Welcome to the May library blog.  We would like to wish Year 11 and Year 13 the best of luck in their GCSE and A-Level exams over the coming weeks.  Our school library is open for study until 5.20pm daily for anyone wanting a quiet place to work.

This month we have launched our new competition to create a 3-frame comic strip based on a fiction book (see more details below).  Also, the Yoto Carnegies ‘Shadowers Choice’ has opened for voting on their shortlisted books which Book Club have keenly been anticipating!  To get involved with Book Club after half term, come and speak to one of the librarians.

Watch out for these incredible books which have come into the library this month.  We have updated some of our well-thumbed through books and added some additional copies for you to borrow: Silver in the Bone by Alexandra Bracken (KS3); The Atlas Paradox (KS5); Dune by Frank Herbert (KS3/4); The Forest Demands it’s Due by Kosoko Jackson (KS3/4); Restarting the Future: How to Fix the Intangible Economy by Jonathan Haskel and Stian Westlake (KS5); Monsters of Men by Patrick Ness (KS4).

Keep visiting the library to see what we have in stock for you.



Monster Day

Monster day was celebrated internationally on 13th May 2024.  It is an altogether lively day to remember the famous monsters you have read about in books.  So, in true SGS style, we thought it would be fun to see which of your favourite monsters from literature made the top five, as selected by our library users. Here is our list:

All of the books are available to borrow from our school library.  In our Graphic Novel Section we have the retold stories and quick reads of: Dracula by Bram Stoker; Frankestein by Mary Shelley; The Strange Case of Jekyll and Mr Hyde in section 741.




Double Win at the Nibbies 

The British Book Awards, known as the Nibbies Award, is a prestigious event that celebrates books and their creators. It brings together authors, illustrators, and industry professionals to connect readers with captivating stories. This year’s shortlisted authors for children’s Non-fiction; Illustrated and fiction books was a celebrated line-up with Adam Kay; A.F. Steadman; Sathnam Sanghera, Alice Oseman; Matt Lucas; Lauren Roberts and Ravena Guron, amongst them.

Author of the Year was awarded to the talented Katherine Rundell. In our library we have some of her inspiring novels: The Explorer; Skysteppers and Impossible Creatures.

This year’s book of the year from the children’s fiction category was another win for Katherine Rundell with her brilliant novel, ‘Impossible Creatures.’ We were thrilled to hear that this magical fantasy book won and was also shortlisted in the 2024 audio book category.  You can read a synopsis of Impossible Creatures and other shortlisted books for the Nibbies on SORA or the Reading Cloud.

Award ceremony photo credit: David Parry

Picture Credit: www.thebookseller.com/the-british-book-awards




Following in Percy Jackson’s Footsteps

Author Rick Riodan is the mastermind behind the Percy Jackson series of books.  Half-blood Kid Percy, whose father is the Greek God Poseidon, bravely tackles thousands of blood-thirsty monsters and wars against the Gods.  The sword battling protagonist wracks up a series of adventures with his friends, keeping readers captivated since the first book, ‘The Lightning Thief’ right up to the latest book the ‘Wrath of the Triple Goddess.’

So, if the Percy Jackson books have left you wanting more, we have some equally entertaining and enthralling book suggestions just for you!

The Belgariad, Pawn of Prophecy (book 1) by David Eddings (KS3); The Girl of Ink & Stars by Kiran Millwood Hargrave (KS3); Contender, The Chosen (book 1) by Taran Matharu (KS3); Akata Witch by Nnedi Okorafor (KS3); The Elemental Detectives by Patrice Lawrence (KS3); The Maze Runner (book 1) by James Dashner (KS3).  All of these books are available to borrow from our school library now.

Don’t forget to look on SORA for more books and you might like to check this link out for an even longer list of novels similar to the Percy Jackson series.



Voting is Open for the Shadowers’ Choice 

It’s that time of the year again when our Yoto Carnegies Shadowers’ group start voting for their favourite book to win the Shadowers’ Choice Awards. Each Shadower will vote for a book they found to be the best from the Medal for Writing shortlist 2024.  The winner as voted by the judges and the winner of the Shadowers’ choice will be announced on 20th June 2024 during a live-streamed ceremony in London.

Our Shadowers have been busy reading the books and discussing all of the shortlisted books in our fortnightly meetings.  Our conversations about this year’s book selection have revealed how appealing we’ve found the book covers and the blurb; our thoughts on their plots and discussions around target audiences for the books.

We have really enjoyed some of the activities suggested by this year’s judges and come up with our own ideas too.  Last week Ms Taylor set up an in-school vote to choose the book our students wanted to win (above) and what they thought the judges will pick as the winner (below).



Mr Barlett Reviews
Culture A New World History
by Martin Puchner

It was Jane Shaw’s review, in the Financial Times, which piqued my interest in the most recent book from Harvard professor of English and comparative literature, Martin Puchner:

Culture: A New World History — the case for cross-fertilisation over ownership (ft.com)

Anyone who has enjoyed the books of Yuval Noah Harari (“Sapiens” or “Homo Deus”) or Jared Diamond (“Guns, Germs and Steel” or “Collapse”)  will already appreciate the fascination of reading about different cultures, what they borrow from each other, and how these items become appropriated in their new settings. Personally, I have always been of the view that artefacts, such as the Parthenon marbles on display in the British Museum, should, where possible, be returned to their country of origin. Reading Puchner’s book has challenged rather than actually changed my view. It has helped me better appreciate a counter-argument which, I concede, I had previously underestimated. The book’s fifteen chapters cover a wide historical arc and offer examples from across the globe. Illustrated with several beautiful photographs, the book proved to be an informative and, at times, a provocative read.”

You’ll find Culture A New World History by Martin Puchner under section 575. Homo Deus and Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari are also under 575.  Guns, Germs and Steel by Jared Diamond is under section 330 and Collapse by the same author is under section 304.28

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Jhalak Shortlist 2024

Established in 2017, the Jhalak Prize and its sister award the Jhalak Children’s YA Prize, founded in 2020, aim to celebrate books authored by writers of colour in the UK and Ireland. Both prizes consider book entries across all genres including fiction, nonfiction, short stories, graphic novels, poetry and more published in the UK by writers of colour.

The Jhalak Children’s and YA Prize celebrates children’s and young adult literature. We have many YA books in our library kindly donated by Jhalak. This year’s Jhalak Children’s and YA shortlisted books have got us very excited.  Our SGS Book Club have already started reading: Safiyyiah’s War by Hiba Noor Khan (KS3) and Steady for This by Nathanael Lessore (KS3). 

The prize awards for the 2024 Children’s and YA books will be announced on 30th May 2024.  The winners of both prizes will each receive £1000 and a unique artwork created through the annual Jhalak Art Residency program.  This year the artist and illustrator is Yousef Saif who has worked in the film Industry and in publishing.   Yousef is currently involved in creating a new graphic novel saga.  You can read more about his work by visiting: www.the-jhalak-art-residency

You might like to read: How to Die Famous by Benjamin Dean and Wild Song by Candy Gourlay on SORA.

SGS would like to say a special thank you to Jhalak for the generous collection of books they have donated to our school library.




Tom Palmer Releases a
New Historical Fiction Book

Angel of Grasmere is an insightful and endearing story that explores the impact of Dunkirk on life at the homefront and tackles themes of desertion, grief and heroism in a sensitive and thought-provoking way.

Palmer’s latest book is a powerful addition to a standout backlist of World War fiction including FCBG Children’s Book Award winners Armistice Runner and D-Day Dog, and the Carnegie-longlisted After the War.

Credit: www.barringtonstoke.co.uk

A note from the author:

“While I was researching my other books set in the English Lake District – Armistice Runner and After the War – I unearthed so many interesting stories about what we now call Cumbria during both world wars that I felt compelled to write about them too. The men who hid in the mountains for years to avoid being enlisted. The fear of and preparation for a Nazi invasion among the fells and lakes. Angel of Grasmere is the product of those stories and also of my ongoing relationship with Grasmere School, who have helped me with all three books.”


We have an ever-growing collection of Tom Palmer books.  If you would like to read an exclusive chapter from Angel of Grasmere click here.

If you are a Tom Palmer fan and you like to see him talking about his books he is visiting the Imperial War Museum, London on 31st May 2024, 11am – 3pm.  For more details visit: www.iwm.org.uk/events



SORA Sweet Reads is Back

That’s right… SORA Sweet Reads is back and ready for you to kick off your ebook/audio book summer reading from now until 26th August 2024.  In addition, SORA have set a reading challenge for students to fill in.  We would love hear about which books you have read and see your completed challenge sheets. Please download a sheet here to begin/or pick up a copy from the library.


Did you know that SORA has a ‘Read to Me’ feature? All you have to do is download a book, click and drag to highlight a section of text within SORA (up to a paragraph).  Then you will see some options pop up on the screen, select Read to Me’, and the highlighted text will be read out.  Please note that this will not work within ‘fixed format’ books, such as magazines or comics.



Exploring Environmental Awareness

World Environment day
5th June 2024

Theme for 2024:
Land restoration, desertification and drought resilience

World Environment Day has been led by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) since 1973 and is the largest international day dedicated to the environment. It serves as a global platform for promoting environmental initiatives and awareness worldwide.  It is observed by millions of people globally to increase understanding of climate change.

You’ll find lots of books about the environment and climate change in our school library.  We have picked out a few books for you to read: How We’re F***ing Up Our Planet by Tony Juniper (KS3) section 551; Global by Eoin Colfer and Andrew Donkin (KS3) section 741; The Future We Choose by Christiana Figueres and Tom Rivett-Carnac (KS3/4) section 363.

World Ocean Day for Schools
7th June 2024

2024 World Ocean Day Theme:
Catalyzing Action for Our Ocean & Climate

Students and teachers are invited to take part in World Ocean Day for schools -a full and exciting day learning about our magnificent blue planet.  This event aims to connect children to the wonders of the ocean and inspire them to become advocates for its protection. This year, World Ocean Day for schools has something truly special planned. They will be hosting a ground-breaking global experiment to gather data on marine identity, marine citizenship, and our connection to the ocean. Mark your calendars for Friday, June 7th, we will be showing World Ocean Day for Schools on our big library screen.  Dive into section 551.46 search for our ocean books.





Adam Kay

Adam Kay is a BAFTA-winning author, TV writer, comedian and former junior doctor. His first book, This is Going to Hurt, spent over a year at number one in the Sunday Times bestseller list, was translated into 37 languages, won ten national awards, and sold over three million copies. His subsequent adult nonfiction books, Twas the Nightshift Before Christmas and Undoctored were also Sunday Times number one bestsellers. He edited Dear NHS: 100 Stories to Say Thank You, raising over £400,000 for charity. He is also one of the country’s bestselling children’s authors, with books including Kay’s Anatomy (the fastest selling kids’ non-fiction book of the decade), Kay’s Marvellous Medicine, Kay’s Brilliant Brains, Kay’s Incredible Inventions and picture book Amy Gets Eaten. His books have sold over five million copies in total.

As a live performer, Adam has sold-out numerous West End seasons and UK tours. His tour of This is Going to Hurt was attended by over 300,000 people and Undoctored was the bestselling show of the 2023 Edinburgh Fringe.

Adam’s awards for TV writing include BAFTA and Writers Guild awards for adapting This is Going to Hurt for the BBC and AMC.

Adam is a columnist for the Sunday Times, and a proud patron to multiple charities.

Credit: www.adamkay.co.uk
Photo Credit: Charlie Clift

One of the many things we like about Adam Kay’s books is the wide audience he appeals to, particularly those interested in becoming a doctor. Borrow one of his books from our library today: Kay’s Marvellous Medicine (KS3); Kay’s Anatomy (KS3); This is Going to Hurt (KS4); Kay’s Brilliant Brians (KS3).



KS3 Comic Strip Competition

We have launched a new competition to design a comic strip based on a fiction book but the challenge is you only have 3-frames in which to achieve it.  So, get your comic minds whizzing to draw/create on the computer a synopsis of a book or sum up a chapter/scene from a novel – the choice is yours, but remember it must be 3 frames.

Templates are available on the ‘P drive’ or you can design your own.  All entries to be dropped into the library with your name, form and book written on your entry.  Great prizes are waiting to be won. The deadline is Monday 3rd June 2024.



National Literacy Trust
Share an Exclusive New Poem
by Joseph Coelho

Our friends at the National Literacy Trust always are real trailblazers in supporting an early foundation in Reading for pleasure and promoting the benefits of libraries nationwide.  We were delighted to a recent blog post that one of our favourite poets, Joseph Coelho has written a new poem entitled “One Thousand Libraries.”   To read the NLT blog post and Joseph Coelho’s new poem click here.

If you enjoy poetry intertwined with a story then try these two brilliant books by Joseph Coelho and illustrated by Kate Milner: The Girl Who Became a Tree (KS3); The Boy Lost in the Maze (KS3/4).  Both books have been Carnegie Medal shortlisted and are available to borrow from our school library and SORA.



Remember Empathy Day 6th June 2024
We will be streaming the day live on our big Library Screen!

Logo Credit: www.empathylab.uk/empathy-day