Happy Easter Reading

Soon the Easter holidays are here. So then there will be more time for those who want to read books.

In Sweden, Norway and Finland there is a tradition of reading crime novels during Easter, so many libraries and bookstores therefore recommend crime novels during Easter.

Crime novels are counted as popular literature. They can be interesting to read though, because they often portray very well certain times, environments and social criticism. And of course they are exciting.

Below you can find tips on crime novels from different countries, all available in the library right now:

  • Uganda (Kibera’s The Devil’s Hill),
  • Zimbabwe (Hawkin’s The Girl on the Train)
  • Island (Indridason’s Reykjavik Nights)
  • USA (Cormier’s After the First Death, Buckley’s The fairy-tale detectives)
  • Russia (Dostevsky’s Crime and punishment)
  • Sweden (Gerhardson’s Det som göms i snö, Ohlsson’s Silenced, Mankell’s The pyramid, Larsson’s The girl with the dragon tattoo).
  • Norway (Nesbö’s Rödhake)
  • Denmark (Holt’s Presidentens val)
  • Britain (James’ A certain justice)

We have also got part three and four in a crime novels series about Svala, written by Emma Vall (pseudonym for Eva Swedenmark, Maria Herngren and Annica Wennström) as a gift from the School Library Central of Gothenburg. So we are happy to now be able to offer the entire series for loan from the library: Egna spår, Sabotage, Bränd bild och Farligt vatten.

Happy Easter! Wish you all a wonderful and relaxing break!

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Author visit by Christina Wahldén

Today, the last Creative School event for this school year took place. When ISGR was visited by Christina Wahldén, who received the Reading Promotion Prize in 2019, and is one of the most well-known and recognized youth authors in Sweden.

The students had prepared themselves in advance by reading Ny här and Klaras hemlighet by Christina. Also by processing the content of Ny här, into a poem, a letter or a series. Here you can see a couple examples:

The author’s visit today was Christina’s first in English. The idea was that it would be about the titles mentioned above. But the students also had so many other questions and concerns, regarding Christina’s writing and various titles by her. So Christina decided to bring up a mix of everything possible, based on the students’ questions.

She talked about various trips she had made, to Australia, Aghanistan, and to Congo under the direction of the Red Cross and more. Part of some trips Christina had made as both a journalist and an author. For example, the one to Congo, that resulted in the title I gryningen tror jag att mamma ska väcka mig. 

She also told us about the writing process, and what the process look like, if you would like to get a book published. On the question “What is the biggest lesson you have learned from being an author?” Christina replied that it was listening to people. She said the collection of LGRM and MYP students could be seen as a library, where each of the students was a book containing its own stories.

As sources of inspiration, Christina mentioned for example Astrid Lindgren, as she once had met and the Australian authors Markus Zusak and Tim Winton. Christina has also been to Australia herself recently, to write a book set near the coast, called Expedition rädda revet, bringing up climate change and ethical dilemmas. It is about Alice whose mother is a marine biologist and is researching turtles. The more they get to know about the turtles and their living conditions, the more they realize how serious the situation is with the climate change. The book will not be released before the autumn 2019, but here you can read an excerpt.

Christina has also just released a second book on the girl Hawa, from the title Falafelflickorna. It is called Tack för allt! And she is writing on a third title in the historical series on the second world war, starting with Tulpanpojken and Spionen i äppelträdet. Christina told us that if she would get a book translated to English she would choose Tulpanpojken. After the author visit she joined us to the library to have a look at students works and sign some copies of library books.

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Author visit by Patrik Lundberg

Yesterday, the author Patrik Lundberg did three smaller author visits for students from grade 8, within the local project the Literature Week, a collaboration between consultants, librarians and educators in Gothenburg.

Patrik talked about himself and his authorship, but focused mainly on his autobiography Gul utanpå, that is aimed at young people and also available in Korean. It is about the latter part of Patrik’s childhood in Sölvesborg and Malmö and his first youth, when he went to South Korea for the first time to be an exchange student and meet his biological parents for the first time, a journey that changed his life in many ways.

After giving a presentation of Gul utanpå, Parik also lectured on the themes brought up in the autobiography: identity, racism and adoption. Patrik did so in an entertaining and gripping way, based on facts, his own experiences, and at the same time using references that were easy to understand.

In the end of the talk he also answered a lot of questions from the students. And he signed a couple library books that are available to borrow.


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Author visit by Monica Zak

Out from the students’ interest, Monica talked mainly about street kids, out from the series Alex Dogboy. She told us about how she met Alex, and how their contact developed. She also asked the students if they could imagine what was the happiest childhood memory of Alex? Unni in grade 6 knew what it was, so after the author talk she got a signed copy of Alex Dogboy, as a gift.

Monica also told us about memories of her life, out from the students’ questions. She told us how she had survived various dangerous situations. For example how she once ran over a field, being shot at and hunted by a helicopter. She managed to escape through lying down and in that way hide. 

On another occasion, when there had been an escalated conflict in El Salvador, she had hidden in caves, along with the inhabitants over there. They had kept up a positive atmosphere by telling stories to each other.

One question that Monica got from a student was: Why don’t you write about happy things? Monica replied that she does so too, for example in: Hjälp! Boan är lös!

After the author visit, Monica visited the library to sign that title and some other titles too, that are available for loan in our ISGR library.

Soon, Monica will go to Bangladesh because her book Kasta syra has been translated into Bengali, and there will be a release party for it. 

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The International World Poetry Day

Today, March 21st, the World Poetry Day is celebrated across the world. Why is it worth celebrating? Poetry is an easy and yet significant way of celebrating linguistic diversity, cultural diversity, oral tradition and our common experiences, values and concerns as human beings.

To celebrate the World Poetry Day the library has put together some materials: books on display, excerpts from novels in verse (two very much worth highlighting), a couple interviews, coloring page poems and more.

Izabella, the trainee in the library this week, has displayed books on poetry in the library. And later on, today or tomorrow, there will be set up a display near the reception on the theme of poetry.

Here is a web page celebrating poetry. It is launched by the The poetry foundation, publisher of Poetry magazine, who would like to increase the presence for poetry in the culture and society. Here are a couple examples that poetry can cross subject cross borders in anyhow: poems on science and poems on fairy tales.

In the library you can also find coloring page poems, by Robert Frost, Edgar Allan Poe, John Keats, Walt Withman, Christina Rossetti and more. Please feel free to pass by and pick up copies or send your students to do some crafts.

It has been increasingly common to write novels in verse. Also, last year’s ALMA prize winner Jacqueline Woodson has written novels in verse, for example: Brown girl dreaming, bringing up racism and taking place in South Carolina during the 1960’s. Here is an excerpt from that title. And an interview with Jacqueline, bringing up coming out, hard times feeling at home and more.

Many students at ISGR wanted to meet Sarah Crossan, within the shool’s Creative School project. (Unfortunately she was too occupied, but maybe for next year, if the students still want to meet her then.) But she has also written novels in verse and here is an excerpt from her novel One, and also from an interview.

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Chris Bradford’s author skype talk. March 18th, 2019

Today ISGR did an author skype talk with the famous youth author Chris Bradford. We are sorry that there were some technical problems with the screen, but everyone did the best of the situation. The students were excellent and very attentive too, despite that setback. So in the end, the author hit the mark.

Here are a bit of what Chris talked about, out from questions he got from the students.

How do you get over / passed writer’s block? Chris told us that he does “the swan”. That is a way of communicating with the subconscious to relieve the clog of writer’s blog. Bending and holding up your arm, and watching your hand like a friend, and see if the hand moves, gives any signals that you might use when writing. Little finger twitching means no for example and thumbs up means yes. Chris joked and told us that it would be interesting to find out if he actually wrote all of his stories, or if there was assistance from his subconscious as well. He laughed but was serious about it helping him from a 9 month block… within one day!

He put up a picture of writer’s block on his wall. Used humorous approaches: Coke and cookie, a walk or jog…  Sometimes it was also needed to go for vacation, for example three weeks vacation to South Africa.

Do you have any tips to young writers? Recommended Stephen King’s book On Writing, as an excellent reference source about the writing process. Chris told us that he likes King’s approaches writing.

Other tip is to “fill the well.” Read a lot to give you examples of how to write, to expand vocabulary, and enrich experiences.

How did you get the idea to train for your books? Karate Kid (original) was inspiration for Young Samurai series. Bullying in school led to Chris interest in martial arts. Not to physically respond, but to gain inner strength and confidence. Chris told us that he is writing the kind of books he wants to read himself.

What is your writing process like? Chris usually write at 8-18 every working day. Even if he thinks that he does not have anything to write at the moment. He puts up a goal that needs to be accomplished by 18. He told us to remember that it is the polished version of books we see when we are holding one in our hand. It usually takes about 6 months to write a book. The first two of those are just assigned doing research. After 6 months follows the editing process in cooperation with an editor. That asks Chris to fill in gaps, answer questions, rewrite parts and more. In this process, Chris thinks it is as important to reread as to rewrite.

When talking about the editing process, Christ told us about the editing of the Harry Potter books. The first two Harry Potter books were amazingly streamlined. Edited with precision, no fat left. The later books became more ponderous, perhaps not as adroitly edited due to the success, time constraints to get them published etc. While still wonderful writing they could have become even tighter with further excision. Chris thinks that we shall edit and polish, eliminate unneeded words, replace with better fitting synonyms, adjust syntax several times.

Do any characters in your books represent people from your own life? Yes, the evil sensai, who was a bully, that Chris had early in his martial arts.

Have you aver considered making your books into a movie? If so, who would you like to be the actor for Connor? Chris thought it would take a lot of time and that it is hard to imagine how much and what kind of work it would take. He gives Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer as an example of a book series that have been hard to turn into a film. The young samurai series has nearly been turned into a TV series though. If the bodyguard series would become a film, he said he might cast Jackson in 7D as a character of one of his books on Connor Reeves in the Bodyguard series.

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The National Source Criticism Day

The National Source Criticism Day, on March 13th, is partly a holiday day and partly an event. It is funded by the Viral scrutinizer (a department of the newspaper Metro, reviewing and analyzing both news and internet phenomenas on social media).

During the source criticism day, a lot of lectures and panel discussions are taking place across the country. At ISGR we are happy to join this celebration, and will do it in our own way. The library has put together a presentation about the source criticism day and Media and Information Literacy (MIL). The presentation also includes:

  • A nice Bamse cartoon clip (reminding to check who the author is).
  • A film clip for LGRM 6-7:  Tisdagskollen med Farzad: Farzad och de fem superfrågorna. It  brings  up what a source is, and how to differentiate between facts and fiction:
  • A filmclip for MYP 6-10, and LGRM 8-9: How to see past your own perspective and find truth by the philosopher Michael Patrick Lynch. It  brings  up what is truth and why it matter, and the role of information technology in its pursuit:

The links to ISGR’s two source criticism tests and handouts.

About the general source criticism test: The 4 w’s

Handout for The 4 w’s (it is recommended to fill in one handout for each website used in school work).

About the test source criticism test for news and social media: Fact or fiction

Handout for Fact or fiction

  • Two excercises that are meant to be both educative and fun, bringing up concepts that are frequently used when talking about fake news. (Ask your librarian or teacher.)

The aim of The National Source Criticism Day is to improve the knowledge on how to evaluate sources, since a lack or source criticism can lead to serious, smaller or bigger consequences.

Practice source criticism is a way of improving your critical thinking skills, and focus on the IB learner attribute thinkers. “We use critical and creative thinking skills to analyse and take responsible action on complex problems. We exercise initiative in making reasoned, ethical decisions.”

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