Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Picture Books - Geckos and the New Zealand Bush

Gay Hay Image: Discovery Time
Margaret Tolland Image: Storylines
NZ Writer and Illustrator

Gay Hay, illustrated by Margaret Tolland

Go, Green Gecko!

Page Break, 2015  $22.00pb  32pp

ISBN 978 0 4732 7791 8

Available from all good bookshops or on-line from www.discoverytime.co.nz

Themes: Geckos/ New Zealand bush

‘Watching out for danger’ is Green Gecko’s cry as he scuttles through the bush over boulders, thick ferns, wet grass, rotten logs - all in his search for food. Then, in the best traditions of stories like We’re going on a Bear Hunt, he reverses the actions and scampers home again – to safety. Packed with information about the Wellington Green Gecko this is the third book from this duo (finalists in the LIANZA Children’s Book Awards and the New Zealand Post Children’s Book Awards) that brought us Fantail’s Quilt and Watch Out, Snail. The detailed illustrations in greens (of course) and muted reds and blues really evoke the atmosphere of early morning in the bush.  

Also available in Te Reo
Preschool up/ Age 4 up

Friday, 22 May 2015

Kids’ Lit Quiz National Finals 2015 - a couple more images

The Winners: Southwell School  Hamilton

Second:         Wanganui Intermeciate School

Third:             Awakiri School Bay of Plenty

For an interview with Wayne Mills by Kathryn Ryan on rewarding and motivating those who love to read broadcast yesterday morning go to:

Here are a couple more images (of adults this time)  from the Kids’ Lit Quiz National Finals held at  National Library of New Zealand Wellington on Tuesday May 19th 2015

Operating the Mother Board  - Celeste Harrington, Tony Bryce and Rosemary Tisdall.

Wayne Mills Coordinator and Creator  of the quiz with Rosemary Tisdall who acted as the Adjudicator

Rosemary - my apologies for the shadows on your face  - it was the light from the enormous windows .
Barbara M.

Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Kids’ Lit Quiz National Finals 2015

The winning team with Wayne Mills yesterday afternoon
A big CONGRATULATIONS to the team from Southwell School, Hamilton (and their trainer Gerri Judkins ) who so convincingly won the finals yesterday at National Library, Wellington and are off soon on an enormous literary adventure to Connecticut USA.

(More to follow)  

Short stories for children aged 7 up

NZ Writer and Illustrators
Adrienne M. Frater, illustrated by children
Flying Free
Atawhai Press 2015  $24.95pb 215pp
ISBN 978 0 4733 1914 4
Themes: Family stories/ Funny stories/ School stories/ Short stories

Adults AND children mix in this energetic collection of short stories where every ‘happening’ is based on a real event whether it is an acrophobic father who helps his son build a trolley and manages to watch the event in the out of doors or the story of Magda, a Polish refugee who wants to have a birthday party and play ‘Pin the tail on the donkey’.  All the stories are preceded by a few words from the author who explains how the ideas came to her (great for budding writers) and all are just the right length for reading aloud. Most of them have appeared either in School Journals, on the air or in anthologies.
(If you cannot find this book in your local bookshop order it from Amgk.frater@xtra.co.nz)
Year 3 up/ Age 7 up

Sunday, 17 May 2015

Fiction Age 9 up

NZ Writer and Artist
Robert MacKinlay, illustrated by the writer
Dare to Defy
Robert MacKinlay 2015  $22.00 179pp

Available from robtmack@ihug.co.nz and from 30.5.15 also from www.silverstreamgallery.co.nz  Post Free within New Zealand.

ISBN 978 0 4733 1821 5

Themes: Hampteau, Belgium/ Invasion of Belgium World War II/ Scout Association

It is the beginning of World War II and Nazi Germany is about to invade Belgium and the surrounding countries.  They are determined to unite all Youth Movements into one National Socialist Movement and groups like the Scout Association (which was strong in Belgium) had their regular meetings and camping banned completely. However, it was going to take more than Nazi Germany to keep the six children whose story is told here from participating in an activity that was a way of life for them and became as the war went on, a life line for them all and their families.  We observe the reality of the war through the writing of each of the children in mainly shortish but exciting ‘bursts’ making this as well as an individual read, a great read-aloud story for the few minutes before Bell Time. This is an unusual and very original book that I feel deserves a wide readership– it will be enjoyed. The story will continue in two sequels to be published over the next months – Blame and Believe in Tomorrow.

Year 5 up/ Age 9 up (also for adults who lived through WW II)

(I will be asking a group of children up here on the Kapiti Coast to review the book so watch out for their thoughts in a few weeks time. Just give them all time to get over the flooding first. )

Wednesday, 13 May 2015



The National Finals of the Kids’ Lit Quiz will be held at
The National Library of New Zealand Aitken Street Wellington
at 1pm next Tuesday 19th May, 2015

With Wayne Mills Creator of the Quiz and Quizmaster

This is always an exciting event and it will be wise to be there in plenty of time as seats are limited. I do hope my camera will perform better than it has lately and that I will get some good images to share with you.  (Watch this space!)

Image of Wayne Booksellers NZ

Preschool Picture Books

NZ Writer and Illustrator (born in the UK)
Sally Sutton, illustrated by Daron Parton
Zoo Train
Walker Books 2015  $24.95hb 24pp
ISBN 978 19221 7987 6
Themes: Monkeys/ Zoos
Sally Sutton  Image: Niki Hill

A little boy and his mother board a fun train in a very well laid out zoo with opportunities to see all the animals from hippos to monkeys en route. It is the monkeys who provide the action when it is discovered the little boy’s belongings are vanishing one by one and then being seen on the animals as the train travels past. Fun to read aloud with a definite ‘train wheels’ ‘rhythm to it. The understated illustrations in rather pale colours match the text and there is plenty to look at whether it is being shared in a group or with just one child.
Preschool up – Age 3 up

***I'm looking forward to the Kids' Lit Quiz  NZ Finals next Tuesday at National Library in Wellington. More tonight!   Barbara M. 

Friday, 8 May 2015

Wellington Writers Walk Midday National Radio Sunday May 10th 2015

Back in March a few of us from the Wellington Writers* Walk committee got together with Jack Perkins from National Radio’s Spectrum programme. It was a rather gusty day but the mike was well wrapped up and we all went round the wharves looking at the benchmarks and tablets on which 23 writers who have had links to Wellington have some of their most memorable words inscribed.  We didn’t visit all of them but of those we did, we read the words aloud and talked about some of the things that made the writers stand out in our minds  - (sometimes they were a bit quirky). This is of particular interest to secondary people but we have taken groups of primary students around the route – some of them have gone back to school and created their own Writers’ Walk.

Today we have been hearing a promo (just about 30 seconds) on National Radio with some of us reading aloud – a weird feeling if you come into the room and are not expecting it. Here is the link to the National Radio website that tells you more and also has some photos: 

 * Note: Writers does not have an apostrophe in this case

Jack Lasenby
The words on Jack Lasenby’s ‘pillar’: I want to live among people who believe in truth and freedom...I want to discuss ideas... I want books... From The Conjurer, Oxford University Press, 1992 
Note: We only had time to see a very few writers and Jack was not on our flight path.

Tuesday, 5 May 2015

Fiction - Age 8-10 years

Australian Writer J.C Jones  Run, Pip, Run  Allen & Unwin 2015  $15.99pb 193pp  ISBN 978 1 7433 1922 2

Themes: City life/ Foster care/ Independence/

Allen & Unwin, 2015  $15.99pb  193pp

 ISBN 978 1 7433 1922 2

Pip was left in an apple crate on the dingy doorstep of a old man called Sully who brings her up to believe she is his granddaughter. When she is ten years old (and a self-reliant, street-wise child) Sully dies and Pip finds herself out on the street running hard to avoid being caught by the Do-Gooders and taken into foster care. This is a fast-paced story that would read aloud well to a group of girls and boys and hopefully generate some discussion about where the sympathies should be  - with the child trying to escape or the adults trying to offer shelter (or both?).

Years 4-6 / Ages 8-10

The story, which is by a first time writer, was ‘discovered’ by the publisher’s Friday Pitch  - a service offered by them to writers who, sick of waiting often for months for an answer over publication, can be guaranteed contact within a few weeks. This is only, of course if they decide the book is for them – if they don’t like the manuscript you hear nothing (but quickly!!). Just Google Allen & Unwin Friday Pitch for all the details. This does not cover picture books, short stories or poetry.

Monday, 4 May 2015

Picture Books - Preschool up

Australian Writer and Illustrator
Margaret Wild, illustrated by Judith Rossell
Walker Books 2015   $24.95hb 24pp
ISBN 978 1 9219 7755 8
Themes: Boredom/ Changes
Bogtrotter, a large, hairy (green) creature with no imagination and just one tooth is really in a rut. All he ever does is to run up and then down and then across and then through the bog until it is time to go home, eat and sleep and begin the process all over again.  Margaret Wild has now written over 40 books and her creativity and imagination just keep on. If ever there was a plea for bogtrotters (and humans) to step outside the square and see just what they are missing, this is it. A satisfying story to share with a group with pictures large enough to be seen clearly. Judith Rossell is the artist (also prolific) who says she likes to get up late and to spend much of the day in her pj’s. Google both the writer and artist for an in-depth look at their work and their lives.
Preschool up/ Age 4 up

Margaret - image from Allen & Unwin
Judith - photographer not traced

Friday, 1 May 2015

Fiction 6-8 Chapter Books

Swedish Writer and Illustrator
Rose Lagercrantz, illustrated by Eva Eriksson
When I am Happiest
Gecko Press 2015   $19.99pb 128pp
ISBN 978 1 9272 7189 6
Themes: Chapter Books/ Fathers and daughters/ Friendship/ School holidays/ Sequels/ Single parent families.
It is the second to last day before the long summer break and Dani is SO HAPPY. Everything is good and there is so much to look forward to. Then, the principal puts her head round the classroom door and asks Dani to come to her office. Dani’s father has fallen from his bike, been run over and is unconscious in the hospital. With lightening speed everything turns from Happy to Black Gloom. This is a simply written story told with a light touch and with  (like the other two in the series about Dani) a wide range of emotions - especially the power of friendship. The text is brought to life by charming and engaging illustrations.
Years 2-4/ Ages 6-8