The healthy vending machine

According to the Guardian, a new vending machine has been installed in Canary Wharf, allowing workers to pick a one, three or five minute story. With stories from Anthony Horowitz, Lewis Carroll, Virginia Woolf and Charles Dickens, there’s something for everyone and best of all it’s free.

Short Édition story machines will soon appear at Canary Wharf.
Short stories at the touch of a button

To find out more check out the Guardian website.

What do you think? Is this a vending machine worth having? Would you want one at school? Which authors would you pick to feature?

The Book Thief – A student review

‘The Book Thief’, written by Markus Zusak, offers an alternative story of Germany during the Second World War, and presents how conflict can cause a downfall of one’s country.  The words within the novel are powerful and heart-warming, offering both hope as well as the survival of hardship under the Third Reich. This moving novel creates sympathy of the survivor’s stories as well as a deeper understanding of mankind and the harsh cruelty possibe other human beings.  As mentioned by ‘Scotsman’s report, “Zusak’s writing is hugely imaginative” and creative, as the story is narrated by death, or perhaps a higher being, or God. This is presented in the quote “I could introduce myself properly, but it’s not really necessary … I will be standing over you, as genially as possible. Your soul will be in my arms”. Zusak’s creative writing infuses religion through even the darkest of times in history, perhaps Zusak is asking his readers to consider their own beliefs and how they are affected.

Although Liesel is known as the “book thief”, she was inspired by the words within the stories and wanted to further her education, does that still make her a book thief or someone who is courageous, who gathers inspiration and transforms it into her daily life. Furthermore can we ultimately call ourselves “book thieves”? As the author’s create words that inspire our understanding of the world we live in and further our development of finding love through friendship and family, the fulfilment of grace and pursue loyalty towards others.

I would recommend this book to those in year 9/10 and above as Zusak’s imaginative language can pull on anybody’s heartstrings, also be prepared to have tissues.

I’ve finished my book…Now what?

Have you ever finished a book and it was so awesome that you told all your friends about it until they just wished you shut up? Have you read a book that was so awful that you need to share it with the world and save them from the torture?

Or have you finished a book and just don’t know what you want to read next? Have you finished all your favourite authors and don’t know what you fancy?

Well there are a couple of things you could do:

  1. Ask a friend – chances are they’ll have read something they think you’ll like
  2. Talk to the ILC team – we love recommending heaps of books
  3. Have a look at the Booktrust Bookfinder – you can filter by age and genre to find something new
  4. Or check out Toppsta, an interactive review site where you can read reviews by other people your age, or vent your burning joy (or wrath!) about a book.

Even better, Toppsta is a great place for you to see what else is out there that you might not have considered.

If you want to write a review make sure you know what you want to include. It’s best not to give away the ending or any major plot twists, but tell people why you loved it and why they should read it too. You could talk about why you liked the character, or the setting or if there was something unusual which made the book stand out. Make sure you give the book a rating out of 5 as well.

If you’re under 12 make sure an adult sets up an account first and they can add you afterwards. Or come and see Mrs Lown who can add you to the school account!

Keep reading and get reviewing,

The ILC Team

Throwback Thursday

While most libraries will fall over themselves to tell people about the new books they’ve had in, we thought we’d have a change and seek out the oldest books we could find in the ILC.

These are our three oldest:

  • Freshford, A Study, by The Rev P. J. Goodrich, published in 1929
  • The Place-Names of Wiltshire, edited by Allen Mawer and F. M. Stenton, published in 1939
  • A History of Everyday Things In England, Pt 4, by M. & C.H.B Quennell, published in 1942.

All are from the history section, and date from when the ILC was part of Fitzmaurice Grammar School, long before St Laurence existed.

The oldest is a history of the small village of Freshford, not too far away from Bradford-on-Avon. It was written by local vicar, Percival John Goodrich.

The place names book from 1939 is a bit dull, but good for the odd fact. For example, Bradford on Avon was originally Bradanforda be Afne in 900AD, and Budbury (one of the names for the school houses) was originally Bodeberie in the Doomsday Book of 1086.

The 1940s history book was written by a couple, Majorie and Charles, who were an artist and an architect respectively. It covers housing, city planning, dress, everyday utensils, transport, and material culture from the mid-19th century through to 1942 – what would today be defined as “social history”. Whilst Charles wrote most of the text, the book is full of Marjorie’s detailed illustrations.

Together all three give a small insight into what life might have been like in Bradford-on-Avon and the local area over the past 100 years.

Get writing!

The BBC have launched their annual 500 words short story competition.

The competition is open to writers up to 13 years old. All you need to do is tell the best story possible in 500 words. What will you write about? Spaceships? Grannies? Cookies? The best day of summer? Snow day surprises?

Check out the BBC 500 words page here. You can submit to this brilliant national competition online. Check out the prizes up for grabs here too! You have until the 8th of March!

Once you’ve finished your story, you can submit it to a school-only competition too! Bring it down to the ILC where Mrs Lown will have a prize for the best one.

Great School Libraries

Are you aware that school libraries are not a requirement and aren’t overseen by ofsted?

Did you know that school libraries do not have a secure source of funding?

We’re lucky to have such an amazing space to call our own, with so many great resources available to all.


Do you think every child deserves to have a place in their school where they can go and browse books and resources specifically aimed at helping their learning?

Please consider supporting the Great School Libraries campaign; sign up here.

The aim is to bring school libraries and librarians back to every school in the UK.

Watch the video for more information: