Fifty young wizards and witches from Year 4 to Year 8 had plenty of magical fun at our big HP Night event yesterday afternoon. On arrival the kids all got a sealed envelope containing their Hogwarts letter, a laminated house themed bookmark (which neatly gave me the groups for the activity rotations) and a temporary tattoo of a lightning bolt.
Making butterbeer and decorating HP-themed biscuits
Wand making/decorating and also completing wand permits
Potions brewing (colour changing tea plus mini-potion bottles)
Papercrafts such as Cubees (Harry Potter & Voldemort), I Spy, Harry Potter ABC, House colour bows and rosettes,
Mini-Quidditch game and chocolate leapfrog game
Trivia and photo ops
Lucky door prizes – every student got a prize, from pencils to figurines, lanyards to badges, loads of bits and pieces I had accumulated during the year from various sources, and then one final draw for a copy of HP and the Half-Blood Prince which I had spare.
We had 3 tables of collectibles most of which belonged to myself, my junior school t-l and my library tech but one of our IT staff also lent us his Lego Diagon Alley for display. My own Lego group had already built the Great Hall during the term to form part of our display – we had some of our new HP books for perusal and a couple of static displays – Flourish & Blotts – with an amazing moving wizard photo of Gilderoy Lockhart (created by my library tech) as well as a Gringotts table.
It was exhausting, noisy, chaotic but hugely fun and exciting for all the kiddos.
Omg, I can’t tell you how much I loved this read during the week!! It completely reminds me of two much-loved favourites, Carrie’s War by Nina Bawden and Goodnight Mister Tom by Michelle Magorian (both of which I own and have re-read many times), but with its whole new take on the situation of evacuee children in WWII.
Jimmy and his little brother have been evacuated from London to a Welsh valley – traditional, coal-mining families and either open welcomes or suspicion of ‘foreigners’. Mr and Mrs Thomas are warm and caring, and little Ronnie is quickly comfortable with both, but Jimmy is both distrustful and resentful. He’s already lost his mum, who took off leaving the brothers with their dad and grandmother, and he’s certainly not ready to treat this temporary stay as ‘home’. The entire London contingent seem different here. Jimmy’s best friend, now lodged with the local minister’s family, has turned into a nasty bully like the Reverend’s son and Florence, uncared for and abused at home, blossoms into a true friend.
Jimmy is to realise that even a temporary family can be a solace but first there are difficulties to overcome and these are complicated when the boy discovers a human skull hidden in the hollow of an old tree. Enough to scare even an adult, this find has Jimmy scrambling for someone to trust and sometimes an ally can be found in the most unlikely quarter. The secrets of the valley are gradually revealed as Jimmy and his little tribe work together to solve a decades old mystery, and bring much needed comfort to a long-held grief.
We do know, of course, that not all the evacuated children had happy experiences and we cannot begin to comprehend how overwhelming or unnerving the whole exercise would have been even for those who did. In those times, many city children had never had any experience of wide open spaces, nature and the reality of rural living – some didn’t even know that milk came from cows!
Young readers, particularly those who are fond of such stories set in wartime, will find much to love about this narrative. The strong themes of family, friendship and bravery are very inspirational and will give many children finding our current circumstances difficult some insight in dealing with similar events.
Highly recommended for your readers from around ten years upwards.