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.
Snakes and spiders, summits and survivors, not to mention aliens, reality TV, a bionic Kiwi and blowing bubbles; they’re just a few of the diverse themes featured among the finalists of the 2008 New Zealand Post Book Award’s For Children and Young Adults. With such a topic range it’s no surprise there’s also a compelling and wide range of writing styles and stories that cover the globe - from the American Mid West to Everest, to our own wild West Coast.
Double nominees also feature this year. Three of this year’s finalists – Andrew Crowe, Gavin Bishop and Melanie Drewery - have more than one book shortlisted.
The finalists have been selected from more than 130 children’s books published in New Zealand in 2007. They are:
The King’s Bubbles, by Ruth Paul (Scholastic New Zealand)
Out of the Egg, written and illustrated by Tina Matthews (Walker Books)
Rats!, written and illustrated by Gavin Bishop (Random House New Zealand)
Tahi – One Lucky Kiwi, by Melanie Drewery, illustrated by Ali Teo and John O’Reilly (Random House New Zealand)
To the Harbour, written and illustrated by Stanley Palmer (Lopdell House Gallery)
A Mini Guide to the Identification of New Zealand Land Birds by Andrew Crowe, illustrated by Dave Gunson (Penguin New Zealand)
Reaching the Summit by Alexa Johnston with David Larsen (Penguin New Zealand)
Weather Watch New Zealand by Sandra Carrod, illustrated by Karsten Schneider and Richard Gunther (Reed New Zealand)
What is a Fish? by Feana Tu’akoi, designed by Vasanti Unka (Scholastic New Zealand)
Which New Zealand Spider? by Andrew Crowe (Penguin New Zealand)
Dead Dan’s Dee by Phyllis Johnston (Longacre Press)
The Dumpster Saga by Craig Harrison (Scholastic New Zealand)
The Mad Tadpole Adventure by Melanie Drewery, illustrated by Jenny Cooper (Scholastic New Zealand)
My Story Sitting on the Fence: The Diary of Martin Daly, Christchurch 1981 by Bill Nagelkerke (Scholastic New Zealand)
Snake and Lizard by Joy Cowley, illustrated by Gavin Bishop (Gecko Press)
Young Adult Fiction
Salt by Maurice Gee (Penguin New Zealand)
The Sea-wreck Stranger by Anna Mackenzie (Longacre Press)
Tomorrow All Will Be Beautiful by Brigid Lowry (Allen & Unwin)
The Transformation of Minna Hargreaves by Fleur Beale (Random House New Zealand)
Zillah by Penelope Todd (Longacre Press)
Finalists will be participating in children’s book events as part of a nationwide celebration of the New Zealand Post Book Awards. The festivities begin on Monday 12 May and continue through to the awards on Wednesday 21 May when the winners will be announced.
A full list of touring writers and dates will be available mid-March.
This week, National Library staff are attending the Learning@School Conference in Rotorua, with presentations on School LThis week, National Library staff are attending the Learning@School Conference in Rotorua, with presentations on School Library 2.0; on Building Active Learners in the Evolving Knowledge Space; and on Creating Readers using the Web.
We welcome all conference delegates, some of whom who will be having a look at this blog. Your comments are welcomed!
Please comment on this page, to let us know you are reading. What is your favourite book to share with students? What are your students' favourites at the moment? What is a book your own kids just love? Or… what do you think of Create Readers?
If you're not at the conference, feel free to add your own comments too! What are your kids reading at the moment?
13 year old Amy Phelps travels from Central Otago to Dunedin to attend secondary school courtesy of her wealthy aunt and uncle.13 year old Amy Phelps travels from Central Otago to Dunedin to attend secondary school courtesy of her wealthy aunt and uncle. Aunt Delia is very much involved in the campaign to get women the vote, and Amy herself wants to be an artist like her heroine Frances Hodgkins. There is plenty in this story to inform the young reader about social conditions of the time – from Amy’s own family situation, to the plight of the less privileged in wealthy Dunedin of the 1890’s.
Be Counted is one of the “My Story” series – novels by New Zealand authors in a diary format about events and places in New Zealand history. Other novels in the series cover such calamities as the eruption of Mt Tarawera and the 1931 Napier earthquake; and unique environments such as the Homer Tunnel construction camp, the Dalmatian community in Dargaville during the ‘20’s and the situation in New Zealand during the 1981 Springbok tour.
All the “My Story” novels are both interesting and useful. Having them in the classroom/home is a wonderful way for children to become interested in history, to enliven general knowledge about New Zealand and they are useful as examples of diary-writing.
I have seen children become immersed in the whole series from year 5 (10 years) and older.
Published by Scholastic
Reviewed by Beth
“Reading is a perfectly normal activity, lots of people do it, and they even get pleasure from doing it”
This is the message that Jan Clothier, Librarian and Teacher at Karamu High School, a Decile 4 secondary school in Hastings, wants to get across to all students in the school. And, thanks partly to the school's innovative and well supported Rewarding Reading programme, the message is getting through.
When each student starts school in Year 9, they are given their own Reading Record, to be kept in the library. Students record every book they read, and are eligible for an award after each 40 books read. The first, Pewter award is gained after reading any 40 books of the student's choice, but after that, things get more challenging, and link into the Wide Reading requirements of NCEA. For the Bronze award (80 books in total read), students have to include an auto/biography; a pre-1970 book; a NZ author; a book from a Maori perspective and one from another culture. Then comes Silver, at 120 books, and finally the Gold award, at 180 books, each with similar challenges.
The school felt that if students could be rewarded for sports achievements, they should also be rewarded for reading achievements. Each award is presented formally to the student at assembly with prizes, such as $5.00 canteen vouchers for Pewter, and book vouchers at the higher levels.
Rewarding Reading works because of school-wide support. The Principal discusses it at assembly, and provides a budget for rewards. The school report has a section to comment on personal reading habits. All English teachers promote the programme, and encourage reading, with a focus on silent reading by all, including the teacher, during library times. Some teachers also offer individual rewards for the class. There are even assembly spot prizes, eg all kids who have read more than 5 books go in a draw for a $5.00 canteen voucher. "Sports jocks" also talk about books at assembly, for example a top student surfer talking about "books I read when there are no waves." This all helps keeps the programme in students' minds.
As a result of this and other school initiatives, there is a thriving reading culture in the school. Reading is no longer seen as a "nerdy" thing to do. Students of all abilities read, and are proud to receive their awards. Library borrowing has increased substantially, creative writing is better and the level of students' vocabulary has improved. The school now has a Scholarship English class, after many years without one, and students have gained scholarships. Well done Karamu!
Karamu High School's Rewarding Reading programme was planned and developed at an in-service day, led by English teachers Helen Almey and Tracy Taylor, with the encouragement and support of HOD Jo Morris, and Librarian Jan Clothier. For more information about the school's initiatives to develop a positive reading culture see this paper. For some further ideas about reading challenges from Australia, see this blog posting.
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