Happy New Year and welcome back to our January library blog.  We have lots of new books ready to be read and reviewed by you on the Reading Cloud, it’s so easy to do and great way of boosting your achievement points.

This term our school library launched the ‘Book trailer competition’ for year10 students to get involved with and the National Reading Championship competition.  In addition, our usual after school clubs are running throughout the spring term.

We are getting very excited about our author visit by Sally Percy on 1st February 2024.  If you would like to buy her book, 21st Century Business Icons in advance for Sally to sign, her publisher Kogan Page has kindly offered SGS students a 20% off discount code: KOGANPAGE20.  Order today via their website: www.koganpage.com/21st-century-business-icons.

Sally will be speaking to Sixth Formers and Year 11 Business Students.

Check out these great titles which have recently arrived in our school library for you to read.  All of the following books are on the Yoto Carnegies longlist: Until the Road Ends (KS3) by Phil Earle; Gwen and Art are Not in Love (KS3) by Lex Croucher; The Girl who Broke the Sea (KS3) by A. Connors.

Other new books include: Blue Machine (KS4) by Helen Czerski; The Raven’s Song (KS3) by Zana Fraillon and Bren MacDibble and Michael Morpugo retelling Tales from Shakepeare (KS3).

Holocaust Memorial Day
27th January 2024

Holocaust Memorial Day (HMD) commemorates the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau, the largest Nazi death camp, on January 27, 1945. Observed internationally each year on this date, HMD remembers the six million Jews murdered in the Holocaust, as well as the millions of other victims of Nazi persecution along with subsequent genocides in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia, and Darfur. The theme for Holocaust Memorial Day 2024 is “Fragility of Freedom.”

We have many books on the holocaust in our school library; Mrs.Payne’s recommendation is the The Librarian of Auschwitz by Antonio Iturbe.  This book is inspired by the true life events of Dita, a fourteen-year-old Jewish girl who is imprisoned at Auschwitz with her mother and father. Block 31, is the children’s block where Dita becomes the secret librarian of Auschwitz. She is asked to take charge of eight precious books that the prisoners have managed to smuggle into the camp, but she must keep them safe and out of sight from the guards and risk her life to do so.

Other books you might like to read are: The Book Thief (KS3/4) by Markus Zusak; Boy in the Stripped Pyjamas by John Boyne (KS3).

The Tattooist of Auschwitz (KS4); Cilka’s Journey (KS4) and Three Sisters (KS4) by Heather Morris.

The Librarian of Auschwitz is suitable for KS4 and contains some distressing subject matters.  Please come and speak to the school librarians for guidance on its suitability for you.

Author Andrew Lane
Visits SGS on World Book Day 2024

Great news for World Book Day…. Andrew Lane, author of the Awol series and Young Sherlock Holmes will be coming to speak to students on World Book Day – Thursday 7th March 2024.

If you are in KS3 and would like to order a copy of AWOL 1, Agent Without Licence or Young Sherlock 1 Death Cloud (or both books together) to get signed on the day by the author, please ask your parent or guardian to order them on Parent Pay.  The cost of each book is £6.50.  Deadline for Parent Pay Orders is end of School Friday 23 February 2024.

A very limited amount of copies will be available on the day at £7.00 cash (exact money please).


Mr Bartlett Reviews
Act of Oblivion by Robert Harris

I had wanted to read Robert Harris’ “Act of Oblivion” since coming across Jonathan Ford’s very persuasive review, in the Financial Times: Act of Oblivion by Robert Harris — a gripping revenger’s tale (ft.com) . Thorough historical research is used to vividly evoke the second half of the seventeenth century and within this context is narrated a compelling adventure centred on attempts to exact revenge on two of the signatories to the death warrant of Charles I. The book’s fast pace sustains the reader’s interest throughout its more than 400 pages and I would warmly recommend Act of Oblivion to anyone, in Year 9 upwards, who enjoys reading historical fiction.

‘Welcome to the STEAM Hub’ is a series of videos offering a behind-the-scenes glimpse into the career journeys of professionals working in Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Maths (STEAM). From architects to video game designers, and from filmmakers to data engineers, each video highlights the exciting possibilities within STEAM careers. Sector videos give insight into particular industries and the range of jobs within them. You can use these videos to complement career guidance sessions, and extracurricular activities. Please find the videos here!


These videos are part of Sutton STEAMs Ahead which is a project funded by a Cultural Impact Award as part of the Mayor of London’s London Borough of Culture programme and The National Lottery Heritage Fund.’
Logo Credit: Sutton STEAMs Ahead

If you would like some helpful books on career decisions, please come and speak to the library staff who can direct you to books we have on careers.  In addition, we have an extensive range of “A Very Short Introduction” series of books which is a great place to start researching.  We have selected these three titles from our library collection: Architecture, A Very Short Introduction by Andrew Ballantyne; Engineering, A Very Short Introduction by David Blockey; Forensic Science, A Very Short Introduction by Jim Fraser.

Top Books of 2023

This year you might be wondering where to begin looking for some good books to read?  We have been having a good nose around to see what the most popular books were last year as borrowed by our students.  You might recognise some old favourites in there and some new titles waiting to be discovered by you that others have enjoyed.  So, without further ado here are the books that made our top 12 list for 2023:

Fake by Ele Fountain (KS3); The Hobbit by JRR Tolkien (KS3 upwards); The Economics Book by DK (KS3); Noughts and Crosses by Malorie Blackman (KS3).

Eagle Strike by Anthony Horowitz BK4 (KS3); Snakehead by Anthony Horowitz BK7 (KS3); The 1000 Year Old Boy by Ross Welford (KS3); The Hunger Games: Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins (KS3).

Exposure by Mal Peet (KS4); Aftershock: H.I.V.E Bk7 by Mark Walden (KS3); Department 19 by Will Hill (KS3); Divergent by Veronica Roth (KS3).

UK General Election

2024 will most likely be the year of a general election (it must be held by the end of January 2025). Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has the power to choose the date of the general election, which will determine the composition of the next government. The UK is split into 650 constituencies, and the candidate with the most votes in each constituency goes on to represent that area in parliament. This is first-past-the-post voting, which is a controversial system as it can sometimes elect a government which did not win the majority of the votes.

In first-past-the-post voting the candidate with the most votes in each constituency is elected to represent their constituency in parliament and the party which has a majority of seats becomes the government. If no party has a majority, then a coalition is formed, where multiple parties agree to form a combined government. This system has the benefit of having an MP to represent every constituency (approximately 70,000). Therefore, issues which affect specific areas are more likely to be discussed in parliament, because every area is represented. However, it is increasingly being seen as the case that representing political parties are more important than local areas, and that the MPs elected to parliament should best reflect the party choices of the population rather than the geographic spread.

One system of voting to allow this would be proportional representation, which is used in various other countries. This would allow for more minor non-regional parties to be represented in parliament. There is likely to be some debate in the lead-up to the 2024 election about the UK voting system.

Above are some of our politics books: Politics for Beginners by Usbourne (KS3); How Britain Really Works by Stig Abell (KS4/5); The Politics Book by DK (KS3).  You will find more politics reading in section 320 of our school library.

By Blog Buddy, Oliver 11M


Check out the Book Trust website to help you discover your next read with their Bookfinder feature.  Simply visit: www.booktrust.org.uk/bookfinder and select age 12+, pick as many genres as you like and click to start your search.  We think it’s a fantastic book resource.  We have a lot of these books available in our own school library. These are a few popular novels:

What Not to do if You Turn Invisable (KS3) by Ross Welford; The Memory Thieves by Darren Simpson (KS3); Lionheart Girl by Yaba Badoe (KS3); Flood World (KS3) by Tom Huddlestone.

Don’t forget to check SORA for ebooks from your BookTrust search.

Logo credit: www.booktrust.org.uk

Philip Pullman
His Dark Materials Books

‘His Dark Materials’ is a book series highlighting the adventures of a young girl called Lyra and a boy named Will. They are from different worlds, and Lyra’s world has many differences to Will’s (our) world, such as having their soul in an animal form that can move and talk. However, they are also in many ways the same. There are humans, and they use money, and boats, and perhaps most importantly, a university called Oxford. The story starts in Oxford, and progresses quickly into many different worlds.

The author of such an amazing series is called Philip Pullman, and I really enjoy his style of writing, despite it being completely different to my usual style. He’s not particularly funny, or extremely witty. He’s very direct with what happens in the book, and doesn’t deviate too much from the natural path of the plot with funny interactions or smart conversations. Somehow, this style of writing is really appealing to me.

One of his other books, called ‘Grimm Tales’, is quite a good example of his style. The short stories follow a relatively straight path with a few bends, and even if there are some plot twists, we know about it as soon as it happens, and no sooner or later. Be sure to read some of Philip Pullman’s books, and experience some of his writing for yourself.

By Blog Buddy, Ezra 9T

Chinese New Year
10th February 2024

Chinese New Year happens around the end of January and the start of February, celebrating a new year using the Lunar calendar. This year, it’s the year of the dragon. 3,000 years ago, until now, it was to celebrate the warning off of the beast 年 (nian).

In China, it’s the most important festival and is celebrated for the whole lunar month. For me, it’s about family and friends with also a very large feast! Since this year is the year of the dragon, here are some dragon books in the library:

Eragon (KS3) by Christopher Paolini; How to train your dragon series (KS3)by Cressida Cowell; Last Dragon Chronicles series (KS3) by Chris D’lacey; Dragon Orb series (KS3) by Mark Robson. 

You can also find many more on the Reading Cloud!

Article by Alexander 8G

Christmas Quiz Winners

Congratulations to all the students who participated in our library Christmas quiz, each of our winners received book prizes.  SGS library staff would like to thank you the Form tutors for encouraging so many students to take part.

House point winners for most correct entries submitted across Y7/8/9

Lenham         3

Throwley      2

Greyhound  1

Battle of the Authors:
JRR Tolkien V George R.R. Martin

John Ronald Reuel Tolkien and George Raymond Richard Martin are both world-class writers, renowned internationally for their fabulous stories, JRR Tolkien being authors of books such as The Lord of the Rings and the Silmarillion, and George R. R. Martin being the author of A Song of Ice and Fire and the TV show, Game of Thrones. Many people believe that these two ground-breaking writers share similarities, both being creators of grand fantastical worlds in stories set years ago. George R. R. Martin himself has mentioned several times about how his work was inspired by Tolkien to an extent, which is no surprise, considering how many aspects they both share, such as the idea of a waning race of an elite species, similar yet superior to humans.

On the other hand, they both have distinct differences. For starters, they are both products of drastically different time periods. JRR Tolkien served in World War 1, whereas George R.R. Martin wasn’t even alive then, being born in 1948, which is just under 30 years after the end of WW1. JRR Tolkien was also more of a mythologist, enjoying things such as creating unique languages, and also wrote his books mainly for his own pleasure, along with for his children. George R.R. Martin is a more modern writer, writing with the main purpose of entertaining the reader rather than creating an extremely detailed history on his fantasy world. Yes, his world is very detailed and great, but nothing can compete with the sheer depth and wonders of Tolkien’s world.

By Blog Buddy, Rohan 11T

Design a Book Token Competition

Design a fun gift card promoting reading for a chance to win money to spend in a book shop and a class bookshop visit! The annual National Book Tokens Design a Gift Card competition invites children of all ages to share their love of reading by creating an original gift card. This Year’s theme is ‘Read your Way,’ which is to encourage you to explore how you enjoy reading in your own personal way.

Winners will receive hundreds of pounds in National Book Tokens for themselves and their schools. The overall winner’s class will also get a £10/€12 gift card featuring their design for each student, plus a bookshop visit to spend them!”  The closing date for entries is Sunday 7th April 2024. Winners will be announced in May 2024. Visit www.worldbookday.com/competition for the full terms and conditions.

What’s available on SORA

Did you know that you can read magazines and comics on your SORA account?  When you join Sutton Grammar School you automatically get free access to SORA, our online reading ebooks and audiobooks; making it even easier to read, renew and link to local library books online.

SORA are excited to announce that you can access past and present books nominated for The Yoto Carnegies medals.

You can login into SORA from any computer in school or at home:
Select Sutton Grammar School
Sign in, using your firstnamelastname@suttongrammar.school 
use your email password.

The SORA App is available to download onto your mobile phone.  If you are unsure, ask an adult.

Year 10 Book Trailer Competition