The Big Read

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Last year ’ s winners!

Most of The Big Read titles are available as eBooks. Search Accessit or ask a librarian for more information.

How to Take Part

Between December 2022 and February 2023 you should try to read at least five books from those listed in this booklet. You must review a minimum of one .

All the titles are available in the library. Titles marked with are also available as eBooks. View a full reading list on Accessit.

• After you have finished each book write a review of it on Accessit. An email will be sent to you to say if your review has been approved or not. • Individual prizes will be presented by our visiting author during our Spring Term reading week. There will also be a debate and the Form prize announcement during Third Form assembly. At this event you will be able to present the case for your favourite Big Read book and there will be a vote for the ‘ Book of the Year ’. • A first prize of £30 and runners - up prizes of £10 will be awarded in book tokens to the pupils who have written the most engaging and reflective book reviews. You must complete the challenge of reading and reviewing at least five books to be considered for a prize. • A whole Form prize will be awarded to the Form that, between them, has the greatest number of book reviews approved. • All pupils who complete at least three approved book reviews will receive a Gold Note.

The closing date for reviews is Tuesday 21st February 2023 .

Happy reading and good luck!

Mrs South, Mr Hilton - Dennis, Dr Hetherington, Miss Green, Mrs Solomon

The Crossover by Kwame ALEXANDER “ With a bolt of lightning on my kicks … The court is SIZZLING. My sweat is DRIZZLING. Stop all that quivering. Cuz tonight I'm delivering ”

12 - year - old Josh and his twin Jordan have basketball in their blood. They ’ re kings of the court, star players for their school team. Both on and off the court, there is conflict and hardship which will test Josh ’ s bond with his brother. In this heartfelt novel in verse, the boys find that life doesn ’ t come with a play - book and it's not all about winning.

October, October by Katya BALAN October and her dad live in the woods. They know the trees and the rocks and the lake and stars like best friends. They read the books they buy in town again and again until the pages are soft and yellow -- until next year's town visit. They live in the woods and they are wild. And that's the way it is. Until the year October turns eleven. That's the year October rescues a baby owl. It's the year Dad falls out of the biggest tree in their woods. The year the woman who calls herself October's mother comes back. The year everything changes.

Tin Boy by Steve COLE Mining for tin in deep, dangerous trenches is the only life that Tono has ever known. Worked to the brink of exhaustion each day, his only escape is in the precious moments when he reads his dad's old comics. In a world of heroes and superpowers, he can forget the terrifying mining pits. But an underwater avalanche, a glimpse of something bright red in the sandy seabed, and a canny sidekick are about to transform Tono's life forever … Fate collides with a stark reality in this truly unique and unforgettable story.

The Extraordinary Cases of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan DOYLE

This collection contains eight of the best known stories featuring the world ’ s most famous detective and his sidekick Dr Watson. Join them as they solve mysteries and catch criminals in the foggy streets of Victorian London.

My Family and Other Animals by Gerald DURRELL “ Sometimes it ’ s pretty hard to tell them apart. My family and the animals that is. ” A funny account of the five years of his childhood the author spent living on the island of Corfu. Always mad about animals, he brings a succession of them back to the villa for observation, much to the dismay of his family.

When the Sky Falls by Phil EARLE Inspired by a true story. It's 1940, and Joseph has been packed off to stay with Mrs F, a gruff woman with no great fondness for children. To Joseph's amazement, she owns the rundown city zoo where Joseph meets Adonis, a huge silverback gorilla. Adonis is ferociously strong and dangerous, but Joseph finds he has an affinity with the lonely beast. But when the bombs begin to fall, it is up to Joseph to guard Adonis's cage should it be damaged by a blast. Will Joseph be ready to pull the trigger if it comes to it?

The Bone Sparrow by Zana FRAILLON

Born in a refugee camp, all Subhi knows of the world is that he's at least 19 fence diamonds high, the nice Jackets never stay long, and at night he dreams that the sea finds its way to his tent, bringing with it unusual treasures. And one day it brings him Jimmie. Carrying a notebook that she's unable to read and wearing a sparrow made out of bone around her neck - both talismans of her family's past and the mother she's lost - Jimmie strikes up an unlikely friendship with Subhi beyond the fence.

The Wheel of Surya by Jamila GAVIN India, August 1947: Fleeing from their burnt - out village as civil war rages in the Punjab, Marvinder and Jaspal are separated from their mother, Jhoti. Marvinder has already saved her brother's life once but now they both face a daily fight for survival. Together they escape across India and nearly halfway around the world to England to find a father they hardly know in a new, hostile culture...

Once by Morris GLEITZMAN “ Once I escaped from an orphanage to find Mum and Dad. Once I saved a girl called Zelda from a burning house. Once I made a Nazi with a toothache laugh. My name is Felix. This is my story. ” After living in an Catholic orphanage for nearly four years, Felix, a naïve Jewish boy, runs away, and embarks on a journey across Nazi - occupied Poland to find his parents without any comprehension of the war raging around him.

Deeplight by Frances HARDINGE On the jumbled streets of the Island of Lady's Crave live Hark and his best friend Jelt. They are scavengers: living off their wits, diving for relics of the gods, desperate for anything they can sell. But now there is something stirring beneath the waves, calling to someone brave enough to retrieve it. Something valuable. Something dangerous. Nothing is quite as it seems, and when the waves try to claim Jelt, Hark will do anything to save him. Even if it means compromising not just who Jelt is, but what he is.

Worst. Holiday. Ever. by Charlie HIGSON Stan is going on holiday to Italy with his (fifth) best friend Felix and a load of strangers. Stan is absolutely terrified. Luckily, his mum's given him an emergency list that includes how to survive a shark attack, and what to do if he gets kidnapped. Stan thinks that a better list would include how to cope with odd food, and what to do if he accidentally calls Felix's mum 'mum' in front of everybody. And it soon turns out Italy is full of dangers and things that can go wrong. One thing's for certain, Stan's not going to come back the same boy he left. He just hope he comes back at all …

Amulet: The Stonekeeper by Kazu KIBUISHI

After the tragic death of their father, Emily and Navin move with their mother to the home of her deceased great - grandfather, but the strange house proves to be dangerous. Before long, a sinister creature lures the kids' mum through a door in the basement. Em and Navin, desperate not to lose her, follow her into an underground world inhabited by demons, robots, and talking animals.

The Supreme Lie by Geraldine MCCAUGHREAN

Fifteen - year - old Gloria is maid to Afalia's tyrannical Head of State, Madame Suprema. When the country is hit by unprecedented flooding, Madame Suprema runs away, fearing she will be blamed for the crisis. To cover up this cowardly act, Gloria is made to step into Madame Suprema's shoes and is thrust into a world of corrupt and desperate politicians.

Black and British by David OLUSOGA When did Africans first come to Britain? Who are the well - dressed black children in Georgian paintings? Why did the American Civil War disrupt the Industrial Revolution? These and many other questions are answered in this essential introduction to 1800 years of the Black British history: from the Roman Africans who guarded Hadrian's Wall right up to the present day.

Uncle Montague ’ s Tales of Terror by Chris PRIESTLEY

Uncle Montague lives alone in a big house and his regular visits from his nephew give him the opportunity to retell some of the most frightening stories he knows. But as the stories unfold, another even more spine tingling narrative emerges, one that is perhaps the most frightening of all. Uncle Montague's tales of terror, it transpires, are not so much works of imagination as dreadful, lurking memories. Memories of an earlier time in which Uncle Montague lived a very different life to his present solitary existence …

Now or Never by Bali RAI Fazal's world is now focused on Company 32 and the animals he cares for in the midst of one of the most frightening times in history. And as he and his friends make their way to the beaches of Dunkirk, Fazal must deal with even more than the terrors of a dangerous trek to reach the evacuation zone.

TimeRiders by Alex SCARROW Liam O'Connor should have died at sea in 1912. Maddy Carter should have died on a plane in 2010. Sal Vikram should have died in a fire in 2029. Yet moments before death, someone mysteriously appeared and said, “ Take my hand …” But Liam, Maddy and Sal aren't rescued. They are recruited by an agency that no one knows exists, with only one purpose - to fix broken history.

Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea by Jules VERNE

Professor Aronnax embarks on an expedition to hunt down and destroy a menacing sea monster. However, he discovers that the beast is metal - a giant submarine called the Nautilus built by the renegade scientist Captain Nemo. So begins an underwater adventure that takes them from the South Pole to the submerged lost city of Atlantis.

To submit a book review you must be logged in to your Accessit account.

• Search for the book you want to review, and click on the cover to open the book details. • On the left - hand side of the book information box you will see a ‘ Write a review ’ link. Clicking this will open a review box. • You will see 3 review elements to complete - ‘ Review ’, ‘ Who would enjoy this? ’ and ‘ Rating ’. All 3 must be completed for the review to be approved. • When you have finished your review click the ‘ Submit ’ button. • You can ‘ Save As Draft ’ whilst writing your review. To return to it you must search for the book again and your draft will be available to edit under the ‘ Reviews ’ tab. Make sure to ‘ submit ’ your review once you have completed it. • You will not be able to edit a review once it ’ s been submitted. • Check your approved reviews using Advanced Search - Reviews . REMEMBER to check your school email to see whether your review has been approved or not. You will always be given a reason if it has not been approved.

Useful tip! Write and save your review in a Word document beforehand and then copy & paste it into the review box on Accessit. This will give you a chance to think carefully about what you are writing and will also check your spelling and punctuation.

Your book review MUST: • Have all 3 review elements. • Be written in complete sentences and correctly punctuated. • Contain opinion about what you

Your book review MUST NOT: • Retell the story. • Contain ‘ spoilers ’. • Plagiarise reviews written by others.

did or did not like about the book. Try to illustrate your opinion with examples.

Full Reading List Click the links to find out more about the books and authors...

The Crossover


October, October


Tin Boy

Steve COLE

The Extraordinary Cases of Sherlock Holmes

Sir Arthur Conan DOYLE

My Family and Other Animals


When the Sky Falls


The Bone Sparrow


Wheel of Surya

Jamila GAVIN





Worst. Holiday. Ever

Charlie HIGSON

Amulet: The Stonekeeper


The Supreme Lie


Black and British


Uncle Montague ’ s Tales of Terror


Now or Never

Bali RAI



Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea


Merchant Taylors ’ School Library and Information Centre

The Big Read 2023 A.J. South - Senior Librarian

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