Tuesday, February 28, 2012

New Zealand Post Children's Book Awards

Rising Talent to the Fore Among Awards Finalists

Emerging authors and illustrators have made every category of the New Zealand Post Children’s Book Awards this year – competing alongside well-known names for top honours.
Finalists were announced today by Gillian Candler, convenor of judges for the Awards.
“The judges were excited to see the emergence of talented new writers and illustrators, with each category having at least one new author or illustrator short-listed.”
In selecting the finalists, the judges consider not just the content, the story and illustrations, but also the quality of production.
“We’re looking for great quality books that will grab children and make them want to read and the judging panel unanimously agree each of this year’s finalists do exactly that.”
For the first time this year, a Young Adult Graphic Novel – Shaolin Burning by Ant Sang – is a finalist in the Picture Book category which is generally dominated by books for the very young.
Ms Candler stated that the judging criteria mean that illustrated books are judged in either the Picture Book or Non-Fiction categories.
The finalists were selected from more than 130 children’s books published in New Zealand in 2011 and submitted for the awards.
Winners will be announced at a ceremony in Wellington on Wednesday 16 May.
Ms Candler, an independent publishing and education consultant is joined on the judging panel by two other children’s literature experts: school curriculum advisor, librarian and bookseller Annemarie Florian and award-winning writer and illustrator Bob Kerr.
As well as winners in each category, the judges will also decide which author will earn the New Zealand Post Children’s Book of the Year prize.
The finalists in the 2012 New Zealand Post Book Awards are:
Picture Book finalists
The Cat's Pyjamas
by Catherine Foreman
(Scholastic New Zealand)
ISBN 9781869439798
Rāhui (Maori version)
by Chris Szekely and illustrated by Malcolm Ross
(Huia Publishers)
ISBN 9781869694715
Rāhui (English version)
by Chris Szekely and illustrated by Malcolm Ross
(Huia Publishers)
ISBN 9781869694708
Shaolin Burning
by Ant Sang
(HarperCollins Publishers)
ISBN 9781869508135
By Ruth Paul
(Scholastic New Zealand)
ISBN 9781775430056
Waiting for Later
by Tina Matthews
(Walker Books Australia)
ISBN 9781921720055
Non-fiction finalists
Digging Up The Past: Archaeology For The Young & Curious
by David Veart
(Auckland University Press)
ISBN 9781869404659
Kimble Bent: Malcontent
by Chris Grosz
(Random House New Zealand)
ISBN 9781869795160
The Life Cycle of the Tuatara
by Betty Brownlie
(Scholastic New Zealand)
ISBN 9781869439644
New Zealand Hall of Fame: 50 Remarkable Kiwis
by Maria Gill begin_of_the_skype_highlighting end_of_the_skype_highlighting and illustrated by Bruce Potter
(New Holland Publishing)
ISBN 9781869663124
Nice Day for a War: Adventures of a Kiwi Soldier in World War l
by Matt Elliott and illustrated by Chris Slane
(HarperCollins Publishers)
ISBN 9781869509019
Junior Fiction finalists
The Flytrap Snaps
by Johanna Knox and illustrated by Sabrina Malcolm (Hinterland Press)
ISBN 9780473179960
Just Jack
by Adele Broadbent
(HarperCollins Publishers)
ISBN 9781869508869
The Loblolly Boy & the Sorcerer
by James Norcliffe
(Random House New Zealand)
ISBN 9781877460692
Super Finn
by Leonie Agnew
(Scholastic New Zealand)
ISBN 9781869439996
The Travelling Restaurant
by Barbara Else
(Gecko Press)

Young Adult Fiction
The Bridge
by Jane Higgins
(Text Publishing Company)
ISBN 9781921758331
Calling the Gods
by Jack Lasenby
(HarperCollins Publishers)
ISBN 9781869509484
Dirt Bomb
by Fleur Beale
(Random House New Zealand)
ISBN 9781869795467
by Joanna Orwin
(HarperCollins Publishers)
ISBN 9781869509125
by Deborah Burnside
(HarperCollins Publishers)
ISBN 9781869509255
Children’s Choice Award
Voting for the Children’s Choice Award begins today. Long considered one of the highest accolades a children’s author can receive, this award is voted on by children of school age from all over New Zealand. Vote online at www.nzpostbookawards.co.nz or by using the special voting card available from bookshops, libraries or schools. Voting closes at 5.00pm, Friday 27 April.
New Zealand Post Children’s Book Awards Festival
Finalists will participate in children’s book events around the country as part of a nationwide celebration of the New Zealand Post Book Awards. The festivities, which are a huge favourite with kids all over the country, begin on Monday 7 May and continue through to Wednesday 16 May.
New Zealand Post is proud to be principal sponsor of the New Zealand Book Awards and the Children’s Book Awards. New Zealand Post is committed to promoting and assisting literacy in our communities and supporting excellence in literature, and to actively encouraging New Zealanders to read and enjoy books. Additional funding for the Awards is provided by Creative New Zealand.
The Awards are overseen by the New Zealand Post Book Awards Governance Group, administered by Booksellers NZ and including representatives of the New Zealand Society of Authors, The Publishers Association of New Zealand, New Zealand Post and Creative New Zealand.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Piggity-Wiggity Jiggity Jig by Diana Neild, illus. Philip Webb, Scholastic NZ
This award-winning story about a little pig who can’t understand why he has such a long name is now available as a board book. The original text has been abbreviated, but it still retains the joyful rhythm and rhyme of the longer version. I’m not sure how much of the story will actually be understood by a typical board book owner (0 to 24 months?) but littlies will enjoy snuggling up and reading it with a caregiver even if they’re not quite sure what it’s all about. Philip Webb’s friendly, soft-toned cartoon illustrations will attract the interest of most toddlers, especially if they can say the word “pig.”
ISBN 978 1 77543 078 0 RRP $13.50 Hb
Reviewed by Lorraine Orman

The Story of Bo and the Circus That Wasn’t by Kyle Mewburn (and selected Telecom customers), illus. Donovan Bixley, Scholastic NZ
This collaborative picture book came about as part of Telecom’s Bills to Storybooks programme – Kyle guided the story and Donovan did the pictures while members of the public suggested new lines. Royalties from the book will go to the Telecom Foundation for projects to benefit New Zealand children. As you can imagine, with so many extra writers involved (12 are listed in the back of the book), the story is somewhat wild and whacky. It begins, “Bo always dreamed of being an acrobat. It didn’t matter that he was afraid of heights. Or even that he was a sheep.” Unfortunately Bo lives in a country where circuses are forbidden, so he and his friends end up doing some spectacular circus acts - without a circus. Donovan’s computer-generated illustrations are colourful and action-packed, and suit the zany storyline very well. Possibly best to be shared with older children (about 5-7?) who can understand the logic of flights of fancy.
ISBN 978 1 77543 086 5 RRP $19.50 Pb
Reviewed by Lorraine Orman

Tea With Miss Tilly by Justine Payen, illus. Philip Webb, HarperCollins NZ

A rare picture book from HarperCollins NZ, this gentle story celebrates the power of imagination. The narrator, a girl, visits Miss Tilly every day after school. They enjoy tea and cookies (an Americanism is taking over here!), and Miss Tilly tells stories about flying carpets and dragons, rocket ships and aliens, submarines and mermaids. The story finishes, “When I grow up, I want to be just like Miss Tilly.” Philip Webb takes advantage of the wide-ranging imagination of Miss Tilly to produce some sweeping eye-catching vistas – of ancient Ireland, Loch Ness and the Nile, to name a few. His cartoon illustrations are softly coloured and slightly misty – but still full of movement and interesting features. Probably best for children of about 4 to 7 – they have to be old enough to understand that it’s all “pretend”.
ISBN 978 1 86950 917 0 RRP $19.99 Pb
Reviewed by Lorraine Orman

Monday, February 20, 2012

Non-fiction books for your classroom

If you're looking for great non-fiction books for your classroom or to put on display in your library (or to buy for your kids) check out these excellent books:

Digging Up the Past: Archaeology for the young and curious by David Veart - 12+

Nice Day for a War: adventures of a kiwi soldier in WW1 by Chris Slane & Matt Elliott - 12+

The Big Book of NZ Wildlife by Dave Gunson - 6 -12 years

The Book of NZ Records & Firsts by Stephen Barnett - 8-12 years

Party Food for Girls by Alessandra Zecchini - 10-14 years

The Raupo Phrasebook of Modern Maori by Scotty Morrison - 12+

New Zealand Hall of Fame by Maria Gill - 8-14 years

The Call of the Kokako by Maria Gill - 8-14 years

New Zealand Book Month

Hi all, I'll put some book reviews up, in the next couple of days.  In the meantime, here are three NZ Book Month events that you may be interested in attending, if you live in Auckland.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Two exciting new books!

Ophelia Wild: Secret Spy by Elena de Roo

Listen ... a rustle - it comes from inside.
So that's where they're waiting;
she flings the door wide.

A client? Just one.
He seems a bit small,
but a small one is
better than no one at all.

I'm Albert.
Your headquarters look really neat.
Can I stay till they've gone?"
Albert studies his feet.

Ophelia frightens off the bullies beneath the tree hut for Albert. Afterwards, she decides that spying is tough on her own. She might need someone to answer the phone if she goes off on a mission to space. So new boy Albert gets to assist in her cases. In their next case they work out why pie sales have dropped when they're so good to eat. And why Ollie has disappeared and who's been eating their jam.

A delightful cheeky first chapter book for 5-7 year olds written in rhyme.  A great read aloud.  Elena has captured two unique characters: Ophelia - mischievous but kind and Albert - shy but determined. The other characters in the story are also well rounded - they might appear mean but they show their soft side too, when given a chance.  This book will be a favourite in Junior school.

This is Elena de Roo's second book for the retail market. Her first 'The Rain Train'  won a CJ Korean 3rd Picture Book Award, and a Storylines Notable Picture Book award in 2011.  She writes poetry and educational articles/books from her home in Auckland.
79 pages, with black and white illustrations by Tracy Duncan. ISBN: 978-1-921529-67-2
RRP $20.50

Made with Love by Melinda Szymanik, illustrated by Gabriella Klepatski

Mama was baking spicy gingerbread
biscuits. She kept back some
dough for Sam and Penny to make a
ginerbread woman.

The children peered through the oven door as
their gingerbread woman stretched and yawned.
"Should she be doing that?" they asked.
"Of course," Mama replied.
"It's the special ingredient in the mixture."

The two children have a scrumptious lunch of sandwiches, fruit and biscuits but leave the special gingerbread woman on the table.  The food whizzed in their stomachs and made them fizz. Their mother called them to go outside where they jumped and bounded. Then they built a special snowman and left him outside. At the stroke of midnight when anything can happen, the little gingerbread sprang up from the table and fell head over heels in love at the magical sight made out of snow. Can a snowman outside and a gingerbread woman inside ever get together? Or are they destined to be apart?  It's amazing what can happen when things are made with love!

Melinda's heart-warming message of 'When you make things with love something special is bound to happen' will generate lots of discussion with Kindergarten and Junior School children.  They'll also enjoy the story being read aloud and looking closely at the pictures. Warning: leaves a warm fuzzy feeling inside. You can even make your own 'Made with Love' gingerbread people - with a recipe printed out on page 1 (so you cannot miss it). A must-have for Kindys and Junior Primary school classrooms.

This is Melinda's fourth picture book; The Were Nana won the NZ Post Children's Choice Award, and her most recent book 'The House that Went to Sea' was also illustrated by Gabriella Klepatski.  She made with love three teenage children and lives inner city with her SO, dog and cat. Melinda has also written two chapter books for teenagers, and written numerous short stories.

Gabriella Klepatski has been sketching and drawing for over 25 years. She originally trained as an architect but her passion for capturing things on paper always brought her back to her sketchbook.

ISBN: 978-1-877378-53-9   RRP $29.99  hardback (Duck Creed Publishing)

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Two new Non-fiction titles

Digging up the Past: Archaeology for the young and curious by David Veart (Auckland University Press)

Throughout this book we will follow the footprints left by the people who came before us to Aotearoa and explore some of the ways archaeologists have investigated this past foreign land. Sometimes the footprints of the past will be like those on Motutapu - clear and easy to see; and sometimes they will be a litt more difficult to sort out. Unusual things like dogs, rats and woodchips all contribute to painting a picture of this varnished world.

An excellent book (for young and old) who quietly think archaeology would be a fascinating career choice. Author David Veart takes us on that journey, looking over the shoulders of archaeologists as they dig up  moa eggs, find 600 year old footprints, the carved prow of a waka and other fascinating finds. You will read the remarkable stories of Polynesian sailors and pakeha sealers, Maori gardeners and Chinese storekeepers. He'll take you from Hawai'i to Antarctica, to look at things such as rubbish bags and roads. He says archaeologists study everything relating to humans - and he dwelves into many archaeological sites: on ice, mine bases, in volcanoes and sea beds, on farms, islands and in swamps and rivers. We learn about their methods, the tools they use and their terminology. It is an enjoyable read as well as extremely useful for any school project.

The author tells these tales in a conversational tone, using personal stories as anecdotes - making the subject more accessible for the Intermediate age and upwards reader.  The book is illustrated with many photographs, paintings and maps. He also recommends books and websites but left out the all-important index.

See inside 'Digging up the Past'
ISBN:  9781869404659  RRP $39.99

David Veart trained as an anthropologist, and works as a Department of Conservation historian and archaeologist. He is an expert on various local landmarks of historical or archaeological significance. David is well-known for his public guided walks of these areas, about which he has also written film scripts and narrated interpretative films. He is author of First Catch Your Weka: A Story of New Zealand Cooking (AUP, 2008) and Digging up the Past: Archaeology for the Young and Curious (AUP, 2011).

Happy Feet's Incredible Journey: The story of the world's most famous penguin (Penguin)

I'd been swimming for a very long time. I don't know how long, but it was getting hard to move my flippers. That's when I noticed I was close to land.
When I stepped out of the sea I saw the strangest place I'd ever seen. It wasn't like home, but I was so tired. I thought I might stay a while...

Told through the eyes of 'Happy Feet' the Emperor penguin who washed up on the shores of Peka Peka Beach on 20th June, 2011 from Antarctica.  We find out how he ate sand (probably mistaking it for ice), became sick and was taken to Wellington Zoo.  There we find out how they flushed the sand out of his stomach and throat; the attention he garnered from all over the world and how they looked after him until it was time to put him back into the sea.

The book has been produced in A4 picture book style with big print and lots of pictures.  Also included are photographs, fact boxes, and cartoon-like illustrations.  The author and illustrator are not mentioned so must have been written and illustrated by editors and designers inhouse.  I felt it was a shame they didn't employ an illustrator to draw the pictures. The text and design work are fine but the cut-and-paste penguin cartoon figures make the book like it has been done in a hurry, which it most likely was.  The publishers obviously wanted to get this book out as soon as possible, while the story was still news and fresh in the minds of people.  It is all for a good cause though - as all royalties will go to Forest & Bird's Places for Penguins programme.

ISBN:  9780143306924  RRP $19.99