Mrs. Hart - Shark Attack

•Information piece about the three types of unprovoked shark attacks. Entitled ‘Why Sharks Attack’
•Persuasive piece about why you think sharks should be protected or indeed why not! Entitled ‘Sharks – Persuasive Essay’
•Discursive about both points of view on the following topic, entitled…“Do Sharks Deserve their reputation as killers?”

Christmas Traditions

Bet You Didn't Know! Christmas Traditions video

27 Winter Holiday Traditions

Father Christmas isn't the only festive character, look at these other options from around the world:

Iceland - Jólakötturinn (Yule Cat), Gryla and Yule Lads (Jólasveinar)

Sweden - The Gävle Goat

Germany - Krampus and Belsnickel

Spain - Tio de Nadal, Caganer and Olentzero

Netherlands - Sinterklaas and Zwarte Piet

Wales -  Mari Lwyd

Russia - Ded Moroz

Italy -  La Befana

Greece - Kallikantzaroi

Latvia -  Mummers

Mental Wellbeing Resources

JYHS Library now stocks a range of mental wellbeing books - look for an apple on the top of the spine or just ask Mrs.Wilson to point you in the right direction. The books offer support not just for those suffering with poor mental health but also for those trying to support them.

Included in the collection is the excellent - 'I had a Black Dog' by Matthew Johnstone which deals with depression.

There are also a range of resources you can access online:

Mood Gym - free online course to help you identify the issues and overcome them.

The Mix - information and support for anyone on mental health.

BBC Advice - information and suggestions for support for good mental health.

Stress and Anxiety in Teenagers - NHS tool to help you deal with stress and anxiety

Living Life to the Full - helping you to help yourself deal with depression, stress and anxiety

Breathing Space - support for anyone is Scotland feeling low, anxious or depressed.

Action on Depression - Scotland's national charity for depression

Winston's Wish - offer support for children and young people dealing with bereavement

BEAT - beating eating disorders

For parents or staff - MindEd offers a free resource to help give you confidence in supporting and identifying young people struggling with mental ill health. Pooky Knightsmith's blog also has some things to help staff.

For those looking to change the perception of mental health or change the way you were treated:
See Me Scotland - campaign to end mental health discrimination
Young Minds - The voice for children and young people's mental health and wellbeing

Mrs.Wilson's Crime Selection

Looking for some holiday reading? Why not try a crime.

1. Agatha Christie - Nemesis
Ok so all Christie is well worth a read but this Miss Marple is a classic of the Christie cannon. A dead man sends Miss Marple a letter with instructing her to investigate a crime but fails to tell her who, where and when the crime was committed.

2. Alexander McCall Smith - The No.1 Ladies' Detective Agency
A captivating read which transports you to a different pace and way of thinking. Precious Ramotswe is Botswana's only female detective. Wayward daughters, curious conmen and philandering partners are her usual fare but this time the case of a missing child proves to be far more sinister.

3. Christopher Brookmyre  - Quite Ugly One Morning
A witty, face-paced crime set in Edinburgh and the dialogue is a real joy to read. Journalist Jack Parlabane stumbles over a corpse while nursing a hellish hangover and determines to solve the murder himself.

4. Ira Levin -A Kiss Before Dying
An award winning modern classic, it's a suspenseful tale which is a thrill to read. When Dorothy falls pregnant while still in college, the fear of her family discovering the truth and disinheriting her a very real threat. However, her handsome young beau, has the answer a few pills that would mean no baby - and perhaps no Dorothy either.

5. M.C.Beaton - Death of a Gossip
Well crafted and easy to read, the Hamish Macbeth series make and excellent lazy Sunday read. This is the first in the series and sees Lochdubh's Police Sergeant - Hamish Macbeth try to solve the murder of the town's gossip who was sharing secrets about nearly everyone.

Ms Dewar suggests the Dublin Murder Squad books by Tana French - they're a series but they don't all have the same police in them so they work as stand alones or in any order.

Mrs.Kerr (pupils support) recommends David Baldacci who writes thrillers with a crime element.

Mr.Toman suggests The City and The City by China Miéville which combines weird fiction with a police procedural.

(NB: these are all from the adult fiction section)

Calling Teen Sellers

Broxburn Town Centre Manager, Hazel Hay, has confirmed that The Teenage Market will be held in Broxburn Town Centre 10am – 2pm on 10th December 2016.

This year it will be held indoors in the old Scotmid building in the centre of town in the same place as “Santa’s Grotto” so there will be guaranteed footfall at the event. This will be an opportunity for primary and secondary schools to showcase their talents in performing or as a trader.

The Teenage Market will be a platform to raise money selling their enterprise products from school activities or their own entrepreneurial activities outside school including their performing talents.

Sign up via The Teenage Market website but should you have any questions or would like to register your interest please contact Gemma Telfer 01506 283400 or

Mr. Paterson's Comic Book Recommendations

Must reads of the past has to include Civil war, particularly with the movie released earlier this year.

Spiderman - One more day series wee fantastic also off the back of the civil war reveal. 

Literally anything Deadpool - assuming you're not taking life too seriously. 

X-men Schism leading into Wolverine and the X-men (where wolverine really shines)

Last Marvel would be A vs X. long awaited and it didn't disappoint. 

My only DC shouts would be Batman : War games and the Battle for the cowl following Batman RIP. 
Oh and Hush.

Serial Reader

If you are looking for an easy way to do some reading look no further than 'Serial Reader' this handy free app is available on Apple (they are working on an Android version).

It sends a chunk of a book everyday to your phone. Each chunk takes about ten minutes to read and you can choose from a wide range of classics from Alice in Wonderland to War and Peace.

I just finished reading Jack London's 'Call of the Wild' which I really enjoyed and I found the daily chunks worked really well. I even upgraded to the paid version so I could skip ahead. I found ten minutes was achievable on most days. Plus if I felt it was getting away from me I could pause the serial so I didn't end up with three hours worth of reading mocking me for not finding the time. I reckon young people would enjoy the format, after all ten minutes is equivalent to a loo trip or a wait for a bus.  Plus you get reward badges as you read which include fun little reading related facts.


 A massive thanks to the library monitor team for all their hard work this year - you guys are awesome!

Staff Book Club Recommendations - Crime Fiction

Looking for a good crime book to read over the summer - why not try:

- Elizabeth Peters - Crocodile on the Sandbank (Victorian - England/Egypt)
- Dorothy L. Sayers - Whose Body? (post WW1)
- Attica Locke - Pleasantville (1996 with links to 1940s)
- Kerry Greenwood - Cocaine Blues (1920s Australia)
- Orkney Twilight - Clare Carson (1980s Britain)
- The Alienist - Caleb Carr (1896 USA)
- The Murder Bag - Tony Parsons (contemporary UK)
 - Michael Chabon -The Yiddish Policemen's Union (alternate history sees Israel fail in 1948)
- Helen Callaghan - Dear Amy (contemporary UK)
- Harry Bingham - Talking to the Dead (contemporary UK)
- Tanya French - In the Woods (contemporary Ireland)


Mrs. Lyon's Stereotype Lesson Help

There are lots of stereotypes about Europeans. Here are a few places to find out some and bust a few of those myths:

For a general idea of European Stereotypes:

European Stereotypes (where the image comes from)

'What Europeans think of each other'

Europe divided up in 20 different ways

For country specific here are a few places to start your hunt:

French Stereotypes

Italian Stereotypes

Irish Stereotypes

England Stereotypes

German Stereotypes

Dutch Stereotypes

Polish Stereotypes

Spanish Stereotypes

Belgian Stereotypes

Swedish Stereotypes

Russian Stereotypes

Mrs. Richardson's Philosophy Links

For those doing research for Higher Philosophy these 'gateways' are a good place to start looking for high quality information on the web. 
a general website on western philosophical tradition 
includes over 16,500 categorised links to philosophy resources on the Internet. 
links to humanities and humanities-related resources on the internet.

Mrs.Wilson talked about better web searching and shared advice from Harvard on how to make Google work better for you. You can read that again or see more information on their website.

If you want to do more about improving your research skills Education Scotland has a short Information and Critical Literacy course that takes you through the steps involved to locate, evaluate and effectively use information.

If you are concerned about plagiarism and how you can avoid it The University of British Columbia guide on plagiarism is a really useful tool.

If you want any help or advice don't forget you can always come and speak to Mrs.Wilson in the library to get help.

StoryCon 2016

StoryCon 2016 is a free conference for writers, illustrators and creators, designed for teens, by teens. The event is being run by the Scottish Book Trust and is open to anyone in Scotland aged 13 to 19.

When: Sat 11 June  & Sun 12 June (both days offer the same programme)

Where: The Prince’s Trust’s Wolfson Centre, Central Glasgow

What: StoryCon features workshops for 13–19-year-olds on comics-making, crafting imaginary creatures and realistic relationships for your stories, Gaelic creative writing, spoken word, and much more. StoryCon will also host panels on fanfiction, building a creative scene, and surviving as a writer. Come to be inspired, share ideas and come have a great time!

For more details see their website:

To Brexit or Not?

The EU Referendum looms. It's hard to find neutral information but is run by the Social and Economic Council. It provides arguments and evidence from both sides.

JYHS Library presents Comic Con II

How good was our Comic Con? See for yourself! JYHS Library Comic Con 2

1 Day until...

JYHS Library Comic Con II is nearly upon us. This year Harry Giles is hosting so we asked him what comics he'd recommend.

Harry is a performer, poet, and general doer of things. He grew up in Orkney, Scotland, and now lives in Edinburgh. He make art about protests and protests about art and writes about anything. He is currently Reader in Residence with West Lothian Libraries.

Lumberjanes - Set in Miss Quinzella Thiskwin Penniquiqul Thistle Crumpet's Camp for Hardcore Lady Types, a summer camp whose attendees are known as Lumberjane Scouts, five scouts must do battle against a range of supernatural creatures. Friendship to the Max!

Princeless - Princess Adrienne, a strong-minded, brave, and intelligent black princess constantly questions and challenges expectations and stereotypes associated with princesses.

Nimona - Nimona is a young shapeshifter and the sidekick of the supervillain Lord Ballister Blackheart. Blackheart is a knight turned mad scientist who's pursued by his nemesis, Sir Ambrosius Goldenloin of the Institution of Law Enforcement and Heroics.

2 Days to go...

until JYHS Library Comic Con II. Last year we all worked together to create a comic in only 2 hours!

3 Days to go...

until JYHS Library presents Comic Con II.

So with that in mind here are the guests who are joining us for the day and the workshops they'll be offering:

Kelly Kanayama 
Kelly Kanayama is a comics critic and scholar conducting PhD research into American and British comics at the University of Dundee. Originally from Hawaii, she has been living in the UK since 2007.

Fighters and Winners: Creating Games How to get started making games! This workshop takes you through the game creation process to give you the skills to develop your own games. Expect competition, the thrill of victory, and something we like to call....Wizard Battle.

Sha Nazir 
Sha Nazir is Art Director & Publisher at BHP Comics and Festival Director at Glasgow Comic Con. He says, "Drawing comics keeps me sane and a bit crazy all at the same time. I collect odd action figures, read too much, love dodgy bronze age comic covers and watch Star Trek when no one is looking."

Intro to Comics. You will learn how Comic Books and Graphic Novels are created by doing creative writing and drawing exercises to set their imaginations free, test their creativity, and learn basic story structure. You develop and illustrate their own short story.

Clare Forrest 
Clare Forrest is an illustrator and art tutor, and created The Mighty Women of Science Alphabet Book. Clare is also involved with Team Girl Comic, a Glasgow-based group for comic creators. 

Illustration: A workshop in learning to illustrate -- how can art be used beyond comics, and what are different ways of doing illustration? You'll get to try out some new ideas.

Plus joining us a again for the panel is James McCulloch is a film blogger, musician, and comic book writer from central Scotland. He writes horror comics and plays bass in Bat Country Massacre.

Mrs Benson's been reading...

All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr.

It is set in St Malo, France during the occupation by Germany in WW2. It tells the story of a little blind girl whose father has been entrusted with a jewel from the National Museum. This is being sought by one of the Nazi curators. At the same time the story of a brilliant young German boy unfolds. It tells of his experiences at an elite school and eventually of the army and his mission in France. The story is exciting and moving and is beautifully written.

Philip Caveney visits JYHS

JYHS Library was delighted to host Philip Caveney who was recently won the 2016 Scottish Children’s Book Awards for his book 'The Piper' (writing under the pseudonym Danny Weston). Philip spoke to all the S1 pupils about his Tom Afflick trilogy - set in a mixture of the present and moments in Edinburgh's history.

Pupils were grossed out by his descriptions of the plague cure administered in Mary King's Close, fascinated by the most dangerous toilet in the world and intrigued by the real rules a pirate lived by.

Pupils also got an exclusive reading from his latest book 'The Calling' (due for release at the end of the month). The exciting story features the statues in Edinburgh coming to life for twenty-four hours. If the bit we heard was anything to go by we can't wait to read it.

Massive thanks to Philip for such an entertaining visit and to Fledgling Press who made it happen.

David's been reading...

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins *****
Great book - highly advise reading.

Goodnight Mister Tom by Michelle Magorian *****
Great book, st during WWII about a scared, frail boy who finds a home with a once bitter old man.

The Vampire Rites Trilogy by Darren Shan *****
Three books in one about how Darren becomes a vampire prince after doing the trials of rites.

Mr. Holt's been reading...

At Christmas, I read 'The Odd Angry Shot' by William Nagle (Australia). A moving and graphic account of Australia's role in the Vietnam War.

Then I read 'Snow Country' by Yasunari Kawabata (Japan). A traditionally written account of a visitor's relationship with a Geisha in the mountains by a Nobel winning writer.

Now I am reading 'The Calligrapher's Secret by Rafiq Schami (Syria) which is about two people from different communities who fall in love in Damascus.

Next I am going to read 'Americana' by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (Nigeria)

Ticket to Read

As part of our 'Ticket to Read' display for World Book Day we asked some members of staff to recommend books based in other countries.

Mr. Allen recommends;
Smoke by Ivan Turgenev - Germany
Goodbye to Berlin by Christopher Isherwood - Germany
Kim by Rudyard Kipling -India
The Plague by Albert Camus - Algeria
The Cruel Sea by Nicholas Monsarrat - Atlantic Ocean

Mr. Lyons recommended Omertà by Mario Puzo for Italy.

Mrs. Keillar (careers adviser) recommended Nocturne by Lisa St Aubin de Terán (Italy).

Ms. Dewar recommends My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante (Italy) and The Meursault Investigation by Kamel Daoud (Algeria).

Mr. Cruickshank recommends;
The Space Between The Raindrops - Justin Ker (Singapore)
Kafka on the Shore - Haruki Murakami (Japan)
No Time For Goodbye - Linwood Barclay (Canada)
It - Stephen King (USA)

Mrs. Hart recommends;
A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara (USA)
The Fishermen by Chigozie Obioma (Nigeria)
A Brief History of Seven Killings by Marlon James (Jamaica)
The Lives of Others by Neel Mukherjee (India)
The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini (Afghanistan)
The Woman Who Walked in Sunshine by Alexander McCall Smith (Botswana)
One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcí­a Márquez (Columbia)                        
Half of a Yellow Sun / Americanah / Purple Hibiscus by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (Nigeria)

Mrs. Wilson recommends;
Child 44 by Tom Rob Smith (Russia)
Death And The Penguin by Andrey Kurkov (Ukraine)
Cry, the Beloved Country by Alan Paton (South Africa)
Death of a Red Heroine by Qiu Xiaolong (China)
Cocaine Blues by Kerry Greenwood (Australia)

The World Map is from the CIA - The World Factbook

JYHS Library Comic Con II

Tickets for Comic Con II are on sale until Friday (4th March).

Amy's been reading...

I Did Not Eat the Goldfish - Roger Stevens *****
Poem book - very funny.

Kiss by Jacqueline Wilson *****
It was about Sylvie and Carl's glass collection. I loved the book.

Horrible Histories: Groovy Greeks by Terry Deary ****
All about Ancient Greece - funny and comical.

Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney *****
I love the book. It was very funny.

The White Horse of Zennor by Michael Morpurgo **** 1/2
Lots of short stories. My favourite story was the 'White Horse of Zennor' story because it was emotional but it had a happy ending.

Dustbin Baby by Jacqueline Wilson ****
It was a very good book, a life story.

Book Amnesty

Got an overdue book lying under your bed? Found a library book you were convinced you returned and too embarrassed to hand it in? Worried Mrs.Wilson will shout at you?

Now is your chance to return your library books - no questions asked.

JYHS Library Book Amnesty will run until the 17th of March - simply return your book in the book return box or at the desk.

Lost or damaged a book - speak to Mrs Wilson about paying £5 replacement costs per book or about other ways to pay back the library.

We are really proud of the library - please take the time to return your books.

David's been reading...

WORLD WAR HULK  by Greg Pak, Peter David, John Romita Jr *****
The Hulk got shot off planet by the Illuminati, on his return he is on the verge of destroying the planet. Can the Sentry stop him? Can anyone?
Amazeballs book - can't stop re-reading it.

Marvel Encyclopedia by Dorling Kindersley *****
More than 1,200 of Marvel's most memorable characters are featured. It's an amazing insight.

Mrs Wilson's been reading..

We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie *****

A short essay based on her 2013 TEDx talk of the same name. In this engaging essay she make the case for why, regardless of gender, we should all be feminists and why it isn't enough just to accept the cultural norms that continue to mean women and men aren't equals. She talks about it through examples from her life and experiences in the USA and Nigeria.

I loved it so many of her ideas ring true and I've experienced similar things in my own life. I particularly liked her explanation of why we should use the word feminism:

"Some people ask: "Why the word feminist? Why not just say you are a believer in human rights, or something like that?" Because that would be dishonest. Feminism is, of course, part of human rights in general - but to choose to use the vague expression human rights is to deny the specific and particular problem of gender. It would be a way of pretending it was not women who have, for centuries, been excluded. It would be a way of denying that the problem of gender targets women. That the problem was not about being human, but specifically about being a female human."
It's a book felt to have such an important message that a Swedish charity has organised for every 16 year old in Sweden is getting a copy

The thing is it's a short book but the ideas are big and stay with you long after the book is closed. 

David's been reading...

The Broons, Beno and Oor Wullie by D.C.Thomson *****

I've been reading a mix of golden age classics and the more modern annuals. They are all great for the family. Perfect for reading on a cold day wrapped in a cover.

Hannah's been reading...Lorien Legacies series

I am Number Four by Pittacus Lore ****
It is about aliens trying to save their planet. It was very good and I'd definitely recommend it.

The Power of Six by Pittacus Lore ***
This is the second book in the Lorien Legacies series but wasn't as exciting as the first book (I am Number Four).

The Great Big Children's Books Poll

Ahead of World Book Day, booklovers across the UK & Ireland are being asked to vote for their favourite heroes and villains in children’s books.

Young Writers

Enjoy writing? Fancy a challenge? 
Have a look at the Scottish Book Trust's page for the latest opportunities for Young Writers.

If you are 13 or under the BBC Radio 2's 500 Words Competition is running just now. 
Deadline is 7pm on 25th February.

Ms Dewar's been reading...

Joe Pike - Project Fear ***
An insider's look the Referendum detailing the comedic incompetence and back stabbing going on in the No campaign. It's a bit repetitive at times and the author wastes his time trying to build suspense given we already know who won.

To Davy Jones Below - Carola Dunn*
I like a 1920s set murder mystery as much as the next person, but this was disappointing - humourless, suspense less and slow.

Free e-books @JYHS Library

As a member of the school library you are a member of West Lothian Libraries (ask Mrs.Wilson for your borrower barcode) - find out more about borrowing eBooks here

Why I think Watchmen is the best graphic novel in existence by Grant

Besides being one of Time Magazine's 'Top 100 Novels Ever Written' the Watchmen series has enormous fan following. So big in fact that it's famous 'smiley blood spatter' has become an iconic part of pop culture and is referenced in movies, TV and even other graphic novels.

Watchmen was originally published by DC Comics between 1986 and 1987, written by Alan Moore with the iconic art being provided by artist Dave Gibbons and colourist John Higgins. Watchmen is beautifully drawn and well written and is, in my opinion, like the Holy Bible of comic book fiction.

Almost every fantasy or sci-fi graphic novel written since Watchmen was first published has taken at least a bit of inspiration from the book, yet, Watchmen still stays its own book - unique to any other.

What makes the Watchmen novel unlike any other comic book or graphic novel is its complexity, in its narrative and its political, moral and ethical commentary on war, injustice and the value of human life. Are our doings throughout history and in everyday life are truly justified? If we do something for the 'greater good' do we really consider the impact on all dimensions of life and reality? Is it better to tell ourselves and others the same lie in order to keep balance or should we tell the cold, unwanted truth to sustain innocence and morals?

Basically you could apply and compare this book to any political, moral or ethical situation on Earth right now (especially right now) and you'd find more similarities than differences.