The verdict from John Paul College is in …

The JPC Older Readers Nomination for the Book of the Year is When Rain Turns to Snow by Jane Godwin.

Our team felt this book relatable and they could connect with the subplots of for example, friendships, online social situations, gossips. They felt it was realistic for the age group represented in the book.

They felt hooked in from the beginning.  They liked the way several themes were embedded without direct reference.

They questioned some decisions that the character Reed made, whilst realising that for the plot to go the way it did, those decision made sense in the storyline.

They found it charming the way the chapter headings related to the chapters. It was a good length, not overly complicated on the surface and yet still complex when it is closely considered. They appreciated the ending as satisfying.  

Our Process

Here is the outline of the process our team followed to choose the book that we thought was most worthy of the Older Reader Book Of the Year.

At our school, students were invited to participate in the CBCA Shadow Judging Team. A group of 8 students signed up. We established a Microsoft Team to communicate within the group. We also met (when onsite) a few lunchtimes to share our thoughts on the books and to discuss the way the creative responses could be constructed.

During remote learning situations, the Microsoft Team, became a valuable way to share information and meet online. Our book thoughts were recorded in shared documents.

Our deadline for reading and voting was this week. A survey form was developed asking students to vote for their top three novels according to the criteria suggested in the CBCA Shadow Judging Guidelines. Students voted and I was able to collate their answers to produce our nominated winner. 

Had we been onsite, we no doubt would have had further conversations to thrash out the value of each novel, however for this year, collation of votes was the best option in the end, given our previous conversations in person and on Microsoft Teams. 

To begin the Creative projects, we held a workshop afternoon and collaborated on the projects, allocating partnerships to complete the projects according to the common views on themes to represent and our insights into the novels.

Once we went back into lockdown, completing the projects posed some difficulties. For example, one partnership was constructing a hard copy of a book – and each partner had one part of the book. Thankfully they communicated and were able to join their two pieces together in a drop off parcel scenario. Then, it was decided to film that piece of work to submit to you (Look out for it when it is finished).

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