Discuss: Talking About The Scottish Children's Book Awards Shortlist

If your class is taking part in the Scottish Children's Book Awards then hopefully they're now reading the shortlisted books and beginning to discuss all the themes and interesting topics within them. We wanted to throw out some creative ideas and activities that you may find useful approaching the topics.

We've picked out one fun activity per shortlisted book to get discussion and creative juices going. For other activities please visit our resources page, where there are some wonderful ideas. If you've not yet registered to take part, don't worry there is still time to register and read before casting your votes on 6 February 2015

Shared Reading is a great way for older and younger pupils to share, discover and discuss the books together. Shared Reading involves older pupils reading picture books out loud to younger pupils. It hands the older pupil the responsibility of making sure a young child enjoys discovering a book, and is a great boost to older pupils’ confidence, especially if they do not see themselves as readers initially.

Reading Groups are a great way to promote reading in your school or library, encouraging children to discuss, analyse and recommend books in a way that they may never have done before.

 Discussion activities for the Bookbug category

Robot Rumpus
Robot Rumpus

The robots in Robot Rumpus malfunction. Can you make a more efficient one? What kind of robot what you like to have around your house? Ask your pupils to build a robot from recycled materials and then create an advertising slogan like those found on the inside cover of the book. 

Ross Collins reads Robot Rumpus                  

Princess Penelope and the Runaway Kitten
Princess Penelope and the Runaway Kitten

Create a treasure hunt in the playground or school hall. Use wool as the trail and each child has to follow the path to uncover treasures. Have you noticed that on each page of the book there is different animal such as, a corgie, peacock, squirrel and bird? The hidden treasures could be a collection of soft animals that feature in the book. This way, you can discuss the habitats of each animal and fun facts about them.

Watch Alison Murray read Princess Penelope and the Runaway Kitchen

Lost for Words
Lost for Words

Two nice messages in Lost for Words are friendship and personal talents. Discuss with your pupils different ways of expressing themselves through such things as song, poetry and art. Desginate different crafts days so that they can explore the theme of friendship in their own personal way. 

Natalie Russell reads Lost for Words

 Discussion Activies for the Young Readers (8-11yrs) category and the Older Readers (12-16yrs) category 

Attack of the Giant Robot Chickens

Attack of the Giant Robot Chickens

Did you know that when Orson Welles performed The War of the Worlds on a live radio broadcast in 1938, listeners actually believed Earth was under attack from Martians?

Create a similar effect with Attack of the Giant Robot Chickens. Create a radio broadcast, produce news scripts or create newspaper front covers. What would your tips on survival be? 


Pyrate's Boy

Pyrate's Boy 

It's shanty time! Ask your pupils to take a look at some phrases in Standard English and translate them into pirate speak. They can then create a sea shanty with their new lingo. Why not get some musical instruments involved? Teachers and librarians, if you don’t sing along, you walk the plank.

Lemur reading a book

Precious and the Mystery of the Missing Lion

Post lots of pictures and informative information of different species around your school. Take your pupils on a guided safari tour and explain such things as conservation, endangered species and predators. Hide a toy lion for someone to discover en route. Prize for the finder of course. This is a great way to get the whole school talking.

Why not round off the trip with a screening of Authors Live with Steve Backshall?

Greek myths
Mosi's War

Did you know that the study of myths and folklore is sometimes called folkloristics? Myths and folklore are a big theme in Mosi’s War (what about that Gorbals vampire?! Eep.) Have your pupils become folklorists and research myths and legends. Part of the tradition was storytelling, so why not have everyone memorise their favourite and re-tell it in a storytelling afternoon?


Dark Spell

Are you a good witch or a bad witch? Did you know that Queen Anne Boleyn was accused of being a witch and was said to have had a large mole on her neck and a sixth finger? This is more than likely a rumour created by her enemies, but if not, at least she had an extra finger to point the blame. 

Callie Hall is a good witch but often they were perceived as evil beings by early Christians in Europe inspiring the iconic Halloween figure. Have your pupils research the history of the culture of witch and explore the witch in literature, art and popular culture. When you have researched all the traits of a witch, why not stage a dramatic and playful witch trail using all the facts that you have learnt?  


The Wall

A dystopia is literally translated as "not-good bad-place." Have your pupils explore the dysopian trope? Looking at novels such as Orwell's 1984 and films such as Fritz Lang's, Metropolis. These are good starting points and here is a book list that you may find useful. 

During Authors Live with Patrick Ness, Patrick compared High School to a dystopia: 'A dystopia is a society that's broken down, divided into factions usually, full of rules. [It's] filled with friends who are faithful and loyal but also duplicitous and may betray you. Dystopia is basically secondary school.' Ask your students whether they agree; this may be a good way to get the discussion going. 

Read more about the Scottish Children's Book Awards.