Thursday, December 26, 2013
Wednesday, December 18, 2013
Wednesday, December 11, 2013
Sunday, December 1, 2013
PS. There are a couple of pages in the back providing interesting information about non-genetically engineered sundew plants...
Johanna Knox is the author of The Flytrap Snaps, launched in August 2011. Previously, Johanna has had short stories for children and adults published in anthologies and the School Journal. She also reviews books, writes magazine articles (often about food or plants), helps develop museum exhibitions, and chats on National Radio’s This Way Up about foraging for wild food.
Take a peek inside.
Thursday, November 21, 2013
In the next chapter, David tells us about Benji's not ideal beginnings. His 16 year old mother brought Benji up along with the help of their whanau. Benji did not have a dad but he had 8+ uncles who took him under his wing. We find out that Benji was often over-looked for junior teams because of his small stature. He compensated by learning tricks; moves that would make him stand out from the other team players.
I like that David tells us about the whole person. Read the biography to find out what else Benji was talented in - you'll find them surprising (and refreshing). You'll also find out how he was selected for the big league, how he wasn't afraid to volunteer tricky moves - moves that helped his teams win against the odds. The wins are incredible culminating in Benji winning the biggest prize of all ...
To keep the book interesting for reluctant readers David keeps the chapters small, with punchy sub-headings, lots of photographs, quotes and breakouts such as commentaries on important moments in the game: Here's How it Went Down; and Did You Know Facts. At the back of the book is a bibliography so boys can read further about Benji and rugby league. Also an interesting page about how Benji is helping other people; visiting sick kids in hospital, starting a foundation, and being an inspiration to young players. There's even a page on what to do if you're facing challenges, plus a timeline.
The book is professionally designed by Tau Ceti One (I particularly like the type-set) and printed in New Zealand. You can buy a printed and digital version of the book.
Order directly from the author firstname.lastname@example.org
Cost: $20 plus postage and packaging: postage in NZ: 1- 4 copies $4.50 ; 5 -10 copies $5.50; postage to Australia: 1- 4 copies $5.50. 10% discount for orders of 20 or more
Electronic version can be purchased here: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/364958
For teachers - David has written an English resource teaching metacognitive (learning to learn) strategies using articles about the All Black Team players, and another book for the Rugby League team. I write teaching resources and I can tell you these are first class. If you teach an all-boy class - you'll definitely want to download these AND THEY'RE FREE! David tells me he is writing something for girls and boys who are interested in other sports that aren't rugby or league. Go to his website http://readingwarrior.com/steppin-with-benji-marshall/ for some great reviews of his book, and find out what else David has written (a play, picture book, another biography - about Sonny Bill Williams).
An excellent book that you'll want to buy for your class, school library or for the boy (or girl) who is a rugby league fanatic.
Wednesday, November 20, 2013
Night slips in.
The forest stirs.
Down in its depths lives Snail,
its shell as big as your fist.
This is the first time a Powelliphanta snail has featured in a book, I am sure. Written in creative non-fiction style we meet the snail lithering through the forest floor. Can it escape the hunters? You'll also find out how the snail eats in an alien-like way, where it lives and other interesting bits of information at the back of the book. Teachers will find this last fact page useful for further study. I liked that they include the Maori words too.
The illustrations are vivid with accents of purple. They've also gone the extra expense and laminated the shell. Young hands will enjoy sliding their fingers over it - imagining they are touching the real thing.
This book will encourage 3-6 year olds to look for garden snails and have a whole new respect for them. Unfortunately, they are highly unlikely to find a Powelliphanta snail, as they are an endangered native species. A much needed book about a very rarely talked about species in New Zealand. It will help bring awareness to this snail's scarcity and uniqueness.
This duo also published 'Fantail Quilt' which was shortlisted for the LIANZA award.
Gay Hay is an environmental enthusiast and primary school teacher. She is a volunteer for Nga Uruora Trust and, as the Pukerua Bay school environmental officer, she has helped children plant and nurture over 6000 trees.
Margaret Tolland is an artist and teacher by trade. Margaret is currently the Education Coordinator at Pataka Museum of Arts and Cultures where she teaches people of all ages about art.
RRP $25 Buy here
Sunday, November 17, 2013
Wednesday, November 13, 2013
a new genre for this review blog (KidsBooksNZ). I’ve reviewed several picture song books previously and always felt I wasn’t evaluating them properly. Generally, they don’t match with one of the main traditional picture book criteria ie. requiring a skilfully written (and original) text for an adult to read to a child, usually in prose or poetry format. Text and illustration in traditional picture books enhance each other as part of the shared reading experience.
Monday, November 11, 2013
Sunday, November 10, 2013
Friday, November 1, 2013
Sunday, October 27, 2013
Why does Tom have no relatives? Not even a dad. He intends finding out when he goes to his grandmother's place - a grandmother he didn't even know existed until recently. What he thinks will be a break from boring school routine becomes quite scary when he is called to go urgently. On the voyage to his grandmother's place he comes across something that not in a million years he would have imagined. Before long he is involved in a mission to save the sea people from a deadly battle with Madame Hortense and her rat pack. The only thing Tom has to help is Maria, a girl who has similar powers as Tom, his wily Grandmother and the sea people. Does he have the inner resources to do it?
An exciting adventure fantasy story that boys (and girls) will find hard to put down. It is a coming-of-age story about a young boy finding the strength and belief from within to solve a problem. He also has to win the respect of the sea people who expect a lot from him.
On the front cover of the book it says it is an eco-story but it is a lot more subtle than that. The rats are a real problem in the story especially to sea birds but it is more about stopping their leader - Madam Hortense. The author elaborates on why rats are a problem to native birds on a fact page at the back of the book.
The is the first book in a series published under the Erkel-Erkel Publishing Ltd imprint. I was pleased to see it had been professionally edited and proofed, and the artwork by illustrator Donovan Bixley is stunning as always.
Doug Wilson is a scientist and a traveller who has lived in Australia, England, America and Saudi Arabia. He has had a passion to write boys' adventure series with ecological ideas for a while. See an article about how this medical researcher began storytelling here.
The second book to look out for is called 'Tom Hassler and the Giant Razor-clawed Granioptrix of Ice Mountain'. This time Tom is called upon to help save a village in Moratadoor from a terrifying beast called Granioptrix. Can he do it?
Go to the website here.
Friday, October 25, 2013
Saturday, October 19, 2013
Another fabulous fantasy from the author of the award winning ‘Loblolly Boy,’ this story is told in alternate chapters of reality and fantasy, blending together effortlessly. It tells a tale of sibling rivalry, an exiled princess, strange creatures, an evil ruler and a riddle to be solved. There is some challenging vocabulary throughout the story but this only adds to the imaginative narrative. Great for readers 9+
James Norcliffe is a poet as well as an author of children's books. He has
been awarded the 2012 University of Otago College of Education's Writer in
Residence. The Loblolly Boy won the 2010 NZ Post Junior Fiction Award, as well
as being shortlisted for the Esther Glen Medal. His other recent books are The
Loblolly Boy and The Sorcerer, The Enchanted Flute and Felix and The Red
Note: There is an e-book version but the only site I could find it for sale on was an overseas company. Hopefully, the e-version will be for sale here soon so you don't have to pay US dollars for it.
Saturday, October 12, 2013
ISBN 978 1 77553 470 9 $19.99 Pb
Monday, October 7, 2013
Sunday, October 6, 2013
Engine H One-Ninety-Nine worked the Wairarapa line pulling carriages up the steep incline of the Rimutaka Hill. The engine pulled carriages up the hill even on days of rain or gale. Normal engines didn't have the power like the Fell locomotives.
A delightful rhyming tale about the reliable Fell trains that tackled the difficult Rimutaka Hill. Based on real engines, of which only Engine H 191 survives.
Joy Cowley has donated her royalties to the Fell Locomotive Museum at Featherston.
Philip Webb's illustrations are detailed and colourful, on full double page spreads. The design of the book further enhances the layout with strategically placed text.
Philip says at the end that the pictures aren't an accurate representation of the area - rather 'an impression' of the Rimataka Hill and its surrounds.
Four - Six year old boys will love this creative non-fiction story about the Fell engines. Teachers could use it in the junior school on topic studies about transport then and now. It is also going to be a lovely book for tourists who go to the Featherston area.
About the book launch
Monday, September 30, 2013
thm bounces along happily and makes for a pleasant read-aloud experience. The pictures by Gabriella Klepatski, an experienced illustrator, are delightful. I’ve probably said this before, but her style reminds me of the superb Shirley Hughes. There’s plenty of reassuring white space, and the use of coloured pencils and subdued colours creates a soft, calming effect. It’s a perfect bed-time book for preschoolers, especially boys. I’m going to give it to my worn-out son and my three-year-old grandson - they’ll love it. PS. There’s also a Maori edition.
Thursday, September 19, 2013
Friday, September 6, 2013
Bullying is an issue in most (if not all) schools. Kids are often too scared to tell their parents or teachers and suffer in silence. As a teacher I saw it happening all the time and talked to the class about looking out for each other.
Batjack is a much needed story that would make a wonderful read aloud in class. After each chapter the students could talk about the issues that have been brought up and also role play or problem solve how they would get out of situations. I think Ann has taken the issue of bullying one step further than most books too. She has addressed the problem that a bully might have and looked at how victims can be more confident and therefore not look like victims or easy targets.
If I was still teaching I would encourage the students to turn the problem solving techniques into posters. I suggest that schools perhaps invite a self defence instructor to teach a few sessions. At the moment, schools seem to deal with the problems rather than search for solutions. This book will be a great addition to middle, senior Primary and Intermediate schools libraries (even years 9 and 10 where bullying is often rife) plus I'd recommend schools purchase it as a resource for their Health curriculum.
Ann also has two small books - one for children and another for parents - as a follow up to the book. She'll also be adding a free downloadable teaching resource to her website: www.createbooks.co.nz
Saturday, August 31, 2013
Find out what colour vehicle each child is driving: "Kei te haere ahau ma runga waka kakariki - I am going by green car". What colour bus, bike, plane, train, truck or motorbike? Where are they going?
Written in te reo Maori with an English translation at the back. You'll also find guitar chords so you can play it in class, ideas to take it further with children, and simple illustrations with Maori and English translations so kids can learn new Maori words.
Sharon Holt learned te reo Maori for ten years. She passed on her knowledge to her local kindy. Then one day decided other pre-schools and Junior classes could do with a set of books that taught Maori language. This is the fourth book in the series - look out for 'Maranga mai', 'Kei te peke ahau' and 'Anei Ke!'. All drawn with bright colours with a mix of children to represent the many cultures in New Zealand.
If I was still teaching - I'd definitely be using these books in the classroom. They also come with a CD with the story sung by musicians Graeme Stewart and Stacy Walker. I'd start the lesson off with the music, read the story to the class and then use some of the creative ideas at the back to extend the children. Ideas such as have a mini bike-a-thon, talk about favourite colours, and find Maori words for other vehicles. A must-have resource for the Junior classroom or kindy.
View a few sample pages from the book here: http://tereosingalong.co.nz/books/book-4-me-haere-out-now/
Thursday, August 22, 2013
Wednesday, August 14, 2013
Friday, August 9, 2013
On Sunday (11th August), authors from above will fly to Christchurch and along with Rachel King, Jenny Cooper, Ben Brown, Jane Buxton, and Simon Pollard will promote their books at South Christchurch Library from 10 – 3pm.
On Saturday 17th August, join writers and illustrators in Wellington: Philippa Werry, Ken Benn, David Elliot, Philip Webb, Ant Sang, Fifi Colston, Maria Gill, Ruth Paul,
Moira Wairama, and Mona Williams at the Michael Fowler Centre from 10 – 3pm.
That night (Saturday 17th August) in Auckland authors, illustrators, librarians, teachers and anyone who loves children’s books will celebrate Storylines 20th anniversary at the National Library from 6pm to 8pm. Buy your tickets here.
The next day (Sunday 18th August), join writers and illustrators in Auckland: David Hill, Sally Sutton, Mark Sommerset, Chris Gurney, Nina Rycroft, Sandra Morris, Elena de Roo, Melinda Szymanik, Leonie Agnew, Fraser Williamson, Susan Brocker, Leonie Thorpe, Apirana Taylor, and the matriarchs of children’s literature: Joy Cowley and Dame Lynley Dodd at the Aotea Centre from 10 – 3pm.
There are also Storyline Family Festival Days in Kaitaia at the Kaitaia Library and Te Ahu Centre from 11 – 4pm; and at the South Auckland Vodafone Events Centre from 11-3pm on Saturday 17th August for the first time!
Also, on Saturday 24th August at the Ponsonby Art Station see the 'Pictures Without Words' illustration exhibition from 10-4pm. It's FREE too!
I hope to see you there!!