We want to help create motivated and engaged young readers. This blog is about children's and YA literature (especially New Zealand), literacy research, and ways to get, and keep, kids reading.
Q. What are your hot picks and predictions for 2008?
A. Iron Man (Movie due out May 2008), Thor, Ultimates 3, Y the Last Man, Echo (New Terry Moore comic - Strangers in Paradise), Watchmen (movie due out 2008/9), Star Wars Vector storyline & Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
Q. Do you have any other words of wisdom regarding reading comics and graphic novels - especially relating to reluctant readers?
A. Reluctant readers, I’ve found both in Libraries and in the store
environment - like to browse, with a good selection of well-known comic
characters and some of the better written “out-there” material, everyone will
find something to spark their interest. Good examples for me in both
environment’s has been Jeff Smith’s “Bone”, which is an easy story to start reading as it has basic art and design, but the story builds into an epic adventure and so brings the
reader along with it.
We enjoyed wine and Christmas cake at Christchurch South Library on Wednesday night while we listened to the opinions of Helen O'Carroll, Jilaine Johnson and Gavin Bishop about this year's crop of books for children (young and old).
I will not share the "worst" - what was said in the library, stays in the library!
However it was agreed that some of the best were:
Little Mouse's Big Book of Fears by Emily Gravett
Tahi: one lucky kiwi by Melanie Drewery, John O'Reilly and Ali Teo
Crusade by Elizabeth Laird
Castle Corona by Sharon Creech
Here Lies Arthur by Philip Reeve (see new review below)
I'm the Biggest Thing in the Ocean by Kevin Sherry
Dreamquake by Elizabeth Knox
The Killing Sea by Richard Lewis (Jilaine thought this would be great to use for as a book for a disaster theme study about year 8)
Shadows in the Ice by Des Hunt
Where Cuckoos Call by Des Hunt
Sleeper Code by Tom Sniegoski
Sleeper Agenda by Tom Sniegoski
The Transformation of Minna Hargeaves by Fleur Beale
And, although Gavin did not express an opinion, everyone agreed that Snake and Lizard by Joy Cowley with illustrations by Gavin Bishop was definitely one of the best books of the year.
This is only a fraction of the number of books that were referred to. If anyone who was there (or indeed anyone who was not there!) feels I have left out a book that definitely should be included, please feel free to add it in the comments. See How to comment on the readers blog if you are unsure how to do this.
We here at National Library are pretty excited by the idea of using picture books to promote learning in areas other than literacy and enjoyment
Some of you who attended the New Zealand Reading Association Conference in New Plymouth in late September may have had the opportunity to catch the presentation by our very own National Library's Cecily Fisher entititled "Not Just a Pretty Face: how picture books can add real value to unexpected areas of the school curriculum". Cecily has the grand title of Learning Area Selector, Visual and Early Literacy - which means "She Who Buys the Picture Books for National Library". Some teachers and school librarians around the Canterbury area have also been fortunate enough to catch the talk at network meetings.
The whole idea of the talk was to outline the use that teachers can make of picture books to support all sorts of different topics in the curriculum from Health, to Technology to Change Loss and Grief.
And now there is a great resource online where you can get free resources using picture books in science. You have to register to be able to download the resources but it is all free. And it is all done by New Zealand teachers and using some New Zealand picture books. The science areas include volcanoes, bubbles and forces.
Science Postcards includes activities to discover science through literature. At the moment they have resources using only a few books, but I believe more are on their way.
Presented by Christchurch City Libraries and The Canterbury Reading Association
What Happened That Day by Marie Langley
The author Marie Langley has been a teacher for nineteen years and a deputy principal for seven years. I found her delicate handling of Vinni, the main character truly remarkable.
Vinni finds his life is falling to pieces when his mother decides to leave home and do the things she’s always wanted to do. Vinni runs off to the beach for a bit of solitude and discovers a BMX bike hidden in a bush which he decides to keep a secret. His dad does his best to comfort Vinni about the family situation, but things come to a head when he is teased at school by two very unsympathetic girls.
Then Vinni encounters the notorious PD. This leads to a lot of drama and a rescue.
The book however ends on a hopeful note along with some recompense for Vinni.
The story is told in the first person and that makes it a great little narrative. The theme of the book is family problems and father and son relationships. The book has a good senior primary and intermediate level.
Shadow of the Whale by Celia Davies
Nothing is ever right anymore for thirteen-year-old David!!! He does not like his parents telling him what to do and would rather have a brother instead of his sister Emma.
When David and his sister meet with an accident they awake to find that they have gone back in time. It’s 1838 and they are on a whaling station. Emma, the more resilient of the two adapts well to the situation while David struggles to accept his new surroundings and the demands that he encounters.
A very useful book on early New Zealand, whaling in New Zealand and even immigration to early New Zealand. The book is fast paced and informative. I had to chuckle at times at David. Very senior primary!!!
Both books are published by Reed
reviewed by Janice Rodrigues
System; Nervous System; Respiratory System; Skeletal System
Each title in the series presents the facts in an informative and accessible manner. The information is targeted for students of upper primary to intermediate and combines photography with colourful diagrams, charts and graphs.
Given the complicated subject matter every effort has been made to explain topics and use correct vocabulary. A glossary page referring to highlighted words within the text help the reader, while a page titled “ Saying It” provides valuable assistance for students when attempting to pronounce medical words eg hemoglobin becomes
HEE-muh-gloh-buhn . Added to this page is information about current websites that are routinely monitored on the publishers site, providing timely information.
For a current, energised and informative look at our bodies the Human Body Series is a must for 8-13 year olds.
Check out the cover page
Reviewed by Tracy Dyett
0800 LIB LINE
0800 542 5463
Get help from our advisers using this free phone line