Sunday, November 23, 2008

Read a NZ book this Christmas

I hope we're convincing all you parents, teachers, librarians and kids that there are some fantastic New Zealand authored books in our shops. This week we've reviewed a book that children from separated families will relate to: 'Every Second Friday', Jenni has reviewed Tania Mill's new book: 'Don't Call Me JoJo' (soon to be reviewed on Good Morning TV) and Tania Roxborough's latest mystery book: 'Space Gum'. Not forgetting the non-fiction book about New Zealand's most spectacular scientists: 'Atoms, Dinosaurs & DNA'.

If you've read any of the books we've showcased and want to add your own review (kids included) - please leave a comment - we'll look forward to reading what you think of the books. Authors - feel free to add a comment about how you got the idea for the book.

Picture Books

Every Second Friday by Kiri Lightfoot, Illustrations by Ben Galbraith (Hodder Children's Books) ISBN: 978-0-340-95612-0 RRP$34.99 (hardback)
Our dad is a collector of bits and bobs. Every second Friday my brother and I pack our bags and go and stay at his house. I pack my toothbrush, pyjamas, books, teddy and I always pack an extra set of clothes. Because when we stay at Dad's house we always get - magnificently muddy, worringly wet and mind-blowingly messy.
Margaret Madeleine (nickname Margi) and her brother Thomas Theodore (Totty) have a glorious time at the dad's house when their mother drops them off every second Friday. Their dad's house is such a mess they have to fight their way through all the stuff he collects. But the children love searching for treasures, exploring the house and dressing up with their father. He makes it their house too by putting up all their paintings and photographs on the walls and windows.
A fun reassuring book for children who come from separated families. The author, Kiri Lightfoot has based this story on her own family experience of spending time with her dad after her parents separated. The text is playful with a satisfying ending. This is Ben Galbraith's second book, his first winning the 2007 NZ Post award for Three Fishing Brothers Gruff. His colourful, quirky illustrations begin on the end papers and on every reading you'll see something you missed before - so much is packed onto each page. 'Every Second Friday' is being distributed in New Zealand and the U.K. Reviewed by Maria Gill

Chapter Books 10-14 year olds

Don’t Call Me JoJo Tania Mills (Scholastic) ISBN 978-1-86943-820-3 RRP $18.99


Josie wakes one the night to the police bursting in, and taking away her father. Suddenly her life is turned upside down. She’s the daughter of a criminal; enduring the embarrassment of this revelation. Then she has to move, away from her friends, school and home, to be closer to where her father is in prison.
The story follows Josie as she deals with this life change, and as she discovers that she has the strength to deal with unfair events that can sometimes befall us. This is an engrossing story that will appeal to 12 to 14 year olds and above. See Tania Mills talk about 'Don't Call Me JoJo' on Good Morning TV on 27th November 10.07am (approximately). Reviewed by Jenni Francis


Space Gum Tania Roxborogh (Longacre Press) ISBN 978-1-877460-05-0 RRP $17.99
Carl and his Dad love to play practice jokes on each other. However, sometimes it’s Mum who has to deal with the consequences, and she is not happy about it.
But one day, Carl’s dad disappears, and it seems to be tied up to a visit to an ex-NASA scientist. It’s up to Carl to figure out the answer to this problem.
A fun story that keeps the tension going to the end. Of strong appeal to boys and girls of around 10 to 13 years who like a mystery.
Tania Roxborogh is a secondary school English and drama teacher. She has written many books, including teenage novels and resource books for teachers. Read an extract: www.longacre.co.nz/books/SpaceGumExtract.pdf
Reviewed by Jenni Francis

Non Fiction

Atoms, Dinosaurs & DNA: 68 Great New Zealand Scientists by Veronika Meduna and Rebecca Priestley (Random) ISBN: 9781869419547 RRP $34.99
Atoms, Dinosaurs & DNA profiles 68 of New Zealand's most remarkable scientists. Among them are some of the earliest explorers and collectors, the first professional scientists, twentieth-century pioneers in emerging scientific disciplines and some of today's leading scientists who are continuing to make discoveries about our world and working to shape our future. Whether they measure the universe or the atom, work with whales or microbes, explore some of the world's most inhospitable places or persevere against all odds to discover the last survivors of a species considered extinct, each of the scientists profiled in this book is driven by a passion for their discipline and a desire to better understand the world around us. By presenting the life and work of each scientist in chronological sequence, this book also charts the history of science in New Zealand over the past two centuries. Atoms, Dinosaurs & DNA is based on a major science exhibition, curated by the authors and held at the National Library of New Zealand in 2006.
Author BioVeronika Meduna is a science journalist best known for her broadcasts on Radio New Zealand National. Rebecca Priestley is a science historian and writer, and editor of The Awa Book of New Zealand Science.

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