Archive for August, 2014

You can do it, Bert

By Ole Konnecke

ISBN 9781927271438

Gecko Press

bert

This is a gorgeous picture book about Bert, a young bird who is ready and waiting to take a risk and do something he hasn’t done before. He is ready both mentally and physically, but perhaps just not on the first attempt. But Bert doesn’t give up. Will he succeed – of course! This is perfect for children who may just need a little encouragement to try something new. This could just as easily be a book about starting school. Simplistic in its style, both illustrative and textually, allows the characters to be the centre of the story. Great for pre-school.

Teacher notes can be found here to make the most of this picture book.

 

 

I don’t want to go to school
By Stephanie Blake

9781877579080

Gecko Press

school (Small)

Simon the rabbit is back! We all fell in love with Simon in the best-selling book Poo bum. Well Simon is now about to start school and he really doesn’t want to go. No matter how hard his family try to coax him, he repeatedly tells them “I don’t want to go to school”. Does he go? And if he does what is going to happen? Bright colours, simple story that captures the feelings and anxieties about starting school but with a great outcome which is sure to appeal to young children in the same situation.

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Pandora Jones : Admission

By Barry Jonsberg

ISBN: 9781743318119

Allen & Unwin

Book 1 : Pandora Jones series

A plague has wiped out Pandora Jones family, a pandemic so devastating that it has wiped out almost all of humanity. Pandora is a one of the survivors and is now quarantined in a heavily guarded facility known as The School where she must recover and learn skills that will prepare her for survival and whatever dangers may be waiting outside the walls of the The School. Her strength is her instincts but will it be enough? And what is outside the walls? I have my copy by my bed just waiting to get stuck in.

One minute’s silence

By David Metzenthen

Illustrated by Michael Camilleri

ISBN 9781743316245

Allen & Unwin

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As part of our school library’s current commemorations on World War 1 I purchased a copy of One minute’s silence.  I had known about this book and had been waiting for its publication for awhile so snapped it up immediately it hit our shops.

It is an impressive sophisticated picture book with beautiful illustrations, evocative language and insight into the terrible time known as the Gallipoli campaign.

The cover hits you straight way with two faces (one an Australian solder, the other a Turkish soldier) within a circle of never-ending soldiers and crosses. With its sombre sepia tones the message becomes clear that war is a global issue and its impact effects everyone, everywhere.

The book begins with a group of students who really would rather be anywhere else other than inside a classroom having a history lesson. Slowly the teacher draws the students in and one by one they become witnesses to the atrocities of Gallipoli.

I shared this book with my book club children; a group of 10 and 11 year olds who were mesmerized. The discussions generated were amazing. The power of this book is the ability to show readers the two sides of the campaign. The ANZAC soldiers on attack and the Turkish soldiers on defense. Both sides were doing what they thought was right.

The impact of these attacks was devastating and the imagery in this book highlights the losses from both sides.

There are teacher notes available here for further in-depth discussion and activities to make the most of this excellent book. There really is so much to unpack in this book, from the use of sepia tones, frames showing the passing of time and even to the double spread image of flies and what that could possibly mean. This is quite honestly, an amazing book that moves the reader emotionally as we connect with our past and encourages us to reflect on the futility of war. The last page brought many of us to tears. It is a book to share and a book to treasure no matter the subject. Just brilliant!

I am Rebecca
By Fleur Beale

Random House NZ
ISBN 9781775535492

9781775535492

Some years ago I read Fleur Beale’s I am not Esther, a very deserving award winning novel, which still remains a favourite of mine. The sequel which can be read as a stand alone novel, is I am sure, bound to be another award winner.
I was hooked right from the start of this book. Life inside the religious group Children of the Faith is so alien to many people that its strict rules and regulations almost seem barbaric. Thirteen-year-old Rebecca and her twin sister Rachel have their lives totally controlled by the Elders and governed by Rules of the Faith. Everything is planned for them, including whom they are to marry when they turn sixteen. They must remain at all times subservient to men and to the Rules. Disobedience of the Rules could see them expelled from the group and be deemed dead to their families forever more. The fear of an eternity of Hell and damnation keeps them following the Rules, without question.
The story moves along smoothly allowing us more and more of an insight into Rebecca’s world. As the pivotal points came I couldn’t stop reading, I just had to find out what Rebecca was going to do and how she was going to cope. I loved watching her grow as a character but also felt very protective of her and her sister. Such is the power of Fleur Beale’s writing that the characters had become very real.
Do watch out for Mrs Lipscombe. I think everyone needs a Mrs Lipscombe in their lives.
This is a powerful story and quite honestly, a must read.

August has seen many commemorations for the centenary of World War 1.
We have created a display in our school library and I am very grateful to our caretaker for building a model of the trenches. The children have been fascinated with all the details. We also purchased a number of non-fiction books on the war which the students have also gravitated to. We do need to remember our soldiers and their heroic deeds.

It is perhaps timely to look back on some of the fiction books set during the First World War and reflect on how difficult and tragic life was for so many people throughout the world.
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The Light Horse Boy
By Dianne Wolfer
Illustrated by Brian Simmonds
Pub 2013
ISBN 9781921696572
Fremantle Press

It is 1914 and Jim is caught up in the excitement and promise of adventure of what would become the First World War. The reality was far different. The frontline was brutal and deadly. Find out how Jim struggled with all that went on as the war raged around him and his friends.

Lighthouse Girl
By Dianne Wolfer
Illustrated by Brian Simmonds
Pub 2010
ISBN 9781921361531

Also set during the First World War, Fay lives an isolated and hard life on Breaksea Island as a lighthouse keeper’s daughter. She knows semaphore and Morse code and soon these skills are the only hope for soldiers sending messages to loved ones as Fay then telegraphs the families their message. This is based on truth and puts the reader right in the middle of the war.

There are teaching notes available online from Fremantle Press

The Partials
By Dan Wells

Often a stand alone book or the first book in a new series will have a trailer made. It isn’t often that a series has multiple trailers made. The Partials sequence is an exception with three trailers, shared below.

After a war with the Partials (a group of engineered organic beings who are identical to humans) the human race has been pretty much decimated. There are some survivors but danger is always close. RM is a weaponized virus which has wiped out so many and only a few are immune. However, no babies since, have been born immune to RM.
Sixteen year old Kira is a medic in training and desperate to try and save the human race.
Reviews for this series are very good and the pace and thrill of the story are captivating.
I can’t tell you about the second and third book without ruining the first so grab the first and just keep reading.

Partials
Book 1

Fragments
Book 2

Ruins
Book 3