Last term we ran a BOOK REVIEW COMPETITION and we received many fantastic entries from across all year levels. As promised we have selected the best six reviews (and one Encouragement Award) and the students who wrote them were all awarded with a certificate and their choice of a brand new book from a selection in the library! All of the suitable reviews (including the winners) will live on forever in our library’s catalogue in the entry for that book.
And the winners are:
Millie Beswick-Wright – Year 7 for her review of The Vanishing Girls by Lauren Oliver
Abbie Liptrot – Year 8 for her review of All I Know Now by Carrie Hope Fletcher
Lily Veal – Year 8 for her review of A Storm of Swords by George R.R. Martin
Makita Stendt – Year 9 for her review of Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Patterson
Maddison Lewis – Year 10 for her review of Revived by Cat Patrick
Ethan Waters – Year 12 for his review of The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
Encouragement Award goes to Nicholas Duong – Year 7 for his review of Run by Tim Sinclair
A big THANK-YOU to all students who entered, they were all great entries! Remember, the library is always happy to accept book reviews, just follow the SUBMIT BOOK REVIEWS link on the left of this page.
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This afternoon we screen the 1975 Oscar winning Dog Day Afternoon.
Directors: Sidney Lumet
Cast: Al Pacino
Written By: Frank Pierson
Genre: Crime / Drama / Comedy
Duration: 120 min
Country/Language: USA / English
The film received positive reviews and was nominated for multiple Golden Globes and Academy Awards. It won the Oscar for Best Original Screenplay.
It was based on real life events. In August 1972 John Wojtowicz and Sal Naturale attempted to rob a Brooklyn bank and held the staff hostage for 14 hours. Though based on real events and people, John Wojtowicz claims that only about 30% of the events really happened the way the film portrays. He wrote this letter to the New York Times to tell his side of the story. His article was not published in the newspaper.
THINGS TO THINK ABOUT:
Do you think the filmmakers succeed in making you believe this really happened? Do you feel as though it’s happening as you watch? What techniques do they use to achieve this?
Why do you think the public were supportive of Sonny and Sal and not the police in the movie? Why were they cheering for bank robbers?
Do you think Sonny’s motivation for wanting money justified him robbing the bank and holding people hostage? Was it worth it in the end?
This week in CiNECiTY we watch Charlie Chaplin’s last ever silent film and one of his most famous pieces of work, Modern Times.
Director: Charlie Chaplin
Cast: Charlie Chaplin
Written By: Charlie Chaplin
Genre: Comedy / Drama
Duration: 86 min
Colour: Black & White
Country/Language: USA / English
This film was made after the introduction of synchronised sound to feature length films (1927’s The Jazz Singer was the first full-length sound film). Chaplin was originally going to use dialogue, he even wrote a script for the words, but after some experimenting he reverted to the silent format and just used the synched sound for effects. It was his last silent film, he eventually joined the status quo and all the films he made after this were “talkies”.
THINGS TO THINK ABOUT:
Why do you think the factory worker wanted to go back to jail? Why didn’t the lady want to go to jail? Did Chaplin want you to think that prison was like the factory, or perhaps even better? How can you tell?
Modern Times was made and set during the Great Depression. Do you think Chaplin was concerned about the modern, industrial world having a dehumanising effect on people? Why? Do you think these concerns are still relevant today or have we succeeded in using technology positively?
Refugee Week began last Sunday and this year The Refugee Council of Australia has chosen this line from our national anthem as the theme:
“With courage let us all combine”
This is a celebration of the incredible courage of refugees and also of those who stand up against injustice and oppression. It also “serves as a call for unity and for positive action, encouraging Australians to improve our nation’s welcome for refugees and to acknowledge the skills and energy refugees bring to their new home.”
Sara Farizan, Will Kostakis and Amie Kaufman; three of the amazing and diverse writers who spoke at the 2015 Reading Matters Conference
Some of our library staff recently attended a two day conference called Reading Matters, run by the State Library’s Centre for Youth Literature. There, we heard some amazing discussions involving a host of Australian and international authors and illustrators of young adult (or YA) literature.
One of the overarching themes of the conference was the importance of the existence of a wide variety of texts with diverse characters, each telling stories from as many different perspectives as possible. The authors who spoke of this need were themselves from very diverse walks of life, who felt the need to write the kinds of stories that they were never exposed to when they were young because YA books were predominantly written with very western, straight and conservative characters at the fore.
Readers need to identify with the characters in a book and believe that they are real; therefore books need to reflect the diversity of people in the real world. Thankfully, these days, the YA market is full of amazing and diverse stories featuring characters with many different genders, races, religions, sexualities, abilities, dreams, needs, flaws, illnesses… the list goes on and on! And this is exactly the point! Diversity is a fact of life and the stories we share should reflect that diversity or we are doing our young adults a disservice.
People learn through experience and reading is the sharing of experience. Books have the power to shape, change and even save lives, as the authors we heard speak will attest. A teenager who may not know how to deal with certain issues can safely share the experiences of the characters in a novel and thus become enlightened about how best to conduct themselves. They will learn about the consequences of certain actions. They will see other people’s points of view. It may help them comfort or support their friends or families. It may indeed change or save their life.
FCC Library endeavours to reflect the wonderful diversity of our own school community through the selection of our collection. We have novels, comics, picture books, biographies, non-fiction and short story collections which we feel have as much diversity of content and characters as is available in YA books today. Our staff love to help students select books so come and speak to us if you need anything specific or if you just want to chat about books.
Our library has recently subscribed to the Issues in Society series published by Spinney Press. They are a valuable resource for students who are researching current issues, as they curate content from a variety of sources and put them in one clear volume. They can be accessed in both print and digital formats from our library. Here is what Spinney Press says of the series:
“Issues in Society is an invaluable series of books which contain previously published information sourced from newspapers, magazines, journals, government reports, surveys, websites and lobby group literature.
The series offers up-to-date, diverse information about the social issues shaping our changing world. Each book explores a range of facts and opinions, providing the reader with a concise overview of the topic.”
Some of the topics covered include online safety, wealth inequality, animal welfare, youth unemployment, sexual health, violence and obesity, but there are many others.
The print books are available for short term loan from the library’s circulation desk. However you can also read and download digital copies from our library website as long as you are logged in to your school Google account (YOUR USERNAME@footscray.vic.edu.au).
This Wednesday at 3:20pm CiNCiTY will screen this groundbreaking zombie original….
Director: George A. Romero
Cast: Duane Jones
Written By: George A. Romero
John A. Russo
Duration: 96 min
Colour: Black and White
Country/Language: USA / English
Before NOTLD “zombie” films were centered around “voodoo zombies”. This involved living victims being transformed into slaves by mystical forces. White Zombie (1932) and I Walked With A Zombie (1946) are two examples. NOTLD transformed the “zombie” into a resurrected corpse with cannibalistic intent and initiated many of the tropes of the genre we’re familiar with today – the rest is history.
In the USA in 1968 the copyright symbol had to be present on the actual print of a film (e.g. in the credits or title) in order to be covered by copyright law. NOTLD was originally called Night of the Flesh Eaters and this title appeared on the early prints of the film along with the copyright stamp. It was later changed by the distribution company because an earlier film had a similar name, but the copyright information was not put back onto the theatrical release prints leaving the film uncopyrighted and in the public domain. Though unfortunate for the filmmakers this has possibly contributed to the proliferation of the “zombie” genre and allowed others to freely use and build upon the original ideas from the film. Do you think copyright helps or hinders creativity?
THINGS TO THINK ABOUT:
Why do you think this film was such a success in the horror genre? Was it because a premise this frightful had never been brought to the screen before or was it skillful filmmaking?
The filmmakers insist that they were just trying to make a scary movie. Do you believe (like some critics) that the movie is actually trying to make a point about society? Think about when and where the film was made… consider events like the Cold War and the Civil Rights movement.
The Boat by Nam Le is a critically acclaimed book of short stories which won many awards including the Prime Minister’s Literary Award in 2009. The last story in the collection is about a girl who’s parents send her to Australia by boat after the fall of Saigon in 1975 at the end of the Vietnam War.
One of my favourite authors, Charles Yu, has a book of short stories called Sorry Please Thank You. In it is a story called Hero Absorbs Major Damagewhich follows a computer game hero and his band of warriors on their quest through 256 levels of battling orcs, eating chicken and negotiating love triangles. This was already an awesome and funny story, but it has been given +3 Awesome Points with a new re-telling on Electric Literature’s Recommended Reading site (they publish one short story a week online) where one of the characters (an elf named Fjoork) has annotated the text and given his perspective on the events once only narrated by the Hero. You need to click on the highlighted yellow text to get Fjoork’s sardonic commentary. This is a new form of digital storytelling with exciting possibilities. Check out the story with its annotations here. And don’t forget to read the editor’s note for a bit of info about the story and its use of the annotation software.