Tuesday, 26 April 2016

A New Novel by the Writer of Solitaire

Alice Oseman
Radio Silence
HarperCollins 2016  $19.99pb 403pp
ISBN 978 0 0075 5924 4
Themes: Choices/Friendship/ Identity/ Peer pressure
For Frances the goal has always been to get to university and nothing is going to stop her  - not friends or the events happening around and certainly the small voice inside her that is crying out for the ‘real Frances’ to be acknowledged. Then France meets Aled and an emotional watershed is released.  Alice Oseman, who is in her early 20s is very active on Twitter and Tumblr and her writing is inspired by what she finds there. Read some of the reviews from her readers and you will see how much this understating is appreciated. And follow her on Tumblr: www.chronicintrovert.tumblr.com
Year 9 up/ Age 13 up

Saturday, 23 April 2016

A dinosaur for a grandpa?

AVAILABLE on May 2nd
NZ writer and Illustrator
Richard Fairgray and Terry Jones. Colouring by Tara Black
My Grandpa is a Dinosaur
Penguin Random House Picture Puffin  2016  $19.99pb  32pp
ISBN 978 0 1435 0719 2
Themes: Perception
Why does nobody but Wanda notice that her grandpa is a dinosaur?  He has a tail. He is green and scaly. He is enormous. But no one believes her. A story for all those who see so much that adults (and some children) don’t (or can’t) told with minimal text and generous ‘cut and come again’ illustrations. The story of the writer and illustrators is almost as unusual as the narrative – please Google to find the background including the fact that Richard Fairgray is almost totally blind.
Preschool up/ 4 years up

Monday, 18 April 2016

Cats and dogs are Friends

Finnish writer and Illustrator
Timo Parvela, illustrated by Virpi Talvitie
Bicycling to the Moon.
Gecko Press 2016  $19.99pb  128pp
ISBN 978 1 7765 7032 4
Themes: Ambition/ Cats and Dogs/ Friendship// Loyalty/ Short Stories and 
a great READ ALOUD

Purdy the cat and Barker the dog are real friends and live together in a sky blue house atop a hill. While Purdy is full of ambition to be a Supercat and to be out of here, Barker is content just to hang around the garden and dig up the soil - over and over. This is an altogether charming book, full of warm good humour and is a pleasure to handle with its creamy, smooth paper and perfect size. I wish I had a group of children around 7 to 10 years old to share it with right now and help them explore all the places the stories would take them in their imaginations!
Recommended as a special book not to miss.
Year 3 up/ Age 7 up

Friday, 15 April 2016

Kids' Lit Quiz Wellington Playoff Papkowhai School 11.4.16


(The Kids' Lit Quiz spreads around the world. This is a publicity poster from Canada) 



On Monday I went to one of my favourite events of the year! That was to take part as a ‘marker’ at the playoff for the Kids' Lit Quiz. When we look around and see the stupendous amount of knowledge that the children taking part have about books and writers you then realise just why you spend so much of your life encouraging more young readers to be part of the game called The Sport of Reading.  The winners of the Monday ‘leg’ will go to the National Library next month to meet the finalists from around the country and the winners that day will be taking part in the World Finals to be held this year in New Zealand! This will be at the IBBY Conference (much much more about this conference over the next few months) to be held at the Aotea Centre in Auckland.

Congratulations to the three teams who made it on Monday.

1st Wellesley College A Team

2nd Raroa Intermediate School

3rd Wellesley College B Team

Wayne Mills and his wife Pa at the Wellington Playoff 11.4.16 
Image: Barbara Murison

Congratulations to the dedicated teachers and librarians who coached the teams and most of all to Wayne Mills from Auckland who created and has masterminded the whole event, written all the questions and kept the enterprise afloat over so many many years. We all feel quite breathless when we think of all the work and the  knowledge inside your head and all the books your have read  Wayne to make this possible.

Thursday, 14 April 2016

Simple titles for emerging readers

Australian Writer and Scottish Illustrator

James Roy, Illustrated by Lucinda Gifford  Chook Doolan: Rules are Rules

Walker Books 2016  $9.99pb 64pp

ISBN 978 1 9222 4493 2

Themes: Emerging readers/ Friends/ Community/ Walking to school/ Independence

Chook (AKA Chicken) is bit of a scaredy cat and when he finds he has to walk to school on his own when Mum has an appointment he asks Dad what he should do. Dad only has one rule and that is – No Talking to Anyone on the Way until you are inside the school gates.  This throws Chook into a panic as he has a big network of people out there in the community to whom he ALWAYS speaks on is way to school. This is a satisfying book for very new emerging readers (possibly more for boys) with a real plot, very easy reading, lots of white space and plenty to think about. Also look for Chook Doolan: the Newest Pet ISBN 978 1 9222 4494 9

Year 1 up/ Age 5 up


Friday, 8 April 2016

Celebrating Matariki 2016 beginning on June 6th

NZ Writer and Illustrator

Nikki Slade-Robinson

The Little Kiwi’s Matariki

Duck Creek Press 2016  $19.99pb 32pp

ISBN 978 1 9273 0520 1

Themes: Matariki/ New Zealand Bush/ Repetitive Action Stories
Little Kiwi has a very strong feeling something special is happening and she rushes through the bush in the dark collecting her friends and their families to take them down to the seashore where they find  - Yes the stars of Matariki are already shining – it must be June 6th!  Children are enjoying the semi repetitive nature of this story and the wonderfully convincing colours of night in the New Zealand bush. There is just enough information about Matariki in this simply presented story to engage smaller people without its being overwhelming. There are also Te Reo words and phrases embedded in the text. It is a very satisfactory book both for the listeners and the reader aloud.

Preschool up/ Age 4 up

Wednesday, 6 April 2016

Life amongst the 'Crazies' in the Wairarapa

NZ Writer  Julie Lamb  The Discombobulated Life of Summer Rain

Submarine (an imprint of Makaro Press) 2016  $25.00pb 245pp

ISBN 978 0 9941 2370 1

Themes: Friendship/ Funny stories/ Rural life/ Wairarapa New Zealand

Surely no one else would have to endure the terrible school lunches prepared by their grandfather as Summer does – possum and chicken scraps? But Summer is a girl with imagination and spirit and tells this story of life amongst an appealing set of crazies with laugh-out-loud candour. It is a story set against the very recognisable backdrop of the Wairarapa. This is the first book from this writer and I think would make a great read aloud - for girls AND boys.

I enjoyed this so much (one of those read-at-a-sitting books to be ‘consumed’ the moment it comes out of its packaging ) that I am already waiting anxiously for her next title to appear.  

Year 5 up/ Age 9 up

Julie Lamb - image  Makaro Press

Monday, 4 April 2016

Book Two in the Demon Road trilogy by Derek Landy

Irish Writer
Derek Landy

The Demon Road Trilogy Book 2
HarperCollins 2016  $24.99pb 459pp
ISBN 978 0 0081 5696 1
Themes: Good v. Evil/ New York/ Sequels/ Supernatural thrillers
Desolation Hill appears to be the only hope for Milo and Amber who have escaped from a bloody encounter in New York City and are on their way only to find they are being pursued by The Hounds of Hell, a group of five demonic bikers. An emotionally exhausting but totally exciting and satisfying read for people who enjoy non-stop action.  Derek Landy author of the Skulduggery Pleasant series knows just how much information to reveal in each chapter to keep the interest high and the reader turning the pages in anticipation.
Year 8 up/ Age 12 up

Sunday, 3 April 2016

Transgender Teenagers

UK Writer
Lisa Williamson
The Art of Being Normal
David Fickling Books 2016  $25.99pb 357pp
ISBN 978 1 9102 0052 0
Themes: Being Different/ Friendship/ High School Life /Transgender teenagers
David’s parents just don’t understand that he is not Gay, he is a girl, a girl called Kate and he wants to be allowed to live as Kate. Leo is also different and he just wants to be invisible. The two become friends which is just as well because in the explosive atmosphere of high school life, being different is a hurtful time bomb.  A book (which has been immensely popular overseas since it was published late last year) to make the reader (both transgender and straight) think outside the square and to come away with a new understanding. There are also moments of real humour in the story and in spite of its length, it needs, if possible to be read at a long sitting.
Year 8 up/ Age 12 up

Saturday, 2 April 2016

An interactive board book for very young readers


German writer and Swedish Illustrator
Jorg Muhle, illustrations by Eva Eriksson
Tickle My Ears
Gecko Press 2016  $15.00 board book 20pp
ISBN 978 1 7765 7076 8
Themes: Bedtime rituals
This is a truly interactive picture book. It is time for Little Rabbit to go to bed – to have his back stroked, his ears tickled, the covers pulled up, the light switched off. With the wonderful power of imagination that is in all of us (well at least in the 3-year-old with whom I shared the book) we really believe we have made the actions happen. A book that is more of an experience than a story!
Preschool/ Age 18 months up