Engaging reads for children, from Books go Walkabout

Tag: school library association

Winner of the School Librarian of the Year 2019

The SLA School Librarian of the Year Award is the School Library Association’s highly valued award to recognize the excellent work carried out in school libraries across the country. 

In 2019, Alec Williams, who introduced the afternoon said, ” A room full of books is just that! But given the proper space and a librarian, the discovery, delight and magic happens.”

This year Ros Harding at The King’s School Chester has been awarded the honour of the School Librarian of the Year 2019. Sara Barnard, the 2019 YA Book Prize winner presented Ros Harding with her award at a special ceremony at the Millennium Gloucester Hotel, Kensington, London Kensington on 27 June .

Ros is Head Librarian and Archivist at The King’s School Chester, which is an independent selective school for 3-18 year olds, Ros contributes in many ways to the life of the school and the wellbeing of its students and staff. She was described by others as“caring, for people but also for the library itself”, “inspiring curiosity” and a “tour de force”.

As well as establishing a School Book Award, Ros is an excellent ambassador of research skills and ensures all aspects of the school to have a place within the library. She empowers pupils and gives outstanding support and pastoral care.

A quote and under-statement from a pupil, ” She knows her library”!

Announcing the School Librarian of the Year 2019, Sara Barnard, whose novel Goodbye Perfect won the YA Book Prize 2019  said:
Libraries are essential to any school and community, and I’m delighted to pay tribute to them and the librarians who make them what they are.

The two other school librarians on the Honour List, were recognised for their outstanding work .Chantal Kelleher is the Learning Resource Centre Manager at Herne Bay High School, and  Helen Cleaves, Librarian/Learning Resources Manager at Kingston Grammar School.

The panel of judges was led by Sue Baston, who is also Vice Chair of SLA.

From bringing books to life in highly imaginative and engaging ways, to generous and bold outreach work each librarian on the Honour
List has made a huge difference to the lives of all they work with, igniting a passion for reading.

An interesting and inspirational event  recognising all the good work that continues in our school libraries.

Sue Martin




Winner of SLA School Librarian of the Year Award 2016


School Library AssociationThe SLA School Librarian of the Year Award is the School Library Association’s prestigious honour recognizing the excellent work carried out in school libraries every day, highlighting outstanding work.

This year Emma Suffield at Saint Wilfrid’s C of E Academy has been awarded the honour of the School Librarian of the Year 2018.

Although her official title is Learning Resources Centre Manager, Emma Suffield is seen more as a member of the family by many of the 1400 students at Saint Wilfrid’s C of E Academy in a diverse area of Blackburn, thanks to her personalised, thoughtful and supportive approach to engaging all readers across the school.

Innovative, imaginative practice, frequently going the extra mile, has led to a whopping 450% increase in book borrowing rates since Emma became responsible for the library in 2014.

Read more about Emma through her picture & @emmasuffield and SLA website.

Lesley Martin, Chair of the SLA School Librarian of the Year Selection Committee, said:

‘‘It is exciting for the profession to have someone as forward thinking, creative, passionate and professional about school libraries and no doubt with a great career ahead of her. Emma makes a real difference in her school and her community and her contribution to the wider library profession is already making an impact.’’

Alison Tarrant, Chief Executive of the School Library Association, said:

“The School Librarian of the Year Award is a brilliant opportunity to showcase the impact that school libraries can make, not just on pupils, but on staff and school culture.

Our Honour List this year were all strong contenders and demonstrate the nuance needed when talking about school libraries – no two are the same; they are all reflective of the school around them, and it’s aims and priorities.

Last month the launch of the Great School Libraries campaign – a three year campaign spearheaded by SLA, CILIP SLG and CILIP. The campaign has three aims: to secure school library funding; to produce a national framework for school libraries and recognition of school libraries within the Ofsted framework. Our Honour List support this aim and prove that supported school libraries can make a difference.

The three other school librarians on the Honour List are:
Nicki Cleveland at Cannon Park Primary School , Dr. Chhavi Jain at Manav Rachna International School, Gurugram and Alison Kennedy at St George’s Ascot .

Emma Suffield and each librarian on the honour list have made a huge difference to the lives of all they work with, igniting a passion for reading.

To read the profiles of all the librarians on the Honour List visit the SLA website.

The work of all  librarians on the Honour List, was celebrated at a ceremony  on Tuesday 9th October 2018, at The Judge’s Court, in St Martins Lane, London.



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Many congratulations from Books Go Walkabout working with librarians across the world.

Sue Martin

Books Go Walkabout

Revolutions – Moments in History, from The British Library

Moments cover image and web purchase link

Buy this book from BgW here…

A brand new series of books from The British Library, which bring collections of materials to children. Moments in History is the first book in the series and is newly published on 9th March 2017.

It is a brilliant book to pick up and read from cover to cover or  to just delve into and have an adventure of learning. I spent ages on The Battle of Little Bighorn and became totally engrossed! The nuggets of information and beautiful images make it a very  compelling read as well as a starting point for further exploration and research. It will be a ‘must have’ book for teachers to embark on a history project.

Moments in History spans the dawn of civilisation to the Second World War,and is aimed at children from 8-11 years who are interested in the past, and want to find out more about people who made history – artists and architect, soldiers and explorers, politicians and religious leaders.

The author is Clare Hibbet who has written and edited over 200 books. She specialises in natural history, art and culture and is published with DK, QED Heinemann and others.

The British Library is one of the worlds greatest research libraries. It publishes a large number of books and publications and  children’s  books are a recent addition to the list of publications.

Their  collections of materials  is huge, 150 million items with 10 million people accessing online material each year.

Gathering evidence for research will be enhanced enormously by this book and future books in the series; using secondary evidence sources such as  images and materials from The British Library will help young learners become historians of the future.

Revolutions, A Moment in History, very much enjoyed and recommended.

[plasso id=”CGRDcjrzDs” text=”Buy this book from BgW here…”]


Sue Martin        Books Go Walkabout


School Librarian of the Year Award 2014

IMG 9918In 2014, there were three exceptional librarians on the Honours List and we were pleased to be able to attend the ceremony held by the Schools Library Association.

This year Liz Millett, Teaching Assistant/Library Co-ordinator at Weatherfield Academy, Dunstable, has been awarded the honour of the SLA School Librarian of the Year 2014 at a celebration at the Hotel Russell in London on 6 October. Award-winning author and artist Chris Riddell (Macmillan Children’s Books) presented her with the award.

Weatherfield Academy is a special school for students aged 7 to 19 with Moderate Learning Difficulties and additional complex needs. There are 117 pupils in the school with 52% attracting Pupil Premium funding and entitled to free school meals and 32% in social care. Much of the curriculum is aimed at giving students lifelong skills. In 2009 a room was adapted for the library and Liz Millett took on the job of developing it. The pupils make good levels of progress, as judged by Ofsted in 2013.

Liz says “My aim is to increase their pleasure from reading whatever level they are at to make sure they are not frightened by books or put off them, so that they will come to see reading as something they will always have for themselves.”

To read more about Liz go to: http://www.sla.org.uk/liz-millett.php

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Sue Martin – Dolphin Booksellers – the best in children’s books, always on line


School Librarian of the Year

Image 1This year two librarians have been awarded the School Librarian of the Year, a celebration at the Hotel Russell in London, on 7th October.

Ginette Doyle, Chair of the SLA School Librarian of the Year Selection committee said:

“They are not joint winners, but each deserves the accolade of School Librarian of the Year.”

Photo from Philip Cooper Photography

“It was an extremely strong, and international, Honour List. In the end we chose two librarians both working in different ways to bring their libraries into the heart of the school and learning.

Candy Gourlay, author of the award-wining Tall Story and recently published second novel, The Shine, presented the award to:

Hilary Cantwell, librarian at St Paul’s Community College Waterford, Republic of Ireland.

Hilary gained expertise in New York schools and public libraries before joining an Irish government programme to create school libraries.

St Paul’s has 430 students and is in a rural county with the highest unemployment in Ireland. It is affiliated to the Irish government’s inclusion programme, Delivering Equality of Opportunity in Schools.

John Iona, librarian at Oasis Academy Enfield, Middlesex.

John creates award-winning resources, delivers the school’s Extended Project Qualification programme and plays a significant role in curriculum planning and support. The school has 1,100 students of which up to 70% have English as a second language. John actively promotes reading for pleasure with a number of initiatives including Reading Games.

A great celebration and the awards a real reflection of the importance of reading and literacy in schools.

Dolphin Booksellers are pleased to celebrate this achievement of the School Library Association.

Sue Martin

Dolphin Booksellers- the best in children’s books always on line

The Philippa Pearce Memorial Lecture 2013

Image 1Kevin Crossley-Holland,celebrated author and President of the School Library Association, delivered an enchanting and beautifully crafted lecture:

‘Footprints on the Grass: Speaking of Gardens and Children’s Books’ to a full house at Homerton College Cambridge on 6th September.

The theme of gardens was delicately drawn into ways in which children use imagination within places where there is space, beauty and security.

Kevin talked about John the Peddar from Norfolk, is journey to London following a dream about a pot of gold, only to turn back and return home where the pot was in his back garden.

‘ The greatest treasure in the world is on our doorstep, but you may have to go away and come back to find it.

There were many references to Philippa’s writing, and especially her most famous book, Tom’s Midnight Garden.

Philippa Pearce died in 2006, but respect and affection for her writing is as strong as ever. In her memory, a series of lectures is now underway, each intended to celebrate excellence in writing for children.

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The inaugural Philippa Pearce Memorial Lecture was held on 11th September 2008, at Homerton College, Cambridge, and focused on Philippa Pearce’s own writing and contribution to children’s literature. Subsequent lectures have ranged more widely and speakers have included Michael Rosen, Michael Morpurgo, Philip Pullman and Malorie Blackman.

The 2014 Lecture will be given by Frank Cottrell Boyce.

Kevin’s speech was filmed and will be available on the Philippa Pearce Memorial Lecture website soon. http://www.pearcelecture.com

Working with young people and digital technology

slaThe London branch of the School Library Association met at Highgate School on the evening of November 9th. The meeting was held in the oak panelled hall and was a contrast to the new age title of the talk , ‘ Engaging with children in a digital way’, which was presented by Ruth Harrison from The Reading Agency.

readLots of different projects that the Reading Agency are involved in show that this is a really exciting time for the development of communication and access to written texts. Young people have a myriad of ways that they are already accessing written material digitally. For libraries and schools there are lots of benefits and also some concerns, especially around the uploading of material written onto a school website, for example, by young people.

This would seem to be a very valid point but maybe there are other ways that we can encourage young people to write and express their thoughts.

As part of our work with children and literacy we are always interested in new ways of engaging with children and young people. Very keen to be part of the developing ‘apps’ movement.  Just the start of a new way of working and so much scope for broadening horizons.

Sue Martin at DolphinBooksellers – always the best in children’s books on line

Federation of Children’s Book Groups Conference

Bradfield College

A whole weekend of children’s books at Bradfield College, Berkshire – a splendid setting and the warmest days so far.

A great success for the FCBG Annual Conference 2010 .

Cake at Conference

We were there for the Saturday speakers.

Hadn’t realised that there would be so much cake.

Definitely a bonus!

A Gothic Imagination started the day with Sarah Singleton, author of The Poison Garden and Century . She carried us through the attics of neurosis and cellars of repression, describing gothic style as somewhat claustrophobic, with decay and a feeling of being trapped in the past.

John Burningham(author of Mr Gumpy and many many more books), gave some amazing reflections on his work and career as an illustrator and author, somehow even finding a flair for trains in Japan.

Truth Lies and Violence was a lively seminar with Graham Marks (I Spy – The Constantinople Caper) and Marcus Sedgwick (Revolver). They even managed to travel to get the real feel of the settings for their books and in Marcus’ case tried out a gun to see what it would feel like.

Books at Bedtime, in the middle of the afternoon, wasn’t at all soporific! Wendy CoolingDavid Melling and Clara Vulliamy were inspirational in their illustrations and composition of picture books. Hugless Douglas and The Bear with Sticky Paws are two of their titles.

And even time to relax too!


Time to look at new books coming on the scene, chance to meet up with friends.

We enjoyed the opportunity to sit back and listen to the creativity of writing and illustrating.

Just wait until the children start getting stuck into those books.

Dolphin Booksellers for books and information on-line.

Primary School Library Charter

lbThe  School Library Association have launched a Primary School Library Charter on Monday 15 th February. The charter will help primary head teachers and governors set up and run a school library or increase the contribution that their current library makes to the school’s effectiveness and the pupils’ well being and learning.

At Dolphin Booksellers and at SmithMartin Partnership we are so pleased that the value of libraries in primary schools is really celebrated. A well resourced library with an area and space which is attractive for children to sit and read or to access information is so important. Library spaces we have created have been places that children just love to be in.

Many schools, for many children, are the only place that they have access to a wide range of books. It becomes the very start of their own reading materials and if we are lucky it can be the catalyst for finding the way to local libraries.

Sir Tim Brighouse, associate professor at the Institute of Education , University of London and former Schools Commissioner for London, welcomed the charter, saying: ‘The school library is one of the key indicators of whether a school environment is as best fitted as it can be for learning. If the library is a desert, you start to worry.

Lucy Bakewell, librarian at Hill West Primary School in Sutton Coldfield and the first primary winner of the SLA’s School Librarian of the Year award (2009), believes that a primary school library plays a unique role in ‘grabbing children when they are building their vocabulary and growing their imaginations to introduce them to reading habits and information handling skills which will stand them in good stead later’. She adds: ‘Primary school librarians are also well placed to reach parents and help to create a reading ethos in families as well as in schools.’

Watch this space for more information, we will be interested to find out the response from Gordon Brown to a letter from international colleagues.

Dolphin Booksellers for up to date information and a chance to buy books on line.

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