Friday, December 17, 2010

Top Five Christmas books for children and young adult

Are you looking for an entertaining children's or young adult book to give as a Christmas present, if so check out these books:

Five entertaining books for 3-6 year olds.

  1. Hannah Bandanna's Hair by Nikki Slade Robinson
  2. Daisy's Maze by Kyle Mewburn
  3. The Fidgity Itch by Lucy Davey
  4. Witchy Goes Shopping by Dianne Boles
  5. The Moon & Farmer McPhee by Margaret Mahy
Plus any of The Kiwi Corker series books (by authors Chris Gurney and Sher Foley)

A great book for bedtime: The Rain Train by Elena de Roo, illustrated by Brian Lovelock

Non-fiction books for this age group - I am a ... series (seals, dolphin, penguin).

Want to give a book that gives back? See Quaky Cat by Diana Noonan - all proceeds going to Christchurch Quake Relief Charities.

Five entertaining books for 7-9 year olds:

  1. Boy Zero: Wannabe Hero by Peter Millet
  2. Violet Mackerel's Brilliant Plot
  3. Finnigan and the Pirates by Sheryl Jordan
  4. Hollie Chips by Anna Gowan
  5. Organ Music by Margaret Mahy

Plus Victoria Azaro's series for Saffron.

Non-fiction books: The Naughty Kids Book of Nature by Des Hunt, and 'Sensational Survivors' by Sandra Morris, House by A. Machowiak

Five entertaining books for 10-12 year olds include:

  1. The Shadow of the Boyd by Diana Menefy
  2. Tussock by Elizabeth Pulford
  3. Ebony Hill by Anna MacKenzie
  4. Dreams of Warriors by Susan Brocker
  5. Jonty & Choc by Vince Ford

Non-fiction books include:

'It's my turn to cook' by Margaret Brooker, The Kiwi Fossil Hunters Handbook by J. Crampton & M. Terezow, 'Brave Bess & the Anzac Horses' by Susan Brocker

Five entertaining books for teenagers (13 years +) include:

  1. The Project by Brian Falkner
  2. The Heir of Night by Helen Lowe
  3. Ruined by Paula Morris
  4. Into the Wilderness by Mandy Hagar
  5. The Limping Man by Maurice Gee

A non-fiction book for this age group: 'Who's Cooking Tonight?' with Claire Gourley

Books for Teeagers

Who's Cooking Tonight? with Claire Gourley (Penguin)
ISBN: 978-0-143-20542-5 RRP$36.00

Hungry teeangers will find plenty of scrummy recipes to cook up quickly and scoff down with siblings and friends. Claire's mother Glenda supplied the recipes and teenage author Claire has written the recipes in a way that makes them appealing and talks the language of her peers. Teenage cooks will find snack recipes such as omelette for one, Tuscan chips with guacamole, seafood chowder; dinner for the family - chicken and tomato wedges, vegetable slice, beef fried rice, rapid ratatouille with lamb chops; classic dishes - meatloaf with scalloped potatoes, cheesy pasta bake, cottage pie, creamy fish pie; quick meals - butter chicken with the trimmings, burritos, spaghetti and meatballs, chilli chicken; and not forgetting sweet things - chocolate brownie, berry nice cupcakes, chocolate cake and berries, fresh fruit platter with toffee caramel drizzle. Teenagers can see how things are done by going to her website: (she's also on Twitter, Facebook and You Tube). Claire's nine year old brother William edited the video clips and downloaded them on You Tube. Claires other brother and friends helped with the taste testing, and photography. The book is packaged to catch the eye of teenagers with bright colours and lots of photographs. An excellent Christmas present for teenagers who enjoy cooking (or for mothers to buy for their teenagers to give them a hint 'it's their turn to cook tonight').

Claire says she wanted to collect favourite recipes together in one place before she left home, and while she was doing this she started to think she could make them available so that other teenagers could benefit from it too. She imparts a healthy eating message throughout the book but reassures teenagers they had to taste and look good too. This is one media savvy teenager - expect to see more of her in the future.

Cor Blimey, Mate: Action Stories for Young Hunters by Marion Day
ISBN: 978-0-9864680-0-1 RRP $

I'd been waiting a long time for this hunt. Been harassing my old man, begging him to take me, and all I ever got was, "You're too young. You'll be a nuisance. Maybe next year."

I even resorted to showing him some underarm fuzzy bits of hair to prove how ready I really was.

"That's bum fluff, boy," he'd said, throwing his head up like one of those ugly laughing hyenas.

"Cor, Dad. Cor blimey. When can I go then? Please?" I asked straight back, determined.

Cor Blimey, Mate is written for young hunters; full of gory stories of pig hunts, being out in the bush with dogs, riding helicopters and using guns. Marion based many of the 18 short stories on true events and has used the language of the hunter (so expect to see some swearing) to make it realistic. The book is illustrated with colour photographs and black and white cartoons. Would suit boys who are reluctant readers and come from the farming community.

I just want to be ... Me! Building resilience in young people by Timothy and Sandra Bowden (Exisle Publishing) ISBN: 978-1-921497-47-6 RRP$22.99

I Just want to be ... Me! is a self help book for teenagers teaching them the principles of ACT (Acceptance and Commitment therapy). Helpful for teeagers with low self-esteem or depressed. It gives them the tools to deal with their demons and how to get back onto the journey of life. It is told in graphic cartoon style making it appealing to teenagers. It would be a helpful resource for the Health programme for Years 6 upwards. Teachers and parents can download free resources to go with the book on the website:

Thursday, December 9, 2010

An assortment of books for children

Pick 'n' Mix assorted Kiwi stories, illustrated by Jenny Cooper (Scholastic) ISBN: 978-1-86943-956-9 RRP $24.00

Dip into this assortment of 16 short stories. You'll find stories by some of New Zealand's award winning and established writers: Elizabeth Pulford, Joy Cowley, Moira Wairama, David Hill, Janice Marriott, Melinda Szymanik, philippa Werry, Kathy White and Bill Nagelkerke and talented new comers: Tania Hutley, Jaqualine Chapman, Feana Tu'akoi, Jill Brasell, Vicki Hall, and Heather McQuillan. Read about a donkey's revenge, how to get your smarts for a math's test, how to dodge space pirates, go back in time with a sugar-baby boy, find out if Hugo keeps the mutts or ditches the girl, and whether Mike gets his dog-walking business off his sister. There's even some unlikely fairy stories ...

It's my turn to cook by Margaret Brooker (New Holland Publishers)
ISBN 978-1-86966-169-4 RRP $24.99

This book will be very popular with aspiring cooks. They'll read about food safety rules and are given tips on how to do things like peel garlic, grate food, chop an onion, separate an egg, chop herbs, beat egg whites stiff and most importantly melt chocolate. In It's my turn to cook there are recipes for breakfast, lunch, dinner, desert and yummy treats. My daughter snatched the book on its arrival (the cover invites children to turn its pages) and has already trialed several of its recipes. I can defintely recommend the peanut butter cookies, chicken nibbles and chocolate cake. I've got my order in (for my daughter to cook - no ulterior motive here at all - all in the interests of testing whether the recipes are good or not) for strawberry ice-cream, Moroccan Lamb, and for breakfast French Toast, oh and chocolate mousse and some chocolate truffles ...

An excellent Christmas present for 8-12 year olds (Mothers and Fathers - it is in your interest to buy this book).

H.O.U.S.E. by Aleksandra Machowiak and Daniel Mizielinski (Gecko Press)
ISBN: 978-1-877467-66-0 RRP $ 39.99 hardback

This is a fascinating book for children, and adults who are interested in unusual architecture. The book is colourful, laid out with symbols, maps and drawings of houses from all over the world. There is a huge house with big spikes in Denmark, a burrow house in Switzerland, a bubble house in France, a sail house in Spain, a moon house and butterfly house in England, a pear house in the Netherlands, a starry house in Italy - and that's just Europe. In America there's an upwind house, a house of building blocks, a shipping container house; in Chile a house at the edge of the world, a sand house in Iran, a suitcase house in China, a caterpillar and egg house in Japan, and a zig zag house in Australia - and plenty of other unusual houses. It's the sort of book you can dip in and out many times and find something you missed the last time you read it. The book invites you to find the location for each house, meet the architects, think of the house's ideal name then compare it with the original name on the top right hand corner. You can see what the house is made of, what type of furniture it has (bed, kitchen etc.), whether it is in the country, city, mountains, forest or by the sea. There are 23 icons for the reader to identify what type of house they are looking at. Not surprisingly, Ibby put it on their Honour List - it is a gem of a book.
The authors Aleksandra and Daniel graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts in Poland in 2008 - this is their first book.

It's a Book by Lane Smith (Walker Books)
ISBN: 978-1-921720-14-7 RRP $29.99 hardback

What do you have there?
It's a book.
How do you scroll down?
I don't.
I turn the page.
It's a book.
Do you blog with it?
No, it's a book.

Jackass asks chimp whether it can text, blog, scroll, wi-fi, or tweet? "No ... it's a book," says Chimp. This is a book for all book lovers who stubbornly hold onto the hope that there will be paper books in the future. In fact, give it to someone young so they can see the funny side of book vs. e-book argument. All that aside ... it is a very clever, simple book with humour. The artwork and design is pared back; there are close-ups and different angles of the three main characters (Jackass, chimp and book). I love the look on Chimp's face as he becomes frustrated with the many questions. The last line is a doozy. An absolute delight. (And yes, I do confess this is not a New Zealand children's book - but as a book lover I had to sneak it in.)

Lane Smith is a gifted picture book writer and illustrator. Several of his books have been on bestseller lists and won awards: Madam President; John, Paul, George & Ben; James and the Giant Peach; Princess Hyacinth; Hooray for Diffendoofer Day!

Reviewed by Maria Gill

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Book for Earthquake Charities

Quaky Cat by Diana Noonan, illustrated by Gavin Bishop (Scholastic) ISBN: 978 1 775 43 0292 RRP $ 19.50
Released 9 December 2010

On a cold Christchurch morning, while the city was sleeping,
before the birds roused him with twitters and cheeping,
curled up on the end of his friend Emma’s bed,
Tiger woke with a start ... and a feeling of dread.

Tiger fled from the house with a leap and a bound
as, louder than thunder, from deep underground,
came a roar and a shudder and terrible shaking!
Around him, the city was rolling and quaking.

Quaky flees through the rumbling rolling city and shoots up a tree to safety. He is joined by many other terrified cats until the city stops rocking. Then Quaky cat returns home to find Emma but what does he find instead ...

Author Diana Noonan and illustrator Gavin Bishop experienced the terrors of the Christchurch earthquake themselves. This is their tribute to help children who were traumatised in the Christchurch region and to help other children around the country understand what it was like. Quaky Cat is an uplifting, heartwarming tale for children, written in rhyme and illustrated with bright colourful pictures. It also includes a note to readers from both the author and illustrator about their personal reactions to the quake, as well as contributions from Mayor Bob Parker, Margaret Mahy and Jason Gunn - who all live in Christchurch. The author and illustrator have generously donated their royalties, and Scholastic has contributed 50% of net proceeds from the book to Christchurch charities. The book was produced using all Christchurch businesses and one free copy will be given to all Year 1 and 2 children in the Christchurch area.
Award-winning Diana Noonan has written over two hundred publications including young adult novels, picture books, non-fiction, poetry, radio stories, television material, feature film treatments, and short film scripts. She lives on the remote Catlins Coast of the lower South Island.
Multi-awardwinning author/illustrator, Gavin Bishop is arguably NZ’s best-known children’s book illustrator.