Resources

06 Jan 2017

Full Marks for Trying: An unlikely journey from the Raj to the rag trade by Bridgid Keenan - discussion questions

“With flashes of Nancy Mitford wit … Brigid Keenan is as skittish as a kitten with needle claws, as stricken as a deer in headlights, and as smart as a cage of monkeys.” The Times “Keenan, I suspect, was quite possibly put on this planet with the express purpose of writing.” Katie Hickman, Sunday Times “A new comic genius – the sort that can make you laugh out loud three or four times a page.” William Dalrymple This memoir is a fabulous book to...

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06 Jan 2017

This Must Be the Place by Maggie O'Farrell - an extract

Shortlisted for the Costa Book Award. Shortlisted for the Books Are My Bag Award. Shortlisted for the Saltire Scottish Book of the Year Award. This Must Be the Place by Maggie O’Farrell crosses time zones and continents to reveal an extraordinary portrait of a marriage. A reclusive ex-film star living in the wilds of Ireland, Claudette Wells is a woman whose first instinct, when a stranger approaches her home, is to reach for her shotgun. Why is she so fiercely protective of her...

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05 Jan 2017

My name is Leon by Kit De Waal - an extract

“Unforgettable, heartbreaking and uplifting – just read it.” “Leon is pure goodwill in a wicked world, and he won’t leave you when you put this unique book down. Authentic and beautiful, urgent and honest.” Chris Cleave, bestselling author of The Other Hand A brother chosen. A brother left behind. And a family where you’d least expect to find one. Leon is nine, and has a perfect baby brother called Jake. They have gone to live with Maureen, who has...

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05 Jan 2017

The Last Days of Jack Sparks by Jack Arnopp - an extract

It was no secret that journalist Jack Sparks had been researching the occult for his new book. No stranger to controversy, he’d already triggered a furious Twitter storm by mocking an exorcism he witnessed. Then there was that video: forty seconds of chilling footage that Jack repeatedly claimed was not of his making, yet was posted from his own YouTube account. Nobody knew what happened to Jack in the days that followed – until now. Here are some reviews of The Last Days of Jack...

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05 Jan 2017

Tuco: The Parrot, the Others, and a Scattershot World by Brian Brett - an extract

For thirty years, Brian Brett shared his office and his life with Tuco, a remarkable parrot given to asking such questions as “Whaddya know?” and announcing “Party time!” when guests showed up at Brett’s farm. Although Brett bought Tuco on a whim as a pet, he gradually realizes the enormous obligation he has to the bird and learns that the parrot is a lot more complex than he thought. Simultaneously a biography of this singular bird and a history of...

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05 Jan 2017

Tuco: The Parrot, the Others, and a Scattershot World by Brian Brett - discussion questions

Brian Brett is the author of Trauma Farm: A Rebel History of Rural Life, which won the Writers’ Trust Non-Fiction Prize, and Uproar’s Your Only Music, a Globe and Mail Book of the Year. He has also written numerous books of poetry and fiction. Tuco: The Parrot, the Others, and a Scattershot World is biography about a history of bird/dinosaurs and the human relationship with birds, Tuco also explores how we “other” the world—abusing birds, landscapes, and each...

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04 Jan 2017

Dr James Barry: A Woman Ahead of Her Time by Michael du Preez and Jeremy Dronfield - an extract

“Thoroughly engaging.” Sunday Times, Books of the Year “Gripping, unusual, moving.” Times, Books of the Year “An irresistible little byway in 18th-century medical and social history.” Oldie “A scintillating portrait of Barry’s life…that feels almost Dickensian in style.” Guardian These are just some of the reviews about the fascinating non-fiction book, Dr James Barry: A Woman Ahead of Her Time. Dr James Barry was many things in his life:...

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04 Jan 2017

Dr James Barry: A Woman Ahead of Her Time by Michael du Preez and Jeremy Dronfield - discussion questions

Dr James Barry was many things in his life: Inspector General of Hospitals, army surgeon, duellist, reformer, lady killer, eccentric. He performed the first successful Caesarean in the British Empire, outraged the military establishment, and gave Florence Nightingale a dressing down at Scutari. At home he was surrounded by a menagerie of animals, including a cat, a goat, a parrot and a terrier. But most astonishingly, long ago in Cork, Ireland, he had been a young girl and a mother. Drawing...

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04 Jan 2017

The Tobacconist by Robert Seethaler - discussion questions

We have attached some discussion questions for you to use with your reading group about The Tobacconist. From the bestselling author of A Whole Life, comes a moving account of an ordinary boy living through extraordinary times, and the lengths we will go to in order to protect what we love. “Set at a time of lengthening shadows, this is a novel about the sparks that illuminate the dark: of wisdom, compassion, defiance and courage. It is wry, piercing and also, fittingly,...

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04 Jan 2017

The Tobacconist by Robert Seethaler - an extract

When seventeen-year-old Franz exchanges his home in the idyllic beauty of the Austrian lake district for the bustle of Vienna, his homesickness quickly dissolves amidst the thrum of the city. In his role as apprentice to the elderly tobacconist Otto Trsnyek, he will soon be supplying the great and good of Vienna with their newspapers and cigarettes. Among the regulars is a Professor Freud, whose predilection for cigars and occasional willingness to dispense romantic advice will forge a bond...

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20 Dec 2016

LEGO® Winter Wonderland Activity Sheet

Download this free LEGO activity sheet and bring the snowy scene to life! Colour in the elf and his hungry reindeer, and search for some wintery words. Why not print them off for all the family to enjoy!

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20 Dec 2016

A Monster Calls - discussion guide

Download these discussion questions for A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness

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19 Dec 2016

Bring Back the King: The New Science of De-extinction by Helen Pilcher - an extract

If you could bring back just one animal from the past, what would you choose? It can be anyone or anything from history, from the King of the Dinosaurs, T. rex, to the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll, Elvis Presley, and beyond. De-extinction – the ability to bring extinct species back to life – is fast becoming reality. Around the globe, scientists are trying to de-extinct all manner of animals, including the woolly mammoth, the passenger pigeon and a bizarre species of...

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19 Dec 2016

Bring Back the King: The New Science of De-extinction by Helen Pilcher - discussion questions

De-extinction – the ability to bring extinct species back to life – is fast becoming reality. Around the globe, scientists are trying to de-extinct all manner of animals, including the woolly mammoth, the passenger pigeon and a bizarre species of flatulent frog. But de-extinction is more than just bringing back the dead. It’s a science that can be used to save species, shape evolution and sculpt the future of life on our planet. In Bring Back the King, scientist and comedy writer Helen...

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19 Dec 2016

The End of the World Running Club by Adrian J Walker - discussion questions

Edgar Hill is 35 and caught in his own headlock. Overweight slob, under-performing husband and reluctant father – for Ed, the world may as well have already ended. So when it does end in a catastrophic asteroid strike and Edgar and his family find refuge in an Edinburgh army barracks, it comes as something of a relief. His world becomes simpler, life becomes easier, things might just be looking up. But nothing’s ever that simple. Returning from a salvage run in the city, Edgar finds his...

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19 Dec 2016

The End of the World Running Club by Adrian J Walker - an extract

This is the ultimate race-against-time thriller. When the world ends and you find yourself stranded on the wrong side of the country, every second counts. No one knows this more than Edgar Hill. 550 miles away from his family, he must push himself to the very limit to get back to them, or risk losing them forever… His best option is to run. But what if your best isn’t good enough? Download and read your extract of The End of the World Running Club today.

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16 Dec 2016

The New Odyssey: The Story of Europe's Refugee Crisis by Patrick Kingsley - discussion questions

We have some discussion questions for your reading group about The New Odyssey. Europe is facing a wave of migration unmatched since the end of World War II. The author, Guardian’s migration correspondent, has reported on this crisis in depth. Throughout 2015, he has travelled to 17 countries along the migrant trail. In this book, he gives an account of who these voyagers are, and why they keep coming, and how they do it. “Patrick Kingsley writes from right inside the greatest...

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16 Dec 2016

The New Odyssey: The Story of Europe's Refugee Crisis by Patrick Kingsley - an extract

This extremely topical, non-fiction book is a fascinating read. Europe is facing a wave of migration unmatched since the end of World War II – and no one has reported on this crisis in more depth or breadth than the Guardian’s migration correspondent, Patrick Kingsley. Throughout 2015, Kingsley travelled to 17 countries along the migrant trail, meeting hundreds of refugees making epic odysseys across deserts, seas and mountains to reach the holy grail of Europe. This is...

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16 Dec 2016

Himself by Jess Kidd - discussion questions

Himself is a genre-bending crime story set in County Mayo in the 1970s. Abandoned on the steps of an orphanage, Mahony, a lovable car thief and Dublin charmer, returns to the town of his birth after an anonymous message suggests that his mother was taken from him. With the suggestion of foul play involved Mahony turns up to case the village but his familiar looks and outsider ways cause a stir amongst the locals, who receive him with a mixture of awe (the women) and suspicion (the...

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16 Dec 2016

Himself by Jess Kidd - read an extract

When Mahony returns to Mulderrig, a speck of a place on Ireland’s west coast, he brings only a photograph of his long-lost mother and a determination to do battle with the lies of his past. No one – living or dead – will tell Mahony what happened to the teenage mother who abandoned him as a baby, despite his certainty that more than one of the villagers knows the sinister truth. Between Mulderrig’s sly priest, its pitiless nurse and the caustic elderly actress throwing...

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16 Dec 2016

Wild Kingdom: Bringing Back Britain's Wildlife by Stephen Moss - discussion questions

We have some great discussion questions for your reading group about Wild Kingdom, the non-fiction book by Stephen Moss. Stephen Moss has travelled the length and breadth of the UK, from the remote archipelago of St Kilda to our inner cities, to witness at first hand how our wild creatures are faring, and offers us this complex, heartfelt and often unexpected response. “An absorbing quest into the state of British wildlife today.” The Bookseller “Rich with examples of what...

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16 Dec 2016

Wild Kingdom: Bringing Back Britain's Wildlife by Stephen Moss - read an extract

The newspaper headlines tell us that Britain’s wildlife is in trouble. Wild creatures that have lived here for thousands of years are disappearing, because of pollution and persecution, competition with alien species, changing farming and forestry practices, and climate change. It’s not just rare creatures such as the Scottish wildcat or the red squirrel that are vanishing. Hares and hedgehogs, skylarks and water voles, even the humble house sparrow, are in freefall. But there is also good...

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16 Dec 2016

SHTUM by Jem Lester - discussion questions

We have some great discussion questions for your reading group about Shtum by Jem Lester. As you can see below, other groups have enjoyed reading and discussing this book: “I cannot stress highly enough how much I loved this book. Simply charming, beautiful and gut-wrenching. This would appeal to anyone who is a parent or has a parent! Told from the point of view of Ben a 30-something father of a severely autistic boy, this book grabs your heart strings, pulls them sideways and then snaps...

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16 Dec 2016

SHTUM by Jem Lester - read an extract

Ben Jewell has hit breaking point. His ten-year-old son, Jonah, has never spoken. So when Ben and Jonah are forced to move in with Ben’s elderly father, three generations of men – one who can’t talk; two who won’t – are thrown together. As Ben battles single fatherhood, a string of well-meaning social workers and his own demons, he learns some difficult home truths. Jonah, blissful in his innocence, becomes the prism through which all the complicated strands of...

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09 Dec 2016

False Hearts by Laura Lam - read an extract

One night Tila stumbles home, terrified and covered in blood. She’s then arrested for murder, the first by a civilian in decades. The San Francisco police suspect involvement with Verve, a powerful drug, and offer her twin sister Taema a chilling deal. Taema must assume Tila’s identity and gather information to bring down the drug syndicate. The police may then let her sister live. However, Taema’s investigation raises ghosts from the twins’ past. The sisters were...

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09 Dec 2016

False Hearts by Laura Lam - discussion questions

We have some great discussion questions for your reading group about False Hearts by Laura Lam. As you can see below, other groups have enjoyed reading and discussing this book: “It was engaging right from the off, brought a wonderful vision of a fairly-dystopian future with its description of advanced technologies…” Library panel “The book prompted lively discussion on the plot and side-discussions on medical dilemmas, cults, dystopian universes, drugs and much...

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06 Dec 2016

DKfindout! Sharks poster

Enjoy this fact-filled poster all about sharks!

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06 Dec 2016

DKfindout! Pirates poster

Download this fact-filled poster all about pirates!

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02 Dec 2016

The Appointment by Graham Easton - discussion questions

We have some discussion questions for your reading group about The Appointment: What Your Doctor Really Thinks During Your Ten-Minute Consultation by Graham Easton. The Appointment is a book which explores the idea that despite the modern trend towards empowering patients and giving them more choice, the nuts and bolts of medical practice largely remain a mystery – a closed box. In fact, the more health information is available on the internet, the more patients can feel swamped and confused....

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02 Dec 2016

The Appointment by Graham Easton - read an extract

Despite the modern trend towards empowering patients and giving them more choice, the nuts and bolts of medical practice largely remain a mystery – a closed box. In fact, the more health information is available on the internet, the more patients can feel swamped and confused. The Appointment offers an intimate and honest account of how a typical GP tries to make sense of a patient’s health problems and manage them within the constraints of their health system and the short ten minute...

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