Archive for March, 2011

Judy Moody and the Not Bummer Summer

Do you love the Judy Moody series or the Stink series by Megan McDonald?  Later this year you’ll be able to see Judy Moody and her brother Stink on the big screen in Judy Moody and the Not Bummer Summer.  While you wait for the movie, you can borrow all the Judy Moody books from the library.

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Congratulations to Shaun Tan!

Shaun Tan, the award-winning author of some of the most amazing picture books, has won the biggest prize for children’s books.  The Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award was set up in memory of Astrid Lindgren, the creator of Pippi Longstocking, and is awarded every year to authors, illustrators, oral storytellers and those who promote reading.  It is the richest award for children’s literature, with a grand prize of close to $NZ1 million!

If you’ve never read or looked at a book by Shaun Tan you don’t know what you’re missing out on.  He has illustrated more than 20 books, including The Lost Thing, Rabbits, The Red Tree, The Arrival, and my favourite, Tales from Outer Suburbia.  His illustrations are weird and wonderful, and he can tell an amazing story without using words.  Shaun Tan has been super lucky recently because his short film of his book, The Lost Thing, won an Oscar at the Academy Awards.

Congratulations Shaun!

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Competitions galore!

You can find out about lots of different competitions on our blog at the moment.  If you enter these competitions on the blog you could win some cool book bundles:

  • Let the fun begin – New Zealand Book Month 2011 – add your comments to the blog during March and you could win a bundle of New Zealand children’s books.  There are only 2 days left so you better hurry!
  • Explore Christchurch at your library and win – hunt through our photo collection and find the most interesting photos.  Find your favourite photo in the category that we select, copy the address and post it in a comment on the blog telling us why you like it.  We’ll post the winner’s photo each time and they’ll receive a book prize.  The first category is Costume and Fashion.

You could also enter these cool writing competitions for the chance to win some awesome prizes and even get your story published:


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Alex Rider is back in Scorpia Rising

The 9th and final Alex Rider adventure by Anthony Horowitz, Scorpia Rising is out now.  Place a hold at one of our libraries that are open or online using your library card number and PIN. If you don’t have a PIN, phone us on 941-7923.

Will you read the last Alex Rider book?  We want to know if he’s still one of your favourite characters.

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My favourite NZ books – Leonie Agnew

The best ever NZ children’s book … hmm. That’s got to be The Loblolly Boy. I love the story because it’s dripping with imagination. An invisible kid who can fly? Yes please. That’s my kind of story.

I also love how the author, James Norcliffe, made it seem so real.  Mr Norcliffe paints a dark side to this fairytale which makes it even more irresistible, as the Loblolly Boy discovers that dreams can turn into nightmares, unless you’re willing to take control of your own destiny.

I hear there is a sequel on its way. Stay tuned book lovers…

Leonie Agnew.

Read some books written by Leonie Agnew

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Happy 500th post!

cakeAfter reading heaps of books, discovering new authors, running competitions, learning some funky words, interviewing writers, watching trailers,  and being shaken by thousands of earthquakes we’ve made it to our 500th post!

We would like to thank our Star Bloggers, readers, authors, teachers, librarians and commenters for helping us get here.  We couldn’t have done it without you!

If you think there is something we could do to make our next 500 posts even better, we would love to know.  Just leave a comment with your suggestions.

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My favourite NZ books – Tina Matthews

My favorite NZ picture book at the moment is Herbert the Brave Sea Dog. It’s a true story about a dog that gets lost at sea and then found, still paddling, 30 hours later. If you didn’t know it was true you wouldn’t believe it possible that Herbert could keep swimming and Tim, his young owner, would keep looking for such a long, long time. The story is beautifully told and you can feel how gutted everyone is when Herbert is found to be missing and how elated everyone is when he is found alive. You feel the same.  I’ve loved Robyn Belton’s pictures ever since she did Greedy Cat with Joy Cowley, more than 20 years ago, and when I read Herbert in a shop in Sydney last year I got goose-bumps and bought the book straight away. It’s a great book to read if you’re feeling glum because it reminds you not to give up hope.

I think Under the Mountain by Maurice Gee is a great NZ book too. Everyone knows the story so I won’t retell it (and if you don’t, you really ought to read it!). I clearly remember reading it to my children and I think we were all as excited and scared and delighted as each other. The next time I went to Auckland those extinct volcanoes seemed very menacing indeed. And although the evil Wilberforces are eventually defeated in the book, I think they will be firmly stuck in my mind for the rest of my life.

Tina Matthews

Read some books written by Tina Matthews

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My favourite NZ books – Paula Green

I have been a big fan of Margaret Mahy’s books for a long time — from The Lion in the Meadow to The Three-Legged Cat to A Summery Saturday Morning. These picture books are perfect examples of the way Margaret gets words to soar and swing and somersault. Reading them out loud makes me feel like soaring and swinging and somersaulting myself. What these books also show though, is the way imagination and what is real can picnic in the same place. I love the way the cat and the hat get mixed up (the uncle sets off around the world with a cat to keep his head warm and Mrs Gimble has a hat on her knee that is perfectly good company but doesn’t need feeding!). Of all the fabulous authors in the world, Margaret is the one who most inspired me to try writing poems and stories for children.

I do have other favourites though. David Hill’s See Ya Simon is a gutsy, moving novel for older children that I treasure. Elizabeth Knox’s Dreamhunter creates a mysterious, challenging, haunting world that is a pleasure to inhabit for that time of reading and beyond. The characters in Joy Cowley’s Snake and Lizard (beautifully brought to a second life by Gavin Bishop’s illustrations) are a quarrelsome pair that you can’t help falling in love with. Mandy Hager’s Blood of the Lamb trilogy offers fine writing, challenges, suspense, tenderness, mystery as we encounter a society that needs blood to survive (I can’t wait to read the final volume shortly). Kate de Goldi’s The 10PM Question is a sumptuous narrative of a young boy’s anxieties. All of these books remind me that stories have the power to matter, to make language sing and to draw us closer to the heart of being human.

Paula Green

Read some books written by Paula Green.

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My favourite NZ books – Sandy Nelson

Hi there Christchurch Kids!

My name is Sandy Nelson. I am the writer of ‘The Ghosts of Iron Bottom Sound,’ a story about a New Zealand boy who is haunted by some ghosts of sailors who died in World War Two – 1023 of them.

I am also a school teacher at Twizel Area School. Twizel is the nearest town to Mount Cook. This year I am teaching 26 wonderful Year 4 and 5 kids. My school is a bit unusual because it has students from ages 5 to 18 all at the same school.

In my family I have my husband Dean, 3 boys, a cat and a puppy. Keep reading and you will learn something about my puppy.

Zac has asked me to write about my favourite N.Z. children’s book. It has been really hard to decide on just one book. I have spent a lot of time gazing at the hundreds of books on my bookshelves.  I am going to tell you about 3 of my favourite New Zealand books.

The Halfmen of O is one of my favourite books for older kids. The writer is Maurice Gee. I have read this book to lots of classes. Sometimes kids get a bit scared so don’t read this story unless you are brave! The Halfmen of O is a fantasy book about two kids, Susan and Nick, who travel into a world called O. There are lots of fantasy / adventure books a bit like this, but this still my favourite. It is the first book in an excellent series. One of the reasons I like this book is that the setting of the real life parts of
the story is in one of my favourite places, Golden Bay, which is over a great big hill from Nelson.

The next book I am going to tell you about is another one that I like reading to classes. It is called Shipwreck and it is not about the Titanic or the Wahine. It is about a ship named Mikhail Lermontov. This ship came from Russia to New Zealand with lots of tourists and sunk in the Marlborough Sounds. Lots of New Zealanders went to help in little boats. The history parts of the story are true. The writer is Jules Older. This is a great story for 8-10 year olds. It was published in 1991. Hopefully you will still
find it on library shelves as it is a great story.

My last favourite story is a picture book for younger kids and for anyone who likes dogs and happy endings.  Herbert the Brave Sea Dog by Robyn Belton is another Marlborough Sounds story.  My family all loves this book, especially my 7 year old twin boys. That’s partly because it is about a dog that is the same kind of dog as our puppy (a border terrier) and because we
had a great family holiday at one of the places in the story, Duncan Bay. In this story Herbert falls off a boat and no one notices. He is found still swimming in the sea more than 30 hours later. This is a true New Zealand
story. The pictures are beautiful too.

Happy reading! And happy learning at school this term!

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The Recruit by Robert Muchamore

James Choke was a normal kid. He went to school, hung out with friends, and did his homework (most of the time). But some members of his family are definitely not normal. Ron (his stepdad) has big anger problems. And for his mum, she runs a massive thieving business. Because of this, James has everything he wants: Playstation 2, big flat screen TV, DVD player, the works.

One day at school, Samantha Jennings ( a mean girl who James hates), continues to taunt him about having an extremely overweight mum. Then, he decides he’s had enough. He violently assaults Samantha and flees the classroom.

At home that night, James’s mum and Ron are drinking wine. While Ron sneakily steals money from her wallet, James reminds his mum that she needs to take her pills and she isn’t supposed to drink without them. Later on, when Ron has left, James tries to wake his mother up. She doesn’t move. He checks her breathing. Nothing.

James’s sister Lauren is taken away from him to live with Ron, while he moves into Nebraska House. He lives there for a few weeks with his roommate, Kyle. But in almost no time, he finds himself on CHERUB Campus, an unofficial branch of the British intelligence. Before he can stop the bad guys and be miniature 007, he has to pass basic training. 100 days of pure torture, lead by stone-hearted, Mr Large.

CHERUB is probably in the top three series I’ve read. If you like Alex Rider you’ll love CHERUB. I would recommend it for people who like long series (don’t you hate it when you read a really good book and there’s no sequel?!?!). I give it 9/10

By Henry

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My favourite NZ books – Adele Broadbent

NZ Kid’s Books Rock!

There are sooo many fantastic NZ Authors and books it’s impossible to choose only one, or two or even five!  But, since I can’t fill up the entire blog, I’ll pick a few of my favourites – ‘The Fat Man’ by Maurice Gee. This story is a thriller for kids. It’s intriguing, action packed and you can’t put it down.  Vince Ford’s ‘2Much4U’ is my favourite funny story – true LOL stuff. Ken Catran’s ‘Talking to Blue’ series is creepy freaky for older kids and VM Jones’ ‘Karazan Quartet’ would give Harry Potter a run for his money.

But no matter what you read – enjoy!

Adele Broadbent

Read some books written by Adele Broadbent
Read about Adele Broadbent on the blog

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Earthquake. What do you miss most?

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Who are your favourite book heroes?

coverIn just about every book you read there are heroes and villains.  What makes someone a hero though?  Do they have a superpower and save the world or are they an ordinary kid who stands up for what they believe in?   The NZ Book Month team have created a list of the Top 5 Heroes and Heroines for boys and girls from books.  Some are muggles and others have magic running through their veins.

The Top 5 Heroes for boys are:

  1. Harry Potter from the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling
  2. John and Roger from Swallows and Amazons by Arthur Ransome
  3. Adrian Mole from The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole Aged 13 3/4 by Sue Townsend
  4. Charlie Bucket from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl
  5. Greg Heffley from Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney

The Top 5 Heroines for girls are:

  1. Alice from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
  2. Anne Shirley from Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery
  3. Pauline, Petrova and Posy Fossil from Ballet Shoes by Noel Streatfeild
  4. Pippi Longstocking from Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lindgren
  5. Jane Blonde from the Jane Blonde series by Jill Marshall

Who’s  your favourite book hero or heroine?  What makes them so special?

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Let the fun begin – New Zealand Book Month 2011

March is the month that we celebrate New Zealand books, authors and illustrators.  It’s New Zealand Book Month  – and we have some special events and competitions to celebrate our fantastic authors and illustrators.

Here in Christchurch, we are not letting Mother Nature ruin our fun.  Several events that we had planned for New Zealand Book Month are still going ahead and some of our fantastic New Zealand authors are blogging about their favourite New Zealand children’s books.

So tell us what your favourite New Zealand books are.  Just click on Add a comment at the bottom of this post and tell us what you think.  Any Christchurch kids (aged 8-12 years) who comment on the blog during March will go in the draw to win a selection of great New Zealand books.  Make sure you tell us your name and email address so that we can contact you if you win.

This competition has now closed but we’d still like to hear about your favourite NZ books.

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My favourite NZ books – Bill Nagelkerke

PhotoOne New Zealand book I particularly remember is Elsie Locke’s The Runaway Settlers, a story about a pioneering family who arrive in Lyttelton in 1858. They make a new home for themselves in Governors Bay, near Christchurch. I must have been about seven or eight years old when our teacher read this novel to our class. It had only recently been published. This was probably the first time I heard a story where events were happening in a place close to where I lived, not somewhere else altogether. It made me look at those places differently.

Many years later I was lucky enough to meet the author herself and talk to her about the book. Although Elsie is no longer alive, The Runaway Settlers is still around and it’s as good now as it was when it was first published forty-six years ago.

Bill Nagelkerke

So, what’s your favourite New Zealand book?

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Think you can’t get to the library? Oh, yes you can!

At the moment there are only a few libraries that are open. But don’t worry – our website is open all the time.  If you’ve read all of the books that you’ve got, head to the Kids pages  – we have plenty of stories for you to enjoy:

  • Start with Stories by New Zealand authors.  There’s heaps of them, by Fleur Beale, Gavin Bishop, Joy Cowley, Brian Falkner, Margaret Mahy and many other authors.  You can even add a comment and let us know what you thought of each one.
  • TumbleBooks Library is one of our cool, free e-book collections.  It has everything from picture books to classics like Black Beauty and Tom Sawyer.  You can read the stories yourself or read along while the story is read to you.  The picture books are animated –  so it’s like reading and watching a cartoon at the same time.  TumbleBooks also has word games and puzzles linked to the story that you can play.  You need to have your library card number and PIN.
  • We have a great list of stories, books and authors where you will find the websites of your favourite author or series, including Roald Dahl, Goosebumps, Narnia and Harry Potter.
  • Try the Space explorer for a fun trip around the solar system.

See? Even if your local library is shut, there’s plenty to do and read on the library website.

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NZ Post Children’s Book Awards Finalists 2011

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