Friday, November 25, 2011

Student librarians are winners

I just had to brag. Our student librarians (see post earlier this month) won the trophy for the group that raised the most money for their cause at International Day. I was in Budapest that day working with our Speech and Debate team but the boys and my colleague Samantha worked hard to create Mt Everest and then obviously had the most people pay to play their game. I am not sure how much money was won - will post on that later. So our student librarians are winners and so is Shree Mangal Dvip School for Himalayan Children library. Below is a banner showing our librarians on the left and Shree Mangal Dvip School library on the right.

Book 22 - Annexed by Sharon Dogar - Amsterdam, Netherlands

Sharon Dogar introduces us to her fictional characterisation of the real PeterVan Pels, the young man who was hiding in the annex with his mother and father and the Frank family including Anne and Margot. She convincingly portrays a young man who lives with regret, fear and frustration. On the very day his family is to go into hiding with the Franks Peter witnesses his girlfriend's family being rounded up by the Nazis and regrets not trying to save her. He reluctantly leaves the world of war and oppression for the cramped confinement of the annex. Anne is at first seen as a spoiled young girl who is used to getting her own way. Strong minded and strong willed Anne is an irritation to him. As the time progresses we see Peter come to an understanding of himself and of Anne.

This is a well written novel, definitely one for older young people who can not only appreciate the history of the time but would also understand the transformation of Peter in the extreme circumstances he finds himself.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Book 21 - The Carbon Diaries by Saci Lloyd - London, England

The diary entries of Laura Brown are not light weight or frivolous by any means. Laura is writing her diary in 2015 - the first year of the new carbon rationing in Britain. Everyone is issued with a carbon credit card and their daily use of carbon itmes (electricity, transport, food imported) is all monitored and rationed. For any teenagers the prospect of rationing use of the Internet or electricity for their rock band is daunting. Even more worrying along with the extremes weather events throughout Europe - snow blizzards in winter, drought and heat waves in the summer, her own family is facing their own extremes. Laura's older sister Kim rebels by sneaking away to Ibiza a couple of times in one month taking the whole family into carbon debt. Her father Nick, loses his job as a teacher in tourism as no one canuse their carcbon credit on travel anymore and her mother finds all the stress too much to cope with. Laura records all the events happening around her with the self obsessed focus you would expect of most teenage narrators. She has to adopt an elderly person in need, though her neighbour Arthur seems to bring with him some unusual perspectives into this situation as he remembers the rationing from post war days. 
With all the complexities of modern life, the usual ones of teenage life and global warming this novel is quite a read. Lloyd has a sequel already published - The Carbon Diaries 2017 and a film offer from the BBC.

Saci Lloyd's website has a brilliant book trailer for the diaries.
The Guardian story about the film of the The Carbon Diaries

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Book 20 - Burn my heart by Beverley Naidoo - Kenya

Matthew and Mugo - two boys who live on the same Kenyan land. Both their families see the land as their own. Mugo's grandfather left the land to fight for his country and when he returned found it had been given to Matthew's father. He left his son (Mugo's father) to work for the white family now claiming his land so he could watch over it. Matthew has no knowledge of this but Mugo knows more than it is wise to let the boss's son know. Mugo is the kitchen hand but he is often drawn into Matthew's games and adventures. The have an uneasy friendship which becomes even more comlicated as Matthew is sent off to a white boys boarding school and becomes friends with other white landowners sons. Mugo's own big brother is implicated in Mau Mau activity and both families find themselves in opposing sides of a land conflict which is growing every day.

Kenya in the 1950s saw a Mau Mau uprising, when native Kenyans tried to reclaim their land by force several decades after white settlers came and claimed the land as their own. The Mau Mau uprising was bloody and violent. Violence stemming from both the whites in power upon suspected participants as well as Kenyans turning against fellow Kenyans who did not want to participate. 12,000-20,000 Kenyans died.

Beverley Naidoo is an accomplished writer who brings great insight into African life into all her writings. This novel is no exception. It has much that will lead to great discussion for readers. The obvious theme of loyalty is explored - loyalty to friends, loyalty to family, loyalty to your own people.

The cover art is well done. I like how the front cover shows a face and the head lookslike a heart. Below is the full jacket with the other side of the friendship shown.
 Beverley Naidoo's website with details of the book
The Guardian's review.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Community and Service - serving the toughest community.....

This week we started our Student Librarian programme again. We have run the programme every year I have been at IICS and it has experienced revision and improvement every year. This year we have a more strucured approach to the link between Student Librarianship and our Community and Service programme. All our students involved in Community and Service must complete their journals on managebac. Also they have to represent a country at our International Day and raise money for a project within that country - more on that later.

Let me introduce you to our library team. Our 8 enthusiastic young men from grades 7 - 9 are running the library four out of five lunchtimes a week. Each lunchtime sees them in a team of four completing four distinct roles - the desk, shelving, displays and team leader/patron assistance. The roles change everytime they are on duty so everyone gets to work in all four roles throughout the weeks. Some students have volunteered one lunchtime a week others three - depending on other commitments they have. Our first training session was after school last Wednesday. The students discussed how their contribution to the library team will help our school out work its mission statement. What qualities in the IB learner profile are strengthened and developed by being on the library team. The students' answers were amazing. These are thoughtful, intelligent students who see how they make a difference in our school.

Our team has chosen Nepal for International Day. We are raising funds to buy library books for Shree Mangal Dvip School for Himalayan Children, through With our team of students, who are all non-native English speaking boys, we hope to raise the English and literacy levels of the boys at SMD (whose literacy rate is quite lower than the girls') by purchasing books that might appeal to boys. There is a wishlist on Amazon, containing many books requested by the boys. We will also purchase those books of the highest desire on the wishlist, regardless of gender interest. Quite an exciting link. The boys are creating a game that people attending International Day will pay to play. Let's hope they raise lots of money for this school library.

I admire these young men - they are serving the toughest community, their own peers, and doing it with great enthusiasm.