BBC Young Writers Competition!

The above image belongs to the BBC. The Book Club Bloggers does not claim ownership. The BBC have relaunched their competition for young ...

Wednesday, 3 May 2017

The Bone Sparrow by Zana Fraillon

'The Bone Sparrow' is not a book for the faint of heart. While it is not a horror story in the traditional sense, it is made all the more disturbing by the fact that the horrific things that happen between its pages are all too real.

The book tells the story of Suhbi, a boy born in an Australian immigration centre. He endures hardships such as lack of food and suffers at the hands of the brutal 'Jackets' (centre guards). Meanwhile, Jimmie is a girl who lives near the centre. Her mother died, leaving her with only an old notebook full of stories about the bone sparrow-- a carved model of a bird that she wears around her neck for luck. When she goes through the fence to explore the centre, she meets Subhi and learns that he can read.

Together, each night, they escape the trials of their separate lives to hear the adventures of Jimmie's ancestors, while their worlds explode around them.

This is a beautiful book, but it is full of sadness and pain. A recommended must read.

Tuesday, 4 April 2017

Beware of Young Writers competitions...

Young Writers is an organisation that runs several writing competitions per year. Their story writing contests usually ask for a ridiculously low word count (100 or even 50 words is not unusual) and promise to put your poem or story in an anthology.

By all means, enter one of these competitions for fun, but be warned. Everybody gets in the anthology. 

Young Writers make their money by publishing every poem or story they get into one of these anthologies and then selling it to parents. Do not be fooled!

Monday, 20 March 2017

The Book Club Blogger's selection #1

The following books can all be found in your school library.
  • Fantasy-- The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

The Graveyard Book has many gothic features and plenty of suspensful moments-- but, rest assured, this is not a horror story. The book is based on Rudyard Kipling's Jungle Book and is written in the same style. Over the course of several linked short stories it tells the story of Nobody Owens (Bod to his friends) a boy who runs to a graveyard after his family are murdered by the mysterious Man Jack and is raised by the ghosts that live there.

  • Comedy-- Feeling Sorry for Celia by Jaclyn Moriarty
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Celia isn't actually the main character in this book (surprisingly enough) instead it is her best friend Elizabeth. The story is unique in that it is told in a series of letters sent between Elizabeth and her mother, best friend, pen pal and from several made-up societies like the 'best friend club' or 'society of teenagers' that berate Elizabeth for not living up to their expectations. The book is very funny, while at the same time having serious messages. There's also some romance, for those of you who are fans of that!

  • Romance-- The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
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You've almost certainly heard of this book before, but there's nothing wrong with rereading an old favourite. As well as being about children fighting to the death (which, for me at least, is slightly more interesting than romance) but it's also a very interesting love story. By forcing her lovers together, rather than having them find each other naturally, Collins examines what love truly is and whether it is more or less beautiful when influenced by outside sources.