Artichoke hearts is a book to make you cry. With laughter as well as sadness. It is Sita’s first book and it is brilliant. Mira is entering her teens and is dealing with the usual growing up problems, boys, best mates and periods. There is also a bit of bullying chucked in. She is dealing with so many changes but on top of that her beloved nana Josie is dying.
Nana Josie is a great character. She is strong, wise, funny and fiesty. Mira and her are really close although sometimes she is a little outspoken for the quiet Mira. She’s an artist with a wide group of friends who used to go on political demonstrations. Josie has a love of nature which she has passed on to her granddaughter.
Mira’s family life is chaotic. Mum and dad are always busy, little brother Krish is a pain and there is baby Laila to add to the mix. There are bullies at school but she does have her best friend Millie. So why has she started to keep secrets from her? She’s discovering boys and is somehow drawn to Jide, a boy who has secrets of his own.
This is a beautiful story. It feels very true to life and except for the fact that it is set in London it could be a family we know. The pace and mood of the characters change so much through the book as they come to terms with more than the fact that Nana Josie is dying. It is an emotional roller coaster ride but a pleasurable one as we get to know Mira better.
The book has just won Waterstones Books childrens fiction award which I think it highly deserves. It’s going on my list of best of 2011. Find a comfortable spot and curl up with this wonderful book and get to know the Levenson family, especially Mira.
Take two cousins Danny and Nick, eco tourists Brio and Roost, Harriet the Parriet, Albatross and Penguins colonies and what do you have? The latest page turner by Des Hunt – The Peco Incident.
Danny lives on the Otago Peninsula and is dreading his cousin Nick coming to stay. He’s ok if he takes his Ritalin but guess what he forgot to pack. The boys become involved with an outbreak of bird flu which threatens the birds of Taiaroa Head. Did the outbreak come from the Peco chicken farm or are Brio and Roost more sinister than they seem?
Des has written a great read. As you’re reading you can imagine the wild rugged landscape of the Peninsula. The relationship between the boys allows for some wonderful humour throughout the book. There is also plenty of adventure as it becomes a race against time among the cliff tops of Taiaroa Heads to save the rare birds.
‘Maybe we should check her out on the web,’ suggested Nick. ‘She might be one of those eco-terrorists.’
It was a good suggestion. That was the thing about Nick. He could be real dumb at times, but he was actually quite intelligent. The problem was recognizing the clever bits in amongst all the rubbish.
Linda Sue Park has weaved two stories into one in this great book. Nya has to walk for two hours each way to get water for her family. She does this twice a day every day. Eight hours a day!
Salva is also walking. Away from his war torn homeland. His journey across Africa from his homeland Sudan to Ethiopia and Kenya is a journey that will take many years. Along the way he encounters many dangers.
This book is a novel but it is based on a true story. It is based around the Second Sudanese Civil War which started in 1983. Millions of people were displaced often unable to return to their homes. Among the displaced there were large groups of boys who becam known as the Lost Boys. This is the story of one of those boys.
Jackie French has written alot of novels on the history of Australia but this is one of her best. Matilda’s mum dies so she heads out to the bush to find her dad. She finds him but tragedy strikes. What follows is an amazing yarn about how 12 year old Matilda takes on one struggle after another to become an independent woman.
It is also the story of a new country developing. There strikes by workers, bushfire, war, and drought. There are new inventions like the car and radio. There is woman fight to be aloud to vote. The book also contains alot of rasist comments we wouldn’t use now but Jackie wanted to keep the book as true to how life was then as possible.
The story is loosly based around that annoying Aussie song Waltzing Matilda but is still a good read. The book is from the Young Adult section but doesn’t contain anything that would upset the parents. It is a long slog at 478 pages so it is really only an option for those of you who are really good readers.
Once a jolly swagman camped by a billabong…………………
I was born in Auckland but my family are all Scots. In my early 20s I lived in the UK. Christmas in the cold isn’t a lot of fun. Doing your shopping in the freezing cold or rain or often both.
I spent Christmas day at my aunts, her children were a lot younger than me so I had lots of fun in the morning helping them unwrap their prezzies. Then it all gets completely different from an NZ Christmas. There was no getting out on your new bike, it was pouring down! We had Turkey and all the trimmings at lunch but instead of salad or green beans we had………Brussel Sprouts! Yuck, yuck, yuck. There is a yummy steamed pudding called a dumpling made in Scotland. It’s full of dried fruit and spices. We had this with custard instead of Christmas Pudding. That was yummy. What I found really strange is there was no big bowl of berries. It’s the wrong time of the year.
We were housebound the whole day watching cheesy movies and the Queen’s speech on TV. One thing that seems to be on every year is the The Snowman by Raymond Briggs. It is the cartoon version of his book and it’s brilliant. I think I will stick to my summer Christmases especially for the food. How do you spend your Christmas? Do you have a favourite food? Add a comment and let us know.
Hot off the press and ready for the Christmas gift giving comes The Longest Whale Song. Ellas life isn’t going so great. She doesn’t like her grumpy step-dad, baby Sam cries all the time and her best friend wants to be friends with Dory. The worst, worst, worst thing of all is that her mum is in hospital in a coma.
Ellas school project on Whales helps Ella discover that Whales sing to each other underwater and lots of other amazing things about them. Could a whale song help them get through to her mum?
This is yet another very readable book by Jacqueline. Ella does alot of growing up in this book and a number of her relationships with people change. She even makes a new friend. The medical stuff about Ellas mum can be quite difficult to read so I’m recommending this for intermediate aged kids 11 to 13.
This is a great new novel by Moya Simons. Rachel is a young Jewish girl in Leipzig Germany at the time of the Second World War. After being moved to a ghetto her family are taken away by the Nazis. Before he leaves Rachel’s father tells her to hide and not to speak.
She is found and taken in by an Aryan family who remember her fathers kindness when he was their doctor. This is dangerous and there is a lot of tension in the house hold. Rachel remaining mute throughout doesn’t help. This is a moving story of a family torn apart by war. Rachel keeps her family close in her heart by remembering all the Sabbath meals shared with them. The pace of the book is slow but you keep reading as Rachel’s story is so strong. You are also hoping that she survives the war and finds her family alive. This book would appeal to anyone who likes Holocaust stories and would be a good read for children 11+.
First there was the dismal display by the Black Caps. Then I’m on the top floor of Central Library when we had a bit of a shake.
I recover from that and then watch Canterburys game. Held try-less by Waikato to loose 26-6. I think we are missing our All Blacks. The Phoneix continued their terrible away record losing 3-0 to Adelaide United at Hindmarsh Stadium.
Never mind, there is still the Four Nations. The Junior Kiwis lost to the Junior Kangaroos in the curtain raiser 16-24. Thats ok we should clean up the Poms. Well we did, 24-10 but what huge price to pay. Manu Vatuvei broke his arm in the 3rd minuate. He hadn’t even had a run! Junior Sa’u took over Manu’s wing and played well but I just love watching the Beast play. Sam Perrett will replace Manu for the rest of the season. He has also had a great season but doesn’t have the height or strength of the ‘The Beast’. The Kangaroos play Papua New Guinea today at 5pm. The curtain raiser is Tonga v Samoa. That should be a game worth watching. Keep an eye ouot for Ukuma Ta’ai. He turned down the chance of a Kiwi jersey to turn out for his native Tonga. What do you think of the Four Nations so far. Will it be a Kangaroo Kiwi final. I’m hoping so.
It’s time to dust off the trainers and get ready for Touch Rugby. A lot of primary and intermediate schools have teams and you may be able to join one of them. Your other option is to get a bunch of friends together and get in touch with one of the competitions near you. Here is a list of the competions in the Christchurch area.
Touch is a great way to keep fit for your winter sport. How may of you out there are playing this year? Does your school have teams? Let us know.
Well the Commenwealth Games are slowly winding up so what other sporting events are coming up?
Canterbury play Counties Manukau on Saturday 5.25pm Sky sport 1. On Sky sport 2 we have two Rugby League Internationals at 5pm it’s New Zealand Maori v England then at 7pm The Kiwis v Samoa. Should be a good warm up to the Four Nations tournament.
For football fans The Wellington Phoenix v Melbourne Heart 5pm Sunday on Sky Sport 2. If you perfer your sport a bit faster the MotoGP Australian Grand Prix is on Sky Sport 3 on Sunday at 2.45pm. Tv3 is also having an afternoon of petrol fueled sport on Sunday afternoon.
With two League games and the Phoenix to watch it looks like I’m not going to get much house work done again this weekend.
Can the All Whites finally get a win tonight? It was disappointing to only draw against Hondures. For someone of Smeltz skill to miss a penalty and the rebound was heart breaking. Our strikers are going to have to be alot more on the ball tonight. Our defense can expect a hard time with the flare of the Paraguay forwards so I’m expecting Mark Paston to have a much busier time than he did on Saturday night. Do you think we can beat the 17th ranked team in the world?
7.30 Sky Sport 2
Well it has been a busy time for sports fans. The Phoenix lost, St George and the Junior Warriors both had a very convincing win and Collingwood finally lifted the AFL championship.
Here is an article on the Junior Warriors win. It was wonderful to see these young guys play so well. The future of Rugby League in New Zealand is looking good. Don’t forget that the 4 Nations start soon. What do you think of the players picked for the New Zealand squad? I think it will be a strong side that will play with alot of flare. Expect plenty of off loads and second faze play. Go the Kiwis!
My family is going to have square eyes by the end of the weekend. On Friday the Phoenix play the Gold Coast. As it is comng from Oz it isn’t on until 11pm. It is usually replayed so check the guide. Saturday Canterbury meet Otago at Carisbrook, 5.25 pm. Lion Foundation netball is on from 12.30. There is also the replay of the AFL final. You will have to check the guide for the time.
Sunday is the big one for us. NRL grand final and the UK Super league final. At Old Trafford St Helens meet Wigan, 6 am our time.
Coverage of the NRL Grand Final starts after that with shows like the Footy Show until 4 pm when the Junior Warriors take on South Sydney in the Toyota cup final. That promises to be a great curtainraiser. Both teams play with alot of flare and are not scared to throw the ball around. Then the big one the Grand final. The safe methodical Dragon who slowly strangle the life out of their opponenents with the best defence in the NRL against the Roosters. Last years wooden spoon winners and written off by many early this season. They have a shocking defence and win games by out scoring the opposition. They have flare and speed and are a dream to watch. I’m backing the Roosters to win.
Our wonderful Star Author Brian Falkner has written a wonderful book about league. It is called Henry and the Flea. Daniel wants to play for the Warriors. The problem is he is only 12. How does he do it? It’s a great book about friendship, loyalty and sport. It is also very funny.
The AFL grand final between Collingwood and St Kilda ended in 68 point draw last week. Did they play extra time like most sports or golden time like Rugby League does? No, there are no provisions in their rules to do this. They will play the game again this Saturday as though last week didn’t happen! The AFL commission have declared there would be extra time next week if needed but are not looking to make a permenant change. This has only happaned in 3 other Grand Finals in the past.
This has effected alot of other sports. Racing, football and cricket have all had to make rearrangements so they are not overshadowed by the Grand final. It’s just as well the NRL Grand Final is traditionally held on a Sunday