In this darkness I have just decided to go away for the a few days in Easter, flights are booked and train tickets to the airport, how to get and get back all planned, and months yet to go. The internet allows you so many easy short cuts, flights booked after we checked 3 different airports for a variety of dates and then chose the ones that suited and were cheap. Everything else will rotate round these dates. Then train journeys to the airport, allowing for a not too rushed trip down, and a hotel in central Glasgow which we can take our time in. Our destination is our next plan, Segway trips and climbs up Italian churches in our future! all in all the planning is as much fun as the going.
But that is many weeks away, first I spent my morning voting for the Scottish Children book awards, I had made a mistake but with the Scottish Book Trust staff help all was well. (Thanks to Laura and Sarah for that) I am finally going to talk about the books :-) I read both the middle and the older range of books.
The older range included a thick book called Black Dove, White Raven. which was based in the past in Africa, in Ethiopia during the war and in a time of upheaval. Some of the back ground was things I already knew while others I either had never thought of or had not known. The detail and depth was fascinating. The history and background something I will reread and follow up, but the story didn't grab me half as much as the detail. The next one is The Trouble on Cable Street, another historically heavy book full of things I heard in history as a child, and came from my own families past, troubles in Ireland, Spanish revolution, and the world wars. The voice was very real, I could hear parts of my own family talking, bits of Ireland, bits of past. But found it hard to get through in the allowed time, one I will be going back to when I am not time constrained. The third book of the awards was the Piper, which I totally misunderstood from the glance at the cover, another world war book, or a trenches book, turned out to be a tense, family horror, that pulled you in and twisted and turned until even at the end you were not totally sure you had the truth of it. Left a lasting impression on me.
The middle range of books was The Fastest boy in the world, which had a good draw, and pace, felt a bit like a biography at points and while it took you far, I didn't feel I knew the people at the end. Good read though and worth a revisit and a recommendation. The Mysteries of Ravenstorm Island, I had this book out for the longest time but never got past the first page, for me I didn't find this book drew me at all, but it is aimed at 8-12 year old, but wasn't my choice. The third book in this group was the first I read, The Nowhere Emporium, the very premise drew me in. Of all the titles I had this one already and so read it while the other came from the supplier. Really good read which drew me in and kept me there, I would tell a different story but as a friend said when I said this before 'go on then and write.' Some bits I wanted more of and the ending was an opening to a series, but you forgive that as that is what a good writer wants. I will be looking out for the future series.
The youngest age range for the first time ever was also read by me, mainly to small folk in classes. I had so much fun, bright happy focused faces all sat listening with awe in their eyes, I can live along time off that sort of adoration :-) again I am glad not to have a voice here, as the range was exceptional this year, I am still not sure which one would get my vote. The class from yesterday are taking the end of the never tickle a tiger, where Izzy goes off to Poke the Polar bear as a start point and will be writing their own stories, which I hope to go back and listen too at the end of next month. It tied in with their Arctic Theme they are just started, and the igloo, and penguin they are currently looking at. I was asked to judge their drawings, gosh now that was hard, how can you choose between 15 drawings all done with love, and energy and hope. They had covered each of the titles and all were of such vigorous and colourful style it took ages to find just three! I could choose from all titles but ended up picking the best of each title.
Wanted Ralfy Rabbit Book Burglar,
The rest are on the same section if you want to have a listen too!
The next library plan is the world book day tokens and the readathon as well as the big quiz which I need to find a teacher to support. I also have had fun doing The Write Path by Bev Humphrey, which has been a fun event run each autumn with first years. For this we get a pass the parcel story, and an hour! the latter often is harder than the former, and I underestimated the amount of time it would take to get the stories typed and checked to send off. Last year we got the first parts straight from the authors who bravely set up their work to be mangled and zombied by the pupils as it gets passed round in the hour. (Every year someone brings in Zombies, not always in the story that looks like you could use it but then kids imagination is amazing).
We are in the first Prelims of the BGE (Broad General Education) generation of the new Scottish curriculum, the 4th years are the first pupils that have been doing this system since P1 and this is their first year to do Nat 4 and Nat 5 exams. The change in attitudes is noticeable, the first stop point or go to for them is google, this isn't a bad thing, but they expect the work to be there and they can copy and paste it into their templates, to then be sent off! One staff member took the class to the reference books and showed them what they needed to do and left them to look, within minutes they had left the books logged in and were asking how to find the right level in google, when the book had that already at their level. This year will be interesting across the board.
The School blog has a great visit by some of our kids to the new school site, which looks good. The seating is the first floor of the pool which is backed onto my office and the top floor of the library. There is also a fab shot from the local Sinclair Aerial Survey folk who have been taking shots as it has been going up. Again some nice shots of my windows and the space, I plan to go visit soon and bring back my own shots.
Now I have a confession to make, I am not very sporty and tend to wards the 'why does any one bother' in most conversations. But I have two small exceptions to this, two forbidden pleasures I rarely ever admit but both are coming up in the next few months. The first is the six nations rugby, my school was a rugby focused school with much support put into players and skills, with a small handful over the years becoming professional and even playing for their countries, despite not bothering for a number of years I do like a bit of Rugby. I tend to not bother with the clubs and counties level but I do enjoy a good game so tend to follow the countries, of course the Scottish team, and due to old links I have cheered for the English but up here I do this very very quietly. My other small sporting weakness is the Grand National (9th of April this year) I have been known to put a bet on, sit and cheer my horse on, and even watch all the build up, drink in hand. My mothers family are from Liverpool, and my mum tells of jump Sunday being the same date as mothering Sunday year after year and her family taking a picnic out to the course to have a family day out. Was her birthday on mothering Sunday so often her birthday treat.