Archive for April, 2015

Velvet

By Temple West

ISBN 978-125005708

Swoon Reads (Macmillan)

New  Paranormal YA coming soon.

“Caitlin is your typical orphan …pissed off and grieving. After her mother dies of bone cancer, she’s uprooted to Stony Creek, a pitiful excuse for a town in the rural mountains of upstate New York. Stuck living on her aunt and uncle’s struggling horse ranch, Caitlin vows to simply survive until she graduates high school.  Then, it’s on to New York and wrangling a scholarship at The Fashion Institute so she can become a designer and start her own line. But shortly after arriving in Stony Creek, a freak storm sets her on a dangerous path: right in the middle of vampires, demons, and age-old secrets. The only person she can trust? Adrian, the vampire who rescued her. Problem is, he has to pretend to be her boyfriend in order to keep his status as her personal bodyguard under wraps. And in a small town, it’s not long before some secrets get real big.”

 

The Dreamer’s Lotus
By Mike Dickenson
“What if you could speak directly to nature? What if it spoke back? A young outcast followed by crows finds a flower in the forest one night – it is the Dreamer’s Lotus, a powerful hallucinogen that opens the mind to the meanings of the symbols. This can be helpful, especially when you live in a world where everything is symbolic. Corvus suspects the Elders of The White Village have rewritten the meanings of the symbols somehow. They say the forest is a perilous place, a land of madness and illusion. They might be right, after-all, inexplicable things have been seen there… They say the boy is a bad omen, part of a prophecy that will destroy the village. Only a brave and curious girl is willing to help him, even though she knows he is playing a deadly game. If he finds what he is seeking they will kill him, but Corvus has to know the truth. Why is he the only one who can hear the voices in the forest and why is he followed by the most feared sign of all? The Dreamer’s Lotus holds the answers, but if he eats it, the crows will be the least of his concerns.”

 

By Kasi Blake
Clean Teen Publishing
ISBN 9781634220828
YA paranormal
“The Noah girls have beauty, powers, and brains. They use all three to play their games. They blow the dust, the boys are crushed, and no one is ever the same.Each year the Noah girls play a secret game— Crushed. The rules are simple. 1. Use wisdom to pick your target. The boy can’t be too weak or too strong-willed. 2. Blow the enchanted dust into your target’s face to enchant (Crush) him. 3. Give verbal commands and assign them tasks to perform throughout the year. The more tasks completed, the stronger the witch’s power grows. 4. At the end of the year, the witch with the most power wins cold, hard cash. As if being a witch in high school isn’t complicated enough, Kristen picks the wrong boy to Crush. Zack is tall, handsome, and a little scary. Her Crush spell isn’t working on him like it has with the others. In fact, he is behaving the opposite of every other boy she’s Crushed, hating her instead of adoring her. Something is definitely wrong. After someone attempts to kill her, Kristen realizes there is more at risk than a few hundred dollars. She may be betting with her life.”
Coming in August 2015
 
Wellmaster: The Weeping Wall
by Alain Carver
Drums in the Deep Publishing
Deals with social and environmental issues.
“In the dusty streets of a city governed by a distant and ruthless ruler known only as the Wellmaster—where water is as precious as gold—13 year old Farro and his best friend Tarka run through the dangerous alleys for fun and adventure. Life is hard for Farro and Tarka but they and their families manage to survive, until one day Tarka is captured and imprisoned. It is while imprisoned that she makes a discovery that will challenge their friendship and the society that props up the Wellmaster’s power.”
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My Gallipoli

By Ruth Starke

Illustrated by Robert Hannaford

ISBN 9781921504761

Working title press

myGallipoli

With the 100th anniversary of the Gallipoli campaign happening this weekend, My Gallipoli is a must read for children and students everywhere to help understand what it must have been like during those terrible times of World War One.

The author has woven very skillfully all the different points of view. We see what it was like to be a Turk defending their homeland. We see the Australian and New Zealand soldiers arriving ready to fight, but totally unprepared for the reality of war. We are drawn in to the life of a nurse caring for wounded and dying soldiers and even a chaplain who laments that there are “too many bodies to give them proper burials”.

There are many more stories shared in this sophisticated picture book and the illustrator has captured those moments and the landscape perfectly with his mixed media illustrations. This is a powerful book, in that by allowing us to see so many sides of the war at Gallipoli, we can’t help but realize how futile it all was and the huge cost of such a war.

At the back of the book there are three pages of biographical notes with further information on each of the characters portrayed. This is a beautifully produced book aimed at school students but its value goes beyond just use in a classroom. The accounts are poignant for all readers.

What I found most intriguing was that all were desperate to help their cause no matter what side they were on, and you can feel and connect with their frustration at what was happening all around them. A powerful book!

I do urge you to read the teacher notes here if you want to make the most of this wonderful resource.

The King and the Sea

By Heinz Janisch

Illustrated by Wolf Erlbruch

ISBN 9781927271803

Gecko Press

king

Heinz Janisch has skillfully created one of those books that appears on the surface to be simply a collection of short stories. And they are just that – very short simple stories about a King. However, it doesn’t take much to realize that the stories offer much more. Each little story is quite profound. The King believes he is in charge and therefore very important. As he goes about his day he meets up with many things; clouds, dogs, rain and so many more. He either questions them or tries to bully them but little by little he realizes that life is bigger than he will ever be. There is a reason and purpose for everything and everyone. One of my favourites is:

The King and the Dog

“Sit! Lie! Come!” shouted the king. “I am the king!”

“Stop! Fetch! Heel!” he bellowed.

Then he ran off after the dog.

This fable like story is both funny and wise and I can’t help but grin as I read it over again.

I also love The King and the Rain. This quirky little book is beautifully illustrated by Wolf Erlbruch who also illustrated Duck, Death and the Tulip which sits on my bookshelf among my favourite picture books.

The King is illustrated in collage format and he stands out amidst the white spaces on the pages. This allows us to really see him and begin to understand him more by focusing on his expressions and body language. This is great for families to read together but I also think this would be a wonderful resource to share in a classroom and open up discussion on values and what is important in life. In fact for those teachers who want to make the most of this thoughtful book, check out the teacher notes here.

Mr Huff

By Anna Walker

Penguin Books Australia

ISBN 9780670078042

I have been a huge fan of Anna Walker’s work for some time now. My favourite book so far is  Peggy blogged about in a previous post. However, after checking out this new trailer for her latest book I may end up with two faves.

I love the style of her illustrations. There is a softness to them that draws you in and connects you with the characters in her stories.

“Bill is having a bad day.

Mr Huff is following him around and making everything seem difficult.

Bill tries to get rid of him, but Mr Huff just gets bigger and bigger!

Then they both stop, and a surprising thing happens . . . ”

We all have days where we struggle just to cope and we all have days when we sometimes need a little reminder of how good things really are. I just know this book is going to be one of those good things. I will certainly be looking out for this one when it hits our shores in a few weeks.

Check out the trailer and watch for Mr Huff’s smile when it comes after the tears. Just gorgeous!

When dad showed me the universe

By Ulf Stark

Illustrated by Eva Eriksson

ISBN 9781927271827

Gecko Press

“Sometimes the most important things are right under your nose.”

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Gecko Press continually produce beautiful books and this is no exception.

Dad takes his son out one evening to show him the universe. It is of course huge, and very special. They gather their coats, and one or two important provisions and set off on their journey. As with the best journeys, getting there is often just as special as the destination. They observe the little things along the way, things that build up a bigger picture of the universe and just how special life really is.

This is a beautifully illustrated book just perfect for dad’s and sons to share together.
Ulf Stark has the ability to connect readers emotionally with the characters in his books. Eva Eiksson’s illustrations brings those characters to life in a lovely visual way in gorgeous colours. And of course such a journey together also includes a bit of humour. Great combination and a book which I think, is just superb.