Man Booker Prize Shortlist 2017 Announced

The time has finally come…the Man Booker Prize Shortlist has now been announced.

We can’t wait to get stuck into these texts, it’s going to be a close one!

The Man Booker Prize Shortlist for 2017:

4321 by Paul Auster (Faber & Faber)

A 20th-century epic and Auster’s first novel in seven years, which sees one hero lead four lives.

man-booker-prize-shortlist-4321

History of Wolves by Emily Fridlund (Weidenfeld & Nicolson, Orion Books)

In this novel, a teenager struggles to come of age in a world of religious zealots and predatory teachers.

man-booker-prize-shortlist-wolves

Exit West by Mohsin Hamid (Hamish Hamilton, Penguin Random House)

A genre-blurring piece, in which a couple leave an unnamed city in search of a new life.

man-booker-prize-shortlist-west

Elmet by Fiona Mozley (JM Originals, John Murray)

The debut novel by a medieval history student from the University of York examines post-Brexit Britain.

man-booker-prize-shortlist-elmet

Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders (Bloomsbury)

Master of the short story, this is Saunders’ first novel. A tale of great formal daring, set in the cemetery where Abraham Lincoln mourns his son.

man-booker-prize-shortlist-lincoln

Autumn by Ali Smith (Hamish Hamilton, Penguin Random House)

Set just after the EU referendum, this post-Brexit novel is a poignant exploration of the way we experience time.

man-booker-prize-shortlist-autumn

So there you have it, the Man Booker Prize Shortlist for 2017! Thinking of reading any of the above texts since the shortlist has been announced?

We’d love to hear your thoughts – just leave a comment below or drop us a tweet.

The Boomerang Team.

National Read a Book Day: 5 Classics We’re Reading

We’re celebrating National Read a Book Day with a little look at 5 literary classics…have you read any of these?

1) Rebecca – Daphne Du Maurier

First published in 1938, Du Maurier’s novel is a fantastic thriller, which tells the tale of a young woman who falls deeply in love with the charming but mysterious Maxim de Winter. On moving to Manderley, she begins to discover that everything is not as it seems. Who is Rebecca?

national-read-a-book-day-rebecca

2) The Picture of Dorian Gray – Oscar Wilde

A masterpiece of the 19th Century, Wilde explores complex themes of duality, Aestheticism and self-indulgence in this novel. A mixture of horror, philosophy, suspense and fantasy, this beautifully written book will force you to question your own morality. How much would you be prepared to sacrifice for eternal youth and beauty?

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Ben Barnes as Dorian Gray in the 2009 film adaptation.

3) Brighton Rock – Graham Greene

Set in the 30s, Brighton Rock is a British murder thriller, set in – you guessed it – Brighton. Exploring deeply moral issues through a harsh study of violence, love and identity, this novel follows the life of anti-hero, Pinkie, a merciless gang-leader. What does the title of the book mean, we hear you ask?

national-read-a-book-day-brighton-rock

4) 1984 – George Orwell

Now you’ll definitely have heard of this one and it certainly makes an appearance on the majority of ‘top books to read’ lists but you might be surprised how few people have actually read it. A dark, dystopian novel published in 1949, it remains moving and fascinatingly relevant to this day. Will it have you looking over your shoulder? Big Brother is watching you!

national-read-a-book-day-1984

5) The Black Cat – Edgar Allan Poe

It’s difficult to pick just one of Poe’s stories but his short story, The Black Cat (1843), encapsulates the suspense, horror and insanity that pours through his writing. When we talk about unreliable narrators, we often (and rightly so) think of The Catcher in the Rye’s Holden Caulfield, however Poe was actually an earlier master of this narrative style. A chilling gothic horror, have a read of this if you dare…

national-read-a-book-day-edgar-allan-poe

We’d love to hear your thoughts on our 5 picks! Which books would you add? Contact us here or message us via Twitter 🙂

The Boomerang Team.

5 Things You Didn’t Know About Frankenstein: Happy Birthday Mary Shelley!

On this day in 1797, Mary Shelley, author of Frankenstein, was born. So in celebration, we’ve put together a list of 5 things you didn’t know about Frankenstein – or maybe you did know, in which case we salute you.

1) Mary got the idea from a dream

5 things you didn't know about frankenstein - cover

In true Gothic style, Mary Shelley claimed that the horrific tale of Frankenstein came to her in a dream, writing, “When I placed my head upon my pillow, I did not sleep…I saw the pale student of unhallowed arts kneeling beside the thing he had put together...On the morrow I announced that I had thought of a story…making only a transcript of the grim terrors of my waking dream.”

2) Many thought her husband Percy Bysshe Shelley wrote the book

5 things you didn't know about frankenstein - percy shelley

In a time when writing wasn’t deemed an appropriate profession for a woman, Frankenstein was initially published anonymously. Many believed that Mary’s husband Percy had written the book. Whilst it is true that Percy, a renowned writer and academic, did contribute to the text, the true extent of his involvement remains unknown.

3)Mary was only 18 years old when she wrote Frankenstein

5 things you didn't know about frankenstein skeleton

For a novel that has stood the test of time – circa 200 years and still counting – it might come as a surprise that Mary Shelley was only 18 years old when she wrote it!

Well now we feel productive…

4) Considered the first science fiction novel

5 things you didn't know about frankenstein - science

Usually thought of as a horror, Frankenstein is actually often considered by critics to be the first science fiction novel. It may not contain aliens and space ships but the concepts are certainly scientific and futuristic.

Will this make you see the novel in a different light?

5) Frankenstein was born out of a horror story contest

5 things you didn't know about frankenstein - monster

During a trip to Switzerland with future husband Percy Shelley and friend Lord Byron, the story goes that the three of them were stuck inside one evening. Lord Byron came up with a competition in which he challenged each person to tell a horror story.

Mary Shelley described the base idea of Frankenstein, describing a re-animated corpse and a scientist. This short story was to eventually become a novel!

So that was our list of 5 things you didn’t know about Frankenstein Drop us a tweet – have you got anymore to add? and let us know 🙂

Boomerang Team.

Are Our Children Spending Too Much Time Online?

With the summer holidays well underway, a lot of parents may be noticing that their children are increasingly turning to the Internet for entertainment. The ‘million-dollar question’, as it were, is are our children spending too much time online?

In a recent interview with The Observer, children’s commissioner for England, Anne Longfield, has warned parents that they must intervene to stop children overusing social media and consuming time online ‘like junk food’.

too-much-time-online-social-media-internet

So is there such a thing as too much time online?

Well, it is no secret that Internet use has massively increased in recent years, particularly amongst young people. Of course, whether this is a good or bad thing is somewhat harder to determine.

Longfield has attacked the new methods social media giants such as Snapchat and Instagram are using to draw children into spending more time looking at tablet and smartphone screens.

She stated that parents should ‘step up’ and be proactive in preventing their children from binging on the Internet during the summer holidays.

too-much-time-online-social-media-instagram

A healthy Internet diet

As part of a campaign to help parents regulate children’s Internet use, Longfield has suggested that time online should be balanced in the same way that parents regulate children’s diets, saying, ‘it’s something that every parent will talk about especially during school holidays – that children are in danger of seeing social media like sweeties, and their online time like junk food.’

This is an interesting comparison, especially in a time where we are now seeing the promotion of healthy eating all around us.  Longfield points out that ‘when phones, social media and games make us feel worried, stressed and out of control, it means we haven’t got the balance right. With your diet, you know that, because you don’t feel that good. It’s the same with social media.’

too-much-time-online-social-media-junk-food

Over to you

What do you think? Should we be painting an unhealthy diet and excessive Internet use with the same brush? Reports indicate that children aged five to fifteen are spending 15 hours a week online.

Will you be monitoring the Internet use in your household over the summer? We’d love to know your thoughts on this! Just drop us a tweet  or leave a comment below.

The Boomerang Team.

Man Booker Prize Longlist 2017 Announced

It’s one of our favourite times of year again – the announcement of the Man Booker Prize Longlist!

After last year’s winner Paul Beatty wowed critics with his daring novel, The Sellout, we can’t wait to find out who will be awarded the acclaimed prize this year.

With an excellent list of authors nominated, it’s going to be a close one!

The Man Booker Prize Longlist for 2017:

4321 by Paul Auster (Faber & Faber)

A 20th-century epic and Auster’s first novel in seven years, which sees one hero lead four lives.

man-booker-prize-longlist-4321

Days Without End by Sebastian Barry (Faber & Faber)

Barry explores national identity and self-renewal with this novel, as two young soldiers find intimacy amid the horrors of war.

man-booker-prize-longlist-days

History of Wolves by Emily Fridlund (Weidenfeld & Nicolson, Orion Books)

In this novel, a teenager struggles to come of age in a world of religious zealots and predatory teachers.

man-booker-prize-longlist-wolves

Exit West by Mohsin Hamid (Hamish Hamilton, Penguin Random House)

A genre-blurring piece, in which a couple leave an unnamed city in search of a new life.

man-booker-prize-longlist-west

Solar Bones by Mike McCormack (Canongate)

A family man’s ‘Day of the Dead’ in County Mayo after the boom and bust.

man-booker-prize-longlist-solar

Reservoir 13 by Jon McGregor (4th Estate, HarperCollins)

McGregor’s first novel for seven years. Formal experimentation gives way to a subtle study of the effects of a disappearance on a village’s inhabitants.

man-booker-prize-longlist-reservoir

Elmet by Fiona Mozley (JM Originals, John Murray)

The debut novel by a medieval history student from the University of York examines post-Brexit Britain.

man-booker-prize-longlist-elmet

The Ministry of Utmost Happiness by Arundhati Roy (Hamish Hamilton, Penguin Random House)

This is Roy’s first novel in 20 years – memorable tale involving a vast cast.

man-booker-prize-longlist-ministry

Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders (Bloomsbury)

Master of the short story, this is Saunders’ first novel. A tale of great formal daring, set in the cemetery where Abraham Lincoln mourns his son.

man-booker-prize-longlist-lincoln

Home Fire by Kamila Shamsie (Bloomsbury)

A suspenseful tale of an immigrant family driven to pit love against loyalty, with devastating consequences.

man-booker-prize-longlist-home

Autumn by Ali Smith (Hamish Hamilton, Penguin Random House)

Set just after the EU referendum, this post-Brexit novel is a poignant exploration of the way we experience time.

man-booker-prize-longlist-autumn

Swing Time by Zadie Smith (Hamish Hamilton, Penguin Random House)

In this novel, two childhood friends from London follow diverging paths. Believed to Smith’s finest piece yet.

man-booker-prize-longlist-swing

The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead (Fleet, Little, Brown)

A thrilling tale of escape from a deep south plantation, which takes in terror, beauty and the history of human tragedy.

man-booker-prize-longlist-underground

So there you have it, the Man Booker Prize Longlist for 2017! Have you read any of the above texts?

We’d love to hear your thoughts – just leave a comment below or drop us a tweet.

The Boomerang Team.

Boomerang Digital Homework Planner: New Features for 2017!

So what’s new for the Boomerang Digital Homework Planner?

Our Boomerang Digital team have been working extremely hard this past year to make the Boomerang Digital Planner better than ever.

So it’s time to give you an update!

Boomerang Digital Homework Planner infographicBringing schools closer together

Our connectivity is better than ever with the Digital Planner System bringing teachers, students and parents closer together.

Teachers can send assignments to students, which will show up on their planner.

Parents can see all assignments set for the student.

School admin can share school events with everyone.

Better for everyone!

 

boomerang-digital-homework-planner-appMobile app

Yep that’s right, we’ve got an app for mobile and tablet, making it super easy for students to upload homework tasks and manage their to-do lists.

We’ve listened to your feedback and recently updated our app so that it now enables students to attach images to personal tasks from the device image library or camera.

Pupils can also now easily download files from teachers, as well as view their grades and any feedback on completed assignments.

 

boomerang-digital-homework-planner-push-notifications

Mobile app – introducing push notifications!

Coming very very soon…push notifications for our Digital Homework Planner!

We’re excited about this one because we want the homework process to be as smooth and seamless as possible.

Push notifications will ensure that students are immediately notified once new tasks or events are created.

They will also be able to receive important messages from teachers.

 

 

boomerang-digital-homework-planner-quiz-centreQuiz centre – watch this space…

We’re working on a bespoke Boomerang Quiz Centre, launching soon for 2017.

Teachers will be able to create custom multiple choice quizzes, complete with images and videos.

A great way to encourage interactive learning 🙂

 

 

We’ll keep you posted on more updates to the Boomerang Digital Homework Planner as they come!

The Boomerang Team.

Happy Birthday iPhone! Celebrating The Big 10 With Some Interesting Smartphone Facts

With smartphones so embedded in our culture, it’s easy to forget that Apple’s iPhone turns 10 this week! Read on for some smartphone facts you might not already know…

Creating a game-changer

In 2007, just 10 years ago, Apple launched the iPhone and co-founder Steve Jobs (1955-2011) revolutionised the way we use mobile phones. smartphone-facts-steve-jobs

Jobs and his team came up with the idea of combining a touch-screen with a computer – essentially creating a hand-held computer without a physical keyboard or mouse.

The original iPhone was a very different model to the ones we know today; it couldn’t record videos, had no flash and lacked fully fledged apps.

It did however, change the smartphone market forever, evolving into one of the most successful product lines in the world.

We’ve pulled together a few smartphone facts to celebrate the iPhone’s birthday:

1) Everyone’s a photographer

smartphone-facts-camera

Thanks to the iPhone (and subsequent smartphones), we all have access to great, pocket-sized cameras.

Add this to the increasing popularity of social media and you can see that photography has become a key part of everyday life.

2) Less chewing, more texting

smartphone-facts-chewing-gum

According to research conducted by Euromonitor International, smartphones are responsible for declining chewing gum sales.

How, you ask?

Consumers waiting in supermarket checkout lines are surrounded by ‘impulse buys’ like chewing gum. However thanks to gadgets like the iPhone, many of us are opting to get our phones out, rather than look around at sweets and chewing gum while we’re queuing.

3) Fitting the Internet in your pocket

smartphone-facts-internet

This one’s pretty self-explanatory.

Thanks to smartphones, we can have access to the Internet wherever we go, without having to lug around a huge desktop computer.

The iPhone has had a massive effect on our lives when it comes to apps, videos, online shopping – you name it. Mobile Internet traffic has gone from strength to strength over a fairly short space of time.

4) In iPhone-Land, you never need to ask what time it is

smartphone-facts-time

The time on iPhone ads is always 09:41. This refers to the time that Steve Jobs announced the device.

Jobs timed his initial presentation to ensure that the time on the iPhone screen matched real time on the audience’s watches.

Yep, pretty meticulous!

5) Want to know Apple’s favourite musician?

smartphone-facts-bono

Did you know that the music icon once used for iPhone products is in fact the silhouette of U2 frontman Bono?

Of course there was also that time when all iPhone users (controversially) received a U2 album automatically…

 

Do you have any more iPhone facts for us? Comment below or tweet us if you do!

The Boomerang Team

School Planner 2017-18 Update

School Planner 2017-18 Update: What’s new?

Here at Boomerang Education, we consistently strive to bring pupils diary content that informs, excites and inspires.

This year has been no different.

In fact, we’re proud to say we’ve outdone ourselves!

The Boomerang School Planner 2017-18 will see the introduction of:

What’s Next Section

school-planner-2017-18-whats-next

This section of our new school planners is super useful for students of all ages. We want to give pupils all the necessary tools to making informed decisions about study, work and beyond.

That’s why this year, we are including a dedicated ‘what’s next’ school planner section. This has all sorts of tips and guidance to help students when it comes to making those potentially life-changing decisions.

Finance Info

school-planner-2017-18-finance

After visiting schools earlier in the year, we found that many pupils felt that they didn’t know enough about ‘student finance’.

By ‘student finance’ we mean all things money-related for students in secondary schools and sixth form colleges.

From money-saving tips, to information on the cost of further education, our finance snippets provide pupils with the information they asked us for.

Brand New Artwork

school-planner-2017-18-art

Last year our school planners featured ancient and traditional artwork, with the bold colours proving popular with pupils.

This year we are continuing to use bright, bold designs and have taken inspiration from patterns and art techniques from around the world.

From polka-dots to tartan, the six eye-catching designs vary week-to-week, ensuring that students always enjoy opening their planners.

Historical Anniversaries

school-planner-2017-18-history

Primary, secondary and sixth form students alike showed an interest in our 2016-17 historical anniversaries, so we’ve made sure to include a double page spread for 2017-18.

Pupils will be able to read about key historical events such as the assassination of Martin Luther King in 1968 and the publication of Frankenstein back in 1818.

Presented in the style of short newspaper articles, these pages give pupils bite-sized information on historical anniversaries which they are then more than welcome to research further in their own time.

 

This list is by no means exhaustive but we wanted to highlight a few of our favourites.

What do you think of our updates? Let us know! 

The Boomerang Team.

Did You Know These Facts About The Victorians?

  • We like to highlight important historical dates in Boomerang school planners and this week, we’re focusing on the Victorians.
  • Queen Victoria was born almost 200 years ago today, back in 1819.
  • As Queen of England for over 60 years, we thought we’d commemorate Victoria’s reign by bringing together a few facts about the Victorians that you may not know.

So here goes…

1) Queen Victoria gave us the white wedding dress

Queen Victoria

Although not the first to wear white on her wedding day, Queen Victoria was certainly the most influential.

With such a widely publicised wedding, her white lace dress was copied by brides across the country and thus she is often accredited with popularising this style.

2) Victorians wore black because of pollution

Image result for victorians wore black

Victorian fashion had many influences but one contributing factor to the wearing of black clothing was the heavy pollution.

Ever-present smog would often stain clothes and wearing black became an effective way of masking the discolouring.

3) They gave us creepy literature

victorian-fiction

From The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, to Dracula, the Victorian era produced beautifully chilling tales, often with a Gothic influence, that still impact the horror genre to this day:

The Raven – Edgar Allan Poe

Dracula – Bram Stoker

The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde – Robert Louis Stevenson

4) Freak shows were common

victorian-freak-show

A highly controversial but popular aspect of Victorian society, ‘freak shows’ featured ‘attractions’ such as deformed people and animals, uncommonly large or small performers and anything else deemed a ‘freak of nature’.

 

5) Female hysteria was an actual medical diagnosis

female-hysteria

Once a common medical diagnosis reserved solely for women, ‘hysteria’ was seen as a ‘disease of the womb’. Woman considered to have it, displayed symptoms such as insomnia, loss of appetite and even a ‘tendency to cause trouble’.

So what do you think of our facts? Do you have any others to add to our list?

Tweet us @BoomEdLtd to let us know! 🙂

The Boomerang Team.

GCSE Revision Tips: Beating the Exam Stress

Whether you’re already in the midst of the GCSE exam frenzy, or you’re worrying about exams coming up over the next few weeks, we’ve got loads of GCSE revision tips to get you through a potentially stressful period.

For more tips, take a look at at the Revision & Exam pages of our school planners.

Put down the coffee cup

  • One of the most important GCSE revision tips we can give you, is to keep hydrated. Your brain needs plenty of water and during revision, this will help with memory and concentration.
  • Did you know that on average, a fully grown man needs as much as 2 litres of water a day and a woman, 1.6 litres?
  • Avoid too much caffeine, as this will actually dehydrate you. Remember, this includes, coffee, coke and energy drinks to name a few.

GCSE-revision-tips-water

Get some sleep

  • Okay, this is easier said than done, especially when you probably have all sorts of exam-related worries going through your head.
  • If it helps, just think that sleep is when the brain turns what you’ve learnt into long-term memories – so a good night’s sleep is vital.
  • Even an extra hour in bed can make all the difference. You should be aiming for roughly 8 hour’s sleep every night, so try going to bed an hour or two earlier than usual.

GCSE-revision-tips-bed

You’re still allowed to have fun

  • Another important GCSE revision tip to remember is that you don’t have to lock yourself away for 12 hours, staring at your revision notes.
  • Instead, try making a revision timetable and allowing time for things like exercise, seeing friends, watching tv etc.
  • Planning ahead will help you avoid last minute cramming and you’ll still be able to do the things you enjoy.

GCSE-revision-tips-fun

Keep things in perspective

  • Try to remember that exams aren’t the be-all and end-all so don’t put so much pressure on yourself.
  • Think about how far you’ve already come and once you’ve done an exam, put it out of your head and focus on the next one.

If you’d like more advice, drop us an email and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can.

Image result for end of exam meme

We have faith in you!

The Boomerang Team x