A good display can be inspiring, but it is also hard work to plan and set up. To me a display needs to attract attention and raise interest – whether in the books on the display or the topic being portrayed. If the display is relevant and tied into a contemporary event, all the better. The Rugby World Cup will take place in England and will run from 18th September to 31st October 2015. The tournament won’t just be of interest to rugby players (both male and female – the England Women’s Rugby team are the current World Champions), but will appeal to a large group of fans and spectators – encouraged by TV and press coverage. At the moment I am working on a display focusing on the Rugby World Cup. It’s not an easy display to do as there aren’t that many YA books that centre around the game of rugby and so I have had to be imaginative.
Books related to the game of rugby and to Rugby School where the game was invented:
The most relevant that I came up with is Winger by Andrew Smith and that is set in America.
However, given that the story goes that rugby was invented by William Web Ellis, a student at Rugby School in the 1800’s then the classic Tom Brown’s School Days by Thomas Hughes is relevant. The novel is set at Rugby School in the 1830’s and whilst it isn’t about the game of rugby, it does set the scene at the school around the time that the game was said to be invented. Another book set mostly at Rugby School (and which does mention the game of rugby) is The Prince Who Walked with Lions by Elizabeth Laird. Alamayu is the son of the last King of Abyssinia (Ethiopia) and he is brought to England and becomes a student at Rugby School. The story is both true and fascinating.
There are a number of non-fiction books about the game of rugby and most libraries will have copies of these. Don’t forget magazines – there is a short review of The Rugby Paper on the BT&M website.
A recent book, The Final Whistle by Stephen Cooper, tells the story of fifteen men, who all played for one London club and who were all killed in the Great War. The book won the 2013 Best Rugby Book at the Cross British Sports Book Awards.
Finally, don’t forget to check out some of the biographies and/or autobiographies of rugby played in England and around the world.
Other display ideas:
However, the Rugby World Cup is also an opportunity to display information related to the tournament. There are twenty teams competing and information about the countries competing can be placed on display alongside maps and atlases. This can be also be tied into the flags of the countries, their team kit, their team logos or even the nicknames of the teams. Did you know that the Georgian team is The Lelos and it comes from lelo burti, a traditional Georgian sport with strong similarities to rugby. Lelo has been adopted as the Georgian word for “try”? One standard cheer of Georgian rugby union fans is Lelo, Lelo, Sakartvelo (Try, Try, Georgia).
The Hakka is a traditional ancestral war cry, dance or challenge of the Māori people of New Zealand which the New Zealand national rugby union team, the “All Blacks”, and a number of other New Zealand national teams perform before their international matches. The history of the dance is fascinating and a display is an ideal place to raise awareness of not just the dance, but its meaning and the cultural history of New Zealand.
Useful Sources of information: