SGS Library Blog – Spring term week 5

SGS Library Blog – Spring term week 5

SGS Library Blog – Spring term week 5

SGS Library

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

So we've now started reading The House With Chicken Legs by Sophie Anderson in our online Yr7 Reading Group and are selecting book titles for similar activities with Yr8 and Yr9.

However if anyone else wishes to join one of the Reading Groups or would like to be involved with a podcast book chat, please do email us with your name. 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.


February is Michael Morpurgo Month and they are focussing on just six of his many titles. You may listen to the first chapter from each of these books. A quick look on LLC reveals about 80 of his titles available to borrow online. If you review one of these six books, we have a chance of winning a virtual book event with Michael for the school. You just need to upload a copy of your review to the Michael Morpurgo Month webpage and of course we would love to see your review too.

Michael Morpurgo Month

I'm sure plenty of you will have already read some of these, but if not, Private Peaceful and War Horse are two of the seven Michael Morpurgo titles available on Sora, plus lots via LLC.

Michael Morpurgo titles available on Sora

It is Children's Mental Health week and this year's theme is Express Yourself. With schools closed and lots of uncertainty, young people's mental health has never been more
important. Young people are encouraged to explore the different ways they can express themselves and the creative ways to share their feelings, thoughts and ideas. I have downloaded an Express Yourself activities resource list to the P drive in the P:\LIBRARY folder. From the list I'm going to highlight the suggestion of choosing a quotation about self-expression that means something to you. One example is the quotation “There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.” by Maya Angelou, author of I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings.

And you may watch the virtual assembly featuring amongst others, Dr Who star Jodie Whittaker and author Sharna Jackson (author of High Rise Mystery). They are also promoting a BAFTA competition on the assembly to Express Yourself, open up to age 14.

Here is another idea I have found for expressing yourself - the #100HappyDays challenge, where you can take a photo every day of what made you happy.

I have previously mentioned Reading Well, which provides helpful reading to support health and wellbeing, encompassing expert endorsed books about mental health, including advice and information for young people about issues like anxiety, stress and OCD, and difficult experiences like bullying and exams. There is a copy of their suggested reading list on the P drive in the P:\LIBRARY\ folder. You may find some of these titles on Sora, including Mind Your Head by Juno Dawson.

Mind Your Head by Juno Dawson

Nicola Morgan, author of The Teenage Guide to Stress (available to borrow online from Sora) explains how reading can also help you get a good night's sleep, in her new book The Awesome Power of Sleep.

The Awesome Power of Sleep by Nicola Morgan        The Teenage Guide to Stress by Nicola Morgan

2021 Branford Boase Award Longlist

The longlist has now been announced for the 2021 Branford Boase Award. 25 titles to choose from, so I've highlighted a selection below which are available to borrow online from either Sora or LLC. The judges will certainly have plenty to read to decide which ones make it onto the shortlist.

The Super Miraculous Journey of Freddie Yates by Jenny Pearson (Sora)
And the Stars Were Burning Brightly by Danielle Jawando (LLC)
Wranglestone by Darren Charlton (LLC)
The Wild Way Home by Sophie Kirtley (LLC)
The Good Hawk by Joseph Elliott (LLC)
Witch by Finbar Hawkins (Sora)

You may remember when I told you last year's winner in September was Bearmouth by Liz Hyder. I found this to be a unique very dark compelling YA read, which is targeted at age 13+. I think it is the only book I've read which is written in a phonics-like language. Bearmouth is available to borrow from Sora.

Running alongside the Branford Boase Award is the Henrietta Branford Writing Competition, open to age 19 or under. Liz Hyder has started the story for you to continue.

I’d never normally cut through the cemetery but I was running late. In trouble late. Shoelaces not tied properly late. I skirt around the corner and straight through the archway. A flock of birds shoots up and into the air shouting at me as I run along the old path, gravestones leaning at a funny angle, making me feel as if I’m being watched. It used to be a monastery once, Mum had told me, and I shiver as I think of creepy old monks in hooded robes.

The world suddenly turns upside down. Sky where the ground should be. I’m flat out on the path, sore-headed, knees scratched. I curse as I stumble back to my feet, see the shoelace that tripped me snaking on the ground as if it were alive. And that’s when I see it. Out of the corner of my eye. Right by the bottom of the nearest gravestone.

Today is the final deadline for the House Poetry. This year's topic is Time. Please email your entries to

SGS House Poetry

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

 Here is this month's selection of free teen reads from publishers Simon & Schuster.

A month to go until World Book Day on 4 March. More details to follow nearer the date, but if you have any requests, then please email us. In the meantime, you may sign up to the World Book Day newsletter here. The winner of the Blue Peter Book Awards 2021 will be announced on World Book Day and you may see the shortlist here.

There is a competition on Reading Zone to create a picture book. Open upto age 18.

And a Creative Earth art competition to show how you’d like our planet to look in the future. Open upto age 16.

Here is something to share with younger siblings. There is a free Horrid Henry story to listen to at 4pm every day this month. Plus a podcast series here.

Whilst I'm mentioning podcasts, the British Museum do an interesting monthly series. I'm certainly missing being able to visit places like this in lockdown.

And another podcast series which Yr7 may enjoy is Author In Your Classroom.

Have you read The Good Immigrant by Nikesh Shukla? If so, email your opinions on the book to by 15 February and you may be featured on the next episode of the Broccoli Book Club podcast.

I've frequently mentioned that there are always plenty of giveaways on the Book Trust website. Today I am highlighting this one to win a selection of four books focussing on teen mental health.


SORA your lock down Library!

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.

Sora Shelf

This week's top tip for Sora, is once you have borrowed a book, keep an eye on your shelf to see when it is due back in case you wish to renew. Loans are for 2 weeks, but unfortunately Sora does not remind you when that period will be up. It also only gives you a small window of opportunity for renewals, so it won't let you renew if you try too soon either. I'm not sure how long the window is , but I'm guessing 48 hours.


To tie in with Michael Morpurgo Month, I've created a wordsearch featuring a small selection of his many book titles. All of these are available to borrow online from LLC.

Wordsearch created at