International School Libraries Month Celebration

I had the pleasure last week of attending a dinner to celebrate International School Libraries Month.  Our charming guest speaker was local Bendigo author Glenda Millard.  Glenda is a talented author and a thoroughly delightful and charming woman who gave us an insight into why she  writes such character driven books that radiate  charm and warmth.  Glenda spoke about her childhood and her teenage years and we learnt where many of her stories have come from.  If you have not read any of Glenda’s books, seek them out, especially her Kingdom of Silk series beginning with The Naming of Tishkin Silk.  Its target audience is 8 -11 year olds but it is a story that will delight people of all ages.  Her novel A Small Free Kiss in the Dark was named an Honour Book in this year’s CBCA Book of the Year Awards and is for lower secondary students.  It is a must read.



To Kill a Mockingbird – Review by Petra



To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee

For starters I never thought I would read this book, and I can tell that a lot of people probably are thinking the same thing. I had always pictured it as an out-dated novel where nothing much happened. However, now having read it I see that I was very wrong. Harper Lee writes about the everyday lives of a family in a small American town in a time when racism towards the Negro population was still a huge issue. Atticus Finch, a single Lawyer father takes on a ‘his word vs. His word’ case defending Tom Robinson, a black man wrongly accused of rape. Told through the eyes of Atticus’ daughter ‘Scout’, though somewhat simplistic, it really gives you view of what was happening at the time. The advantage of a child’s opinion of what was going on around her is that it is completely unbiased as she is not tainted buy the ways of the world, nor does she care what the mobs attitude is. 

It’s one of those books where you don’t always get what you want or expect when you turn the page and where many MANY things frustrate you. I think this is what the author was trying to do. He was trying to show the irrationality of what people were doing and making you wish you were there so that you could have done something about it. You probably have to be older rather than younger to read this book; younger people probably wouldn’t stick it out to the end. This novel makes you think about the things in your life that maybe you aren’t seeing or judging clearly.

Night by Elie Wiesel – Review by Rachel P



Night’ an autobiography, by Elie Wiesel focuses on his experiences as Hungarian Jewish boy during the Holocaust. It details what Elie, along with his father, experienced; from first rumours of what Hitler was doing until the Jews were freed including Elie.

Elie is an interesting character, mostly because he is real, and reading his internal struggles, especially about his belief and whether or not God can exist if He is allowing so much suffering to happen. Elie’s father is a very strong man and especially helps him during their early days in the concentration and work camps.

‘Night’, explores issues like family bonds, beliefs, grieving, war and what life is like for a young person growing up during the Holocaust. It really makes readers think about the horrors of war and why it is important for us not allow anything like this to happen again.

I didn’t enjoy reading ‘Night’ because I failed to connect with the characters’ struggles and found the writing style uninteresting. The horrors covered in this book also were quite disturbing and are not for the faint-hearted.

I recommend this book for senior readers looking for an honest account about what happened to Jews during the Holocaust and about one boys struggle with faith throughout

Macbeth and Son by Jackie French: Review by Rachel C

Macbeth and Son is a fiction novel about two young boys living parallel lives. The novel relates troubles of the present day, for example parents divorcing, to the challenges of the past, in this case arranged marriages and new war leaders. It makes you think about the things we take for granted, food, freedom, and parents. I enjoyed this book because the characters were able to make the best of a bad situation, and I learned more about how life worked under the rule of Macbeth. It’s easy to relate to the characters in this book, and put yourself in their shoes. This book is at an intermediate level, with a storyline that makes history fun and interesting, and would be ideal for people 11-15 years.


The House Guest: Review by Rachel C


The House Guest is a mystery novel about a boy who finds himself obsessed with a house, and he has no idea why. He is part of a gag that steals little money from houses, and whilst on a raid, he is somehow attracted to this particular house. He imagines himself living there, what it would be like, how he would feel. This story deals with friendship, gangs, and family trouble. The novel made me think about why people steal and trespass, and if it’s ever right to do so. I didn’t enjoy this book, but would recommend it for males 12-14 wanting a mystery to keep them guessing.

Tom Clancy: Master of Soviet era fiction

Have you ever found yourself interested in the relations between the Soviets and the Americans during the Cold War? Are you interested in some good books, with action, suspense and engagement?

Tom Clancy writes excellent books on these subjects, focussing on Jack Ryan; firstly as a CIA officer, as National Security Advisor, and then finally as President of the United States of America. These books are a very good read, and have some extremely engaging and interesting themes.

The Hunt for Red October, for example, details the escapades of a Russian submarine officer who is attempting to defect to the United States; taking his submarine with him, of course. Staging coverups, the Americans attempt to make the Russian officials believe that the Red October crashed…while a chance discovery by a Soviet warship puts all of their lives in danger. In the midst of this engaging strategy and action, Tom Clancy’s books are impossible to put down!

The Ballarat Grammar Resource Center owns many copies of his books. However, as they are all in Senior reading, students below Year 10 will require a signed permission note in order to borrow these.


Kirsty Murray – Simply Inspirational

14 books in 10 years is impressive as was Kirsty Murray!  We were delighted to welcome Kirsty to Ballarat Grammar today (so sorry I forgot the camera!).  Kirsty spoke to the Years 7 and 8 students and one Year 9 class in the Wendouree Centre for Performing Arts.  She was a captivating  speaker who spoke of her inspiration for stories, her belief in the interconnectiveness of story and of  some of her travels.  Kirsty ‘s talk was very well received by the students who have been inspired to come and read her novels; there is an especially high demand for her new book Vulture’s Gate.    Thank you Kirsty for making the trip from Melbourne to Ballarat.  Kirsty

Kirsty Murray at Ballarat Grammar

We are looking forward to welcoming author Kirsty Murray to Grammar on Wednseday to speak with our Year 7 and Year 8 classes.  Kirsty is the author of Vulture’s Gate (2009) and many other titles including the magnificent Children of the Wind series.  To find out more about Kirsty and her books have a look at her website and blog.  Look for the link in Author Websites.

Fabulous Fashion

Library display Oct'09 003Library display Oct'09 004


Some of our talented art students have kindly allowed their textile pieces to be displayed in the Resource Centre to promote our stunning fashion book collection.  This collection numbers over 100 titles and includes books on designers such as Chanel, Largerfeld and Mackie; books on illustrating fashion and various books on textile techniques.

The book collection is growing at a rapid rate to meet the needs of our talented student designers, many of whom are pursuing careers in the fashion industry.  Many thanks to the students and staff who helped co-ordinate this display.