Posts Tagged ‘Maria Gill’

Earthquakes! New Zealand

By Maria Gill

ISBN 9781869664862

New Holland Publishers

If you have ever wanted to know anything about earthquakes in New Zealand, then this new book from award-winning author Maria Gill has it all. The production is a perfect example of what a quality non-fiction book should be. It has all the features we expect with contents pages, glossary, bibliography, credits, headings and subheadings, photographs, graphs, symbols and timelines all sandwiched between a shiny, colourful, glossy cover. Maria Gill is well-known for her dedication and determination to research her subjects to provide readers with the best and most accurate information.

Maria Gill explains what earthquakes are, why they happen and the damage they can cause.  The timeline goes way back in time to some of the first earthquakes and marks many of the strongest ones that occurred. She also explains what to do in an earthquake and how to keep yourself safe which is something everyone in New Zealand needs to know. Having lived through the tragic Canterbury and Christchurch earthquakes, this book brought back many memories but it is good to see everything explained and know that while we cannot predict or stop earthquakes; we can be prepared and that is most important.

The language is easy and informative without being too formal or wordy, making it a suitable choice for everyone. The book is informative and shares links to videos on the internet for further research or explanation. There is also a friendly helper throughout the pages. Maria introduces us to  Rūaumoko the Maori god of earthquakes and volcanoes who helps explain things as readers move from page to page. A lovely addition to this quality book.

Primary schools through to secondary schools will certainly benefit from having this book in their school libraries.

 

 

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ANZAC Animals

By Maria Gill

Illustrated by Marco Ivancic

ISBN 9781775434740

Scholastic NZ & Scholastic AU

 

Maria Gill and Marco Ivancic deservedly won the prestigious Margaret Mahy Book of the Year Award in 2016 for their book ANZAC Heroes. They continue to bring quality books and ANZAC Animals is destined to be another hit.

Maria Gill’s research for her non-fiction books is her trademark. She finds the stories, painstakingly does her research for accuracy and then writes her books taking time to polish to perfection. ANZAC Animals delivers another well-formated non-fiction book. All the text features are there; introduction, contents, glossary, charts, photographs, index etc. with the addition of maps and timelines. The layout is well placed and easy to read. 

ANZAC Animals is a collection of true tales of animal heroes and mascots from World War One and World War Two.

The collection is both fascinating and delightful. I love the story of Lulu the chicken mascot who would warn soldiers of approaching enemy aircraft with her noisy shrieking so that they had time to hide safely.

Or the story of Torty the tortoise, who became a listening ear to James Stewart Little as he described the horror of the things he saw during WWI. Believe it or not Torty is still alive today – 100 years later.

This is an extraordinary collection of tales about animals in war.  There are dogs, horses, mules, pigeons, and even a monkey. They all had one thing in common. The animals were the companions of soldiers. They helped soldiers cope and in many cases, helped them survive the atrocities of war.

One of the most famous is of  the story of Murphy the donkey who carried injured soldiers to safety. The stories of soldiers have long been told but sometimes animals are heroes too and this book is all about the animals and what has made them all so special during some of the worst of times.

The illustrations are very impressive and very life-like. The colours and tones are beautiful. Every hair, whisker or feather is so real you wish you could almost leap into the page and pat the animals.

An excellent book and a must-have for any library. 

Check out author Maria Gill’s book trailer and see for yourself just what is so special about this book.

 

 

Abel Tasman; Mapping the Southern Lands

By Maria Gill

Illustrated by Marco Ivancic

ISBN 9781775435099

Scholastic NZ

More than 300 years ago, a young Dutch sailor named Abel Tasman stood on the prow of a ship he and his crew had sailed across wild, uncharted waters. In the distance, through a shroud of mist, the rugged outline of steep hills rose from the ocean waves. Could this be Terra Australis – the great southern land? 

Having read a number of Maria’s books over the years the one thing that stands out is the depth and standard of her research. The information in her books is always well planned, informative, yet easy to read.

Maria maintains this standard in her latest picture book about Abel Tasman. It is a biography in story book format which will appeal to younger audiences.

We begin with Abel as a young boy listening to tales of the sea and his desire to be a sailor. We follow him on his journeys as he later sails the seas and into a world of adventure and exploration.

We are with Abel in stormy seas, when under attack, and even with an earthquake. The scary thing is I have just been re-reading this book, and was on the page about an earthquake they had felt when really freakishly, we have just had our own 4.1 quake here in Christchurch as I write. That is just a bit too scary and too freakish for my liking. I don’t think I will re-read the page about a volcano erupting, but it is there in the book if you want to know more about Tasman’s adventures.

Maria has collaborated once again with illustrator Marco Ivancic to produce another quality book. His illustrations have that  photo-realism quality making everything believable. The maps on the end pages are a perfect backdrop to the history of the world when Abel Tasman was exploring. The pages towards the end of the book provide extra details and facts to give more understanding to Abel’s story. Abel Tasman: mapping the Southern lands is another winning collaboration between author, illustrator and publisher.

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If you are in or near Christchurch on 27th September do come and listen to these award winning authors and illustrators talk about their children’s war books. Wonderfully told and researched, beautifully illustrated this is a night not to miss.

what-lies-beneath-author-christchurch-tour1

 

ANZAC Day is such a special event in both New Zealand and Australian history that 100 years later we are still respecting our ancestors and all they did to serve our countries.

Here is a selection of some of my favourite World War One picture books to share with children. While not all focus on the Gallipoli Campaign, they do talk of the impact of war and are all very worthy to share with children when they ask why do we still have ANZAC parades. Simply put, it is to remember them. All of them. Those who went to war, those who fought and never made it home and yes, even those who stayed at home and helped kept families strong.

 

Gladys goes to war

By Glyn Harper

Illustrated by Jenny Cooper

ISBN 9780143507208

Puffin Booksgldays

 

Gladys Sandford was a very special and determined woman. Told that war was no place for women, Gladys fought convention and went to war, driving ambulances and even fixing them. Gladys was also the first woman in New Zealand to gain a pilot’s license. Based on the real life Gladys this is a very special book. Often illustrators are great at either drawing animals or people. It is not every illustrator who can do both well but Jenny Cooper does this and does it beautifully.

 

The ANZAC puppy

By Peter Millet

Illustrated by Trish Bowles

ISBN 9781775430971

Scholastic

puppy

“In the middle of the night, in the middle of the winter, in the middle of a war, a puppy was born.’ This fictional story was inspired by the story of Freda, a Harlequin Great Dane and mascot of the NZ Rifle Brigade during World War 1. The ANZAC Puppy is a simple story about the reality of war, hardship, friendship and love.”

This is a great story for younger readers especially for its happy ending, despite the harsh realities of war and the pain of being involved in such awful times.

 

 

The red poppy

By David Hill

Illustrated by Fifi Colston

ISBN 9781775430704

Scholastic

poppy

“Young soldier Jim McLeod waits in the trenches of World War I for the order to attack the enemy. With him are his friends, and Nipper, the messenger dog. When they charge across no-man’s-land, Jim is shot …and finds himself face to face with an enemy soldier.”

 A poignantly illustrated picture book with lots to say. There is more focus on the trenches in David Hill’s story than some of the others chosen here today and this certainly adds impact. I love the colours used for this book. The sepia tones and the blood red of the poppies are ideal for this story and perfect for older children. There is much to read and look at in this book and would be ideal in a classroom of year 5 and six students. There is also the wonderful addition of a CD to listen to.

 

Jim’s letters

By Glyn Harper

Illustrated by Jenny Cooper

ISBN 9780143505907

 

jim

“Dear Jim, Your postcard arrived today. I showed it to the family. Mum misses you…” Between December 1914 and August 1915 Tom and Jim write to each other whenever they get a chance. Tom talks about life at home on the farm while Jim writes from Egypt and then from the trenches of the Gallipoli peninsula”

The power of this book is highlighting the lives of those at war and family at home. It was hard for family waiting at home knowing any day they might receive the dreadful news that their beloved son, brother or father was either wounded or killed. Nothing was certain and I think this book depicts this very well.

 

There are so many more books I could share. Below are two of my favourites already reviewed on this blog.

One minute’s silence

By David Metzenthen

 

ANZAC Heroes

By Maria Gill  (non-fiction but a perfect book to support these picture books)

ANZAC Heroes

By Maria Gill

Illustrated by Marco Ivancic

ISBN 9781775433637

Scholastic NZ

5

 

30 courageous ANZACS from WWI and WWII

This is one of those very special books that will capture a wide audience. Teachers, librarians, students, parents and grandparents will love this book. It is a beautifully produced, hardback non-fiction book of biographies of some of our ANZAC heroes.

This superb book features the lives of 30 Australian and New Zealand  ANZAC Heroes from both World War One and World War Two. This is a very well researched project and is quite simply, stunning. I believe this is a winner and should be in every school library. This is one of those books you want to pick up again and again. It is about saving lives, imprisonment, courage and bravery. It is about ordinary people doing extraordinary things to serve our country. Their stories are real and heroic.

I loved reading about Olive King. I confess I had never heard of her before but after reading her biography, I now admire her so much. Having been told war was no place for women, Olive proved otherwise and volunteered to drive ambulances. Olive also took up courses in first-aid and motor repairs. Later she transported wounded soldiers. She went on to do so many extraordinary things.

Try reading about Captain Charles Upham, one of only three soldiers to ever win two Victoria Crosses. An amazing achievement.

As a non-fiction book this is a perfect example for others to follow. It has it all. Contents page, introduction, glossary, maps, timelines, bibliography, list of websites, photographs, illustrations, and of course detailed biographies. The language and text is suited to readers of all ages. I loved the double page spread of the timelines of each war. Brief but very informative and so easy to follow.

There are some great teaching notes to support this book and I do encourage teachers to use them to make the most of this wonderful resource.