Thursday, January 29, 2009

New Zealand Children's Non Fiction Books

Check out the most recently published New Zealand non-fiction books for children. If they are not in your local bookshop or library - request they get them in. Teachers - they are a must-have for your libraries and resource rooms. Publishers often have educational resources to complement the books - look on their site for details.

2008 Non-Fiction children's books published in New Zealand:

All about New Zealand Birds by Dave Gunson (New Holland) RRP $24.99
Discover interesting facts about New Zealand Birds. Targeting ages 8-14 years

Atoms, Dinosaurs & DNA by Veronika Meduna & Rebecca Priestley (Random House) RRP $34.99
Find out what exciting new discoveries New Zealand scientists have made. Targeting 10 years+
Teaching resource available

Dogs on the Job by Maria Gill (Penguin) RRP $19.95
Learn about all the different types of working dogs and how they are trained. Targeting 8-12 years
Teaching resource available

Growing Gardeners by Dee Pigneguy (Papawai) RRP $22.00
As well as learning how to set up an organic garden at home or school find out about the science of gardens. Targeting 8-12 years

High Tech Legs on Everest by Mark Inglis & Sarah Ell (Random House) RRP$26.99
A true story about how Mark Inglis climbed Mt Everest with a prosthetic leg. Targeting 7-10 years
Teaching resource available:

How to eat a Huhu Grub by Nick & Conrad Turzynski (Random House)
RRP $34.99
Full of mad-cap tips on what to do outside including making sheeps poo into paper! Target age 10 years+

How to Make a Piupiu by Leilani Richard (Raupo) RRP $30.00
Gives step-by-step instructions on how to make a Maori grass skirt. Target age 9-12 years

Illustrated History of New Zealanders at War by Marie Stenson (Random House) RRP $34.99
An excellent resource for students and teachers on the different wars New Zealanders have participated in here in New Zealand and overseas. Target age 9-13 years
Teaching resource available:

Juicy Writing by Brigid Lowry (Allen & Unwin) RRP $23.99
A treasure-trove of inspirational and practical advice on creative writing. Target age - Young Adults

Learn to Skateboard with Luka by Lee & Errol Peta (Reed) RRP $16.99
Instructional text in English and Maori on how to skateboard. Target age 6-9 years.

Let's get Art by Brad Irwin & John Ward Knox (Random House) RRP $34.99
Contemporary art combined with art information set in picture book style. Target age 6-12 years
Teaching resource available:

Piano Rock by Gavin Bishop (Random House) RRP $34.99
A memoir of Gavin Bishop's idyllic years growing up in the country. Target age $8-12 years

Pepetuna by Denise Whitmore (Penguin) RRP $29.99
A beautifully illustrated picture book about the life cycle of a puriri moth. Target age 3-6years

Really Big Stuff by Alan Trussell-Cullen (Puffin) RRP $19.99
Are New Zealanders really bigger than Australians? Find out the answer to this and all kinds of zany questions about big stuff. Target age 6-12 years

Really Fast Stuff by Alan Trussell-Cullen (Puffin) RRP $19.99
Where can you catch the world's fastest train? Find out the answer to this and all kinds of terrific information about really fast stuff. Target age 6-12 years

Te Rauparaha by Maureen Cavanagh (Puffin) RRP $17.99
Read the exciting legend about Chief Te Rauparaha how he led his people away from warring neighbours over mountains and valleys towards safety. Target age 4-7 years

The Guide: How to kiss, get a job & other stuff you need to know by Mike Loder & Terry Williams (Hodder Moa) RRP $19.99
Provides teenagers with the confidence to take a big stride into adulthood and towards achieving their dreams. Target age - young adults

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Sucked In by John Parker

Sucked In John Parker (Walker Books) ISBN 978-1-921150-62-3
When Dan’s friend Zainey sells new his mountain bike for a fraction of the original price, the gang thinks he’s crazy. But when they find out that he has ordered an EYE through a mail order company, they decide he is off his rocker.
Dan is sure the EYE will never arrive. He thinks Zainey has lost his money. But the EYE does arrive. And the then the real fun begins.
This is a delightful story that boys in particular, will love. Girls will too. Aimed at around 8 – 12 years. A little twist at the end that will keep adults laughing.
Reviewed by Jenni Francis
John Parker is a full-time writer who lives on the North Shore, Auckland. He has worked in a variety of positions, such as school-teacher, lecturer, music-teacher, postie; sorting out complaints from the public in a clothing factory; serving in a big general store; and painting houses. He has also travelled the world as a professional opera singer! John has had more than 70 books published.
Review"...attractively packaged and the shorter length and the accessible text size and presentation will make it appealing to readers of all ages." “

Monday, January 26, 2009

Susan Brocker interview

I caught up with Susan Brocker just after she came back from holidays to ask her a few questions about her new book 'Saving Sam'.

That is a gorgeous dog on the cover – is it yours?
No, but she does look very much like my own dog Layla who passed away about two years ago. I sent in photos of her to the cover designer, and she did a marvellous job of finding a photo of a dog that looked so much like her.
Where did you get the idea for the story?
Layla, my old dog who passed away, gave me the idea. She was always a very timid and shy dog, nothing like your big scary German shepherd, yet she was absolutely incredible with young people. She adored them, and seemed to understand them, especially children who were going through sad or difficult times. She always befriended them and looked out for them. Also, another part of the story was inspired by my present dog, Yogi. He's a long-haired German shepherd too, just like Layla, but he's full of confidence and a real clown! I've been training him in search and rescue work, which he loves, especially fetch!
When researching for the book did you go and see a drug sniffer or police dog in action?
I've seen police dogs in action at training sessions, and I've also spoken to dog trainers about training search and rescue dogs. I've also read lots of books and attend obedience classes to help me train my own dog, Yogi.
Did you draw upon your own experiences as a foster mother for the story?
Yes. We've had quite a few young people come and stay with us as foster caregivers, and I am always amazed at how they respond and love the animals we have here on our small farm. The horses, cats, dogs, even the goats - children of all ages love to spend time with all the animals and it seems to help them heal and smile again.
When is the book due out in the shops?
February 9th

If you've got a question for Susan Brocker - please leave it in the 'comments' below and we'll get it answered.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Saving Sam by Susan Brocker

Ben's mother is dead, his father is in jail, and his older brother is heading off the rails at a million kilometres an hour.
At first Ben feels unwanted at his Aunty Ida and Uncle Joe's place and so does their long-haired German Shepherd dog called Layla. It doesn't take long for them to form a trusting and loving friendship. Layla becomes more confident as she rediscovers old skills and Ben finds friends in unlikely places. They're going to need it when Ben's brother Sam starts to hang out with unsavoury characters and requires rescuing.
Susan Brocker starts and ends the story with the dog's perspective and in between writes a heartwarming tale about bravery and friendship between a boy and his dog. Boys and girls of 10-14 years old will find it difficult to put this book down.
Susan Brocker has written over 50 books for teenagers for the American market and two for the New Zealand market (her first being Restless Spirit). Suan lives on a farm in Tauranga with her foster children, husband and animals (not surprisingly mostly horses and dogs). The book was inspired by a dog she once had, who passed away several years ago.
Saving Sam by Susan Brocker published by Harper Collins ISBN # 978 1 86950 743 5 $18.99
Reviewed by Maria Gill

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Holiday Reading

Welcome back readers! I hope you've had a wonderful time tucking into books written by New Zealand authors in the holiday break.
I asked our reviewers what their favourite books for 2008 were - see their lists below. Of course they haven't read all 103 books published last year - perhaps you can tell us what your favourite New Zealand books were.

Vivienne Lingard's favourites:
The Puffin Treasury of New Zealand Children's Stories, put out by Scholastic NZ.'
The Snake and Lizard by Joy Cowley illustrator Gavin Bishop, Gecko Press.
'The Mad Tadpole Aventure' by Melanie Drewery illustrator Jenny Cooper, Scholastic
To The Harbour by Stanley Palmer, Lopdell House Gallery.

Lorraine Orman's favourites:
Peter and the Pig – Simon Grant, illus. Jenny Cooper (Scholastic NZ)
A Birthday in the life of Ozzie Kingsford – Val Bird (Random House NZ)
Night Hunting – Deborah Burnside (Penguin NZ)
The Magician of Hoad – Margaret Mahy (HarperCollins NZ)

Maria Gill's favourites:
The 10 PM Question by Kate de Goldi (Longacre)
Pepetuna by Denise Whitmore (Penguin)
Thornspell by Helen Lowe (Knopf)
Juno of Taris by Fleur Beale (Random)
The Apple by Ben Brown & Tracy Duncan (Penguin)
Every Second Friday by Kiri Lightfoot and Ben Galbraith (Hodder)
Atoms, dinosaurs & DNA by Veronika Meduna & Rebecca Priestley (Random)

Christine Hurst's favourite picture books:
The Eleventh Sheep by Kyle Mewburn, Scholastic
Kei te Pehea koe? By Tracy Duncan, Penguin
Piggity Wiggity Jiggity Jig by Diana Neld, Scholastic
Captain cough-a-lot by Grant Walker, Scholastic
The were-nana by Melinda Szymanik, Scholastic