Archive for Ghosts

Marvellous Margaret Mahy

March 21 would have been Margaret Mahy’s 78th birthday and it’s a great excuse to check out some of the fantastic Margaret Mahy stuff on our catalogue and the internet.

If you are itching for some Margaret Mahy screen goodness, you can check out full episodes of her award-winning TV adaptions on NZ On Screen:

The Haunting of Barney PalmerBook Cover

Is Barney being haunted by his dead Uncle? One person in every generation of his family has a special gift; is it Barney? If you like the movie, borrow the book from our Library.

Kaitangata Twitch

What happens to a girl who has dangerous dreams? What if the land itself punishes those who would harm it? Kaitangata Twitch is a supernatural eco-thriller! Watch the first episode on NZ On Screen and then check out the book or DVD from the library.

The Great White Man-Eating SharkBook Cover

Norvin looks a little bit like a shark and is also a little bit sick of other swimmers at the beach. He thinks he’s got the perfect plan to have the beach to himself, but does he? Once you’ve watched the hilarious video, read the full story from our library.

If you’d like some more information about Margaret Mahy, you can check out our interview with her, or our special Margaret Mahy pages.

If you start reading now, you might be able to read all of our Margaret Mahy books before the Margaret Mahy Family Playground opens. It hasn’t been started yet, but when it’s finished it will be ‘the most amazing playground’ the city has ever seen, it will have different activity zones aimed at different ages, comfortable places for adults to supervise, and challenging play equipment, all inspired by the amazing stories of Margaret Mahy.

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Skulduggery Pleasant

Over the Summer holidays the Library had a Summer Reading Film Competition. It was aimed at teenagers but one of the entries was a great book trailer for Skulduggery Pleasant.

Skulduggery Pleasant is a very popular series about a girl who discovers her dead Uncle, who she thought was a horror fiction writer, actually was telling true stories about his battle against evil. The eighth book in the series, Last stand of dead men, has just been released, but if you’d like to start from the start, you can check out the full series on our catalogue.

The author of Skulduggery Pleasant, Derek Landry, visited Christchurch in 2012 and we interviewed him on our blog. We’ve got a lot of other great articles and videos about the Skulduggery Pleasant series on our blog too.

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Lockwood and Co.: The Screaming Staircase by Jonathan Stroud

When the dead come back to haunt the living, Lockwood & Co. step in . . .For more than fifty years, the country has been affected by a horrifying epidemic of ghosts. A number of Psychic Investigations Agencies have sprung up to destroy the dangerous apparitions.Lucy Carlyle, a talented young agent, arrives in London hoping for a notable career. Instead she finds herself joining the smallest most ramshackle agency in the city, run by the charismatic Anthony Lockwood. When one of their cases goes horribly wrong, Lockwood & Co. have one last chance of redemption. Unfortunately this involves spending the night in one of the most haunted houses in England, and trying to escape alive.

The Screaming Staircase is one of the most exciting books I’ve read this year. Jonathan Stroud had me on the edge of my seat, anticipating a ghost to jump out at me around every twist and turn of the plot.  Jonathan has created such a chilling atmosphere in the book that you hear the creaks and groans of the old houses and almost feel the temperature drop in the room as the characters get closer to the ghosts.  You get caught up in the mystery of the lives of the living and the dead and Jonathan keeps you in suspense.

I love the world that Jonathan has created in the book; one much like ours but one plagued by ghosts of all sorts.  There are different types of ghosts, from a Type One Shade to a Type Two Wraith.  There are Physic Investigation Agencies (of which Lockwood and Co. is one) which specialise in the ‘containment and destruction of ghosts.’  These are run by adult supervisors but rely on the strong physic Talent of children.  It is only children who can see and hear the ghosts so it is up to them to capture them.  There is no mention of when the story is set (which I think just makes the story even better), but there is a mixture of both old-fashioned clothes and weapons, and modern technology.  The ghost hunters’ kit includes an iron rapier, iron chains and magnesium flares, all of which prove extremely necessary when facing the spectral threats.  Jonathan has even included a detailed glossary of terms and types of ghost, which I found really interesting to read after I had finished the book.
The three main characters, all members of Lockwood and Co., are all fantastic characters who really grew on me as the story progressed.  They each have their quirks, especially Lockwood and George, but they make a brilliant team and have each others’ backs when it counts.  There’s no love triangle here, just good old-fashioned camaraderie and getting the job done (if it doesn’t kill them first).  Lockwood, George and Lucy are building their relationship in this book, so there are some tense moments between them (especially George and Lucy) but Jonathan’s dialogue is brilliant.  I’m looking forward to seeing how their relationships develop in the further books.
I can’t wait for more Lockwood and Co.!  If you want a book that you won’t want to put down, that you’ll want to read with the lights on, then Lockwood and Co.: The Screaming Staircase is perfect.  I can’t recommend it highly enough.

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Meet Joseph Delaney in Christchurch

If you love The Spook’s Apprentice series come along and meet Joseph Delaney in Christchurch this Wednesday (20 February).  You can come and meet him at Upper Riccarton Library, from 7:00-8:00pm on Wednesday 20 February.  He’ll talk about his books, you can ask him questions, and even get your book signed.

It’s a free event but you need to book a space.  Just call the library on 03-941-7923 to book.

To find out more about Joseph Delaney and the Spook’s Apprentice series, visit www.spooksbooks.com

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Guest Author: Joseph Delaney’s Top 5 Scariest Creatures in the Spook’s Stories

Joseph Delaney is the author of one of my favourite series, The Spook’s Apprentice.  It’s seriously creepy and full of all sorts of horrible creatures.  As the Spook’s Apprentice, Thomas has to keep the County safe from the evil that lurks in the dark.  The latest book in the series, Spook’s: Slither’s Tale, has just been released, and to celebrate Joseph has joined us today to talk about his Top 5 scariest creatures in the Spook’s stories.

The Haggenbrood

This creature is used in ritual combat to determine the outcome of disputes between citizens of Valkarky (See ‘Slither’).  It has three selves which share a common mind and they are, for all intents and purposes, one creature. It is fast and ferocious with fearsome teeth and claws.

Grimalkin

This is the witch assassin of the Malkin Clan (See ‘The Spook’s Battle’ and also ‘I am Grimalkin’). She is deadly with blades and stores powerful dark magic in the thumb-bones that she cuts from her dead enemies with her snippy scissors in order to wear around her neck.

The Bane

This creature from ‘The Spook’s Curse’ is trapped behind a silver gate in a labyrinth of dark tunnels under Priestown Cathedral. It is a shape-shifter with a terrible power; the Bane is able to press a victim so hard that his blood and bones are smeared into the cobbles.

Golgoth

This ‘Lord of Winter’ from ‘The Spook’s Secret’ has the power to plunge the world into another Ice Age. If summoned from the dark he can freeze you solid and shatter you into pieces like an ice stalactite falling on to a slab of rock.

Morwena

She is the most powerful of the water witches (See The Spook’s Mistake). Fathered by the Fiend, she has a blood-filled eye which is usually closed, the lids fixed together with a sharp thin bone. But anyone she gazes upon with that eye is immediately paralyzed and she is able to drink that victim’s blood at her leisure.

Best wishes,
Joseph Delaney

Reserve your copy of the latest book in the Spook’s Apprentice series, Slither’s Tale, from your library now.

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My favourite seriously spooky authors

Some of my favourite stories are ones that creep me out and send a chill down my spine.  When I was a kid there weren’t many authors who wrote horror stories or ghost stories.  R.L. Stine’s books were about the creepiest I could find and he’s still writing them today.  If you look up R.L. Stine in the library catalogue, you’ll find we have 97 of his books in the library!

If you like horror stories, ghost stories or stories about the supernatural there are now lots of authors who write these stories. Some of my favourite seriously spooky authors are:

Who are your favourite seriously spooky authors?

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October is Seriously Spooky Month on the blog

If you like ghost stories, horror stories, things that go bump in the night and all things supernatural, you’ll love Seriously Spooky Month on the Christchurch Kids Blog this month.   It’s Halloween on October 31st so we thought, what better way to celebrate than have a whole month of spookiness.

We’ll be highlighting the scariest books we have in the library, having some seriously spooky competitions, and we’ll be joined by some seriously spooky authors, including Joseph Delaney (author of the Spook’s Apprentice series).

Join us for Seriously Spooky Month if you dare!

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Derek Landy heads Down Under this week

Derek Landy hits New Zealand this week!  If you’re a huge Skulduggery Pleasant fan like me you’ll be itching to meet Derek when he comes to Christchurch on Friday.  You can meet him at The Children’s Bookshop this Friday (10 August) at 4:30pm.

In 2010 I got the chance to interview Derek Landy, author of the Skulduggery Pleasant books.  He is a really cool guy and very funny.  I asked him lots of questions about his characters, his inspirations and writing.  Read the interview to find out the answers to these questions and more:

  • How do you come up with your names?
  • Was Skulduggery’s sidekick always going to be a girl?
  • What specific books, movies and music inspire you?
  • Would you consider making a Skulduggery Pleasant movie?

The latest Skulduggery Pleasant book, Kingdom of the Wicked is out now.  You can reserve your copy at the library.

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The Spook’s Blood Book Trailer

If you’re a fan of The Spook’s Apprentice series by Joseph Delaney, you’ll be excited to hear the latest book in the series, The Spook’s Blood is released this month.  To make sure you’re one of the first to get your hands on The Spook’s Blood, reserve your copy at the library now.

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Are you Skulduggery’s biggest fan?

If you answered yes to the question above you just might have the chance to meet Derek Landy, the creator of Skulduggery Pleasant, when he comes to New Zealand for his 2012 Down Under Tour in August.  If that isn’t enough, you’ll also get a complete set of Skulduggery books, signed by Derek.  All you have to do to have the chance to meet Derek Landy is go to his website and answer these two questions:

  1. Gordon Edgley is, amongst other things, a horror writer and uncle. He is also dead. Stephanie, his beloved niece, is saddened by this unexpected event. In the first Skulduggery Pleasant Book you are introduced to the rest of Gordon’s family. Name the other family members who make an appearance in the sample chapter on the website.
  2. Tell them in 25 words or less why it should be you meeting Derek Down Under.

What are you waiting for?  Go to www.skulduggerypleasant.co.uk to enter.  You can also listen to a FREE audio book of the very first Skulduggery Pleasant book on his website.

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The Chronicles of Harris Burdick – 14 Amazing Authors Tell the Tales

I’ve been reading lots of short stories lately because we’ve been getting some cool collections of short stories in the library.  The Chronicles of Harris Burdick is a collection of short stories written by 14 amazing authors, including Kate DiCamillo, Louis SacharJon Scieszka and Lois Lowry.  The stories are based on the original illustrations from the book The Mysteries of Harris Burdick, in which there are only illustrations with a title and caption.  If you’ve never seen The Mysteries of Harris Burdick, you should definitely get this from the library to have a go at making up your own stories to go with the pictures.

There are stories for everyone in this book, from the magical and funny to the strange and unsettling.  There are naughty children, different dimensions, a wizard, floating nuns, aliens, ghosts, and a horrible stepfather who gets his comeuppance.  All of the illustrations are amazing and you could make up all sorts of stories about them.  I liked some of the stories more than others.  Some of them are really strange and others just left me thinking ‘what just happened?’  My favourite story is The Harp by Linda Sue Park, about two sisters who are always bickering and get a spell put on them by a wizard.  Get a copy of The Chronicles of Harris Burdick and discover this strange collection of stories from some of your favourite authors.

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Liesl and Po book trailer

Liesl and Po by Lauren Oliver is one of the fantastic books I’m reading at the moment.  It’s a really magical book and one of those stories that you can get lost in.  If you like books like The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane and The Magician’s Elephant by Kate DiCamillo, I highly recommend it.  Reserve it at your library now.

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I Am Grimalkin book trailer

I Am Grimalkin is the latest book in the Spook’s Apprentice series by Joseph Delaney.  Watch this seriously spooky book trailer and reserve your copy at the library now.

We hope you’ve enjoyed Seriously Spooky Month here on the Christchurch Kids Blog.  Thanks to our seriously spooky authors, Joseph Delaney and Barry Hutchison for joining us on the blog.

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Organ Music by Margaret Mahy

Reading Organ Music by Margaret Mahy is like being stuck in a really weird, creepy dream.  I had chills running down my spine and the whole time I was trying to figure out what was going on.  All these things combine to make a thrilling story.

As Harley and David make their way home one night, through a dodgy part of town, they come across a battered old car parked on the side of the road with the keys in the ignition but nobody else about.  They get in the car and drive off, but when they try to stop they realize the car is actually driving itself.  The car eventually stops in the middle of a forest at a place called the Willesden Experimental Station, but what sinister secret does this place hide?

One thing I really liked about this book is its brilliant cover that is illustrated by Gavin Bishop.  It really tells you a lot about the story.

If you like creepy, scary stories about ghosts and secret experiments then you should read Organ Music by Margaret Mahy.

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Haunted – ghost stories to chill your blood

Haunted is a brand new collection of ghost stories written by some of the best seriously spooky authors.  I discovered it on the library shelves the other day and picked it up to see who the stories were written by.  I was excited to see that Haunted includes short stories from Derek Landy (Skulduggery Pleasant), Joseph Delaney (The Spook’s Apprentice), Philip Reeve (Mortal Engines) and Susan Cooper (The Dark is Rising).

There are stories about a lost ghost child trapped in a mirror and wanting to pull you in; an evil Soul Eater waiting for its next victim; a ghost walk with a haunting twist; and the spirit of a drowned boy who needs to be put to rest.  I can’t wait to read these stories and I’ll tell you about my favourite stories soon.

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Scare your socks off this Halloween

Halloween is nearly here.  It’s celebrated on 31st October and it’s a time when we enjoy being scared by witches, ghosts and other creepy creatures! We might dress up, have a party, read scary stories or make some yummy treats.  We’ve been highlighting some of our favourite spooky authors throughout our Seriously Spooky month, including Joseph Delaney and Barry Hutchison.

The Halloween page on our Kids website has lots of great ideas for celebrating Halloween.

 

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Seriously Spooky Guest Post: Joseph Delaney

I got my idea for the Spook’s Apprentice series when I moved to the village of Stalmine in Lancashire. It has its own boggart, ‘The Hall Knocker’, which was exorcised by a priest who laid it to rest under the doorstep of a cottage. So boggarts are important in the books!

My son’s first house when he’d just got married was in Hamlet Road in Fleetwood. It was a creepy house badly in need of decoration and it had a bad feeling about it. Strange things began to happen which culminated in a weird event. One night Stephen and his wife were in bed upstairs when they heard a tremendous crash from the kitchen below. The doors were locked and they thought they might have an intruder/burglar.

Nervously, they went downstairs to find a pan in the middle of the kitchen floor; inside it was half a cup. The other half of the cup was yards away near the door. Not only that, the cup was cut into two perfect halves as if a laser beam had sliced it. The cups and pans had not been next to each other and there was no explanation for why they ended up on the floor like that. They had no children (at that time) nor pets that might have caused that and the doors were locked. Nobody human had entered the house!

One explanation is that it was a poltergeist. If so I think that’s what boggarts are. They move things; break thing, make raps and bangs in the night. So the name ‘Hall Knocker’ is a good one for the Stalmine Boggart. You can imagine hundreds of years ago similar kinds of phenomena happening at the big house at the top of the village. The stories would have been passed down through the generations as folk tales, eventually being written up. There are different names for such things in different parts of England but in Lancashire (the County) we call them boggarts!

 

Best wishes,

Joseph Delaney

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Spook’s Destiny book trailer

If you love stories that are creepy and action-packed, with brave characters that fight to protect humans from monsters that live in the dark, then you’ll love the Spook’s Apprentice series.

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Robert Ballard and Punctuation

Hi everyone,

Today I have been thinking about Robert Ballard, the man whose book inspired my book THE GHOSTS OF IRON BOTTOM SOUND

Robert Ballard says that the sea is the world’s biggest museum. He loves finding and exploring shipwrecks (he found Titanic, H.M.A.S. Canberra – the ship in my book, Bismarck, and many others). He also believes strongly in the importance of protecting the oceans. Robert Ballard is definetly one of my heroes.

Here is a link to an interview for children, about him. If you search for yourself, you will find lots of other information, including photos and U-tube clips. If you look at shipwreck books in a library or bookshop, there’s a very high chance that you’ll find some books by him.

http://kids.nationalgeographic.com/kids/stories/peopleplaces/interview-with-ballard/

 I have also been thinking about punctuation and how important it is.

Do I sound like a teacher?

Mmm, maybe that’s because I am. But I am also a reader and a writer.

Someone once told me that ‘punctuation is the secret code of writing.’

I agree.

So kids, take care with your punctuation. Be kind to your readers!

And be kind to yourself. Treasure the wonderful person that you are.

From the August Star Author

Sandy Nelson

HAVE YOU ENTERED ZAC”S COMPETITION TO TRY TO WIN A COPY OF MY BOOK?

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What is a writer?

Hi everyone,

Tonight I’ve been back to school. That’s because we’re having a Book Week at Twizel Area School and I’m organising it!  Tonight we had bedtime stories in the library. Kids came in their pyjamas and bought their teddies. We had 4 stories. I read ‘Who is Brian Bear?’ by Helen Taylor (one of my boys favourites when they were little) and First Snow by Kim Lewis (a story about a little girl who lives on a farm). Our Principal Mr Bill Feasey read one of Lynley Dodd’s wonderful books, Schnitzel von Krumm. Lastly Twizel’s doctor, Doctor Tim Gardner read Bad Jelly the Witch. He was fantastic at the character voices. After milo in the staffroom everyone went home to bed.

We’ve been doing lots of other wonderful Book Week things too. I might tell you some tomorrow. Anyway … 

I was going to write more about my fascination with old house but instead I’ve been thinking about what makes a person a writer. Here are some of my thoughts:

* A writer is a reader. You have to read to write. They go together.

* A writer has stories in his or her head. Stories that won’t go away. Stories that need a home.

* A writer loves words and wants to make them dance.

I’m a writer.

Are you?

 

I never knew that I could make words dance

Or make them walk through people’s heads.

I love it that I can!

Take care out there, especially you kids in Shaky Town. Sometimes life can be a bit tough. Remember the good times and look after the people that have a place in your heart (and other people too!).

From your August Star Author

Sandy Nelson

Oops: I nearly forgot:

Here is a link to some information about H.M.A.S. Canberra, the ship in my book. It has some pictures of her, including one of her sinking the day after the Battle of Savo Island. She was scuttled. That means she was sunk because she was beyond repair. Eightyfour Australian sailors died the night of the battle, including the Captain. 

http://www.navy.gov.au/HMAS_Canberra_(I)

 

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