Farewell Mrs Steel!

Once we’d dealt with the initial excitement of schools being back in session for a new academic year, we were faced with another harsh reality- one of our team was leaving!

After nearly a decade of working for the School Library Service, one of our esteemed Librarians- Mandy- retired this week. Even though it’s been barely 24 hours since she left the building for the last time, we already miss her knowledge, passion and enthusiasm for children’s books, reading, and the importance of libraries. Schools have always let us know how much they value her support, and her contribution to fostering a love of reading, literacy and learning across Norfolk has not gone unnoticed.mandy.JPG

Mandy herself says:

“After a last, long summer it’s time for me to re-shelve all the lovely books I’ve been reading because I’m retiring after over 9 years with Norfolk ELS. What will I miss? Well obviously the amazing selection of fabbity fab books we have here – all 146000+ of them – my brilliant colleagues, our lovely and talented author team and all of you out in schools as well as the children who make it all worthwhile. I’ve loved reading them stories and turning sad grubby libraries into impressive attractive ones. Thanks to you all, and GOODBYE!”

We thought we’d make our first Friday Read of the new term a Mandy special; rest assured, her reading prowess and honest reviews will be missed and the corner of our office where she once sat is looking very bare…



  • Little Bits of Sky by S.E. Durrant

Gentle and slightly idealised account of a brother and sister growing up in the “care” system in the 1980’s, told in a loose diary format. Finally Zac and Ira find and adult who actually wants them. Worth remembering to support friends of children who are in care, best for Y5/6. (Nosy Crow, £7.99 paperback, ISBN 9780857633996)

  • The Return of a Pig called Heather by Harry Oulton

This is an amusing piggy romp with one or two issues integrated along the way. Heather the pig is lying low in London Zoo but needs to escape and get back to Scotland in a daring attempt to win back her friend Isla’s farm for her family. Issues of battery farming are mentioned, but children should know the reality of food production in a rural county. Great fun for mid KS2. (Piccadilly Press, £5.99 paperback, ISBN 9781848124004)

  • Anna Liza and the Happy Practice by Eoin Colfer, illustrated by Matt Robertson

This is in Barrington Stoke’s Little Gem imprint, suitable for children with a reading age of 6+ with dyslexia. Anna Liza’s mum is a psychiatrist and Anna often helps out by talking to the often very sad children of patients left in the waiting room (yes, …I know!) Anna’s listening skills are well-developed and her solutions to problems often hilarious. A positive story about mental health. (Barrington Stoke, paperback, ISBN 9781781125595)

  • When Marnie Was There by Joan G. Robinson

This welcome re-issue of a very old title is set on the North Norfolk coast and the author clearly loves the setting and knows it well. Orphaned and lonely Anna is sent to stay on the Norfolk coast for the summer. Feeling very alone and isolated she finds a friend- someone who she can finally call a friend. But this friend turns out to be the ghost of her grandmother, and leads her to find real friends. A gentle old-fashioned story with an engaging storyline which still reads well today. Perfect for sensitive Y5/6 girls.(HarperCollins, £6.99 paperback, ISBN 9780007591350, find it at a Norfolk Library)

You can view our archive of previous Friday Reads here.



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