Author Archives: Mrs A Caller

Lies, more lies and the Carnegie Shortlist

Lies, more lies and the Carnegie Shortlist

Surprisingly this year, the Carnegie shortlist has no less than three books with the word ‘lie’ in the title! They are all about both the untruths we tell about ourselves in order to feel better about the way we are acting and about unpicking the lies/morally dubious beliefs of those around us, including those in Authority.

I have already reviewed The Lie Tree by Frances Hardinge, so will look at the other two Shortlisted books ‘There will be Lies… and then there will be the Truth’ by Nick Lake and The Lies we Tell Ourselves’ by Robin Talley.

There-Will-Be-Lies-Nick-Lake-uk-pb‘There Will Be Lies’ was not at all what I was expecting. It started as a suspenseful thriller, set in modern America about a girl called Shelby who lives with her mother. It is quickly very obvious that all is not what it seems as her mother home schools her and is adamant that although she is 17 she cannot go out alone or talk to anyone (especially any males).

Then Shelby is in a car accident and she sees a Coyote, who speaks to her in her mind and tells her that ‘There will be two lies, then there will be the truth. And that will be hardest of all.’ The plot then has two angles, ‘normal life’ and a ‘Native American style quest/fairy tale’ that Shelby must complete to find peace.

I really enjoyed the book and the way that reality was interwoven with the ‘Quest’ – which may have been ‘magic’ or a fantasy played out in Shelby’s mind, it is unclear.


Lies We Tell Ourselves is very different, it is also setlies we tell ourselves in America, (Virginia) in 1959 at a time when ‘Coloured’ people (this is what Sarah, a black girl calls herself) are faced with appalling discrimination. Sarah is also 17 and she is about  to be ‘integrated’ with a group of other friends into an all-white High School. I must confess that I didn’t realise exactly how linear the segregation was at this time in the USA.

The book is based on true accounts and details how the black kids were spat at, bullied, called names and had to act in a deferential way towards their white peers. In addition to this, girls and women are treated as second class citizens by the men in their lives.

Sarah is forced to work with Linda, daughter of the town’s most ardent segregationist. Gradually Sarah realises that she is attracted to Linda and is terrified of the way that she feels.

Personally, I found this book illuminating, I felt extremely angry at the way various characters in the book were treated and glad that we are now less defined by our gender, race and sexuality. This book made me think hard about the lies we tell ourselves to justify our prejudices and the lies that we are told by others to maintain the status quo.

I would recommend both of these books, ‘There will be Lies’ was exciting and fast-paced, ‘Lies we Tell Ourselves’ was thought-provoking and really made me think.  I’d love to know which you prefer?

A Faustian tale of greed and wickedness – what would you do with God-like powers?

A Faustian tale of greed and wickedness – what would you do with God-like powers?


I have just finished reading the first in the Graphic Novel series ‘The Wicked + The Divine: The Faust Act.

The premise for this book (aimed at 15+) is that ‘Every 90 years 12 Gods return as young people. They are loved. They are hated. In two years, they are all dead. It’s happening now. It’s happening again.’

The story follows a young teenage girl, Laura, who meets the Pantheon and befriends ‘Luci’ a David Bowie like pop star with the demonic powers of ‘Lucifer’ himself. Other Gods within the Pantheon include ‘Amaterasu, Sakhmet, Baphomet and the Morrigan. We are gradually introduced to the other Gods as the narrative unravels.

These young Gods are unsurprisingly pop stars with all of the adoration and glamour this entails. Of course, ‘with great Power comes great responsibility’ but the characters in this story are hedonistic and end up having to face the consequences of their actions.

I really enjoyed the book, although I admit to frantically googling the characteristics of the Gods! I was particularly entertained by ‘Luci’s’ resemblance to David Bowie. There were other references to current events/attitudes making this a clever retelling targeted at an intelligent reader.

The graphic novel was clearly laid out and well-paced. I look forward to watching ‘Dr Faustus’ this week and comparing the Elizabethan reworking of the Faust legend to the 21st century retelling.

We have just updated our selection of graphic novels and manga – visit the Library over the next few weeks as the stock becomes available.

Harry Potter lesson repeated for young witches

Harry Potter lesson repeated for young witches

Atchained for protection smallertention all Harry Potter fans in the Junior School!

If you missed out on Harry Potter Day fear not! Professor Caller would like to invite you to the Library on Thursday 4th February at lunchtime (12-12.30) for a half hour of witchy chat and activities.

Please be aware that magical Libraries are dangerous places! Bolton School of Magic accepts no responsibility for Witches who do not listen to the Librarian’s instructions whilst interacting with the books such as the Monstrous book of Monsters (left).

Places limited to 30 witches.


Harry Potter Day in Junior School Library

Harry Potter Day in Junior School Library

On Thursday 4th February, the Bolton School of Magic held a special lesson in the Junior Library.

Led by Professor Caller, Librarian, pupils entered the lesson and after a reading of the Sorting Hat song, were sorted into the four Hogwarts houses. After each girl was welcomed into their House by their fellows, the Lesson began.

FMonstrous book of Monstersirst, Professor Caller determined the level of expertise of each pupil by introducing them to the Monster Book of Monsters. This dangerous book was released especially from the Chained Library where it usually resides, IMG_0431chained for the protection of potential readers. Pupils correctly identified the correct way to safely open the book (gaining House Points in the process).



Next, Professor Caller asked pupils general knowledge questions about the Harry Potter books and was very impressed by their IMG_0436level of expertise, again giving House Points along the way, ably assisted by the House Prefects, who used the Muggle technology of the Whiteboard most confidently.


Pupils then IMG_0442appointed a House Champion from each House to participate in a Magical duel (with genuine wands!).  The young witches valiantly cast spells which made their opponent ‘dance’, ‘bound them fast’, ‘tickled them’ and ‘gave them hideous boils’. The watching pupils gasped in horror at the fast-paced duel.

Ravenclaw eventually won the House Championship, proving the importance of knowledge, learning and books. (Any suggestion that Professor Caller was in any way impartial are entirely unfounded.

Finally,  pupils were given homework and are reminded that any student failing to hand their work in on time will be sent to dust the Chained Library, overseen by Mr Filch!


Harry Potter Day in Junior School (Thursday 4th February)

Harry Potter Day in Junior School (Thursday 4th February)

Monstrous book of MonstersAttention all Harry Potter fans in the Junior School! Professor Caller invites you to the Library on Thursday 4th February at lunchtime (12-12.30) for a half hour of witchy chat and activities.

Please be aware that magical Libraries are dangerous places! Bolton School of Magic accepts no responsibility for Witches who do not listen to the Librarian’s instructions whilst interacting with the books such as the Monstrous book of Monsters (left).

Places limited to 30 witches.


Bolton Children’s Fiction Award Shortlist announced

Bolton Children’s Fiction Award Shortlist announced


The Shortlist for the 2016 Awards was announced on 6th October 2015 at 1.30pm.

The Launch

Curtis Jobling attended the School to announce the 2016 Award Shortlist. They are as follows:

    disappearance of tom beck The Disappearance of Tom Pile is set during the Second World War. Corporal Jack Carmody is sent to investigate a mysterious case in a remote village where forty years ago, a young boy disappeared. At the time, there were some odd occurrences in the area and mysterious lights were seen in the sky. Now a strange, bewildered boy has appeared. Is he the missing boy? If so, where has he been? He also seems to have some special abilities. Could this be a case of alien abduction or is he a Nazi spy?
 13 hours 13 hours centres on 13 suspense filled hours in Anni’s life. Every night, she rushes home from school, desperate to get home. She is a carer for her mum, who panics about being alone in their large, derelict house.

Anni’s Mum is terrified of intruders and often gets Anni to check the house to make sure they are safe. But this Friday night, when Anni goes to check – she hears voices. Desperate, she and her mum try to escape but the intruders discover them and keep them prisoner. What is their motive – could it be to do with the Prime Minister’s visit tomorrow?

 an island of our own In this fast paced adventure, three orphaned children live in poverty in London. Visiting their Auntie Irene in hospital, they are given an old photo album with a set of strange photos in it. Their Aunt was an inventor, and made a fortune. However, she was very secretive and distrustful, so when she dies, the jewels which she promised Holly and her brothers would inherit are nowhere to be found. Then Holly realises that the album could be a set of clues, and a treasure hunt across the country begins in a bid to find the jewels before their greedy uncle gets there first.

Taking them from the rail tracks outside London to a remote Scottish island with chapters called ‘In which I crack open a safe, ninja style’ ‘ The awesome power of the Internet’ and ‘ Breaking and entering’ this is an exciting and original read.

 smart Smart is a crime story featuring a detective with a difference. When a homeless man drowns in the canal, everyone thinks that it is an accident, but Kieran thinks otherwise. The police don’t take any notice of his offer to help in the investigation so Kieran decides that he is going to find out what really happened.

It is not easy and could put him in danger, but Kieran has some special skills to help him. Fans of books such as The London Eye Mystery and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time will enjoy this mystery and its quirky hero.

 would the real stanley carrot please stand up This is a funny book, although it also deals with some serious issues such as bullying, family issues and sibling rivalry. Stanley feels that he doesn’t really fit in – he’s a bit on the chubby side, the last to be picked for football, and people make jokes about his ginger hair. The final humiliation is when the school bully finds out that he is adopted.

On his 13th birthday he gets a card from his birth mother asking him to meet her. He decides that he can’t disappoint her by turning up and instead, he advertises for a stand in who will be sporty, clever and good looking to impress her. Needless to say, things don’t go as planned and he finds himself getting deeper and deeper into trouble as his lies escalate. Throw into this a pushy teacher who enters him for the school talent competition and life begins to get very complicated for poor Stanley!

 one of us Jeanie Waudby’s first novel, “ One of Us” is a pacey thriller which will appeal to those who enjoy books with a dystopian setting. It is set in a society where there are two groups, the Citizens and The Brotherhood.

The Brotherhood wear hoodies, the girls have to have long hair and wear long skirts, so they are easily identifiable from Citizens. The Brotherhood often resort to terrorist methods and the book opens with a bomb attack on a station. K is rescued from the attack and finds herself being recruited as a spy for the Citizens. She has to infiltrate a Brotherhood school to find out who is responsible for the attacks. As she gets to know the pupils there, she begins to question what she has been told. And then she discovers to her shock that everything is not as it seems