Book Review: And Then There Were None

Submitted by Alice

And Then There Were None Classic Edition: Christie ...The book, And Then There Were None, by Agatha Christi is a murder mystery about ten people who are sent to a place called Soldier Island. None of the guests know each other, or why they were summoned there. On this island there is only one huge eerie mansion in which the guests are supposed to stay in. Inside, there are two things that catch everyone’s eye. The first object is a framed poem titled, Ten Little Soldier Boys. The piece explains how at the beginning of a mission there were ten soldiers. While on their journey, one after the other dies from a specific cause until there were eventually none left. The second things the guests quickly notice are ten clay soldier figures on a table.

Coincidentally, every night a person in the house is murdered. One by one, the people in the mansion die of the same causes as the soldiers in the poem, and every time someone perishes, one of the clay soldiers mysteriously disappears. The survivors constantly search for an escape, but somehow all sources of communication have been cut off. One by one, the people go mad, and one after the other gets killed until everyone is dead.

The ten main characters in this story are Vera, Justice, Armstrong, Philip, Blore, Emily, Anthony, MacArthur, and the two servants, Thomas and Ethel. At the beginning of the book all of the characters are excited to be on a supposed “vacation.” As people start to mysteriously die day by day, the guests become terrified, paranoid, and suspicious of each other. Some even go mad, and give up on trying to protect themselves. Overall, the feelings of the characters towards the end of the book are chaotic and maddening.

And Then There Were None is written in first person, and also has many unexpected twists and turns. This makes the tone of the book dark, mysterious, and horrific.

I love reading And Then There Were None by Agatha Christi because it is full of cliffhangers and clever plots, which never fail to entice me to read even more. It’s always the little things that make a book great.


Alice is in grade 7 and has volunteered her time as a library monitor.

Book Review: The Whispering Skull

Submitted by Emma

Lockwood & Co: The Whispering Skull

Book 2 in the Series

Review #166 // The Whispering Skull (Lockwood & Co. #2) – Jonathan ...

 Lockwood & Co, The Whispering Skull is a fictional story by Jonathan Stroud about a ghost hunting agency in an alternate Victorian London. Lockwood and Co get hired to exterminate the ghost of Edmond Bickerstaff, a Victorian doctor who was obsessed with communicating with the dead. Everything goes smoothly until the Bone Glass inside the coffin of Edmond Bickerstaff goes missing. Made by Bickerstaff from bones of the dead with ghosts trapped inside them, the Bone Glass allowed you to see the world of the dead. Now Lockwood and Co must risk their lives to get back the Bone Glass. with the help of a whispering skull in a jar, they eventually destroy the Bone Glass and set everything back to normal… for now.

Antony Lockwood, Lucy Carlyle and George Cubbins are the main characters in Lockwood and Co, The Whispering Skull. Antony Lockwood is the head of the agency and has a talent to see apparitions of ghosts. The other members of the team are Lucy Carlyle, who has the psychic power of listening to the memories of ghosts and George Cubbins who has both talents but is not very good at them.

The story is told by Lucy Carlyle in a first-person narrative. The tone of this novel is generally scary like in a ghost story, some mystery and a few bits of humor here and there. This is the kind of book where things happen fairly quickly, so you have to keep track of everything.

I enjoyed this novel for three reasons. The characters where expressive, funny and realistic, the plot was very thick with suspense which made me want to keep reading until the end and I enjoyed the whole ghost story feel to it.


Emma is in grade 7 and works as a library monitor. 

Diversity Audit Update


I have started carving out time to work on our Fiction section diversity audit. I met with a group of other teacher-librarians from elementary school around Vancouver a few weeks ago and we set out the beginning parameters of how we would support each other in this process.

The first thing we decided to do is to sit down with our fiction collections and remove titles that are no longer being read in order to a) make room for the new titles we are buying this year and b) make the audit a little easier by not doing research on titles that should probably no longer be on the shelves.

It’s true that some of our old novels are still good stories and only suffer from a dated cover design. In some cases, if I can convince a few of our older readers to read these books and then talk them up to their friends, we might be able to resurrect the lives of some titles. I have started showing the (big) pile of older stories to some classes (div 3 & div 1) and suggested that they peruse what’s on the way out. Some students have opted to read a few of the books and will report back. My library monitors and I will be making a series of displays of these books over the next few months so that all potential readers and books might find each other.

Keeping out eyes on the prize, below is an interview with an author who shares her experience growing up half Egyptian, half Filipino in the United States. It’s not exactly our Vancouver context, but I think some of the core sentiments are shared by some of our Quilchena students. I have only recently started speaking to a few students directly about diversity in our collection and admit I don’t know a lot about how they see themselves reflected, or not, in the books I offer them. More on that later.

Everyone’s Story Deserves to Be Told: Malaka Gharib’s Version of the American Dream

What to read next?

Nathaniel is a magician’s apprentice. His birthparents left him for the money. Now, he is forced to live a secretive life where magicians show no mercy, djinn are summoned in pentacles, and where your birth name must never, ever slip out. Welcome to the witty, complicated world of Jonathan Stroud’s The Amulet of Samarkand.

Nathaniel is an obedient, studious apprentice, with no experience with the outside world. His lessons? Reading, reading, reading, and yet more reading. With the three years’ worth of reading material his master ordered him to read, and the teachers who really do all the teaching, Nathaniel feels as if his master has taught him, well, nothing. But Nathaniel is a polite boy, and sticks to his reading without question, memorizing his lessons on magic with incredible speed.

Until one day, Nathaniel’s master calls for him, and Mrs. Underwood tells Nathaniel that his master had guests over, and wanted to show him off. Nathaniel had been excited, nervous, and scared, and was ready to shine. But what Nathaniel went through instead, was an alarming experience that he would never forget: being mortified by Simon Lovelace in front of dozens of magicians. Filled with childish hate, Nathaniel waits a whole year to cook up a sophisticated plan for revenge. But he can’t do it alone.

His plan? Stealing Lovelace’s Amulet of Samarkand. He knows exactly what he’ll do with the Amulet once obtained, and how he will come to stealing the Amulet. The one thing left he has to do is summon a demon, and charge him steal it. But summoning is not simple. Determined to get revenge, Nathaniel uses his knowledge to secretively summon Bartimaeus, a djinni with a hilarious sense of humor. But one thing seems to go wrong after the other, and when Bartimaeus discovers Nathaniel’s birth name, Nathaniel just might have to be smarter and craftier than ever before to get his sweet revenge.

Mostly written from Bartimaeus’s view, Jonathan Stroud created a magnificent story that really made me chuckle all the way to the last page. I really like the author’s use of footnotes, because they gave me a little background or meaning for some of the words that would otherwise leave me befuddled. The content in the book contains information on magic and wizards that you probably never heard of before. (Even I honestly did not know that dginn could be summoned, and used some of my knowledge from Disney’s Aladdin as a reference.) Anyway, this book was so much fun to read, and I recommend you read it if you like other fantasy books such as Kendra Kandlestar, Magyk, and Inkheart. The book always takes unsuspecting turns, and in the end, creates the unlikeliest of friendships. So what are you waiting for? I charge you to read the book!

*Hikari is a former Quilchena student and library monitor

What to read next?

Kiki Strike: Inside the Shadow City by Kirsten Miller


Are you a brave, witty girl, tired of boring Girl Scout meetings? Come join Kiki Strike and the Irregulars! (Or read the book rather.)

Ananka Fishbein is your average 12-year-old girl. Except for the fact her house in NYC has a built in library, and that she has the ability to see how a city might’ve looked like thousands of years ago. Normal right? Wrong.

When Ananka discovers a sinkhole right in front of her apartment building, things start to get really strange. A muddy, short figure comes out of the hole, and Ananka, as a courageous girl, goes down into the hole to check it out. Down there she discovers an underground world, undiscovered for countless years. Determined to find out more, she visits a nearby map store to see if they have any information. A mysterious lady shows her the Marble Cemetery instead, and Ananka spots the short black figure again. Could it be the same one as in the hole? And why does it seem so familiar?

When Ananka follows the creature, she finds an address to meet Kiki Strike, a mastermind detective girl with a dozen secrets. Ananka learns that Kiki is busy gathering a group of six super talented Girl Guides, called the Irregulars, to help her explore the Shadow City. But Kiki seems to have a different side plan, and it’s up to the Irregulars to sort it all out.

Join Ananka and the Irregulars as they explore the Shadow City, and get caught up in an adventure like never before.

Kiki Strike: Inside the Shadow City is probably one of my favourites in the Quilchena Library. Just when you think you pretty much know who’s good and who’s bad, the plot takes another twist, and keeps coming back to surprise you. There’s a lot of information in the story that often changes, so make sure you understand what’s happening when you read it. This book was cleverly written, and is a definite page-turner. If you like books about brave, unique girls and amazing adventures, this one is definitely for you.

*Hikari is a former Quilchena student and library monitor

What to read next?

True (…sort of) by Katherine Hannigan

I don’t usually read two books by the same author back-to-back. There are SO MANY books out there to read and I often want to move on to something new. However, when I finished Ida B by Katherine Hannigan and looked around for what to read next, I found myself choosing another book by the same author.

This story is unrelated to Ida B but still has Hannigan’s style. I appreciated the way she wrote about Delly, who starts to doubt that she is a good person because of how often she gets into trouble. It made me think of people I know who get into trouble a lot at school.

True (… sort of) is about Delly, who seems to fall into trouble more easily than she falls out of bed. Her heart is often in the right place and her spirit for adventure is strong but she acts before thinking about how her actions might look to others. This tendency tends to land her in hot water.
One day a new kid shows up in her class. Ferris Boyd is a mystery, but is maybe the only person who can save Delly from her terrible tendency for trouble. The problem is that Ferris Boyd may have a way deeper set of troubles than Delly can imagine.

What to read next?

Ida B by Katherine Hannigan

Ida B lives with her parents in her valley with her apple trees and her mountain and everything is perfect. Suddenly, everything changes. Ida’s mama gets sick and promises are broken and Ida’s heart turns small, and hard, and cold.

This story is told from Ida B’s perspective. Her voice and personality fill every part of the book and she made me laugh more than once. I really liked the way author Katherine Hannigan described Ida B’s emotions. The descriptions of how Ida B interprets the events in her life and her reactions to them are unlike other stories and seem very honest.

You will like Ida B. if you like quirky and independent characters who create their own adventures.

What to Read Today?

Counting by 7s by Holly Goldberg Sloan

Willow Chance is very, very smart. She has just started middle school when her life is turned upside down. Now she has to figure out how she is going to continue to go on living when nothing seems that important anymore. Luckily, hope comes from the oddest places.
7 reasons to read this novel (from the book jacket): Friendship, Oddballs, Hobbies, Laughing and Crying, Miracles, Family, and Willow Chance.

Mirrors and Windows

One of my goals this year (and for the next few years, probably) is to assess our fiction and picture book collections for balanced cultural representation. I want all students at Quilchena to see themselves reflected in the books they borrow from the library.

It’s really important for all our students to see themselves represented in a positive way in the stories they read, as well as in the current affairs and news they hear and see. There are some really amazing groups whose mandate is to promote diverse authors, illustrators and publishers, such as We Need Diverse Books. I will use the resources these groups provide to critically examine the range of stories we have at Quilchena.

This graphic is a representation of the state of the children’s publishing industry in 2018 from a US perspective. Read the article associated with the image

If you have a book that you’d like me to consider for our library collection, or if you come across a title currently in our collection that misrepresents a population, please let me know!