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Discovering another world in books

04 July 2016

Books can open your child’s mind to diverse perspectives, an imaginative adventure, and even a fictional universe. For this reason, several Nord Anglia teachers decided to create the Global Library, a community of book lovers where students can talk about their favourite books and bond with fellow students in other countries about their passion for reading. 

  • Global Library blog

English and history teacher, David Robinson, from Nord Anglia International School Hong Kong, has been an international teacher for 10 years. His experience as an international educator from the Scottish Highlands spans across the US, Japan, Australia, China and Hong Kong. As an expat living far away from home, David first found a community of book lovers in Beijing, China, where he came up with the idea of the Global Library.

We sit down with David to learn more about the Global Library, a feature of Nord Anglia Education’s Global Campus, and how it offers students a world of imagination in often unfamiliar lands.

What is the Global Library?

The Global Library is a worldwide reading club designed to inspire Nord Anglia students to read lots of beautiful and beguiling books from all over the world. They can then share their reflections and responses with their global classmates and authors.

How and when did you come up with Global Library idea?

In Beijing, I ran a Battle of the Books group and I witnessed that through creating common reading experiences, students would build engagement with the books through word of mouth. Students would also push themselves to read a broader range of challenging books than if they were just selecting books to read individually.

The success from Battle of the Books inspired me to run a similar scheme on Global Campus while taking a Nord Anglia University Online Study Course. I was joined by Becky Bailey from the British International School of Charlotte and Kristin Teethers from the British School of Washington, and together, with the support of the Education Team, we put together the first Global Library last year.

What was the intention of creating the Global Library?

To create and connect a global community of enthusiastic, open-minded, and ambitious readers.

How did you choose the list of books?

We used a mixture of books recommended by students, books we had seen students engage with in the past, books recommended by teachers and librarians, books which had won various children’s book awards, and books which we just loved ourselves and wanted to share with others.

Why is reading important for childhood development?

Reading literally transforms lives. It boosts academic achievement in all subject areas and is proven to improve empathy and understanding, aids concentration, improves creativity and problem solving and even helps kids to sleep. If students develop a habit of reading widely for pleasure when they are young, this will develop into a life-long habit that will reward them in ways too diverse to list here.

What was your favourite book as a child/student?

My favourites were the original Winnie the Pooh (not the Disney version), The Wind in the Willows, comics like The Beano and The Dandy and anything by Roald Dahl. I still like all of them to this day. In fact, Winnie the Pooh is on the new Global Library list and one of our authors Barry Hutchison also writes for The Beano!  

How is this reading list different from the reading lists you grew up with?

Often reading lists only include fiction, but we’ve deliberately included non-fiction, poetry and graphic novels in our list to offer the full range of reading experiences. Also, we’ve included books from all over the world so the current list includes books from Iceland, Germany, Sudan, Burkina Faso, Norway and Iran making these truly international books for international readers.