Welcome our Christmas blog and we would like to wish you a Merry Christmas and hope you will have a restful Christmas holiday.  We hope you have been counting down the days with our library advent calendar and that it has provided plenty of Christmas book inspiration?  Year 7 have created a beautifully decorated ‘Favourite Book Christmas Tree’ for the school to admire, thank you to everyone one who took part.  Our library bookmark competition has seen some brilliant designs being entered, see full details below.  We hope you have had lots of fun guessing the books and authors in our Library Christmas Quiz this year?

‘Year 7 Favourite Book Christmas Tree’

Christmas Crackers!

Check out these cracking titles this Christmas which are available in our School Library for you to read: An Eagle in the Snow by Michael Morpurgo (KS3); Impossible Creatures by Katherine Rundell (KS3); Hogfather by Terry Pratchett (KS3); Moondust by Gemma Fowler (KS3).

Great Expectations by Charles Dickens (KS3/4); Silent Night by Sophie Hanna (KS4); Winter’s Bullet by William Osbourne (KS3); You Better Watch out by Sarah Naughton (KS3).

SORA also have some great titles in available online, remember to log on during the holidays to the Reading Cloud to do us a book review, an achievement point will be awarded to every review we receive.

Come and explore our newly purchased books which will be ready to borrow in January 2024: Dogs of the Dealands by Anthony McGowen (KS3); Happy Head by Josh Silver (KS4); Tyger by SF Said (KS3); The Haunting of Tyrese Walker by J.P. Rose (KS3); Children of the Stone City (KS3); Away with Words by Sophie Cameron (KS3).

Yuletide Reads

This Christmas nestle down with a good book, hot chocolate and cookies to see the chilly weather away.  Here are a few thought provoking books that I have enjoyed reading; all are available in our school library now.

Lark by Anthony McGowen (KS3)

I recently read Lark and Truth of things by Anthony McGowen.  Lark was nominated and won a Carnegie Medal in 2020. The adventure begins when two brothers Nicky and Kenny decide to go for a walk on the Yorkshire Moors in search of Larks, to distract them from things happening at home, taking their Jack Russel Terrier, Tina with them.  The weather takes a turn for the worst and soon they find themselves stuck in a blizzard and far from home.

The relationship between the siblings is particularly heart-warming as older brother Kenny has special needs, making him an impulsive but ever so endearing character throughout the story. The book is told through the eyes of Nicky and it doesn’t shy away from teenage issues and growing up in Yorkshire on a low income.

If you enjoy Lark, you’ll find McGowen’s novellas, Brock, Pike and Rook (The Truth of Things) equally as compelling and available on SORA.

Guinness World Records 2024

Nothing shouts Christmas quite like the yearly tradition of the Guinness World Records book and the 2024 edition is just perfect for delving into after a Christmas lunch, a gloomy day or sharing interesting record breaking facts with others.  The Guinness World Records 2024 has thousands of new and classic records with this year’s theme being ‘Blue Planet.’  The front cover even has a ‘spot how many sea creatures you can find’ on it, designed by the talented Rod Hunt, making this book a truly invigorating read from cover to cover!

Cilka’s Journey by Heather Morris (KS4/5)

Having previously enjoyed the historical fiction novel, Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris, I really wanted to read the sequel, Cilka’s Journey.  I was not disappointed, it is an incredible story of what happened to Cilka Klein after Auschwitz-Birkenau was liberated by the Soviet Army. Cilka, who appears as the Jewish friend of Lale Sokolov and Gita in the Tattooist of Auschwitz, is interviewed and convicted by the Soviets of espionage and sleeping with the Nazis.  She is sentenced to 15 years of hard labour at Vorkuta Gulag in Siberia. She befriends a 16 year old girl called Josie who following an accident badly burns her hand.

Cilka and Josie go to the prison hospital to get treatment for Josie’s hand where they meet a doctor who is surprised by Cilka’s intelligence and offers her a job to train as a nurse at the hospital.

The story starts to unravel when Cilka notices the poor behaviour of some of the doctors, fellow prisoners and guards.  This reminds Cilka of the atrocities she witnessed in Auschwitz as a young 16 year old girl.

Mr Burgess Reviews
Factfulness by Hans Rosling

This is one of my favourite books.  Hans Rosling, a masterful storyteller and statistician, skilfully combines data and stories to challenge common misconceptions about the world and open our minds to new perspectives.

In the book, Rosling explores global issues and questions the automatic biases that can sometimes blur how we see things.  One of the book’s strengths is its focus on human instincts and how they can lead us astray when interpreting facts about the world.  Did you know, for example, that the human mind tends to perceive the world in simple terms, like rich versus poor or developed versus less developed?  This instinct can lead to a distorted understanding of global realities by oversimplifying complex issues.

As a tool for critical thinking and expanding one’s worldview, this book is unparalleled.  It’s an exciting journey through facts that will reshape how you see the world!

Factfulness by Hans Rosling is recommended for students in Year 9 and above.

Andrew Lane

Who doesn’t love a good YA detective novel especially when it comes in the form of Young Sherlock Holmes.  Author Andrew Lane, also known as Andy, based his first series of books, Young Sherlock Holmes around the early life of the famous fictional character Sherlock Holmes.  He had the first book of series Death Cloud published in 2010 and went on to write seven more Young Sherlock titles: Red Leech, Black Ice, Firestorm, Snake, Bite, Knife Edge, Stone Cold and Night Break.  The series has been translated and sold in over 40 countries.

Andy has been an ardent Sherlock Holmes fan since he was ten years old.  He studied Physics at Warwick University and currently lives with his family in Dorset.  Notably, Andy has written scripts for television and a number of spin-off novels based on the popular BBC sci-fi TV series Doctor Who.

Andy’s other successful book series include: Lost World, Crusoe, Dawn of Spies and Secret Protector, The Bond Files: An Unofficial Guide to the World’s Greatest Secret Agent and The Awol Series; we have books 1-3 in our library and the fourth book: Last Day on Earth, is available on SORA (The Libraries Consortium).

Christmas Crossword

This Christmas try out your crossword skills with this great competition run by Heath books.  To be in with a chance of winning some luxury chocolates, you must be aged 13 or over to enter.  The deadline is 4th January 2024.  Click here for all the details and Good Luck!

Malorie Blackman Exhibition
at the British Library

The British Library is currently hosting an exhibition, until February 2024, about the hugely successful YA Author Malorie Blackman OBE.  The exhibition takes you through the novelist’s childhood through to present day and includes her Laureate medal and the 82 rejection letters she received from publishers before her incredible literacy success.

Our library staff recommends Pig Heart Boy (KS3), Hacker (KS3) and Thief (KS3) by Malorie Blackman.

We have many other books written by Malorie Blackman available, so don’t delay and take one home this Christmas to read, or download on SORA.  If you have not yet read Blackman’s hugely popular Noughts and Crosses (KS3) sequence about an alternative Britain, then try them today.


Year 10 Book Trailer Competition

Calling all Year 10 Students….. the challenge is on to create a short video advertisement for our Year 10 Book Trailer Competition.  The Winner will receive a £10 Spotify Voucher, there will be edible prizes for the runner-ups and achievement points awarded to all.  Your video should be 30-90 seconds long and advertise a book of your choice.  We will accept individual and group entries and the deadline will be 31st January 2024.  All entries to be submitted to Ms Lo in the Library, you will receive a link via email.

Booker Prize Winner 2023

Irish Novelist Paul Lynch wins the Booker Prize 2023 with his fifth novel Prophet Song.  Lynch’s previous novels are: Beyond the Sea, Grace, The black Snow and Red Sky in Morning.  Grace, Lynch’s third novel, won the 2018 Kerry Group Irish Novel of the year and in the 2020 Ireland Francophoni Ambassadors’ Literary Award. His second novel, The Black Snow, won France’s bookseller prize, Prix Libr’à Nous for Best Foreign Novel.

Prophet Song has been described as an explosive literary sensation about a mother who faces a terrible choice as Ireland slides into totalitarianism.

On a dark, wet evening in Dublin, scientist and mother-of-four Eilish Stack answers her front door to find the GNSB (Garda National Services Bureau) on her step. Two officers from Ireland’s newly formed secret police are here to interrogate her husband, a trade unionist.

Ireland is falling apart. The country is in the grip of a government turning towards tyranny and when her husband disappears, Eilish finds herself caught within the nightmare logic of a society that is quickly unravelling.

How far will she go to save her family? And what – or who – is she willing to leave behind?

Exhilarating, terrifying and propulsive, Prophet Song is a work of breathtaking originality, offering a devastating vision of a country at war and a deeply human portrait of a mother’s fight to hold her family together.

Publication date: August 24, 2023;
ISBN: 9780861546459; RRP: £16.99; Pages: 320

To find out more about the Booker Prize 2023 and winning author of Prophet Song, Paul Lynch click here
Please note the Booker Prize books are suitable for KS5 students.

Bookmark Competition Winner

Congratulations to Risheet 7G for winning our library book mark competition with his exceptional book mark design and quote by JK Rowing: “ I do believe something very magical can happen when you read a good book.”

Well done and thank you to everyone who took part, each entrant has received an achievement point.

The bookmarks are available in our school library now, so come in and grab one!



Kerb Stain Boys

We love YA books by Alex Wheatle, check out this video on his novella: Kerb Stain Boys (KS3/4).  The book is brilliantly portrayed and full of funny moments about school life and living on the fictional Crongton estate.


Kerb Stain Boys is available on SORA.  In our library we have Cane Warriors by Alex Wheatle available to borrow.



Book Club start Carnegies Longlist Books

The Carnegies longlist has been announced and our fortnightly Book Club have been the first to start reading them.  They have each taken a one to read and review over the Christmas holidays and we are looking forward to their feedback.  The Yoto Carnegies Shadowing will start in the New Year.

Pictured above from left to right: Josh 8W; Henry 8W, Wensen 8M, Toby 8M.

If you would like to take part and join Book Club, come to our next meeting on Wednesday 17th January 2024, after school in the Library.

Bitterhorn by Kat Dunn (KS4); Unraveller by Frances Harding (KS3); The Half Life of Love by Brianna Bourne (KS3); Crossing the Line by Tia Fisher (KS3; Gwen & Arthur are Not in Love by Lex Croucher (KS3); The Door of No Return by Kwame Alexander (KS3); Until Roads End by Phil Earle (KS3); The Girl who Broke the Sea by A Connors (KS3); What Makes these Halls by Amy Clarkin (KS3).

Sixth Form Author Visit

Journalist and author, Sally Percy will be coming into Sutton Grammar school to talk to our sixth form students and Year 11 business studies students about her two books, Reach for the Top in Finance and 21st Century Business Icons: The Leaders who are changing our world.  This exciting opportunity will allow students to meet Sally, listen to her experiences as a business woman and what led her to write books and more.

Both books are available in our school library to borrow now.  If you are in the sixth form or studying business studies in Year 11 and would like to buy 21st Century Business Icons, Kogan Page publishers have given our students a 20% off discount code which will be available soon.

Blogs Goes Live!

Blog Club have had a busy term writing their individual blogs.  You can read them on SGS website by clicking here.  Bloggers, Alex 8, Elias 7, Neev 7 and Toby 8 have worked very hard, using a range of software and images to add emphasise their views.  Blog Club will be adding to their content, so to keep updated by checking monthly to see what they have added.

Blog Club runs every Monday after school in the library 3.35pm – 4.30pm.  We welcome new members, so if you would like to join, turn up on the day to find out more.

Congratulations to Toby in 8M who has had his blog published on the Jack Petchey Foundation website recently to read Toby’s blog on “The Future of Wildlife Conservation,” click here.

SGS will be entering the National Reading Champions Quiz next year.  The regional heat will commence on 15th March 2024.  Our Year 7-9 students will be put into teams and practising will commence on 11th January 2024 during lunch break.  Ms Lo is running the quiz, please come in and ask her if you have any questions.

Logo credit: www.literacytrust.org.uk

Winter Wonderland Poem Competition

Young Writers are writers are inviting all ages to write a Winter Wonderland poem in any style on the theme of winter time.  The winner will receive a £25 National Book Token!  Every entrant receives a bookmark and those poets selected for publication also receive a certificate of merit.  Participating schools receive a free copy of the book their pupils feature in.  Closing Date: 29th February 2024.  Check out their website for the full details: winter-wonderland-24

Logo creditwww.youngwriters.co.uk