Monday, March 7, 2016

Patron of Reading at St Bedes

Last Friday was my first day as Patron of Reading at St Bede's School, and I had a wonderful time with very engaged and amusing English classes from Year 7, 8 and 9. I received dozens of suggestions of books to include in the year long reading challenge I am launching, from Geek Girl to The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas. More details about the reading challenge are at the bottom of the page.

In the sessions, we talked together about why we love reading, and whether or not it is a cool thing to admit to (this seems to change quite dramatically if you attend secondary school or not...) and discussed books that we love.

Living proof that a love of reading is Extremely Cool.

I met lots of enthusiastic readers, including some enthusiastic readers of Infinite Sky (my favourite kind). And most importantly of all, I had a bona fide school dinner: breadcrumbed fish, jacket potato wedges and beans.

"Excellent." *****

So for any students who weren't lucky enough to be in my sessions, and who want to get involved with my reading challenge, here are the details:

CJ's Reading Challenge for St Bede's

The challenge (if you choose to accept it) is to commit to reading as many books as you can in a year. The challenge was launched on World Book Day 2016, and ends on World Book Day 2017.

6 books = bronze
12 books = silver
24 books = gold
30 books = diamond

The prize for completing the reading challenge, whether at bronze, silver, gold or diamond levels is to be featured on the Reader’s Wall of Fame on my blog, to be entered into the Reading Challenge prize draw, and - most valuable of all - to have read 6, 16, 24 or 30 books in a year!

I will be aiming for diamond, and will let you know how I get on… What will you be aiming for?

Suggested titles from me, St Bede's students and teachers

Grandpa’s Great Escape by David Walliams
Good Dog Bad Dog by Dave Shelton
Infinite Sky by C J Flood
Any from Diary of a Wimpy Kid series by Jeff Kinney
How I Live Now by Meg Rosoff
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime by Mark Haddon
Paper Towns by John Green
The Last Wild by Piers Torday
Mazerunner by James Dashner
Divergent by Veronica Roth
The Worry Website by Jacqueline Wilson
Pigheart Boy by Malorie Blackman
Goodnight Mister Tom by Michelle Magorian
Noughts and Crosses by Malorie Blackman
Lord of the Flies by William Golding
Red Ink by Julia Mayhew
Leopold Blue by Rosie Rowell
Flygirl by Sherri L. Smith
The Dark Inside by Rupert Wallace
Trouble by Non Pratt
All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven
Girl Online by Zoe Sugg aka Zoella
Cuckoo Song by Frances Hardinge
Northern Lights by Phillip Pullman
Charm and Strange by Stephanie Kuehn
The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas by John Boyne
13 Chairs by Dave Shelton
Hollow Earth by John and Carol Barrowman
A Boy and a Bear in a Boat by Dave Shelton
A Monster Calls by Siobhan Down and Patrick Ness
Martyn Pig by Kevin Brooks
To All the Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny Han
Any from the Geek Girl series by Holly Smale
Any from the Dork Diaries series by Rachel Renee Russell
Any from the Young Samurai series
Any from the Chocolate Box Girls by Cathy Cassidy
Pointe by Brandy Colbert
Eragon by Paolini
Have a Little Faith by C J Harper
Nightwanderers by C J Flood
Daylight by Ed Hogan
Everything Beautiful by Simmone Howell
The Year of the Rat by Clare Furniss
The Young Elites by Marie Lu

Asking For It by Louise O'Neill
Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz
The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
The Shock of the Fall by Nathan Filer
Junk by Melvin Burgess
ACID by Emma Pass
The Fearless by Emma Pass
Coconut Unlimited by Nikesh Shukla

Do you have any more suggestions? Please let me know in comments below, if so.


  1. I would like to suggest Remembering the Good Times by Richard Peck. This is a classic, yet under-the-radar coming of age story.

    1. That looks like a really interesting read, consider it added. Thanks anonymous!

  2. Are you related to C.J. Harper?

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. No, but I have met her, and admire her work. Are you a fan?

  3. And 30 books or not, you'll always be a diamond to me! Shine on, you crazy diamond!

  4. I seem to be rather wonderfully over-represented in that list of recommendations. Ta very much.

    1. Well Dave, your books are very wonderful. I recommended A Boy and a Bear in a Boat, and students and librarians recommended Thirteen Chairs (lots were talking about that one) and Good Dog Bad Dog. Thanks for visiting!

  5. Hey C.J. I forgot all about this challenge and it looks like I'll only make it to Bronze level this year. Very sad.

    If we repeat the challenge in 2017, can we carry out ceremonies for when we reach a level and give out certificates to encourage ourselves?