The Library Blog

Just another Whitchurch School Blogs Sites site

November 13, 2016
by library

Author Visit Year 5/6 – Ally Sherrick


We were delighted to welcome the author Ally Sherrick to school last week to tell us all about her debut novel ‘Black Powder’ ‘Black Powder’ is an explosive debut  packed full of excitement, danger and intrigue. England 1605, Twelve year old Tom is in a terrifying race against time to save his father from the hangman’s noose. In desperation he makes a deal with a fearsome scarred stranger, know only as the Falcon. But unwittingly Tom finds himself caught up in one of the most famous plots in history. Not knowing who to trust or where to turn he is thrust into this murky world full of dangerous villains who will stop at nothing to further their cause. Torn between saving his father and being part of a heinous crime or saving the King, will Tom have the courage and conviction to make the right decision.



Ally told the children that when she was young she didn’t want to be an author instead she wanted to be an Egyptologist as she wanted to spend her time excavating pyramids and uncovering hidden treasure. But growing up she was a real bookworm and enjoyed writing exciting stories. She talked to the children about the inspiration behind her story the real life events of the gunpowder plot starring the infamous Guy Fawkes who is now as the Falcon in ‘Black Powder’. These events contained all the ingredients to make a truly exciting story: brilliant character; intriguing places and a gripping plot. Her idea for the book was sparked by a visit to Cowdray House where she discovered that Guy Fawkes had worked as a young child. She did lots of research when writing her book where she discovered that people didn’t have pockets in the 17th century so Tom couldn’t hide his pet mouse Jago in his pocket. Writers have to do lots of research when creating their stories to make sure they are accurate.



We had such an interesting morning with Ally the children were enthralled with her presentation and they especially loved all the gory details about what happened to Guy Fawkes after he was captured. There has been so much lovely feedback from the children and parents about the visit and lots of children are enjoying reading ‘Black Powder.’



A huge thank you to Waterstones Basingstoke for arranging the visit and to Ally for visiting the school, it was truly inspirational.

October 6, 2016
by library

Author and Illustrator Visit Polly Faber & Clara Vulliamy Year 1, 2 and 3

We were delighted to welcome Polly Faber and Clara Vulliamy to the school for a visit with our year 1, 2 and 3 children. Polly and Clara have created the fabulous ‘Mango and Bambang’ series which the children have been sharing in class. Each of the books contains four short stories about the adventures of Mango and her tapir Bambang.


Clara drew illustrations of Mango and Bambang, while Polly talked about the characters and read from the story. Mango is a karate lover, chess player and diver off high boards at the swimming pool and lives with her very busy Papa. We get the feeling that she has to keep herself very busy to stop herself from feeling lonely and she is very good at keeping herself busy. All this changes when Mango encounters quite unexpectedly one day a Tapir called Mango who is causing quite a commotion lying in the middle of a zebra crossing. From that point on our delightful duo have lots of fantastic adventures together.

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We learned that Mango is good at lots of things and they asked the children what they where good at? We had climbing trees, making loud noises and even had some demonstrations from the children.

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Our Year 1 and 2 children got to help Polly and Clara create a new hat for Bambang which was just marvellous. Polly even modelled one of Bambang’s favourite hats, the children thought this was hilarious. Back in class they created their own hats, these are beautifully displayed in school.

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The year 3 children had the opportunity to learn how to draw Bambang alongside Clara and they produced some beautiful artwork, this has been displayed in the school for everyone to enjoy.

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It was a truly inspirational visit and the children really enjoyed their visit and have been chatting to me about their favourite parts of the day. Thank you to Polly and Clara for visiting our school it was a truly wonderful experience.

A huge thanks to FOWPS for kindly funding the visit and to Mrs Sarah Dutton for taking these marvellous photos on the day.


July 14, 2016
by library

Year 4/5 Chatterbooks – Peter Bunzl visit


Our Year 4/5 Chatterbookers finally got to meet the author Peter Bunzl  after being selected to take part in an initiative organised by The Reading Agency and Usborne Publishing. All of the children had already received an exclusive proof copy of Peter Bunzl’s debut novel ‘Cogheart’ which is due to be published on the 1st September. They had all read or nearly finished the book and had produced this amazing display reflecting all their favourite elements of the fantastic cover.



In our book group we had completed work sheets about ‘Sharing the adventure’ and when asked to choose three words to describe Cogheart they provided a great selection:

‘exciting,’ ‘amazing,’ ‘dramatic,’ ‘twisty and turny,’ ‘well written,’ ‘brilliant,’ ‘thrilling,’ and ‘mysterious’  proved to be the most popular.

So on the big day having really enjoyed the story you can imagine the excitement and the anticipation that we were all feeling. We were the first school that Peter visited on his Chatterbooks tour and the children gave him a very, warm and friendly Whitchurch welcome.


Peter talked to us about himself, his inspiration and what books and films have influenced his story. He mentioned discoveries he had made during his research to write the story and was really surprised that the children knew about some really obscure facts – apparently Horrible Histories has a lot to answer for!




Peter read some extracts from his book and we all agreed that it is really special hearing an author read from their own story.

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The children were then shown how to make animation strips to use in a Victorian Zoetrope which creates moving pictures which they found really interesting that something so simple could be so effective.




It was a really fantastic visit, we all enjoyed learning more about Cogheart and how Peter was inspired when creating his story. A huge thank you to Peter, Amy, Usborne and The Reading Agency for giving the children this opportunity it was an amazing experience.

June 29, 2016
by library

Tamsin Cooke – Year 3/4 Visit


We were delighted to welcome Tamsin Cooke to our school on Monday to visit the children in Year 3 and 4. Tamsin is the author of ‘Cat Burglar’ which the children have been reading as part of their book talk over the last term. Tamsin turned up dressed in full Cat Burglar costume complete with NVGs (Night Vision Goggles to you and me}, there was even a rumour going around school that she had been spotted on the roof then scaling down through an open window into the hall. Full of energy and enthusiasm Tamsin had the children totally engaged and enthralled with her presentation. She moved with such pace that it was difficult to capture a photograph as you will see below.

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Tamsin talked to the children about why she wanted to become a writer (although she did originally want to be a mermaid), what inspired her to write ‘Cat Burglar’ (it was a dream) and how you can write interesting stories. She invited the children to take part in choosing an object they really desired and making them think about what obstacles could be placed in the way to prevent the hero achieving this goal. This was all done through interactive role play which caused much hilarity amongst the children.

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We also got a sneak peek and a small clue about what secrets would be revealed in the sequel ‘Mission Gone Wild’ which is due to be released next week on the 7th July. Tamsin read the children an extract from the book and introduced us to a new spirit animal (Nahualli). She also revealed that you can find out what your own Nahualli on the quiz on her website.

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Tamsin then went on to run writing workshops on the theme of ‘Potion Making’ with the Lions and Tigers class and they managed to produce an amazing story.


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A huge thank you to Tamsin for coming to visit our school we had an amazing time, the feedback from the children has been fantastic. I would like to also thank FOWPS for funding this visit it is really appreciated by the school.

Mission Gone Wild


If your child can’t wait until next week to read the next  instalment,’Mission Gone Wild’ they can read the first chapter on Tamsin’s website. My review is now live on my blog if you want to find out more. I really hope all the children enjoyed the visit!



May 19, 2016
by library

Year 4/5 Chatterbooks – Meet the Author


Our Chatterbooks group had some exciting news this week. They found out that they had been selected to take part in an initiative organised by The Reading Agency and Usborne Publishing. All of the children received an exclusive proof copy of Peter Bunzl’s debut novel ‘Cogheart’ which is due to be published on the 1st September. As if that wasn’t exciting enough, they also discovered that Peter would be visiting the school to spend time with the group to talk to them about his book, being an author and answering their questions. This is a fantastic opportunity for the children and we are thrilled to be taking part.

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Peter is also a filmmaker and animator and has worked on two BAFTA award winning shows The Secret Show and Yoko Jakamoko Toto. This is his first novel and I was very fortunate to get an early copy of ‘Cogheart’ so I know the children are in for a real treat. This thrilling adventure will really capture their imaginations and take them on an adventure of a lifetime.

March 22, 2016
by library

TES Children’s Book Reviews & The Education Show

The TES Class Review

We were delighted to be asked by the TES for the school to become involved in their new feature Class Review where children and teachers/librarians review a book. The first book we were sent was the brilliantly entertaining ‘Electrigirl’ by Jo Cotterill and Cathy Brett.


Over the half term holidays seven children from Year 5/6 along with myself read and reviewed this book and you can see our review online here.

We will be reviewing some more books next term and will keep you updated.

TES Children’s Book Reviews Live at the Education Show

Following on from the success of our book review we were invited to go to The Education Show at Birmingham NEC to do live book reviews on the central stage in association with TES. Along with Jack, Jasmine, Lydia and Mrs Dale who kindly accompanied us we went along last Thursday to do our book reviews.


Jack reviewed ‘The Many Worlds of Albie Bright’ by Christopher Edge. Jasmine reviewed our Patron of Reading Abi Elphinstone’s newest book ‘The Shadow Keeper’ and Lydia ‘Scarlet Files Cat Burglar’ by Tamsin Cooke. Copies of all these books are available in the school library for all the children to enjoy.

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The children were excellent on stage and spoke confidently about why they enjoyed reading the books and the importance of children being involved in book reviews. It was a very exciting day for all of us and we even got to meet the famous scientish Robert Winston who was sharing the same Green Room we were in. I was so proud of the children for representing the school so brilliantly.

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March 7, 2016
by library

World Book Day – Abi Elphinstone visit Year 5/6


Our Year 5/6 children received a special visit on World Book Day from our amazing, inspirational Patron of Reading Abi Elphinstone. We were very impressed that Abi embraced the spirit of our special Roald Dahl themed dress up day coming up on the train dressed as a giant peach.


Abi came to talk to the children about the inspiration behind her newest book The Shadow Keeper which has recently been released. She introduced the children to the smugglers with an impressive range of props which they were absolutely fascinated by and got the opportunity to look at closely after the talk.


She also talked about her latest adventure living with The Eagle Hunters in Mongolia and getting to meet the only female hunter Aisholpan. The children had lots of questions for Abi and were dedicated in their efforts to get some plot spoilers. There was much excitement when Abi announced she had finished book three ‘the book with no name’ yet and she revealed there would be a new project in the Autumn which she would tell us all about.








A huge thank you to Abi for coming to visit the school on World Book Day we all had a fantastic time and can’t wait to see you again.

To celebrate the launch of The Shadow Keeper Abi took part in a number of guest posts, to find out more you can follow the links below.

Top 10 Places I wrote The Shadow Keeper

Top 10 Stages of Writing A Book

Top 10 Strangest Objects In My Writing Shed

Top 10 Lines from The Shadow Keeper

Top 10 The Shadow Keeper Doodles

Top 10 The Shadow Keeper Songs

March 7, 2016
by library

World Book Day Storytime Year R/ KS1


On World Book Day all of our children in Year R/KS1 had a special storytime session where they had a sneak peek of this gorgeous new Picture Book ‘Nibbles the Book Monster’ by Emma Yarlett which is due to be released next month.


It tells the story of Nibbles a monster who loves to nibbles soap, socks, rubber ducks and clocks. But the thing he loves to nibble most is books so we mustn’t let him escape from his cage and eat the library books. Oh no too late!!



Nibbles munches his way through some fairy tales causing chaos wherever he goes eating baby’s porridge in Goldilocks and stealing Little Red’s cloak in Little Red Riding Hood. The children thought it was hilarious when he got into lots of mischief especially when he nibbled the Giant’s bottom in Jack and the Beanstalk.



We eventually manage to catch Nibble and put him back in his cage but unfortunately before we know it he’s escaped and is causing chaos in our school library.





It was lovely to see the children enjoying their stories on World Book Day and we were very impressed with their fantastic costumes.








All children will have received a special £1 World Book Day token which they can use to purchase one of the special World Book Day books or can be redeemed against a book in our book fair next week or in any participating book shops.

December 8, 2015
by library

Peters Book of the Year 2016

This year at the library we applied to shadow the Peters Book of the Year Awards in 2016. I was delighted when the school was chosen to participate in the Junior Fiction category. The school has been sent copies of all the nominated books in the category and we are inviting our Year 5 and 6 children to participate. In  order to take part they must read as many of the titles before March 11th when they get to vote for their favourite title. Below is this years shortlist:

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How to Fight a Dragon’s Fury – Cressida Cowell

The Cake, the Wolf and the Witch – Maudie Smith

My Brother is a Superhero – David Solomons

Not As  We Know It – Tom Avery

Return to the Secret Garden – Holly Webb

Demolition Dad – Phil Earle

How To Fly With Broken Wings – Jane Elson

Hamish and the Worldstoppers – Danny Wallace

The Marvels – Brian Selznick

The Pirates of Pangaea – Dan Hartwell & Neil Cameron

If your child wishes to take part in the awards they can speak to Mrs Clarke to join the Shadowing Group before the end of term next week.

December 8, 2015
by library

Year 4 Book Group – Pugs of the Frozen North


Here in the library we have recently started a book group with some of our Year 4 children. The first book that we are reading together is the Pugs of the Frozen North by Philip Reeve and Sarah McIntrye. I chose this book for the children to share because not only does it have a fantastic storyline it is sublimely illustrated which helps to engage the children with the book. It tells the tale of Sika and Shen who are on a mission to reach the Frozen North to reach the Snowfather and have their true heart’s desire granted. Instead of having huskies pull their sledge they have 66 pugs which causes much hilarity for the children. To find out more you can read a review here:

In our sessions so far as well as sharing the story we have been doing activities based around the book. From drawing pugs to thinking about what wish we would choose to have granted if we won the race and got the opportunity to meet the snowfather. We also share ‘Jampires’ a picture book by Sarah McIntyre and David O’ Connell so that the children could learn more about Sarah’s other work.


We then tweeted a picture of the fantastic pug drawings that the children had drawn and got a lovely response from Sarah McIntyre. There are lots more fun activities and sessions planned for our book group after the Christmas holidays.