Student Showcase – Sharing Success Stories

Many of our Education Alumni have moved on to exciting new ventures and we always love to hear about their success stories and showcase the many achievements in their life after Cambridge.

Just as the Library Team have fond memories of supporting our past students throughout their time in Cambridge it is great to hear that they also have happy memories of their experience at the Education Faculty. It was through one such experience that ‘Cilla Lee-Jenkins’ was born.

S Tan book

“I wrote my debut novel, Cilla Lee-Jenkins: Future Author Extraordinaire during my time at Cambridge.  Every night, I’d put away dissertation work, close my laptop, and get into bed with my iPad to write more of Cilla’s adventures. The Cilla manuscript was finished and revised there, and on my phone during Uni 4 bus rides on rainy days! That’s not all that shaped Cilla- the manuscript was also informed by the lectures I heard, academic debates I had, and many conversations in the Faculty of Education Phd lounge. It was a pleasure to write it among such a vibrant, thoughtful community!”

Susan Tan (PhD)

Our students’ successes have made their way onto the Education Library #BookFaceFriday archive on Instagram, where we highlight creations from gems in our collection such as Kiran Millwood Hargrave’s debut novel, The Girl of Ink and Stars.

Girl of Ink & stars

They say the day the Governor arrived, the ravens did too. All the smaller birds flew backwards into the sea, and that is why there are no songbirds on Joya. Only huge, ragged ravens…

Forbidden to leave her island, Isabella Riosse dreams of the faraway lands her father once mapped. When her closest friend disappears into the island’s Forgotten Territories, she volunteers to guide the search. As a cartographer’s daughter, she’s equipped with elaborate ink maps and knowledge of the stars, and is eager to navigate the island’s forgotten heart. But the world beyond the walls is a monster-filled wasteland – and beneath the dry rivers and smoking mountains, a legendary fire demon is stirring from its sleep. Soon, following her map, her heart and an ancient myth, Isabella discovers the true end of her journey: to save the island itself. –

Winner of the Waterstones Children’s Prize 2017 and the British Book Awards Children’s Book of the Year, a Financial Times Book of the Year, twice-Waterstones Children’s Book of the Month, nominated for the CILIP Carnegie Award, shortlisted for the Jhalak Prize and the Branford Boase Award.

Both this award winning debut and Kiran’s latest novel, The Island at the End of Everything,  can be found in our Children’s Fiction collection.

The Island at the End of Everything

Kiran Millwood Hargrave (BA Education with English & Drama)


Another Alumni publication which has been nominated for a literary award and proudly presented in our Children’s Fiction collection is The Living Memory by Emma Dyer and Tim Byrne 

“The Living Memory is a timeslip/historical fantasy novel set in Victorian London and was longlisted for the Times/Chickenhouse Children’s fiction competition in 2017”

Emma Dyer (PhD)

The Living Memory Emma Dyer

This online interview with both Emma and Tim discusses writing the book and their ideas and inspiration: The Magic of Literature, Ancestry and Co-authoring: An Interview with Tim Byrne and Emma Dyer, Creators of The Living Memory.


The talents of our Education Alumni cover more than children’s fiction, as shown in this stunning book of poetry by Sarah Caulfield, available in our Poetry studies section here


Sarah Caulfield (BA Education with English & Drama)


With the long lazy summer evenings upon us it is hard to know what to choose to read first. If you don’t fancy fiction or poetry why not read Richard Brock’s book on Targeted Teaching.

Targeted Teaching

“The idea for Targeted Teaching arose because my colleagues and I observed that, whilst the authors of  teacher training books often advocated their interpretation of ‘best practice’ in a given context, our experience of teaching was that different strategies worked at different times and with different classes. Therefore, rather than offering a single approach to, for example, differentiation, behaviour management or questioning, the book provides a collection of different strategies that a teacher might experiment with and adapt to suit their own classrooms. We hope that trainee teachers and more experienced practitioners seeking to develop their practice will use the book as an easily accessible catalogue of teaching strategies.”

Richard Brock (PhD)

Don’t forget that you can keep up to date with all new publications in the Education Library via our Pinterest board.


Will you be my borrower?

Chocolates, roses, and secret admirers are traditionally associated with Valentine’s Day but what about books? Hopefully you will have seen our friendly books dancing their way across the Library window this week – if you missed them, check our Facebook page for pictures. The Faculty Library Team love matchmaking students with their perfect book, in print or digital – with over 55,000 items in the collection our expert knowledge can save you time & effort. Here are some more suggestions for your book blind date – see below for a variety of titles to spark your interest or use in the classroom:

teachinglearningloving Teaching, learning, and loving: reclaiming passion in educational practice edited by Liston, D. & Garrison, J.

This essay collection is filled with interesting ideas from scholars on the connections between reason and emotion in teaching and learning and is relevant to teachers of all age groups as well as researchers, educators, and policy makers. You love what you do, we know that, but this book will help you figure out why.

Find this book at 371 LIS   elephant

The elephant in the classroom: helping children learn and love maths by Jo Boaler

This offers suggestions on how to teach maths well, plus how to help children in the home, with a new approach that teaches children to reason and problem-solve. If you’re looking for new ways to engage learners in your primary or secondary maths classroom, this could be the book for you!

Find this book at 510/7 BOA

Educational resources are specifically for use within schools and as teaching aids. These texts are distinguished by a yellow classmark label on the spine as well as being displayed on the catalogue like this: edres forest

Forest of feelings: understanding and exploring emotions by Carol Holliday and Jo Browning Wroe

This is a resource to help explore and understand emotions with children. The book follows Ben’s journey through the Forest of Feelings, where he encounters the emotions of anger, sadness, fear, jealousy and happiness. This resource includes an introduction to understanding and exploring children’s emotions, and advice on how to best encourage each child’s emotional development and promote emotional well-being in children. It includes teacher’s notes, activities and circle time ideas centred on the emotions found within each chapter.

Find this book at 920/72 WRO (yellow label) feelings

The feelings artbook by Ruby Radburn

This resource provides activities and worksheets to promote emotional literacy through the medium of drawing, helping anyone who spends time with children. The book is organised into three sections: self-esteem, emotions and empathy. These activities work to encourage a positive sense of self in children, to help them identify and define a wide range of feelings and to consider the feelings and preferences of others. All activities include aims, outlines and follow up ideas and can be download from the accompanying CD-ROM.

Find this book at 920/7 RAD (yellow label)

The Education Library holds an extensive collection of children’s literature and these selections are perfect for brightening up a grey February day! Guess_How_Much_I_Love_You_Cover_Art

Guess how much I love you by Sam McBratney

Always guaranteed to bring a tear to the eye of any adult reader and to prompt many laughs and cries of again from children, this is a classic children’s book which is a lovely bedtime read.

Find this book under MCBRATNEY in our children’s fiction section.

LoveThatDog Love that dog by Sharon Creech

This is a heart warming story of Jack, his dog, his teacher and words. His teacher inspires him to be able to express himself and tell the story of his beloved dog.

Find this book under CREECH in our children’s fiction section.

Which title will you be taking home? Tell us which Education books you love most ( or join us on Monday 16th February for a slice of cake in exchange for your recommendations!

Photo by aubergene @ Flickr

The story of children’s fiction: organising a special collection

The Education Faculty Library team are always discussing and exploring ways that we can make our physical & electronic resources more user friendly & easily accessible to our student groups and academics. We have a growing collection of children’s fiction which spans from early years to young adult and is organised in alphabetical order by the author’s surname. We have separate sections for short stories, poetry & fairytales but we weren’t sure that one sequence of material for the main collection was the most helpful way it could be organised.

We discussed the following ideas: could we separate the books by theme? Or should we divide them by reader ability or by the age of the aimed readership? Should we split picture books from the rest of the collection, and display them face on to facilitate browsing – the spines of these books are often so thin that they become ‘invisible’ on the shelves. If we did that should we then separate out fiction books aimed at primary and secondary school children too?

We took a selection of the books from authors with surnames beginning with ‘a’ and tried to categorise them according to the above criteria and encountered our first problem: what constitutes a picture book and how does this differ from books aimed at younger readers? It also quickly became apparent that it was going to be difficult to split the collection into primary and secondary subsections. After some discussion, we realised that our existing knowledge of the collection was not specialised enough for the task and so we asked one of our Children’s Literature PhD students, Ashley Wilson, for advice.

Ashley’s response:Wilson photo

“When Lauren contacted me about children’s fiction, I was just working on a talk to give to Year 10 students about children’s literature research. In that lecture I had the students read a picture book in pairs, and then answer several questions I had prepared, including ‘What age level is this book appropriate for?’ This question can be controversial in children’s literature research. It’s a pragmatic question in terms of teacher training: what level reading is this? Will all of the students in my classroom be able to read it, or just the higher achieving ones? For this reason I wanted to include it in a lecture aimed toward potential education undergraduates.

In research, we often find that picture books are pushed to the side when it comes to the actual child once they reach a certain age and ability level. In reality, these books offer a chance for the child to not only practice reading words, but also read images, something that in today’s visual culture happens all the time, from advertisements on the sides of buses to the new Captain America film, and everything in-between. Even the simplest picture book text-wise can have a lot to offer a reader of all ages and abilities, and as was pointed out by one of the Library team, Amy, certain picture books can address difficult or scary topics that might be more appropriate for more mature children.

Though the picture book and the YA novel are certainly two different kinds of fiction, separating the two runs the risk of mimicking what is done in the real world all too often, withholding the picture book from anyone who is not a young child.”

Following Ashley’s comments we decided to keep the collection in one sequence and instead to concentrate our efforts on producing displays on different themes to improve accessibility – for example we are currently displaying a selection of books Shortlisted for Awards:

Please click for more details

For those of you who haven’t already discovered our lovely Children’s Literature collection you will find it in the Library on the lower ground floor behind the Issue & Enquiry Desk – the themed displays are on the bookcase on the curving ramp.