Meet the Ladies behind the ABAs …
Amanda Phelan is the Librarian at Worthing High School and has been working at the school for over 8 years. She is very proud of her library at WHS, housing all the most up-to-date reads that students can’t wait to devour. The Book Clubs meet regularly for all years, staff and parents, it really is a lovely environment to be part of. Amanda has had many bestselling authors visiting, to name a few: Chris Bradford, Cathy Cassidy, C J Daughery, Juno Dawson, Charlie Higson, Simon Mayo, Sophie McKenzie, Louise Rennison and Darren Shan. Not to mention all the wonderful authors her students have met at the ABA presentation evenings.
In her spare time Amanda likes nothing more than sitting on the beach outside her house reading whilst Tinka (her crazy Springer Spaniel) digs holes and buries stones.
Her students love the ABA’s as they get to be involved right from the beginning. They excitedly wait for the book recommendations to arrive from the publishers and discuss which ones they would like to see on the shortlist. Each year more WHS parents have been reading along, which is a fantastic thing, as the presentation evening turns into a great family affair.
Louise Guile is the Librarian at St Andrew’s CE School for Boys and has been working there for nearly 14 years. She, too, is proud of her library and the great selection of reading material it provides for the students; she is adamant that even the most reluctant reader will find something of interest in there to read. Students meet regularly and are thrilled when the new ABA book list is announced, eager to be part of the selection process and share their favourites with the rest of the St Andrew’s community. Louise has had the pleasure of welcoming a variety of authors to St Andrew’s over the years, including Darren Shan, Joe Craig, Chris Bradford, Derek Landy and Andrew Hammond and has been involved with joint school author visits by Charlie Higson, Simon Mayo, Eoin Colfer and Juno Dawson.
In her spare time, Louise enjoys reading, naturally, especially crime thrillers, and walking her little dog Robbie. Louise is very proud to be part of the ABA’s, and all that it has achieved, and hopes all the schools involved enjoy participating in them as much as she and her students do.
Rachel Johnson is the Librarian at Shoreham Academy, she has been at the school for nearly 14 years and is often fond of saying she’d get “less for murder”. A passionate advocate of encouraging young people to read for pleasure, Rachel is at the forefront of any and all literacy based activities/competitions that occur in her school. Get Caught Reading, Drop Everything and Read (DEAR) Day and Matching the Shelfie-to-the-Selfie are just a few of the events she runs every year. Working closely with Waterstones in Brighton, Rachel ensures her students have a steady supply of wonderful and inspiring authors visiting them every year.
In her spare time, Rachel is a Scout Leader with 1st Hove Scouts and can often be found rampaging around the Downs or camping in some dark, dank woodland with her many, many scouts. As well as scouting Rachel is an active member of her local Am-Dram group, and can frequently be found back stage a various productions bossing people around (whispering though, obviously) in her role as Stage Manager or Props Mistress.
On starting the ABAs six years ago she felt that, at the time, the young students in her community were mostly unrepresented by young people’s book awards. She now believes that the ABAs have given her students, and all those who take part a voice that is being heard. She is looking forward to the ABAs getting bigger and better every year, and would like to thank all those people who have helped them get this far.
Sally Baker is the Librarian at Durrington High School and has been running the Learning Resources Area for 10 years. She loves getting the chance to work with students at the school and relishes the chance to help them find “THE book” that turns them into an avid reader. She runs a huge library and is really proud of how active her students are in talking with her about what they want to see on the shelves and listening to her recommendations. “We have a great reading ethos at the school and our Book Club really enjoy working their way through the short and longlisted ABA books”.
Having worked for the Public Library previously, she has a wide range of experience in helping young people develop a love for reading; from dressing as Maisie Mouse for Baby Rhyme Time activities – “One of the best weeks of my life!” – to meeting some amazing Authors through school events, Sally always has her head in a book and tries not to spoil the endings for others even when they are really good and all she wants to do is talk about them!
When she’s not at school Sally can be found walking on the beach or the downs with her dog, Newt, or snuggled up watching a film or trying to read a book while the football’s on! She really loves things with Zombies in, and hates it when animals get hurt in stories – She still can’t forgive Patrick Ness for Manchee!