National Storytelling Week: Books to Read Before You Leave School

National Storytelling Week: Books to Read Before You Leave School

Dear reader, are you sitting comfortably?

Most of us have fond memories of either sitting on the carpet at the end of our primary school lesson or being tucked into bed with a story from our parents.  When I was a child, Enid Blyton was my go-to imaginary escape, and, whilst not very politically correct now and in some cases rewritten, these were my magical worlds!

Oral storytelling is as old as time itself.  Stories handed down from generation to generation, told with different voices, and in different ways - pictures, puppet shows, songs and more.  My Nan would love to ‘spin a good yarn’, as she called them, and kept my brother and I enthralled when we went to visit her.  She told us of her experiences during the war, her wedding dress made of parachute silk and having a 48-hour window in which to have a wedding and honeymoon.  I still have that wedding dress because of the story attached to it.

‘You Say Which Way?’ Club on a Friday lunchtime is popular in the Library.  The only rules are to try not to kill us all on our journey through the book. I read the story out loud and the girls choose where we go next.  If you are a parent reading this, you may remember these types of books as ‘Choose Your Own Adventure’.  Currently we are on a pirate adventure looking for treasure and though the girls have gotten us into some scrapes on our journey, we are still alive!  It is, without fail, exciting to get to the decision part and we always go with the majority.

Objects tell stories all the time, from old letters to technological artefacts, we should consider how they narrate the progress of human civilisation and convey personal histories.  Think of all the stories that the walls of our Old House at Farnborough Hill could tell, each one conveying the history of the School.  Looking out into the wider world, there are projects that the British Library have created, including one on Jewish Survivors of the Holocaust, so that their stories are not lost and future generations can learn what happened from those that witnessed and survived it.  If you are interested in stories from around the world, the Endangered Archives Programme is a fascinating database which you can explore.

One of the reasons I became a Librarian is because of stories.  I love to imagine the faces and places in each book that I read.  As part of National Storytelling Week, celebrated this year between Saturday 27 January and Sunday 4 February 2024, I asked members of our school to suggest one book that, in their opinion, you should absolutely read before finishing school.  You can hear from staff in the video below or find a list of books that have been recommended.

Happy storytelling!

Ms Cathrin Woods, Librarian