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 cover of Awesome astronomyis very busy and inviting - black background, but with bright colours and cartoon style writing and illustrations. This continues inside - the images throughout the books are the same bright mix of cartoons, drawings and photographs. Even the text boxes are brightly coloured!
And the book covers a wide range of information about space - from galaxies, our solar system, to phases of the moon, and day and night. Chapter headings include, A Zoo of Stars and Rocks Giants and Dwarfs. There are also five hands-on space related activities (with clear instructions) for kids to make and do. Recommended.
review by Heather
image by turbojoe
Studying ocean conservation? In very simple language, this book looks at sea conservation. It covers: pollution, rubbish, over fishing, oil spills, and climate change. The detailed, colourful photographs are informative, and interesting fact bubbles provide additional commentary. It would be a great resource to read with younger children.
In the book’s back, under ‘Further Reading’ the three websites listed are senior primary level. However the recommended books are old - the newest was published in 2007 and the other two in 2004. Perhaps this reflects the lack of resources on the topic at this level. Suitable for junior primary.
Review by Heather
image by bob the lomond
This book is a great blend of inspiring stories of young people involved in animal rights. It presents advice on starting up an animal cause including; getting the facts, making a plan and putting the plan into action. The icing on the cake is the resources section at the back of the book. This provides contact information for animal rights organizations if students want to create social awareness and change. As well, The Facthound internet site allows the reader to go online, choose their year level and begin a search of excellent websites linked to this book using the book’s ISBN number.
A very interactive and useful book full of great tips and real world examples of kids doing all of the above. Recommended for years 4 - 8.
review by Melissa
flickr image by Create For Animal Rights
Anita Ganeri is a skilled writer and provides key information in a detailed yet succinct way for young people. This book is an enjoyable and accessible look at who she thinks the top ten world stage leaders are to date. Ganeri even invites readers to feel free to create their own list if they disagree with anyone she has included!
The leaders are chronologically arranged by date of birth, and each page describes in easy language what the leader achieved in their lifetime, good and bad.
The key focus is on how they impacted on the world that we live in today. A timeline at the end of the book categorises the leader, and the consequences of their leadership.
A very easy to read book with well-presented key information, including useful photographs and drawings. Suitable for primary years 4 - 6.
review by Melissa
image by salimfadhley
By accepting the request to write Ned & Katina, Patricia Grace has provided a wonderful opportunity for us to learn in detail exactly why the people of New Zealand and Crete have such an enduring relationship.
The book’s appeal is its focus on the lives of two very ordinary people; including Ned’s early life in New Zealand as well as Katina’s in Crete. The Cretan villagers who risked their lives to shelter New Zealand soldiers, are also carefully documented. Battles, village life and survival stories - particularly whose focussing on Ned are fascinating.
Later, as a German Prisoner of War, Ned perseveres to retain his link with the Cretan people. Post war, Ned and Katina are reunited and travel to New Zealand. Thus the story is a factual account of both the war in Crete and later of post war New Zealand society.
Senior secondary readers will find the book’s core historical detail a valuable and fascinating source of information.
review by Barbara
image by ABC Archives
In this book the positives of solar power are explored and also the costs and logistics of using solar power on a large scale.
Each chapter focuses on and investigates aspects of using solar power like passive, solar ponds, and solar towers. Both small community projects and large scale solar farms are discussed.
Future trends are touched upon, and an excellent comparison is made between solar power and other renewable and non-renewable forms of energy.
review by Karen
image by bestfor / richard
What I like about these books is the way the process of setting up a business or event is laid out in a clear step-by-step plan that children can quickly follow. Steps include: beginning with a written plan, making business cards and posters to advertise, keeping customer records, expenses, and of course profits!
A wide variety of jobs are suggested including; selling, looking after pets, yards, and homes. Included is sensible advice about being responsible and trustworthy with customers, and safety tips for everyone involved.
Review by Karen
image by puuikibeach
This book, the third in a series, is a valuable record of Maori life in New Zealand.
Mihipeka Call of an Elder records simply and honestly the feelings and memories of Mihi Edwards and is a fascinating account of events in a life defined by being Maori in a Pakeha world. What is exceptional about the book is the detail of the telling: the reality of day to day living, the delight in personal connections and achievements, and the wonderful humanity of Mihi Edwards. In particular, this is the record of a journey to wisdom and personal fulfilment that begins with an awakening appreciation of the teaching of Mihi’s own kuia.
The book is a wonderful historical record from a Maori woman’s perspective. It describes the everyday slog, fears, hopes and achievements. Most importantly it presents the many karanga or calls of Mihi Edwards each poetically and most graciously defining both herself and her people.
This title was published in 2002 by Steele Roberts. Secondary readers are encouraged to read the three books in the series.
Review by Barbara
Eat green in one of six titles in a series called Being Green written to encourage children that they can make a difference when it comes to healthy eating, sustainability and the environment.
Each chapter covers aspects like eating locally produced food, eating foods in season, growing your own or contributing to a school or community garden.
With further suggestions on composting, packaging and recycling there are plenty of ideas for children. The information is clearly laid out in text boxes with lots of brightly coloured photographs to keep interest high.
Review by Karen
image by Martin Cathrae
What a delightful book this is, and so much more than just naming the letters of the alphabet.
The lively mixed media illustrations compliment the chatty informative style of writing. Each letter is used to explain different aspects of growing the food we eat. Beneficial mini-beasts like ladybirds and earthworms are applauded, and readers are encouraged to eat healthy foods and to look after the environment.
Review by Karen
Image by Eva the Weaver
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