Monthly Archives: February 2016

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Guns, Shootings and YA Novels

Last night, three of our library staff attended the book launch of Cameron Raynes’ YA novel, First Person Shooter, at Avid Reader Bookstore in West End.

First Person Shooter is told through the eyes of  Jayden, a teenager in a small, rural town who enjoys playing first person shooter games on his Xbox, but who is ostracised because of his stutter. His best friend’s mother has been in prison for the manslaughter of her abusive partner  but, six days before her release, her partner’s psychopathic son returns to the town. “Told in sections, each representing a day of the week, and then six months later, the book concerns itself with maleness, soldiering, guns, butchering, bullying, assaults and more that imbues the story with a strong sense of testosterone-filled action.” (BuzzWordsBooks)

At a time when America’s gun laws are polarising the nation, guns in the hands of teenagers is a topical issue. Two other thought-provoking books are also in our library: Pig Boy by J.C.Burke and Kill the Possum by James Moloney.

Pig Boy is the story of Damon, an overweight boy living in a small, rural town who also has been ostracised, but in this instance because of his weight. The day he is unfairly expelled from school, he witnesses a terrifying event in the bush, then makes a rash decision which changes his life. To survive, he gets his gun licence and takes a job with the local pig hunter, a loner like himself.  “There were moments reading Pig Boy that I could barely breathe, such was the tension. There were moments when I was put in mind of Robert Cormier, as the reading journey grew darker. There was never a moment when I wanted to put down this taut story about small town perceptions and prejudices…JC Burke is at her best writing challenging, thought-provoking novels for older readers.” (Slightly addicted to fiction weblog)

Kill the Possum deals with the awful consequences of a family torn apart by an abusive stepfather who never grew out of being a bully. Dylan befriends his girlfriend’s brother, Tim, and, in desperation, they decide to kill the stepfather before he completely destroys the family.

All three books are gritty and absorbing, dealing with issues that are very real for many teenagers. Yet in all of them, there is hope that things will change, and life will not always seem so overwhelming.

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Library Lovers Day

While February 14 sees many people celebrate Valentine’s Day, libraries all over the world join forces to spread the love of reading for Library Lover’s Day and the two Middle School libraries were no different. This celebration highlights the importance of our school libraries in the education of our students as well as offering an opportunity to reflect on the ways in which they value the libraries and the many services which are offered.

Teachers and students certainly enjoyed the celebrations. Boys in Year 5 all shared the name of their favourite book on a post-it which then formed a great display in the Middle School Library. The Centenary Library offered the boys the chance to have a blind date with a book. They were able to choose a wrapped book to borrow which they could not open until they had left school. Many boys were also the recipients of chocolate hearts or lollipops in keeping with the theme. Teachers were not left out with all staff members receiving a special book mark with the names of books that, once read,  are guaranteed to be on everyone’s favourite books list.

Library Lovers Day Centenary

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Quadcopter construction in the eXchange

The eXchange Logo (small)This term we are in the process of setting up one of our Senior Library classrooms to act as a makerspace/ tutorial/ workshop room where the boys can casually work on tinkering and creating or they can attend (and run) workshops focusing on different computer programs.

To start the year, one of our past students is coming in each week to help the ‘Quadcopter Construction Crew’ build a quadcopter/drone, copying one that he built for himself last year. The boys have been very excited about the project and keen to learn, busy soldering and joining wires to the frame.

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Once they have finished making the quadcopter, the Aviation Club will then take over teaching them how to fly it, following some fairly strict guidelines set by the School and the Aviation Authority, however this has not dampened their enthusiasm!

Once they attach a camera to the quadcopter, the Marketing Department will then be able to use it to capture marketing videos and images for the School, making it a real-life project that will have more value than just entertainment.

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