SGS Library Blog – Spring term week 9

SGS Library Blog – Spring term week 9

SGS Library Blog – Spring term week 9


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

It is lovely to welcome you all back to school this week and I hope you all enjoyed last week's bumper World Book Day edition of the blog. Well done to all the winners of the House Poetry. I have loved reading your poems.

Plus I've really enjoyed looking at everyone's art in the virtual gallery.

We have had plenty of World Book Day competitions at school so well done to all the winners.

The winners of the six word story competition were:
1st: Nishad P (Yr7) - Mum woke me. I live alone.
2nd: Suhard H (Yr8) - I can’t believe she said yes.
3rd: A'ayan G (Yr9) - Alone kid. Man in hoodie smiles.​

The book treasure hunt winner was Rugved D (Yr7).

The winners of ‘The Best Book I’ve Ever Read’ were:
1st: Amber F (Yr12)
2nd: Vamsi P (Yr7)
3rd: Ian K (Yr9)

Here is Amber's winning entry and we will share those from the runners up in the next two library blog posts.

The best book I’ve ever read is different from my favourite book. My favourite book changes like the ocean, with every new book I read, my mind alters its perception of the world. My favourite book changes very often. If I were 10 and you asked “Amber, what is your favourite book?” I would’ve said ‘Harry Potter’ in a flash. If I were 12, I would’ve said ‘Percy Jackson’ no questions asked. Just last week I would’ve said ‘The Storyteller’ (which is a particularly good book by the way). But I just couldn't think of what the best book I've ever read was.

To begin with, I thought about books that greatly impacted my life. The first book I was ever given as a present was ‘The Enchanted Wood’ by Enid Blyton. I still own the old, battered copy and sometimes I read it again for nostalgia. The first books I ever got signed were ‘Diamond’ and ‘Opal Plumstead’ by Jaqueline Wilson. A collection of Norse myths and legends lays by my bedside because I find the stories within the pages extraordinary. The ‘horrible histories’ books that inspired my love of history are under my bed. All these tales have woven their way through my life, invading my thoughts constantly. They are all important to me.

But after much thought, the best book I’ve ever read was a book my friend wrote called ‘Layer Cake’. It has never been published, but after much nagging she let me read it. 194 pages, the work spanning about 2 years, and I got to be the first to read it.

The work itself wasn't that of literary genius if I’m honest. It was entertaining and I really enjoyed it, but it wasn’t Shakespeare. (Frankly, I’m glad that it wasn’t Shakespeare because I think if I ever have to read Macbeth again, I might just fall asleep.) The writing is better than what you’d expect from a 14-year-old and I found the story compelling even though it was rather generic. The story follows a girl named Blue who wants to find out who her dad really is. It’s a normal, completely reasonable plot that could have been based on a true story. (It’s not a true story, I asked)
The real reason that this is the best book I’ve ever read was because when my friend asked for feedback, I asked her if she had been inspired by real life. She said yes. She had taken aspects of each person we knew and added them into characters. Some of the stories within the plot are actual events that happened while I was at my old school. I was in awe, she had managed to take people I knew, myself included, and make our very uninteresting school life into something amazing.

I’m assuming that this competition was really after a plot synopsis, but so much happened in ‘Layer Cake’, I would have a hard time trying to write it all down. Also I highly doubt that my friend would give me permission to send her book to everyone so that they could read it too. This book is the best book I’ve ever read because it’s sentimental, sappy, and nostalgic. Which sometimes, is just what I want in a book.

SGS Library Returns

Now that you are back in school, may we please remind you to return books to the Library lobby as soon as possible. All books borrowed last term are now overdue.

So that books can be quarantined for the recommended 72 hours, there are 5 boxes in the library foyer, labelled Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. When you bring back library books, please put them in the appropriate box according to which day of the week it is.

The new library catalogue is being launched and next week we will tell you how you can borrow books via a 'Click and Collect' service.

Book Spotlight!

Becoming by Michelle Obama

I have selected Becoming, the memoir by former first lady of the United States, Michelle Obama for this week's Book Spotlight. An inspirational tale of ups and downs, triumphs and failures.

Her bestselling book has now been adapted and republished this month as an edition for younger readers aged 10+.

Her book's website includes downloadable reading guides for both editions as follows.
Reading Guide for Adults
Reading Guide for Young Readers

You may also listen to the Michelle Obama podcast here.

This leads in nicely to mention that March is Women's History Month plus at the start of this week on March 8 it was International Women's Day and this year's theme is #ChooseToChallenge. This made me think how some classic female authors like the Brontë sisters first published under the male pseudonyms of Currer, Ellis, and Acton BelI, to challenge the stereotype of what women were expected to write. They did admit to their Bell pseudonyms a year or so later. Similarly Mary Ann Evans wrote under the name George Eliot.

The following titles by these classic female authors are amongst the collection available to borrow online from Sora.

Silas Marner by George Eliot
Adam Bede by George Eliot
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë
Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë
The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Brontë

It was announced on International Women's Day that Onjali Q. Raúf, activist and award-winning author of The Night Bus Hero has been appointed as Writer in Residence at BookTrust for the next 6 months.

British Science Week

British Science Week has been ongoing from 5-14 March with lots of STEM events. They are running a poster competition open to those upto Yr9.

There are plenty of good science podcasts that you may enjoy and I thought I would highlight this episode from BBC Inside Science, where 3 British Scientists, Dr Adam Rutherford, Professor Alice Roberts and Professor Brian Cox look back at a decade of advances in science.

Cracking Ideas have released the first in a series of new educational films on the role of intellectual property rights in STEM to coincide with British Science Week. This first short film 'Inside STEM Informatics' explores the role that your fitness tracker plays in improving the health and wellbeing of the wider community.

A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle        The Quiet at the End of the World by Lauren James

Here are a selection of titles to tie in with British Science Week, available to borrow online from either Sora or LLC.

Itch by Simon Mayo (Sora)
A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson (Sora)
The Many Worlds of Albie Bright by Christopher Edge (Sora)
The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind by William Kamkwamba and Bryan Mealer (LLC)
The Quiet at the End of the World by Lauren James (LLC)
A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle (LLC)

One of the Yr7 students asked me if we would all get pie on Pi Day, which is celebrated on March 14. This date was chosen to match the first three digits of pi, 3.14 and coincidentally it is also Albert Einstein's birthday.

Earlier this week on March 8, it was Commonwealth Day, an annual celebration observed by people all over the Commonwealth. And the winners of the annual Commonwealth Youth Awards were announced on 10 March. The overall 2021 Commonwealth Young Person of the Year is Faysal Islam from Bangladesh who is the founder of SafeWheel, which provides low cost ambulances and medical care to rural people. I have saved a copy of the Commonwealth Youth Awards 2021 Ceremony Awards Booklet on the P drive in the P:\LIBRARY folder.

YA Book Prize 2021 shortlist

The shortlist has been announced for the YA Book Prize 2021 and you can download the first chapter of each title here. Some of the titles are available to borrow online from LLC as follows.

Wranglestone by Darren Charlton (LLC)
Cane Warriors by Alex Wheatle (LLC)
And the Stars Were Burning Brightly by Danielle Jawando (LLC)
Loveless by Alice Oseman (LLC)
The Great Godden by Meg Rosoff (LLC)
Good Girl, Bad Blood by Holly Jackson (LLC)

Jhalak Prize YA longlist 2021

More award news. The longlists have been published this week for the Jhalak Prize and this is the first year that they have included a Children’s and YA category. This award seeks to celebrate books by British/British resident BAME writers. Some of the titles are available to borrow online from Sora or LLC as follows.

Mohinder’s War by Bali Rai (Sora)
The Girl Who Stole An Elephant by Nirvana Farook (LLC)
When Life Gives You Mangoes by Kereen Getten (LLC)
And the Stars Were Burning Brightly by Danielle Jawando (LLC)
Cane Warriors by Alex Wheatle (LLC)


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

The Lancaster Literature Festival starts at 6pm today with a BigRead session by A. M. Dassu, author of Boy Everywhere. I'm also going to highlight a talk by Johny Pitts, author of Afropean at 2pm on 14 March. All events are free online and will then be available for a limited time on their YouTube.

The National Literary Trust have launched a creative writing and wellbeing platform Well Ahead for those aged 13+. There will be a new activity weekly for the next 6 weeks on the theme 'The Write Space'.

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

Poetry for Good are running a competition to celebrate the UK’s key workers.

You may win a copy of The Extraordinary Book That Eats Itself in a Book Trust giveaway. This is a guide to saving the planet with a difference - it's totally, 100%, recyclable and reusable! Although please don't recycle books unless they are falling apart, as there's always another reader who will appreciate any book you have finished with.


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 how to find their curated lists of book recommendations. Click the 'binoculars' explore icon at the bottom of your Sora screen and you may page down through a selection of curated lists. These lists are changed regularly. Plus if you have added London Libraries Consortium (LLC), you may see their curated lists here too.

Sora Curated Lists


I've created a wordsearch featuring some more inspirational female authors to tie in with International Women's Day. Plenty of reads for you to try from these authors.

Inspirational Female Authors Wordsearch

Wordsearch created at