Above all, be the heroine of your own life... ~ Nora Ephron

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Above all, be the heroine of your own life... ~ Nora Ephron What wise and motivational words for our young women. Last week, my family and I had the privilege of watching my oldest daughter be awarded
Above all, be the heroine of your own life... ~ Nora Ephron What wise and motivational words for our young women. Last week, my family and I had the privilege of watching my oldest daughter be awarded her degree. It was an incredibly proud moment, one that I will remember forever. This led me to reflect on her life so far, her goals and her dreams. What can we, as teachers, parents, friends and family do to support our young women to truly be the heroines of their lives, to reach their goals and to continue to dream? What I realised is that there is no one answer, but for my family, it s about fostering a love of learning, education and to have belief in yourself. As a family, we continuously encourage these goals, and I know that my daughter also received this support through her schooling here at AJHS and then at ASHS. Her education journey will continue for many years to come. I felt it would be pertinent this term to celebrate contributions from our female staff and students, with a particular emphasis on reading. We tend to make the assumption that girls naturally like reading, and that they will do this without too much fuss. This however, is not necessarily the case. Girls sometimes need encouragement to read. They may need guidance and encouragement to find that favourite author or favourite genre. I firmly believe that reading is the foundation for so much in life. Through reading we travel the world, meet amazing characters, learn new vocabulary, improve spelling, develop fluency in language, and of course, we are thoroughly entertained. Please encourage your daughters to pick up a book, go on a journey through words, play that movie in their heads and experience the wonder of reading. As my daughter enters the next chapter of her life, it is my hope that she will continue with her own love of reading, education and learning, truly becoming the heroine of her own life. I have loved books all my life. My mother read to me right from when I was very young and I have many memories, and photos, of my sister and brother and I snuggling up to her while she read to us. I was a book lover right from the start and I was constantly reading. Mum kept a secret stash of books in a cupboard, from which she would magically produce a book when I had read everything there was to read in the house (some books more than once)! As a child I loved Dr Seuss, Winnie the Pooh and Fairytales. When I was a bit older some of my favourite books were The Secret Garden, Pollyanna, and anything by Enid Blyton, particularly The Famous Five. As a teenager I became interested in Science Fiction. And then, I discovered History and greatly enjoy historical fiction - (and non-fiction), which to this day is my favourite genre. But, actually, I love to read anything My advice to anyone who says they don t like reading is that you just haven t found the right book yet. If you are not sure about a book, read the first paragraph or two and if it draws you in, keep reading! I suggest you read the first few chapters before deciding some books take longer than others to get going. But I also think that life is too short to waste on a book you don t like there are plenty of great books out there, so if the one you are reading doesn t appeal, try a different one. The right book is out there waiting for you! Where do I like to read? Anywhere, anytime!!! Susan Williams The more you read. The more things you will know. The more you learn. The more places you ll go! ~ Dr Suess. To me this quote is so true. Reading makes you smarter and it also improves your spelling. To me reading helps me escape from reality. Characters in books are described to make you feel like you actually know them which makes a book more exciting. I love mystery novels because it makes me think and try and come up with solutions for the mystery, also most mystery books are really hard to put down. Even if you are not a strong reader you can still read short books and still enjoy them as much, or even more than longer more complex books. Also you can read anywhere at anytime. Personally I like reading outside. I really enjoy reading John Green s books, they are great for older girls because most of them are sad and have advanced language and themes. When you read them you feel like you are there witnessing every detail and every twist which makes you think about the book for weeks after you ve finished. There are so many advantages of being a reader and whenever you re bored you can pick up a book and lose yourself in it, absorbing every word and phrase. So girls pick up a book escape from reality for a while, learn lots of new things, submerge yourself in the new language and feel like your problems have faded away. Izzy Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way. - Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina At the moment I am reading The Antipodeans by Greg McGee. Set mostly in Italy, during the War and in the years afterwards, with a cast of New Zealanders who are brave, troubled, flawed and yet also ordinary everyday people, it is a compelling read. I am also waiting impatiently for my turn with From The Cutting Room Of Barney Kettle, by Kate De Goldi, which my daughter recently received for her birthday. She seems to think that gives her the right to read it first. Bah! My best advice for selecting a book is to try lots of them. It s age old advice to never judge a book by its cover, but it is so very true. Pick up a book and then read the first line. Consider the following open lines Whether I shall turn out to be the hero of my own life, or whether that station will be held by anybody else, these pages must show. - Charles Dickens, David Copperfield There was a boy called Eustace Clarence Scrubb, and he almost deserved it. - C. S. Lewis, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader Helen Haine Reading is a massive part of my life. Sometimes, reading IS my life. Fantasy and assassin books always hook me in very quickly, as well as a twisted fairy tale and of course those occasional romances. I LOVE reading! You are always transported into different worlds, living with the characters, the hidden secrets and realisations spread throughout the books are just amazing. I feel like reading increases your creativity and also makes you more patient. Patient, because sometimes, the books can be a little slow I would personally recommend the Throne of Glass Series. I am currently reading the third book, and I am hooked. It has fighting, assassins, fantasy, blood and a little romance spread through the book. It is a thrill seeking series which currently consists of five books and a novella! Lin Li (Year 9) A rainbow wig, and a giant chair... I shot across the room, my children keeping pace, as they asked where we were going. For a moment or two I forget that I was the Mum, and it was not my turn to choose our next activity. There, dead ahead, was THE CHAIR. Down the Back of the Chair by Margaret Mahy has been a favourite of mine for a long long time. Now I had an opportunity to sit in the chair, wearing a wig like Margaret s, magic. A brief battle over which of my daughters would take the photo ensued, and a compromise was reached. Then, with a puppet model of the lion, from The Lion in the Meadow, settled on my knee I was suddenly seven years old again and ridiculously happy as I smiled for the camera. Storylines is thought to be one of the largest children's books festive days anywhere. Activities this year included readings, book launches, book signings and talks by authors, displays, illustrators at work and performances of book-related dramas. Held annually, it is an event definitely worth noting in your diary. We had a long and extremely busy day, ending with sore feet and big smiles. Apirana Taylor wove stories traditional and new. Tom E. Moffat convinced his audience to pretend they were Barking Mad. His new book by the same name, was released this month. My daughters shot magnets across the room, using contraptions Des Hunt had created to explain the way a plot must build suspense before the final climax. Our names were typed out in Braille as we explored the many forms that books take for those who have impaired vision. Amongst the many authors we met I was especially pleased to make the acquaintance of Kyle Mewburn who wrote Old Huhu, a book I have recommended to many in times of loss. Amongst the crowds from all over Auckland we spotted friends. Fictional and real. Lily Mae, a fellow Kiwi whānau member, was there too. A highlight for her was attending Joy s birthday party and eating cake. Who s Joy...? What cake...? The day ended with a huge 80th birthday celebration for Joy Cowley. There was cake, and the families in attendance were each gifted a copy of Mrs Wishy Washy s birthday, much to my youngest daughter s delight. Did you know Cowley writes for older audiences? Have you read Dunger? AJHS has a copy in their digital library, and Mrs Wishy Washy it is not. Cowley spoke to the audience about the future of New Zealand literature. She believes that there are great authors here in New Zealand. Her evidence was the letters and cards she receives every day from her readers. She mentioned that young people who writing to her in the 80s and 90s are now published authors. It made me wonder, which of the AJHS students will become authors? Whose name will I see printed on the cover of a book as I browse the shelves looking for my next literary journey? Will it be yours? If you re interested you can listen to Margaret Mahy recite Down the Back of the Chair herself. Check out https://goo.gl/dhhjm2 It could be really frightening to be alone. Stephanie When people are homeless, some people pretend they are not there. Shalvin Sometimes they have just been cast out and everyone thinks they can take care of themselves. In truth they can't, they just need someone to take care of them until they are ready to face the world by themselves. Joseph J.K Rowling, Agatha Christie, Jacqueline Wilson, Enid Blyton, Frances Hodgson Burnett, Louisa May Allcott, Veronica Roth, Suzanne Collins, Anna Sewell and Cornelia Funke. All these women are amazing authors. They have spun tales of magic and mystery, life challenges and rewards from the past, present and future. They are all very different. But they have one thing in common. They all wrote to entertain girls like us. However many girls here at AJHS have never read any of their books. What a waste! There are many advantages to being a reader. The obvious one, is that it is entertaining. It is exciting finding out what happens next. When you read, you enter a different world. It is a good way to forget all your problems, as you live in the character s world while you read. Another reason reading is good, is it gives you something to talk about with friends. Conversations between two readers are often very intense and exciting. Reading is also good because it makes you smarter. You learn a lot of vocabulary through reading, which is helpful for English class. You also learn a lot of fascinating facts through reading, that you probably never would have learnt otherwise, but often come in handy. Personally, the reason why I read is because it is entertaining. If you are ever bored, all you have to do is pick up a book, even one you have read before and read it. Instantly, all your boredom will evaporate, and you will have another life to be part of. My challenge to all girls is to read at least one book you haven t read before, by an author from my list at the beginning. If you do, you will realise that reading is a valuable past time, and hopefully read more. Emily Reading is a perfect hobby. Some may prefer movies, but have you ever heard anyone say, Books are better than movies? I personally agree with this statement. For the non-readers here, I just want to say that books are just like movies. It s just more descriptive and has juicier events in them. This is because movies can t show ALL the descriptions and some scenes are IMPOSSIBLE to shoot, even with computer graphics - which leads the director to basically take chunks of good bits of the story out of the movie. That is the reason why I like reading books. I usually enjoy reading fiction books in the genre of Horror, Mystery, Crime, Fantasy and Romance. A few of my favourite authors are Agatha Christie, Cornelia Funke, Harper Lee, John Green and J.K Rowling. They write the best stories and I am very positive that you will fall in love with their books once you read them. Books I recommend to you are the Inkheart trilogy (Inkheart, Inkspell, Inkdeath), The Life on the Refrigerator Door, The Fault in Our Stars, The Boy in Striped Pyjamas, And Then There Were None. Most of my recommended books are heart -breaking, but they are all worth reading even if it is for you to cry out some tears. Books are also like friends. Books will never let you down, unless they kill your favourite character. Have you heard a quote by Christopher Paolini (The author of Eragon ), Books are my friends, my companions. They make me laugh and cry and find meaning in life. All the readers will understand and relate to this quote in a very strong way. And to the non-readers who cannot relate to this quote, I want to say, you ll only know the beauty of books when you start reading - So start reading now!!! Ariel What do you do with old books beyond repair which would otherwise be thrown away? Well, in the English Faculty we create Found Poetry. Take a page, pull out key words, phrases and sentences create a poem. Illustrate it. Voila! One story enjoyed two different ways! Favourite authors: anyone who can have me engrossed in a book within the first few pages. I don't like wading through four to five chapters hoping a book will get better and then discovering to my horror that it doesn't. When I went to school I had to learn from textbooks so when I read I want to be entertained! Janet Evanovich - I find her really funny and she makes me laugh out loud. Harlen Coben - Lots of plot twists and really interesting characters. Dean Koontz - A bit off-beat but he is a descriptive and very creative author while not being as icky as Stephen King can sometimes be. I like to read anywhere where someone is not going to bug me. There is nothing more annoying than really getting into a story and people ask you random questions. You can learn to love books at any age - just because you didn't like them at 7 or 8 doesn't mean you can't like them at 14 or 15. The trick is finding something that grabs you - that's the hard part. It's a bit like trying to figure out what to write a speech about. Once you have the topic the rest is easy! My advice would be find something that makes you laugh and go from there - because if you're laughing you must be having fun...right? Cathy Abel What reading looks like in 7K20. Spine Poetry Reading is like floating into a different world, where anything could happen at any moment. When I read it s like I m watching a movie all around me. Everywhere I look and turn it s there. My favourite genre is definitely fantasy, it s not like floating into a different world, it s like crash landing into a different galaxy! The rules of nature are different there and there are no limits to how you imagine the world that is unravelling before you. I like the adventure inside it and the sudden twist that makes you cry out loud NOOOO and everyone just stares at you like you re crazy. My favourite author is Sarah J. Maas, not only is she my favourite author but my inspiration. She wrote her first book at 16 years old Throne of Glass which is about an assassin who goes into a competition which will win her, her freedom...if only it was that simple. I don t want to ruin the story for you but I do recommend this book to people who like The Hunger Games, or like me are in love with fantasy. Reading definitely has helped me academically by increasing my vocabulary and also expanding my mind and the way I think. I have always loved reading but I find as I ve grown up, I am more into something that will get me hooked on the first page. I know that movies are a lot of fun, but most movies were actually books and the best part about books, is that you can picture things the way you want to see them. Books are a lot of fun but can be a challenge at times to keep reading as there are just so many books you want to read. I think I have a list with 19 books I need to read still. The school library has a massive variety of books you can choose from, from comedy if you're looking to laugh till your sides hurt, or to the creepy horrors which can make you jump out of your skin. Why I like books? Because they re a portal, which can transport you to space and through time or to knights fighting on dragons to a sad love story. They will take you to places you will never find on earth they are transportation to another world. Hannah (Yr 9) What is reading? Not at any point, are books just words on paper. Books are images, and stories created in the mind, in the form of words. Books allow you to let your imagination run free. And once you start - it s hard to stop. I ve loved reading as a child. Always did, always will. I remember reading the Harry Potter series back in year 4. I was unsure about books, and didn t understand why people found them so interesting. An hour later, I knew exactly why. My parents couldn t get me to stop reading. I sat for hours without moving, until the book ended. Even now, I still love Fantasy fiction. Some people say it s childish, but it really isn t. For first time readers, I highly recommend reading the Harry Potter and Percy Jackson series, as I found that to be my gateway to reading. Everyone is different, so don t worry if those don t appeal to you. There ll always be something. It s taking the first step that s difficult. After the first step, a library is like walking through a lolly store as a young child. Reading has also influenced my writing. My range of vocabulary has expanded subconsciously. I didn t even have to try! Though it didn t always work out, I learnt from my mistakes and can now confidently use the same words without hesitation. To add to this, I have noticed a significant change in my spelling, too. I am able to spell words I ve never heard of before using prior knowledge and rules. And guess what the best part is? I never thought I d say this, but learning with reading is really enjoyable! The path of learning doesn t have to be all textbooks and homework. In this case, it s doing my favourite hobby with the benefits. I wanted to share my reading experiences with you, in hope that you ll find the same passion. Good luck, get lost in your world, and happy reading! Sarina
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