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Amazing literary adventures for Juniors

Junior School pupils have had a busy time immersing themselves in books as they celebrated World Book Day and enjoyed engrossing talks from award-winning authors.

World Book Day

The national theme for World Book Day this year is ‘share a million stories’ and the Junior School’s broad theme within this is ‘adventure’.

All the books that were shared by different year groups related to an adventure of some type – be this a different place, time or world! The ‘adventure’ theme was also chosen to challenge children to branch and take a risk with their reading.

In Pre-Reception and Reception, the children shared Rachel Bright and Jim Field’s wonderful picture book, ‘The Way Home for Wolf’.

Pre-Reception children enjoyed listening to the story and talked excitedly about Wolf’s winter journey home. As well as story mapping and retelling the story, the children enjoyed learning the names for baby animals and thinking about the sounds that the wolf would make on his journey home.

Reception pupils made the most of the beautiful pictures and descriptive language in the book, each writing their own sensational setting description. They also had fun taking part in small world arctic play, talking about the story characters and making their own characters.

Year One and Two children were captivated by ‘The Bear and the Piano’ by David Litchfield and took part in a range of activities including creating their own bear hats and designing their own furry masks to reflect different emotions. Year Two pupils also had great fun working together as a class to create their bear book, which they enjoyed sharing with Headmaster, Mr Tim Wheeler.

Year Three and Four were taken on an urban adventure in ‘The Promise’ by Nicola Davies. Our Year Three pupils reflected on the change in urban environment and subsequent changes in emotion of the characters, and portrayed these in emotion graphs. They then wrote their own poems, in response to the novel, using fabulous figurative language to bring their poetic descriptions to life. Creating textured vocabulary flowers to inspire and create poetic songs, in response to ‘The Promise,’ kept our budding Year Four poets busy throughout the day too.

‘The Widow’s Broom’ by Chris Van Allsburg was Year Five’s book choice. With their creative hats on and pens at the ready, they were all determined to write engaging descriptions, powerful poetry and clear instructions.

Year Six pupils took a step back in time as they listened to Paul Fleischman’s book ‘The Matchbox Diary.’ This tells the story of a grandfather sharing his life’s memories, through his matchbox diary, with his granddaughter. Every object reveals a memory and relays his family’s journey, from poor living conditions and hunger in Italy, to the hope of a better life in America. Year Six children were inspired to create their own written descriptions of personal memories, linked to their own special objects. They were then able to design and create their own matchbox to keep their special object safe. Keeping with the theme of ‘sharing stories’ Year Six will now select a match box each day, as the girl in the book did, and listen to one another’s memories.

A varied, vibrant and fun day was had by all pupils and teachers. Plus pupils also got to pick up a book for free thanks to the National Book Tokens scheme.

Even lunchtime got the World Book Day treatment as pupils submitted their nominations for a book themed menu for the day.

In the Senior School, the Library held a Big Book Swap and Cake Sale in the Quad at break time.

£221.49 was raised from the cake sales and this will go to the school’s designated charities and Book Aid International.

Onjali Q Raúf

Year Five and Six pupils were thrilled to have award-winning author Onjali Q Raúf in school for a talk.

Onjali, whose stories are of friendship and hope, launched her brand new book ‘The Star Outside My Window’ to the children. The book is the story of ten year old Aniyah and her brother Noah who, following the disappearance of their mum, suddenly find themselves living in foster care. When a new star is spotted acting strangely in the sky, Aniyah is sure that it is her mum, and she embarks on the adventure of a lifetime.

During the visit Onjali gave pupils an insight into her work with refugees as the Founder of Making Herstory. Onjali tackled issues such as what it means to be a refugee, the issues refugees face and the help individuals can do to support their cause. Onjali’s book ‘The Boy at the Back of the Class’, which portrays the refugee crisis through the eyes of a child, was inspired by a Syrian mother and baby she encountered in a Calais refugee camp. Pupils were able to get Onjali’s books signed after the inspiring talk.

We enjoyed welcoming pupils from Chapel Street Primary School to the event – it was inspiring to have so many excited children, and teachers, in the same room.

Michelle Robinson

Reception, Year One and Year Two pupils were enthralled by the mesmerising author Michelle Robinson as she introduced them to the star of her new book ‘ The Day The Banana Went Bad’.

In her talk, the award-winning writer of ‘Ten Fat Sausages’ read from her book, gave the children a pen and paper challenge, taught them a song and donned a banana outfit!

Michelle also discussed how to become an author and how she gets her inspiration to write stories. At the end of the talk she did a book signing.

Thanks to Simplybooks for kindly organising both visits.