High Storrs Carnegie Shadowing Group

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Choose Love
I've read books about asylum seekers before. The things that they go through are unimaginably horrible. Running from a country, torn apart from war, making dangerously sickening trips across oceans, where you know that less people will get off the boat than how many got on. Hostile faces turning on you with every step. However the part of the book that stuck with me most was the poem 'the interview'. the value of your life assessed, by someone whose own is too narrow to understand. Within a few moments, your asylum could be rejected. whether or not you'd lost your parents, siblings, friends or family. they could send you back, to face the trials all over again, and again and again. If only people could Choose Love over hate.

Zoë

Safiyyah's War
This book is amazing! I really got hooked into it and I felt like I was part of the family. It was a really enjoyable read and it was very compacted with information. The only thing I would change is that the blurb gives away alot of the story so once you have read the blurb you mostly know what is going to happen. But other than that I would definitely recommend 👍 9.7/10

Eleanor

Away With Words
I thought this was an incredibly heartwarming book about friendship. I felt privileged to watch Gala and Natalie's' friendship develop and hope to grind the characters again soon. I rate this book 8.5/10

Emma

The Door of No Return
The door of no return is a book of historical fiction set in Africa and written in verse. The verse is written differently to lots of verse novels I have read, and some of it seemed more like prose, but I quite enjoyed this. I liked the emotion put into the text throughout, and the ending was especially good with that. However I thought that the story should have continued, even if it was just an epilogue, because it seemed like it didn't quite have a satisfying ending.

Mabel

The Boy Lost in the Maze
The boy lost in the maze is an interesting new take on an old familiar myth. Theseus and Theo are both trying to find their fathers, and suffer many setbacks along the way. I liked how the myth was subtly changed to make us relate more to Theseus, and also the mixture of different forms of verse within the story. I do appreciate how the choose your own path made it seem more like a maze, but I personally didn't like that, as I prefer the characters to make the decisions. However, I did very much enjoy this book.

Mabel

Safiyyah's War
I liked Safiyya's war a lot. I thought it was a very realistic description of life in occupied France, and it also gave the story from a new perspective that is not often thought about. The climax at the end was a very satisfying finish to a clever plot!

Mabel

Steady for This
I really enjoyed reading Steady for this. The main character at the start didn't really understand the world, and was careless with his actions and did not think of how others felt. as the book progressed however, you realised that he was actually a good person, who makes mistakes, but feels guilty for them, and is always learning how to do better. People may not always understand his language, or the way his brain works, but that is part of his charm. I thought it was heartening to see him make his way through a strenuous part of his life and not give up on his friends. That's often surprisingly difficult to do.

Zoë

The Boy Lost in the Maze
Really good book , I especially liked the layout of it . Super simple but effective. Great idea with tying a Greek myth into it . 8/10

Max

Safiyyah's War
I really liked this book as reading about occupied Paris was interesting, I loved the cats, and it’s very realistic, it doesn’t just have a completely happy ending like some books of the sort do. The only thing is it took a little bit too long to get exiting in my opinion. 9/10

Eleanor

The Song Walker
really good book , the idea is great and I think the plot twist at the end was surprising and took my off guard . Brilliant !!! 8/10

Max

Steady for This
First of all I did not finish reading the book. I thought the idea of the book was good and I like the idea of writing a book aimed at the new generation but personally I found the language harder to comprehend. Overall I like the idea but it could have been better executed. 4/10

Max

The Song Walker
I really enjoyed reading this book, I found it interesting as parts of the girl’s story was revealed, and the desert was a good setting, the only thing I didn’t like so much was the twist at the end, it slightly ruined the book for me

Eleanor

Safiyyah's War
I didn't read the whole book though I loved the detail in how she talked about food and how it was set in Paris. I don't like books that are set about war but the first stating pages were quite full on about the information of the characters over all I did enjoy reading it .

Tilly

The Boy Lost in the Maze
There are lines like strings running through this story, that weren't only travelling in one direction. The story about searching through a labyrinth was like a labyrinth itself. You stand at the first page a piece of string in your hand, staring into the cavernous entrance to the unknown .The labyrinth is constantly shifting around you, each turn familiar, yet different, until you begin shifting with the labyrinth. You begin to understand its intricacies and its workings. instead of trying to find the centre, you become the centre, and you are trying to find yourself, rather than someone always just out of reach. Every now and then, I got the compulsion to read out some of the pieces of the poem. I really enjoyed reading this one, and how the story shifts and changes and isn't about one person's experiences, it is about many people's shared experience.

Zoë

The Song Walker
This book was so good to start but the plot was very predictable and the ending was very strange and I really didn’t like it. I thought it was really bad and made no sense. But the rest of the book is so good and really hard to put down. 4.2/5 stars.

Ethan

Choose Love
Choose love was beautifully written and gave the refugees such respect on what troubles they’ve been through and the illustrations really complimented the book. My only problem is I couldn’t give it a medal for writing because for me there’s more pictures then words. I would put this in a competition for illustrations but it’s still a really nice book. 4/5 stars

Ethan

Steady for This
BEWARE SPOILERS AHEAD! I think Steady for this is an alright book. It started of quite bad as the language was just so confusing as I don’t normally use these words like ‘hypeman’. When Siobhan was introduced it was great as she really straightened out Shaun and made him a lot less of an annoyance. Also it was very good getting rid of Shanks for most of the book made Shaun ,again, less annoying as Shanks really encouraged Shaun’s strange words. It got better and better though . 3.9/5 stars

Ethan

Away With Words
In this book, I loved that the words weren't just used in one way as in other books. This gave an oral storytelling vibe. It explored the idea of how we can give words different meanings depending on the way we use them. It also helped me realise how some people take words for granted, and throw them around carelessly without a second thought. This book shows that the most important words are the ones that we struggle to say, but in the end, mean the most.

Zoë

The Song Walker
The song walker was a beautifully intricate book. I loved the dream tracks / song lines that were threaded throughout the story. The simple act of the two friends deciding that they were capable of making their own dream track as well as following other peoples was a trailblazing moment. It showed that even if you don't know who you are yet, that is ok. the journey there is everlasting and full of emotion and people. You just have to be brave enough to get back up again and keep on walking, even if you only have one shoe.

Zoë

The Door of No Return
This book did take I while to get used to the way it was written and how to know when others were speaking but once you have got use to all of that it is a very good book. Once you get locked into the book it moves quite quickly and it has a very noticeable moral. One thing which I didn't like is that it felt very sudden at the end with alot of death and it didnt really make much sense at the end. 7/10 :D

Eleanor

Crossing the Line
Another great book written in verse! The way how the sentences were laid out like in the bit with the gun and the word were made to shape like a gun made it nice to look at. I really like how Ravi, Erik the main characters best friend, never gives up on Erik even after he gets pulled into gangs, drugs and smoking. Really good book. Definitely recommend. 4.5/5 stars.

Ethan

The Song Walker
The song walker was a very interesting book. I liked the mystery at the beginning, and how memories gradually unfolded as she began to realise who she was. I also enjoyed the Australian culture parts, and how the two girls began to make friends along their journey. However, I didn't particularly like the twist at the end. But overall I would definitely recommend this book.

Mabel

Crossing the Line
I really enjoyed Crossing the Line. It is a novel written in verse, using the themes of complicated family ties, bottled up feelings and criminal influences really well within it. I liked how the words were set out to picture the ideas that were being conveyed, as well as them being described. I also think the book helps people to understand that it is really hard to get out of a situation like that once you are in it, and that seemingly harmless events can lead up to danger.

Mabel

Away With Words
Away with words is a book with a very interesting concept, the idea of physical words being seen with colours and fonts, and I think this is very clever. The themes of friendship, homes and family are nicely fitted in with a simple but effective plot, and the characters are very relatable and engaging. I would give this book 4/5.

Mabel

The Door of No Return
The Door Of No Return is a captivating book. I read it in the space of one evening. The way the story is written and formatted gives it more emotion and power than if it were in a typical novel form. when words were scattered across the page, or in different fonts, or different sizes, that really gave a stronger feeling to the words. The characters within the book have such intriguing stories to tell, which are all very human. The characters can be easily empathised with and related too, which is incredibly important when telling a story. It has a strong narrative, and is brave. It has also helped me understand the actual lives of the Asante people, rather than just the slave trade, and the statistics we're taught. This story shows the background information that is not really provided within history lessons. I love how, at the back of the book, there is a section on the Adinkra symbols, and how these symbols foreshadowed what was to come. that was really clever.

Zoë

The Door of No Return
I really like how the book is written in verses because it makes the book feel more tense and helps with the mood.I really like how it has all the Ghanaian slang in which helps build the wonderful picture Kwame Alexander created. One of the best books I ever read. 4.75/5 stars.

Ethan

Safiyyah's War
I really enjoyed reading Safiyyahs War. I have always liked reading historical fiction that is based on real, inspirational stories, and found this a very good way to diversify my reading. Safiyyahs' story really touched my heart, and I found her bravery uplifting. The way she faced her fears to help hundreds of people despite the danger from the Nazi soldiers. I think the ending was really effective, and hope to see Safiyyah and the mosque again in a sequel 🤞 I rate this book 9/10

Emma

Crossing the Line
This is a novel written in verse; the placement of the words on the page are as important in telling the story as the words themselves. A lot of the themes in this book are quite complex and dark, with the story dealing with Erik as he falls in with a bad crowd and starts to find himself feeling trapped in his situation. I was rooting for Erik throughout and hoping he would be able to turn his situation around; running seemed to be a bit of a lifeline for him. Sadly, this story is underpinned by the knowledge that there are so many real teenagers in similar predicaments.

Ms Gilchrist