Resources

24 Mar 2017

Greenpeace Captain by Peter Willcox - an extract

Peter Willcox has been a Captain with Greenpeace for over 30 years, making him the most experienced captain in the organization. An activist for nearly his entire life, beginning by marching in Selma behind Martin Luther King Jr. with his family at age twelve. Captain Willcox estimates he’s sailed over 300,000 miles in virtually every corner of the globe. Our library reading panel really enjoyed Greenpeace Captain – here are some of their comments: “This was written in an easy style and I...

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24 Mar 2017

The Dry by Jane Harper - an extract

Jane Harper has worked as a print journalist for thirteen years both in Australia and the UK. She lives in Melbourne and currently writes for the Herald Sun. Jane is originally from the UK and moved to Australia in 2008. The Dry is her first novel. Our Radio 2 panel loved The Dry – here are some of their comments: “This was an immensely enjoyable read which follows two separate mysteries: Did Luke Hadler really murder his family and take his own life? Who killed Ellie Deacon twenty years...

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23 Mar 2017

Gilded Cage by Dr. Vic James - discussion questions

Vic James is a current affairs TV director who loves stories in all their forms, and Gilded Cage is her debut novel. She as twice judged the Guardian’s Not the Booker Prize, has made films for BBC1, BBC2, and Channel 4 News, and is a huge Wattpadd.com success story. Under its previous title, Slavedays, her book was read online over a third of a million times in first draft. And it went on to win Wattpad’s ‘Talk of the Town’ award in 2015 – on a site showcasing 200 million stories. Vic James...

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23 Mar 2017

Gilded Cage by Dr. Vic James - a prologue

A thrilling Orwellian vision of Britain, with a rebellious Hunger Games heart. Gilded Cage is the astonishing debut novel from Vic James, and the first title in her electrifying The Dark Gifts Trilogy. Britain’s magically-skilled aristocracy compels all commoners to serve them for ten years – and now it’s the Hadley’s turn. Abi Hadley is assigned to England’s most ruthless noble family. The secrets she uncovers could win her freedom – or break her heart. Her brother Luke is enslaved in a...

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23 Mar 2017

The Novel of the Century by David Bellos - an introduction

The Novel of the Century brings to life the extraordinary story of how Victor Hugo managed to write his novel of the downtrodden despite a revolution, a coup d’état and political exile; how he pulled off the deal of the century to get it published, and set it on course to become the novel that epitomizes the grand sweep of history in the nineteenth century. Placing a century of scholarship into narrative form and packed full of information about the background and design of Les...

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14 Mar 2017

How to run a reading circle

Adapted from article by Angie Simms- NATECLA News, Autumn 2010 and inspired by Oxford Bookworms. With thanks to Jenny Roden. Looking to experiment with your reading group? The reading circle is an exciting new approach which could enhance your reading group meetings. Originally designed for English language learners, the model can be applied to any reading group who wants to get creative with their approach. The model breaks down the group into five specific roles, which have been designed...

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13 Mar 2017

Shakespeare Week 2017 Chatterbooks Activity Pack

Here is a special Chatterbooks activity pack for Shakespeare Week 2017 with details of books for young people about Shakespeare, retellings of his plays, ideas for discussion and activities in your Chatterbooks reading group and suggestions for more reading.

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10 Mar 2017

Fathers and Sons by Howard Cunnell - an extract

As a boy growing up on the south coast of England, Howard Cunnell’s sense of self was dominated by his father’s absence. Now, years later, he is a father, and his daughter is becoming his son. Starting with his own childhood in the Sussex beachlands, Howard tells the story of the years of self-destruction that defined his young adulthood and the escape he found in reading and the natural world. Still he felt compelled to destroy the relationships that mattered to him. Saved by...

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10 Mar 2017

All Our Wrong Todays by Elan Mastai - discussion questions

Elan Mastai was born in Vancouver and lives in Toronto with his wife and children. He writes movies and his credits include the award-winning script for What If, starring Daniel Radcliffe, Zoe Kazan and Adam Driver. He is currently developing the screenplay for All Our Wrong Todays which has been optioned by Paramount with producer Amy Pascal on board. All Our Wrong Todays is Elan’s debut novel. Our reading panel loved All Our Wrong Todays – here are some of their comments: “This is one of...

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10 Mar 2017

All Our Wrong Todays by Elan Mastai - an extract

You know the future that people in the ‘50s imagined? Flying cars, teleportation, jetpacks and moon bases? Well, it happened. And it was just as great as we hoped it would be. It’s 2016 and in Tom’s world, technology has solved all of humanity’s problems – there’s no war, no poverty, no under-ripe avocados. Unfortunately, Tom isn’t happy. He’s lost the girl of his dreams. And what do you do when you’re heartbroken and have access to a time machine? Something very stupid indeed. Finding...

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09 Mar 2017

S.C.R.E.A.M: The Mummy's Revenge book extract

Read the opening chapter of S.C.R.E.A.M: The Mummy’s Revenge, the latest book from Andrew Beasley Visit the Summer Reading Challenge website and enter our competition for your chance to feature in the next book in the series!

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09 Mar 2017

Uncle Shawn and Bill video extract

A.L. Kennedy reads the opening from her novel Uncle Shawn and Bill and the Almost Entirely Unplanned Adventure, illustrated by Gemma Correll, in which a brave and handsome young badger called Bill meets two extremely dreadful sisters and begins an adventure he may not survive.* *He also has a sore ear and remembers that he doesn’t like shorts, especially if he is wearing them.

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09 Mar 2017

The Cherry Pie Princess activity sheets

Download these sheets inspired by The Cherry Pie Princess to share with your Chatterbooks group. This bundle includes a drawing activity, short story prompts and more!

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01 Mar 2017

World Book Day 2017 Chatterbooks Activity Pack

This year is very special. It is the 20th year there’s been a World Book Day, and on 2nd March 2017 children of all ages will come together to appreciate reading. In this pack you’ll find lots of ideas for your group’s activities and discussion, all linked to the World Book Day 2017 titles.

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21 Feb 2017

Help! I'm An Alien activity sheet

Download this fun wordsearch inspired by the hilarious Help! I’m An Alien Series for your Chatterbooks group!

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21 Feb 2017

Rita the Rescuer Activity sheet

Download this Rita the Rescuer colouring sheet to share with your group!

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20 Feb 2017

World Book Day 2017 Toolkit

Are you wondering how you can support World Book Day 2017? This Toolkit has been designed so that authors, illustrators, publishers, librarians and booksellers can join in with #WorldBookDay20. There are loads of ideas, such as how you could use social media to promote your World Book Day event; a timeline of important dates and a selection of activities that can be done in various workplaces. Download the Toolkit today and see what you can do to celebrate World Book Day on Thursday 2 March!

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17 Feb 2017

A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles - an extract

War and Peace meets Grand Budapest Hotel In 1922 Count Rostov is deemed an unrepentant aristocrat by a Bolshevik tribunal. He is sentenced to house arrest in The Metropol, a grand hotel across the street from the Kremlin. Rostov, an indomitable man of erudition and wit, has never worked a day in his life, and must now live in an attic room while some of the most tumultuous decades in Russian history are unfolding outside the hotel’s doors. Unexpectedly, his reduced circumstances provide him...

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07 Feb 2017

CWA 2017 Longlist - Brian McGilloway

Brian McGilloway is the bestselling author of eight crime novels, five featuring Garda Inspector Benedict Devlin and three in the DS Lucy Black series. In addition to being shortlisted for a CWA Dagger and the Theakston’s Old Peculiar Crime Novel of the Year, he is a past recipient of the Ulster University McCrea Literary Award and, in 2014, won the BBC Tony Doyle Award for his screenplay, Little Emperors. Brian’s ninth novel, Bad Blood, again featuring DS Lucy Black, will be released in May...

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07 Feb 2017

CWA 2017 Longlist - Chris Ewan

Born in Taunton in 1976, Chris Ewan now lives in Somerset with his wife, Jo, and their daughter. Safe House, his first stand-alone thriller, was a number one bestseller in 2012 and was shortlisted for the Theakston’s Old Peculiar Crime Novel of the Year Award. Dead Line, his second thriller, was published in 2013 and is optioned for film. Dark Tides was shortlisted for CrimeFest’s eDunnit award for the best crime fiction eBook, and Long Time Lost, described in the Independent as...

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07 Feb 2017

CWA 2017 Longlist - Nicola Upson

Nicola Upson was born in Suffolk and read English at Downing College, Cambridge. Her debut novel, An Expert in Murder, was the first in a series of crime novels whose main character is Josephine Tey – one of the leading authors of Britain’s Golden Age of crime writing. She lives with her partner in Cambridge and spends much of her time in Cornwall. Nicola has been longlisted for the CWA Dagger in the Library 2017. Download the resource to find out more about Nicola, and the book she...

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07 Feb 2017

CWA 2017 Longlist - Alison Bruce

Alison Bruce is a crime novelist and creator of the Cambridge-based Gary Goodhew series. Her seventh novel is Cambridge Black. She has also written two factual crime books and a number of short stories. Alison is an RLF Fellow at ARU in Cambridge. She is keen to promote creative writing and frequently speaks at libraries, schools and writers’ groups. Since 2008 she has sponsored Fordham Primary School’s storyteller-of-the-year award and she is the patron of Lakenheath Library in...

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07 Feb 2017

Thin Air by Michelle Paver - discussion questions

It is 1935, and young medic Stephen Pearce travels to India to join an expedition with his brother, Kits. The elite team of five will climb Kangchenjunga, the world’s third highest mountain and one of mountaineering’s biggest killers. No one has scaled it before, and they are, quite literally, following in the footsteps of one of the most famous mountain disasters of all time – the 1906 Lyell Expedition. Five men lost their lives back then, overcome by the atrocious weather,...

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04 Feb 2017

Holding by Graham Norton - discussion questions

Duneen is a quiet place, far enough from the big towns to have kept its own rhythms. Its residents include cast down policeman PJ who lives a lonely, uneventful life punctuated only by the next meal – until now; the beautiful and mysterious family of three spinster sisters each with their own secrets and sorrows; and of course, the town’s gossip who think she knows the answers. When a grim discovery is made on a building site up by the old school, it becomes the catalyst for half lived...

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31 Jan 2017

We Chose to Speak of War and Strife by John Simpson - an extract

In corners of the globe where fault-lines see the into bloodshed and civil war, foreign correspondents have, for hundreds of years, been engaged in uncovering the latest news and – despite obstacles bureaucratic, political, violent – reporting it by whatever means available. It’s a working life that is difficult, exciting and undeniably glamorous. We Chose to Speak of War and Strife brings us pivotal moments in our history – from the Crimean War to Vietnam; the siege of Sarajevo to the fall...

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31 Jan 2017

Blitzed: Drugs in Nazi Germay by Norman Ohler - an extract

The Nazis presented themselves as warriors against moral degeneracy. Yet, as Norman Ohler’s gripping bestseller reveals, the entire Third Reich was permeated with drugs: cocaine, heroin, morphine and, most of all, methamphetamines, or crystal meth, used by everyone from factory workers to housewives, and crucial to troops’ resilience – even partly explaining German victory in 1940. The promiscuous use of drugs at the very highest levels also impaired and confused...

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31 Jan 2017

Border: A Journey to the Edge of Europe by Kapka Kassabova - discussion questions

When Kapka Kassabova was a child, the border zone between Bulgaria, Turkey and Greece was rumoured to be an easier crossing point into the West than the Berlin Wall so it swarmed with soldiers, spies and fugitives. Today, this densely forested landscape is no longer heavily militarised, but it is scarred by its past. In this book. Kassabova sets out on a journey through a hidden corner of the continent, and meets the people of this triple border – Bulgarians, Turks, Greeks, indigenous...

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31 Jan 2017

The Girl Before by J. P. Delaney - an extract

Enter the world of One Folgate Street and discover perfection … but can you pay the price? Jane stumbles on the rental opportunity of a lifetime: the chance to live in a beautiful ultra-minimalist house designed by an enigmatic architect, on condition she abides by a long list of exacting rules. After moving in, she discovers that a previous tenant, Emma, met a mysterious death there – and starts to wonder if her own story will be a re-run of the girl before. As twist after twist...

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31 Jan 2017

What the Dog Knows by Cat Warren - an extract

A New York Times–bestselling book which has been featured on the Radio 2 Book Club: Fact Not Fiction. When Cat Warren adopted Solo, an unruly German shepherd puppy, she soon began to wonder what she’d let herself in for. Solo’s boundless energy was what made him loveable ― but it also made him exhausting, and difficult to train. Then she struck upon an idea: what Solo needed was something to do. Like many dogs, Solo was destined to work: using his nose to help the police locate missing...

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31 Jan 2017

Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi - an extract

Effia and Esi: two sisters with two very different destinies. One sold into slavery; one a slave trader’s wife. The consequences of their fate reverberate through the generations that follow. Taking us from the Gold Coast of Africa to the cotton-picking plantations of Mississippi; from the missionary schools of Ghana to the dive bars of Harlem, spanning three continents and seven generations. Yaa Gyasi has written a miraculous novel – the intimate, gripping story of a brilliantly...

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