Culture vulture

7th July 2006 at 01:00
Caroline Sisson puts some creative ideas into action

Books that inspire

I trained in hotel and catering management and ran restaurants for years.

My children were educated in the Montessori system until they were five, and I read Maria Montessori's book, The Secret of Childhood. That was so inspiring. I thought: if I can take the essence of this, I want to be a teacher.

The book that has made most impact on me recently is Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden. I've never experienced that area of the world. I had never realised the depth of geisha training before the war, the fact that it was a culture of fine details, dictating everything about them. I found it shocking and gripping.

Spellbinding books

I started a Harry Potter club at school last year, because lots of the seven and eight-year-olds were so excited when Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince came out, but when they saw the size of it they said, "We aren't going to get through that." So anything between 15 and 40 children come along on Thursday lunchtimes. I read to them for about 20 minutes and then we talk about it and do drama. They like the spells: the wizards and wizardry and puffs of smoke.

Films I love

I saw Schindler's List years ago. If I think about it now, I get shivers up my spine: the lines of people waiting to go to their deaths. The horror of man's inhumanity to man.

Comedy store

I'm a big, big fan of comedian Peter Kay (left). I'm looking forward to his next stage show. And I like Dara O'Briain. They can take the most mundane situations and turn them into a really comical act.

Treat in store

Telford and Wrekin libraries' summer reading challenge has put us working with our Birmingham Dance Exchange. The theme is The Reading Mission, relating to spying and investigation. The children have read The Case of the Disappearing Daughter in the Damian Drooth, Supersleuth series by Barbara Mitchelhill (Andersen Press), and we've talked about how a criminal investigator would move and look for clues. We came up with a dance to The Pink Panther music, which we'll show to Barbara Mitchelhill when she comes into school.

Caroline Sisson, 42, teaches Year 5 at Newport junior school, Shropshire.

Details of the 2006 national Summer Reading Challenge, in public libraries throughout the summer, at

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