Book Week 2021 - 'Literature from Around the World'

Book Week was launched on Monday morning, with a wonderful assembly by Mr William Howell-Harte from the Senior School. He engaged the children by discussing folktales and how storytellers have passed down tales to be shared by the members of a community; some tales were purely for entertainment whilst others used to transmit a society's customs, attitudes, values, and even philosophies of life, to the next generation. Mr Howell-Harte then read the intriguing folktale about Baba Yaga.

Monday was nominated as ‘Book in a Day’ and the children enjoyed listening to a story being read by a wide variety of teachers; it proved a great way to start each lesson. The books included: The Polar Bear Son: An Inuit Tale, The Great Race: The Story of the Chinese Zodiac, Riding a Donkey Backwards: Wise and Foolish Tales of the Mulla Nasruddin, A Dollop of Ghee and A Pot of Wisdom, Stories from the Billabong, The Ogress and the Snake (and other stories from Somalia) and Traditional Stories from The Amazon.

On Tuesday, we were thrilled to welcome Sam Sedgman to speak about his incredible career and his love of trains! Sam is not only a best-selling author, but he is a playwright and an award-winning digital producer. His first book ‘The Highland Falcon Thief’ won the Books Are My Bag Readers’ Award for Children’s Fiction and recently scooped the British Book Awards’ prize for Children’s Fiction Book of the Year 2021. Co-written with M.G. Leonard, it was the first instalment of the bestselling series Adventures on Trains. Sam ran inspiring workshops on how to write a mystery story for Year 3, 4 and 5. He encouraged and enthused the children to help plan their ideas. The children thought of a setting, character, a mystery to solve and some produced alliterative titles.

These themes were echoed higher up the school with Sam demonstrating the advantages of using a Mind Map to plan out and make connections between ideas and language. On Wednesday we welcomed Chitra Soundar to spend the morning with the Infant children. She led our assembly with wonderful stories from her childhood in India, Chennai, which have hugely influenced her stories. Chitra had the whole school rolling with laughter at her exploits as a child and inspired the children to tell stories orally. Watch this space…! Her workshops were thoroughly enjoyed by the Infants, who produced some fabulous drawings of characters they invented which were a mixture of a mythical creature and a human.

We enjoyed a special assembly on Thursday when staff shared their favourite poems and stories in different languages. Staff recited poems and read stories in Vietnamese, French, German, Japanese, Italian, Spanish and Gujarati, showing the immense rich cultural heritages our teachers have.

On Friday, we enjoyed listening to the two or three children from the Junior classes reading their Japanese poems and the Infants shared poems about their paper dolls. The children performed brilliantly, with lovely expression and enthusiasm. Our youngest children in Reception also demonstrated their budding linguistic skills by delighting us with a performance of a French nursery rhyme, which they filmed earlier on in the week. Well done Reception!