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If you could choose just one book for your ideal bookshelf, what would it be, and why? It is a question that has absorbed students in Years 3 to 6 during Library studies this term.
Bookshelves are universal in that almost everyone has one, and unique in that no two collections are the same. The books we choose to read reveal a lot about our taste and interests. This term, our Years 3 to 6 students had an opportunity to choose and research an author to produce a biography, a book review and an original artwork. The aim? To promote a love of literature and encourage students to read outside their comfort zone.
Teacher Librarian Ms Darrouzet has been delighted by the enthusiasm and imagination shown by the students. “The conversations that the girls are having about books has been wonderful. It’s really encouraged them to read.”
The results have been wonderfully varied too, from perennial favourites like The Secret Garden and Little Women, to more recent novels such as Divergent and The Hunger Games.
Jennifer (Year 6) chose Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls, a collection of one hundred remarkable women and their extraordinary lives. “I read it because it has inspirational women in it like Hilary Clinton and Malala. I love the images too. They are very abstract.”
Grace (Year 6) chose So Much to Tell You by John Marsden because she was captivated by the blurb on the back cover. “It really made me want to read more. The story is really nice and the ending was beautiful. It made me cry.”
“David Walliams is my favourite author because his stories are so entertaining and funny,” says Harriet (Year 5). “My favourite book is Demon Dentist because it is so gripping and you don’t want to put the book down. It’s got a mix of emotions such as sadness and comedy.”
“My favourite author is Sharon M. Draper because her books are really touching and I love them,” says Claudia (Year 5). “My favourite is Out of My Mind because I love books about incredible people. This book has changed my life because it makes me think about how lucky I am compared to others. I think other people should read this book to know that anything is possible.”
The inspiration for this project came from My Ideal Bookshelf, a wonderfully imaginative book by Jane Mount and Thessaly La Force. It offers a rare insight into the books that have shaped some of the world’s most intriguing people: the books that define them, the books they keep returning to, and those they couldn’t bear to be parted from. From artists to chefs, to musicians to app developers, each person’s choice is beautifully showcased in a series of colourful book spines.
Ms Darrouzet will collect all of the reviews together and compile them into books. The books spines designed by the students will form a collage of the students’ ideal bookshelf.
The project has highlighted to students that reading does not have to be a solitary activity. We hope that by exposing our students to diversity in books, it will help to prepare them for life in a diverse world.