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Redbridge Children’s Book Award 2017

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On the last Thursday of June, Redbridge Town Hall was crowded with excited, enthusiastic readers and budding writers along with their school librarians and teachers to celebrate the 2017 Redbridge Children’s Book Awards.  A panel of five of the shortlisted authors – Peter Bunzl, Anne Cassidy, Christopher Edge, Kathryn Evans and Teri Terry – talked about their reading journeys and how authors, Neil Gaiman, Enid Blyton and Roald Dahl and books, Watership Down and Wuthering Heights inspired them to become writers. I won’t mention the author who skipped school to meet Neil Gaiman.  They also answered questions on topics ranging from where they like to write – which varied  from on the train, in a shed, any quiet space to thinking story plots while walking round Ilford shopping – to which character they would choose to be from their books.

RCBA_ICHSStudents from 17 secondary schools and 9 primary schools across Redbridge, Havering and Newham voted for their favourite children’s and teenage book published in 2016 and they eagerly awaited the results.

The Many Worlds by Albie Bright by Christopher Edge, won the Children’s category and Flawed by Cecilia Ahern won the Teenage category.   We were delighted that Christopher was able to attend to receive his award.  Cecilia sent a video acceptance speech.

It was also a chance for the winners of the writing and poetry competitions to be presented with their prizes.  The poetry competition was judged by David Fulton, lecturer in Creative Writing at Brunel University and the short story competition was judged by author and Head of Bancrofts Prep School, Joe Layburn.

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Time by Amber Kwong from Woodford County High School won the junior poetry competition and I See a Lily on the Breeze by Naomi Blakely from Trinity Catholic High School won the teenage category.

The Astounding Story of Salt Bae by Theo Newton from Wanstead High School won the junior short story competition and No Going Back by Jessica Johnson from Wanstead High School won the teenage  category.  Winners were presented with a book token, a fiction book and a copy of this year’s anthology of all shortlisted poems and stories.

Guest Author: Nina Simon

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The Cat in the Hat family fun!

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On Saturday we headed to a reading of The Cat in the Hat by the world famous Dr Suess at Barkingside (Fullwell Cross) library.

The event was held outside and benches were lined up in front of the steps ready for the performance. Prior to the show starting people from the event were making balloon animals up and down the high street.

The performance was put on by The Discovery Centre who are based in Stratford in partnership with the Vision Redbridge Culture Team. If you haven’t been to The Discovery Centre yet I cannot recommend it highly enough, the 2 people performing  were really good and interacted well with the parents and children and really brought the story to life.

There was even a surprise visit at the end by The Cat in the Hat himself!

Once the performance was over with there was a chance to have your photo taken with the cat and his car, obviously I jumped at the chance of this.

We then headed inside the library to take a look at the arts and crafts that included face painting for £1.50 and making items from the story including  a hat like the cat’s, these were all free.

It was a great way to spend a few hours locally and not spend any money!

To see what other events are on take a look at Vision’s Do More guide.

Maybe I’ll get to see you and say hello at an event!

Guest Writer: Mummy Em

If you’d like to read more from Mummy Em, visit her blog!

If you’d like to become a guest writer, fill in our simple form.


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Top things for Adults in Redbridge this Easter!

Now that the kids are all sorted, it’s finally time to focus on yourself! Find out what Redbridge has to offer adults this Easter, and take that well deserved break from everyday responsibilities!


1. Curl up with a good book

April is the chance for the whole of London to come together and enjoy something collectively. This year, Cityread encourages you read the book ‘Prophecy’ by S.J Parris, a gripping Elizabethan spy thriller, focused on the plot against Elizabeth to put Mary Queen of Scots on the throne. Join our book groups, learn secret codes and meet the aumusic festthor at events taking place throughout April. Find out more on our website.

2. Enjoy some music

Enjoy music and the outdoors? Pack a picnic and head down to Valentines Mansion Gardens on Sunday 9 April for an afternoon listening to musicians and singers from in and around Redbridge. Enjoy mixing folk and jazz, soft rock and classical, pop and country, and everything around and in-between. Find out more here.

3. Take a tour of the mansion and surrounding gardens

Do you ever wonder about the history of the mansion that sits within Valentines Park? Well here’s your chance to find out. Come along on Sunday 16 April for a costumed guided tour through the house. If you’re interested in the surrounding beautiful gardens, then you won’t want to miss the tour of the gardens on Tuesday 11 April. For more tour dates, visit the website.what redbridge wore

4. Learn about Redbridge’s fashion trends

It’s fascinating to see how fashion trends have changed over the years, and this exhibition is no different. Learn what Redbridge wore over the last 400 years including 20s flapper dresses, an Edwardian wedding dress and a police uniform from the 60s! Find out opening times on our website.

5. Go DancingThe Streets, Ilford Town Centre, Events - 11 Nov 2016

Get your dancing shoes on and head over to Sir James Hawkey Hall on 12 April for our tea dance! Resident DJ Mr Wonderful has the best tunes lined up this Easter which promises an afternoon of great fun. Visit the website for more information.

6. Watch a play

Take part in a new interactive kind of play at Redbridge Drama Centre. Using your mobile phone, you can interact with David and shape his movements and sounds around you. An interesting look into how the digital world shapes us. Book your tickets now!


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Reading in a digital world

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Reading for me is a deeply ingrained need and not having a book immediately to hand is like having a part of me missing. Even so, carrying a heavy paperback in a Mary Poppins size bag doesn’t create that glamorous image I aspire to when going into central London on a date or night out. However, the thought of sitting on the noisy, crowded Central line train for an hour with nothing to do but people watch or listen to the thud, thud of bass notes leaking from someone’s headphones fills me with dread and anticipated boredom. Pokemon Go doesn’t work underground and I’ve never got into candy crush (I’d far rather read). Luckily, I always have books downloaded, both on my phone and mini iPad, so I can disappear into the parallel universe of a novel whenever I’m travelling.

It is also very useful to have when the date I’ve arranged to meet in a particular coffee shop at a certain time turns up somewhat late. There’s nothing worse than sitting like Billy-no-mates at a table on your own, staring into the bottom of a cup of lukewarm tea.

Sadly, I’m not as young as I used to be (who is?), so have to make more of an effort to fight old age. Exercise is good for you – so they say. Hence my membership at Fullwell Cross gym. The only problem (apart from aching muscles and exhaustion) is that I find pedalling on a bike or working on the cross trainer deadly dull. Time drags watching the seconds click by. I’ve tried reading paperbacks but my ability to multi-task doesn’t stretch to cycling, reading and holding pages open with one hand at the same time. But with my iPad it’s easy. It sits happily propped in front of me and I just need to tap it to turn to the next page. I have the same book downloaded as on my phone and other devices (okay, I admit I’m a geek) and joy of joy it automatically asks me if I want to sync to the latest point read. The screen even tolerates the odd drop of sweat that proves I’ve had a good workout or that the air-con in the gym isn’t working.

So, while I still love reading physical books, I wouldn’t be without eBooks on my phone, iPad and computer. The only place where I would never read an eBook is in the bath. Water and devices are to be avoided at all costs as I know too well from experience – and expense.

Post Author: Nina Simon

On Friday 16 September readers around the world are celebrating eBook Day! Redbridge Libraries offer a free eBook download service via Overdrive. For more information on how to download free eBooks please visit our website.

Join in on our celebrations and tell us how you’ll be enjoying eBook Day by using the hashtag #eBookLove across Social Media!

 


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Redbridge Children’s Book Award 2016

On Thursday 7 July 2016, over 230 enthusiastic readers, budding writers along with their school librarians and teachers celebrated this year’s Redbridge Children’s Book Awards in a buzzing, exciting ceremony at Redbridge Town Hall.

Students from seventeen secondary schools and eight primary schools across Redbridge, Havering and Newham voted for their favourite children’s and teenage book published in 2015.

With such a vast and amazing selection of books voted upon, the final winners were announced. Car-jacked by Ali Sparkes, won the Children’s category and One by Sarah Crossan won the Teenage Category.

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We were delighted to have three of the shortlisted authors present at the awards ceremony – Ali Sparkes, Holly Bourne and Teri Terry.  Unfortunately Sarah Crossan, winner of the teenage award, was unable to attend but sent a lovely message.

I’m so delighted to have won The Redbridge Children’s Book Award 2016. Regional awards are so important in inspiring young people to try new books, and I’m just so sad I can’t be there to celebrate the shortlisted titles. I really hope you’ve all enjoyed reading the books and I do hope to meet some of you soon for book chats. Lots of love, Sarah.

The event was also an opportunity for the winners of the writing and poetry competitions that took place across the schools to be presented with their prizes. The poetry competition was judged by David Fulton, lecturer in Creative Writing at Brunel University and the short story competition was judged by author and Head of Bancrofts Prep School, Joe Layburn.

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It was a tough decision for the judges, as there were so many great entries to choose from! Mia Thomas from Fairlop Primary won the junior poetry competition with her poem, 5 SensesAyesha Ahmed from Woodford County High School won the teenage category with the poem Am I Invisible. Suamaya Zanab from Wanstead High School won the junior short story competition with her story, ChangeAnnie Walker from Wanstead High School won the teenage category with her story, The Miserable Life of Ernie Thomas.  Winners were presented with a book token, a fiction book and a copy of this year’s anthology of all shortlisted poems and stories.

Many thanks to everyone who attended the event, especially the authors who gave up their time to be present, students and teachers who participated so enthusiastically and a very special thank you to my team in the Redbridge Schools’ Library Service who worked very hard behind the scenes to ensure the afternoon was such a success.

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The book award is organised by Redbridge Schools’ Library Service and sponsored by MLS (Micro Librarian Systems).

Nina Simon, Redbridge Schools’ Library Service


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History and Humour in one woman’s world

As we are celebrating Women’s History this month, I thought that I would go along to one of the Redbridge Libraries events and immerse myself!  So I chose A Woman’s Wit, Wisdom and Pratfalls with Joan Ellis and what a great choice it was.

I spent an enjoyable evening at Wanstead Library last night with many other women and a couple of gentlemen listening to the thoroughly engaging author Joan Ellis talk about the women that have shaped and inspired her throughout her life.

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As a young woman in the 80s, Joan started out as a copywriter but life was not easy in a male dominated environment where she had to justify her presence and prove herself time and time again.  However success prevailed and she ended up writing award-winning ads for big brand names where the highlight of her career was casting a black and white moggie as Humphrey Bogart for a cat food commercial!

This world brought her into contact with celebrities such as Penelope Keith and Felicity Kendal and up and coming stars of today who were little known at that time, such as Jennifer Saunders and Neil Morrissey. She remembers with a flush how Neil once offered her a lift home, and as much as she wanted to accept, she couldn’t leave as she was waiting for Felicity Kendall who had been held up in traffic. Oh how different her life could have been with a man behaving badly!

Joan went on to be a columnist and lecturer, where again she brushed shoulders with stars of today, even moulding some of their careers.

With so much experience under her belt, Joan decided to try her hand at writing novels and penned her first humorous chick lit novel, from her time in Adland! Joan selected parts of her book, I am Ella. Buy me to share with us and gave us the flavour of her challenging, glamourous and colourful past. Bite sized enticers to leave us wanting more.

Joan dipped in and out of her other three books during the evening, sharing snippets from her world and events in her life which drew her to writing three very different types of genres. The Killing of Mummy’s Boy, and Guilt being psychological thrillers, one being linked to a chance meeting on a train with a murderer and the other linked to a death in the family.  The final novel, The Things You Missed While You Were Away, is a memoir written for her absent father celebrating her relationship with her mother and daughter.  Again we were enticed with bite sized chunks of the stories to reel us in.

My fellow audience members thoroughly enjoyed the trip down memory lane with Joan who received a rapturous round of applause as she concluded the evening by signing copies of her books. I left with two of Joan’s books in hand and found myself eagerly looking forward to beginning my journey with her through her Adland adventures and other exploits.

Women’s History Month concludes on 24 March with Women’s Organisations, a reminiscence session at Gants Hill Library.

More information on Women’s History Month at Redbridge Libraries

Learn more about Joan Ellis

Cathy Pace


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Holly Black and Emily Lockhart get the kids votes in the Redbridge Children’s Book Awards 2015

Reading for pleasure and creative writing is thriving in Redbridge schools.  On Thursday 25 June 2015, around 200 young readers, budding writers and their school librarians and teachers celebrated this year’s Redbridge Children’s Book Awards in a vibrant, exciting ceremony at Redbridge Town Hall.

Students from 14 secondary schools and 9 primary schools across Redbridge and Newham voted for their favourite children’s and teenage book published in 2014.

The Iron Trial by Holly Black and Cassandra, won the Children’s category and We Were Liars by E Lockhart won the Teenage Category.

          RCBA 2015 Authors and children               RBA 2015 Authors

We were delighted to have six of the shortlisted authors, Sita Brahmachri, Kevin Brooks, Keren David, A.F. Harrold, Polly Ho-Yen and Bali Rai, attend.  They answered varied questions from eager students and signed copies of their books.  Emily Lockhart, who was unable to attend, sent a message saying “I am honoured and happy.  Libraries have been my home since childhood and they are home to so many children and teens.  Long may we all read and share and celebrate books.”

It was also a chance for the winners of the writing and poetry competitions to be presented with their prizes by the Mayor, Cllr Barbara White.  The poetry competition was judged by David Fulton, lecturer in Creative Writing at Brunel University and the short story competition was judged by author and Head of Bancrofts Prep School, Joe Layburn.

Esther Ukhueleigbe from Ray Lodge Primary School won the years 6 and 7 poetry competition with her poem, Make it GreenKanishk Panchal from The Palmer Academy, Ilford  won the year 8 and above category with the poem Our Cursed Elements.

Jessica Johnson from Wanstead High School won the years 6 and 7 short story competition with her story, My Father, The WomanFreddie Cochran from Wanstead High School won year 8 and above  category  with his story, The Shirt.  Winners were presented with a book token, a fiction book and a copy of this year’s anthology of all shortlisted poems and stories.

Our thanks to everyone who attended, especially the authors who gave up their time to be present and who made the afternoon so special, students and teachers who participated so enthusiastically and most of all, the Redbridge Schools’ Library Service team who worked  very hard behind the scenes to ensure the afternoon was such a success.

The book award is organised by Redbridge Schools’ Library Service and sponsored by MLS (Micro Librarian Systems).

Nina Simon
Manager Redbridge Schools’ Library Service