Saturday, March 19, 2011

Three new non-fiction books

In love with Moko: The story of a New Zealand dolphin by Val Bird & Nikki Slade Robinson

This 100 page fact/fiction book tells stories about Moko the dolphin from Whakatane. First is the fictional diary of Aroha's diary:

Dear Diary
I hate to start this diary off in a grim tone BUT:
Mum's a bi grouchy and bad-mooded.
"All you can think about is Moko," she complained while we were having dinner.
"He loves me," I told her.
Then she gave me a nasty squinty-eyed look and said ...
"I wish that big fish would go live somewhere else!"
"He's NOT a fish," I told her, "he's a MAMMAL."

Author Val Bird combines fictional diary entries with facts and true stories about Moko. Another section of the book includes Moko's diary - giving a timeline of his short life. The third part includes 50 stories and poems from local people, who had the fortune to experience Moko. The last half has facts about dolphins and information about how you can help them. "Entertaining, poignant and educational, In love with Moko is a heartfelt tribute to this unforgettable dolphin and all the friendships he forged in his short but meaningful life." Younger children will enjoy the many photographs and illustrations, older children will like to dip in and out reading the different parts of this book.

A portion of the money raised from this book will go to WWF, which is involved in dolphin conservation and marine ecology.

Nice day for a war: Adventures of a kiwi soldier in World War 1 by Chris Slane and Matt Elliott (Harper Collins)

Nice Day for a War is based on the diaries of author Matt Elliott's grandfather. Corporal Cyril Elliot enlisted for war at aged 17/18 years lying about his age so that he would be old enough to join. Cyril served nearly four years in the army; training first at Trentham, sailed to Egypt and then travelled overland to France; where they fought the Germans from the trenches. He suffered injuries, rested in Britain for a while, then returned to Europe until trench fever overcame him and he had to spend more time in hospitals. Just after he was discharged on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month the Armistice agreement was signed and Cyril Elliot was able to return to New Zealand. Using information from Cyril's diaries, army personnel file and army pay books author Matt Elliott tells the story of Cyril's war experience relaying it in award-winning Chris Slane's cartoons, non-fiction text, photographs, and scans of other war material. It's a fascinating read for 10-14 year old boys and adults. Will be an excellent teaching resource for ANZAC Units for Intermediate and High schools.

See Nice Day for a War on Facebook and some of Chris Slane's illustrations at

ISBN: 978-1-86950-901-9 RRP $ 29.99 Release date April 2011

Kakapo Rescue: Saving the World's Strangest Parrot by Sy Montgomery, photographs by Nic Bishop (Houghton Mifflin Books for Children)

American Author Sy Montgomery and New Zealand photographer Nic Bishop travelled to remote Codfish Island off the southern coast of New Zealand to observe the Kakapo Recovery Team in action saving the kakapo.

It's hours past midnight. You'd think any self-respecting parrot would be asleep. But not Lisa.

No, despite, the late hour, this huge, soft, moss-green bird, looking somewhat like a parakeet who has eaten one side of the mushroom in Alice in Wonderland and grown into an eight-pound giant, decides this is a great time to waddle out of her nest - a nest that's not in a tree, like a normal parrot's, but underground ...

Creative non-fiction recounts like above, interspersed with fast fact boxes, and Nic Bishop's breathtaking photography ensures that this is a captivating read. Targeted for intermediate-aged children and above (including adults) you'll read about the intensive breeding programme, meet some comical kakapo characters and some of the dedicated people living on the island to help the kakapo have more offspring. Highly recommended. (Maybe difficult to buy in New Zealand - I bought mine through Amazon.)

Nic Bishop will be at the Storylines Family Day in Kerikeri on Saturday 27th August and Auckland on Sunday 28th August.

Classroom Activities

ISBN 978-0-618-49417-0

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