Internet Safety Day – By Ben

Today is internet safety day, so today, I’m going to give you five tips to stay safe on the internet. No matter your age, race and gender, you are still vulnerable on the internet. The tips below are for everyone, so don’t feel excluded.

1) The internet is global. This means that there are people online from all over the world at all times. There is no “safe” time on the internet where you are less likely to be harmed from the internet. Keep your guard up at all times.

2) Keep personal information personal. Once you put something onto the internet, there is no getting it back. All it takes is one person to screenshot your information, or repost it to another site and you no longer have control over it. Don’t put any of the information you don’t want public online, as you’ll never get it back.

3) Use privacy settings. Social networking sites come built in with settings that allow you to hide the information you post, to stop it being publicly available. Certain settings make it so only your friends can view what you write online. Take advantage of these to stop your information being seen to the public. This leads me onto another point.

4) Be sure you know who you’re adding. All it takes is for one rouge person to add one of your friends. As soon as they accept that request, they will come up as having mutual friends. This is how the chain of events start. Even if someone has one hundred mutual friends, it doesn’t mean they legitimately know you. You should always be sure you know someone before adding them on any site.

5) If you see it – Report it! If you see anything happening that worries you, report it. There are numerous websites that allow you to report any things that worry you online. Most websites come with an built in reporting feature. If there is no way of reporting something through one particular site, there is a website especially for reporting online events. The organisation is “Child Exploitation & Online Protection” (CEOP). This is a police run organisation that focuses on helping resolve issues on the internet for children, but can also be used by adults. They can be found here: http://ceop.police.uk/

Remember: If at any point you feel a life is in danger, or a crime is being committed, contact 999 and ask for the police. If you can see a crime has been previously committed, contact your local police department by dialing ‘101’ free from any phone.

Stay safe, and have fun on the internet!
~Ben

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Butterfly Summer-A review

Butterfly Summer is a dark themed story on a friendship between with dark secrets being hidden.

I overall am not sure what to think about the book as a whole because there were aspects I greatly enjoyed like the language, this is because the way Anne-Marie uses vocabulary which describes places, settings and characters very clearly and creates amazing imagery. However there were a few things I was not sure about, for example the story itself was enjoyable but becomes messy om certain parts, at times it was over exaggerated meaning the situation was not realistic to me.

The characters were thought through and clearly captured with the story, Anne definitely made sure that her characters were planned and applied to the plot carefully. I enjoyed the main character because of her timid and stubborn nature which I can relate to because I do believe I have this trait in my personality.

The way the story was written confused me at times because of some of it’s unclear sentence structures and very few punctuation mistakes which I did have to read once or twice to grasp, but if you are good with just reading stories for content rather than grammar issues this story will be a interesting read.

I think the main target audience would be older teenagers between 15-17 because of the darkness of this story, I had read reviews for inspiration while planning this and I agreed with most of the reviewers that this book shouldn’t be aimed at the original audience of 12-14. I personally believe this because the story is not just mild dark like Series of Unfortunate Events but it’s very dark, more like the Twilight Saga without the vampires.

However if your up for reading a gripping dark tale about a new start, dark secrets and decisions that a young girl has to make this book will be your kind of read.

-Georgia B

Zom-B City by Darren Shan – Review by Ben

Caution! The following book review contains spoilers! Read at your own risk:

Zom-B City is the third book in the Zom-B series by Darren Shan. While the end  of the first book (Zom-B) ended on an impressive note, Shan kept up the  extraordinary standard of writing in the second, and now the third book. Zom-B  City enlightens us more on the background story of Becky Smith, the main  character of the Zom-B books. It dives more into her family, where she grew up and her childhood.

The third books also brings together two side plots from the other books in the  series, providing more information on the mutants that Becky encountered throughout and Mr Dowling, the rather scary looking mutant clown. The way Shan intertwines these two sets of characters in simplistic, but still very effective. It  leads to a definite “Ohhh” moment when reading. In the Zom-B city books, Shan focuses a lot on racism in children, and this is definitely continued in the third book. Shan addresses this topic expertly, as
trying to introduce this topic to teenagers can be a struggle. The language Shan  uses is compelling for the target audience, as it really makes them think, but does it in a subtle was as to not focus entirely on the matter.

The book ends on a sharp cliffhanger, as the other books in the series does. The superb language Shan has used attachment he has made between the character and the reader leaves you wanting more! 

Overall, I feel that Zom-B is an amazing read for the middle-aged teenager, as the language isn’t overly complicated, but not too childish. The plot is easy to follow but still provides enough of a challenge to be engaging. I highly recommend this book for those around the age of 15. Now please excuse me, I’m off to read Zom-B Angels!

Review of stolen for library

Review of ‘Stolen’ by Lucy Christopher By Deanne It happened like this. I was stolen from an airport. Taken from everything I knew, everything I was used to. Taken to sand and heat, dirt and danger. And he expected me to love him.

This is my story.

A letter from nowhere.

I have wanted to read this book for a while now, but couldn’t get my hands on it. I first saw this book in a shop and after reading the summary of the book I was fascinated by it. I especially loved how the story begins with "You saw me before I saw you." It sounded very different and that one line had me. The story is about sixteen year old Gemma who is kidnapped from Bangkok airport and taken to the Australian Outback. The story takes the form of a letter, written by Gemma to Ty, reflecting on her experience. The wild and deserted land becomes almost a character in the book, in how it is so vividly described. Ty, her captor, is not a stereotype of a kidnapper. He is young, fit and good looking. The new life Gemma now is forced to live in has been years in the planning. He loves only her wants only her. He has a whole life planned out for them both, thinking that Gemma would fall in love with him eventually. During the story, Gemma tries (in vain) to escape, and the confusing thing is that Ty lets her. She later learns that she can’t get out of there unless Ty comes with her, as he knows the desert better than her. As the story carries on, Gemma fights with her feelings for Ty, especially when she learns of his background.

Gemma was very relatable because she was a real teenage girl. She acted and said things I myself would do. I would’ve done some of the things she did if I was in her position, and I believe I would have thought of things the same way she did. Ty was a very intrigue but complex character. I sympathize with him even though he is a villain, but Ty was such a tragic character. He is broken and lonely. To start with his character made me hate him for kidnapping Gemma, however when Gemma found out that she was in love with him, I felt as if I was falling for him along with her. It was in my view an amazing view of case of Stockholm Syndrome and Lucy Christopher writes in such a way that you feel pity and understanding when it comes to Ty, he knew he was going to end up in prison, but he stayed by her side and saved her. That’s what I loved about him the most. The fact that he ran miles to save her life.

It was definitely the most intense book I’ve ever read. I couldn’t put it down; it created a mixture of emotion inside me that changed as it went on leaving me with a different outcome of emotions in the end that I did not expect. The ending was heart-wrenching which made the book so unique and unforgettable. And even though the ending was not what I had expected throughout, it was one that I would not change.

"Let’s face it, you did steal me. But you saved my life too. And somewhere in the middle, you showed me a place so different and beautiful, I can never get it out of my mind. And I can’t get you out of there either. You’re stuck in my brain like my own blood vessels."

In all honesty it had tears falling.

Ketchup Clouds review – by Maisie

Poole library book review.

Ketchup clouds by Annabel Pitcher.

Ketchup Clouds is a unique story about a girl named Zoe and her very unusual pen-pal. The entire book Is written as letters, addressed to “Mr. S. Harris” , a convicted murderer on death row in Texas. Throughout these letters Zoe’s mysterious story unfolds, the story goes into deep detail about several themes; guilt, betrayal and love. These themes are written about in such an in-depth way that the story seems so real and believable to the reader. I thoroughly enjoyed how the entire book was written in letters, it made the book unique and gave it a very personal touch, it meant you could really understand what Zoe was feeling and how she views things. I also enjoyed how Pitcher made it clear how desperate Zoe was to grow up, this is one of the easiest things to relate to as a teenager myself I know how frustrating it is seeing people doing stuff that you can’t. This book is ideal for teenage girls, as it covers so many emotions and themes that most teenage girls go through in their teenage years.

After keeping her secret for so long, one night Zoe finds comfort in her garden shed with a jam sandwich and begins writing her first of a series of heart to heart letters to Stuart Harris who murdered his wife (who never actually replies to her letters – which is the only negative comment I have to say about this book as it would have been interesting to hear what he would have said or the advice he would have given to Zoe.) I think she feels sorry for Mr. Harris, as she understand how difficult it is having no one to confide in or get support from.

Pitcher gives the readers frequent breaks from the heavy themes within the book by adding humour -which is actually funny unlike some cringe-worthy attempts at jokes in other stories – For example “Ignore the blob of red in the top left corner. It’s jam, not blood, though I don’t think I need to tell you the difference. It wasn’t your wife’s jam the police found on your shoe… ” this makes younger readers feel that the book Is more manageable to read as not many teenagers enjoys reading books which are only sad or depressing without any humour or light heartedness.

Overall I recommend this book to everyone in the age range from 13 – 19 as some of the themes are not suitable for younger and some things may be difficult to understand for under 13’s. It is one of those books that his hard to put down and gets you thinking about all of the different outcomes that could happen to Zoe. I do not wish to spoil the ending so all that I will say is that it is a surprise.

‘Lord of the Flies’ Review

Lord of the Flies is a gripping dystopian novel which explores the relationship between a group of young boys after their plane is torn asunder in the sky and crashes into an uninhabited island.

Written by William Golding, and based on the novel The Coral Ship by R.M. Ballantyne, the book predominantly discusses human nature, and how seeking darker individual needs can have an effect on society as a whole, whereas The Coral Island looks at how evil around you can affect your life.

Lord of the Flies was unsuccessful when it was first published in 1954, as it sold less than 3000 copies in the United States before it was taken out of production in 1955. However, the book eventually became a big success, and in the early 1960s, it was essential reading in most schools and educational establishments.

The novel has had its fair share of critical acclaim, with a Nobel Prize for Literature attached to its name. Golding has also received a Booker Prize for his novel Rites of Passage.

The main characters in Lord of the Flies are Ralph, who is described as having fair hair, and Piggy, who is an overweight child that wears spectacles and has a rather strong dialect. They are joined by a group of choir boys – which are led by a character called Jack Merridew – and a quieter boy called Simon.

The book is famed for its exploratory use of vocabulary, with “effervescent” being a good example, and highly detailed imagery which is similar to the opening and ending of modern classic ‘Of Mice and Men’ by John Steinbeck.

Lord of the Flies is a relatively short book, clocking in at roughly 250 pages, depending on the version you are reading. The book has twelve chapters, each having an appropriate name that relates to the chapter ahead.

Lord of the Flies is what I deem an essential read due to Golding’s interesting vocabulary choice, stunning imagery, unique characters, and exciting plot. Each page leaves you with the inclination to turn over and read one more, before the cycle repeats again.

In summation, if you want a modern classic with an exciting, histrionic plot, great characters, interesting imagery, and a beautiful ending, Lord of the Flies is the novel for you.

By Ben C.

Fullmetal Alchemist by Hiromu Arakawa

Fullmetal Alchemist by Hiromu Arakawa introduces the world of Alchemy and the danger it possesses. This is presented through the characters Alphonse and Edward Elric’s adventures. The graphic novel explores the strength of Alchemy and consequences if the rules aren’t followed. Alchemy seems to be an interesting fusion of both magic and science however it has limitations and takes time to learn. “Human kind cannot gain anything without first giving something in return. To obtain, something of equal value must be lost. That is alchemy’s first law of Equivalent Exchange.” So what are the consequences if the rule is broken?
The characters that we are introduced to, Alphonse and Edward, are brothers seeking to get their bodies back after misusing Alchemy. You become attached to the characters as you wonder why and how they misused Alchemy. Hiromu Arakawa makes the characters interesting and enjoyable as they are an amazing comic paring and during the graphic novel you can’t help but admire the details put into the characters. Alongside the comical elements the characters have, there is a lot of expected action to progress the adventure. This allows you to sympathise the characters and addictively makes the reader want to progress to find out how Alphonse and Edward plan on obtaining their bodies again.
In addition Hiromu Arakawa introduces Alchemy through religion at the start which is an interesting and gripping concept as the world of Alchemy doesn’t simply revolve around one plot. The subplots during Alphonse and Edward Elric’s adventures show different views and uses Alchemy has. Overall the concept is very intelligent and creative as it fuses the magical idea with science which is revealed to the reader enabling us to understand the possible uses it has on everyday life.
Hiromu Arakawa’s Fullmetal Alchemist is a page turner as the suspense and the sense of foreboding is dark and inviting. “Human kind cannot gain anything without first giving something in return. To obtain, something of equal value must be lost. That is alchemy’s first law of Equivalent Exchange.” What are the limits of Alchemy? What did Alphonse and Edward do to lose their bodies as a result? The question that struck me the most throughout the graphic novel was what was the end product of their misuse of Alchemy? I would recommend this to people who enjoy graphical novels because it has an unforgettable plot and admirable characters. However I would also recommend it to people who undermine graphic novels as this page turner tale would definitely change your mind.

By Sayma A.

Fullmetal Alchemist Volume One Review

Hiromu Arakawa’s tiny hero packs in huge adventures, huge laughs and huge action.

I highly recommend this to anyone who enjoyed the anime (both the original and the recent remake) and who enjoys an action pact graphic novel. To all those people who would cast down a graphic novel as a lower form of reading I beg you not as you will truly miss out on a gripping tale that is expertly told.

The highly amusing and gripping story revolves around the story of two brothers, Edward and Alphonse Elric, who practise in the art of alchemy. In the most simplistic terms alchemy looks like magic but works like science. These teenaged alchemists work for their less than corruptible government and despite their character defaults (Ed’s short temper and Al’s gentle nature) are the unmistakeable, charismatic heroes of the tale. Now if only Ed could be recognised as the Fullmetal Alchemist.

However despite the laughs and action there is a dark undertone to the brother’s tale. The story revolves around the dark doings of the church leader father Cornello. He seems to be brainwashing his followers with false miracles and promises of raising the dead. How he has managed it is left to the Fullmetal alchemist to find out. It shines a light on what can go terribly wrong when you blindly follow another without stopping to question their or your own actions, and the matter seems far from settled. The other two stories that take place in the volume are less dark and are definitely more entertaining and action packed, especially the fate of general Yoki who gets what he truly deserves although perhaps we have not seen the last of him. The last tale introduces cornel Roy Mustang a fellow state alchemist, like the brothers he seems very charismatic and like all state alchemists seems very powerful. They don’t call him the flame alchemist for nothing. Mustang seems to know the brothers well how is not said, which is just one of the many questions have been left unanswered. Just how does a twelve year old end up working as a “dog of the military”? And what happened to Ed and Al’s bodies? And just who were the mysterious people dressed in black with the unhuman powers? Why did these people give father Cornello a powerful artefact? Why do Ed and Al want it? Whatever the answers to these questions two things are certain, Fullmetal Alchemist Volume one is an additive read and you really do not want to call Edward Elric short.

by Sophie

Ketchup Clouds, Annabel Pitcher – Review by Emily

“Ketchup Clouds” is a captivating and charming book about a young girl writing to a man on death row about her own experiences with murder. My immediate attraction towards the book was simply because it is different. It is not every day one comes across a book written in letters to a man on death row.

My emotions towards the book were varied, but overall positive. At times I did feel the characterisation of Zoe was messy and contradictory. When I first began reading the book I thought Zoe was a lot younger than she actually is. From the way Pitcher makes her write, and the language she uses I saw her as twelve or thirteen. I can only assume from what she appears to do with a certain male and her lifestyle that she is at least fifteen.

However after my confusion at the narrator’s age, the story did start to pick up and I became quite interested in the outcome. What seemed to maintain my interest was the flipping between past and present. It was like the novel had a multi-strand narrative, except it was the same girl’s story told in a mixed pattern. This kept me quite entertained, the breaks between the intense main storyline gave for slight comedic release, with a few jokes thrown in here and there. More than often they were related to the man she was writing to’s murder of his wife, by him I may add.

The main plot line (and thing that would keep any reader interested) is this: which boy will die? I won’t give any more away but you find out quite early that a boy with brown eyes dies. Soon after that you meet two boys with brown eyes. What I find most interesting is the contrast between the two boys. On one hand you have a “ladies man,” who is older, a flirt and can be a bully at times; and on the other hand you have an even older, intelligent, and honestly quite clichéd “intense” boy. My personal reactions towards the two characters were, I believe, different to that of the intended reaction. I did not like the intense boy simply because I bore of clichés too easily, whereas the other boy was more complicated and difficult to get a read of which made him a much more interesting character. I did enjoy sitting there guessing, and hoping, which boy it would be.

I could say the cliché “overall I would recommend this book because…” But I will not. I do not like clichés and I would not recommend this book to everyone. It is a book that will break your heart and leave you feeling a little bit empty about it, instead of giving you closure. It was impossible to put down, right until the end when it was difficult to read. No matter what you think of the quality of the writing, there is no doubt that the plot is unique.

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Let’s create a better internet together!

We are offering our full support to Safer Internet Day 2014.

It is organised by Insafe in February of each year to promote safer and more responsible use of online technology and mobile phones, especially amongst children and young people across the world.

The campaign will be promoted in all Poole libraries with posters and information on safe internet use available in every branch, including the National Children’s Home Net Smart rules guide to chatrooms.

For more information visit www.saferinternetday.org