Archive for History

National Geographic just for you

There are a few things that you can not avoid in life and homework is one of them! Here at Christchurch City Libraries we want to make homework as painless as possible. To help beat the due date blues, we welcome National Geographic Kids online.

National Geographic Kids can be searched by itself or  through the National Geographic Digital Archive. This resource is geared toward 6-14 year olds and it includes:

  • National Geographic Kids magazine 2009-present (3 month embargo);
  • National Geographic Kids books which include award-winning photos and maps;
  • Kid-friendly, downloadable images perfect for assignments.

Have a play and see what you think! You can find this electronic resource 24/7 through the catalogue or at the Source, all you need is your library card number, PIN and a sense of adventure and wonder!
Who doesn’t want to know that two unmanned spacecraft have been travelling through outer space for 33 years?

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My Brother’s War by David Hill

My Brother’s War by David Hill is a finalist in the Junior Fiction category of the 2013 New Zealand Post Children’s Book Awards.  This was one of the books that I hadn’t read at the time it was released, but I read it recently as part of my challenge to read all of the 2013 finalists. 

My Dear Mother,

Well, I’ve gone and done it. I’ve joined the Army!

Don’t be angry at me, Mother dear. I know you were glad when I wasn’t chosen in the ballot. But some of my friends were, and since they will be fighting for King and Country, I want to do the same.

It’s New Zealand, 1914, and the biggest war the world has known has just broken out in Europe.

William eagerly enlists for the army but his younger brother, Edmund, is a conscientious objector and refuses to fight. While William trains to be a soldier, Edmund is arrested.

Both brothers will end up on the bloody battlefields of France, but their journeys there are very different. And what they experience at the front line will challenge the beliefs that led them there.

My Brother’s War is a compelling story about two brothers who have very different opinions and experiences of the First World War.  William feels very strongly that he needs to play his part in the war and so he enlists in the army.  The people in his town commend him for being brave and doing his part.  He believes he is doing what is right to protect his country and the people he loves.  He can’t understand his brother and thinks that his refusal to enlist is ‘wrong and stupid.’  His brother, Edmund, is a conscientious objector who believes it is wrong to go to war and kill other people.  The story switches between their two points-of-view so you see the huge differences in their experience of war.  The story is mainly told in the third person, but each of the characters write letters to their mother which gives more of an insight into their thoughts and feelings.

You experience the build up to the fighting and the horrible conditions of the battlefield through William’s story, but it was Edmund’s story that shocked me.  I knew a little about conscientious objectors before reading this book but Edmund’s story really opened my eyes to how horribly they were treated.  Conscientious objectors like Edmund were labeled cowards and treated like second-class citizens.  Edmund constantly refuses to obey army orders, but in the end really has no choice.  He’s put on a boat and taken to France where he is forced on to the battlefields.  In the training camps he is locked away with little food and water, and he also faces excruciating punishment for not following orders.  Edmund is incredibly strong-willed though and stands by his principles.

A quote from Edmund towards the end of the book sums up war perfectly , ‘I never knew some men could do such dreadful things to one another, and I never knew some men could be so kind and brave.’

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Cyclone Bola by Kath Beattie

It is 1988, and twelve-year-old Amy’s boat-mad parents are going on a sailing trip from Vanuatu back to New Zealand. Amy is most unimpressed, especially when her mother and father decide to send her to stay at her great-aunt and uncle’s home in Gisborne. Reluctantly she leaves for Gisborne, anticipating a boring stay at a farm; she couldn’t be more wrong.

Uncle Jim and Aunty June are both kind, charming people. Amy has fun exploring the vineyard they own, and begins to enjoy country life, even liking the nearby school that she attends. However, her stay is ruined by the stressful news that a cyclone is coming dangerously close to Vanuatu. Amy is concerned for her parents’ safety, and desperately tries to contact them. It doesn’t hit her that the cyclone could reach New Zealand until it is upon them.

Amy can only watch as the quiet countryside is transformed. The cyclone is destroying the land and putting lives in danger as fierce wind and rain attack Gisborne. As Amy, her uncle and aunt try to survive the storm, she wonders; when will it end? Will she see her parents again? The answers are uncertain; everyone’s fates are in the hands of the merciless cyclone.

 Cyclone Bola is a fascinating read; one of the latest book in the My New Zealand Story series. It’s a wonderful book to read for a project, as it has plenty of useful information on the topic of Cyclone Bola, and keeps you turning pages as Amy’s exciting tale unfolds. At the back of the book there are photographs of damage, to give readers an idea of just how destructive the cyclone really was. If you want to learn about the devastating Cyclone Bola- part of New Zealand’s history, then this is the book for you!

Reviewed by Tierney.

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Author Blog 1 – David Hill

I guess the main event for me during the first week of April has been that I’ve been lucky enough to be short-listed for the NZ Post Children’s Book Awards. My novel My Brother’s War is in the Junior Fiction section, so you all have to rush straight out and vote for me!

Authors are always asked “Where do your ideas come from?” and the idea for My Brother’s War came from my Uncle Fred.

The book is a story of two NZ brothers in World War 1. William can’t wait to enlist in the Army, and experience the thrilling adventure of war. Edmund however is a Conscientious Objector: he believes that all war is wrong, and he refuses to enlist. So he’s arrested and sent to prison. In different ways, the two brothers are sent to the terrible battlefields in France. What happens to them? You’ll have to read the book to find out, heh, heh.

Anyway, my Uncle Fred was my father’s eldest brother, much older than my Dad. He was a gentle, white-haired farmer, always shy and quiet. I never took much notice of him. Then Dad began telling me about him – how he’d been in WW1; how he’d fought in France and been badly wounded by shell fragments; how he had nightmares for years afterwards, and ended up totally opposed to war. So the book really began because I wanted to honour someone who mattered to me. A lot of what I write starts that way.

I don’t expect to win in the Awards, by the way. There are wonderful books by other authors. Do read Kate de Goldi’s The ABC with Honora Lee, or Mandy Hager’s The Nature of Ash, or…or ANY of the other finalists.

Anyway, I’ve also been writing during this week. I sit at my untidy desk, in a little room between the kitchen and the back porch, in a small side street in new Plymouth, and I mumble to myself and scribble and scratch on the paper. I’ve been writing some book reviews, plus a small story about a kid at a new school who wants to seem special, so makes up all sorts of stuff about herself, and gets into a real tangle. It’s full of terrible jokes. I like writing terrible jokes……

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Guest Author: Melinda Szymanik on A Winter’s Day in 1939

Today we’re joined by the wonderful Melinda Szymanik, author of the powerful new book, A Winter’s Day in 1939.  Based on her father’s experiences during World War II, A Winter’s Day in 1939 is a story of family, the harsh realities of war, and the fight for survival against the odds. Melinda has written a really interesting post for us about why and how she wrote A Winter’s Day in 1939.

Why and How I wrote A Winter’s Day in 1939

When the Soviet soldiers come and order them out, Adam and his family have no idea where they are going or if they will ever come back.  The Germans have attacked Poland and the world is at war. Boarding a cattle train Adam and his family embark on a journey that will cover thousands of miles and several years, and change all their lives forever. And mine too. Because Adam’s story, the story told in my new novel A Winter’s Day in 1939, is very much my Dad’s story.

I often heard fragments of this story from my dad when I was growing up.  It was shocking, and sad, and amazing.  My Dad’s family was forced out of their home and taken to a labour camp in Russia. It was freezing cold, and many people died from disease or starvation. Even when the Soviets finally let them go, they spent weeks travelling around the USSR , were made to work on Soviet farms and were still hungry and often sick, with no idea of where they might end up next.  As a child growing up in a peaceful place like New Zealand it was hard to imagine the real dangers and terrible conditions my father experienced.

I didn’t get to know the full story until I was grown up with children of my own and was regularly writing stories for children.  I wrote a short story, also called A Winter’s Day in 1939, based on a single event I knew fairly well  from my Dad‘s childhood – when Soviet Soldiers first come to order them off their farm, the only home my father had known up till that point in his life. The story was published in The Australian School Magazine.  I showed the short story to the publishers Scholastic who liked it too. They wondered if I could turn it in to a novel.  This was a chance to tell my father’s story. By now I knew it was an important story that should be shared

Luckily my Dad had made notes about his life during World War Two; about twenty pages all typed up.  However I know people’s real lives don’t always fit into the framework of a novel and I knew I would have to emphasize some things and maybe leave other things out.

I read and researched to add the right details to the story. And asked my parents lots of questions. How cold was it in Poland in January 1940? Who or what were the NKVD? What were the trains like? What are the symptoms of typhoid? How do you make your own skis? Some information was hard to find. Some of the places that existed in the 1940s aren’t there anymore. And people didn’t keep records about how many people were taken to the USSR from Poland or what happened to particular individuals. But what I wanted to give readers most of all was a sense of how it felt to live that life.  So this then is the story of a twelve year old Polish boy in the USSR during World War 2 that all started on A Winter’s Day in 1939.

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A Winter’s Day in 1939 by Melinda Szymanik

Taken from their home, forced to leave their country, put to work in labour camps, frozen and starved, Adam and his family doubt that they will ever make it out alive. Even if they were to get away, they might freeze to death, or starve, or the bears might get them. For the Polish refugees, the whole of the USSR becomes a prison from which there is seemingly no escape.

 

A Winter’s Day in 1939 is a story of family, the harsh realities of war, and the fight for survival against the odds.  Adam and his family are ripped from their safe, comfortable life in Poland and transported to prison camps in Russia, in freezing conditions and with little to eat and drink.  They get transported in dirty, stinking train carriages with a stove and a pipe as a toilet, live in cramped barracks with many other families, and are forced to work for the good of Russia.  People die of exposure to the freezing conditions and disease is rife.  In these conditions you need to have to will to survive, and for Adam and his family, this is what is keeping them going.

The story is narrated by Adam, so you see everything through his eyes.  You feel how much he wants to survive and how important his family is to him. You get a real sense of how desperate their situation gets as time goes by, especially when it comes to food.  When a clerk at one of the evacuation centers apologizes to Adam for the lack of food, Adam says ‘He sounded sorry about it but that was no help to us.  You couldn’t eat ‘sorry.” You want so much for Adam and his family to survive the war and be able to return home, but you don’t know if their story will have a happy ending.

One of the things that stands out in Melinda’s story is the sense that Adam, his family, and the other refugees around them, hadn’t done anything wrong, yet they’re treated the way they are.  Adam says this himself, ‘We were being punished but I hadn’t done anything wrong.  None of us had.’ These people have been thrown out of their homes and sent to prison camps for no reason what so ever.

A Winter’s Day in 1939 is a war story that hasn’t been told before and it will have an affect on readers of all ages.  Stories like Melinda’s help us to remember all those people who died during this horrific period of history and I’ll certainly remember Adam’s story for a long time.

4 out of 5 stars

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History

ImageFor my latest book I’ve been researching a lot of history, right back to 1096 AD when the Crusading Knights left Europe and retook Jerusalem. Did you know that before the First Crusade there was a People’s Crusade that was made up of fewer knights and many pilgrims including women and children. Around 40 000 left on that pilgrimage (they weren’t called Crusades back then) and they were wiped out in what is now Turkey.

Is there any moment in history that you find interesting or inspiring?

How about one of these:

* Signing the Treaty of Waitangi

* Discovery of New Zealand by Tasman, Cook or Polynesian voyager

* The First or Second World War

* King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table

* Rome and the Roman Empire

* The Ancient Greeks

* The Ice Age – men lived alongside mammoth, sabre tooth, giant sloths etc. (I wrote a teen series set in this period – The Chronicles of Stone.

* Early settlers in New Zealand or Australia

* First powered flight by the Wright brothers or Richard Pearce

History offers some great material for writing. So does the future. Perhaps I’ll write something about this on my next blog.

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Dear Papa by Anne Ylvisaker

Dear Papa by Anne Ylvisaker is about a family who live during the Second World War. Isabelle Anderson is nine years old when she begins writing to her father, who died a year ago.

The Anderson family has changed since her father’s death; Isabelle’s two older sisters have got boyfriends, her little sister Ida doesn’t seem to remember their Papa, and her Mama has sold Papa’s gas station to the next-door-neighbours. Everyone is beginning to move on after the tragedy, but Isabelle is confused. Why are her family trying to forget Papa? She writes to her father constantly, keeping him up to date with the changes that are occurring.

As the months go by, the family starts to be dragged apart even more. Mama insists on sending Isabelle to her religious aunt and uncle in the country. Isabelle yearns for her family, and writes to Papa for comfort, plotting to escape from her prison and find her way home.

The war has altered Mama to the point that she is unrecognisable. She has got a job, has moved into the home of a man called Frank, and gets cross with Isabelle if she mentions Papa. Will Isabelle ever be able to say goodbye to Papa and accept her new life?

Dear Papa is a wonderful book. Something that I found interesting was how it was written in the form of a collection of letters from Isabelle to her mother, siblings, aunt, and of course Papa. I think this was a fantastic way to write the book, because by reading the letters you learn about various characters from Isabelle’s point of view.

When Isabelle moves to live with her aunt and uncle, I almost feel sorry for Aunt Jaye and Uncle Bernard when Isabelle decides that if she misbehaves, she will be sent back home. She then misbehaves as much as she can, while her aunt and uncle despair. It’s interesting reading a story from a nine-year-old’s point of view; everything seems so bizarre to her.

This book is an awesome historical fiction novel. I give it a 9 out of 10. It’s funny, fascinating, happy and sad at the same time; a curious mix that means you have no idea what will happen next. I loved Dear Papa, I know that you will too!

Reviewed by Tierney Reardon.

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Picture Your Story

DEAR PAPA is fiction, but it was inspired by family photographs, three of which appear on the cover of the book.

Say two writers get this assignment: Write about an elephant.

One writer thinks: What happens to the elephant? 

The other thinks: Who is the elephant? 

One writer starts by considering story, the other by considering character.

I am the second kind of writer. I can’t start writing a story until I know my main character.

So where do characters come from? For me, it all begins with pictures. After my first post, commenter Ella shared that she’d read Dear Papa, so I’ll use Dear Papa as an example.

My grandpa died when my mom and her siblings were young so I never met him. I asked my aunt once what he was like. She started by telling me that she wrote a letter to him before he died when she was in fifth grade. I asked to see the letter but we couldn’t find it. What we found instead were boxes of old family photographs.

I was particularly taken with a picture of my aunt as a child. This looks like a girl who could have an adventure, I thought. As is my way, I misremembered the facts and thought she’d told me that she had written her father a letter after he died.

I couldn’t stop thinking about that girl and her letter. So, with the photo taped on my computer screen in front of me, I wrote a letter like I thought she might have written, made up a name for her, then invented an adventure for her and just kept writing.

Here’s a writing game for you:

Look for a childhood picture of one of your parents or grandparents, aunts or uncles. Spend some time imagining what they might have been like as a child.

Study the picture and ask yourself, what could have been happening right before the picture was taken, what might have happened afterwards? Then set your timer (see last post) and see where your imagination takes you!

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My Story: Victorian Workhouse by Pamela Oldfield

My Story: Victorian Workhouse” is set in Victorian times, and is written in the form of a diary, kept by fifteen-year-old Edith Lorrimer, who lives with her mother and cousin. Edith is used to comfort and kindness, so what she sees in her visits to the local workhouse take her breath away.

Edith’s mother is a member of the Board of Guardians at the workhouse. She decides to show Edith what her job is like, and so one day she takes her to the workhouse.

Edith is horrified by the way the inmates are treated: they are given pitiful rations, are treated in cruel ways, and are forced to do exhausting jobs all day long. She listens to Board meetings, and quickly realises that most of the members are strict, unkind and greedy. Blankets and food that are supposed to be for the inmates are mysteriously vanishing, probably being sold for money, and Edith and her mother have a good idea of who is behind it.

People live in the workhouse when they are too poor to afford shelter or food for themselves or their children. Young mothers, children and the crippled elderly all beg the Board for “indoor relief” in desperation. Edith is sickened by the ways of the Board, and pities the inmates, but it isn’t until she meets Rosie that she really understands what life in the workhouse is like.

Rosie Chubb is a girl of Edith’s age. She is defiant and rude, and is often punished by the Board in despicable ways. Edith befriends Rosie, and is determined to learn her “life story.” Bit by bit, she begins to learn about Rosie’s life, and records the details in her diary, as well as the everyday happenings of her own life. Edith’s family are concerned about Rosie’s safety in the workhouse. Will Rosie ever be set free from her prison? Can Edith help her new friend?

I found “My Story: Victorian Workhouse” an enlightening read. The book cleverly stirs facts about life in Victorian times throughout the story in a light way. I felt as though I was seeing Victorian England through Edith’s eyes, and experiencing the horror of the workhouse myself. However, I did find the ending a little abrupt. Apart from that, it is a very good read. I rate it 8 out of 10, and would recommend it to everyone; from boys to girls, from children to adults!

By Tierney, age 13.

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A Medal for Leroy by Michael Morpurgo

Michael Morpurgo has written some of my favourite stories – Private Peaceful, Alone on a Wide, Wide Sea, and Shadow.  He one of the best storytellers around.  Michael’s latest book, A Medal for Leroy, is inspired by the life of Walter Tull, the only black officer to serve in the British Army in the First World War.

Michael doesn’t remember his father, who died in a Spitfire over the English Channel. And his mother, heartbroken and passionate, doesn’t like to talk about him. But then Michael’s aunt gives him a medal and a photograph, which begin to reveal a hidden story.

A story of love, loss and secrets.

A story that will change everything – and reveal to Michael who he really is…

A Medal for Leroy is a story of war, love and family secrets.  Like many of Michael’s other stories, it’s told from the point of view of someone who is old (in this case Michael) looking back at his life and telling the reader the story of what happened.  I really like this style of storytelling because it makes you feel like you are just sitting down for a cup of tea with the main character while they tell you the story.  Michael tells us that he never knew his father because he died during the war, but his mother and his aunties love him very much.  When one of his aunties dies, she leaves a special package for Michael, full of family secrets.  In this package, Michael learns about his auntie’s life and about the father he never knew.  Her story is heart-breaking, but with moments of happiness and hope.

Once again, Michael Morpurgo has written an emotional story that you get caught up in.  Even though the war is happening, you hope that everything is going to be fine, that Martha will meet Leroy again, and her father will welcome her home.  As always, Michael presents the realities of war to portray what life was like during this horrible time.  Even though Michael has returned to a topic that he has written about many times before, A Medal for Leroy, is a different story and just as wonderful as his other war stories, like Private Peaceful, War Horse, and An Elephant in the GardenYou can read more about the person who inspired this story, Walter Tull, at the back of the book too.

4 out of 5 stars

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If you like The 39 Clues you’ll love The Infinity Ring

The Infinity Ring is a new interactive series like The 39 Clues.  It’s one of those books that comes with extra bits and pieces so that you can find out more about the story and the characters.  The Infinity Ring series is all about time travel so you follow the characters through different time periods.  Each book comes with a Hystorian’s Guide, which is your key to unlocking the next adventure in the online game.

Book 1 is called A Mutiny in Time by James Dashner and it’s out at the end of the month. 

History is broken, and three kids must travel back in time to set it right!

When best friends Dak Smyth and Sera Froste stumble upon the secret of time travel — a hand-held device known as the Infinity Ring — they’re swept up in a centuries-long secret war for the fate of mankind. Recruited by the Hystorians, a secret society that dates back to Aristotle, the kids learn that history has gone disastrously off course.

Now it’s up to Dak, Sera, and teenage Hystorian-in-training Riq to travel back in time to fix the Great Breaks . . . and to save Dak’s missing parents while they’re at it. First stop: Spain, 1492, where a sailor named Christopher Columbus is about to be thrown overboard in a deadly mutiny!

Reserve your copy of The Infinity Ring: A Mutiny in Time at the library now.

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Ideas for stories are all around us

Often when people discover I write stories they want to know where my ideas come from. I tell them that it’s from the things I love and the things I’m interested in. When I wrote The Drover’s Quest, I’d already read many history books about the West Coast gold rush days and I was interested in what life must have been like “back then.” I remember reading about a group of bush bandits called the Burgess gang who murdered gold prospectors, and from there a germ of a story festered in my mind until The Drover’s Quest formed.

 

This has been true for many of my books. An idea will bubble away and slowly grow. I always keep a notebook to jot down these ideas. For example, a haiku (poem) at the site of an old Japanese prisoner of war camp near Featherston in the Wairarapa inspired another book I wrote called Dreams of Warriors. The haiku reads:

 

Behold the summer grass

All that remains of the

Dreams of Warriors

 

Not many people today know that NZ had a POW camp in World War 2 where we imprisoned captured Japanese soldiers. This story is about a special friendship that grows between a Japanese prisoner and a New Zealand girl, born out of their common love of horses. Do any of you have a favourite book with this familiar theme of unusual or unlikely friendships (for example, the pig and spider in Charlotte’s Web)? My favourite of all time is The Snow Goose, by Paul Gallico.

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Boom towns and wild mountain roads

Hi again after some wet and blustery days up here in the North.

I thought some of you might be interested in a few of the fascinating facts I learnt about our history while researching The Drover’s Quest. For example, did you know that during the heady West Coast gold rush days of the 1860s, Hokitika was one of NZ’s biggest towns? It was chock-full of pubs (at one count 84 hotels lined Revell Street), dancing halls, and gambling dens and home to colourful characters like Fenian Jenny who liked to dance in emerald green petticoats, and diggers with funny names like Johnny the Rat and Alex the Greek.

 The road through Arthur’s Pass had only just been completed, linking the goldfields to Christchurch. About a thousand men had hacked out a route through the rock and thick bush, using only pickaxes and shovels. It was a hair-raising journey across that early road. In those days, Cobb and Co was King, with many people travelling by coach across the treacherous Pass to get to the wild West Coast. I read amazing stories of runaway coaches and horses hooning down steep mountainsides, or else crossing raging rivers like the Waimakariri in flood, or the Taramakau, nicknamed the Terrible Cow. Exciting days!

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The Drover’s Quest by Susan Brocker

Our June Star Author, Susan Brocker has just released a fantastic new book called The Drover’s Quest.  It’s filled with Susan’s favourite things, including history and animals, and it’s set in New Zealand in the 1860s.

Rumour is flying around the west coast gold fields that Tom McGee has struck it rich and found a nugget of gold as big as a man’s fist. So no one is surprised when next his campsite is found wrecked and abandoned. Men have been killed for a lot less on the tough goldfields of 1860s New Zealand.

But one person is convinced Tom is not dead. His headstrong daughter, Charlotte.  Solving the mystery is not her first task, though. First, she must get to the coast. A skilful horse rider, she disguises herself as a boy and joins a cattle drive across the Southern Alps. To survive the dangerous drive over Arthur’s Pass and to keep her identity hidden from the vicious trail boss, she’ll need the help of her dog, her horse, and her father’s friend, Tama. She knows she can do it – she has to – but what will she find? And will her new American friend, Joseph, help or hinder her quest?

Charlie is in for the ride of her life – and the stakes couldn’t be higher.

If you love stories set in the past, stories about animals or stories with lots of adventure then The Drover’s Quest is the book for you.  The story starts in Christchurch and the characters travel over Arthur’s Pass to Hokitika on the West Coast.  These are my favourite parts of our beautiful country and I’ve travelled the route they took many times so I could see it clearly in my head.  It’s a route that is very quick and easy to travel today but was very rugged and dangerous in the 1860s.  There is a very tense part in the book where the drovers are taking the cattle down the Otira Gorge (it had me on the edge of my seat).

I really liked the characters, especially Tama and Joseph who bring different cultures into the story, and Scar because I couldn’t figure out whether he was good or bad.  The animals are also important characters in the story and they are incredibly loyal to their masters.

Reserve your copy in the library and stay tuned to find out more about The Drover’s Quest from our June Star Author, Susan Brocker.

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June Star Author Competition

Our fantastic June Star Author, Susan Brocker has been writing some great posts about her stories and giving us some cool writing tips.  One of her books that Susan has been talking about is her latest book, The Drover’s Quest, a historical story set in 1860s New Zealand.  It’s a fantastic book and you can read my review of it here on the blog.

We’re starting our monthly Star Author Competition again this week with your chance to win a copy of The Drover’s Quest by Susan Brocker.  Thanks to HarperCollins NZ we have 3 copies to give away.  All you have to do is leave a comment, with your name and email address, telling us:

What is your favourite animal story?

This competition has now closed.  The winner is Tierney.

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Lest we forget: Remember the fallen on ANZAC Day

ANZAC Day is celebrated in Australia and New Zealand on 25 April.  It is a time when we remember New Zealanders and Australians who fought in wars around the world. We might attend a dawn service and parade, talk to older relatives about their memories, buy and wear a red poppy, make ANZAC biscuits, and remember our family members who fought in wars.

We have a great kids webpage that you can check out for anything you would like to know about ANZAC Day and Gallipoli.  You’ll find fast facts, links to books and resources that the library has on ANZAC Day, and links to some great websites with extra information.

On Friday I’ll be talking about some of my favourite ANZAC books, including A Rose for the ANZAC Boys, The Ghosts of Iron Bottom Sound, When Empire Calls and The Red Poppy.

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If you could time travel where would you go?

Books can make you wonder what it would be like to live in a different time and place.  Some stories are set in a particular time in history or are about a historical event.  The My Story books are great because they take you back to a specific time in history and let you know what it was like to live in that time, through the diary of a boy or girl who lived then.  They show you the sights, sounds, and smells of that time period, which is quite different from ours.

If you could time travel, what time would you like to visit or what event would you like witness?

 

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Win a War Horse Prize Pack

War Horse is one of the movies I can’t wait to see.  It’s directed by Steven Spielberg and based on the amazing book written by Michael Morpurgo.  To celebrate the release of the movie we have 4 War Horse prize packs to give away, thanks to Hardie Grant Egmont.  Four lucky kids will win a copy of the book and a double movie pass to go and see the movie.

All you have to do to get in the draw is leave a comment telling us:  What is your favourite animal story and why? Leave a comment on this post with your answer and your name and email address (so that we can contact you if you win).

Thank you to everyone who entered the competition.  The winners of the War Horse prize packs are:

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My Story POMPEII by Sue Reid

Ok, first off I’m having a My Story craze so my next few blogs will be about My Story books.

 This is the diary of Claudia from 78- 79 AD. Claudia lives a happy life in the Forum with her Mother, Father and her two brothers Marcus and Sextus until the day the ground starts to shake. Claudia is convinced the god, Vulcan, is furious. Vulcan also happens to live in the great volcano near the city, Vesuvius … 

 I loved the way it felt like you were there with Claudia with all the events that she goes through. I also loved how Claudia was so mature and sensible in all her awkward situations. I think it helped make a connection knowing what it feels like going through a natural disaster. But I can’t help thinking boy, what will Mother Nature do next?  Get out this book from your library to read about Claudia’s dramatic escape.

 I would recommend this to anyone ages 9+ because the language is somewhat sophisticated. I absolutely loved it so without a doubt I give My Story POMPEII a 10/10.

By Saoirse, 11

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