Archive for Young Adults

The Best and Worst Children’s Books of 2014

Cover of the song of the kauriThe end of the year is approaching and that means it’s time to evaluate the best and worst of 2014’s crop of children’s books. Hosted by Christchurch City Libraries, in conjunction with the Canterbury Literacy Association, the Best and Worst Evening is a Christchurch literary tradition. 2013’s event was so popular the event has been moved to the larger venue of Upper Riccarton Library.

Speakers include Bob Docherty (children’s book guru and renowned promoter of reading and literacy for kids), Kirsten Smith (Kaitakawaenga – Ngā Ratonga Māori at Christchurch City Libraries) and a kids-eye-view from Briana.

Our annual Holiday Reading list will also be officially announced on the night. Holiday Reading is a recommended selection of new titles added to Christchurch City Libraries in 2014 and includes picture books, chapter books, young adult and non-fiction titles.

Come along this Wednesday night (19 November) to Upper Riccarton Library, 7pm. Bring a gold coin for refreshments and early Christmas raffles.

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Especially for you: OverDrive Kids!

OverDrive for KidsLet me introduce OverDrive for Kids. You can download fiction and nonfiction eBooks and eAudiobooks. They are free, and new material is added all the time.

We have everything from beautiful picture books to chapter books that can be chosen for your reading level. If you love Geronimo Stilton, Harry Potter or Daisy Meadows then we have something for you. We cover everything from magical ponies to big trucks and everything in-between.

Have a play today and remind your parents that these sort of books don’t get lost, gather fines or break! They are also great for road trips, school holidays and rainy days!

Some of the cool titles are below…..

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Join the Festival to celebrate the NZ Post Book Awards for Children and Young Adults

Have you ever wanted to come to the library in your pyjamas?  Next week you’ll get the chance to do just that when Christchurch City Libraries celebrates the New Zealand Post Book Awards for Children and Young Adults Festival.  The Festival, which runs from 17-25 May, gives children, young adults and their families the chance to celebrate the finalist books, authors and illustrators at various events around the country.

Here in Christchurch we are running Books Before Bedtime Pyjama Parties at Papanui, Shirley and South Libraries, where children and their families can come to the library after dark and enjoy stories, craft activities and have fun with iPads.  For teens and adults we also have The Great NZ Children’s Book Quiz, a fun night where you and your friends can test your knowledge of the book awards and this year’s finalists.

One of my favourite events during Festival week is visiting local primary schools to read and promote the finalist books.  As well as encouraging children to read the wonderful finalist books, we also give away heaps of books and other goodies, including holographic bookmarks.  It’s tonnes of fun and the children always enjoy it.

We hope to see you at one of our events next week.  Check out the library events calendar for details of the Pyjama Parties and the Festival events calendar for details of the Book Quiz.

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Getting Dark Earlier = More Time To Read!

Happy end of daylight savings everyone!  Colder weather is coming, which is the perfect excuse to sneak into bed a little earlier and snuggle up with a good book.  There’s nothing I like better!

I’d love to get some book tips from you, so please tell me in the comments what you’re reading and whether you’re enjoying it. Or what your favourite book is.

Here’s what’s on my bedside table right now:

wonder

Wonder

by R.J. Palacio

“I won’t describe what I look like. Whatever you’re thinking, it’s probably worse.”

Because of the way he looks, Auggie Pullman’s never been to school. He just wants to be treated like everyone else, but how can that happen when he looks so different?

This is a story that will both make you laugh and break your heart. It’s unusual in that different chapters are in the point of view of different characters. The reader not only gets to know Auggie, but the people around him as well.

This is one of the best books I’ve ever read and I highly recommend it.

My favourite quote from Wonder:

“Hey, if they want to give me a medal for being me, that’s okay. I’ll take it. I didn’t destroy a Death Star or anything like that, but I did just get through the fifth grade. And that’s not easy, even if you’re not me.”

lookingforalaska

Looking For Alaska

By John Green

John Green is one of my favourite writers.  I can’t wait for The Fault In Our Stars to come out as a movie, and I really hope it’s even half as awesome as the book.

Looking For Alaska is not your typical boy-meets-girl story. Miles “Pudge” Halter’s off to boarding school and in search of the ‘Great Perhaps’. He finds Alaska Young, a human hurricane who swirls him into her world, snatches his heart, then tears him apart. It’s a wild ride of a book that made me giggle uncontrollably and wipe away tears.

This one’s for older readers. If you’re a teenager looking for a book that pulls no punches, give it a try.

My favourite quote from Looking For Alaska:

“So I walked back to my room and collapsed on the bottom bunk, thinking that if people were rain, I was drizzle and she was a hurricane.”

holes

Holes

By Louis Sachar

Sentenced to Camp Green Lake for a crime he didn’t commit, Stanley Yelnats is forced to spend all day digging holes in a dry lake under a punishing sun. Stanley blames the family curse for his bad luck and tries to make the best of things. But he soon discovers that there’s a reason the cruel warden has them digging holes.  

This is a very clever book, and I loved the way all the connections were slowly revealed. How is a centuries-old curse connected to a pair of shoes falling from the sky, connected to Kissing Kate Barlow, an outlaw of the Wild West?  Read Holes to find out!

My favourite quote from Holes:

“It was all because of his no-good-dirty-rotten-pig-stealing great-great-grandfather!”

daughterofsmoke

Daughter of Smoke and Bone

By Laini Taylor

“Once upon a time, an angel and a devil fell in love. It did not end well.”

This is the first book of a series of three. I read and enjoyed the first two, and the third one (Dreams of Gods and Monsters) has just come out and I can’t wait to read it!

If you’re a teenager looking for an exceptional fantasy series and great characters to sigh over, get into this one and you won’t be sorry.  Now I’ve got to run, I’ve got a book to read…

My favourite quotes from Daughter of Smoke and Bone:

“Loneliness is worse when you return to it after a reprieve—like the soul’s version of putting on a wet bathing suit, clammy and miserable.”

“It is a condition of monsters that they do not perceive themselves as such. The dragon, you know, hunkered in the village devouring maidens, heard the townsfolk cry ‘Monster!’ and looked behind him.”

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School for Good and Evil book trailer

Every four years, two girls are kidnapped from the village of Gavaldon. Legend has it these lost children are sent to the School for Good and Evil, the fabled institution where they become fairytale heroes or villains. Sophie, the most beautiful girl in town, has always dreamed of her place at the School for Good while her friend Agatha, with her dark disposition seems destined for the School for Evil. But when the two are kidnapped they find their fortunes reversed

Reserve your copy of The School for Good and Evil by Soman Chainani at your library now

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The 2013 New Zealand Post Children’s Book Awards Finalists

The finalists in the 2013 New Zealand Post Children’s Book Awards were announced this morning.  There is a great selection of books this year, by some of our best authors and illustrators.  I think that the picture book and junior fiction categories are particularly strong and the judges have got a huge job ahead of them.  I’m aiming to read all of the finalists before the week of the Festival this year so I’ll be sharing my thoughts on each book here.

Have you read any that you really love?

Picture Book

  • A Great Cake, written and illustrated by Tina Matthews
  • Melu, written by Kyle Mewburn and illustrated by Ali Teo and John O’Reilly
  • Mister Whistler, written by Margaret Mahy and illustrated by Gavin Bishop
  • Mr Bear Branches and the Cloud Conundrum, written and illustrated by Terri Rose Baynton
  • Remember that November, written by Jennifer Beck and illustrated by Lindy Fisher

Junior Fiction

  • The ACB with Honora Lee, written by Kate De Goldi and illustrated by Gregory O’Brien
  • The Queen and the Nobody Boy by Barbara Else
  • My Brother’s War by David Hill
  • Red Rocks by Rachael King
  • Uncle Trev and His Whistling Bull by Jack Lasenby

Young Adult Fiction

  • Earth Dragon, Fire Hare by Ken Catran
  • Into the River by Ted Dawe
  • The Nature of Ash by Mandy Hager
  • Reach by Hugh Brown
  • Snakes and Ladders by Mary-anne Scott

Non Fiction

  • 100 Amazing Tales from Aotearoa by Simon Morton and Riria Hotere
  • At the Beach: Explore and discover the New Zealand seashore by Ned Barraud and Gillian Chandler
  • Kiwi: the real story by Annemarie Florian and Heather Hunt
  • Taketakerau, The Millenium Tree by Marnie Anstis, Patricia Howitt and Kelly Spencer

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Beta Mean Better!

How are you all doing with your NZ Book Month Reading? I’ve read my third book, so I’m pleased to say that I’m on target to read four books by New Zealand authors before the close of the month. This week, I was lucky enough to read a book that isn’t even available in stores yet! It’s one of the things I love best about being a writer: other writers send you their brand new books to read before they are published. It’s called beta reading and I believe the term comes from the computer industry. When a software company makes a new product, it tests it first in-house for bugs and problems. This is called alpha testing. Then, when they’ve fixed all the problems they can find, the company sends the software out to some test companies who beta test the product to see if there are any further issues to be resolved. So, in the same way, an author writes the best story they can and edits it themselves (alpha reading) and then they send it out to specially chosen beta readers for their perspectives and suggestions on how the story might be improved. Stim

I love beta reading. It’s the coolest thing. Firstly, it means another writer values your opinion enough to share their work with you. That’s pretty exciting. Then, you get to read a brand story that no-one else has read yet. Imagine reading a Percy Jackson book or the latest Anthony Horowitz title before anyone else? That’s pretty exciting. Next, you get to make suggestions that the writer might then incorporate into their story. That makes you an important part of the writing process. More exciting stuff. And finally, when the book is released you get to see whether or not everyone agrees with you about how fantastic the book is.  Kevin Berry

The story I beta read is called Stim, a young adult novel by Christchurch writer Kevin Berry, last year’s Sir Julius Vogel Award Winner for Best New Talent (with Diane Berry). Since Kevin is an award-winning writer, I knew Stim would be good but it was something else. Stim is AMAZING. It’s the story of Robert, a Canterbury university student who makes a bold plan to get himself girlfriend, which would be fine except Robert is an Aspie –  he suffers from Asperger’s Syndrome – which means he finds interactions with other people, and especially girls, rather difficult. Luckily, Robert has a friend, Chloe and a flatmate, Stef, who help him though some of the awkward bits. Hilarious and sad at the same time, Stim is a window on the everyday struggles of people with Asperger’s.  It’s  a great book, due to be released later this year by Bluewood Publishing.

I’ll bet you’re all cross now. Here I am raving about a book that you can’t even get out of the library yet.  Luckily, Kevin and Diane Berry (KD Berry) have written some other great titles, which ARE available in the library, including high fantasy novels Dragons Away and Growing Disenchantments, fun reading for the meantime.

DA and GD

 

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End of the alphabet by Fleur Beale

I love each and every one of NZ author Fleur Beale’s novels, but End of the Alphabet has to be my favourite.  It is the story of Ruby Yarrow; a fourteen-year-old girl who lives in the shadow of her younger brother Max.  Max is smart, talented and adored by everyone.  Ruby struggles at school and is always busy at home.  She cares for her little brothers, cooks the dinner and cleans up after Max.  One day her best friend Tia puts her foot down- she is sick of Ruby being a doormat.  Her outburst gets Ruby thinking…does she want to live her life being treated second best?  Of course not- so begins Ruby’s journey to find her backbone and start standing up to people.

This book is truly outstanding, one of my favourite of all time.  Ruby is one of those characters that you can instantly relate to.  If I could meet a character in one of my books I’d want to meet Ruby.  She’s just so likeable and so easy to understand.  As the book progresses it’s easy to see how Ruby has changed.

If you’re looking for a read that you won’t want to put down, choose End of the Alphabet!  It’s a book that you’ll want to read again and again.

Reviewed by Tierney Reardon.

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The 13th Horseman Launch Party

On Friday at Shirley Library we hosted the New Zealand launch of Barry Hutchison’s The 13th Horseman.  We had some giveaways, a feast fit for a Horseman of the Apocalypse, and some special launch videos from Barry in Scotland.

If you weren’t able to get to the launch on Friday you can still join in the fun here and find out about this awesome book.  Barry made 3 videos especially for his readers in NZ, in which he introduces The 13th Horseman, reads from the book, and answers some questions.  Come on in and join the party!

Barry introduces The 13th Horseman

Barry reads an excerpt from The 13th Horseman

Barry answers some questions about The 13th Horseman

Thanks so much for the great videos Barry!

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The 13th Horseman by Barry Hutchison

Drake is surprised to find three Horsemen of the Apocalypse playing snakes and ladders in his garden shed.  Even more surprisingly, they’re missing a Horseman and think that Drake is the boy for the job.  Drake is reluctant to join them, but does being in charge of Armageddon have to spell the end of the world?

From the wastelands of oblivion to the desolate plains of Limbo – join the Horsemen of the Apocalypse on a wild and hilarious ride…

The 13th Horseman is one of the funniest books I’ve ever read.  The laughs don’t come from toilet humour, but from the actions (or inaction) of the three long serving Horsemen of the Apocalypse.  There’s Pestilence who’s dressed like a doctor with a white coat and rubber gloves (to protect the humans, not himself), the red-haired giant, War, with a temper to match his stature, and my favourite, Famine, who is absolutely huge, with massive rolls of fat all over his body (which provide great places to store food for later).  When Drake first meets them, they’ve been playing board games for thousands of years and are completely bored.  They all seem to be totally incompetent and can’t even organise themselves to do the job they’re there for – usher in the Apocalypse.  They all have a horse to ride across the sky, apart from Famine who has a mobility scooter (so that he doesn’t squash a horse).  Each of the Horsemen has their own quirks but my favourite is definitely Famine, because no matter when you look at him, he’s always eating something.

Thankfully, The 13th Horseman is only the first book in the Afterworlds series and the sequel, The Lost Book of Everything is due out in 2013.  If you haven’t read any of Barry Hutchison’s books yet, The 13th Horseman is a good place to start.

Recommended for 10+       5 out of 5 stars

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The 13th Horseman Book Launch

Come along to Shirley Library this Friday (25 May) from 4pm and celebrate the launch of a a cool new book, called The 13th Horseman by UK author Barry Hutchison.   Barry is also the author of the incredibly creepy Invisible Fiends series, including Mr Mumbles and Raggy Maggie.  Hear Barry talk about his hilarious new book and enjoy drinks and snacks fit for a Horseman of the Apocalypse.  We have 3 copies of The 13th Horseman to give away and everyone gets a signed bookplate.

The event is free and suitable for ages 10 years and up.

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The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins.

The Hunger Games is the first book in a trilogy, set in a place in the middle of what used to be North America, called Panem. Panem consists of twelve districts, that surround a city called the Capitol. The Capitol is cruel, and has complete control over those who live in the districts.  They keep them from starting a rebellion by forcing each district to provide a boy and a girl from 12 to 18, who are all sent to the Capitol to take part in the Hunger Games, which is a fight to the death in a huge arena. The person who is left alive wins, and lives in glory, fame, and riches from then on. The others all die. The worst part? The districts are forced to celebrate it, and it is made into a television show.  Katniss Everdeen is sent to the Capitol from District 12, taking her sisters place in the games to protect her. She has escaped death before, and is skilled with a bow and arrow, but each of the 24 contestants are all fighting to survive. She will have to make hard decisions to live through the games.

The concept behind the Hunger Games was so original, and I turned the pages especially fast during the middle, when the Hunger Games were actually happening. The description was simple and brief, but the action and dialogue made up for that entirely.
My favourite character was probably Katniss, but I found that by the end of the book, to my greatest surprise, I had become rather fond of Haymitch, who is Katniss’s drunken mentor. I thought that Peeta, who is the boy from District 12, was a little weak, and Katniss was always protecting him, so in a way, he was a bit wimpy.

I am excited to find out what happens next, because by the end of the book Katniss is in quite a bit of trouble. I’m not telling you what happens, though, you’ll have to find that out yourself!

I think that kids from 12 to 15 would like this book the most (although my dad loves the book just as much as I do!). The Hunger Games is also being turned into what is going to be an epic movie.

By Tierney, age 12.

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The Damned

The Damned was a terrifying experience. But before I explain why, this is the blurb: “It’s not just the Dead who want to return to the Land of the Living, but the creatures of Hell itself. And only Lazarus, Stone, Keeper of the Dead, can stop them. But he’s on an insane rescue mission to save his best mate and his dad, with only the help of an undead priest and an angel with an alcohol problem. This isn’t just about saving the world, this is personal…”

So why so terrifying? Well, The Damned was the first time I’d ever experienced characters taking on a life of their own, controlling the story, and telling me what was going to happen next, where they were going to go, rather than the other way round. It was a bit disconcerting. I’m big on planning my books out. To me, it’s a bit like how I’d approach a piece of art (were I an artist, which I’m not, trust me!) First, I’d sketch it out, until I was happy with what I was doing, and then I’d add in the detail, the colour. And that’s much how I work – plan it out first, get happy with the structure of the story, then colour it in! However, half way through The Damned, the characters had other ideas as to what was going to happen. And I just had to hold on tight and hope they knew what they were doing, which it turns out they did!

The Damned is an epic conclusion to a crazy, dark, hellish journey. It draws on a lot of my love of horror movies and fiction, with plenty of nods to everything from Lovecraft to Fulci. The characters are still with me, the story still haunts me, and I hope that, once you survive your time with the Dead/Dark/Damned, you’ll be a little bit haunted by it, too!

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March Star Author – David Gatward

Our magnificent March Star Author is British author, David Gatward.  David is the author of three incredibly creepy horror stories called The Dead, The Dark, and The Damned, as well as a stand-alone book called The Cave.

He had his first book published aged 18 but it’s taken many more years and life experiences to lead to writing The Dead. Seeing two ghosts, being mistaken for a homeless person and almost drowning have given David plenty of food for thought, but it’s his family who’ve been a big inspiration. Now living in rural Somerset with his wife and two boys, David writes full-time and hopes to see ghost number three very shortly.

Thanks for joining us David!  We look forward to reading all about you and your books.

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March Star Author Competition

Our March Star Author, David Gatward has been telling us about his book, The Dead.  It’s the first in a series of 3 seriously creepy books and this week we a set of David’s books to give away.  Please note: the books are aimed at age 12+ so they are not ideal for younger readers.

To get in the draw to win all you have to do is leave a comment on this post telling us ‘What is your scariest moment?’ Leave a comment with your answer, your name and email address (so that we can contact you if you win).

Thanks to everyone who entered the March Star Author Competition.  The winner of the David Gatward book pack is:  Connor.  Please check your email to find out how to claim your prize.

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Billionaire Trilogy Competition

I was lucky enough last week to be able to meet Richard Newsome, the author of the fantastic Billionaire Trilogy.  I got the inside scoop on what he’s writing next and found out a little about what Gerald, Sam and Ruby are up to now that their adventures have come to a conclusion.

Thanks to Richard’s amazing publishers, Text, we have a set of the Billionaire Trilogy to give away.  These are extra special copies of the books because they’re signed by Richard Newsome.  All you have to do to get in the draw to win the set is tell us:  What would you do with 20 billion dollars?  Tell us your answer by leaving a comment on this post, along with your name and email address (so that we can contact you if you win).

Competition closes Wednesday 7 December.  See below for terms and conditions

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Best Books of 2011

Thanks to everyone who voted in our Best Books of 2011 Competition.  The votes have been counted and we can now announce the winners.  The best Kids book of 2011 is Northwood by Brian Falkner and the best Young Adult book of 2011 is Plague by Michael Grant.  You can see how many votes each book got in the polls below.

Everyone who entered went into the draw to win the Top 5 books and the winners are:

  • Kids – Annahlise Hall
  • Young Adult – Rebecca Deakins

       

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Six Days book trailer

Six Days by Philip Webb is a very cool book that I’m reading at the moment.  It’s set in a future London where the city is being torn down to hunt for a mysterious ‘artefact’ that is incredibly valuable.  If you like books like The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins and Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld then Six Days is the book for you.

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The Hunger Games trailer and book giveaway

The first full-length trailer for the Hunger Games movie has just been released and you can watch it here.  It’s being released on March 23, 2012 and it’s going to be one of the biggest movies of the year.  The movie is based on The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, which is the first book in one of the most exciting series you’ll ever read.  Here’s what our Star Blogger Rhys said about it:

“Prim Everdeen is chosen as a representative for the hunger games while she is still 12 years old, Katniss, her big sister, volunteers to go instead of Prim and she goes to save her sister. Without giving too much away being selected isn’t a good thing. I reckon that they are a great series and that if you like fighting, romance (sort of) and cunning plotting you should read them.  I’d recommend them to anyone over 10.  They are great for adults too.  They are some of the best books I’ve read, and I have read some really, really good books.”

The movie looks like it’s going to be absolutely amazing and you can see what it’s like in this trailer:

If you’ve been dying to read The Hunger Games to find out why it’s so great or you would just really like to have your own copy, we’ve got one to giveaway.  To get in the draw, all you have to do is leave a comment on this post telling us why you should win the book.  Competition closes Friday 25 November.

See below for terms and conditions          Read the rest of this entry »

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Rosie Black Blog Tour

Follow Lara Morgan’s Rosie Black Blog Tour to find out more about Lara’s writing, her characters and the Rosie Black Chronicles.

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