Archive for September, 2011

See ya!

Wow – has it been a month already?

It’s the last day of the month, so it must be – but gosh my time as Star Author has really flown by.

This just a quick post, really, to say thanks for having me here, and for reading whatI’ve had to say about me, my books, and reading and writing in general. Although my time here is finished, if you want to keep up with me, you are welcome to drop in to my brand new website Murphing Around. You can also send me questions or reviews to put up on the site.

I hope you’ve enjoyed my posts. Stay well – and keep reading!

Sally

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Get Writing!

Oh dear. My month as Star Author is rapidly drawing to a close. I have really enjoyed spending time, if only virtually, in Christchurch.

As this is one of my last posts, I thought I might stop talking about myself and offer something to you.  If you are reading this, chances are you love reading and/or writing. So I thought you might enjoy some quick writing activities that you can do  to get yourself writing. Grab a pen and paper, and sit yourself down, then choose one of these exercise and just write.

  1. Write a sentence where every word starts with the next letter of the alphabet – a, b, c and so on. (for example A brown cat dropped everything…). Don’t worry if it is silly or even ungrammatical. Just see what comes out.
  2. Write for as long as you can without using the letter ‘e’. Again, don’t worry if it’s a little ungrammatical or silly.
  3. Same as 2, but this time see how long you can write without using the word ‘and’.
  4. Find five random words by opening a book or dictionary and picking the first word you see on five different pages. Or get someone else to give you five random words. Then write a sentence, paragraph or even a story which includes all five words.
  5. Open the book you’re currently reading (you are reading one, aren’t you) at any page, and copy out the first sentence of the second paragraph. Now, close the book and start writing, using that sentence as the first sentence of a completely new piece of writing.

Chances are, none of these exercises will produce an absolute masterpiece. But they will challenge you, might make you laugh, and will help get your creative juices flowing.

Have fun. If you’re brave enough, post one of your efforts here as a comment for the world to see.

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Science Alive at the Library

CoverIf you’ve ever been to Science Alive, you will know that science can be heaps of fun. Now Science Alive is bringing their mad scientist skills to Christchurch City Libraries!

Every day after school, Science Alive is presenting a free, fun programme. You don’t even need to book, just turn up, ready to be amazed, shocked, and possibly grossed out.

Check out our events calendar to find out where and when …

And why not read some books about shocking science

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Ruby Redfort: Look Into My Eyes book trailer

If you’ve read the Clarice Bean books by Lauren Child you’ll know who Ruby Redfort is.  If you haven’t, she’s Clarice Bean’s favourite book character and is an undercover agent and mystery solver.  Ruby Redfort: Look Into My Eyes is the first book in the new series and it looks great.

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Cauliflower Ears by Bill Nagelkerke – Chapter 16

It is the final chapter of Bill Nagelkerke’s cool story today.  Please leave a comment and let us know what you thought of the story.  We’d like to thank Bill for very kindly allowing us to publish Cauliflower Ears on the Christchurch Kids Blog.  You’re a legend Bill!

Chapter 16: Three cheers

It was over. The Greens had won the Junior Home World Cup. Our first Grand Final. Our first trophy. We danced. We hugged each other. Then we lined up to receive the Cup.

We shook hands with Junior Home World Cup organisers. Chip held up the cup for everyone to admire and everyone, including some of the Reds, cheered. And we cheered them as well and shook their hands, even Spike and Taggart’s.

‘No hard feelings?’ I said to Spike.

‘Get real,’ said Spike. ‘If it hadn’t been for you . . . ’

‘It’s not fair’ said Taggart, ‘letting girls play rugby. They completely stuff up the game.’

I took no any notice of what Taggart said. Neither did anyone else. So what that I’m a girl? I can play as well as anyone and today I proved that, even though it nearly turned out to be a disaster of a swan song.

There was a celebration afterwards at Mr Marlow’s place. Everyone came: the Green Team; parents; supporters; even Grubber’s dad although he soon dropped into a chair and feel asleep.

I felt hugely happy, and hugely sad, both at the same time.

‘How’d you know we were going to win?’ Sprigs asked Mr Marlow, looking at all the food laid out on the table.

‘I didn’t,’ said Mr Marlow. ‘We’d have had a party regardless. You made it to the Grand Final after all.’

‘But what if we hadn’t made it to the final?’ Sprigs said.

‘We’d still have had a party,’ Mr Marlow said, ‘because the Greens are such a great team.’

He looked at me. ‘And we’d have had a party because Wings is leaving us and we have to give her a fitting send off.’

I started to feel all sniffy.

‘Speech! Speech!’ the Greens yelled.

‘I can’t,’ I said.

‘Yes you can,’ said Dad. ‘You always have plenty to say at home.’

There was silence as everyone waited for me to finish blowing my nose. I took longer than I needed to because I was trying to think of something to say. Trying didn’t work.

The words didn’t fall into my head. So I stopped trying to force them out and I just said what I was feeling.

‘I’m really going to miss you guys. Miss you heaps. All the practice sessions, and all the games. Not being here to defend the Cup next year. But Mr Marlow is right about us. We are a great team and it’s because we’ve got such great players.’

‘And because we had my lucky laces,’ said Sprigs. ‘Don’t forget them.’

‘And because we’ve got Sprigs’ lucky laces.’ I remembered the broken piece was still in my sock so I pulled it out and waved it around my head.

‘Sprigs’ grubby laces,’ said Sprigs’ mum and everyone laughed.

‘It wouldn’t have mattered if we hadn’t won today because we would have given it our best shot and that’s all that matters,’ I said.

‘Liar,’ said Grubber loudly.

‘But true as well,’ said Mr Marlow. ‘Some other team will be lucky to be getting you as a player Wings.’

‘Three cheers for Wings,’ said Chips.

‘No, for all the Greens,’ I said.

So we all shouted our slogan: ‘Three cheers for the Cauliflower Ears!’

And then we got stuck into the feed.

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Wonderstruck by Brian Selznick

The Invention of Hugo Cabret is one of my favourite books because of the way that the story is told.  The ‘creator’ Brian Selznick uses a mixture of words and illustrations to tell the story.  One minute you’re reading the words and the next you’re looking at the amazing illustrations to try and piece the story together. Brian has used the same storytelling technique in his new book, Wonderstruck.

Wonderstruck is the story of two children, set fifty years apart.  Ben’s story is told using words and is set in 1977 and Rose’s story is told completely in pictures and is set in 1927.  Ben has never known his father, but when he discovers some clues in his mother’s bedroom to who his father is, Ben sets out on a journey to discover the truth.  Rose dreams of a mysterious actress whose life she chronicles in a scrapbook and Brian’s illustrations reveal her own journey. 

Wonderstruck is an absolutely amazing book!  I love the idea of telling two different stories in two different ways.  When I was reading Ben’s story I could see the images in my head, but when I was ‘reading’ Rose’s story I was putting each of the images together to figure out her story.  The book looks huge but I read it all in one go because over half the book is made up of Brian’s stunning illustrations.  He only uses pencils, but he creates some unbelievable effects.  When you look at the faces of the characters you can see exactly what they are feeling, whether it is excitement, anger or sadness.  One of the pages is just someone pointing their finger and you know exactly what it means.  Reading Rose’s story is like watching a silent movie because you have to work out what is happening yourself.  Wonderstruck is one of those books that leave you smiling and you’ll want to read it again and again, just to enjoy Brian’s illustrations.

Recommended for 9+    10 out of 10

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Cauliflower Ears by Bill Nagelkerke – Chapter 15

Chapter 15: Try

What’s happened?

The whistle’s happened, that’s what. The ref has blown his whistle and it’s all over, the game’s finished. We’ve lost. I’ve lost.

Grubber and Chip and Danny and all the others have crowded around me. Mr Marlow is suddenly there, too, helping me to my feet.

‘I’m sorry guys,’ I said, ‘I just couldn’t make it.’

I didn’t even try blaming the tackle, or suggesting it was another one of the Red’s fouls. No, it was all down to me.

‘It was all down to you,’ Mr Marlow said.

I hung my head in shame.

‘The chips were down and you did it,’ said Chip, using his favourite joke.

Finally I looked up. I knew I’d have to face them sometime.

Everyone was smiling. There were no frowns or scowls. Grubber was hopping up and down like he needed to go to the toilet, but this time it was a dance of joy.

‘Did what?’ I asked.

‘You got the ball over the line without letting go of it, even when you were brought down,’ says another voice. It’s Dad, and Mum’s there too. ‘You got a try right smack between the posts.’

Grubber’s dad has come onto the field as well, and right now he doesn’t look like a man who’s been at work for the past nine hours, and has spent most of the morning chewing his fingernails worrying about Grubber ending up in Accident and Emergency.

Sprigs has hobbled over with his mum because his ankle’s sore and bruised from that tackle.

‘Knew that lace would do the trick,’ he said.

‘You mean I did it?’ I said, still not believing it.

‘Course you did,’ said Chips. ‘You got five points for the Greens. And you don’t even have to convert the try. We’ve won!’

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