SGS Library Blog – Spring term week 11

SGS Library Blog – Spring term week 11

SGS Library Blog – Spring term week 11

 SGS Library

Please click into the individual blog post, as the links are currently not visible on the library page, (formatting issue being investigated).

I shall start by wishing Happy Holi and Happy Passover to those who are celebrating either of these spring festivals. Also a Happy Nowruz to those who celebrated the Persian New Year last weekend. I did look for book titles for those students who would like to know more about these, but I only found a suitable one on Passover. All the books on Holi and Nowruz seemed to be aimed at primary, although I have found a fictional Holi title on Amazon which sounds like it may be worth a read. Has anyone read anything about Holi or Nowruz they could recommend?

Passover: Festival of Freedom by Monique Polak (available to borrow online from LLC)
Hari and friends - a holi adventure by Rajesh M Iyer
The Arabian Nights traditional tales (available to borrow online from Sora)

I don't know if Nowruz features in The Arabian Nights but I thought I would include it here since it is a delightful collection of traditional Persian, Arabian and Indian tales.


As mentioned two weeks ago, Ian K of Yr9 came third in the ‘The Best Book I’ve Ever Read’ World Book Day competition. Ian submitted three book reviews as follows.

Looking for Alaska by John Green
Paper Towns by John Green
Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip Dick

Both the titles by John Green are available to borrow online from Sora.

Looking for Alaska by John Green

Looking for Alaska by John Green

Before. An average boy from Florida, Miles Halter, has a fascinating interest for last words. He leaves his parents’ home to discover the ‘Great Perhaps’.  He starts a new life (somewhat reluctantly) at the boarding school that his father and his father before him once attended, Culver Creek. Here, he hopes for a quiet start, but he is entered into a world of craziness straight from the beginning the girl down the hall; funny, clever, interesting Alaska Young. He makes friends immediately with his roommate, Chip Martin (a.k.a. the Colonel), a short, bulky character who gives Miles his nickname, ‘Pudge’ (given to him because of his skinniness), Takumi Hikohito (a.k.a. the Fox), and of course Alaska Young, a witty prankster who is seen quite favourably by the Eagle, a man usually with no favourites.

This book depicts Miles’ life at Culver Creek, a place where rivalries between the rich and poor pupils run high, and is governed with an iron fist by Mr. Starnes, appropriately named the Eagle.  It depicts Miles’ life going downhill, with increasing amounts of booze and cigarettes, but booze and cigarettes with unforgettable friends, making unforgettable memories.

After. ‘It was an instant death.’ After a night of exceptionally large amounts of alcohol, Miles wakes up to hear that Alaska Young was found dead after going on a drunk drive to an unknown location, for an unknown reason. Devastated, Miles begins to blame himself for her death, and his mental health deteriorates at an alarming rate.  The Colonel also suffers similar issues, cursing himself for not being a better friend. To satisfy their curiosity, they go on a journey to uncover Alaska’s youth and how and why she really died. This leads up to the ultimate question: How do we get out of this labyrinth?

Paper Towns by John Green

Paper Towns by John Green

Quentin, otherwise known as Q, is in love with the notorious Margo Roth Spiegelman, his childhood friend and next-door neighbour. One day, while playing outside at the park as young kids, they spot a dead man sitting under a tree. Quentin is mystified by her reaction, which is hardly a reaction at all. Q is friends with Radar, an intelligent individual, who regularly posts on a Wikipedia sort of website, and whose parents hold the world record for the most amount of black Santa’s, and Ben, a foul-mouthed, crazy boy with an addiction with video games. At school, she is infamous for telling quite amazing stories about her nightly exploits, never quite believable but always proving to be true. So when she approaches his window at night asking for his assistance, he can’t help but accept. She leads him on a night-long journey through their town, exacting revenge on Margo’s enemies (classmates).

The next day, Margo disappears, leaving only what seems like a trail of impossible clues leading to her whereabouts. Maybe because of Margo’s disappearance, Q finds himself doing reckless things that he would never do ordinarily. With graduation day looming, Q and his friends must track down Margo before she does something to herself. This leads to an extremely long and slightly life-threatening ride in Q’s new caravan with his friends to the destination of Margo, which I will not reveal.

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip Dick

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip Dick

This book is set years in the future, when humans have destroyed the planet and everything in it, when humans have colonized on Mars and when animals are so rare and scarcely found that it is an extreme luxury to own one; most are just robots.

Rick Deckard is a bounty hunter for the local police station, and his one duty is to hunt down androids from Mars and kill them, or ‘retire’ them, as he puts it. Everything changes, however, as he is assigned to hunt down and kill six state-of-the-art Nexus 6s. This book takes us on a journey, following Rick Deckard as he goes around what’s left of the USA, retiring Nexus 6s.

It also follows the story of a man named John Isadore, who is a shy, slightly stupid man living all alone in his apartment. This all changes when a girl moves in below him, and brings two friends with her. Little does he know, they are androids, the very same ones that Rick Deckard was ordered to kill just a few weeks back.

Rick Deckard prevails in the end, shooting all 6 androids for the security of the Earth, and spending his bounty money on a new goat, which tragically dies from a fall off his roof.


Once again may we please remind you to return books to the Library lobby as soon as possible. All books borrowed last term are overdue. We are still waiting for over 250 books to be returned, mainly from Upper School, so we have only launched the 'Click and Collect' service to Lower School so far, until we get more of the outstanding stock returned. However in the meantime Upper School are also welcome to take a look at our new library catalogue, although you won't be able to reserve a book until you receive your login details. Key in SUT, to search for our school. Sora will continue to be available in parallel for those of you who prefer ebooks or audiobooks.

Earth Hour

At 8.30pm on the last Saturday of March it is Earth Hour. Millions of people across the world will switch off their lights to show support for our planet. This is organised in conjunction with WWF. You could choose to spend the hour in your garden observing nature or star-gazing. Or you could listen to an audiobook or music. There is plenty of choice of audiobooks available to borrow on Sora. And we would love to hear if you are doing anything to raise awareness.

Every Day is Earth Day by Harriet Dyer

I have received a book list of new and forthcoming activism-themed titles due out this spring including one called Every Day is Earth Day by Harriet Dyer.

How to Avoid a Climate Disaster by Bill Gates

Book Spotlight!

Following on from the theme of Earth Hour, this week's Book Spotlight features How to Avoid a Climate Disaster : The Solutions We Have and the Breakthroughs We Need by Bill Gates, which was published last month. There is an interesting article on this topic in The Guardian and here is another article on the Penguin website. Bill Gates talks about his book on his blog, including an excerpt. And he has a series of short videos on How to Avoid a Climate Disaster on his YouTube channel.

The Prime Ministers by Iain Dale    The Glamour Boys by Chris Bryant    Long Way Home by Dan Jarvis

Upper School may be interested to hear about the winners of the Parliamentary Book Awards.

Iain Dale won Best Political Book by a non-Parliamentarian for The Prime Ministers: 55 Leaders, 55 Authors, 300 Years of History.
Chris Bryant MP won Best Non-Fiction Book by a Parliamentarian for The Glamour Boys: The Secret Story of the Rebels who Fought for Britain to Defeat Hitler.
Dan Jarvis MP won Best Biography, Memoir or Autobiography by a Parliamentarian award for Long Way Home,

What I'm reading listening to this week!

The Crossover by Kwame Alexander

I borrowed the audio version of The Crossover by Kwame Alexander from Sora. This is a powerful award-winning novel written in verse, featuring basketball playing twin brothers, which I certainly recommend. I was also interested to hear that Disney are considering filming the book. What have you read recently?


Now for a quick round-up of a few other ideas, resources and articles.

The Historical Association have a competition for you to write your own Historical Fiction.

Have you ever thought much about the indexes you see in books? A particularly useful resource for helping you to find what you need in a book. Well there is even a National Indexing Day on 30 March.

A 'COVID-19 Remembrance & Reflection' Garden is to be created next to St Helier hospital. In conjunction with this, there is a local competition for Covid Remembrance & Reflection Poetry.

You have the chance to win five of the Horrible History titles in a Book Trust giveaway. I really enjoyed seeing this on stage a few years ago. Let's hope it isn't too long before theatres can reopen.

We mentioned last week about the First Story Young Writers Festival which was held on Wednesday. The videos including the headliner session by Angie Thomas discussing how young writers can find and use their voices, are now online and will be available for a month.


For those of you who haven't logged into Sora yet, here is a reminder of how to borrow library ebooks via Sora. But if you are having any difficulties accessing Sora, then I will be happy to help you.

There is a link to the Sora app on the pupil page of the school website or at the top of the sidebar here on the library page.
Download the Sora app or explore in browser
Enter the setup code uksecondary if asked, select Sutton Grammar School and sign in with your school Google login and email password.
And in the meantime, here is a Getting Started video guide or there is a PDF version on the P drive in the P:\LIBRARY\Sora folder.

This week's top tip for Sora, is to introduce you to audiobooks. I only recently tried these and found it very relaxing to listen to a book being read. Very nice to mix and match between reading a book yourself. There is some overlap between ebooks and audiobooks on Sora, but plenty of titles which are only available in audiobook format.

Sora audiobooks

I went out for a run last weekend. Nothing unusual in that, but it was a Where's Wally virtual fun run in aid of The National Literacy Trust, so I was feeling rather self-conscious running dressed as Wally, a character I'm sure you remember reading when you were younger. Did anyone else take part in this?

National Literary Trust fun run


Don't forget that we will happily accept all book-related contributions from students and staff to our blog. And please email us your suggestions for what you would like to see on our blog, or if you wish to be involved with a podcast book chat or one of our Reading Groups. In particular, as regards the podcasts, we would love to hear if you have any ideas or editorial experience you wish to tell us about.

In the US, this week is Reading Gives You Superpowers week. Due to the time difference, the timing of events didn't work well here, so instead I've created a crossword based on authors of books whose protagonists have superpowers. All the books mentioned are available to borrow online from Sora.

Superpowers crossword

Crossword created at

Although you have always had the opportunity to ask us for puzzle answers, we thought you might prefer the opportunity to easily access them. So as from this week onwards, we will display answers for the puzzle from the previous blog. These will remain online for one week only (longer during school holidays).