Wednesday, December 19, 2012

A picture book for the thinking child

Remember that November by Jennifer Beck and Lindy Fisher (Huia Publishers)

The school speech contest happens to fall on 5th November. Andy gives a talk about Guy Fawkes and why he tried to blow up the Houses of Parliament. The children clap loudly at his moving speech and feel he should win the speech contest. Then Aroha stands up with a white feather in her hair and tells about another protest movement held here in New Zealand.

I love this book.  If I were still teaching I'd use it in the classroom in many ways.  I'd use it in a Social Studies/Health unit about leadership; contrasting the two ways people tried to solve a social issue, about significant historical moments in New Zealand history, and about standing up for what you believe in. It could be used as inspiration at the beginning of a speech unit, or included with a class library of books about Taha Maori. Not many sophisticated picture books are published in this country, which is a real shame.  Teachers use them all the time in their topic subjects and there are not enough books that contain stories about Maori historical themes.

Children would enjoy reading this story at home too - it will give them plenty to think about afterwards. They'll also love poring over the illustrations.  Lindy Fisher's artwork is stunning throughout the book. I particularly love the opening scene of Guy Fawke celebrations; it is colourful, looks three dimensional (there are so many layers to the pictures) and is so textural (you want to reach out and touch it).

Author Jennifer Beck and illustrator Lindy Fisher have collaborated with books before. They won the 2006 Children's Choice award for Nobody's Dog and a 2007 Honour Award in the Picture Book Category for A Present from the Past at the New Zealand Post Book Awards. Their 2008 book Stephanias Dancing Slippers won a silver medal for Best Picture Book of all Ages at the Moonbeams Children's Book Awards in the United States.  Jennifer Beck is an award-winning writer and author of more than forty-five children's books. Lindy Fisher is an artist, graphic designer and illustrator. She has illustrated over 75 postage stamps and illustrated numerous children's picture books.

Highly recommended for children 8-12 years. Buy it here or at your local bookstore. A Maori language version is also available.

ISBN:  978-1-77550-010-0  RRP $20.00

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