Thursday, 28 February 2013

New Zealand Post Children's Book Awards 2013


I went to a fascinating early evening meeting of the Wellington Branch of SLANZA yesterday out at the Lower Hutt Public Library, Children's Section.  The guest speaker was Mary McCallum, the National Festival Coordinator for this year’s New Zealand Post Children’s Book Awards., She was followed by Jane Shallcrass (Librarian at Wellington High School) and Susan Marshall (Librarian at Chilton Saint James) who told the group about the ways they promote the festival from a secondary and a primary perspective.  Later many of us went for a Japanese dinner at a local restaurant. Wonderful food cooked at the table! 

Photo of Mary McCallum thanks to NZ Book Council

Some important dates for the festival:

Finalists announced
Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Book Week
Monday, 17 June - Monday, 24 June 2013

Awards ceremony (Christchurch)
Monday, 24 June 2013


Monday, 25 February 2013

Mature Readers

Australian Writer
Aimee Said
Freia Lockhart’s Summer Of Awful
Walker Books  2013         $19.99pb         285pages
ISBN 978 1 9219 7780 0
Themes:  Breast cancer/ Family life/ Grandmothers/ Holidays
Freia, whom we first met in Finding Freia Lockhart is all set for a summer holiday full of sunshine, being with a new boyfriend and total relaxation. Then the news that her mother has early breast cancer puts everything else on hold and she is thrown into a role she never expected. This is a sensitively told story with a great deal of humour and recognisable characters – a tiresome little brother,  an over nosy grandmother and a main character with whom to sympathise.  
Year 9 up/ Age 13 up

Blog progress

Blog progress 25.2.13

Hopefully many more people are now going to be able to read this although I do sometimes feel I am typing it all in a Big Black Hole however the viewer’s stats continue to rise!

Today’s posts will be a couple of books for more mature readers  - I am equating mature to content rather than reading level.
Do you notice that this Blog insists on telling me it is a day earlier than it really is? It is actually Monday 25th February 2013 today...

Saturday, 23 February 2013

Just a short note

I am still having endless problems with this blog with many people saying they cannot download it or they do download it but it's a whole heap of gobbledegook. The time has come to call in technical help which I will do after this weekend. But in the meantime I see on the 'stats' page that it has been viewed in the USA/ Germany/ United Arab Emirates and South Korea which is quite exciting but I want it also to go to teachers and librarians (plus anyone else interested in great new books for children) in New Zealand!

I am going to spend part of this weekend reading some more new books and hope to share them here on Monday - after this wonderful computer guru has cleaned up all the problems.

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Picture Books


 Picture Books


NZ Writer and Illustrator
James Russell, illustrated by Link Choi
The Dragon Hunters
Book One of a trilogy
Dragon Brothers Books Ltd  2012         $30.00hb         32pages
ISBN 978 0 4732 1816 4
Themes:  Dogs/ Dragons/ Quests/ Rescues/ Stories in rhyme
When the boys’ much loved chocolate coloured Labrador is stolen by a passing dragon and is whisked away into the air leaving nothingness in her place the brothers go into action. To sustain them they take a packet of Marmite sandwiches with Lemon Zest plus two carefully packed bags.
A rewarding story to read aloud with so much going for it – adventure, dragons, intrepid children, a happy ending and the promise of more to come.  So many people have had supportive things to say about this book – just Google the title for reviews plus a YouTube interview conducted by Doris Mousdale.
Pre School up/ Age 4 up

Belgium Writer and Dutch Illustrator
Sylvia Vanden Heede illustrated by Marije Tolman
Wolf And Dog
Gecko Press 2013  (coming March)          $24.99pb         94pages
ISBN 978 1 8775 7938 7

Themes:  Animal traits/ Cousins/ Family life/ Friendship/ Making rhymes
For all his blustering and bombastic outbursts Wolf has much to hide – he can’t read, he has fleas, is sometimes really scared and lives in a scungy looking house in the forest. Dog on the other hand is totally literate, has a master whom he protects, a warm basket and plenty of delicious food. But, in spite of their many differences, Wolf and Dog (think Snake and Lizard) are friends and all their sparring ends happily - well, almost always. Here is a wonderful opportunity for a teacher with a sense of drama to read this aloud to what will be an enthralled class – but almost as much fun for children to read to themselves.   
Year 2 up/ Age 6 up

Saturday, 16 February 2013


Monday, 11 February 2013

New books week starting 11.2.13


Australian Writer
Anna Branford, illustrated by Sarah Davis
Violet Mackerel’s Possible Friend
Walker Books 2013       $24.99hb    111 pages
Violet Mackerel series
ISBN 978 1 9219 7756 5 
Themes:  Anxiety/ Birthday parties/ Friendship/ Moving house/ Neighbours

Violet Mackerel finds it is a bit lonely to move house but when she goes out into the garden, looks through a knothole in the fence and sees a small girl about her own age she knows she may be looking at a possible friend. There is a real sweetness and vulnerability about all the characters in the books in this series and seems to appeal particularly 
to little girls around six and seven.
Years 2-4/ Ages 6-8

NZ Writer
Des Hunt
Phantom of Terawhiti
HarperCollins 2013     $19.99pb   256 pages
ISBN 978 1 8695 0954 5 
Themes: Shipwrecks/ Big cats/ Wellington NZ/ Zealandia, Karori Wellington. 

A friendly and affectionate Big Cat who may be a cheetah, is found by Zac and his friend Jess in the bush above the beach on Wellington’s wild west coast. Two Russian thugs, who will stop at nothing, threaten her life – and, it seems that of the two children, who are determined to protect her. Add a sub-plot concerning Zac’s disgraced father, missing bankrolls and a disgruntled supermarket customer and you have an addictive story hard to put down. In my opinion, Des Hunt goes from strength to strength with his stories, most of which have a conservation or scientific theme and this is one of his best. A great read-aloud.
Year 6 up/ Age 10 up

More Mature Readers  
(content rather than reading level)

UK Writer
Andy McNabb
The New Recruit
Doubleday 2013    $26.99pb    254pages
ISBN 978 0 8575 3176 6 
Themes: Afghanistan/ Series/ Soldiers

Causing the accidental death of his best friend, Liam enrols in army training to try to forget what happened. After surviving a brutal training regime he is sent to Afghanistan where he comes face to face with the brother of the young man he killed. Easily read, a great deal of action and written in the sort of language today’s young readers understand and use. This should be popular. Great jacket!! 
If you are buying for a more conservative collection you need to examine and read it well as there are many swear words that may cause offense.  However, I wish I had a reluctant (boy) reader to share it to. 
 Year 9/ Age 13 up


NZ Writers and photographers
Riria Hotere and Simon Morton. Images from Te Papa
100 Amazing Tales From Aotearoa
Te Papa Press  and TVNZ   2012  $38.00    225 pages
ISBN 978 1 8773 8579 7 

Here are at least 100 treasures from behind the scenes at Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa collected together in a magnificent piece of book production and full of colourful images and photos.  Included are two DVDs with the TV series which kick-started the book – Tales from Te Papa  and contains all the episodes 1- 60. While this book is a feast for the eyes and magnificent for browsing it is not intended as a reference tool as there is no index or table of contents. Of course many of the items could be followed up on the net. 
Year 2 up/ Age 6 up