Uber Cool Websites

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This is a fantastic educational resource for learning about the Earth’s most fascinating continent. The site has video clips, images, historic documents and activities. An excellently put together website with plenty to investigate.

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The Catlin Seaview Survey is another fantastic website. It has the most amazing imagery of the sea – all recorded on a 360-degree panoramic camera. They have been tasked with recording the world’s coral reefs – an incredibly important project given the effects that pollution is having on them.

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About time…well waves really!

If you spend anytime in the library, and many of you do, chatting to me about which book to read next, you’d know that my favourite genre is science fiction. So I am a little excited that there is a new trilogy out by Rick Yancey. The first book – The 5th Wave is an action packed read that has a bit of everything; it is end of the world disaster meets alien invasion, boy meets girl, girl tries to rescue younger brother type scenario. If you enjoyed Ender’s Game, Hunger Games and Divergent – then this is a must read. A little more action packed – if that is possible – and the actual writing is rather good.

After the 1st wave, only darkness remains. After the 2nd, only the 
lucky escape. And after the 3rd, only the unlucky survive. After the 
4th wave, only one rule applies: trust no one.
Now, it’s the dawn of the 5th wave, and on a lonely stretch of highway,Cassie runs from Them. The beings who only look human, who roam the 
countryside killing anyone they see. Who have scattered Earth’s last 
survivors. To stay alone is to stay alive, Cassie believes, until she 
meets Evan Walker. Beguiling and mysterious, Evan Walker may be Cassie’sonly hope for rescuing her brother—or even saving herself. But Cassie must choose: between trust and despair, between defiance and surrender. 

There is even a film – just released – in case you were wondering.

Best get to the library quickly and grab it before anyone else…

Written by

Lisa Trundley-Banks


New Year = New Books

A fan of fantasy? Then you might just enjoy this new trilogy:

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Think of a cross between Harry Potter and Nancy Drew…. The magic of this book is dazzling. New York Journal of Books

Science Fiction more your thing? Then check out the following books:

This gripping and thoughtful science fiction novel – a thrilling tale of murder, mystery imgres-1and intrigue in a world where humanity is still its own worst enemy.

Filled with wonders, revelations, and edge-of-the-seat suspense. Planetfall is a fascinating, heartbreaking exploration of love and loneliness set against an awe-inspiring backfrop. An instant classic of the genre. Gareth L. Powell

Terminal by Kathy Reichs is a terrifying adventure where Tory Brennan comes face to face with the Virals. Surviving their power is going to test the gang’s abilities imgres-2.jpgand make them face an impossible choice…

Mystery, fantasy, science…and heart stopping action. After I read Tory Brennan’s first adventure, I wanted MORE. R.L. Stine


imgres-1 A revolution on planet Uragan upsets the plan of the crew of Keiko to enjoy their well earned rest at the casino on New Samara. In the end all they hope for is to get out alive! This rollercoaster of a read will have you racing to the end.



Can you get to the library first and be the first to read these new titles?

Mrs Trundley-Banks

Working for you in the library!

eBook Extravaganza

The library eBook collection has just expanded by a whooping 50 books! I didn’t go mad and start randomly purchasing – Pan McMillan, a major publisher of YA novels decided to sign up with the company who run our eBook platform.
EBooks are a funny business! Many people assume that because I have ‘purchased’ a book online, that I can then loan it to several people. However, it is just like the real thing, and can only be loaned to one person at a time. Added to this is the fact that publishers are very sensitive over who can buy their eBooks and sadly Amazon seems to be controlling the market.
Luckily for us Pan Mcmillan have some brilliant titles. So sitting waiting for you on our carefully dusted virtual shelves are:
Screen Shot 2015-05-20 at 1.30.09 pm There are 6 books in the Young Sherlock Holmes series. Death Cloud is the first in  the series in which the iconic detective  is reimagined as a brilliant, troubled and engaging teenager – these unputdownable detective adventures  remain true  to  the spirit of the original books.



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There are 7 books in the Tomorrow When the War Began Series. The series follows a group of Australian teenagers who ‘go  bush’ for the holidays. They return from the wild, to discover that their whole town has been rounded up and are being held hostage by an enemy invasion.

These fast paced novels will appeal to the most reluctant of readers.

Screen Shot 2015-05-21 at 8.59.37 am  THE DISCOVERY OF A LIFETIME! This book is set at a remote ice station in Antarctica and a team of US scientists have found something buried deep within a 100-million-year-old layer of ice. Something made of metal! A LEADER OF MENA and his  team of marines are sent to the station to secure the discovery. They are a tight unit, tough and fearless, their call sigh is:  SCARECROW. They would follow their leader into hell.  In fact they just did…

 There are four books in this series – they will appeal to young and old alike.


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Douglas Adams is a bit of a comic genius. If you have not read his trilogy of 5 books – then get reading The Hitchhiker’s  Guide to the Galaxy.

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. It’s an ordinary Thursday lunchtime for Arthur Dent until his house gets demolished. The Earth follows shortly afterwards to make way for a new hyperspace bypass and his best friend has just announced that he’s an alien. At this moment, they’re hurtling through space with nothing but their towels and an innocuous-looking book inscribed with the big, friendly words: DON’T PANIC. The weekend has only just begun…


If the above series are not enough to wet your appetite, then we also have a few more ‘serious’ reads:

The Road and No Country for Old Men by Cormac McCarthy

Into Thin Air and Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer

The Book Thief  by Marcus Zusak

Pillars of The Earth by Ken Follet

And the historical trilogy that starts with,  Here be Dragons by Sharon Penman

We now have 432 eBooks for you to choose from.

Anytime, anyplace – available for you 24/7

Lisa Trundley-Banks


How can the library help? 1. Citelighter

Welcome to my new ‘series’ of blogs on how the library and the teacher librarian can help you.

One of the most important things to learn in terms of being a life long learner is that every article that is written, every photo that is taken, every book that is created is owned by someone. You cannot just use a photo or a quote or often, even an idea without referencing where it is from or whom it belongs to. If you do, this is what is known as plagarism.

To avoid plagarism you need to learn how to reference your work and create a bibliography. To help you do this the library now has an app called CiteMaker.

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CiteMaker allows you save your references as you research in a very professional manner. (Mr Donaldson has even used it!)

It actually teaches you as you go. Some examples are below:

  • the order in which to create a bibliography  ie books first
  • what information you need about the author
  • whether you need information like page numbers
  • how to reference digital information – email, podcast, blogs, website

You can then export your saved bibliography and attach it to your essay or research project – assured and happy that it has been done professionally, to university standard.

If you need help on how to start using it – pop into the library to see me.

Lisa Trundley-Banks

Teacher Librarian

Just what have I been reading? Another blog for the College Mums!

I have been silent for too long, I fear. I apologise, Term 4 at school is a tadge busy for me – something to do with Prize Giving organisation. I have still been reading and so as many of you have requested another blog – I am truly flattered – here it is.

Anyone who knows me well is often surprised by the fact that I will refuse to watch the movie that has been released on a book that I have recently read. So I haven’t seen the Book Thief or Mister Pip or Gone Girl or A Fault in Our Stars. This fascination with turning books into movies irritates me. They very rarely do the novel justice and often change the ending. So in a somewhat reversed situation, I perversely started to read The English Patient. I disliked the movie, in fact I do not think I even watched it to the end. And having just watched the trailer, I am convinced that I did the right thing as the characters do not look as I imagined them, nor are the settings as harsh or torn apart by war as my mind made them.

Screen Shot 2014-11-19 at 9.52.52 AM I was spellbound by this beautiful novel written  by Michael Ondaatje. It took me on a journey  through Italy, where I resided alongside Hana, a  Canadian nurse in a bombed villa where she  nurses the English patient. The characters are as unlikely as they come: Kip is a Sikh Army sapper, who defuses bombs surrounding the  villa, Caravaggio is a Canadian thief whose profession is  legitimized by the war, and has missing thumbs, lastly there is the English Patient who has been  burnt beyond recognition. It is his story that held me; a well-known desert explorer in 1930s Egypt who carries a novel with him that contains his secrets. Ondaatje skillfully weaves his adventures and  affairs with the desert throughout the novel – I never knew that vast areas of sand could so fascinate me. It left me wanting to explore Northern Africa and most definitely wanting to return again to Italy. I am now convinced that movie adaptations destroy our imagination.



The Taxidermist’s Daughter by Kate Mosse is a somewhat ghoulish murder Screen Shot 2014-11-27 at 3.03.39 PMstory. However, Mosse’s novels are by default, my
intelligent woman’s summer read. I don’t mean to sound elitist, but I like quality writing and I like a ‘page turner’.  The story is set in Sussex Fens in 1912. It opens in a churchyard, where villagers gather on the night when the ghosts of those who will die in the coming year are thought to be seen.

Standing alone is the taxidermist’s daughter. At 17, Constantia Gifford lives with her father in a decaying house: it is all that is left of Gifford’s once world-famous museum of taxidermy. The bell begins to toll and all eyes are fixed on the church. No one sees the gloved hand pick up a flint. As the last notes fade into the dark, a woman lies dead! While the village braces itself against rising waters and the highest tide of the season, Connie struggles to discover who is responsible, but finds herself under suspicion…

This is a gothic, psychological thriller that is just perfectly written. The mystery of Connie’s accident, combined with the recent murder of a young woman are intricately interwoven, producing a story that is both stunning and surprising in turns.

My find of the term is the Australian author, Kate Morton. I purchased The Distant Hours on Kindle, only because Amazon recommended that I read it! My poor husband hated it as there was no food in the house until I reached the end and then I went to book group and they handed me The Forgotten Garden. Little does he know that I am saving The Secret Keeper and The House at Riverton for our trip to Rarotonga.

Screen Shot 2014-11-27 at 3.31.42 PM The Distant Hours is a complex mystery. The central  character, Edie Burchill stumbles across Milderhurst  castle and remembers that she has been there before… The story shifts back and forth between several different pasts and to the present day. Milderhurst is the  home of world renowned author Raymond Blythe who wrote, “The True History of the Mud Man,” a  spectacularly successful children’s story. He has three quirky daughters – each with their own tragic tale.  Central to the complex and thoroughly gripping plot is Edie’s mother, who was thirteen when she was evacuated  in the war to Milderhurst and became entwined in the drama. Her part of the tale is only one of the things Edie discovers. Morton is a gifted storyteller. She has a gift for weaving multiple storylines together, all adding to the mystery.


The Forgotten Garden is a novel with;

A foundling, an old book of dark fairy tales, a secret garden, an aristocratic family, a love denied, and a mystery.

Kate Morton again provides the intricate layering of different times and places, gifting the reader with a story that Screen Shot 2014-11-27 at 3.36.00 PMcaptures the imagination and heart completely. It is an easy read, but so delightful that I cannot think of a better book to read over the holidays, whilst lying in the sun. (Hopefully)

The mystery centres around Nell who is found abandoned on an Australian wharf at the age of four. The story quickly moves to Victorian London and Cornwall – where the secret garden is, and where Nell’s grand-daughter tries to unravel the identity of the abandoned child.

I am currently reading, Where Angels Fear to Tread by E. M. Forster – my classic for the year.

Kate Mosse also wrote THE WINTER GHOSTS, CITADEL and LABYRINTH and I can highly recommend them all!

Happy summer reading and I will try not to read too much over Christmas.

Lisa Trundley-Banks

Another one for the College mums!

I have had amazing feedback from College mums everywhere – the sidelines of the football field, New World Supermarket…as to how much they enjoy my blog. So here is my second one purely for the mothers of our darling boys. Now you just have to get said boys to make you a cuppa whilst you put your feet up in the school holidays and read.

I have been in temporary accommodation for the last eight weeks – feels like a lifetime of being stuck in a show box. The result is, I have read a lot.

I started by reading The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman. The plot centres around a newly married couple  who live totallyScreen Shot 2014-06-24 at 9.59.39 AM isolated on Janus Rock – off the coast of Western Australia, half a day’s journey from the shore. The protagonist, Tom Sherbourne is lighthouse keeper. One April morning a boat washes ashore carrying a dead man and an infant. They make the decision to keep the baby and therein lies the mystery. This is a moving story about love and longing for a child and about good people and what happens when they make a bad decision.


“Sometimes life turns out hard, Isabel. Sometimes it just bites right through you. And sometimes, just when you think it’s done its worst, it comes back and takes another chunk.”

It is descriptive and gorgeously written in the way that only Aussies can – think Tim Winton.

Screen Shot 2014-06-24 at 10.33.41 AMA teacher at school recommended The House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende. I could just say  – sigh – what a remarkable narrative. It is an enthralling saga that spans decades and lives, twining the personal and the political into an epic novel of love, magic, and fate. I was delighted with Clara the clairvoyant and fell in love with the rebel boy Pedro. If you are a fan of Spanish writing and magical realism with a bit of quirkiness thrown in, then this is a must read. It is layered, it is complex, and beautiful. It is the story of three generations of strong women, in a world where women are not supposed to be strong.


I then moved swiftly onto Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. This is a much quicker read – in fact I read it in about Screen Shot 2014-06-24 at 10.13.57 AMthree days. However, this is partly because after I had got used to the writer’s style, (it feels a bit YA at times), I simply had to get to the end and find out what had happened to the wife. Nick Dunne’s wife, Amy, disappears on their 5th wedding anniversary. Obviously, the police think the husband has something to do with it. But it is not as simple as that, for one thing there is no dead body. This book is fun – a mystery/crime with a few laughs. It is certainly not high literature but great for the beach and it takes you on some clever twists and turns along the way.


Screen Shot 2014-06-24 at 2.31.54 PMAt the moment I am just coming to the end of The Diary of a Provincial Lady by E.M. Delafield. It was first published in 1933 and is a based on the real life of a upper middle class lady who has literary aspirations.  I don’t normally like diary type books. But think of this as the original blogger.  The writing is delightful –  scattered, chatty, with often wry observations on her husband (perpetually hidden behind The Times), two children, nanny (“Mademoiselle”) and the line-up of village ladies that she is quite rude about. Her accounts of the daily doings, struggles with money and her perpetually sick children is the most humourous book that I have read in years. Delafield presents quite a dark take on British country life that makes me wish that I lived in Devon in the 1930’s.

Notice, and am gratified by, appearance of large clump of crocuses near the front gate. Should like to make charming and whimsical reference to these, and to fancy myself as ‘Elizabeth of the German Garden’, but am interrupted by Cook saying that the Fish is here, but he’s only brought cod and haddock, and the haddock doesn’t smell too fresh, so what about cod?”

It is a naturally satirical work that had me laughing out loud at the fate of the winter bulbs but saddened at her sorrow each time her son goes back to boarding school. (Who can resist owning a book with such a beautiful cover!)

My July reading list:

The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein – written from a dogs perspective

Perfect and The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry both by Rachel Joyce – because everyone has been reading them and I feel like I am missing out…

A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald by Therese Anne Fowler – the story of the woman behind F.Scott Fitzgerald. (I am secretly hoping for lots of scandal.)

Lisa Trundley-Banks

Teacher Librarian






Two Apps to help you RESEARCH

The spotlight is still on research this term and it is great to see so many boys in the library looking for information. Research into any topic can be either a journey of discovery that keeps you fascinated as you learn more and more or it can be an overwhelming task where you sift through thousands of websites trying to find what you need. You then lose that one vital piece of data as you have so many tabs open!

So here are two tools to help you on your journey.

Carrot2 is an Open Source Search Results Clustering Engine. It can automatically organize (cluster) search results into thematic categories. This is particularly useful you are starting your search – whatever the subject or topic. They are presented with sub topics which can help you search more efficiently and effectively, it provides keywords for you to then go on and use for more refined searching. I love it because it provides less information in an organised way. This has got to be a good thing for boys!


Screen Shot 2014-06-16 at 2.08.00 PM Here is an examples of how it ‘clusters’ into themes.  The ‘search’ is  John F Kennedy’s assassination.


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This is a visual representation of a how Carrot2 clusters information.

Excellent for visual learner!


The second tool is OneTab – an excellent little app Screen Shot 2014-06-16 at 2.09.16 PMthat sits as an icon in the top right-hand corner of your browser.It quite simply saves all the tabs that you have open as a list, you can give the list a name and hey presto – your search is saved forever. I am so going to use this app the next time I book a holiday!

Lisa Trundley-Banks





The Rights of the Reader

6. The Right to Mistake a Book for Real Life

When I was a younger girl – in my early teens – I devoured ‘novels’ by Jilly Cooper, several times; consumed wheelbarrow loads of Catherine Cookson to the point that I was secretly living as a down trodden farm girl on the Yorkshire dales, in love with the master of the manor in the 18th Century sometime when frocks still came down to our ankles. It was not fantasy. I was sure I was just living the wrong life. Seriously, it may be why I immigrated to the other side of the world, married a South Canterbury man and now live in an authentic Victorian Villa!

My other great love was Agatha Christie. By the time I was about sixteen, I had read and owned seventy four of her novels. I read one after other and used to challenge myself as to how quickly I could guess who the murderer was and how it had been committed. I wonder now – were my parents worried or were they just glad that I was reading? One day I hope to return to some cute village, nestled in the countryside, perhaps in France and solve the village mysteries.

So was I a barmy teenage girl, lost in the fiction of my era? Or is it common to mistake a book for real life?

It is hard to imagine the teens of today wishing that their life was like Katniss or Peeta, in Suzanne Collins’ Hunger Games Trilogy. After all who would want to fight to the death in a live event that your family is watching? And as attractive as Stephenie Meyer makes vampires and werewolves in the Twilight series – it is a little far fetched for even the most imaginative teen to mistake the plot as real life. Surely?Screen Shot 2014-05-22 at 10.53.51 AM


However, judging by our library records and the amount that certain books leave our shelves, I suspect boys do mistake a book for real life and perhaps fantasize that they are in fact James Adams, undercover child agent working for MI5. James, for those who do not know (tsk – if you do not!) is the hero of Robert Muchamore’s amazing Cherub series. Who wouldn’t want to be the boy rescued from slum housing after his obese mother dies from an alcohol-related incident. He is recruited and trained for 100 days to form part of a group of children who solve crimes that adults can’t. What is not to love!

The same is true of Anthony Horowitz’s Alex Rider series, starting with the book Stormbreaker. The plot revolves around the premise that he is a James Bond miniature. The website http://www.alexrider.com/Alexs-World suggests that I am right and that it is not just me that mistakes books for real life but quite a common error!

This brings me quite nicely to my favourite book. The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon is the only truly original book that I have ever read. Set in Barcelona, it is about a young boy called Daniel who is taken to the cemetery of forgotten books which is hidden deep in the Gothic alleys of Barcelona. He is allowed to choose one book to keep. In theory he picks up a book called – The Shadow of the Wind by Julian Carax but as Daniel says;

it had been waiting there for me for years, probably since before I was born.’

There folllows a book of intrigue and mystery of love and murder – an epic novel, beautifully written. This Gothic thriller is the ultimate book within a book as Daniel gets drawn into the life of both Julian Carax and the novel that chose him!

Back to the subject of mistaking a book for real life – this book actively encourages it! At the back of the book there is a map of where the book is set in Barcelona. And then if that is not enough there is a guide to the places with quotes from the novel complete with photos!!


Obviously, for someone who had spent half their youth pretending to be a heroine from a novel, (don’t get me started with Jane Austen), this book is deadly. My poor husband and three teenage sons have been dragged to Barcelona twice in order for me to complete the walk, visit the bookshop and retrace Daniel’s steps…

Lisa Trundley-Banks