How we choose books for the school library
Every year Wood Green School shadows the Carnegie Medal, a prize for the best books for children and young adults. With the Carnegie Medal shadowing starting again, it is a good time to inform parents about how we choose appropriate books for the school library for students to borrow. We are aware at school that fiction for young people is covering more topical and hard-edged subject matter. Fiction can be a great way to explore these issues but we also want our students to come to these books when they are ready. This is different for each young person.
Our policy at school is that we screen all titles and, as long as the content covers a relevant issue in an appropriate way, we do carry them in our school Learning Resources Centre. This is because the books have been written for secondary school aged young people, chosen as the best examples of fiction this year and we want to give our students the opportunity to engage with them. We are aware that these books are readily available in shops and the public library and we want to help students to make choices. Unlike shops and the public library, a book with harder edged content will be flagged up in school with a label on the cover. The staff in the LRC are aware of the contents of our books and will give advice when younger students borrow them. As parents, it is helpful to know what books your child is reading and to monitor and discuss the content with them. This is a powerful way of helping young people to engage with the issues and reflect on them in a supportive context.
A group of about 20 students from the Reading Club will be taking part in the Carnegie activities in school and they will commit to reading all the books on the shortlist, discussing them and participating in a variety of activities related to the stories. This will all culminate in a celebration on the day the medal is awarded to the winning book. We know that many other students do like to shadow the award and some families shadow the award together too by reading and discussing the books. The Carnegie titles will be available to borrow from the Learning Resources Centre, with the Reading Club given priority initially. This year there are eight books on the shortlist, many with very topical themes. One Carnegie shortlisted book this year covers the issue of abuse and will carry a label.
We hope your son or daughter continues to enjoy reading and that we can help them make the step up into young adult fiction in a challenging but supportive way.
Mr R Shadbolt