This week we helped the Young Norfolk Arts Festival establish their Backstage blog which gives an insight into the festival, including interviews with performers and behind-the-scenes glimpses of events taking place between 1st-10th July 2016. Content is produced by young members of the YNAF Comms team themselves and you can find it online here; be sure to check the blog and their twitter feed regularly for updates over the next few weeks as there’s lots going on across the county.
It’s true (as if you didn’t already know) boys respond positively to comedy. New Literacy Trust research shows that though boys (8-16) read less than girls, they are more likely to read comedy than anything else. Boys are also twice as likely as girls to put pen to paper (fingers to keyboard?) to write comedy.
The perfect time then to get them writing, as the school year is winding down, with the BBC’s Comedy Classroom competition, Having a Write Laugh Entry is open for Year 9 & 10s until 24th July. Follow the link above for plenty of resources to get them tittering!
See below for this week’s Friday Reads…
Gail: Sputnik’s Guide to Life on Earth by Frank Cottrell Boyce, illustrated by Steve Lenton
Frank Cottrell Boyce’s newest book is typically madcap, with a gentle underlying reality check. The protagonist is a ‘looked-after’ boy who doesn’t like to speak; his Grandad has dementia and doesn’t recognise him. The book is uplifting and surreal and features an alien dog, lots of dashing about doing things kids probably wish they could do, plus some interesting information about Space and a sideways look at ‘normal’ things which- it is hoped- will save our endangered planet.
(Macmillan’s Children’s Books, £12.99 hardback, ISBN 9780230771376)
Harriet: Walter Tull’s Scrapbook by Michaela Morgan.
In this anniversary year of the first Battle of the Somme, I have looked again at the fascinating story of Walter Tull, first black officer in the British Army, and a talented football player who was signed up to play for Tottenham Hotspur. This is a real ‘fairy tale’ of rags to fame – but with a tragic ending. Tull was one of six children from a mixed marriage, but both his parents were dead by the time he was 9, and he was sent to a Methodist children’s home. The war interrupted burgeoning fame as a professional footballer, even though he had to fight racial prejudice. He survived the first onslaught of the Somme, suffered shell shock but was sent back to the front and even survived Paschendaele, but was killed in 1918 back at the Somme, aged 29. This book tells his remarkable story as a fictionalised diary, illustrated with genuine photographs and documents.
(Frances Lincoln, £6.99 paperback, ISBN 9781847804914, find it at a Norfolk library)
Mandy: Braille- Animals, On the Move, It Can’t be True!, Counting, Shapes
It’s rare to find really good publications for children with visual impairments incorporating both braille and tactile elements- but here is a set of 5 from Dorling Kindersley in association with the RNIB. Branded with the strapline “Knowledge you can touch” these will appeal to sighted children, but are well designed for those with a degree of visual impairment using bold line and colour and good tactile qualities- the cover zebra is subtly fuzzy. Counting and Shapes are aimed at Foundation, the other 3 titles at KS1 or 2, brilliant for your sensory collections.
(Pictured: Dorling Kindersley, £15.99 hardback, ISBN 9780241228395)
Zoe: Crowns and Codebreakers by Elen Caldecott
This is the second instalment from the Marsh Road Mysteries’ series and as with the first, it is an enjoyable storyline with the children discovering another mystery to solve.
Minnie’s Gran, who lives in Nigeria, comes to stay with her son, Minnie’s Father, and the family. Upon her arrival, she requests the hibiscus tea from her suitcase as she is not a fan of English tea. However, when Minnie opens the black suitcase, instead of finding the things she expected – Nigerian snacks, Lagos tea, print dresses and large knickers – she discovers some boys’ clothes and a teddy bear. As expected, Minnie’s Gran is really upset she cannot drink her favourite tea and then she hears the really bad news that her case is not at the airport. How will she get her case back?
The mystery deepens the next day as, when the family return from church, their home has been broken into yet the only thing stolen was the black suitcase. It is time for Minnie to get the Marsh Road Investigators – Andrew, Piotr, Flora and Sylvie – onto the case…
(Bloomsbury, £5.99 paperback, ISBN 9781408852712)
You can find our previous recommendations here.