifer Horan, CKG Judge for YLG Scotland


 Ryan: What was your dream job when you were young?

I had many dream jobs and none of them was to be a librarian! I wanted to be a nun, a contract killer, a spy, a nurse, a pharmacist – I changed my mind a lot! I finished my A-Levels and took a year out and then went on to study Art History at University. I then finished and came back home to Wales and wondered what I wanted to do. I had worked in libraries as a supply assistant since I was 15 and I’ve always been passionate about books and reading since I was a toddler. I got a job as a Library Assistant and decided that this is what I wanted to do so I then started my Masters in Library and Information Studies to qualify as a librarian. I’ve loved every second.

Martha Lee, CKG Judge for YLG Wales


My dream job when I was young was a journalist because I enjoyed meeting people, hearing their different stories and writing about them. Interestingly enough, my first work experience as a teen was in a library.

Tanja Jennings CKG Judge for YLG Northern Ireland.


Annie: Who is your favourite author?

That’s far too hard! I have too many to just name one; Philip Pullman, J K Rowling, Malorie Blackman, Melvin Burgess, Celia Rees, Lousie Rennison – and those are just a few of the children’s and young adult authors. I have many more adult writers whom I love.

Martha Lee, CKG Judge for YLG Wales


I have lots of favourite authors!  Right now I love Maggie O’Farrell and Muriel Spark.

Jennifer Horan, CKG Judge for YLG Scotland


That is a difficult question as I have a lot of favourite authors. Sometimes it depends on the mood I am in or what genre I think I would like to read next. Currently, I like Rick Riordan, Ransom Riggs, Michael Scott and Chris Riddell’s Goth Girl series. John Steinbeck is the first author who made me laugh, cry and feel angry about injustice at the same time with his novel ‘The Grapes of Wrath’. I also love reading my great grandmother’s copy of ‘The Arabian Nights’ which is full of enchanting and exciting adventures.

Tanja Jennings, CKG Judge for YLG Northern Ireland.


Annie: Who is your favourite illustrator?

Again, it’s too hard to choose one but my top five are: Oliver Jeffers, Chris Riddell, Catherine Rayner, Jim Kay and Emily Hughes.

Martha Lee, CKG Judge for YLG Wales


I like creative illustrators who do something a little different with their books. Favourites include Janet and Allen Ahlberg, Raymond Briggs, Emily Gravett, Alexis Deacon, Art Spiegelman and David Weisner.

Tanja Jennings, CKG Judge for YLG Northern Ireland.


Skye: What is your favourite book so far?

I’m not going to tell you before the winners are announced, but one of my favourite books of all time is Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy.

Martha Lee, CKG Judge for YLG Wales


Skye: Do you enjoy judging?

Judging is one of the hardest and best things I’ve ever done in my life! It’s much harder than my degree or my masters and it’s the most interesting and rewarding thing I’ve ever done. I’ve met so many lovely people, read so many amazing books and now I can’t wait to meet all the authors!

Martha Lee, CKG Judge for YLG Wales


 Ryan: What was your favourite lesson in school?

My favourite lesson was definitely English with Art as a close second.

Martha Lee, CKG Judge for YLG Wales


Annie: Did you read a lot as a child?

Yes – I read all the time as a child, from a tiny toddler right through to now; I feel lost if I haven’t got a book to read. Both of my parents were librarians so it was a bit hard to avoid! If you read my blog post on the CKG website, I tell you some of my most favourite ever books from growing up and the effect they had on me.

Martha Lee, CKG Judge for YLG Wales


Yes, I was always reading and being read to.  My mum and dad read to me a lot when I was a baby, and I think that’s what gave me a love of reading – I don’t remember a time when I didn’t love books.  I used to love going to the library with my dad after school, and I remember reading the first Harry Potter book to my Grandpa when it came out – he loved Hagrid’s flying motorbike!

Jennifer Horan, CKG Judge for YLG Scotland


Childhood favourites include Charles Kingsley (The Water Babies), C.S Lewis (The Chronicles of Narnia), Kenneth Grahame (The Wind in the Willows), Carolyn Keene’s Nancy Drew detective stories, Enid Blyton and Hugh Lofting’s Dr Dolittle books. I loved the idea of someone who could talk to animals and travel the world. A favourite title from that particular series was ‘Dr Dolittle and the Green Canary’ because of Pippinella’s amazing adventures.

Tanja Jennings CKG Judge for YLG Northern Ireland.


Annie: What is your favourite book?

Like I said above, one of my favourite books is His Dark Materials trilogy by Philip Pullman (if I name the trilogy I can say three books instead of one, clever) but I have so many more favourites. Witchchild by Celia Rees, Bloodtide by Melvin Burgess, Harry Potter by J K Rowling (of course), Noughts & Crosses by Malorie Blackman…it would take too long to list them all but I do name some of my favourites in my blog post.

Martha Lee, CKG Judge for YLG Wales


A HUGE thank you for the judges for giving us this insight. We can’t wait to hear which books are the winners, next week.


You can find out about the judges here:


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Endings and beginnings

Cannot believe we are in the last half term of this school year. Here in the library we are starting to think about new candidates for next years pupil librarians. We will hopefully have application forms at the ready this week for our current Year Fives. However, this makes me a little sad as it means, all too soon, I will have to say bon voyage to our first ever crop of pupil librarians. They have been a super little group of bookish friends. Long may their legacy of sharing the book love continue.

I have had a few book recommendations last half term but the one I’m looking forward to the most is The Girl Of Ink & Stars by Kiran Millwood Hargrave . Ms Logan has read it and has waxed lyrical about it ever since! Really can’t wait to start it. I’ll never be able to review a book like Ms Logan can, so watch this space. We will ask her to put a review on here.

I’ve been very lucky to be able to tell some old stories to our youngest pupils. The story of the moment is The Three Little Pigs. Had a lovely time with reception children and their parents and carers on their Open Afternoon and I continue to try and meet up with nursery children each week and we share a story. Speaking of nursery, check out our Twitter feed to see pictures of the day a beanstalk grew in the reading garden!

Look out in Bookworms Library as we start to develop our listening area, new titles coming soon.
Keep your reading antennae working as visits start soon to Newton Library to find out about The Summer Reading challenge. Come on District , do us proud!
Lots more to tell you so I’ll be back to blog soon.
Wishing you lots more sunny days, perfect for stretching out with a good book. Happy reading
Mrs Mc

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Books are springing up like daisies!

Here at The District libraries some wonderful books are on the loose! I couldn’t tell you my favourite as there are too many to choose from. I am loving Hector and the Hummingbird by Nicholas John Frith. It’s such a beautifully illustrated book and that’s what first caught my eye. The palette of turquoise blues, pinks and greens is irresistible. It’s a really lovely story too. This is the tale of a bear who has a little friend that insists on keeping him company ALL the time. Eventually, Hector gets some time to himself but is leaving Hummingbird all he thought it would be? Call into Bookworms and see for yourself.

Home by Carson Ellis is another wonderful book that I have come across. I had a lovely time sharing it with our nursery children when they came across for their session last Tuesday. We looked together at the amazing illustrations and thought about who might live in those houses. This book is delightful, have a look next time you’re in the library.


We’ve had a few children working hard blogging for our libraries. If you’re stuck for an idea for your next read then check out our book blogs. We  have been sharing the story of Dave Pigeon by Swapna Haddow, in year two. We will let you know what we think when we’ve finished.

So much going on in the libraries that I will have to blog again soon!

Happy reading!

Mrs Mc x



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Book review: George and The Blue Moon!

George and The Blue moon is an outstanding, action- packed novel, filled with mystery and dangerous dilemmas. Combining with his daughter, Lucy, Stephen Hawking has conjured up an astonishing storyline, which will keep you hanging on the edge of your seat gasping for more. George and his best friend Annie have been selected to train to be an astronaut: everything at Kosmodrome 2, the place at which they train, is breath- taking and out of this world, however there are many questions bubbling up in their minds. Why has Annie’s Dad been fired from working at Kosmodrome 2? What is Rika hiding? What is Artemis? Read this fantastic book to find out! With its significant events and frequent humour, this book is just right for anyone, who is interested in space and science. I would rate this book four and a half stars out of five. Do you want to go on a fabulous adventure? Well there is only one thing for it, READ THIS BOOK!

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Diary of a Wimpy Kid

Diary of a Wimpy Kid Cabin fever is a funny bone-tickling, lip-tingling book filled with deep , dark secrets and humerous events. Written by fun-packed Jeff   Kinney  this will have the readers hypnotized by word choice and laughter. Will Greg find friendship with Rowley again? Will Greg learn to plat safe with his reputation? But most importantly will he last through middle school? The book is based on a teenager comedy for all those comedy lovers. With its unbelievable plot twists and friendship lovers this is right for laughter lovers.  The author expertly puts together a life changing story.

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A Busy Library is a Happy Library!

So busy at The District libraries!

A quick round up, this may be difficult for a waffler like me 😉

Chatterbooks is now finished, It was, as it’s name suggests, a place where some of our year three pupils got to chat about books. We covered pirates, chocolate and sweets and non-fiction, to name just a few.



We had a very exciting delivery from Browns books. Hundreds of new books have been catalogued and are available for reading on a bookshelf near you! New titles include award winners, The Bear and the Piano and My Brother is a Superhero.

Some of our year sixes are reading and reviewing George and the Blue Moon. A must for any of our sci fi fans. Written by Lucy Hawkings and her Dad Stephen Hawkins, it is full of adventure, mystery and lots of scientific facts too. Watch this space for reviews and recommendations. We have also taken delivery of the books shortlisted for the Scholastic Laugh Out Loud Awards, I have children all over school reading like fury so the books can be passed around and we get our votes in on time. Keep up the good work.


We continue you the Free Book Friday book drops, although it isn’t actually constrained to Fridays any more, nor is it just in our local community. We received a postcard from a lady who’s son had found a book dropped in the N.E.C in Birmingham when Mrs Wright and Mrs Hughes took the Book Drop on tour to the Education Show!


Our libraries continue to be busy, exciting places to be and sharing books stories and information is an absolute delight. We even managed to fit in some reading in the Story Shack garden in the sunshine :)


Happy reading!

Mrs Mc x



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Book Review : Harry Potter and the Philosophers stone :)

Harry Potter and the Philosophers stone is a frequently funny, action-packed book, filled with mesmerising magic and a jaw-dropping storyline. Written by the brilliantly creative J.K. Rowling, this terrific tale will leave you on the edge of your seat all the way through. This is Harry Potter’s first time at Hogwarts School Of Witchcraft And Wizardry he comes upon a quest to find the Philosophers stone with his to best friends Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger. The author brilliantly conjures up our possible future into an utterly amazing adventure. With its mysterious characters and an eerie atmosphere, this book will leave a tornado of questions in your mystified mind. This book deserves a 5* rating as it is simply brilliant ! ! !

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