Wokingham Borough Libraries February 2016 Newsletter

  • National Libraries Day – Saturday 6 February 2016

National Libraries Day is a nationwide celebration of libraries and highlights what people can do in their local library and encourages them to become members.  Books, Computers, Author Talks, Rhymetime, Book Groups, eBooks and Newspapers are some of the things we have on offer. Harry Potter Activity Tables will be in all of our children’s libraries.  So why not visit your local Library today and find out what’s on offer?

IT Services in Libraries 5th until 7th February 2016 

From Friday February 5th to Sunday February 7th the Borough Council will be doing maintenance on its technology systems. This is necessary work to ensure that it continues to operate effectively into the future.  Unfortunately this work will impact on some of the services provided in libraries on those days:

  • Libraries will be open and customers will be able to borrow and return library books.
  • Public access to the internet in the library will not be available.
  • Access to some online services may also be affected.

Whilst we will endeavour to provide the best service that we can there will be some disruption to services.                    We apologies for any inconvenience caused.

Activities for Adults   

How to Promote Your Book  Come to our talk with PR specialist Diane Hinds and find out how to promote your book, blog or short-story. The talk takes place at Wokingham Library on Thursday February 25, 6.30pm to 8pm, charge £3, call the library to book on (0118) 9781368

Knitting Classes  Rachel Freegard will be running two further knitting classes for beginners on February 6& 13 at Wokingham Library between 10am and 12noon, charge £5 per session, call the library to book on (0118) 9781368

Beaded Delights  Sign up for our beading workshops with Caroline Marriott at Lower Earley Library in March. You can sign up for all four classes or individual sessions on February 4, 11, 18& 25 2pm to 4pm, charge £5 per session. Call the library to book on (0118) 9312150

First Steps in Drawing  Lyn Ebbett returns to Wokingham Library in to deliver First Steps in Drawing on February 29, March 7, 14, and 21 2pm to 4pm. Beginners welcome. To book call Wokingham Library on (0118) 9781368

Young People’s Activities   

February Half Term Monday February 15 to Saturday 20, 2016

Adventure Stories and craft – For children aged 4 to 12 years old. £1.50 charge, Just drop in! Finchampstead Library Monday February 15 2.15pm to 3.15pm

Arts Explorers – Come and find out about how you can take part in the Arts Award Discover. Art is all around you, in places you might not expect! So make your own binoculars and special map so you can become an Art Explorer. For children aged 5 and over. Places must be booked.

  • Wokingham Library Tuesday February 16 9.30am to 10.15am
  • Lower Earley Library Tuesday February 16 11am to 11.45am

Explore Learning sessions – Free session with Explore Learning, Places must be booked.

  • Lower Earley Library Charlie and Lola Tuesday February 16 9.45am to 10.45am
  • Lower Earley Library Charlie and the Chocolate Factory Tuesday February 16 11am to 12noon
  • Woodley Library Gruffalo Wednesday February 17 9.45am to 10.45am
  • Woodley Library Diary of a Wimpy Kid Wednesday February 17 11am to 12noon
  • Wokingham Library Harry Potter Thursday February 18 9.45am to 10.45am
  • Wokingham Library Astrosaurs Thursday February 18 11am to 12noon

Rainbow Fairy Get Arty – Arts and crafts fun for children aged 5 and over. £1.50 charge, Just drop in! Maiden Erlegh Library Thursday February 18 2.15pm to 3.15pm

Get Arty – Arts and Crafts fun for Children aged 4 to 11 years old. £1.50 charge.

  • Woodley Library Friday February 19 10.30am to 11.30am
  • Lower Earley Library Thursday February 18 2.30pm to 3.30pm

Children’s Games Afternoon – Selection of board games and puzzles for children, Just drop in!  Winnersh Library Every afternoon throughout 2pm to 4pm the holidays.

Minecraft Activity – Come and make your own Minecraft head mask, Minecraft quiz and building blocks. For children aged 5 to 10 years old. £2 charge, Places must be booked.  Wokingham Library Tuesday February 16 10am to 11am

Paracord weaving workshop – Just drop in and learn how to make a survival bracelet using different weaves. For children aged 6 and over. £5 charge per bracelet.  Woodley Library Saturday February 20 10.45am to 12noon

Little Explorers Book Club Activities

The Little Explorers book club library challenge is for children aged 7 and under. Children collect a stamp each time they visit the library and borrow books. When they have collected 6 stamps they receive a certificate. We also run the following activities for the under 5’s. Look out for our Storytimes, Rhymetimes and Craft times, full details available here: http://www.wokingham.gov.uk/libraries/library-groups-and-clubs/baby-and-toddler-activities/

Why not search our online catalogue from the comfort of your own home to see what’s on offer: http://www.wokingham.gov.uk/libraries

Social Media:


Britannica Spotlight on Electricity

Electricity is a form of energy, but did you know that a spark is a natural form of electricity?

Help children learn all about electricity, where it comes from and how we use it, with our in-depth Britannica article on the subject. Plus you’ll find puzzles and games in our Activity Centre, including a Word Search, Crossword, a Quiz and a special video!


We offer free online access for library members to Encyclopaedia Britannica you just need your library card and pin number. You can access this resource from here: http://www.wokingham.gov.uk/libraries/libraries-online/online-reference/

What’s On in Wokingham Borough Libraries for Children and Families February Half Term Monday February 15 to Saturday 20, 2016

Adventure Stories and craft – For children aged 4 to 12 years old. £1.50 charge, Just drop in! Finchampstead Library Monday February 15 2.15pm to 3.15pm

Arts Explorers – Come and find out about how you can take part in the Arts Award Discover. Art is all around you, in places you might not expect! So make your own binoculars and special map so you can become an Art Explorer. For children aged 5 and over. Places must be booked.  Wokingham Library Tuesday February 16 9.30am to 10.15am and Lower Earley Library Tuesday February 16 11am to 11.45am

Rainbow Fairy Get Arty – Arts and crafts fun for children aged 5 and over. £1.50 charge, Just drop in! Maiden Erlegh Library Thursday February 18 2.15pm to 3.15pm

Get Arty – Arts and Crafts fun for Children aged 4 to 11 years old. Just drop in, £1.50 charge  Woodley Library Friday February 19 10.30am to 11.30am and Lower Earley Library Thursday February 18 2.30pm to 3.30pm

Children’s Games Afternoon – Selection of board games and puzzles for children, Just drop in!  Winnersh Library Every afternoon throughout the holidays 2pm to 4pm

Minecraft Activity – Come and make your own Minecraft head mask, Minecraft quiz and building blocks. For children aged 5 to 10 years old. £2 charge, Places must be booked.  Wokingham Library Tuesday February 16 10am to 11am

Paracord weaving workshop – Just drop in and learn how to make a survival bracelet using different weaves. For children aged 6 and over. £5 charge per bracelet.  Woodley Library Saturday February 20 10.45am to 12noon

Explore Learning sessions – Free session with Explore Learning, Places must be booked.

Lower Earley Library Tuesday February 16 Charlie and Lola  9.45am to 10.45am and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory 11am to 12noon

Woodley Library Wednesday February 17  Gruffalo 9.45am to 10.45am and  Diary of a Wimpy Kid  11am to 12noon

Wokingham Library Thursday February 18 Harry Potter  9.45am to 10.45am and Astrosaurs  11am to 12noon

Our libraries are open over February Half term, so pop in and borrow some books to keep you and the children entertained.

Finchampstead Library (0118) 908 8176 Wargrave Library (0118) 940 4656  Lower Earley Library (0118) 931 2150 Winnersh Library (0118) 979 7519  Maiden Erlegh Library (0118) 966 6630 Wokingham Library (0118) 978 1368  Spencers Wood Library (0118) 988 4771 Woodley Library (0118) 969 0304  Twyford Library (0118) 934 0800

Or for more events available in other libraries visit www.wokingham.gov.uk/libraries

Free Swimming for Age 18 and under is back this half term

If you are 18 or under and have a Wokingham Borough Library Card, you can swim for this February Half term at Carnival Pool, Loddon Valley Leisure Centre and Bulmershe Leisure Centre.  For further information please contact Wokingham Direct on (0118) 9746000 or visit www.wokingham.gov.uk/freeswimming

Holocaust Memorial Day Wednesday January 27, 2016

In Support of Holocaust Memorial Day Wednesday January 27, 2016 all Wokingham Borough Libraries will have materials on display along with information booklets and books to borrow from the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust.   Booklists have been created and a wealth of information is available to use on the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust website, http://hmd.org.uk/page/resources-your-activity

Suggested Book Titles for Adults

A Lucky Child by Thomas Buergenthal           Alone in Berlin by Hans Fallada 

The Burning Tigris- Peter Balakian                Far to Go-Alison Pick 

If this is a Man-Primo Levi                               My Enemy’s Cradle- Sara Young 

Schindler’s Ark- Thomas Keneally                  Sophie’s Choice-William Styron 

Suite Francaise-Irene Nemirovsky                  Tears of the Desert- Halima Bashir with Damien Lewis 

The Book Thief- Marcus Zusak                        The Cellist of Sarajevo- Steven Galloway 

The Children of Freedom-Mark Levy               The Girl in the Painted Caravan- Eva Petulengro 

The Other Schindlers- Agnes Grunwald-Spier   The Pianist- Wladyslaw Szpilman

Suggested Book Titles for Children aged 5 to 8

And Tango makes three by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell   And Tango Makes Three is a true story for primary students about two penguins called Roy and Silo.  They lived with lots of other penguins in a special enclosure in Central Park Zoo, New York.  Roy and Silo were both boys.  They played together, swam together and built a nest together.  When other penguin couples hatched eggs and raised chicks, Roy and Silo placed an egg-shaped rock in their nest and kept it warm.  One day the penguin keeper noticed what they were doing and placed a real egg in their nest.  Roy and Silo care for the egg and soon baby Tango completes their penguin family.   – See more at: http://hmd.org.uk/resources/books-for-youngs/and-tango-makes-three-justin-richardson-and-peter-parnell#sthash.P7WXVvPR.dpuf

Susan Laughs by Jeanne Willis and Tony Ross  This is a picture book for foundation and key stage one students. It is a happy book for children inviting them to share a day in the life of Susan.  There is very little text, sometimes only two words to a page.  We read that Susan laughs, she splashes, she swings on her swing.  There are lots of pictures of Susan enjoying life with her family and friends.  Young children will enjoy sharing her laughter.  The final sentence is ‘This is Susan through and through, just like me and just like you.’  On the last page is a picture of laughing Susan sitting in her wheelchair. As the story is so simple there is no need for formal questions for discussion.  Teachers are encouraged to use the book with young children to focus on the joy of being an individual child. An important part of HMD’s 21st century message is recognising differences and valuing individual people. See more at: http://hmd.org.uk/resources/books-for-youngs/susan-laughs-jeanne-wilson-and-tony-ross#sthash.nQMoSdqs.dpuf

The Colour of Home – Mary Hoffman and Karin Littlewood   Hassan joins a new school.  He is very sad and does not say very much. He paints a picture of his pet cat and his old house.  Slowly, through the picture, his teacher and classmates begin to understand his story and why he must try to build a new life a long way fromhome.  Some things to think about with primary students. – See more at: http://hmd.org.uk/resources/books-for-youngs/colour-home-mary-hoffman-and-karin-littlewood#sthash.mPvDQKrm.dpuf

Suggested Book Titles for Children aged 9 to 12 years old

 Hitler’s Canary by Sandi Toksvig  Hitler’s Canary is based on the experiences of Sandi Toksvig’s father and the stories he used to tell her as she was growing up.  It is the tale of Bamse, a nine-year-old boy who lives in Copenhagen with his famous actress mother, set designing father, and older brother and sister.  It is the night of an after-show party at the Royal Copenhagen Theatre and Bamse wakes up as the Nazis are invading Denmark. Told through the eyes of Bamse we see how the Danes react to occupation – including making fun of the Nazi soldiers, and in some cases, befriending them. Finally, as the order is given to round up all of Denmark’s Jews, the family plays a key role in helping to hide and save the Jewish population. Bamse’s mother makes a huge sacrifice, playing the role of her life, which helps to hide Anton and his family, and could have led to her own arrest should it have gone wrong. – See more at: http://hmd.org.uk/resources/books-for-youngs/hitlers-canary-sandi-torsvig#sthash.UdZAScX8.dpuf

The Mozart Question by Michael Morpurgo and Michael Foreman  In this book the illustrations and the words are equally important.  The author and illustrator worked together after hearing that in many of the death camps the Nazis selected Jewish prisoners and forced them to play in orchestras.  Modern day junior reporter Lesley travels to Venice to interview a famous violinist.  She is instructed to find out all she can about the musician’s career but she also discovers that the interview will be terminated if she asks a particular question: ‘the Mozart question.’ The book is challenging for younger readers both in content and language but with guidance from their teacher ten and eleven year olds should gain much from discussing both story and artwork.  – See more at: http://hmd.org.uk/resources/books-for-youngs/mozart-question-michael-morpurgo-and-michael-foreman#sthash.8fluzKoh.dpuf

Once, Then and Now by Morris Gleitzman  Once is dedicated to ‘all the children whose stories have never been told.’  It is 1942 and Felix is weary of living in an orphanage.  He explains how ‘once’ he almost caused a riot because of a carrot, got confused when people made bonfires of books, escaped from the orphanage to find his Mum and Dad, saved a girl called Zelda from a burning house, made a Nazi with toothache laugh and jumped off a moving train into a Polish field.   It is a story of courage and of a desperate attempt to stay hopeful and look towards the future.  The ending will encourage students and teachers to reach for the sequel Then. Now is set in Australia in 2009, a year of devastating bush fires in Victoria.  These fires form a backdrop to the story of Zelda, the granddaughter of a Holocaust survivor.  Zelda knows she has been named after one of her grandfather’s childhood friends.  She knows that the first Zelda was an important part of his life because he has treasured her heart shaped locket for over 70 years.  It’s the only possession of hers which he has left. – See more at: http://hmd.org.uk/resources/books-for-youngs/once-morris-gleitzman#sthash.IRGazjH0.dpuf

Put Out the Light by Terry Deary  The book is split between two groups of children, Sally and Billy Thomas in Sheffield, England and Manfred and Hansl in Dachau, Germany during World War Two.  In England, Sally and Billy are investigating the mysterious case of the ‘Blackout Burglar’ who is stealing money whilst the neighbourhood seeks refuge in the community shelters.  Telling the story from their perspective, we find out about tiny rations of meat, the black market and the problems caused by ‘phony’ air raid warnings. Manfred’s story begins in Dachau.  His class have been given the opportunity to talk to his brother Ernst, a member of the Luftwaffe, and they ask him what it is like to fly a plane.  The book helps us to imagine what life might have been like at the beginning of the war in both countries for children, as well as being a thrilling adventure tale.  – See more at: http://hmd.org.uk/resources/books-for-youngs/put-out-light-terry-deary#sthash.Fu3DX8VX.dpuf

The Boy In The Striped Pyjamas by John Boyne  Bruno is unhappy when his Father is given an important new posting far away from Berlin.  It means that he will have to move from his familiar, comfortable home and part from his friends.  At nine years old, Bruno, like most German children, is unaware of the atrocities being committed by the Nazis.  All he knows is that his father works for a person Bruno thinks is called ‘The Fury’.  The new family home is a grim place.  There are no young people to join in Bruno’s games and he is not encouraged to ask questions.  Bruno is lonely.  Then, by chance, he meets Shmuel, a boy who shares his birthday but lives in shadow, on the other side of a barbed wire fence. – See more at: http://hmd.org.uk/resources/books-for-youngs/boy-striped-pyjamas-john-boyne#sthash.4qnc3wf5.dpuf

Suggested Book Titles for Teens

 Refugee Boy by Benjamin Zephaniah  Alem’s Father is Ethiopian and his mother is Eritrean.  Their countries are at war and Alem is not safe. He is not welcome in Ethiopia because he has Eritrean blood. He cannot live in Eritrea because his Father is from Ethiopia.  His Father takes him to a place of safety but staying there will not be easy.  Alem meets many challenges, which he faces with courage.  Circumstances beyond his control force him to live away from the land of his birth.  He has to pick up the pieces and start again.  As he struggles to come to terms with all that has happened to his loved ones there are some people prepared to help him and some who do their best to make life as difficult as possible. – See more at: http://hmd.org.uk/resources/books-for-youngs/refugee-boy-benjamin-zephaniah#sthash.Q0HBkkhC.dpuf

 A song for summer by Eva Ibbotson  A Song for Summer will appeal to students aged 14 and above.  It introduces readers to a cast of colourful characters who work and study at a drama, dance and music school in Austria.  The Nazis are rising to power in neighbouring Germany when Ellen, the daughter of a former suffragette, travels from England to take a post at the school.  There she meets Marek, who works as the school’s gardener and odd job man.  When Marek disappears Ellen discovers that he is keeping many things secret.  On his return she is drawn into a rescue mission. Isaac, Marek’s friend, a Jewish musician, is on the run and the Nazis are drawing near. – See more at: http://hmd.org.uk/resources/books-for-youngs/song-summer-eva-ibbotson#sthash.7ssfA4Nc.dpuf

Annexed by Sharon Dogar  Annexed is a work of fiction based on the real life story of Anne Frank (http://www.hmd.org.uk/resources/for-young-people/books-for-secondary-students-anne-frank-diary-of-a-young-girl) whose diary is well known across the world.  This novel for secondary age students is the imagined story of one of those who hid with Anne, Peter van Pels.  Using Anne’s diary and the events contained within as its basis, the story imagines the way that Peter felt about his time in hiding and what happened to those he shared the annexe with.  It is important for teachers using this book to explain that this is an imagined account which, although based in fact should not be presented as what took place.   – See more at: http://hmd.org.uk/resources/books-for-youngs/annexed-sharon-dogar#sthash.9Qlhv3wP.dpuf

I’m So Not a Pop Star by Kimberley Greene  Written in a similar style to Jacqueline Wilson, I’m So Not a Pop Star cleverly uses a mixture of normal prose and blogs written by the main character Sam.  It is fun and fast-moving with lots of exciting events, like a Day of the Dead Celebration.  The story follows Sam and her family, who are the stars of their own reality TV show because Sam’s big sister Danni is a pop star.  Sam has always wanted to know more about her father who died when she is little, and her mum finally reveals the little she knows, turning Sam and Danni’s world upside down. It would be suitable for readers aged 13 and above, and although it is a sequel, it can be read standalone novel.  – See more at: http://hmd.org.uk/resources/books-for-youngs/im-so-not-pop-star-kimberley-greene#sthash.BHtmN4qv.dpuf

Kommandant’s Girl by Pam Jenoff  Emma Bau has been married to Jacob for six weeks but the Jewish newlyweds are torn apart when Poland is invaded.  Jacob is a member of the Resistance and he has to flee from  Krakow, leaving his young wife behind.  Emma must struggle to survive by taking on a new identity.  As Anna Lipowski, a ‘gentile orphan girl newly arrived from Gdansk’ she finds herself in a unique position and is able to gather intelligence for the Jewish Resistance but in order to do this she is forced to make difficult choices which have serious consequences for her friends and family.  The book is not recommended for younger students but works well with AS, A2 and Highers candidates, as well as within general discussion groups at post-16 levels.  – See more at: http://hmd.org.uk/resources/books-for-youngs/kommandant%E2%80%99s-girl-pam-jenoff#sthash.VQCWxpL3.dpuf

Noughts and Crosses by Malorie Blackman  Set in an alternative reality to the current day, Malorie Blackman’s Noughts and Crosses books (there are currently four of them in the series) posits a world divided into two: crosses, the ruling black people, and noughts, white people. Malorie Blackman cleverly finds things we take for granted in our society and turns them on their head, forcing the reader to challenge their preconceptions of the world.  The first book in the series, Noughts and Crosses, establishes the central characters, notably Sephy Haley, a cross, and Callum McGregor, a nought. It is clear from the outset that their relationship will be pivotal to the plot: noughts and crosses do not usually mix and their friendship is discouraged by both their families. The book is very compelling and ends leaving the reader wanting to dash straight into the next book!  – See more at: http://hmd.org.uk/resources/books-for-youngs/noughts-and-crosses-%E2%80%93-malorie-blackman#sthash.10dllC2s.dpuf

One Last Summer by Catrin Collier  Charlotte celebrates her 18th birthday with a spectacular ball in Allenstein, East Prussia, 1939.  About to become engaged to a Count, she has reason to expect a glittering future, secure in the love of her family and friends.  Charlotte records her hopes and dreams in her new diary.  However, she has not realised that the world is about to be drawn into war and by the end of it Allenstein and East Prussia will cease to exist.  Charlotte faces hardship and exile.  Years later, towards the end of her life, Charlotte shares the secrets of her original diary with her granddaughter Laura and together they make a journey to Allenstein, now the Polish town of Olsztyn and into Charlotte’s past. It should encourage older students to consider how ordinary German citizens could let a monstrous regime take control of their country, dominate their lives and murder their neighbours.  It also shows clearly the consequences of rebellion against the Fuhrer, the treatment of prisoners and the plight of those living in disputed territory.- See more at: http://hmd.org.uk/resources/books-for-youngs/one-last-summer-catrin-collier#sthash.3ALEjkYC.dpuf

Tales from the Secret Annexe by Anne Frank  Tales from the Secret Annexe is a collection of short stories and fictional accounts which were found amongst the papers and Diary of Anne Frank after the discovery and arrest of Anne and her family in Holland in August 1944.   – See more at: http://hmd.org.uk/resources/books-for-youngs/tales-secret-annexe-anne-frank#sthash.3Tbo3WYs.dpuf

The Diary Of A Young Girl by Anne Frank  Anne Frank was born in Germany on 12 June 1929.  She moved with her family to Amsterdam in 1933 when the Nazis came to power in Germany.  Anne and her family were trapped in The Netherlands when the Nazi invasion began in 1940.  Anne began to keep a personal diary on her thirteenth birthday.  She wrote ‘I hope I will be able to confide everything to you, as I have never been able to confide in anyone, and I hope you will be a great source of comfort and support’.  In July 1942 the Frank family and four other people went into hiding in a secret annex. Anne is perhaps the most famous victim of the Holocaust but as an ordinary Jewish teenager she represents the millions who died because of one group’s hatred of another.  – See more at: http://hmd.org.uk/resources/books-for-youngs/diary-young-girl-anne-frank#sthash.VvZp2ucu.dpuf

The English German Girl by Jake Wallis Simons Rosa Klein is a young Jewish girl growing up in Berlin in the 1930s.  Her father, Otto, is a successful doctor and her brother and sister enjoy going to school and playing.  The story begins as the Nazis start to ban Jews from certain professions. Otto finds his patients being taken away from him and his ability to practice diminished, until he is banned from practicing medicine at all.  We see the family start to disintegrate as each member becomes increasingly forced out of society.  Heinrich, Rosa’s older brother, becomes involved in the young Jewish group Maccabi Hatzair and violent clashes with the Nazi Youth leave his parents scared for his safety. – See more at: http://hmd.org.uk/resources/books-for-youngs/english-german-girl-jake-wallis-simons#sthash.WrZ88zzV.dpuf

All of the recommended titles can be borrowed from Wokingham Borough Libraries https://wokingham.spydus.co.uk or visit www.wokingham.gov.uk/libraries

Arts Award success with a presentation ceremony at Winnersh Library

Ever wondered what it would be like to explore the Amazon Rainforest, discovering what lies in the hidden depth of the Jungle? Last Summer Wokingham Borough Libraries and Berzerk Productions Theatre Company ran an exciting six week project at the Rainbow Park Community Centre using drama to trek through the rainforest and explore its environment, animals, and tribal inhabitants.


The children who took part explored a range of theatre techniques such as sound-scapes using instruments, the use of hand puppets, using the body to create the physicality of rainforest animals, and script work. They also had opportunities to get crafty, and make props and sets!

All the fantastic work the children did led them to achieve their Arts Award at the Discover Level.

Arts Award is a qualification run by the Arts Council and to achieve Discover, children and young people discover the arts around them, find out about artists and their work and share their experiences with others, gaining a certificate at the end. To celebrate this achievement The Mayor of Wokingham Cllr Parry Batth presented the children with their awards at Winnersh Libray in a ceremony for their friends and family.



Face of Britain display at Winnersh Library

IMG_08201To promote Simon Schama’s The Face of Britain Book, TV programme and exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery, Winnersh Library created this amazing display.

IMG_08221 IMG_08231












A portrait opens a window into a person’s life: who they were and wanted to be, who the artist saw and how everyone else looked on. From the divine paintings of Elizabeth I to the iconic photograph of ‘bulldog’ Churchill; from Victorian portraits of dead children to Hockney’s of his elderly parents; from anonymous workers to the artists themselves, Simon Schama uses a stunning and surprising array of images to tell the story of the British from the Tudors to the present day. He will change the way we see Britain and each other.

For more information visit about The Face of Britian visit: http://www.npg.org.uk/whatson/simon-schamas-face-of-britain/exhibition.php

Don’t Take Me Hiking by Jean Hill

Jean Hill from the Wokingham Library Poetry Group has written this poem on the perils of hiking!


My little feet so soft and clean
Daily smoothed with Nivea cream
Gently massaged in the sink
Pearly toenails painted pink
With pumice stone there’s no hard skin
In a beauty contest my feet would win
No sign of bunions or cracked heels
No verruca, corns, and that reveals
The cushioned sheltered life they’ve led
From get up time ‘til they’re in bed
I thought they’d always stay that way
‘Til we took a hiking holiday

In thick green socks and clumpy boots
I’ve trudged up hills and tripped on roots
Ploughed through mud and muck and mire
I’ve put my feet through conditions dire
I’ve slid through smelly slurry-slime
Now between my toes there nestles grime
My pinkie toenails rimmed with black
Have I walked bare-foot on nutty-slack
I’ve blisters on my heels for sure
And my poor feet are red and raw
Clod-hopping boots round ankles laced
With nine more bloody miles I’m faced

I thought this holiday would be
A voyage of discovery
I’ve discovered hiking’s what I hate
And if you still want to be my mate
Book me into a hotel that’s clean
And bring a chiropodist on the scene
Bring me a foot-spa and perfumed soap
And send for a taxi now – you dope
Take off my boots – they’re soddened through
Remove my mud-caked trousers too
Then take a hike – and don’t come back
Or I’ll strangle you with your rucksack strap

By Jean Hill

Brian’s Birthday

Barry Stebbings, who is a member of the Wokingham Library Poetry Group has written this poem for our readers.


Brian’s Birthday


Tomorrow is Brian’s birthday,

Who will his mum invite to play?

Brian hopes that Mick will come

But that depends on Michael’s mum.

Kate always brings nice toys

But never, ever plays with boys.

Or Margaret with her freckled face,

Not a hair out of place,

Bringing presents with expensive trappings,

Bows and kisses and silver wrappings.

Tessa with her bright red hair

Only seems to stand and stair,

Or Richard who’s extremely rude,

Talks whilst he chews his food.

William, who lives next door to Mick,

Eats and eats until he’s sick.

Thomas could come and stay the night

But Tom and Richard always fight.

Last year little Matthew came,

Bringing chocolates and a game

But in a temper beat up Mick,

Michael’s mum came round quick,

“You won’t be coming here again,”

She said, through screams of rage and pain.

Tomorrow is Brian’s birthday,

Who will his mum invite to play.

January’s Book of the Month

Each month we will choose two books that we would like to recommend for adults and young people. We would be interested to hear your views on the titles so please let us know your thoughts via Facebook or Twitter.

The Versions of us by Laura BarnettVersions of Us 2

Eva and Jim are nineteen and students at Cambridge in 1958 when their paths first cross. Jim is walking along a lane when a woman approaching him on a bicycle swerves to avoid a dog. What happens next will determine the rest of their lives. We follow three different versions of their future – together, and apart – as their love story takes on different incarnations, twisting and turning to the conclusion in the present day.

Moving from 1950s Cambridge to present-day London, via New York, Cornwall, Paris, Rome and Los Angeles; from youth to old age, via thirtieth birthdays, children’s weddings, and all the fallout of failure and success, The Versions of Us is the – multiple – love story of one vivid, unconventional couple, and an examination of the different paths our own lives and loves might have taken.

Laura Barnett will be speaking about her novel and signing copies at Wokingham Library on Thursday January 14 at 6.45pm, charge £3. Call (0118) 9781368 to reserve a place.

The Lie Tree by Frances Hardinge  9781447264101_jpg_pagespeed_ce_0mWgzUOVhl

Faith’s father has been found dead under mysterious circumstances, and as she is searching through his belongings for clues she discovers a strange tree. The tree only grows healthy and bears fruit if you whisper a lie to it. The fruit of the tree, when eaten, will deliver a hidden truth to the person who consumes it. The bigger the lie, the more people who believe it, the bigger the truth that is uncovered. The girl realizes that she is good at lying and that the tree might hold the key to her father’s murder, so she begins to spread untruths far and wide across her small island community. But as the tree bears more and more fruit, she discovers something terrifying – that her lies were closer to the truth than she could ever have imagined …

The Lie Tree has just won the Costa Children’s Book Award for 2015, you can read the full article here: http://www.theguardian.com/childrens-books-site/2016/jan/04/frances-hardinge-costa-childrens-book-award-2015-the-lie-tree

To borrow these books, check out our catalogue to see if it’s in a library near you: http://bit.ly/1zSCJlf

Resolutions of a Spinster

A poem to celebrate the advent of the  New Year from Jean Hill, a member of the Wokingham Library Poetry Group.


I’m a spinster of this parish

And no longer in my prime

My resolution is to find a man

Before the bells of New Year chime

I’ve put an advert in the paper

To find my perfect mate

And with my brand new lover

The New Year we’ll celebrate

I’ve dreams of our first meeting

Perhaps an Italian Ristorante

A small secluded table

Drinking glasses of chianti

And now I’ve waited patiently

Received my first reply

And although I’ve read it carefully

He’s just not my sort of guy

His photo’s no oil painting

And I’ve got serious doubts

He want us to meet in Asda

Alongside the Brussels sprouts

A secret assignation

So romantic would be fine

But he thinks Kentucky Chicken

I think candle-light and wine

I’m contemplating what to wear

A slinky number – sexy – black

He’s planning socks and sandals

And a grubby anorak

I want to dance in moonlight

I can’t see him doing that

Because his arms are too short

And his body much too fat

I’m dreaming Porsche, Ferrari

Cars favoured by rich blokes

He’s only got an ancient bike

And that’s got rusty spokes

He could fly me to the Seychelles

On white sand speak words erotic

But a caravan in Bognor

Is his idea of exotic

We could buy a posh apartment

A London love-nest – so bijou

But he’s a bed-sit down in Acton

With Wormwood Scrubs in view

I think champagne and caviar

Soft kisses lingering on my lips

But he’s thinking of a one night stand

Then be off for pie and chips

I want a man of substance

With a shed-load in the bank

Who can’t wait to share it with me

Not this hard-up gormless plank

Do I really need this muppet

I’ve thought it over with some care

But two hours in his company

And I’d be pulling out my hair

My resolution’s doomed to failure

And in my heart I fear

In a lonely, cold and empty bed

I’ll face another blooming year!

By Jean Hill