Culture vulture

24th March 2006 at 00:00
Anita Kapila likes depth to her science and Depp in her films

Best book ever

It has to be Fungus the Bogeyman by Raymond Briggs. When I was younger I got my hands on a 3D pop-up version. It's so wonderfully disgusting. I read to switch off, celebrity magazines rather than novels. I read the Bible quite a lot too, because I'm a Christian. My church, St George's in Southall, Middlesex, has a book club; we recently read John Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress, and Jackie Pullinger's Chasing the Dragon, which is about Triad gangs.

Successful science

As a judge this year for the junior Aventis Prize for science books, I've had to read 52 books. It was a strange experience; I felt as if I was revising. But I enjoyed it. The best science books for children go deeper than schools can into particular subjects, and are colourful. I also particularly liked Nicola Morgan's Blame my Brain: the Amazing Teenage Brain Revealed (Walker Books), which has quizzes and conversations in it.

We had to draw up a shortlist of six: the first four were easy and the last two really difficult. Children's judging panels will now choose the winner.

Best film ever

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory with Johnny Depp. I love it. I think because as a teacher you have to be a disciplinarian, and kids like the firmness. Willy Wonka is like that; he puts the kids in their place. And it's a laugh a minute.

Life drawing

I like art galleries, but they get so crowded. You get pushed and shoved so I tend not to go. I've done life drawing classes at St Martin's and Glasgow School of Art and won a few competitions. I sold a painting recently about reconciliation, called "Barbie invites Sindy for Tea".

Treat in store

I'm looking forward to the Aventis presentation evening in May. And to Easter: instead of a traditional service St George's is going to show the film The Miracle Maker and give out free hot cross buns.

Anita Kapila, 39, teaches science at Burnham upper school in Buckinghamshire. She is a judge for the 2006 Royal SocietyAventis junior prize for science books aimed at children and young adults (shortlist at www. Interview by Karen Gold

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