Friday 18th June 2021

Light from the Shadows

Guaranteeing that our Year 8 pupils' literary tastes are ahead of the curve, Mrs Zeqai has been getting her class involved with the Carnegie Medal shadowing scheme.

This is awarded annually for an outstanding work of fiction for children. Here at school we already study past winners, such as David Almond's Skellig' in Year 7, and Millions' by Frank Cottrell Boyce in Year 8. Parents and teachers might rec-ognise previous winners such as Tom's Midnight Garden' or Watership Down' from their own schooldays!

The shortlist is announced in April of each year, and the shadowing scheme involves classes reading through the shortlisted books and debating their respective merits, thus achieving the holy grail' of high school English teaching—passionate discussion about books!

As pupils work through the list-deciding on favourites, casting aside those that fall short of their ambitions – they can write reviews for the Carnegie Medal website; complete surveys on their likes and dislikes and of course make their predictions for the eventual winner.

Fazak News caught up with a few members of the class to get their tips for the top spot, and was astonished to discover that some of the class have almost finished reading the shortlisted en-tries - 6 weighty books in total; the shortlist was released just two months ago! A consensus was hard to reach, with pupil Joe Mansley nodding approvingly and remarking, "Very good book that one," at the mention of Teresa Breslin's Prisoner of the Inquisition, conceding to Emma Ferguson's point that "Lots of people love it but there were quite a few who didn't like it." Verdict on Meg Rossoff's Bride's Farewell was unanimously nega-tive, but Jake Harrison suggested that, "Everyone who's read White Crow really likes it, so that's the one I'm on now. I don't like books that start dead slow; I want to get straight into it." It sounds like there's every chance these habits will continue after the winner is announced, as Joe confirms, "I go to the library whenever I'm bored - I love books."