Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Malamander

By Thomas Taylor

ISBN: 9781406386288

Walker Books

 

 

 

Nobody visits Eerie-on-Sea in the winter. Especially not when darkness falls and the wind howls around Maw Rocks and the wreck of the battleship Leviathan, where even now some swear they have seen the unctuous malamander creep…

The trailer for this book is suitably creepy. I love how in the beginning the reader is being spoken to directly. Keeps you hooked.

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I love hearing about new books coming out and find myself very excited at the prospect of reading new adventures and falling in love with different characters.

Wolf Girl 

By Ahn Do

ISBN 9781760525095

AllenandUnwin

 

This sounds so good. Love the cover and love that this is a series. So much to look forward to.

I crawled onto the bank and collapsed, exhausted.
From the dirt, I looked up in amazement at four dogs staring down at me.
Was I dreaming? Had I gone mad? It all seemed very real.
‘You guys saved me!’ I said, as I sat up in my dripping clothes. ‘I owe you.’

When disaster separates Gwen from her family, she must fend for herself, all alone in the wilderness.

Luckily, she’s not alone for long… When a wolf puppy, a Labrador, a Chihuahua, and a greyhound want to make friends, Gwen discovers talents she didn’t know she possessed.

Flit the Fantail and the Mystery Eggs

By Kat Merewether

ISBN 9781775435112

I am delighted to say that Flit the fantail is back for a whole new adventure. He is just as charming and curious as he was in Flit the Fantail and the flying flop.

This time Flit finds eight rubbery eggs all on their own. He asks all the forest birds if the eggs belong to them but they all say no. Their eggs are different. Their eggs are not rubbery and white. Flit becomes more anxious as he searches for their owner. There is a happy ending and after the eggs hatch, the babies are reunited with their mother. Who is their mother? I’m not saying as that would ruin the surprise but it is definitely a mystery for younger readers to investigate.

This is a great picture book for schools and families learning about many of our native New Zealand birds. The illustrations are adorable, with wide-eyed birds and their very expressive faces. I love the colour spread where they are all suddenly frightened. It is a talented illustrator who can show fear in their characters eyes, even when the characters are just so cute. Love it.  Reassures us all that we are all different but we all belong together and that teamwork will help solve most problems. I hope Flit and his friends come back for more adventures. I’m very happy the friendly ladybird is also back with Flit. You can look out for it on almost every page. 

There is also a Te Reo version of this gorgeous picture book.

One careless night

By Christina Booth

ISBN: 9781925381856

Walker Books Australia

 

Coming soon.    Coming soon.    Coming soon.

Really looking forward to this new picture book when it comes out in March.

I remember when it was announced last year that the last white male rhino had died. I actually cried knowing that we had watched this happen. No matter how hard we as a society tried to stop this happening, it was too little, too late and the consequences of our actions led to the death of the white rhino. This new picture book looks at the journey of the last thylacine in captivity. Sadly, there are no more of these animals either. The art work as shown in the trailer below, already looks stunning. The language is beautiful. I have a strong feeling that this book is going to haunt many a reader. Can’t wait!

“Where the mist swallows mountains and winds whisper through ancient trees, a mother and her pup run wild and free. They hunt, but they are also hunted. Carted away. Sold for bounty. And then, one careless night … The last thylacine is gone.”

 

I think I might have to move into the new library as it has only been opened three days and I have already been there two out of three. 

Today I attended the Gareth Ward writing workshop and found it very inspiring. His ideas on the writing structure were very useful. Lots of things to consider when writing and the keen writers in the room listened to his every word.

His Young Adult novel The Traitor and the Thief  (Walker Books) won the Storylines Tessa Duder Award and was a finalist in the 2018 NZ Book Awards for Children and Young Adults.

 

Caught picking pockets at Coxford’s Corn Market, 14-year-old Sin is offered a way out of his life of crime: join the Covert Operations Group (COG) and train to become a spy. At Lenheim Palace, he learns spy craft and is befriended by eccentric Zonda Chubb. After an assassination attempt on the founder of COG, they endeavour to unmask the traitor. Sin is then forced into an uneasy alliance with the school bully, Velvet Von Darque. But can he trust her? And will COG try to bury him with the secrets he discovers?

 

I’m very much looking forward to reading my signed copy of his book. If you ever get the chance to attend one of his writing sessions, I urge you to go for it. Well worth it.

Thanks to Turanga for making this possible. 

Scaredy Book

By Devon Sillett

Illustrated by Cara King

ISBN 9781925335682

EKBooks

 

                                                                               It’s not always easy to be brave!

 Book lives in the library where it is warm, peaceful and most importantly, safe. However, he begins to think about the outside world but is too scared to leave the library.  Book sees danger everywhere and it stops him from trying. He sees his book friends go out and come back ripped, sticky and sometimes, some never come back.

One day Book sees a little girl named Emma and plucks up the courage to attract her attention. Emma picks him up and hugs him, just the way we all hug our favourite books. Emma takes him out in to the sunshine and Book finally sees a whole new world where lots of good things happen. Stepping out of his comfort zone took courage but Book is now able to reap the rewards and enjoy so many new things in his life.

Aimed at younger readers, this picture book is ideal for children who may be a little anxious about the world around them. It encourages children to find the strength within themselves to try new things, to take risks and make new friends along the way.

The illustrations are warm and colourful. The end pages in particular, are very cute and have sweet images of Book as he tries new things, like tennis, listening to music or bouncing on a trampoline. His cute smiles show us that he is having fun and thoroughly enjoying his new experiences. 

Teacher notes are a great way to explore this book even more.

 

 

Dear Prime Minster, Politicians and Members of the Ministry of Education

This is an open letter with regards schools and their libraries or lack of. While I totally applaud your decision to do away with National Standards, I beg you to consider another factor which troubles schools, particularly primary schools.

A recent announcement that our literacy levels have dropped to 32nd place is deeply concerning. While teachers do all they can to teach reading and basic comprehension, and do it well, they need support from librarians and of course parents too.

Students need to be surrounded by books, quality books and the latest new titles. Sadly, because libraries and library staff are not funded by the MOE many school BOT’s are forced to choose between funding a full-time librarian and school resources. This should not be a choice. Schools need a library and a dedicated and enthusiastic full-time librarian. Librarians know their students and their stock and most are very good at matching each to the other. To be fair, some schools choose not to have libraries based on their own priorities but for those who have no choice based on the funding from government, then this is incredibly sad.

Not all parents take their children to a public library, some are too busy, it’s too far or they don’t see it as necessary. And yes, parents do need to be part of their children’s reading development but sadly, we know the reality.

Overseas trends where school libraries have closed have seen a drop in literacy levels and the same is happening here in New Zealand. For those skeptics that say books are the past and it is all about a digital world, a gentle reminder that libraries are not just about books. So much happens in libraries these days, books, ebooks, computers, ipads, QR codes, makerspace activities, book clubs, author events, a safe haven for students and of course reading, heaps and heaps of reading. Here is the crunch though, schools without funding, without libraries and librarians will surely only add to the the dropping literacy levels.  I urge you and your members to consider that in order to raise reading levels, the New Zealand Government must help fund school libraries and their librarians. It is only ever going to be a win-win situation. Statistics also have shown that students who have a full time librarian produce better overall results than students who don’t.

Left to their own, without government funding, some schools will end up closing their library doors and that is totally unacceptable. Raising funds for their libraries, school PTA’s can sell only so many sausages.  The same selling of sausages has to help top up readers. The Ready-to-Reads and School Journals are a wonderful, first-class resource but children need far more titles than is supplied.  Immersion in books, both readers and library books is paramount. A few tatty teacher-owned books in the corner of a class is one thing but a library with thousands of books and a passionate librarian completely another. How does a six year old with a reading age of ten cope with a few books in a classroom? Or the ten year old reading at a six year old level. Is he or she supposed to go to a junior class in the hope a teacher will have something they can read? A good school librarian will know exactly which book will work. They will find the book with content that matches their chronological age with their reading age so they are not put off reading with books with babyish covers. As the old adage goes the right book for the right child.

I love watching students clamor for the latest Diary of a Wimpy kid, or David Walliams latest title. Watching groups eager to share their latest read with each other is also simply a wonderful sight. It is this that will drive up literacy levels. A love of reading comes from finding the right books and that is where a well-stocked library and librarian can help.

So, I urge you Prime Minister to look at how schools fund their libraries and please consider helping with MOE funding as every child will benefit. Schools need your help. Students need your help. Reading is the key to everything we do in life, from a simple menu, to technical  instructions, we all need to read and it starts when children are young. Please help our kids for their future. Lets drive the literacy levels back up and let’s do this together.

The one and only Ivan by Katherine Applegate is one of my all-time favourite books ever. It is also one of the top books for my year six school book club students.

I also used to work in a children’s bookshop part time and I would sell so many copies of the book quoting my favourite line to everyone.
“Humans waste words. They toss them like banana peels and leave them to rot.”

I love this trailer made by students led by middle school librarian Teresa DeLuca at Furnace Brook Middle School.

You can tell that the book has been well-read and much loved by the students with all the time and work that has gone in to their trailer. They have made the story accessible to everyone. Thank you for letting me share it here. You should feel very proud of this trailer.

Sit back, watch and enjoy. And if you haven’t read the book yet, then this trailer will certainly inspire you to go and find a copy.

 

Ferdinand the bull

By Munro Leaf

 

This classic story from Munro Leaf  was written in 1936 and is still in print today, such is its popularity.

Ferdinand is a bull who loves to sit in a field and smell the flowers. He doesn’t want to fight or play rough, he just wants to enjoy the peace and quiet of the day. Do find a copy of the book before the movie comes out and allow yourself a step back in time with the wonderful vintage drawings.

Ferdinand is gentle and not what you expect from a great big bull but this  reminds us that we really shouldn’t make assumptions about people and that we should be true to ourselves.  I can’t wait to see the new movie coming out soon.

 

 

 

 

It is nearly NZ Bookshop day, a day to celebrate bookshops up and down the country. Almost a year ago now, my all time favourite bookshop closed its doors for the final time and it still makes me incredibly sad. So I am writing this love letter to all bookshops, not just the ones I regularly visit, but all of them because they all deserve a little love. Without a little love, others too might have to close their doors.

I confess, I spend many hours and too much money in bookshops but that is okay. I may be poor but I am so enriched by the stories I read, by the books I buy and the time spent with staff at the different bookshops I frequent. (I sound a bit dodgy but I assure you I am just passionate about books and reading, and not a stalker)

I love my bookshops and the wonderful staff who know so much, and offer so many good suggestions. Bookshops, much like libraries, are uniquely a haven for readers. I go there for information, books, gifts and a friendly chat. I go because I am always made to feel so welcome.

I do buy most of the books for a school library where I am the librarian and in charge of the budget. I prefer to visit my bookshops and buy in person. I know they are not really my bookshops but it feels like it sometimes. I need to feel the weight of the books, see the font and make sure the text size is just right for my readers. I love having discussions with the staff about the latest new books in a series or new titles coming out soon. I walk in to a bookshop, any bookshop and I kind of feel like I am heaven. I could curl up in a corner and stay there all day feeling safe and secure, if somewhat lost  in other worlds and other stories.

Bookshops need to be loved. They need their customers and they need you. Check one out on NZ Bookshop day 28th October. Spend some time there and say hi to the staff.  I know I will. You can’t keep me away.

So my love letter is to all bookshops, your staff, managers, owners, everyone involved, even other customers that I sometimes end up having chats with, I wish you all the most wonderful, happy and thriving bookshop day.

 

 

 

 

The longest breakfast

By Jenny Bornholdt

Illustrated by Sarah Wilkins

ISBN 9781776571673

Gecko Press  October 2017

They say breakfast is the most important meal of the day and a good one will set you right for the whole day. So too, will quality time with family at the start of each day. The longest breakfast is the perfect example of the early morning chaos over finding the right breakfast. Poor Malcolm is bombarded with requests for all sorts of breakfast even someone wanting pudding. The baby toddles after Malcolm calling out toot, toot or bzzzzzzz but Malcolm is busy trying to sort out everyone else and we can see that the baby begins to feel ignored.

I love how the illustrations of the baby start out small but as he gets more and more frustrated his illustrations become bigger until  finally the baby has his own full page and is at last noticed by the rest of the family.  Eventually everyone, including neighbours, come together for breakfast. A busy, warm, family-friendly picture book with bright colourful illustrations.

Published October 2017 so not long to wait.

 

 

The Dark Prophecy

The trials of Apollo Book 2 

By Rick Riordan 

ISBN 9780141363974

Penguin Random House

Rick Riordan has fans all over the world, including me. Readers love his books, in fact readers devour his books. In my day job as a librarian I am constantly asked by my students- when are the next books coming out. Well, I can finally say the next one is here now. Book two in the Trials of Apollo series offers more heroic adventures. The students who began with Percy Jackson continue to read these wonderful tales of mythological characters. It is not just children and teenagers who read Riordan’s different series but also many adults.

Take a peek at these book trailers to see just why Rick Riordan’s books are so popular. Check out his website as well for more details about his books. There are also heaps of ideas if you want to be a writer yourself.

 

The god Apollo, cast down to earth and trapped in the form of a gawky teenage boy as punishment, must set off on the second of his harrowing (and hilarious) trials.
He and his companions seek the ancient oracles – restoring them is the only way for Apollo to reclaim his place on Mount Olympus – but this is easier said than done.
Somewhere in the American Midwest is a haunted cave that may hold answers for Apollo in his quest to become a god again . . . if it doesn’t kill him or drive him insane first. Standing in Apollo’s way is the second member of the evil Triumvirate – a Roman emperor whose love of bloodshed and spectacle makes even Nero look tame.
To survive the encounter, Apollo will need the help of a now-mortal goddess, a bronze dragon, and some familiar demigod faces from Camp Half-Blood. With them by his side, can Apollo face down the greatest challenge of his four thousand years of existence?

 

 

 

Brothers from a different mother

By Phillip Gwynne

Illustrated by Marjore Crosly-Fairall

Penguin Random House Australia

 

This is just adorable. A lovely story of friendship and the idea that no matter what our differences are, we can all be friends. Wonderful concept that we all need to remember. I love this trailer. Just gorgeous and cute and has that warm fuzzy feeling. Will be ordering this ASAP.

 

Scar Island

By Dan Gemeinhart

ISBN 9781338053845

Scholastic 

This book landed on my desk this week and I have added it to my TBR pile as a must read.  I have even sneaked it to the top of the pile and hope to get stuck in very soon as long as I can get in before the senior students at school grab hold of it or I might have to wait my turn. Certainly one to look forward to.

Book trailers have so much power. They encourage us, taunt us and leave us hurrying to get the book to find out just what is going to happen to the characters. Check out the trailer below and see what I mean. The fact that the author is a fellow librarian is also very cool.

“Jonathan Grisby is the newest arrival at the Slabhenge Reformatory School for Troubled Boys–an ancient, crumbling fortress of gray stone rising up from the ocean. It is dark, damp, and dismal. And it is just the place Jonathan figures he deserves.
Because Jonathan has done something terrible. And he’s willing to accept whatever punishment he has coming.
Just as he’s getting used to his new situation, however, a freak accident leaves the troubled boys of Slabhenge without any adult supervision. Suddenly the kids are free, with an entire island to themselves. But freedom brings unexpected danger. And if Jonathan can’t come to terms with the sins of his past and lead his new friends to safety… then every boy on the island is doomed.”

 

The Water Princess

By Susan Verde

Illustrated by Peter H Reynolds

ISBN9780399172588

G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers

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What a beautiful thought-provoking picture book. Princess Gie Gie must endure the daily grind of walking long distances to fetch water and walking back again, day in day out. It is time-consuming and monotonous but water is essential for life and so it must be done. Gie Gie wishes so much that water was at her fingertips. She has dreams that one day water will be plentiful for everyone.

This book deserves so much more than a cursory read. Indeed, it needs to be read again and again. We have the cultural aspects of what it is like to live in such a harsh environment and the desperate need for water, something most of us take for granted. We simply turn on a tap and water flows. The closest experience I have to this is after the devastating earthquakes here in Christchurch in 2011 and having to collect rainwater from an old tarpaulin draped over the clothesline and having to dig holes in the backyard to go to the toilet. We were lucky and we had water within a week. Other people here went without water for so much longer. Water was brought in to the city by trucks. There are no trucks where Gie Gie lives.

Gie Gie, despite her reluctance to walk yet another day to collect water, continues to remain hopeful. She is quite frankly, delightful and her love of the land and wide open spaces is heart-warming.

“My kingdom…the African sky, so wide and so close. I can almost touch the sharp edges of the stars.”

The burnt-orange and browns are perfect colour choices for the wonderful illustrations which show just how harsh it is to live in a land with very little water. An environment so different to our own that it is difficult to understand but the illustrations here really create Gie Gie’s world for us.

Gie Gie’s expressions are honest. We see it when she stamps her feet annoyed at having to fetch water yet again, and in her love of the land and family. Overwhelmingly, we see it in her resillence and hope. Gie Gie is strong and detemined and such a wonderful role model for young readers. Love this book to pieces.

A must-have for all school libraries.