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.
Alexander (Xan) was always an awkward misfit at school, whereas his brother Robert is popular, sporty and easy going. Despite living in a small house and sharing a room, the two boys manage to live largely parallel lives. Until it comes to Robert’s attention that Xan has a new lease on life – going out in the evenings, getting a girlfriend and a bunch of new friends.
Xan is an intense character who keenly feels the world’s injustices and in attempt to right society’s wrongs he hooks up with an extremist animal rights group. Will Robert be able to stop him before he harms himself or others for his new cause…
Lynch brilliantly captures the zeitgeist of the times with a contemporary issue (animal rights) and combines it with a misfit’s desire to fit in to the world.
For more information about the author and his works, please see the Simon & Schuster website.
review by Suzanne
Image by simonm1965
What attracted me most to this series is the style of the jacket in which they are presented. It is a small book yet packed with a wealth of historical information about the Titanic and other historical ships that have come to a tragic end.
The light hearted approach that the author takes does not mask the fact that he is a knowledgeable historian but rather, keeps the reader entertained. Such a lot of information in such a little book and it’s finished off with a Titanic timeline, Titanic recipe and even Titanic tunes! A very entertaining way of conveying historical facts.
Recommended for intermediate readers.
review by Melissa
Image by Ontario Wanderer
During a recent visit to Epsom Normal Primary School in Auckland I was delighted to browse a gallery of student paintings inspired by the works of the great Impressionists. Colourful, vibrant, imaginative images that mirrored the styles of Monet, van Gogh and Degas. I was equally pleased to see space and resources for drawing and sculpture within the library.
Inspiring creativity and encouraging expression and exploration of art is clearly an important theme at Epsom Normal.
My art book is a wonderful introduction to art, art history and to the creative process.
Focussing on a range of artists, from van Gogh to Warhol and a variety of styles and contexts from sidewalk art to mosaics, My art book takes you on a whirlwind tour of styles and techniques that are both informative and inspiring.
Brief biographical information about the artists is coupled with insights into the way that they created their images and challenges students to explore and reflect on how the art makes them feel.
Each art style is supported by practical step-by-step instructions to guide students in creating their own works of art.
Fun, vibrant and accessible, My art book is clearly and colourfully laid out. Full of suggestions, ideas and practical instruction it is a book that will inspire the inner artist in every child, teacher and parent.
review by Peter
Image by maureencrosbie
Ten year old Stuart and his family move back to village of his father’s childhood. Instead of being the dull experience he expects, Stuart discovers a forgotten family secret. His great uncle was a famous magician and inventor of marvellous mechanisms, until his workshop was lost in a fire.
Stuarts adventure begins when a series of clues are revealed to him as to the workshop’s location in the village. With the help of the bossy triplets who live next door he goes about solving the riddles. There’s plenty of adventure, lots of cliff-hangers with a number of zealous competitors for the secrets, making this a great suspenseful read for 8 -10 year olds.
review by Suzanne
Image by Pressbound
Iris is a keen songwriter and ukulele player. She and Sidney, her best friend, are writing a rap musical about a family of vampires who are fighting with a family of werewolves. Hmmm. Sidney decides he doesn’t want to use that song anymore in the local Mall’s Talent Quest – he prefers his idea - a glam rock opera about an intergalactic space traveller who wants to be a world famous rock singer and fashion designer - hmmm. So they fall out and go their separate ways.
Morgan, who is a trendy dresser, hassles Iris about her unusual fashion sense, and now he suddenly seems to be Sidney’s best friend. Then there is Elijah, the cool rugby player who hasn’t noticed her (Iris) yet, and the new boy, Che, who seems to unfairly pick on Sidney just because he’s different. She feels abandoned and alone; fortunately, she has Gran, who is her calming, understanding influence.
The story moves along at a good pace, with themes of friendship, jealousy and confusion, being your own self, school life, and the nature of competitions creating a story that all young readers will relate to and identify with.
This story is the winner of the 2011 Storylines Tom Fitzgibbon Award (www.storylines.org) and is well deserved.
review by Rosemary
Image by mira mira on the wall
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