Welcome to the blog of the Tasmanian branch of the Children's Book Council of Australia!

Sunday 2 April 2017

Reading in the secondary school library

This week, Pennii provides a window into the reading life of the library technician in a large secondary school library. Such a rich reading background is harnessed to inspire teen readers and bring literature into classrooms. 
Like most school library personnel, choosing what to read and how many books to take home is always a challenge. So, what am I reading at the moment? I always have few books on the go and several teachers and I have a running competition of the total number of books we can read in the year. I try to fit as many books in as I can. My total so far this year is just over 250 – of course this includes picture books, graphic novels and quick (easy) reads.
Currently I am going through a ‘Graphic Novel’ (not manga) phase. Our collection of graphic novels was nearly non-existent until last year, when I decided to spend some time researching, surveying the students and spending money.  So far, I am really enjoying reading graphic novels. 

Picture books are a constant on my reading list. The last several years have seen an increase in the purchase of many picture books for my high school. 
All grades are using picture books as part of the Curriculum (Year 7 – writing picture books for young children and how the pictures relate to the text; Year 9 – voice (characters and authors), speech used, humour and image; Year 10 – belonging and literacy groups). These are the last four, recently read, titles that support these year level areas. They are also shortlisted for the CBCA 2017 Picture Book Award.

As for novels, well, from the school library I have just finished reading ‘And I Darken’.
This is the first book in The Conquerors Saga. IT is a reimagined historical story that includes the exploration of perspectives of both Christianity and Islam, how women were used as pawns for men’s political power, where men were expected to be both masculine and brutal.
Lada Dragwlya and her gentle younger brother, Radu, are wrenched from their homeland of Wallachia and abandoned by their father to be raised in the Ottoman courts. Lada knows that being ruthless is the key to survival. She and Radu are doomed to act as pawns in a vicious game, for the lineage that makes them special also makes them targets.

Lada despises the Ottomans and bides her time, planning her vengeance for the day when she can return to Wallachia and claim her birthright. Radu longs only for a place where he feels safe. When they meet Mehmed, the defiant and lonely son of the sultan, Radu feels that he’s made a true friend—and Lada wonders if she’s finally found someone worthy of her passion. But Mehmed is heir to the very empire that Lada has sworn to fight against—and that Radu now considers home. Together, Lada, Radu, and Mehmed form a toxic triangle that strains the bonds of love and loyalty to the breaking point. 
Although I occasionally struggled with this novel I also couldn’t put it down. At times, I found it predictable but I really wanted to see how it would finish. Now I can’t wait for the sequel ‘Now I Rise’ - release date 27th June 2017.
In the pile to read for the next few weeks:
  • Freeks by Amanda Hocking
  • Fight for Survival: the Story of the Holocaust by Jessica Freeburg
  • First Person Shooter by Cameron Raynes, and ...
as many of the CBCA Notables books as possible from all of the categories.
NOTE: I write blurbs for all the books I read from the school’s iCentre collection. These are added to our book lists and students are asked to add their own thoughts once they have read the book.
Pennii Purton
Library Technician and iCentre Manager, Reece High School; Literacy Assistant and CBCA Tasmania Committee Member.

1 comment:

  1. The English 3 (TASC) course has Spiegelman's Maus (graphic novel) as an option for study in 2017. Our English staff have opted to make this a prescribed text. Some classes have commenced this unit, and I notice students diligently reading. No doubt for some, it will be their first visit to this genre. I'll be interested to hear what their response is to studying and responding to the book.