Tuesday, 30 August 2016

Toads on the Road

Australian Writer
Morris Gleitzman
Toad Delight
Puffin 2016   $21.00pb 131pp
ISBN 978 0 1433 0923 9
Themes: Cane toads/ Road kill/ Series/ TV Cookery shows
When he finds yet another pile of squashed relatives lying on the highway Limpy (a slightly squashed cane toad) is determined to save as many of his remaining relatives from a similar fate as he can. Because this is Morris Gleitzman who is writing, fans will not be surprised to read that this rescue involves 15 minutes of prime time TV, a cooking show and a surprise ingredient. A really good read aloud.
Year 5 up/ Age 9 up

Monday, 29 August 2016


I did have such a personal disappointment 10 days ago when due, as they say, to circumstances totally beyond my control and after having been one of the first people to enrol and pay my fee late last year, I discovered I was not going to be able to attend the IBBY Congress held at the Aotea Centre, Auckland. However, thanks to some amazing ‘reporting back’ from kind friends and being able to get more first hand knowledge at Storylines, Wellington this past Saturday I now know what a wonderful success it all was.  Congratulations to everyone concerned and especially to Dr. Libby Limbrick and Rosemary Tisdall who headed the committee and helped give the 500 plus participants something to remember with pleasure for years to come.  And yes, someone from Auckland was able to use my ticket so the space was not wasted.
Storylines at the Michael Fowler Centre last Saturday was a totally enjoyable experience for children and adults. Possibly due to the rather scant marketing and the number of other events on in Wellington on Saturday there were not nearly as many children as usual (and I noticed this because I have been to every Storylines since the event was first held here over 10 years ago). However, in many ways this worked as a plus as there was plenty of room at the activities (many and varied) and the storytelling sessions had comfortable amounts of listeners gathered around Bob Kerr, (see photo below in last post)  Nikki Slade Robinson, Ruth Paul and many others as they read from their own books.
Do go into both the IBBY and Storylines Facebook pages  - there are some wonderful images here.

Jack Lasenby and Bob Kerr join forces in a new children's book

 Available from Wednesday September 1st 2016

NZ Writer and Illustrator Jack Lasenby, illustrated by Bob Kerr Grandad’s Wheelies Puffin 2016 $16.99pb 143pp

ISBN 978 0 1435 0733 8 Themes: Funny stories/ New Zealand landscape/ Short stories

 There are 31 short stories (and some  are very short indeed) in this collection of outrageous and often OTT tales told by a granddad and grandma to their grandson, Jack. There are dragons and trains, false teeth and sponge cakes and lurking somewhere not too far from the surface a whole pile of home truths – some of which may be true. It is set in an almost recognisable New Zealand in the days before the Internet, IT and mobile phones. Bob Kerr has illustrated the collection and must have had a hard time deciding just which incidents to draw. A good book for reading aloud in the short minutes before bell time - even if the children have already read it....  
Bob reads from Changing Times at Storylines Wellington 27.8.16 Image: Barbara Murison
Year 3 up/ Age 7 up 
Jack - acknowledgments to the NZ Festival  2014


Friday, 26 August 2016

Bacha Posh - girl into boy

USA Writer
Nadia Hashimi
One Half From the East
HarperCollins 2016   $16.99pb 256pp
ISBN 978 0 0625 7219 6
Themes: Afghanistan/ Bacha Posh/ Family life/ School life
Set in modern day Afghanistan this is a poignant and involving tale. Obayda is only young and enjoys the things most small girls do but when her father loses his leg in a bomb explosion she is forced to be strong and her family has to move to a small village in order to survive. Obayda becomes Obayd and is part of the old Afghan custom of bacha posh. This is when a girl is ‘turned’ into a boy to change the fortunes of a family or household.  See below. This is the first novel for young people written by Nadia Hashimi  (she has written many for adults) and she will be reading from it in Christchurch this Saturday August 27th at The Word Festival – Google for details.
Year 6 up/ Age 10 up

Bacha posh is a cultural practice in parts of Afghanistan and Pakistan in which some families without sons will pick a daughter to live and behave as a boy.


It's National Poetry Day 2016
Google for many many details.

Paula Green NZ - an iconic poet (acknowledgements to photographer not traced)

New books will follow later....

Sunday, 21 August 2016

More about the World Finals of the Kids' Lit Quiz, Aotea Centre, Auckland 19.8.16

Here are the winners  - Wellesley College Days Bay New Zealand captured on film just after the event. 

Acknowledgement to Storylines for the image

Fantastically close behind them were Hamilton College from the United Kingdom and then  Kinross Wolaroi School from Australia.
Hopefully now all the pressure from the actual quiz is over all those very special young readers and their families will be able to continue enjoying the Auckland hospitality and the amazing programme of places to see and things to do that have been so carefully planned for them. 
And  - congratulations to Wayne Mills, Quiz master without whom none of this would have happened..
Please use Google for much more information!

New Picture Books in Te Reo Maori

NZ Writer and Photographer Sharon Holt, with photos by Sophie Holt Taku Mokai Te Reo Singalong Books Series  (with CD) Number #13 The Writing Bug Ltd 2016   $25.00pb 24pp

ISBN 978 0 9941 1714 4 Themes: Books in Te Reo Maori/ Disabled children/ Pets/ Series

Another book in the helpful Te Reo Singalong Series in the form of a story, song and happy photos of children looking after their pets. It follows the very successful format of the earlier books with extension ideas for adults and children/ simple sentence structure/ glossary/ English translations - all in a book that is a pleasure to look at.

Another book in the same series and published at the same time is:

Sharon Holt Kia Ora  Illustrated by Deborah Hinde ISBN 978 0 9941 1713 7

Preschool up/ Age 3 up

Saturday, 20 August 2016

Wellesley College Wellington wins the World Finals of the Kids' Lit Quiz

Hurrah and double hurrah for Wellesley College Days Bay Wellington the winners of the 2016 World Finals Kids' Lit Quiz held in Auckland last night at the IBBY Congress at the Aotea Centre. How I wish I had been there - I was booked to go but at the last moment was not able to make it to Auckland (nothing dramatic - just a minor hiccup but very disappointing for me). See this BLOG tomorrow for more details and up to date photos of the win.

The Wellesley Team at National Library in Wellington when they won the New Zealand finals just a few short weeks ago  (Image Barbara Murison)

Monday, 15 August 2016

The Eighth Harry Potter Story – Nineteen Years Later

UK Writers. J.K. Rowling Harry Potter and the Cursed Child A play based on her original story by Jack Thorne (with John Tiffany) Little, Brown 2016   $39.99hb 342pp ISBN 978 0 7515 6535 5  Themes: Plays/ Series/ Wizards

Harry Potter is now thirty-seven years old, is married to Ginny and has three children, Albus, James and his daughter, Lily. The story concentrates on the youngest son, Albus as he goes off to school and tries to come to terms with the terrifyingly full past inherited from his father. All the familiar trappings are there  - Platform Nine and Three-Quarters, Hogwarts, the Muggles, Voldemort, the cupboard under the stairs, Aunt Petunia- the only difference is that this is told in the form of a play. I had misgivings when I discovered this and wondered it a play with such an enormous cast of characters would sustain my interest but it is surprisingly easy (and quick) to read.  The two ten-year-olds (boys) to whom I lent it over the weekend actually didn’t seem to notice it WAS a play as it wasn’t commented on. It will be interesting to see if the initial enthusiasm for the book is kept up  

Age? Hard to say! Probably for enthusiasts of ten and up but I could be proved quite wrong.

Year 6 up/ Age 10 up

An Australian Pony Club Series

NZ Writer Soraya Nicholas Saving Starlight Starlight Stables Series Book 4 Puffin Books 2016   $15.99pb 157pp ISBN 978 0 1433 0866 9

Themes: Friendship/ Horse Stories/ Money Worries/ Olympic Games/ Pony Clubs/ Series

When Poppy’s aunt and uncle with whom she lives at Starlight Stables tell her the devastating news that the Stables may have to be sold to meet debts she is determined to win the forthcoming show jumping competition and be able to offer them her prize money.  For a horse-mad pre-teenager, what is there not to love about this series? Intriguing story lines, best friends, pony club competitions/ written by someone who knows teenage ‘speak’/ thrilling horses and No Boys in View. The series is set in Australia and with its one off story line in each book is set to go on. I am sure there will be plenty of younger sisters and friends waiting in the wings, ready to take over as Milly and Poppy and Katie slowly grow up.

For more information and titles of the first three books in the series go to: www.sorayanicholas.com

Year 6 up/ Age 10 up

Sunday, 14 August 2016

Art in the environment


NZ Writer and Illustrator
Nikki Slade Robinson
I Am An Artist
Duck Creek Press 2016  $19.99pb 32pp
ISBN 978 1 9273 0525 6
Themes: Environment/ Imagination
Here is an exuberant dance through the forest, the estuaries, the skies where a small girl uses her imagination to bring a wealth of material into patterns and objects, pictures and ideas. We see here part of the private art collection she creates but in a way that any child looking at the book will be stimulated into creating their own. 
A wonderful panacea to the bright light of the iPad and the tv screen.
Preschool up/ Age 4 up

Nikki Slade Robinson won the Picture Book Award in the 2016 Children’s Book Awards with The Little Kiwi’s Matariki also published by Duck Creek Press
See two posts below.

News Flash

Remember to watch Sunday on TV One at 7pm tonight  for an interview with Joy Cowley.

Friday, 12 August 2016

Margaret Mahy Book of the Year

The Margaret Mahy Book of the Year 2016


ANZAC Heroes
by Maria Gill, illustrated by Marco Ivancic
Published by Scholastic 2015 

and here they are just after the announcement was made. 

This image courtesy of Adrienne Olsen   Adroite Communications

Congratulations Maria and Marco


Tuesday, 9 August 2016

New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults - the final Choices

And here they are- the judges (Fiona Mackie, Kathy Alonui and Melinda Szymanik and the children in the Children’s Choice section) have decided the final winners for the New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults 2016 held at Circa Theatre Wellington shall be:

Book of the Year:

ANZAC Heroes Maria Gill, illustrated by Marco Ivancic Scholastic NZ

TE REO MAORI  (Te Kura Pounamu Award)
Whiti te ra Patricia Grace    Huia Publishers

 Allis the Little Tractor Sophie Siers, illustrated by Helen Kerridge Millward–Heritage Productions

The Little Kiwi's Matariki  Nikki Slade Robinson.  Duck Creek Press

JUNIOR FICTION (The Esther Glen Award)
 From The Cutting Room of Barney Kettle  Kate De Goldi Penguin Random House

Battlesaurus Rampage at Waterloo  Brian Falkner Pan McMillan, Australia

ANZAC Heroes  Maria Gill, illus Marco Ivancic  Scholastic NZ

Much ado about Shakespeare Donovan Bixley    Upstart Press

 Te Hua Tuatahi a Kuwi  Kat Merewether  Illustrated Publishing

The House on the Hill  Kyle Mewburn illustrated by Sarah Davis Scholastic NZ

The Girl Who Rode the Wind  Stacy Gregg HarperCollins

 Stray Rachael Craw  Walker Books

First to the Top  David Hill Illustrated by Phoebe Morris Penguin Random House 

Has there ever been better coverage post a book awards event than today's? It seemed every time I tuned in to the radio a writer from the Awards was speaking, some one was being interviewed or the list of winners was being read out once more.

Circa Theatre proved to be an ideal venue – for once we were close up and personal with the action – we could see and we could hear.

Fifi Colston was the ideal MC. She looked spectacular. She kept her cool throughout and she was engaged the whole time in what was happening. Congratulations Fifi  - you needed an Award of your own.

I only have one quibble over the whole event. I thought the catalogue was excellently designed – easy to find your way through and to follow as the events unfolded. But. There seemed to me to be a rather startling omission. We had the title of the book, the creator(s) either writer or illustrator and a brief run down on what the book was about. But where were the publishers without whom there would be no books…?

Photo of the event to follow tomorrow…
Apologies for the issues with the font sizes.....

Monday, 8 August 2016

New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults - Ceremony today at 5-30pm

New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults 2016 

In a few minutes I am off to Wellington to enjoy the New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults  being held later this afternoon at Circa Theatre. By 7.00pm we should know the outcome and a great collective sigh well go up from all the writers and illustrators and publishers involved. 
Some will be sighing with delight as winners – some with disappointment. 

Of course, everyone is a winner really so long as a child or young adult (or adult) somewhere is reading and admiring their words and images - shortlisted or not.

So it is off into the cold and wet of the Wellington winter - remembering to take my not always reliable iPhone  - with camera.

The sky is blue and the sun is shining up here on the Kapiti coast.

More tomorrow! 

Sunday, 7 August 2016

Forced Marriages

Australian Writer  Helen Thurloe Promising Azra Allen & Unwin 2016 $22.99pb 355pp ISBN 978 1 7601 1327 8 Themes: Cultural differences/ Family life/ Forced marriage/ High School Life (Australia)

Azra, who is sixteen and is a gifted student was born in Pakistan. She is looking to the future with time at university in Sydney and then a career in the sciences which is where her talents and interests lie. Then she finds her parents (whom she loves dearly) are planning a marriage for her to a cousin in Pakistan – in three months time.  This is a story of a dilemma based on a terrible truth  - in 2012-2013 in Australia at least 250 girls under the age of 18 were forced into marriage with a partner chosen by their family. This is quite different to an arranged marriage that relies on the consent of both parties. Forced marriages are still common in many parts of the world across many cultures.

However, this is certainly not a book of gloom and doom as Azra is a lively heroine and her story will be related to and understood by many young adult readers. 
Great jacket don't you think?!!

Year 9 up/ Age 13 up

Wednesday, 3 August 2016

Peter Gossage artist and writer 1946-2016

Image of Peter by Ross Land
It was with real sadness so many people have read of the death at the weekend of Peter Gossage, artist and writer at the age of 70.
Go into any school or children’s library in New Zealand and you will find copies of Peter’s books (many almost loved to death with frequent handling) with their bright, clear images and their simple retelling of Maori myths and legends.
Simplicity in design and story-telling was Peter’s mantra and is a wonderful heritage for us all.   
My favourite Peter Gossage retelling

Great new picture book coming from Juliette MacIver and Sarah Davis

NZ Writer & Illustrator
Juliette MacIver, illustrated by Sarah Davis
That’s Not a Hippopotamus
Gecko Press 2016 $29.99hb 32pp
ISBN 978 1 9272 7196 4 hb   978 1 9272 7197 1 pb 
Themes: Group behaviour/ Stories in rhyme/ Zoo visits
When Keeper Don’s hippopotamus goes missing down by the Lakeside, the class, who are there at the Safari Park on a visit are determined to find him but not very successfully, confusing all sorts of animals with the missing one. It is only quiet (but equally determined) Liam and the reader who know exactly where the hippo is hiding.
A romping text with the noise of the children underpinning it all, that is a pleasure to read aloud. Plus comic but not too much so, illustrations, will make this a book to read and look at over and over until it is quite worn out and needs to be replaced. A very satisfying experience for everyone!
Preschool up/ Age 4 up

Tuesday, 2 August 2016

Jack Lasenby - Coming soon

Available from September 1st 2016
Image of Jack - Barbara Murison
Grandad’s Wheelies by Jack Lasenby Illustrated by Bob Kerr Published by Penguin Random House, 2016.  $16.99pb
ISBN 978 0 1435 0733 8  
Come back here on August 31st for a very enthusiastic review.

The publisher has asked that no review appears before that date…