The Library Blog

Just another Whitchurch School Blogs Sites site

September 24, 2015
by library

Abi Elphinstone Visit – Year 5/6

Today our Year 5 and 6 children were lucky enough to have a visit from Abi Elphinstone, author of The Dreamsnatcher. The children have been sharing this as their class novel and having  English lessons around the book. She talked to the children about the process of writing a book and brought her wildcat Griff along to say Hi!


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She talked to the children about all of the adventures she went on which inspired her book. From waterfall climbing as a child, riding in wheelbarrows, climbing the moors and wildcat spotting. All of her ideas from writing came from experiences rather than sitting in a room trying to think of plot lines and characters. She told the children to look up and experience life as storing these memories could be inspiration for future writing.


Abi demonstrated her hunting skills when she catapulted a toy hedgehog at the children which caused much amusement as the children tried to catch the hedgehog and get 10 years good luck. She then told stories of how Romany Gypsies cooked Hedgehogs by caking them in mud and roasting on fires, apparently they’re delicious when eaten with tomatoes and onions.


The children were captivated by Abi’s tales of all the adventures she has been on from abseiling down caves, hangliding off mountains and her next trip living in the mountains of Mongolia with the Kazakh Eagle hunters. Her creative process involves 6 months actual writing and 6 months researching across the world. Although the inspiration for the woods in The Dreamsnatcher is from the great Oak trees in the New Forest.

There were lots of interesting questions for Abi about who influences her, what her favourite author is and there were a number of attempts to get her to give plot spoilers which she strongly resisted despite strenuous efforts. We did however get a sneak peak of the maps and plot notes from the third book currently named ‘Book 3’


It was a brilliant experience for the children and we look forward to welcoming Abi back to the school as some time in the future!


September 22, 2015
by library

Reading for Pleasure at school.

Here at the school library we are committed to promoting Reading for Pleasure and we are always looking for ways to engage our children in reading. I met the new Children’s Laureate Chris Riddell this weekend and was keen to chat to him because part of his laureateship focus is promoting school libraries. Chris has said that librarians “are the custodians of literacy- they lay the stepping stones that start the journey from one book to another, widening horizons and the reading experience.”

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When I asked him “why are libraries so important?’ he said they introduce you to new authors and librarians use their super x-ray vision to read children’s minds and find the perfect book to match what they want. This is the illustrated answer to that question by our Children’s Laureate Chris Riddell. This is what we are trying to achieve in school by giving our children access to a well stocked school library and ensuring that we offer introductions to different authors.


This year we’re starting with an author visit on Thursday to our Year 5 and Year 6 from Abi Elphinstone who wrote ‘The Dreamsnatcher’. The children have been basing their English work around Abi’s book and we are hoping that meeting an actual author will be hugely inspirational for them. This is Abi’s first novel with her second ‘The Shadow Keeper’ due to be published in February, this is part of our work to introduce the children to new authors.


In KS1 each of the classes has been given a Class Author which will change throughout the year. The library provides a large selection of books by this author so that the children can enjoy them. We were lucky enough to have one of our class authors last year  Caryl Hart talk to Dolphins via Face Time and we are working hard this year to continue to build relationships with authors. The children can learn how different illustrators of children’s books can have a huge influence on how appealing a book is to them.

Turtle’s class author is Claire Freedman who most of the children will recognise from her ‘Aliens Love Underpants’ books but she has written a huge variety of books.


Seahorses’s class author is Peter Bently who is known for his very hilarious and brilliantly written Picture books.


Dolphins’s Class has Mini Grey as their class author.

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And Seal’s class has Leigh Hodgkinson.


Throughout the school year each of our year groups will be taking part in a Reading for Pleasure initiatives including author focus, visits, participation in book awards and book groups. We look forward to keeping you up to date via the library blog.

September 22, 2015
by library

Welcome back from the Library!

A big welcome back to school, I hope you have had a fun filled summer reading lots of books, I know I have! We had 85 children at the school complete this year’s Record Breakers Summer Reading Challenge at Whitchurch Library so a huge well done to all of them.


The Library opens officially this week and all children will have a scheduled time to visit the school library each week. If you can ensure your child returns their book on that day each week so that they can change it we would really appreciate it. Library days are listed below:

Year R                Thursday (starting next week)

Year 1 and 2      Thursday

Year 3 and 4      Wednesday

Year 5 and 6      Daily, can change books when needed


We have expanded the space in the library at school to offer a wider choice of books to the children. This includes an enhanced fiction offer which gives the children access to lots of new and different authors. A focus on Picture Books for Older Readers (KS2 Picture Books) as we strongly believe that children of all ages should be exposed to exciting illustrated books.



There is now dedicated space for Early Reader Fiction and Information Book ranges so that children can enjoy books they can read independently outside of the Reading Scheme.


We have also given key focus to Poetry books and Leisure Information books to encourage children to read a wide variety of books. As part of our commitment to the children we visit the School Library Service regularly to exchange books so that the children have access to new and different books. The children are encouraged to ask if they have suggestions for new additions to the library and we endeavour to source any book if requested.

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As part of our commitment to Reading for Pleasure we want to ensure the children have freedom of choice when selecting books. We have subscribed to the WRD magazine this year which offers recommendations of books which children can ask that we source for the library. It often contains new authors who they may have never read, so it’s excellent for broadening their reading choices.

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If you’re looking for inspiration for books for your children I have started a blog recommending primary age appropriate children’s books ranging from picture books, early readers, fiction and Year 6 books.

You can follow my blog at and there will be a link on the school’s blog page.

I’m looking forward to welcoming your children in the school library this year and hope that they enjoy the books that they choose, please comment on the Library blog if you have any comments or queries.

Jo Clarke

School Librarian