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.
The History of Surfing is a product of surfer and surfing writer, Matt Warshaw. Four years of researching and writing on top of an already extensive knowledge on the subject, gives the reader an exhaustive collection of information from the first surf, board design, as well as changing surfing culture and trends, World Championships and leading figures.
With a massive page count, incorporating text, photographs and related images we can (safely) follow the sport from pre-1900’s period to the commercial era of modern surfing.
review by Natasha
Image from collections of the National Library of NZ
Part of the Let’s Read and Talk about series, this title focuses on what we need to do for our bodies to be fit and healthy. With bright and bold colour pages to divide different topics, action photography and a clear engaging text this title will appeal to primary age students. Sections are separated to provide information on a range of topics from what exercise does to your body, what does being fit actually mean, foods to give you energy, why warm up and down, to how to get involved in new sports.
Talk about and Take Action panes are incorporated in each section providing opportunities for student or class discussion and further activities. A glossary is also included.
Let’s Read and Talk about… Keeping Fit covers a range of information that is presented in an engaging and practical way that offers students ways to incorporate ideas into everyday life. Students will be pleased to know that washing the car counts as part of their keeping fit plan, be first in line to invent a new ball game and there is such thing as doing too much exercise in one go!
review by Natasha
Image by katiew
Published to commemorate the 150th anniversary of Collingwood Area School, this book of stories and photographs combines the high points of early school history with an update of events since the centennial celebrations in 1959.
It also encompasses the other eight schools of the area that have now closed. At first glance it may seem that only those who have some connection with Collingwood could find interest in this book. On the contrary, it is a documentation of changing times and changing schools in NZ history. Some highly sought after photographs are included in this books which detail life when the school opened in 1859 of not only school life at this time but life in NZ as a pioneer settler. This close knit community school was, in its origins, witness to pupils who were children of goldminers, storekeepers and pioneer farmers who knew the value of an education. The Collingwood community should be congratulated for 150 years of support to its students in preparation for the wider world. Recommended intermediate upward.
review by Melissa
The ancient Phoenicians are reputed to have discovered the process of turning sand into glass and created a product that some consider one of our most important inventions. In this excellent title, Somervill examines the history of glass, how it is made and how the various types of glass may be used and reused. A brief chapter on glass art is an excellent illustration of how this simple produce can be used not only in a multitude of practical ways but also artistically.
Beautifully illustrated with photographs that serve to enhance an already interesting work, Somervill makes judicious use of charts, drawings and sidebars as well. An excellent timeline allows the reader to understand quite simply the development of glass from its earliest time.
A thorough glossary and index make this work very accessible for the user. A “bibliography” that refers the reader to both websites and books is also of value.
review by David
Image by kistienberghs
Part of the Weird true facts series this fun colourful book is filled with interesting and quirky facts about wheels that not only informs but entertains readers. Attractively laid out with a mixture of text, diagrams and photographs this book begins with the earliest known record of wheel use in 4500 BCE.
The following pages cover various forms of transport, the power of wheels to drive machinery, and the technology of tyres. Future trends look at invisible cars, tyres with no air, and cardboard bicycles. The book concludes with a glossary, and websites.
review by Karen
Image by theirhistory
Aloian provides a lively and colourful introduction to the world of the submarine. With illustrations and useful diagrams, including cutaways, the operation and roles of a wide variety of submarines are cleanly shown.
Power sources, varied uses, ability to dive deeply and/or sustain lengthy and rapid submerged voyages, even under the Northern Polar icecap, are all examined to enhance the readers understanding of these vessels. Military, research and tourism purposes are acknowledged and the relative sizes of these submarines are clearly illustrated. Research and development and the future of the submarine are also outlined.
A useful index adds value to this very interesting book produced in the “Bobbie Kalman” style.
review by David
Image by Mr T in DC
One of a number of worthwhile titles in the “World Commodities” series, Coal, presented in a “series” style, addresses the subject via two-page spreads ranging from history, production and usages to political, environmental and social issues. A brief if valuable item that does not hide from the genuine concerns surrounding the continued use of coal but at the same time handles this potentially controversial topic with even-handedness and clarity.
This reviewer was somewhat disappointed at the lack of acknowledgement of the dangers involved in the mining of coal and the impact of the miners on the early working class history of many countries. Coal-mining is a dirty and hazardous occupation. This book does not present it as such.
The websites, glossary and index add value to this title which would be of considerable use with middle and upper primary classes.
review by David
Image by Jeffrey Beall
Sojourner Truth, (the name was taken after a religious experience), was the daughter of slave parents and was sold away from her family as a child. Truth’s life of engagement with slavery issues, black civil rights and the rights of women is remarkable in itself but is all the more astonishing when one considers that she died in 1883, - less than 20 years after the end of the American Civil War and the emancipation of the slaves. Even at the time of her death ‘Blacks’ in the United States were a long distance from experiencing the same rights and freedoms as whites. As a black woman, Sojourner might have been expected to be “doubly subservient”. At a time when women and ‘Blacks’ were still regarded and, in many situations, treated as lesser citizens, Truth stood up for what she believed was right.
While as a reader I was left wondering what her stance meant for her in daily life and how she was treated, how people reacted to her.
However Katherine Krohn gives a factual insight into a truly remarkable personality and this is enhanced by the “fast facts”, time line, glossary, recommended internet sites and bibliography. All of which will allow the interested reader to delve more deeply into Sojourners’ amazing life.
review by David
Image by madelinetosh
Jane Brocket’s clever concept book about patterns is an exceptionally bright, bold, and colourful one, full of vibrant photographs that demonstrate what patterns are, how they are formed and how they help us to decorate, plan, and predict.
Creative use has been made of familiar items like flowers, vegetables, sweets and socks, before moving through to the more complex patterning details of quilts, tiles, building facades and even shadows.
This title will have children looking around their environment for patterns, and wanting to create their own.
Professor Cook’s dynamite dinners by Lorna Brash is one of a series that uses fun delicious recipes and zany humour to explore the science concepts that happen as food is transformed into something edible.
Each double page spread is a brightly coloured mix of photographs and text boxes showing the recipe, step by step instructions, and the associated science idea. The variety of dinners include Sticky chicky burger stacks, incredible edible bowl soup, tongue-tingling sweet and sour noodles, thirsty couscous cakes and scrambly egg fried rice, plus more. Each title has a glossary, an index, and a list of useful websites to explore further.
Other titles in this series are: Dynamite dinners; Smashing snacks; Mind-blowing bakes; and Fascinating fruits.
review by Karen
Image by photoholic1
Alternative Medicine is part of the USA Today Health Reports: Diseases and Disorders series. This title provides a comprehensive overview of a variety of alternative medicines and therapies for secondary students. The text looks at natural therapy case studies, statistical information and research articles (both sourced from USA Today Magazine).
Treatments discussed include herbal remedies, acupuncture, massage, yoga, meditation and music therapy. Information is provided in a ‘pros and cons’ format enabling students to make informed decisions. Further resources are given with links to natural health associations and agencies in USA.
review by Natasha
Image by NYCTCM
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