The Reading Challenge 2021

by Mrs N Howorth, Librarian
The 'Reading Challenge' at Felsted is designed to reward extra-curricular reading - encouraging pupils to find time to read for pleasure for their intellectual benefit and to enhance their mental health and wellbeing. Reading is a skill for life and my hope is that pupils learn to include reading for pleasure as part of their mental checklist of 'things to do' in their busy lives both at School and in their future lives.

Pupils can aspire to Silver, Gold or Platinum awards each year and record their entries as part of the Felsted Diploma. They are encouraged to reflect on how the books they have read have enhanced their lives, whether it be through learning about other people, or places, facts or emotions or simply that reading has helped them to relax and escape the stresses of the day. Pupils have until 8 June to complete their entries for this year.

See below to read some examples of their entries, perhaps you will be inspired to read some of these titles? 

Image: Platinum Badges awarded to Emily and Kiana. 

Titles read include- Five Days That Shook The World, Talk Like Ted, Sapiens, Talking to my Daughter, Lucky Man, Dear Life, and Henry's Demons.


Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier

I read Rebecca which was a thrilling book. The author used brilliant vocabulary and the book flowed. Furthermore, the plot intrigued me and I didn't want to put the book down. Some challenging vocabulary was brought up but I learned some new words.

Q & A - Vikram Swarup

This is the original story that the film Slumdog Millionaire was based on. As one of our major case studies in Geography is Mumbai and its opportunities and challenges this book was a good one to read as it highlights so many of the opportunities and challenges. I knew about the disparities in wealth from our Geography lessons but I was most shocked by the differences in wealth shown in the book and how those differences were transferred to a gap in power. The rich seemed to control all aspects of the slum dwellers lives and used them almost as pawns in their own games to become rich. I am sure that this is true in real life as well but the book showed how this reality affects the lives of the everyday people in Dharavi. With the pandemic the book really showed me how hard it is going to be to protect everyone as so many people don't have protection from their government or basics such as clean water.

I read 2 short stories, one called 'The Snow Goose' and the second called 'The Small Miracle', both were by Paul Gallico. I received these novellas as a present; the first novel was written about Dunkirk and a friendship made between a young girl, an artist and a snow goose and the second novel was about a boy whose best friend and only family is his donkey, Violetta, and when she falls ill, he attempts to do all he can to save her, meaning he requested access to a secret, ancient entrance to a holy prayer place in a church.

The novellas were both very touching stories and included heart-warming writing. I read these novels very quickly as they were only short and managed to extend my vocabulary knowledge. Next time, I could try to keep a note of all the new vocabulary I have learnt.

1st novel: This novel helped me to gain more knowledge of the people who helped in WW2 but did not actually fight, it will remind me of the people that lost their lives trying to help others who were fighting for their lives. 2nd novel: The second novel showed me how important it is to help others and to care for those that are around you. These novels would also have helped me to learn more vocabulary. 


The Alchemist - Paulo Coelho

This book is very inspiring and really gave me the motivation and incentive to tackle everyday issues. In the end, the boy in the story who was searching for his treasure, despite the long travels and experiences, finds his treasure not in the place where he suspected it to be, but in the place where he came from. It's quite ironic that what you were looking for, in the end, is just beside you right from the beginning. It's just that what he learned and discovered from his travel is another treasure that he should realize in order to appreciate himself and the things around him.

A very inspiring and positive book, it gives me hope that the things that I aspire for will, in the end, come if I strive hard and don't lose hope until I get it. Sometimes the detours and the problems that we face now and later on in our life will make sense and when you remember that moment especially if you had overcome it you will know that you are thankful for that to happen because, in the end, you would learn something from it.


Talk Like Ted by Carmine Gallo

It helped me understand how to improve my public speaking abilities and to understand how the most successful public speakers achieve that position.

I now know how to give an engaging and interesting speech. It has also increased my confidence with public speaking, as it helped me understand that people don’t mind any mistakes made, only the content of the speech.


Genuine Fraud by E Lockhart

I genuinely enjoyed reading this book since I usually read different genres. The timeline presented in this piece went backwards, so after each chapter the next event happened days or weeks before. This allowed the author to slowly show the story behind the end point. I read it rather quickly since it was a real page-turner. The plot really is gripping and I would recommend this as a good weekend read.


Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult 

An incredible book that opens your eyes towards the troubles of black people. My mother advised me to read it as she read it alongside me in order for us to collaboratively learn about what it is like to be a black person in a predominantly white society.

It creates a feeling of empathy where you can learn to understand the struggles of black people so that you can help out with things like the BLM movement.


Felsted Library