NaNoWriMo is Coming

First we started with a Banned Books display, moved to the Great Barrier Reef and next week to something really mysterious with Thylacine from the Qld Museum regional loans.  Looking forward to that one.

But next month is November and you know what that means?  The NaNoWriMo challenge.  Only those intrepid few with true grit are signing up for the challenge of nominating a word limit and committing to write every day, without stopping, without revision, so that on the last day of November, they sit proudly in front of a whole novel (well a rough draft) of their own making.  It’s not too late to sign up.  We meet in the eLearning Room each Wednesday first break. We have senior writers to mentor us and to rope up with us to achieve our goals. New writers are very welcome but remember you only have until Oct 31st to sign up using our Smithfield Writer’s classroom code.


Writer’s Excursion to Trinity Bay SHS

Trinity Bay Writer’s Festival

“The World of Mystery” festival was held on Aug 10th & 11th at Trinity Bay SHS. Students from Yr 6 to 12 attended the two day workshop with world renowned authors, Lili Wilkinson, Nick Earls, Jack Heath and Anne Spudvillas.

“Seeing some of our students volunteer to read their own work to award-winning authors was a really great experience. Sharing and celebrating their writing, as well as encouraging one another, was something they should all be proud of!” remarked Ms Campbell.

Our budding authors – Jasmine M, Jessica R, Keegan M, Billie W and Tahnia E also commented:

“The writer’s festival was amazing … The authors and illustrators taught us a lot and I made many new friends … I learnt a lot about my friends’ ideas, aspirations and writing styles …

This experience was amazing and a ton of fun! … I cant wait till next year – I even started another book … I found a way to use my charcoal … I found it very interesting and educational … It inspired me to become a junior author… I now know how to illustrate my own book … Thanks for letting me go to that experience … You’re awesome”

CBCA Book Week 2017 – Escape to Everywhere

Books transport us to other places and inspired this year’s signposts to various fictional settings. None of our featured books from the 2017 shortlist were chosen Books of the Year. []

We featured Oliver Huxley’s allegory of grief “My Brother” and information books about design (Spellbound by Marie Coote) and courage (Fabish by Neridah McMullin). Thank you for your artistic assistance Mr Jarman and Sharon B (Yr12). and for the winning Panem travel poster by Dany C. & Vanda R. in 7A. Special thanks to Ms Ellington [pictured] for giving up some of her own time to help set up our display.


New Book Recommendation snipped from a Review by Jackson O. (Yr8)

Anthony Horowitz uses incredible description and storytelling to make a story that is not only intriguing and thrilling, but also engaging and thought-provoking. This unbelievable book constantly entertains and seems to surpass all other books in the Alex Rider series. ‘Alex Rider: Never Say Die’ will keep you on the edge of your seat and wanting more.




Citizen Writers

This month’s update features students writing. Cara has joined our YA novel reviewer scheme to boost our collection development through and Jasmine is one of eight Yr 7 & 8 students involved in Reader’s Cup this term. If you haven’t found your extra-curricular interest yet, Writer’s Group will welcome you next term, on Wednesdays at first break.

Reader’s Cup Report

On the 9th of June, two teams took part in the Readers Cup and visited Cairns State High School to go head to head to find out the winning school. We each had to read the 6 chosen books before the competition and quiz each other. When we arrived at the venue, we took our seats and nervously waited for the competition to begin. Mrs Robins had a job on the marker’s table. Overall, both teams from Smithfield did well and one of the teams was even winning for the first 2 books. In addition, we were able to socialise with students from other schools in the region, who were also interested in reading. The Cairns Book Shop had donated a few books to the competition for teams to win for spot questions. Kurt scored one for us! Both teams from Smithfield State High School enjoyed this competition and I would recommend that any interested readers take part next year.

Written by Jasmine on behalf of Jessica, Billie, Mikaela, Eme-Rose, Elle, Kurt, Keegan and Ms Robins. Photo by Ms Murgatroyd.

“Alex Approximately” by Jenn Bennett

Recommended. 14+ The novel ‘Alex Approximately’ shows that you can know someone behind the computer screen but also face-to-face and not know that it is the same person. The book, written by Jenn Bennett, explores a story of summer, first love, hidden identities and friendship. After moving in with her dad on the other side of the country, 17-year-old Bailey goes on a hunt for a great guy she knew from online, who happens to live close. Alex is a film geek and not nearly as irritating as Bailey’s handsome co-worker at the local cinema. But Porter is also keeping secrets.

Bennett’s female character goes through a thrilling summer into school. On the way, she tests her strength, loyalty and trust against those around her. The book is a wonderful read and Bennett has a great sense of humour making you laugh at casual jokes.

“Alex Approximately” proves that falling in love can happen even when you think it is with the wrong person.

By Cara

Kudos to those students who keep checking their emails to know what’s happening – like our recent YAPS and Muttaburrasaurus displays, or new Red Hot Reads. Check out one new book or ebook this holidays.

Mrs R

Teacher Librarian



Flying Success

Skyrail staff have judged the winner of our “International Year of Sustainable Tourism and Development”  competition and I congratulate Grace K by featuring her competition response below. Grace receives a return family pass aboard Skyrail for four, valued at $188.

A highly commended entry came from Sorami O, who displayed excellent desktop publishing skills as well as some thorough research about Skyrail’s activities.

Skyrail’s Flying Success

Cairns Skyrail Rainforest Cableway receives large success with numerous sustainable tourism awards.

By Grace K

Cairns Skyrail is a successful tourist destination; attracting thousands of tourists a year, who all come from afar to see Australian rainforest at its best. With multiple stops from Cairns to Kuranda, Skyrail provides nature tours and breath-taking views at every stop.   Skyrail officially opened to the public in 1995, attracting lots of attention for the world’s first family-friendly and environmentally safe Australian rainforest experience.

The forests surrounding the cableway attracts many wildlife creatures, as there are many sightings of bush turkeys, tent spiders, cassowary and even the rare sighting of a Lumholtz Tree Kangaroo. Skyrail makes sure to protect these species, native to the rainforest, which are an exciting addition to the Skyrail experience.

Nature journals are kept on the website to showcase Australia’s amazing and rich nature in the rainforests, in an educational way -including facts and statistics of the flora and fauna.

What is the best time to visit the Skyrail? Though Skyrail is breathtaking and fun all year round, the wet season has the perfect temperature and rain capacity to fully bring out the peak of rainforest beauty. The clouds and fog surround the gondolas as they move further up the mountain. The views from each gondola’s windows are picture perfect quality and radiate calming and beautiful scenery.

The Skyrail Rainforest Cableway is sustainably beneficial, not only for the wildlife surrounding the area but the local community.

Skyrail purchases local produce and sustains a high rate of local-based employees, including local indigenous people.  A main goal for Skyrail is to improve the understanding and appreciation for the tropical forest environment to ensure the sustainability of local flora and fauna for years to come.

Take more Risks…Like our Young Smithfield SHS Newsreaders

Mt Sheridan Plaza/ Win News Cairns Young Newsreader Competition

Five very commendable senior students and their families drove to Mt Sheridan on Sat March 18 to participate in the Young Newsreader heats. All five shone beside their competitors. They experienced so many new and strange things: sitting behind a news desk in front of a live audience, speaking into a television camera, using a teleprompter and reading the news confidently and fluently. I might be biased but Smithfield impressed! Louise wrote, It was an exceptionally amazing opportunity and I learned a lot in those few moments.  I know what I can do better about my public speaking, and can work on improving beyond my current ability.” A gift bag including a retail voucher and certificate was a bonus. If you are in Yr 10 or 11 and considering nominating next year, ask Sorami O, Jack G, Louise M, Alex C or Tegan M what it felt like to be a “splendid sun” on television for five whole minutes?  [Pictured Sorami O]

Skyrail Competition Closes soon

So, how about taking a risk?  You could win the $200 family return pass on Skyrail.  All you need to do, is compose a 300 word (minimum) newspaper article and email/hand to Mrs Robins. More information @ Your Library

Sustainable Design Team Wow Smithfield Girls

International Women’s Day Morning Tea

Our guest speakers, Dr Shaneen Fantin and Ms Belinda Allwood spoke to over 30 students about the importance of self-belief in the face of traditional views and gender stereotypes. Lots of design strategies were shared but the woman to woman advice was perhaps the most powerful.  Eryn Wilson, will expound on the virtues of the talk in her article, but we snapped these photos of our two high-flying directors and architects from their own company – POD.

Fruit cordial and house-shaped cookies reflected the theme and nourished the audience throughout the presentation. Our guests were not so sure about the accuracy of the dimensions of our edible houses!

Sustainable Umbrella Design Competition Winners

Congratulations Malli L. 7A (Best Design Innovation), Ella S. 7A (Best Design Sustainability) & Zepp M. (Best Visual Narrative) for your umbrella designs.  Collect your innovative portable water bottle, certificate and 30 Vivo points each for winning your respective categories. Judges from the design company POD were delighted by your designs. Thank you  Belinda Allgood and Dr Shanneen Fantin for critiquing the designs.

Pictured below is Malli’s entry winning Best Design Innovation.

International Women’s Day Mar 8


Globally, women earn 24% less than men. Yet women re-invest 90% of their income back into the household. On average, women in developing countries spend 3 hours more each day on unpaid work than their partners. In the developed world, women devote  2 hours per day more than men, to unpaid tasks.

Celebrate International Women’s Day in the eLearning Room on Wednesday March 8th, 2017.  We welcome two very interesting professional women to inspire us. Dr Shaneen Fantin and Ms Belinda Allwood from POD. Bring your lunch but refreshments will be available.

Why not attempt our IWD wordsearch on our display?  Vivo points for participation!

Our Book Review Newsletter

Red Hot Reads has lapsed for some time, but we’re adding to our Book Review Newsletter again, starting in 2017 –  so that you can read our latest acquisitions.  Some of our books are donated to us by Read Plus because we have a team of reviewers willing to share their reviews to help other educators and students select YA novels.  Most of the reviews will be scooped from book review sites.  Watch this space.

Maladcapture1apted by R. Kurti

Walker Books, 2016. ISBN 9781406346299
(Age: 13+) Recommended. Science versus Religion in this fast-paced dystopian adventure. Cillian, a budding mathematician, is the sole survivor of a terrorist attack on the Metro (subway). Triggered by the trauma, hitherto untapped superpowers enable Cillian to save himself. Sadly, his father’s parting word, ‘Gilgamesh’, quickly becomes his quest.
Within hours, Cillian’s home is burgled and he knows he must look for the answers to the sole clue to his real identity. But there is another lost soul for him to meet in Foundation City. Tess is an orphan. She was raised by an extreme religious group, ‘Revelation’ who were responsible for the subway disaster and every other attack on the high tech ruling elite. Tess is sent to observe and ultimately destroy Cillian but the pair become friends, united by their distaste for the extremism on both sides.
Of course the friends endure, but it is clear they have unfinished business in Foundation City. In Maladapted, characterisation is not one of Richard Kurti’s strengths so readers looking to get to know Tess and Cillian, will be disappointed. However, the electrifying plot commands you to keep reading and we can expect that the main characters will be fleshed out in the ensuing series. Maladapted is crafted to satisfy fans of the Maze Runner and Divergent series or similar novels in the popular dystopian/sci-fi/horror category.
Deborah Robins

Read more reviews on ReadPlus Book Blog.

eBooks are working again.


Our eBooks user names and passwords are working again. Choose from over 1,000 titles and some new titles added over the holidays.  To download an eBook to your device, visit our easy instructions.  The App is the easiest way but you can also use your laptop visiting Smithfield’s Wheeler’s webpage and search for books via the library’s online catalogue.

New Titles

These novels were added in February 2017.

A Tragic Kind of Wonderful  (Lindstom, Eric)

American Monsters (Landy, Derek)

Sunny Side up (Smale, Molly)

The Thousandth Floor (McGee, Katherine)

The Atomic Weight of Love (Elizabeth J. Church)

As I Descended (Robin Taley)

Unplugged  (Donna Freitas)

A Million Worlds with You  (Claudia Gray)

Made You Up (Francesca Zappia)

Red Pyramid (Riordan, Rick)

Throne of Fire (Riordan, Rick)

Serpent’s Shadow (Riordan, Rick)

In Order to Live (Yeormi, Park)

The Children of Men (PD James)

The Iron Woman (Hughes, Ted)

The Iron Man (Hughes, Ted)

The Smell of Other People’s Houses (Hitchcock, Bonnie-Sue)

Another Night in Mullet Town (Herrick, Steven)

The Rest of Us Just Live Here (Ness, Patrick)

Beck (Peet, Mal/Rosoff, Meg)

Prep (Sittenfeld, Curtis)

American Wife (Sittenfeld, Curtis)

A Prayer for Owen Meany  (Irving, John)

Sisterland (Sittenfeld, Curtis)

Booked (Alexander, Kwame)

The sun is also a Star (Yoon, Nicola)

If Blood Should Stain the Wattle (French, Jackie)

Rain Stones (French, Jackie)

Words in the Deep Blue (Crowley, Cath)

The Road to Winter (Smith, Mark)

Sister Heart (Morgan, Sally)

Great Valentine (Lili Wilkinson)

My Sister Rose (Larbalestier, Justine)

Goodwood (Frosby, Holly)

Gemma (Kaufman, Amy/Kristoff, Jay)


Top 50 Australian Authors for 2017

Clicking anywhere on the banner image takes you to Booktopia’s list.

Be Creative – Blogger’s Club Meetings Wednesdays

For Students

Our keen writers and readers are starting to muster each Wednesday first break in the eLearning room. Budding novelists and keen Reviewers are reading and critiquing YA books in exchange for free books offered to us by READPLUS.  We want you to come along and hone your writing. Good readers in year 7 & 8 are encouraged to attend to be eligible for the annual regional Reader’s Cup in term 2.

For Teachers

You can be creative too. Check out this link to the 50 best FREE online tools for Teachers.