- Adam Lancaster
- I currently work as a school librarian at a school in Welwyn Garden City in Herts. I am also the Chair of the Federation of Children's Book Groups a National Reading and Literacy Charity as well as being founder of National Non-Fiction Day. I also work as an indepedent consultant to publishers, schools and librarans
Wednesday, 25 November 2009
Its going to be a very refreshing use of technology and something that will hopefully grow within the school!!
If you want to take a look visit litexperience.wordpress.com
Thursday, 19 November 2009
Monday, 16 November 2009
The prject that I am working on with Scholastic is a very exciting one and although I am trying my very best to keep it a secret at Conference 2010 I will be making an announcement as to what it is going to entail. For know though all I will say is that 2010 is going to be a brilliant year!!
Tuesday, 10 November 2009
I was really pleased with how well all the teams did and it was an extremely close result. The winning group won by just one point and we have 3 teams tied in second. We ended up having to do a tie breaker - which was about the only i hadn't planned for!!
It really was a great day though and the two groups going through to the final I'm sure will do really well.
Running the event in school has been an excellent addition to our calendar of work in the library. It has livened up our autumn term and giving us another way of getting students to interact with books. Wish us luck for the regional final!!
Monday, 9 November 2009
Wednesday, 28 October 2009
Another slightly more worrying point was that only 5% of children would go on what their dads told them to read. Obviously there could be a number of reasons for this but from my experience it is mostly because there is a lack of male role models who read for children. We are very lucky in our school as we have three male english teachers who are all readers and encourage the kids to read as well. This though is not the same everywhere. I've worked in schools where there are no male english teachers and you can see the effect that it has. If a child grows up without knowing that its ok for boys to like, enjoy reading because they don't see the male figures in their lives doing it, it does have a detrimental effect on them.
But it is the same all over, all children need to see positive reading role models whether they are male or female. Now whether of not you believe that there is a problem with boys reading, we can't just look at one area and improve that only to find in the future that we have neglected all the other areas and now there is a problem with them. We need to make sure that we are always tuned into everyone's reading tastes and habits, providing in the book world a non-discriminative view point on age, sex, race, culture because as soon as we start catergorising things we break things down into groups and not everyone fits into a group. When we truly view reading as something for everyone and don't try to put labels on things then we will see a change in the whole rather than the spectrum. It may not sound radical to some but it does require people to think differently.
It was certainly an interesting proposal and something that could prove to be very useful for St Albans' art and also for the individuals taking part.
Tuesday, 27 October 2009
The next book is Marcus Sedgwick's new one Revolver. A really fast pace book which has you on the end of your seat all the way through. It is about the power of guns, but set in the past in the town of Nome where there was once a gold-rush this is not an issues book. The story is set in a cabin and is about the life of one family and in particular a father and a son. The story starts with the death of Sig's father who has fallen into the ice and died. Sig is waiting for his sister and his step mother to go and get help when a knock on the door silences Sig's thoughts. Upon opening the door Sig's life changes forever. At the door is a man who has been tracking Sig's father for ten years believing that he owes him a lot of money. As Sig's father has died the man decides that it is up to Sig to take on the ownership of the crime. As the story progresses the power of the gun that Sig has in the cupboard becomes stronger and stronger but will he have to courage to use it?
Abother book that I've just finished today is If You're Reading this it's too Late. It's a really good adventure mystery, which although isn't the best story of piece of written work ever does get you hooked and gives a certain amount of pleasure as you work your way through the mystery behind some very unsavoury characters and the great Max-Ernest, one of the heroes of the story!!
As part of their diverse voices children's book award they want to celebrate cultural diversity by having an unpublished author submit a piece of work that they feel emcourages and promotes diversity within children's fiction. With a minimum of 15,000 and a maximum of 35,000 words anyone over 16 can enter.
Another competition which you may want to enter has one of the federation's exectutive members on its judging panel. Martin Kromer has been asked to sit on the panel for the Seven Stones competition. The competiton gives children a chance to become a character in a book. All they have to do is read the book The Seven Stones and write in no more than 100 words what your fave charater was and why!
The third competition is from Penguin and gives readers of Charlie Higsons new zombie book The Enemy a chance to win a really frightening experience at Thorpe Park on halloween. All you need to do is visit and www.the-enemy.co.uk/halloween good luck!!
We have also been celebrating Black History Month and National Poetry Day throughout October and have run a number of really fun interactive events including invited rapper and poet BREIS to our library to work with students on creating their own raps. We booked BREIS through the excellent website Apples and Snakes and would highly recommend them and BREIS.
In Herts we also have a big history with the abolition of the Slave Trade and visited our county archives to learn more. Having a background myself in creative writing it was great to have the students partake in some imaginative writing using the excellent archives as inspirations for their stories.
Another project that includes writing has been the Write Path International Story writing project which we also took part in. It was great fun to write stories that had been started by top authors and then contributed to by schools all over the world. The students that took part loved it so much they have started their own version of it between them and as a school we are also writing another story that has been contricuted to by staff and students. It was a project we started last year and proved so successful we decided to do another one!!
One new thing for our library has been to turn it into a eco friendly and sustainable one. We have set up a group called the committee whose job it is to work within the library to make sure we are meeting certain requirements. We are also going to be working within the local community sharing stories with primary schools, raising money for the local children's hospital and Great Ormond Street, planting tress in a new local forest and also working to raise books for a school in South Africa that we have recently been twinned with. We hope that we can make our library work as hard as possible to become a major part of our local community and to help other libraries around the world and area enjoy reading as much as we do!!
It is though encouraging to see so many people supporting Alan and there was a also a really positive article in the Yorkshire Post last week highlighting the campaign and the ways in which it is helping to bring this issue into open.
Thursday, 9 July 2009
There will definately be more to come on this but at the moment I am keeping things under my hat!!
To open the evening Philip Ardagh gave us some anecdotes about his writing and his love for Aussie tv show Neighbours. Next Leander Deeny, actor and author, read from his book Hazel's Phantasmagoria' and acted out the scene from the film Atonement which he appeared in alongside Keira Knightley. To round the evening off we had Kevin Crosseley Holland - a writing hero of mine! - who told us about his writing and his love of myths and legends and old england!
On the whole it was a brilliant evening and one which we hope will be happening every year!!
Monday, 29 June 2009
Thursday, 25 June 2009
We had our own carnegie party with our shadowing group in the library. 40 odd students with strawberries, pizza, prizes and a whole afternoon of fun. As always we didn't pick the right winner and we voted instead for Knife of Never Letting Go to win the Carnegie and Varmints winning the Greenaway. We weren't too disappointed though, we all enjoyed it, especially the pizza!!
Monday, 15 June 2009
Sunday, 14 June 2009
Friday, 12 June 2009
I urge everyone to sign the petition and hopefully together we can get things changed!
Thursday, 11 June 2009
There was a lot of discussions around how this could be implemented and many ways on how we could go about making it happen. Discussions ranged from starting at grass routes levels and making it mandatory and assessed in Initial Teacher Training to setting up a lobbying committee and working party to carry on the work that the group had started.
It was clear that everyone in the room had a clear goal for the programme, for education to see the importance in reading for pleasure and for the school agenda to reflect this in all parts of the school not just as an add-on or extra.
The outcomes of the meeting look very positive with the setting up of a working party of all the main players in which we will be following up the issues and ideas raised in the main meeting.
It's a very positive movement that looks like it will achieve what we hope it to. There are lots of parties both in schools and out that will support it and hopefully it gain momentum and change the way reading and reading for pleasure is perceived in education and schools.
Tuesday, 9 June 2009
The new Children's Laureate - Anthony Browne - will bring his corner of the writing world - picture books - to the forefront. I imagine we will see Anthony showing the world just how amaxing they are and that the links between pictures and words are so close that picture books are for everyone to enjoy and not just those under a certain age. In my opinion the appointment of an author/illustrator is brilliant. In my work I know the importance of picture books and how great they are to share stories (something Jacqueline Wilson championed in her stint). They are also full of so many over types of writing and like poetry in a picture book each word is chosen on its merit to reflect the story and work in cohesion with the pictures on the page.
I can see in the next two years us getting back to the importance of picture books with Anthony Browne spearheading a new revolution. So all hail Anthony Browne - new Children's Laureate 2009-2011!!
Monday, 8 June 2009
Well done to Sophie McKenzie on winning in her category and also being named the overall winner of the Red House Children's Book Award. Our school really enjoyed the book, in fact they thought all 3 of the older category were worthy winners, and all the staff enjoyed it to!!
I was really lucky to not only enjoy a great ceremony but to meet some really great people at this years Red House Children's Book Award Ceremony. The ceremony is always one of the massive highlights of the year and this year was by no means an exception. The whole atmosphere was buzzing from the very moment that the children started to arrive. You could feel their anticipation as they met their favourite authors and gathered numbers of signatures from those whose books they had spent the last year reading and enjoying.
For me it was great to see so many people having fun and enjoying themselves in the name of books and reading. That is what the Award to me is about. It's not just a recognition of all the books that have been read through the year and all the work that the organisers and children have put into it. But its also a recognition of great writers, writing books that we enjoy and ultimately it's about reading. Celebrating a love and enjoyment in its art and giving something back to that act which has given us so much pleasure!!
All in all a great day and very enjoyable with a very worthy set of shortlisted authors and winners. Special congrats go to Sophie McKenzie - Blood Ties is a great book!
Friday, 1 May 2009
The meeting was extremely useful and highlighted ways that in the future we might be able to build more of a partnership.
It is my belief that by working with other organisations the potential impact for the Federation is massive. Not only are we able to reach a wider range of areas but also of children and families. The Literacy Trust is interested in the Literacy of families and especially those families in areas where literacy is a problem. Through the work we do we are already reaching some of these areas but as always we want to do more and get more children reading.
Hopefully in the months to come we will be able to meet with most of the bodies involved in reading and builld the relationships between us, which in the end will benefit readers and potential readers, which is what we are all aiming to do!!
Wednesday, 22 April 2009
I know when I was young we never had a visit from an author either and there was always a sense that people who wrote books were either dead or were these great people who were so inaccessible that if I ever wanted to become a writer then it was something that would be very hard to achieve. Now I'm not saying it is easy to become a writer in terms of published work, many a writer will tell you that they have a whole file of rejection letters, but what I have come to realise is that authors are just like you or me. They are not inaccessible at all in fact quite the opposite. In my school library I try and get as many authors as possible to come and talk to as many students as possible. The comments I get back from the kids is amazing and you can really see the impact it has on their reading and their writing. So far this year our author visits are in double figures and when we run them we have people clambering at the doors to get in. The teachers all want their classes to see the author and its not to get a free lesson its because they know the impact that it has on the students.
The fact that the Federation brings so many authors to so many children is a massive achievement. Everyone that runs a session with children and authors knows the positive impact that it has, not only in the short term but also in the long term. There are so many different ways that author visits can influence people. Nowadays I am still enthused to go away and read an authors book and even to believe that maybe one day I might be a writer. If this is the effect on me then imagine what it is like for all the children to realise that becoming an author is actually an achievable thing and something they can strive towards.
Monday, 6 April 2009
Wednesday, 1 April 2009
Monday, 30 March 2009
I will try throughout the year to post about things that I have been involved in, things in the book world that happen - whatever these might be - and anything else linked to my role that might just interest people.
Anyway that's enough for the moment - please follow and I hope you, along with me will enjoy the ride!!