Sunday, November 29, 2009

ILLUSTRATORS competition

Female illustrators dominate the short-list for the inaugural Gavin Bishop Award for Children's Book Illustration

The judging for the inaugural Storylines Gavin Bishop Award for Children’s Book Illustration has finished and the judges were impressed by the high standard of entries received. The judges for the award are Gavin Bishop, Crissi Blair and Alan Gilderdale from Storylines, and Jenny Hellen, Deputy Publishing Director at Random House New Zealand.

The judges said: "The quality and standard of entries made judging a very difficult task and took a full working day to complete. However, in the end six entries stood out for their quality and diversity."

The list of finalists comprises five women and one man, with an equal geographical spread between the North and South Islands. The finalists are: Sara Acton from Christchurch; Heather Arnold from Auckland; Harriet Bailey from Wellington; Stephanie Junovich from Christchurch; Gary Venn from Hamilton; and Neroli Williams from Christchurch.

Click on the names below to download artwork from each finalist. Note: This artwork is copyright to each artist.

Sarah Acton
Heather Arnold
Harriet Bailey
Stephanie Junovich

Gary Venn
Neroli Williams

Saturday, November 21, 2009

A new My Story title

No Survivors: the Diary of Jackie Simms, Hamilton, 1979
By Sharon Holt (Scholastic)

Twelve year old Jackie Simms is crazy about Abba and is constantly teased about it from her older brother Jeff. Jackie is at the age where she is discovering herself and the things she’s good at. Along with her best friend Maria, Jackie frequents the roller rink in Hamilton and finds she has a natural talent for it. Like any other pre-teen girl, Jackie struggles with the transition out of childhood and argues with 17 year old Jeff. And to make matters worse she’s in love with his best mate Davey, who only sees her as Jeff’s little sis.

Jeff and Davey are invited along by Jeff’s uncle on an Air NZ scenic flight over Antarctica. The two teenagers save hard throughout the book, much to Jackie’s dismay – she can’t understand why anyone would want to fly over an area devoid of colour.

As with all ‘My Story’ books, tragedy is about to strike. For those who were around in 1979 we can recall the events of Nov 28 and the impact it was to have on all New Zealanders.

This story is a great snapshot of New Zealand (and in particular Hamilton) that will bring to life the highs and lows of 1979. For some of us it’s a trip down memory lane - for the younger generation it will be a poignant history lesson about New Zealand’s worse air disaster. The use of ‘random thoughts’ throughout the journal injects some humour into what could easily have been a morose read.

Unlike many of the ‘My Story’ books, the incident in this story is well within the living memory of most New Zealanders. Skillfully written, Sharon Holt has created an entertaining read that recounts with respect the recent events of the Mt Erebus disaster.

Sharon Holt Sharon was born in Auckland, and has been a published writer since 2001. She has published 24 fiction and nonfiction stories, picture books, poems and plays. Her stories are
about daily family life, and many of her children’s stories have a ‘story behind the story’.
She now lives in the small Waikato town of Kihikihi. Sharon was short-listed for the 2007 New Zealand Post Book Awards for Children and Young People and also made the Storylines 2007 Notable Books list for her non-fiction book: It's True! You can make your own Jokes'.

Teachers download a free Teaching Resource

Reviewed by Christine Hurst

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Slide The Corner by Fleur Beale: Scholastic NZ Limited (2009)

Fifteen year old Greg is sick of being told he’s ‘as thick as crude oil’ by his academic dad. Greg loves cars, not academic stuff. Cars; he’s crazy about them, but can he get his parents to understand? They want him to go to university; Greg wants to be a rally driver. It looks as if everything and everyone is against him, until he helps a pregnant woman change a wheel on her car. Greg gets to meet her husband (who is a mechanic), is offered an after school job, and his life begins to change in interesting and exciting ways.

Fleur Beale has written a great, fast-paced story, which deals equally well with the emotional turmoil of family conflict, as it does with the rudiments, and thrills, of rally driving.
I can’t imagine a young teen (or older reader) not enjoying this engaging book.

Slide the Corner was Fleur's first novel, and it has gone on to win the Gaelyn Gordon Award for a Much-loved Book - an award that recognises the ongoing success of this novel.
Reviewed by Vivienne Lingard

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Three new books from Scholastic

The Wonky Donkey by Craig Smith and Illustrated by Katz Crowley.
Scholastic ISBN 978-1-86943-926-2 RRP $25.00 includes CD

The Wonky Donkey only has three legs, and he only has one eye, and that makes him a winky wonky donkey. By the time you get to the part where the wonky donky was quite good looking you have a serious amount of tongue twisting to cope with.

But fear not – there is a music CD to help you, and the children, have fun with this delightful book. The illustrations are great. They complement the story perfectly.

The song, by the way, was awarded the APRA Children’s Song of the Year 2008.

Great to buy for the grandchildren, and for the classroom.

Watch Craig Smith perform the song on You Tube (google Wonky Donkey).
Singer/songwriter Craig Smith performs at gigs around the South Island. He has lived in Australia for 4 years and Vietnam for 6 years, and says Spike Milligan and his Mum are his greatest influences. British-born Katz Cowley has a degree in Illustration from the
University of Northumbria. She spent a year and a half travelling around SE Asia and living in Australia before arriving in NZ in 2000, where she has been ever since.
Reviewed by Jenni Francis

The 12 Days of Holidays by Yvonne Morrison and Illustrated by Jenny Cooper.
Scholastic ISBN 978-1-86943-916-3

On the first days of holidays my mother said to me: Please will you turn off that TV!

So begins a twist on an old classic. The main character in the story gets more annoying by the day, Mother gets more and more exasperated, the family is in disarray, until on the thirteenth day, Mum hits on the perfect solution. For her that is.

A great Christmas book, with wonderful colourful illustrations that show an increasing frenetic household.

Yvonne Morrison has written a number of books in a similar vein, including Brian the Big Brained Romney; Kiwi Dads; and The Tuatara and the Skink.

Jenny Cooper has illustrated for Yvonne Morrison in the past, and for Sarah Johnson, Frances Adlam and many others.

Reviewed by Jenni Francis

A Right Royal Christmas by Lucy Davey and Illustrated by Donovan Bixley.
Scholastic ISBN 978-1-86943-844-9

One look at the cover and you are transported back to the days of nursery rhymes and fairy stories. However, Princess Claire is not the kind and loving sort of princess. In fact she likes that she has no brothers and sisters and relatives to share her feast with at Christmas. It’s just her and the King and Queen.

Until a rat-a-tat-tat at the door spoils all her plans. Eventually, the castle is filled to overflowing with people and still comes a rat-a-tat-tat. The last visitors bring a surprise even to Princess Claire.

Delightful story for little children, for Christmas of course.

Reviewed by Jenni Francis