Reading journals, Autumn 2018 (1)

It’s been far too long since we last wrote in this space, life has been so very busy here at Berkhamsted School since the beginning of term and our feet haven’t touched the ground for what seems like months!  However, we are hoping to redress the balance and talk again about one of our favourite topics, which will come as no surprise – books!

We are featuring, during several entries, reviews and recommendations of books read during those heady days of summer, which are exciting, thought provoking, and purely enjoyable reads…

To kick off our reading year, our new Deputy Head (Teaching and Innovation), Mrs Butland, is a self-confessed avid reader and has sent along a long list of books she has read recently. For her Sixth Form Politics classes she recommends:

For a generally great read, she recommends these fantastic books:

In a later message, we received two more recommendations from Mrs Butland and wanted to include these here:

Well, that’s my reading list for the forthcoming half-term holiday, what a fantastic range of material from which to choose…  What’s on your TBR pile?




Nominations have been announced for the 2012 CILIP Carnegie Medal

CILIP has announced that the nominations for the 2012 CILIP Carnegie Medal have been released today.  The Medal celebrates the writing of an outstanding book for children, and if this year’s list was anything to go by, it will prove to be a good year for children’s literature!  The full list appears on the following website:

The Medal was established as a literary prize in 1936, to commemorate the work of Andrew Carnegie, the Scottish-born industrialist who made his fortune in the steel industry in the USA.  He resolved “if wealth came to me that it should be used to establish free public libraries” after his experience of using libraries as a child and, as a result, by the time of his death, 2,800 libraries had been set up across the English-speaking world using his money.

I recently read three books on last year’s list (all of which we have in our library, so come and borrow them!) and all of these were great reads!  One of which has already been reviewed (Meg Rosoff’s The Bride’s Farewell) but the other two are considered here…

Andy Mulligan’s novel, Trash, was a fantastic book and I’d recommend it to readers of all ages.  Based on Mulligan’s experiences of teaching in a school in the Philippines and the life he lived whilst there, it tells the story of three boys and their families and the consequences of finding a small bag and its precious contents on the rubbish dump where they live.  It’s exciting and keeps you turning the pages right until the end…

My next book was Suzanne Lafleur’s Eight keys.  Having loved her first novel, along with lots of our Year 7 girls, (Love, Aubrey, part of Booktrust’s 2010 Booked Up gift to all Year 7  pupils in the UK), I was really looking forward to reading this, Lafleur’s second offering.  Eight keys didn’t disappoint – Elise is starting middle school and is just the same age as Year 7 pupils so they will be able to understand the difficulties she experiences as they start their high schools in this country.  As the story unravels, the reader learns, with Elise, the secrets to her past and how she came to be where she is today.  The story is told in a wonderful style, it is sad, funny and heart-wrenching all at the same time.  There is also a terrific sense of place shining through in Lafleur’s writing, I could almost imagine myself in Uncle Hugh’s workshop and smell the amazing aromas in Aunt Bessie’s kitchen…


These are but three examples of this year’s shortlist but they are good examples of the best of children’s writing today.  If you’ve read any of  the 2011 or 2012 nominees, please leave us messages here – it would be good to hear from you!