We Come Apart by Sarah Crossan & Brian Conaghan

Here is my review of We Come Apart by @sarahcrossan and @BrianConaghan

Mrs Janes' Bookshelf

Authors Brian Conaghan and Sarah Crossan have joined forces to tell the story of Nicu and Jess, two troubled teens whose paths cross in the unlikeliest of places.

Nicu has emigrated from Romania and is struggling to find his place in his new home. Meanwhile, Jess’s home life is overshadowed by violence. When Nicu and Jess meet, what starts out as friendship grows into romance as the two bond over their painful pasts and hopeful futures. But will they be able to save each other, let alone themselves?

This bold and original novel had me from the word go.

Like Crossan’s previous novel, One, We Come Apart is written in free verse, this time alternating between the two characters, with both authors writing a character part each. Conaghan  tells of the story of Nicu, a lovable Romanian immigrant who has recently moved to London with his parents, whilst Crossan…

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We Come Apart by Sarah Crossan & Brian Conaghan

Authors Brian Conaghan and Sarah Crossan have joined forces to tell the story of Nicu and Jess, two troubled teens whose paths cross in the unlikeliest of places.

Nicu has emigrated from Romania and is struggling to find his place in his new home. Meanwhile, Jess’s home life is overshadowed by violence. When Nicu and Jess meet, what starts out as friendship grows into romance as the two bond over their painful pasts and hopeful futures. But will they be able to save each other, let alone themselves?

This bold and original novel had me from the word go.

Like Crossan’s previous novel, One, We Come Apart is written in free verse, this time alternating between the two characters, with both authors writing a character part each. Conaghan  tells of the story of Nicu, a lovable Romanian immigrant who has recently moved to London with his parents, whilst Crossan tells the story of Jess, a troubled teenager dealing with all sorts of horrors at home.  The two are an unlikely couple on the face of it, but through a journey of shared stories and secrets they grow ever closer.  As with One, I love that the use of free verse means you do not get weighed down by the details of setting and superfluous details but are fully immersed in the here and now.  As such, you experience Nicu and Jess’s every emotion and get emotionally drawn into their journey, waiting, until the very final page to find out if there will be a happy ever after. Like me, you may find that you simply cannot put it down and devour the whole book in one sitting, so strong is the need to find out how it ends!

What I loved most about this novel is that it is so much more than a tale of star crossed lovers.  Teenagers demand so much more than predictable stories nowadays; they want to be challenged and enlightened and We Come Apart does just that. Current events have clearly impacted the writing with the portrayal of Nicu’s experiences of racism and hostility making you shudder as a reader, in particular when at the hands of a teacher. Similarly, Jess’s experiences of domestic violence make you want to shout and rage.  That is not to say that this novel is all doom and gloom.  The beautifully crafted writing is, in itself a joy to read, and  the lovable Nicu is both endearing and funny and brings a lighter side to the novel.

Hats off to both Sarah Crossan and Brian Conaghan for his hugely successful collaboration.  I look forward to seeing what these two giant talents of YA will do next.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ink

Here is my blog on the fabulous ink by @alicecrumbs

Mrs Janes' Bookshelf

IMG_3299

by Alice Broadway

Every action, every deed, every significant moment is tattooed on your skin for ever.  When Leora’s father dies, she is determined to see her father remembered forever. She knows he deserves to have all his tattoos removed and made into a Skin Book to stand as a record of his good life. But when she discovers that his ink has been edited and his book is incomplete, she wonders whether she ever knew him at all.

Although I know I really shouldn’t judge a by its cover,  this one got the better of me.  I mean, just look at it!  It really is stunning and the picture does not do it justice at all;  it jumped out at me from the display at Heffers and I just had to buy it. Generally, I am not so impulsive about buying a book for a beautiful cover but, having…

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BOOKISH LOVLINESS AT SANCTON WOOD

Something very special that happened at Sancton Wood today.

Four weeks ago Mrs Cowen and I took Year 6 down to meet the Reception children to talk to them about the sort of books that they like to read and about their favourite things. As part of our Book Week celebrations, the year 6 children have used that information and spent the last four weeks busy making individual, tailor made books for the Reception children and today we got to deliver them!

Today, the Reception children will get to go home with the truly amazing books that the year 6 children have made. I know I am biased as their teacher, but they really are incredible. The year 6 children have worked incredibly hard researching, drafting and making the books and they should all be immensely proud of themselves. Mrs Cowen and I are blown away by how good they are and know that the Reception children and parents will be too. Every single book has been made with 100% effort and 100% enthusiasm and I have my fingers crossed that we may even have some future authors and illustrators in the making.

We are very proud of them all.

Below you can find all the pictures of  our visit this morning with Reception. We had such a lovely morning.

ink

IMG_3299

by Alice Broadway

Every action, every deed, every significant moment is tattooed on your skin for ever.  When Leora’s father dies, she is determined to see her father remembered forever. She knows he deserves to have all his tattoos removed and made into a Skin Book to stand as a record of his good life. But when she discovers that his ink has been edited and his book is incomplete, she wonders whether she ever knew him at all.

Although I know I really shouldn’t judge a by its cover,  this one got the better of me.  I mean, just look at it!  It really is stunning and the picture does not do it justice at all;  it jumped out at me from the display at Heffers and I just had to buy it. Generally, I am not so impulsive about buying a book for a beautiful cover but, having now read ink, it is safe to say that this is the perfect cover for this unique and gripping book.

The story is set in Saintstone where, from birth, all individuals have their life story tattooed on their skin: your family, your occupation, your decisions, your achievements your mistakes, tattooed on your skin for all the world to see.  When you die, your tattoos are preserved in a Skin Book, a treasure for your family to keep as a testament to the good life that you have led. Conversely, there are some that choose not to mark their skin, the Blanks, who have been shunned from Saintstone, because they must have something to hide.

Leora, the bright and ambitious protagonist, has always dreamed of becoming an inker, someone who designs and inks the tattoos onto people’s skin.  Growing up in Saintstone, she believes in the rules and stories that she has been told since birth. However, when her father dies she discover that she did not know him or understand the rules of Saintstone society as well as she previously thought.

I was truly surprised by just how good this book is. The opening chapter of in throws you head first into the world of Saintstone and the writing feels so effortless that you lose yourself in it. The characters are vivid and you can’t help but root for Leora through the twists and turns of this mystery. Alice Broadway’s clever writing means that you are on the edge of your seat and you will not know who to trust.

Ink is a truly unique book and the story line so unexpected that you will find it difficult to put this book down.  Alice Broadway has set the bar high for herself with this fabulous debut novel  and I will be  waiting, with baited breath, for the rest of the trilogy and to find out where Leora’s story will take her.

Heffers Saves The Day

My favourite superheroes.

The run up to Book Week this year has been hard.  Actually, to be frank, it has been a bloody nightmare, what with new school sites to plan for and  various authors pulling out of events.  The nightmare got dramatically worse; however,  on Saturday when the bookshop that was supposed to be organising all our books for the whole week decided they did not want to do it …. a week before Book Week!   I won’t lie to you – there were a few tears.  Lots of tears actually.

Eventually, once I got myself together I decided to email Heffers bookshop,  and beg.  Literally.  I sent them my HUGE list of the books we needed for all our amazing visiting authors as well as all the books we wanted for our Book Fair.  I told them how disappointed the children would be.  And then I waited. Having been told by the other bookshop that these things need weeks and weeks of planning I did not hold out much hope but it was pretty much my only option.

Monday morning arrived and I busied myself with getting our Year 6s together for a trip that meant I was out until lunchtime: more excruciating waiting.  I got back to school and rushed to open my emails to find a request to contact Caroline at Heffers.  So with all my finger and toes crossed I called them.

Caroline turned out to be one of the managers who told me that during the morning they had been searching out the hundreds of books we needed and reckoned they could get pretty much all of them by Friday.  I cannot begin to tell you how relieved I was.  In fact I was so relieved that I thought I might actually cry again but I managed to get myself together enough to give Caroline all the details she needed and got off the phone a decidedly happier woman.

Since then I have been in contact with Heffers and they have completely saved the day.  As far as I am concerned they are all real life superheroes. Not only will Sancton Wood Book Week go ahead with all the books that we need, but they are also sending over two members of staff, including the lovely Caroline, to help staff our Book Fair and sell all their books.  Wow!  Just wow.

The thing that really upset me most about the other bookshop not stepping up was that, clearly, they hadn’t considered that not supporting Book Week would mean letting all the children down, disappointing them and ultimately them not really having the wonderful week that it is supposed to be.  I felt that Heffers got that, completely.  They understood the need to deliver this for the children and I think they helped because they could see it was important to us as a school in our mission to inspire a love of books in the children.

I, for one would personally like to say an ENORMOUS thank you to Heffers for helping us out of this very deep hole; words cannot tell you how grateful I am (I would probably cray again) but, by helping, you have ensured that the children  get the amazing week of bookish loveliness that they have been promised and, as a result, they will thank you too.

Sancton Wood Book Week Line Up

Just take a look at  all the bookish loveliness that we have got going on at Sancton Wood School next week during Book Week. It is a great line up and I know the children, staff and parents are going to have an amazing time.

Chris Priestly

We are delighted that the local award-winning author and illustrator, Chris Priestly, will be speaking to years 5-11 on Wednesday 1st March. Chris is perhaps best known for his strange and macabre horror stories. He grew up on comics like Strange Tales and House of Mystery, watching classic BBC TV adaptations of M R James ghost stories every Christmas and reading assorted weirdness by everyone from Edgar Allen Poe to Ray Bradbury. He hopes his Tales of Terror will haunt his readers in the same way that these affected him.

Isabel Thomas

On Thursday 2nd March all the children from Years 3 to 8 will be meeting the wonderful Isabel Thomas. Isabel is a science educator and writer and has written over 130 books for children, including How to Change the World, which was shortlisted for the Royal Society Young People’s book Prize 2016.  During her visit, years 3&4 will be learning to write like Captain Cook in a workshop entitled Exploring the World, whilst years 5&6 will be looking at the characteristics of successful scientists in How to Change the World.

Theatre of Widdershins

After the roaring success of last year’s Theatre of Widdershins show, the children pestered and pestered me to invite them back again. So, I am very pleased to say that on Friday 3rd March, the wonderful Theatre of Widdershins return to Sancton Wood with their brand new production Rapunzel and the Tower of Doom! This show is for years R-9.

Marion Leeper

Recently elected The Bard of Cambridge, Marion has been wowing children with her stories for years. On Monday 27th February KS1 will be having stories in Marion’s lightproof tent; whilst, KS2 will be creating their own Cambridge stories.

Jemima Sharpe

The very talented author and illustrator will visit the Pre-Prep School during Book Week to share her truly beautiful picture book Mr. Moon. Jemima will also be doing art workshops with some of the Prep School children.

Gillian Overitt

Gillian will be talking to R-year 6 about how she became a writer as well as sharing her delightful books about Max the dragon.  Gillian will also be working with the children to create their own ideas for a story in a writing workshop.

 Sarah Vaughan & Judith Lennox

Sancton Wood is inviting all parents, friends and relatives to come and join us for an exciting evening of book chat with best-selling authors Sarah Vaughan and Judith Lennox on Wednesday 1st March from 7pm. Sarah and Judith will speak about where they get their inspiration for new stories as well as read from and discuss their latest books and answer questions from the audience. You will also be able to purchase books and have them signed on the night. Cheese and wine will be provided.Tickets for this event are £10 – what a bargain! This is a rare treat so no doubt they will go quickly! Please email me directly with requests for tickets via the contact page. ALL proceeds from the tickets for this event will go to Readathon – a children’s charity providing support to children with terminal illness through the love of books. Adults only please.

An Evening with Sarah Vaughan & Judith Lennox

 

An Evening with Sarah Vaughan & Judith Lennox

Wednesday 1st March 2017

from 7.00 – 9.00pm

Sancton Wood Prep School, Main Hall, 2 St Paul’s Road. Cambridge

Tickets from rachael.janes@sanctonwood.co.uk

 

 

I am very pleased to announce that Sancton Wood will again be hosting a ‘grown ups’ event during Book Week. We invite all parents, friends and relatives and staff as well as local cambered residents to come and join us for an exciting evening of book chat with best-selling authors Sarah Vaughan and Judith Lennox on Wednesday 1st March from 7pm.

Both Sarah and Judith are local to the school and these lovely ladies have agreed to give up their time for free to help us raise money for the charity Readathon.

Sarah and Judith will speak about where they get their inspiration for new stories as well as read from and discuss their latest books and answer questions from the audience. You will also be able to purchase books and have them signed on the night.

Tickets for this event are only £10 which will include a selction of cheese and wine. This is a rare treat so no doubt tickets will go quickly! Please email me directly with requests for tickets at rachael.janes@sanctonwood.co.uk

We look forward to welcoming you to this special event.

 

The Theatre of Widdershins comes back to Sancton Wood School

 

Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2009After the roaring success of last year’s Theatre of Widdershins show, the children pestered and pestered me to invite them back again.

“We can’t wait to see more amazing puppets from the Theatre of Widdershins”

  “PLEASE Mrs Janes: last year’s show was so amazing.”

“Seeing how the set works was so clever.”

 

 

 

So, I am very pleased to announce that on Friday 3rd March, the wonderful Theatre of Widdershins return to Sancton Wood with their brand new production Rapunzel and the Tower of Doom! The children are truly delighted and really looking forward to seeing the new show.

All children from  Reception to Year 9 will get to so the show.

For those of you that are new to the school awiddershinsnd have not heard of The Theatre of Widdershins you should check it out here.  this truly magical puppet theatre is the
creation of Andy Lawrence who, as well as being a parent of an ex-student, is an absolute genius in creating wonderful puppets and ingenious sets.  Sancton Wood have hosted a number of his shows and they have all been loved by young and old alike.  We are in for such a treat with the new show.