Tuesday, 18 June 2013

When Laura Dockrill visited Charters School

Back in April we were very fortunate to have a visit from Laura Dockrill. Laura came in to talk to the Year 7s and the event was thoroughly enjoyed by everyone, pupils and staff alike. Laura is coming back to Charters for our Wonder of Words Young People's Literary Festival in July and we can't wait to see her again. Two of our Year 7 pupils decided to write something about Laura's visit for book blog:

Laura Dockrill
Visits Charters School!
That day was Exciting, because when she first came in I thought it would be like the first writer visit, silent and boring. But then she started talking in this AMAZING, CRAZIEE voice that made me feel like she was saying “WE’RE GOING TO HAVE A FUNN TIME!” so, she went on and said she liked this boy in 7T, (but I don’t remember his name) and EVERYONE started laughing! Afterwards, we asked her a LOT of questions… to do with her favourite stuff (I asked her what she loves to watch on TV and she said Tom and Jerry! I WATCH THAT TOO!) And when she found out I was a twin she flipped and said that she LOVED twins. But we weren’t the only twins there! There was Emily and Maisie. After 20 questions or MORE, she read us an extract of her book in which one of Darcy’s friends (in her new book) love this girl in her class but the girl has not time for him and Darcy tells a story about an octopus loving a girl from the outside… and later pops out on a poor granny trying to sunbathe
Then later on, it was almost time for her to LEAVEL. Nobody wanted her to leave… and her book sounded so interesting and I had NO money
 … Sickening. Just sickening. And everyone who bought money was jumping up and down and I felt small! But something else happened- I was chosen for my face to be in the newspaper with ME standing next to Laura! SQUEEE! So, the photo was taken and my sister came up to me. I was so full of energy and she asked if I was alright. I then opened my mouth and said, “Did you know? I want to be a WRITER.”

By Marie-Louise Lawson, Year 7. 

In April Charters was very lucky to have an author come into our school. Her name was Laura Dockrill and she talked to all the year sevens about her life as an author, her childhood and about her new book called Darcy Burdock. Some of the things that Laura talked to us about were about why she wanted to become an author. She said that she would think about a main part for a story and just write it down.

What I personally like about the visit was that she did not just talk about her stories but about her as a child and about how she is now and why she has blue highlights and wears dresses that look like a peacock (long story).
The main part of the visit was when she talked about her brand new book Darcy Burdock and I really like it because in the story the girl Darcy talks about the stories that she makes up herself so the way I look at it is another name for Darcy Burdock is Laura Dockrill because Laura loves to share her stories to other people so I think she has written the book about her but changing the name.

I enjoyed Laura Dockrill's visit because I really liked how she talked about her as well because I felt I knew her and I only had 1 hour so I think for the year groups to come I definitely think they should have a chance to see  a author like we did and enjoyed just like me .

By Kiera Fahey, Year 7

Our thanks go to Laura and to Random House Children's Publishing for arranging the visit.

Monday, 17 June 2013

A Greyhound of a Girl by Roddy Doyle

“A Greyhound of a Girl” was written by Roddy Doyle. The book is set in the Republic of Ireland in mostly the present day, and sometimes breaks from the main storyline to explain key events from the main characters lives in separate chapters. The novel starts with Mary, the main character saying goodbye to he best friend Ava, who is moving out of the area with her family. Mary’s mother is called Scarlett.  Her father is mentioned only a little and she also has two brothers. Mary is greatly saddened by the moving of her friend. Soon afterwards she meets a woman named Tansey, whom she introduces to her mother. Scarlett recognises Tansey to be her grandmother making her Mary’s great-grandmother. Tansey reveals to Scarlett and Mary that she has retuned as a ghost because her daughter Emer (Scarlett’s mother and Mary’s grandmother) is about to die and she wishes to comfort her in her last moments. Later the reader finds out, in a chapter set in the 1920s, that Tansey died of the flu when her child Emer was very young. In the end of the story Mary and Scarlett reveal the existence of Tansey to Emer and the four main characters journey to the old family farm. Each of the characters remember what the farm looked like as each of them recall it.

I did not enjoy reading “A Greyhound of a Girl”. I thought the book was very slow moving, dull and wasn’t interesting at all. Nothing interesting ever happened in the plot and I found the character of Mary hard to identify with as she does not share anything in common with me. If there was something I enjoyed about the book it was the idea of a ghost, however I think that the ghost should have come back to solve something interesting, such as an ancient family mystery, and not to comfort a dying daughter. I also found the fact that the time periods jumped around difficult to follow.

Review written by Angel Thomas, Year 8.

Friday, 14 June 2013

A Greyhound of a Girl by Roddy Doyle

This book is about a girl-Mary-whose Grandma-Emer- is dying and is in hospital. But Mary has met a ghost who is her great grandmother-Tansy- who has a very important message for Emer. Each chapter is from the perspective of four generations of women: a teenager, her mother, her grandmother and her great grandmother. I love the mix of seriousness and comedy that the author beautifully mixes into this book. From the first paragraph I loved Mary and her character. You visit different points in the history of the family including the time Tansy (the great grandmother) dies. The author writes about not only Tansy’s death from her own point of view but also from her daughter’s point of view. I really like this style of writing as it is a natural way of writing that make you feel like you know all the characters like a friend. 

I would recommend this book for girls rather than boys and recommend it for 13 and above. After reading the book I do feel that it was quite slow and if you are more into action books then this is not the kind of book for you. This book is based a lot around the theme of life and death and is slightly fantasy in terms of coming back from the dead but very real in the sense that death is a thing that can happen to anyone.

Review written by Archie White, Year 9.

Thursday, 13 June 2013

The Weight of Water by Sarah Crossan

“The Weight of Water” was written by Sarah Crossan. The book is about a young polish girl called Kasienka who, with her mother, emigrates from Gdansk in Poland to Coventry in England. Kasienka and her mother have come to England to find Tata , Kasienka’s father, who has left the family after an argument to come to England. Kasienka attends school where she becomes the rival of a girl named Clair. Kasienka and her mother spend their evenings searching for Tata. Kasienka manages to locate her father who is living a comfortable life, compared to her, and who has taken another wife with a young child. Kasienka receives the offer of living with her father, however she turns it down. Kasienka neglects to tell her mother about her father’s new life, knowing that it will break her mother’s heart, but she finds out anyway. Kasienka’s mother refuses to look at her and becomes very sad. Kasienka, who is a strong swimmer, secures her place on the school team in an important competition. Kasienka’s mother refuses to let her compete so Kasienka sneaks to the competition whilst her mother is asleep. At the competition Kasienka’s father is in the crowd. Kasienka manages to win the competition and confront Clair ,who is also competing.

The novel is written as a series of poems which I liked as they gave the novel an unusual and interesting structure, because novels are not normally written as poems. The use of the form of poetry gives the story a life of its own and shows the character of Kasienka through words and gives a reader an insight into her thoughts. The story itself would probably be quite short if it were not written in a poetic structure. It was also enjoyable that the book was easy to read as it took me an evening to finish it. I liked the character of Kasienka’s mother, who was determined to find her husband, who in the end had a child with another woman. I liked the determination and bravery of both Kasienka and her mother who come to a foreign country, not knowing much of the language, to find a person who could be anywhere.

Review written by Angel Thomas, Year 8.

Monday, 10 June 2013

Wonder of Words Young People's Literary Festival 2013

On Saturday 13 July Charters School will be holding its very own young people's literary festival. Read on to find out more about the event, the authors who will be appearing and how you can get tickets. Alternatively, you can download the festival programme by clicking here. The programme also contains a handy ticket order form for you to use.

Last summer we held a summer fair at Charters School to celebrate the Queen's Diamond Jubilee and also the London Olympic and Paralympic Games. It was a great success and so we decided we wanted to continue to hold an annual summer fair, with all the great stalls, games, live music and food that people have come to expect from a Charters School summer event,  but with a slight difference. That difference is WOW!

For our very first Wonder of Words Young People's Literary Festival we have managed to provide a brilliant line-up of author events, featuring some of the hottest authors currently writing for children and young adults. We are very excited to be hosting Laura Dockrill, Holly Smale, Will Hill, Rob Lloyd Jones and Conrad Mason and we believe we have a programme which has a little something for everyone.



Laura Dockrill

Laura visited Charters in April and we are delighted to be welcoming her back to wow the audience with her wild and colourful imagination. Laura's debut book for children, Darcy Burdock, has received countless rave reviews, with The Guardian saying: "Move over, Jacqueline Wilson. Darcy Burdock could just be the new Tracy Beaker." Darcy Burdock is a hilarious and fun book, with a main character who will be loved by boys, girls and adults. This event is suitable for children aged 7+.


Holly Smale

Don't miss your chance to meet Holly Smale, author of Geek Girl, the best selling Young Adult debut of 2013. Although Geek Girl has been aimed at the 11+ market, girls as young as 7 and as old as 18 are finding it to be hugely enjoyable read. Clumsy, a bit geeky and somewhat shy, Holly spent the majority of her teenage years hiding in the changing room toilets. She was unexpectedly spotted by a top London modelling agency at the age of fifteen and spent the following two years falling over on catwalks, going bright red and breaking things she couldn't afford to replace.


Will Hill, Conrad Mason and Rob Lloyd Jones

 We are delighted to welcome three very talented writers for our final event of the day. Covering horror, fantasy and mystery this panel event is suitable for all ages from 10 upwards. Will Hill is the author of the extremely popular and critically acclaimed Department 19 series, which features a secret government agency who are dedicated to protecting the public from the vampire menace. Conrad Mason's hugely entertaining and magical Tales of Fayt fantasy books have been described as being perfect for fans of Pirates of the Caribbean or the works of Terry Pratchett. Rob Lloyd Jones is the author of Wild Boy, a fast-paced adventure mystery story set in Victorian London, whose main character lives in a freak show.


There is no charge for entry to the Summer Fair, but we are making a small charge for each of the author events. Tickets for each author event are only £2 for adults and £1 for under 18s. All children under the age of 11 must be accompanied by a ticket buying adult.

Tickets can be purchased by post by sending a cheque for the correct amount made payable to Charters School. Please ensure you state clearly the event(s) you wish to purchase tickets for. You tickets will be posted to you for a charge of 60p or free of charge if you include a stamped addressed envelope with your booking. Otherwise your tickets will be held at the school for collection on the day of the festival.

All cheques should be sent to:

WOW Festival, Charters School, Charters Road, Sunningdale, Berkshire. SL5 9QY

Books and Signings

Waterstones will be selling books after each event and there will be an opportunity to meet each author and get your books signed. Unfortunately we will not have credit card facilities on the day and we will only be accepting cash or cheques for book purchases. You are welcome to bring books you already own for signing.

If you have any questions please do not hesitate to email or call the school on 01344 624826

The Summer Fair

As mentioned above, the summer fair part of the day is completely free to enter, and there will be plenty going on for all of the family to keep you occupied between the author events, including:

Hog Roast
Indian food stall
Tea and cakes

Silent auction

Bouncy castle
Sumo suits
Games, games and more games

Second hand book stall
Jewellery stall
All kinds of other stalls (info to come)