A Week at Norfolk ELS…

A few weeks ago, before the end of term came and went, we had a (temporary!) new addition to our team in the form of Ellie, who was with us for a week of work experience. From a high school with which we’ve done lots of work in the past, Ellie was a brilliant asset during the five days she spent with us, the most keen and interested young person to visit us for ages!

It was a real pleasure to have her in the office and we asked her to write a recap of her time with us, to let us know what she thought of life in the ELS office. Read her thoughts below…

I recently spent a week working with the ELS at Norfolk’s County Hall for my work experience, and I couldn’t recommend it more. It was fascinating looking behind the scenes at what once was the School Library Service and how the books are shared between the schools in the county. The team are so focused on sharing the power of books and enlightening youngsters is only one of the many things they achieve. They hand pick books for the children to chose from, making sure they receive a selection so diverse that everyone will find something they enjoy. 

I didn’t just work with the ELS; I helped the dutiful team that equips and manages each Library van as well as the team who delivers books to each of Norfolk’s 47 libraries. These jobs are so vital yet they receive the least amount of credit.

I spent one of my days working at the Millennium library where I shadowed Apryl in her Community Librarian role. She showed me book ordering and how they select titles to buy. We also put up posters around the library advertising the different activities they’ll have on offer over the summer for the Summer Reading Challenge. 

I had such an amazing and insightful week working at County Hall and at the Millennium Library and must be down to the wonderful staff who took me under their wing, so a big thank you to them!! 

You’re welcome back any time, Ellie!

Now, you can find our team’s Friday Reads– along with Ellie’s- below and as always, for more reviews, visit our archive.

Apryl: The Big Bad Mood by Tom Jamieson, illustrated by Olga Demidova

As someone who is often very grumpy, this picture book appealed to me as soon as I saw it lingering on a trolley in our office.

A small red-headed boy called George is having one of those days (I can relate, George). When his mum declares that a big bad mood is hanging around him, he is confused- where? He can’t see anything, no matter how hard he searches and this just makes him EVEN MOODIER. After some angry foot-stomping and shouting, the big bad mood appears and asks George to help him in his mischievous quest to make EVERYONE feel big, bad and moody. Though their adventures look fun, George comes to realise that behaving this way all the time has consequences for everyone- not just himself.

This book would be great for discussing emotions and how to manage them- for adults and children alike!

(Bloomsbury, £6.99 paperback, ISBN 9781408839201, find it at a Norfolk Library)

Ellie: Carry On by Rainbow Rowell

I know what you’re thinking: this is a ripped off version of Harry Potter, but trust me, it is so much more than that. Carry On is the thrilling tale of Simon Snow, ‘The Chosen One’, and his nemesis/roommate Baz. It is set during their final year at Watford School of Magicks and is truly original and unlike anything else I have ever read.

In Fangirl, also by Rainbow Rowell, we were introduced to Simon and Baz through the main protagonist Cather as characters from her favorite book series. Cather writes a piece of fan-fiction called Carry on, and this is the full version written by Rainbow Rowell through Cather.

Having read Fangirl before Carry On, I knew what to expect from the characters as well as from Rainbow Rowell; it’s safe to say I was not disappointed.  It starts off slow, as you are introduced to the intricate world of the Mage and are given the backstory which leads to the plot of Carry On. The two main protagonists, Simon and Baz take you on an adventure which is exciting as well as hilarious as they navigate through the perils of right and wrong while trying to make sense of their own emotions.

If you have read Fangirl before, then you’ll be able to make emotion links between Carry On’s plot and Cather’s mental health and as one deteriorates so does the other. Carry On shows the hardship of coming to age, and how people aren’t always their first impression. Due to some of the sensitive subjects, Carry On is more suitable to older teenagers.

(MacMillan, £7.99 paperback, ISBN 9781447266945, find it at a Norfolk Library)

Harriet:  Anna and the Swallow Man by Gavriel Savit

Quietly harrowing, this is the heart-breaking story, set in Poland in the Second World War,  of a young child abandoned and homeless hitching up with an enigmatic man, equally homeless. Together they tramp around Poland constantly hiding from soldiers, foraging for food, surviving the freezing winters as best they can, and only befriending one other character, a charming but reckless young Jew. By the end of the novel, as the end of the war approaches, probably only Anna has any hope of survival, but even her future is uncertain. The relationship between the child and the strange man is tenderly done. Although in third person narrative, the reader sees everything through Anna’s eyes, so we only learn as much about the ‘swallow man’ as she herself gradually discovers. For emotionally mature readers, of 13 upwards.

(Penguin, £7.99 paperback, ISBN 9780141376646, find it at a Norfolk Library)

Zoë: The Prince and The Pee by Greg Gormley, illustrated by Chris Mould

I defy anyone to read this and not chuckle! My giggles were commented on several times as I read this gloriously silly picture book with its VERY familiar thread.

Prince Freddie is travelling to fight a fearsome dragon but on the way he is struck by the need to have a wee. He faces more challenges with his need for the toilet and encounters many favourite fairy tale characters along the way to the dragon’s castle. Does he defeat the dragon? And, more importantly, does he manage to have a wee? Read the book, laugh lots and find out!

(Nosy Crow, £6.99 paperback, ISBN 9780857638250, find it at a Norfolk Library)


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