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Reads of the Day - Archive
During lockdown we posted daily links to an author or book that we know our boys love. Here's an archive of our Reads of the Day, to give you lots of inspiring reading suggestions!
Read of the Day - Britain’s Martin Luther King?
Have you seen this plaque at 164 Queens Road, Peckham? Make it your mission to discover the hidden histories around you.
Harold Moody is the perfect place to start. Born in Jamaica he came to Britain in 1904 to study medicine. Despite finishing top of his class he suffered outright rejection by the medical establishment due to the colour of his skin and set up his own general practice in Peckham, treating poor children for free (there was no NHS then).
He went on to become a tireless campaigner for the rights of black Britons and founded the League of Coloured People, an organisation dedicated to global racial equality. A park is named after him between Consort Road and Sturdy Road and there is a statue of him at Peckham Library. Read more about his inspirational and important life here.
Tomorrow, 18 July is Nelson Mandela Day. See below for a range of links to help you understand why Nelson Mandela is so celebrated worldwide (in South Africa, his home country, celebrations last for the whole month of July!). Click here and scroll down to read the Ten Goals for Mandela Day.
Taking action to show what you believe in is key. Click here for lots of suggestions of things you can do everyday to help make the world a better place and help others.
Read of the Day - Hidden Voices – Bali Rai and Patrice Lawrence
Scholastic Publishers have launched a new series of books called Voices, which brings to life BAME figures from British history, whose stories are rarely told. Bali Rai has written a Dunkirk story, Now or Never and Patrice Lawrence has written a Tudor one called Diver’s Daughter. In Now or Never, a young soldier, Private Fazal Khan, journeys from his home in India to the battlefields of the Second World War, but ends up questioning his loyalty to a king whose people don’t all see him as their equal. Diver’s Daughter brings Eve and her mother, who was stolen from her family in Mozambique as a child, from the Southwark slums of Elizabethan London to England’s southern coast, where their paths cross with an African free diver working on the wreck of the Mary Rose. There is also a Roman and a Victorian story in the series and Benjamin Zephaniah will be adding his Windrush Child to it in October.
Click here to read Bali and Patrice’s discussion about the importance of rediscovering hidden histories and how they wrote these books.
2019 – 2028 has been declared the Mandela Decade of Peace. Read more about how this links with Nelson Mandela’s life and achievements here.
You can also sign up to listen to the UN Secretary General’s lecture Tackling Inequality to be given on 18 July Mandela Day, and listen to a radio programme from 2010 broadcast on the first ever Mandela Day. Find out more.
Read of the Day - Silent Striker by Pete Kalu
Pete Kalu writes about race and disability in his books and is determined to destroy the harmful stereotypes that often surround black, male youth. In The Silent Striker, Marcus lives and breathes football; he might even have the makings of a professional player. In amongst the turmoil of school, girlfriend, home life, he finds himself going deaf. Racism rears its head on the football pitch and stigma follows him as he tries out hearing aids. This is a powerful and moving story about overcoming.
Read Pete Kalu’s thoughts on the problems of stereotypes and speaking of behalf of different groups here.
“With The Silent Striker, I tried to tell a story. I did not aspire to represent the whole of the deaf or black experience. Just me. One voice. With the hope that others add their voices to this by writing their books and that cumulatively, collectively, we not only reflect but stimulate progressive change.”
Education and literacy are key areas of Nelson Mandela’s legacy which will be celebrated this week on Nelson Mandela Day on 18 July. The Nelson Mandela School Library Project raises money to open libraries in South African schools. Ninety percent of South African schools do not have a library. Read the story of the Mpumalanga School Library opening here.
Read of the Day - Eight Pieces of Silva, by Patrice Lawrence
Patrice Lawrence tackles issues of race and diversity head on in all of her books. The latest one, Eight Pieces of Silva, an addictive mystery and story of loss and self-discovery, is published in August. She still remembers the day when she turned on the TV adaptation of Malorie Blackman’s Pig Heart Boy and saw a believable black family portrayed on the screen. That was the day she found her voice as a writer.
Click here for a fascinating interview with Patrice talking about several of her other books, Orangeboy, Indigo Donut and Diver’s Daughter, which is based around the story of the Tudor Jack Francis, the first recorded man of African descent to give evidence in an English court. She also gives lots more recommendations of great diverse authors to be reading now. Find out more about over 100 writers and illustrators of colour here.
Continuing our build up to Nelson Mandela Day on 18 July, read here how Nelson Mandela fought especially for the rights of children and was awarded the World’s Children’s Prize in 2005.
Read of the Day - Muhammad Khan
One of Ms Mead's lockdown reading discoveries has been Muhammad Khan, author of I Am Thunder and Kick The Moon. His thirst to be a writer grew from his early days as a small boy in Balham Library unable to find any characters that looked like him in the books there. The closest he came was Paddington Bear – because at least he was brown.
Muhammad is now a teacher in South London and makes sure that he reflects the diversity of his students in his books. He says: “today’s young people are the heroes who will spread empathy as long as they see themselves represented”. Click here to read more.
All this week in the run up to Nelson Mandela Day we will be celebrating diversity in writing. Nelson Mandela Day was established by the United Nations in 2009 and is held annually on 18 July, Nelson Mandela’s birthday, to celebrate his lifelong fight to change the world for the better. The key aims are to inspire action against poverty and to fight for human rights and an end to racism. For a quick introduction to Nelson Mandela’s life click here. Find a more detailed account here.
Read of the Day - Books to movies
Today is the closing day for entries to our film review competition (see above). So many great books have made their way on to our cinema and TV screens over the last year with more coming very soon. Click here for lots more on great filmed versions of some of our library's most popular books.
Read of the Day - Drones
A couple of new books appeared last year inspired by the subject of drones and how they can give you a whole new perspective on things as well as an incredible sense of freedom. Both books feel very fresh tackling a new world of technology and story ideas.
Read how Danny Rurlander has cleverly entwined the solving of a tense mystery with the story of a boy whose own freedom is very limited in his book Spylark. Find out more.
Drone Racer by Andy Briggs is set in the world of science fiction, where machines can talk, but along with high-tech and super-speed adventure, this is also a story of friendship and growing up. Find out more.
Read of the Day - Get Me Out of Here! by Andy McNab and Phil Earle
From being abandoned in a carrier bag as a new-born baby and raised in care, to becoming an SAS soldier and now an author, Andy McNab, has had a very unusual life.
As a young person, reading was never on his agenda and he had few aspirations in life. He firmly believes that the army and the education he received there turned his life around. He read his first simple, learn-to-read book at the age of 16. Read his incredible story here and why he believes all children must have access to books. And find out more about his new book, Get Me Out of Here, written with Phil Earle.
Read of the Day - Space travel
While we are waiting for our museums to fully open again you can always take a wander through them online. The Natural History Museum is one of the best sites - click here for their interactive exploration of space and everything beyond our planet.
If you're a budding astrobiologist, you might want to try their Life Forms competition in partnership with Lego. Build a space landscape with an adapted life form living in it! Find out more.
Dr Sheila Kanani, author of How to be an Astronaut, works in the space industry and here explains five cool space jobs you should really think about!
Finally, NASA has just released possibly the greatest time lapse movie ever made! 425 million images of the sun were taken over 10 years, one every 0.75 seconds, and put together into a one hour video. Click here to see the video and learn more about the project.
Read of the Day - Virtual Thriller Festival
6 July is Virtual Thriller Festival Day around the world, celebrating crime and mystery books, TV shows and films. Alex Rider and Diamond Brothers author, Anthony Horowitz, will be interviewed live as one of the events. Click here for details.
Don't forget, his new mystery book Where Seagulls Dare is still being published online and is now up to Chapter 6! Find out more.
For some great suggestions of classic and current thrillers to read, check out this mystery books list from Fleur Hitchcock, author of Murder in Midwinter. And click here to see the Top 10 detective novels picked by Robin Stevens, author of The Guggenheim Mystery.
The book that made me: Frances Hardinge
Frances Hardinge is the author of several award-winning books - the most popular in our library being The Lie Tree and Cuckoo Song. She spent a large part of her childhood in a huge old house that inspired her to write strange stories from an early age.
The menace and dreamlike fantasy of Susan Cooper's The Dark is Rising especially captivated Frances as a child. Woven through with ancient legends, this series of stories was read to her and her sister by their father, often by a roaring fire. Click here to find out more.
The book that made me: Jacqueline Wilson
As a little girl, Tracy Beaker creator and award-winning author of over 100 books, Jacqueline Wilson was entranced by The Family from One End Street by Eve Garnett. The characters weren't perfect and posh like most children's book characters back then. They looked like her and her friends at school and in the flats where she lived. She knew then that she wanted to write about ordinary urban children in an honest way and that's exactly what she has done in her very long and successful career. Read what Jacqueline has to say about The Family from One End Street here.
For all the latest information on Jacqueline Wilson's world of characters plus news of her latest book and competitions, click here.
Did you know that Tracy Beaker has left the Dumping Ground far behind and is now a Mum?! Watch the author reading from My Mum Tracy Beaker here.
The book that made me: Katherine Rundell
The author of The Wolf Wilder and Rooftoppers, among many others, Katherine Rundell was transported by the magical world of Diana Wynne Jones. Read about how even car sickness couldn't stop her reading Charmed Life.
If you don't know Diana's books, go to the online libraries detailed at the end of this page and borrow one (Southwark and the LLC both have copies) or order one from your local bookshop (so many are open again now and need your support!). Manga fans may know Howl's Moving Castle, one of Diana's books made into an animated film by Studio Ghibli.
The book that made me: Bali Rai
Sue Townsend's Adrian Mole books were the inspiration for Bali Rai to become a writer himself.
Author of nearly 30 books including The Crew and The Whisper, Sue inspired him because she was an ordinary person living in an ordinary city like him and her books were accessible to everyone... and very funny too! Read what Bali has to say here.
Just out, Bali's latest book Mohinder's War tells the story of Indian-born RAF pilot Mohinder Singh whose plane crashes in occupied France. Find out more.
The book that made me: Patrice Lawrence
The author of Orange Boy, Indigo Donut and Rose Interrupted, remembers finding The Hobbit in her school library and describes the huge impact it had on her.
Read why she thinks she so many children fall for the charms of Middle Earth. Find out more.
Reads of the Day - World Pride Day
Tomorrow, 27 June, is World Pride Day, a global day of celebration and unity for everyone, not just LGBT+ communities. Unfortunately, due to the Coronavirus pandemic, very few of the amazing street parades will be taking place this weekend - London's (pictured) is always one of the best. Find out more.
As well as celebrating, this is also a time to reflect on the inequalities and real dangers that gay and trans people still face everyday, and to stand against all discrimination. Homosexuality is illegal in over 70 countries around the world and in five of them and parts of two others is punishable by the death penalty. Click here for a list of great books which feature lesbian, gay, bisexual or trans characters and relationships.
June also marks both the birth and tragic death of one of our nation's greatest heroes, Alan Turing, the father of modern computers and AI. He was vital in the breaking of the Enigma Code which contributed to victory in World War II, yet was demonised and prosecuted for his homosexuality, and took his own life as a result. His conviction was overturned in 2013 and he will appear on our new £50 notes in 2021. Find out more.
Read of the Day - Eco books and Greta Thunberg
With our world on pause, several of you are telling me how you now have time to think more about how to protect our planet. And you are able to start to start making changes in the way you live.
Click here for lots of suggestions of books to read that celebrate our planet and tell us how we can help.
Greta Thunberg, the teenage Swedish activist, is representing you on the world stage. This week she gave an in-depth interview to the BBC saying that climate change is as important as action against Coronavirus. Read it here.
Read of the Day - Make a Difference
One of the positives of lockdown for many people has been having the time outside our usual lives to think and read and plan for the future. How has it changed you? Click here to read about three young people who achieved great things in very difficult situations.
It's not always easy to do things on your own but your voice can be important as part of a campaign to change things and make the world a better place. Read about the movements started by eight young activists here.
Read of the Day - Michael Rosen
Today we are celebrating one of our greatest writers and performers, much loved by students at Harris Boys'. At last, after two months of illness and 47 days in intensive care with the COVID virus, Michael Rosen is back at home and starting to tweet again. He still has a long recovery ahead of him, but can now be cared for by his family and is getting stronger every day.
To celebrate this great news, how about watching Michael perform some of his poems? Absolutely guaranteed to get you smiling! Click here for all his videos which include poetry performances, tips on writing, book reviews and whole stories read aloud. You can subscribe to his YouTube video channel for free.
Small Island by Andrea Levy
Every school day we're posting a new link to an author or book that we know our boys love.
Small Island by Andrea Levy is one of the most famous novels about the experiences of migrants from the Caribbean who arrived aboard the Empire Windrush. Andrea's father was one of them and you can read here about her own experience of growing up in South London in the 1960s.
22 June is Windrush Day, remembering the day in 1948 when around 500 migrants from the Caribbean arrived in England aboard the Windrush to start new lives and help rebuild the country after World War II. Since then thousands more have followed and become fully settled into British life. However, since 2012, a change in immigration law has threatened the right to remain of many people from the 'Windrush Generation'. This scandal is still ruining lives and is being fought against by campaigners and many MPs; but this is everyone's fight.
Click here to get the facts from Newsround and here for more in-depth coverage from BBC News, including the story of the Jamaican-British campaigner, Sam Beaver King, who became the first black mayor of Southwark. The British Library has lots of brilliant articles for further reading as well as great ideas and resources for creative writing projects. If you feel inspired by your reading to write something, please send it in to me, I would love to see it firstname.lastname@example.org.
World Refugee Day, June 20.
Around the world, nearly 80 million women, children and men have been forced from their homes as refugees or internally displaced people. Every minute, another 20 people leave everything behind to escape war, persecution or terror.
Today more than ever, the COVID-19 pandemic and recent anti-racism protests have shown us how desperately we need to fight for a more inclusive and equal world: a world where no one is left behind. Click here to find out the full facts from the United Nations and watch their powerful video. You can read real life stories from refugees around the world here.
As readers, you have always responded with empathy and support to our library's collection of refugee stories, in particular Book Club members voted for Ele Fountain's Boy 87 as the Southwark Book Award's 2019 winner and it is now one of our DEAR Time book sets for everyone to share. Many authors are bringing individual stories to the world's attention through their writing and you can check out a list of great books here.
You can also read what three top authors have to say about their refugee-inspired books:
- Onjali Q Rauf on The Boy at the Back of the Class
- Catherine Bruton on No Ballet Shoes in Syria
- Michael Morpurgo on Boy Giant.â
Carnegie and Kate Greenaway Medals Winners
Congratulations to Anthony McGowan the Carnegie Medal 2020 winner for Lark and to Shaun Tan the Kate Greenaway Medal 2020 winner for his illustrated book Tales From the Inner City. Both books are reviewed below,
Ms Brown thinks Anthony McGowan's award is well deserved as he is an excellent writer who is very popular with our readers. Also, Lark is published in a style that is easier for dyslexic readers to read with tinted paper, wider line spacing and a clear font.
You can read Lark and the other titles in Anthony McGowan's Truth of Things series for free through the London Libraries Consortium (see details at the end of this page). They also have Shaun Tan's previous title, Tales From Outer Suburbia. Click here to see some of the wonderful drawings in Shaun's winning book and hear his winner's speech. Click here to watch Anthony McGowan talk about Lark and what it means to him to win the Carnegie Medal after being shortlisted several times before.
You can read reviews of all the shortlisted Carnegie books below.
Carnegie and Kate Greenaway Shortlisted Books
Patron Saints of Nothing by Randy Ribay
Randy Ribay is an American author and English teacher and Patron Saints of Nothing is his third book - the first two are about a group of Dungeons and Dragons-playing friends on a road trip and about basketball. Patron Saint of Nothing is set in his native Philippines and explores race, class, identity and truth in a dangerous world that few of us have experienced.
The reviews are crazily good for this book "the real deal", "unique", "complex, gripping, haunting and deeply human" - will it win today? Read Ms Brown's review here and watch Randy speaking about his book.
Girl. Boy. Sea by Chris Vick
Chris Vick is an author who believes in the saying "Write what you know". An ocean conservationist and keen surfer, his books all feature the sea as a setting if not a main character. Girl. Boy. Sea, shortlisted for the Carnegie Medal 2020 (winner announced tomorrow!) is the story of a friendship between a British boy and a Berber girl and their perils at sea during a storm and shipwreck. Their survival against the odds is woven through with tales of magic and faraway lands. Read Ms Brown's review here.
On The Come Up by Angie Thomas
Our Carnegie shortlist 2020 reviews continue today with a book from one of the most important Young Adult writers of the moment, Angie Thomas. Her first book The Hate U Give, about the shooting of an unarmed black teenager by a white cop and its aftermath, was inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement. In 2018 it won the Waterstone's Children's Book Prize and was declared Children's Book of the Year at the British Book Awards. It was also shortlisted for the Carnegie Prize that year and made into an excellent film.
This year's nomination is for On The Come Up, which tells the story of young aspiring rapper, Bri, who is fighting for freedom of speech and for her dreams, and it's just as powerful. Click here to read Ms Brown's review. Along with Black Flamingo (reviewed last week), Ms Brown has tipped this book as one of the likely winners, although her favourite book is still yet to come and will be reviewed on 17 June just before the actual Carnegie winner is announced! Watch Angie Thomas talk about On The Come Up and listen to Chapter One.
Voyages in the Underworld of Orpheus Black by Marcus Sedgwick
Day 5 of our Carnegie Medal 2020 showcase introduces Marcus Sedgwick's latest book, Voyages in the Underworld of Orpheus Black. Set in London during World War II, this complex story of two brothers fuses myth, history, poetry and illustration into a unique reading experience. Download Ms Brown's review here.
Many of you will know at least one of Marcus' other books, Revolver, as it is one of our DEAR Time book titles. Author of over 40 books for children and young adults, Marcus has been shortlisted for the Carnegie Medal eight times - could this finally be his year?! Find out more about Marcus Sedgwick here and to listen to the author reading another of his great books, Floodland, click here.
Nowhere on Earth by Nick Lake
Our fourth selection from the Carnegie Medal 2020 shortlist, Nowhere on Earth, will appeal to a wide range of readers as it is an action-packed adventure perfect to escape into, but also a sensitive portrayal of teenage emotional issues. Read Ms Brown's review here.
If you haven't yet discovered Nick Lake, he has written several other hugely powerful books including In Darkness, merging the story of Toussaint L'Ouverture with the devastating 2010 earthquake in Haiti which he calls "possibly the worst humanitarian disaster in history". Nick was previously shortlisted for the Carnegie Medal in 2016 with There Will Lies. Click here to discover more.
Lampie by Annet Schaap
Our third featured title from the Carnegie Medal shortlist 2020 is a very unusual one. Annet Schaap is a Dutch writer and also an illustrator and this is her first book. Lampie is a sea-swept fairytale adventure about the right to be different set in a world of pirates and mermaids. Ms Brown is reviewing all eight books on the shortlist before the winner is announced on 17 June. Read her review of Lampie here. Southwark Libraries has several of the shortlisted titles available to download and read for free, and Lampie is one of them (see details at the end of this page).
Lark by Anthony McGowan
Anthony McGowan, author of The Knife That Killed Me and Henry Tumour, is a favourite in our library. He has been shortlisted for the Carnegie Medal 2020.
Lark is part of the series which includes Brock, Pike and Rook, stories of two vulnerable brothers set against a strong background of the natural world.
Black Flamingo by Dean Atta
Today's Read of the Day is Black Flamingo by Dean Atta, a Young Adult verse novel for older readers following the journey of a mixed race, gay teenager on his journey to university.
It's one of the shortlisted books on the longest-running and most prestigious UK children's book award, the Carnegie, which will announce its winner next week. Every day over the next week, Ms Brown will be reviewing a book on the Carnegie shortlist - telling you about each title and predicting for the winner. Download Ms Brown's review of Black Flamingo.
Three years ago when the Carnegie longlist of 20 titles was published there were no BAME authors on the list at all. This caused a huge outcry and since then the Carnegie list has gradually become much more representative.
The acclaimed Old Vic theatre production of A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness (one of our DEAR Time titles), is available to watch free online from 7pm on 5 June for one week. Click here to watch the trailer and get all the details.
Patrick's latest book, Burn, was published in May, and features FBI agents and dragons! Visit his website for more information, a sample chapter to read, and links to video reviews.
June 5 is World Environment Day! Action for our planet is more important than ever. Click here to see what's going on, get involved and test your knowledge in a great biodiversity quiz.
Alex Rider on TV!
The new Alex Rider series arrives on Amazon Prime today! Find out all the details and watch the trailer here. Twenty years since Stormbreaker was published, Anthony Horowitz's latest book, Nightshade, came out last month. Hear him talk about the new book, read an extract and answer readers' questions.
And for super fans, click here to watch Anthony reveal his Top 5 Alex Rider greatest escapes (contains spoilers if you haven't read all the books!).
David Almond - The Dam
Another of our favourite authors shortlisted for the Kate Greenaway Medal this year is David Almond, author of Skellig. He has teamed up with illustrator Levi Pinfold to create the hauntingly beautiful book, The Dam. The book explores the music and poetry of a village in the valley that was flooded to create Kielder Water in Northumberland 40 years ago. You can listen to David talking about the book and the creation of the lake here.
And for inspiration for our book cover competition, click here to find out about David Almond's favourite childhood book which had a very special cover.
Kwame Alexander rocks!
Kwame Alexander, the hugely popular author of Booked, Rebound and The Crossover, is shortlisted for the Kate Greenaway Medal this year, with his book The Undefeated, illustrated by Kadir Nelson. His poem remembers unafraid and unbowed figures from black history - watch him read aloud from it here.
And fans of Kwame's previous books will love this funny interview with him. Check out his passion: "If you don't like reading, I get it. I think you've got to read poetry. Pick out one poem. Poetry rocks ya'll."
Fantastic illustrated books
On 17 June the winner of the annual Kate Greenaway Medal for the best illustrated book 2020 will be announced. Check out the inspirational shortlist here.
Many of you will know the wonderful style of Shaun Tan, creator of The Arrival, which we have in our library. His shortlisted title imagines a whole host of animals in bizarre settings in the inner city - maybe not so strange now with sightings of goats and deer wandering in to our towns during lockdown! Have a look at it here and take a peek at Shaun Tan at work in his studio in this video.
Stories from Neil Gaiman
Enter the magical world of Neil Gaiman stories! Hear the author read aloud his classics, Coraline and The Graveyard Book. Or read for yourself four stories from M is for Magic. Find out more.
New Diamond Brothers story from Anthony Horowitz
Anthony Horowitz is publishing the eighth title in his comic mystery series, the Diamond Brothers, in free instalments on his website. Read it now!
New book by J K Rowling
J K Rowling has surprised everyone by announcing a new book which she is publishing chapter by chapter on a new website. This is not a Harry Potter spin-off. Check out the story and the illustration competition here. When the book is published in November, the money will be donated to coronavirus charities. But now it is here for you to read first for free.
Calling all Skulduggery Pleasant fans!
Catch up with all the latest news from Derek Landy's Skulduggery world, take the quiz and listen to the whole of the first book read aloud. Find out more.
Free comics and graphic novels to read online at half term!
Amazon's Comixology site is offering 16 free comics including Black Panther, Sonic and Stranger Things, while DC has 34 free titles featuring Batman, Superman and Justice League. You'll need to put these in your online basket on the sites but when you go to checkout, there is nothing to pay and the comics will appear on your screen.
Prequel to The Hunger Games
This week sees the publication of a new book from Suzanne Collins, The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes. Set 64 years before The Hunger Games, it focuses on Coriolanus Snow and has already been signed up to be a movie. Click here for 5 things you need to know about this book. And you can have two sneak previews: hear and read the whole of the first chapter and also see Suzanne herself reading an extract from the third chapter.
New from Robert Muchamore
The author of the very popular Cherub series has launched a brand new series, Robin Hood, during lockdown. Updated to the 21st century, Robin is a parkour expert with top archery skills on the run in a Sherwood Forest crawling with bears, snakes and biker gangs. Click here to find out more and read the opening chapters for free, or listen to an interview with the author talking about his new book.
For older readers, Muchamore's stand-alone novel Arctic Zoo is now out in paperback. A story about protest and mental health, it was inspired by the teenagers the author met in a psychiatric hospital during his own period of illness. Find out more.
New book from Michelle Paver
Michelle Paver's Wolf Brother series is a favourite in our library. If you're looking for an exciting adventure read, her new book, Viper's Daughter, works as a stand-alone story as well as a continuation for her characters. Click here to hear her talk about her journey to the frozen north for the book!
How books can help you understand your feelings - Tom Percival
18 - 24 May is Mental Health Awareness Week. Reading books which put you in other people's shoes and help you empathise is a very good way of understanding your own feelings and how important they are. Author Tom Percival explains emotional intelligence - with a few jokes too. Find out more.
Watch Libby Scott, teenage author of Can You See Me? (shortlisted for this year's Southwark Book Award) and the newly published Do You Know Me?, talk about her autism and how she copes with anxiety. Find out more.
The king of animal stories - Michael Morpurgo
From War Horse to Shadow and Kaspar Prince of Cats, Michael Morpurgo's books feature a vast range of noble animals. Click here to see if there are any you haven't read and try these suggestions if you've read them all!
And, it's Friday so don't forget to round off your week with a Bitesize Reading Lesson. This week it's No Ballet Shoes in Syria by Catherine Bruton for Year 7, Itch by Simon Mayo for Year 8, and The Lie Tree by Frances Hardinge for Year 9.
Museum cats - Holly Webb
Author of over 100 books about animals, Holly Webb shares the stories of real-life cats who live in famous museums. Find out more.
How dogs sort people's lives out - Meg Rosoff
The author of How I Live Now and There is no Dog talks about her own dogs and about reading dogs who visit schools! Find out more.
Try these titles if you like reading about adventures with cats.
Books about dogs
If you're looking for a story with a canine main character, have a look at these suggestions.
When will football be back?
The League Managers Association is due to vote on Monday on proposals for a return to football this season. Don't forget to send me your ideas for what you think should happen. This week's competition closes tomorrow!
Click here to read about how lockdown is affecting youth academy players who are keen to get started on their careers.
Football School - Ben Lyttleton and Alex Bellos
Read how Ben Lyttleton, one of the authors of the popular Football School series, got a lucky break in his career as a football journalist... in the loos at Wembley Stadium! Find out more.
From the Playground to the Pitch
The wonderful Ultimate Football Heroes series, From the Playground to the Pitch, has just added Lacazette with Alisson and Rashford to come this summer. Click here to check out the full list of titles as it stands. Matt Oldfield, one half of the brothers behind the books, talks about his favourite books and why reading is so important.
May the Fourth be with you!
To celebrate Star Wars Day, will you be watching one of the movies, or all nine?! Check out starwars.com for everything to do with the galaxy far far away. Along with creative projects and recipes there is a free e-book, The Queens's Shadow to download. And for an extra chance to win this week, tell me who your favourite Star Wars character is and why by the end of Tuesday 5th May, and enter the draw for a free copy of Where's The Wookie, offering hours of entertainment, delivered to your door.
Celebrity book readings
BBC Bitesize Daily Lessons is posting reading lessons every Friday with celebrities reading book extracts for each KS3 year group. This week you can hear The Uncommoners by Jennifer Bell for Year 7 and Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens for Year 8 and Year 9.
Use your own experiences - Onjali Rauf
Onjali Rauf, author of The Boy at the Back of the Class and The Star Outside My Window, suggests you should look inside yourself for the best stories.
Character and plot - Catherine Fisher
Characters are often the most memorable part of a story says award-winning fantasy author, Catherine Fisher. Check out her ideas for how to write a fascinating fantasy story.
Create a fantasy world - Cressida Cowell
The award-winning author of How to Train your Dragon explains how she created the setting for her latest series, The Wizards of Once. Find out more.
Tips on writing - Taran Matharu
Taran Matharu, the author of the wonderful Summoner series, visited our school in 2018 and told us how he got started in writing. Click here for his tips on writing novels, which will also be useful for your short stories!
Reading lessons with celebrity readers
If you haven't already looked at BBC Bitesize Daily Lessons, check them out! On Fridays there are Reading Lessons with celebrities reading from different books for each KS3 year group: Wonder by RJ Palacio for Year 7; Trash by Andy Mulligan for Year 8; and Goggle-Eyes by Anne Fine for Year 9.
Shakespeare died on 23 April 1616 and his birth date in 1564 is historically, though less certainly, marked as 23 April too. I wonder how many of you will be choosing to read Shakespeare during lockdown?! However, he lived through a time of plague epidemics and lost members of his close family. Click here to discover what daily life was like for Shakespeare over 400 years ago. For older readers, Malorie Blackman's recently televised Noughts & Crosses, echoes the story of Romeo and Juliet, and is a must read. The fifth book in the series, Crossfire, was published last year.
Happy Earth Day!
22 April is Earth Day, a global call to take action for the planet and fight climate change. Click here to take the quizzes and see how informed you are, and then explore the rest of the Earth Day website to see how you can get involved and make a difference. The perfect read for today is Tender Earth by Sita Brahmachari, a story about starting secondary school, confronting change and finding your voice. Happy Earth Day!
Today we are also marking Stephen Lawrence Day, celebrating his life and striving to make the world a better place. The Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust has created a reading list of books that are available free to read online.
Polly Ho-Yen's Boy in the Tower
Looking for a book that understands what it's like to be kept inside and looking out at the world? Polly Ho-Yen's Boy in the Tower, might be just the thing for you and it's set in South London! Think about how you can use your own experiences to write a short story.
10 brilliant book illustrations
Author and illustrator James Mayhew has selected an interesting and wide-ranging choice of great drawing styles. Click here to view and read about the artists. Ms Mead will be judging our drawing competition at 9am on Monday so as long as your entry is in today or over the weekend, it can be included.
I'm sure many of you are reading manga online and catching up on anime at the moment. I've been looking at lots of amazing manga art online this week. How would you rank your favourite artists? Check out this Top Ten and this one too. Do you agree? Drop me an email and let me know yours. And, don't worry, I'm still ordering all the latest editions of your favourite manga series for when we are back in school - we won't miss any. Keep reading and drawing!
Nick Sharratt - Jacqueline Wilson's illustrator
Nick Sharratt, illustrator of Jacqueline Wilson and her Tracy Beaker books, as well as books by Jeremy Strong and Julia Donaldson, has a very distinctive style, perfect for cartoon stories. His website is a great place to explore his work and get ideas. Click here for his videos on how to draw characters and animals
Quentin Blake - Roald Dahl's illustrator
Today, check out the work of Quentin Blake, the familiar illustrator of books by many authors including Roald Dahl and David Walliams. His own website tells the story of his life and showcases hundreds of drawings. Click here to watch Quentin talking about how he draws or take a Willy Wonka masterclass. Keep drawing and don't forget to send in your work!
Manga fans, click here to find out about the father of modern manga, from illustrator Satoshi Kitamura. And don't forget to work on your drawings for this week's competition! Yesterday's superhero drawing link also features manga. Click here for more tips, or visit www.animeoutline.com.
Graphic novels and superheroes
Those of you in Manga Club last year will know about the Excelsior award, the national award for the best new manga and graphic novels. Click here to see this year's shortlists. If you feel like brushing up on your superhero drawing skills check out this range of characters or you might want to try cute Superman!
Chris Riddell - watch his videos to get you drawing!
Everyone can draw, and pictures can be just as important as words. Chris Riddell is the former Children's Laureate and illustrator of The Graveyard Book, Coraline, Goth Girl, The Beedle and the Bard, and the Edge Chronicles. Click here to see Chris Riddell create a character and start a story.
Rebecca Westcott - more diary reads
The author of Dandelion Clocks and Can You See Me? (shortlisted for this year's Southwark Book Award) talks about diary writing and suggests some very different ones to try. Find out more.
Harry Potter - Always!
Samuel reminded us all that reading familiar books we have grown up with can be very comforting, especially something like Harry Potter, which is so imaginative and action packed it always seems fresh. Maybe now's a good time to reread the series or rewatch the films! Have a look at these suggestions for what to read after Harry Potter.
R.J. Palacio - Wonder
Adam's recommendation of Wonder (see above) led me to this interview with R.J. Palacio on her inspiration for writing the book. Developing empathy by putting yourself in another person's place is one of the most important experiences of reading. Find out more. If you like Wonder, try this great new book, Can you See Me?, which uses extracts from a real teenager's diary.
Jeff Kinney - Diary of a Wimpy Kid
Rayane's excellent suggestion of diving into Diary of the Wimpy Kid stories to entertain yourself and think about how we interact with each other, helped me dig up this fascinating interview with Jeff Kinney and a whole load of suggestions on what to read next. Don't forget your own diary entry for this week's competition!
- "I didn't think kids would read Diary of a Wimpy Kid" - Jeff Kinney
- What to read after Diary of a Wimpy Kid - suggestions.
Ele Fountain - Boy 87
Jackson's winning review (see above) makes us all think about what staying at home means when you don't have a fixed home or are having to leave the one you have known all your life and start again. In today's Read of the Day, Ele Fountain, author of Boy 87 (one of our DEAR Time book sets and winner of the Southwark Book Award 2019) describes the experience that led to her book. There is also a link to other stories about refugees for you to try. Find out more.
Jason Reynolds - Ghost Series
The new series from Jason Reynolds, author of Long Way Down, has interested a lot of you in the library. Here's what he has to say about his Ghost series. Find out more.
"Why I write" - Alex Wheatle
One of Harris Boys' favourite authors explains how and why he writes. Find out more.
Patrice Lawrence's Top 10 Books.
Many of you have read Orange Boy by Patrice Lawrence. Here are her Top Ten reads.