Smart Study: How to Study Less and Get More

Smart Study: How to Study Less and Get More is a unique study skills graphic novel that teaches students how to develop good study habits.

Graphics and speech bubbles tell the story of Jane Genovese’s own personal experience of grappling with studies through high school and university to achieve great results.

As well as explaining healthy eating and the importance of regular sleep, the graphic novel shows how to use mind-mapping – a particularly effective technique for teenagers – and offers advice on managing stress levels through exercise and deep breathing.

Young reviewer, 15-year-old Shenton College student, Felia Veth, said:
Your comic wasn’t just true and heart spoken, it was also really funny and I can relate to it so much. I mean you could have just written all the advice down in monotone writing and drawn lifeless stick figures but by turning your experiences and advice into a witty comic I can now remember every bit of time saving info and advice. Thanks!

For a “Smart Study” information pack please send an email to

If you would like to preview sample pages or order copies of this
graphic novel (RRP: $14.95AUD), please visit

Youth Library Group London AGM

back: Tamsyn Murray, Tom Eglington front: Ferelith Hordon, Karen Robinson, Charlotte Arthur, Jo De Guia, Hilary Freeman, T.M. Alexander

On the 10th March, YLG London held their annual AGM at the Women’s Library.

After the AGM business had been completed, members had the chance to hear 4 fantastic authors from Piccadilly Press speak about their work. We heard about the Tribe series from T. M. Alexander, Tamsyn Murray told us about her debut novel ‘My so called afterlife’ , Hilary Freeman spoke about her latest book ‘Lifted’ and Tom Eglington spoke about his new book ‘The Spellbound Hotel’. The evening was a huge success with books sold and signed, many cupcakes eaten and not a pink cover in sight!

Fools Gold Competition Winner

The winner of the Teen Librarian/Dearne High Fools Gold Competition is Rebecca Jones from Wandsworth.

CONGRATULATIONS please get in touch with your address.

The School Library Commission, chaired by Baroness Estelle Morris, announces its intended lines of enquiry and calls on organisations and individuals interested in the future of school libraries to submit their views and ideas.

The School Library Commission chaired by Baroness Estelle Morris, a joint initiative between The Museums, Libraries and Archives Council (MLA) and the National Literacy Trust, is today (18 February 2010) announcing its intended lines of enquiry and is requesting schools, local authorities, education professionals and any organisation or individual who is interested in the future of school libraries to submit their views and ideas. The Commission aims to set a national agenda to ensure school libraries are delivering exceptional services to help young people reach their potential.

Teen Librarian Monthly: February 2010

The February edition of TLM is now available for download here

Shrink by Heather Morrall

Shrink is the story of sixteen year old Eloise Meehan and the difficulties she faces as a teenager with an eating disorder. The story takes place just as she is preparing to sit her GCSE exams. Eloise lives with her dad and although their relationship is a loving one trauma in the family’s past has put a massive strain on their relationship. As her father tries to rebuild his own life Eloise increasingly feels his actions are at the expense of her own wellbeing and has nowhere left to turn.

Eloise has caring friends but is unable to speak about the terrible events of her past even to those she feels closest too. As her eating disorder becomes more and more the focus of her life she realises she must seek support and begins therapy.

Eloise is a believable, likable character whose difficulties in facing her past are mirrored in her narration of the story as she takes the reader on a journey of revelation. Her illness and treatment are handled in a sensitive, yet candid and often surprising way as she negotiates the real life intricacies of NHS psychiatric treatment. The way in which Morrall conveys this keeps interest high and adds to the emotional pull of the story and the reader’s empathy with Eloise.

Shrink shows that difficulties happen to ‘normal’ families and solutions to problems are often not as straightforward as we might hope. Shrink is written in an adult style which compliments its subject matter and engages the reader throughout.
Review by Charlie Morris

Fool's Gold Feature Page

Click on the cover to find out about the Graphic Novel Fool’s Gold created by Teenagers at the Dearne High School in Yorkshire.

Fool's Gold Competition

Win a full-colour copy of Fool’s Gold signed by the pupils and staff of The Dearne High School that took part in its’ creation.

This is currently the only signed edition available to the public.

To enter the competition answer this simple question:

What is the name of the group of friends in Fool’s Gold? (the answer can be found in the second interview question)

Answers in the comments section below.

Competition rules:

This competition is global.
One entry per person.
The winner will be chosen at random using
The competition will close at the end of February 2010

Fool's Gold Buzz: from the Critics

“What’s most surprising about Fool’s Gold is how cohesive the overall storyline is. English teacher and project overseer Peter Shaw was able to involve such talent as GP Taylor, the writer of fantasy novel Shadowmancer, and former chief editor of 2000AD Alan McKenzie (whose book How to Draw and Sell Comic Strips, incidentally, should be any aspiring comic creator’s first stop), and it shows. Putting together such a project is no mean feat –mainstream publishers such as Marvel and DC often struggle under such lofty ambitions – and that this whopping 192 page volume exists at all is a credit to Mr Shaw and company.

Fool’s Gold is actually the second book by Dearne High, the first being Out of the Shadows: An Anthology of Fantasy Stories. I hope that it’s not the last such project from Dearne High, and that other schools are inspired to follow suit. As someone who has fought adamantly against genre and medium preconceptions, I genuinely believe that a generation of imaginative teenagers is being deterred from reading, and consequently writing, due to insipid and restrictive teaching.”

Carl Doherty

– –

“It’s not every day that you see a 130-page graphic novel produced by school children but Fool’s Gold is a notable exception. This book has come together through the collective efforts of the pupils and teachers of Dearne High, a Yorkshire school that’s trail-blazing new ways of interacting with its local community and the wider world.

You’ll have to alter your expectations about what a book by children might be like. Featuring a multi-layered story with additional material by a number of professional comic writers, artists, editors, photographers and novelists, this is an extraordinary feat of co-operation, merging real people from the school with local folklore and story telling. A phenomenal achievement.”

Andy Shaw of Grovel: Graphic novel news and reviews

Carousel: The Guide To Children’s Books:

“This graphic novel has been produced by pupils, between the ages 12 and 15, at Dearne High School in Rotherham. It features students, staff and current favourite authors in real situations. A first class production which many mainstream publishing houses would be delighted to have on their list. And a bargain price!”

Blog (Emm):
“The students have produced and starred in a graphic novel of such astounding quality that it is hard to believe that it was made by children.
Fool’s Gold is a graphic novel about books, learning, history and social responsibility.  It is a treasure hunt and ghost story that features the students themselves as the central characters.  At its heart, Fool’s Gold is an educational novel but it is far from boring; it is an exciting and interactive journey through history that broaches the main issues that children and young people had to face in the past.
The novel is an absolute gem.  Graphic novels have long been considered a less intelligent version of reading for pupils that found real books too hard to follow.  The students from The Dearne High have turned this notion on its head as the story-within-a-story tells of the organisation, planning and effort that goes into a collaborative effort such as this.  Far beyond the historical and social value of the story, the students are carrying the clear message that this is something that anyone can do…” 
It is no small measure of the success of this graphic novel that it has made me want to visit all of the locations that the children from The Dearne High visited and to learn more about the history of that time.  The fact that so many well known people volunteered their time to help with this project is impressive and also makes me want to learn more about them and their books. 
The description of the graphic novel says that it is a book written by students for students, but the quality is superb and I dare say that parents and other adults will want to read it, too.  I’m certainly not giving up my copy!”

The School Librarian Magazine – Rosemary Woodman

First: ‘The Book’
“This substantial graphic novel intersperses text chapters with chapters of strip cartooning and atmospheric digital imagery. Poetry, prose, photography and art are very effectively juxtaposed.”

Second: ‘The Creative Project’
“The story behind the book is an inspiration for secondary pupils, librarians and teachers looking for new ways to express creativity and to extend reading horizons.”

Comics Bulletin – Karyn Pinter

“Fool’s Gold is essentially a literary field trip. What a hell of a school project! I wish I had been able to write a comic for class–it sure beats book reports and standardized tests any day of the week. To be mentored on the project by some big name writers, including Bernard Cornwell, author of the Sharpe series, is also pretty cool. Helping out with the pencilling is Kevin Hopgood–a Marvel artist.

I’m pretty impressed–not just by getting some really cool people to help out with this comic, but by the kids who wrote it. When I say “kids,” I mean kids. The writers are all between 12 and 15 years old, and they’ve put together a graphic novel that is a very valiant effort–a very cool mix between a Harry Potter-esque mystery and paranormal investigation that centres on a mysterious sighting in a school of four ghosts (three sons and their father).

It is remarkable…that a school would give kids a chance like this to publish a comic. I wish any of the schools I attended had given students that option over the same old school newspaper or yearbook.”

Fools Gold Buzz: from the Writers

“It was so good to spend time with yourself and your students in Scarborough and Whitby.  I was amazed at their depth of understanding – obviously down to keen teaching.  I was so impressed with the last book by the school, I wanted to be involved.  Please pass my comment to the Head.  I visit hundreds of schools and your trip was one of the best organised I have ever been involved in.”

G.P. Taylor

“Many congratulations to all concerned on the publication of ‘Fool’s Gold.’  It’s great to see teenagers involved in such an inventive project – they obviously had great fun with it, and that’s something that shouldn’t be undervalued.  It was a terrific idea to include the graphic sections as well as more conventional text and the MSN conversations, and the whole thing is beautifully and professionally presented.  I hope ‘Fool’s Gold’ will give as much pleasure to its readers as it did to those who took part.  Thank you again for inviting me to contribute.”

Linda Newbery

“The book has arrived, and it looks fabulous.  I wish you every success with it, and want to congratulate everyone involved on a great team effort. Brilliantly done!”

Alison Weir

“Many thanks for my copy of Fool’s Gold: it is a quality production which I hope will sell many, many copies.  I’m proud to have played some small part in its creation.” 

Robert Swindells

“What makes Fool’s Gold unique, is the bold idea that somehow adults and children can co-exist in the same book, can be co-creators of a work of art; that journalism and poetry can co-exist with cartoon and photographs and songs and that somehow they can all be as important as each other. Many educators pay lip service to the idea of writing in different forms and styles and language registers and they reduce this to multiple choice questions and SATS-satisfying exercises.

In Fool’s Gold the excitement of writing is what makes the book tick, and what makes the book a constantly unfolding treasure box of styles and approaches.

And of course in the end it’s more than a book: as the head writes in his introduction: “Fool’s Gold has and will continue to act as a catalyst to increase students’ interest and enjoyment of reading and writing alongside the development of vital personal learning and thinking skills… vital to individual and collective success in our increasingly competitive global market.”

Or, to put it less elegantly: this is Pure Gold, not Fool’s Gold…”

Ian McMillan