Tena koutou to anyone who is reading this.
It is a funny feeling writing to anybody and everybody, but I am getting used to it. I do love getting your comments, and I am sad that my month as Star Author is almost over.
Here’s a picture of the view of Aoraki Mount Cook from just up the road from where I live – aren’t I lucky! I took this photo from the Kettle Hole walking track at the southern end of Lake Pukaki. The Kettle Hole is a large hole in the ground that was created by a large hunk of melting ice leftover from when the Tasman Glacier was huge.
Here’s a link to some Department of Conservation information about the Kettle Hole track and other short walks in the amazing area where I live:
Today, in my home town of Twizel (a little town with a population of only about 1200 and no traffic lights), we have had the basketball finals. I watched 2 games, one in which my son Josh played for the Twizel Schoolboys team, and one in which my husband played. It was a very exciting afternoon!
Now they are at the prizegiving, and I am writing to you … about some of my favourite children’s war stories. Many, but not all, are about World War Two.
1. My favourite children’s war story still has to be The Silver Sword by Ian Serraillier. That’s because that is the book that got me hooked on history. I posted about it earlier this month.
2. Micheal Morpurgo is one of my favourite authors, and one that is quickly becoming the favourite of many students at Twizel Area School where I teach. That’s partly because I keep recommending his books to them, and reading his stories aloud too. Michael is an English writer who has written lots of books. Two of his recurring themes are war and animals. I especially love Kensuke’s Kingdom, An Elephant in the Garden, War Horse, private peaceful, Shadow, Toro! Toro! and The Amazing Story of Adolphus Tips.
A librarian once told me that I write like Michael Morpurgo! What highly valued praise but totally undeserved. Michael Murpurgo is a definetly a writer to try if you haven’t already. Here is a link to his website:
3. I equally love the writing of Australian writer Jackie French. Some of my favourite war stories by Jackie are Macbeth and Son ( a truly enjoyable and clever story), Hitler’s Daughter, Pharoah, and The Donkey Who Carried the Wounded. Here’s a link to Jackie’s website:
4. I also love how Susan Brocker writes. Susan is a New Zealand writer, whom I have been lucky enough to meet at a couple of writer’s meetings. Susan and I share a love of animals, except that I am wary of horses and she loves them. Two of my favourite war stories are written by Susan and are about horses. They are Brave Bess and the ANZAC Horses and Dreams of Warriors(which is set in N.Z. during World War Two). Susan is published by HarperCollins NZ, just like me!
Here’s a link for you:
And of course …
5. Once, Then, and Now by Morris Glietzman. These stories, set during World War Two, will make you cry and make you hug those you love. Warning: To be read with an adult close by.
6. Not to be missed from my list, the well-known war story Goodnight Mr Tom, by Michelle Magorian, the story of a child evacuated from the London Blitz in World War Two. It’s a beautiful story but not for younger readers.
7. And, I could keep going forever … Boy Soldier by Cola Bilkuei … mmm this is probably one for the teenagers among you too. I haven’t read it yet, but it’s one of my 15-year-old Josh’s favourites.
8. I also totally love Chocolate Cake with Hitler by English writer Emma Craigie. I haven’t read any other books by this author but I love this one. I can’t get the link to copy but it’s a book worth searching for yourself.
9. The Boy in Striped Pyjamas by John Boyne. I need to re-read this book because the main thing I can remember is a really sad part, but I know its a highly rated war story for children. It made Zac’s Top 5 War Stories list.
I hope this list of some of favourite war stories is useful and that you are finding some books you would like to read. These are all books I recommend to kids in my class and at my school, but often for the more mature / older readers. I have copies of most of the books I have recommended on my bookshelf. I collect children’s and teenagers books like other people collect shells or Weet-bix cards or fancy clothes. For me it’s books! (and the human impact of war is something I am especially interested in).
Here are a couple more recommendations for teenagers (in fact all of the books I have recommended would be enjoyed by teens and adults with a love of good stories mixed with history).
1. The Book Thief – by Markus Zusak (simply stunning, completly heart-breaking).
2. tamar – by Mal Peet
As I write this this I keep thinking about how few books there seem to be that have been written for children and teens about the events of World War Two in the Pacific – the war that was closest to us here in New Zealand and Australia. That’s one thing I wanted to do, to write about the war near us. I’m proud that the story of H.M.A.S. Canberra was told for young people in The Ghosts of Iron Bottom Sound. Here she is – I love this image.
A few years ago I read two books by an Australian writer about an Australian boy finding out at his Grandad’s war in the Pacific. I think his Grandad was involved in building the Kodoko Trail when he was a Japanese prisoner of war. I really want to read the books again but I didn’t write down the name of the books or the author. Does anyone out there know the books I might be thinking of? I’d love to hear from you.
Hey Zac – I think your libraries in Christchurch would have all of these books and that you’d have read most or all of them. How right am I? And I think that you and the other librarians in Christchurch love helping kids find books, just like librarians everywhere do.
Zac, thank you so much for choosing me to be one of your Star Authors!
Before the end of the month, I’ll tell you more about the amazing Book Week we just had at Twizel Area School.
Take care everyone.
Ka kite Ano and Kia Kaha (I’ll write again soon and be strong, especially Shaky Town kids).
From your August Star Author
Proud author of only one book …