Friday 1 April 2016

Patron Of Reading: Fortismere School Year 7

On World Book Day, I had the great pleasure of visiting Fortismere School again, to talk to Year 7 as their Patron Of Reading.  Year 7 are taking part in an Inter-College Reading Competition, organised by their brilliant librarian Gill Ward, in which they are reading and championing some great books.  So I thought I'd talk to them about the many ways in which we can share our experiences of books.

The classic way is by writing a book review.  I showed them this review I wrote for The Guardian about Philip Reeve's book Railhead, which I very much enjoyed and would recommend to anyone who liked Phoenix!  I think the best book reviews do this; as the film critic Pauline Kael once wrote, the job of the critic is "to transmit knowledge of and enthusiasm for art to others."

But what if words aren't your strongest suit?  What if you're more comfortable with pictures?  In that case, a blog might be a better form for you to talk about books.  I showed them an example of a blog that a brilliant book blogger called Tygertale had made about the same book; one that uses lots of pictures, as well as links, videos and even music to share his experience of Railhead.

Perhaps you'd rather be more spontaneous, and just talk about a book.  In which case, you might consider filming yourself talking about it straight to camera.  Many people now make video reviews of books and post them online; there's a whole BookTubing community out there on YouTube!  Here's one I showed them by booksandquills, of Miss Peregrine's Home For Peculiar Children.

Some people don't like to be on camera themselves, but still enjoy making videos. Such people might consider making a book trailer – a short film that gives a flavour of the book.  This is a form that has taken off in the last few years, and there are some fantastic book trailers out there for inspiration.  I showed them Dave McKean's brilliant Phoenix book trailer last term, so this time, I showed them a trailer for Jonathan Stroud's Lockwood & Co:

The great thing about book trailers is that you can take any approach to them at all.  Here's a very different trailer that I showed them, for Lu Hersey's Deep Water:

In the end, all of these are just different ways of sharing our experiences of books.  And there is nothing nicer than sharing books with your friends!  So I'm really looking forward to coming back to Fortismere in June to see Year 7 championing their books.  In the meantime, if anyone has any questions or if there is anything I can help with, just leave me a comment below!


Sara D'Arcy said...

Hello Mr. SF Said,
I recently did a search through my personal library and found the first book I've ever truly read and that gave me interest in reading. That was Varjak Paw, so thank you so much for that. I read the outlaw too when it came out but upon re-discovering these books I wondered whether there would be a 3rd book coming out. Meanwhile, I'm trying to get a copy of your Phoenix too. Hope you get the chance to answer the possible 3rd book question, thank you so much in advance!
Best Wishes

SF Said said...

Dear Sara,

What an amazing comment - thank you so much! It's incredible to hear that Varjak Paw was the book that gave you an interest in reading. There will be a third Varjak Paw book one day, but not for a while yet – a wrote a bit about my idea for it in this blog post.

In the meantime, I hope you enjoy reading Phoenix and flying among the stars with Lucky and Bixa. Please let me know how it goes if you do!

With best wishes,
SF Said