Posts tagged children

We are moving!

The Christchurch Kids Blog content will be moving to our new Christchurch City Libraries website.  We won’t be using this blog any more but you will still be able to read our posts about children’s books, authors and writing on our new website.  You will also still be able to have your say and let us know what you think.

If there is anything that you would really like to see on our new website for kids please post a comment and let us know.

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Star Author: Barbara Else – Titles

Titles are important, aren’t they? A book need one that makes a reader intrigued as to what the story will be about. But if you’re writing a story, you don’t have to have the title right away. Sometimes the right title will just pop into your head at some stage while you’re working on the piece.

When I was writing the first Tale of Fontania, the title was pretty obvious as soon as I decided to have a sailing ship as a restaurant a sailing ship. ‘The Sailing Restaurant’ wouldn’t have sounded quite right, but The Travelling Restaurant sounded good to me. It’s at least a bit intriguing, to think of how a restaurant would travel about. (And apologies to American readers who spell travelling with only one l – traveling.)

With the second Tale, at first I thought the title would be ‘The Queen and the Elephant Boy.’ That idea soon got tossed aside when I realised it was going to be tricky having an actual elephant in the story. How could my characters have the wild adventures I wanted if they had to take an elephant along? So I made the elephant one that had died and been buried years ago. ‘The Queen and the …something … Boy’. Hmm. I had to choose a good opposite word to queen. Well the boy in the story had been ignored by everyone, treated like a nobody. So there it was: The Queen and the Nobody Boy. Opposite ideas in a title that can catch a reader’s interest.

I had no idea what I would call the third Tale. The novel opens with a boy as the main character in the first chapter. Then chapter two moves to a girl, Dorrity, who is the only child in Owl Town on the edge of the Beastly Dark. The citizens boast that their town is magic-free. But Dorrity discovers a book on her teacher’s table. When she opens it, the title page is blank at first. Then words appear on it – ‘The Volume of Possible Endings.’ Pages continue to turn on their own and stop at a list of five endings headed ‘Dorrity’s Tale.’ Magic most certainly exists in the town! She’s scared and offended at being lied to by grown-ups.

I was still wondering what to call the novel when I thought – ‘Du-uh! There’s a perfectly good title already there in the story – the title of the book in my book!’ Just as the title of the magical book revealed itself to Dorrity, the title revealed itself to me.

If you happen to be struggling to find the right title, have a look at what you’ve already written for your tale. Maybe it is lurking in a paragraph just waiting to be found.

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Champion reads – the New Zealand Post Book Awards for Children and Young Adults

Are you looking for a great read? Try the New Zealand Post Book Awards for Children and Young Adults – what a bunch of brilliant books.

Vasanti Unka’s The Boring Book wins the New Zealand Post Margaret Mahy Book of the Year is all about the award-winners.

The full list of winners of the 2014 New Zealand Post Book Awards for Children and Young Adults is:

Cover of The Boring Book Cover of The Beginner's guide to hunting and fishing Dunger Joy Cowley (Winner) Cover of Mortal fire Cover of A necklace of souls Cover of The Three Bears Cover of Bugs

New Zealand Post Margaret Mahy Book of the Year and winner of Best Picture Book category: Prizes: $7,500 for the New Zealand Post Margaret Mahy Book of the Year and $7,500 for Best Picture Book The Boring Book by Vasanti Unka (Penguin Group (NZ), Puffin)

Best Non-Fiction: Prize $7,500: The Beginner’s Guide to Hunting and Fishing in New Zealand by Paul Adamson (Random House New Zealand)

Junior Fiction: Prize $7,500: Dunger by Joy Cowley (Gecko Press)

Best Young Adult Fiction: Prize $7,500: Mortal Fire by Elizabeth Knox (Gecko Press)

Best First Book: Prize $2,000: A Necklace of Souls by R L Stedman (Harper Collins Publishers (NZ), HarperVoyager)

Children’s Choice: Prize $2,000: The Three Bears…Sort Of by Yvonne Morrison and Donovan Bixley (Scholastic New Zealand)

Honour award: Prize $500: Bugs by Whiti Hereaka (Huia Publishers)

Māori Language award: Prize $1,000 (announced on 8 April) Taka Ki Ro Wai by Keri Kaa and Martin D Page (Tania&Martin)

 

Our own wonderful librarian Zac Harding – you might know him from this very blog – was a judge, along with Ant Sang and Barbara Else.

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The lure of mystery

Hi everyone – I’ve been looking forward to being your March author.

Do you like mystery?

I do. Growing up, my favourite book series was The Three Investigators. I longed to discover this gang was real and join them as investigator number four –  I mean, they really did need a girl.

I also loved those mysteries you have to solve yourself, like the Encyclopedia Brown stories – except I got impatient and looked up the answers. Then I’d feel angry at myself and try to brainwash myself into believing I’d worked them out on my own.

ImageThe stories I love writing are also mysterious ones. The Fly Papers is full of mystery.

Another series I’m working on is The Owl Kids. It’s for a magazine called Wild Things and has wonderful illustrations by Adele Jackson. (Like the one on the left right!ahem, 45 years old and I still get my left and right mixed up sometimes.)

I’ll talk more about it soon, but you can read the first episode here – and solve the first of its mysteries.

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LIANZA Children’s Book Awards winners

The LIANZA Children’s Book Awards ceremony was on in Wellington last night (Monday 5 August 2013).

Here is the list of winners. Good reads guaranteed!

Cover of Red RocksCover of The Nature of ash

LIANZA Junior Fiction Award – Esther Glen Medal. For the most distinguished contribution to literature for children aged 0-15. Red Rocks by Rachael King, (Random House New Zealand)

Pene Walsh, Awards Convenor and Gisborne Library Manager said:

although dealing with issues of a broken family, loneliness and bullying, this is an enjoyable and easy read, the story interwoven with myth, is written in a way that makes it entirely believable.

LIANZA Young Adult Fiction Award. For the distinguished contribution to literature for children and young adults aged 13 years and above. The Nature of Ash by Mandy Hager, (Random House New Zealand)

The strong and extremely well-developed characters, along with the dystopian theme, formed an action-packed story that in many ways reflects the current issues facing humankind today.

LIANZA Illustration Award – Russell Clark Award. For the most distinguished illustrations in a children’s book. A Great Cake by Tina Matthews, (Walker Books Australia)

Matthews’ wood cuts and stencils are expertly used in a Japanese-esque style and layers and layers of colour and texture build to create the final illustration … A visually inviting cover is the initial link from picture, to story, to words, and the explosion of imaginative synapses in between.

LIANZA Non Fiction Award – Elsie Locke Medal
For a work that is considered to be a distinguished contribution to non-fiction for young people.
At the Beach: Explore & Discover the New Zealand Seashore by Ned Barraud and Gillian Candler, (Craig Potton Publishing)

It is a hot-chocolate-table book for not only the child who loves facts but the one who love quirky stuff and stories. It is a book for browsing.

LIANZA Librarians’ Choice Award 2013. Awarded to the most popular finalist across all awards, as judged by professional librarians of LIANZA. My Brother’s War by David Hill, (Penguin NZ)

Te Kura Pounamu (te reo Māori). Awarded to the author of a work, written in Te Reo Māori, which makes a distinguished contribution to literature for children or young people. Ko Meru by Kyle Mewburn, translated by Ngaere Roberts, illustrated by Ali Teo and John O’Reilly (Scholastic)

Te Rangi Rangi Tangohau, Te Kura Pounamu Panel Convenor, says children will immediately be drawn into the story because of the simplicity of a lonely mule gazing into the sky dreaming of something new:

It is a humorous read with simple and colourful illustrations that will appeal to young readers. The friendly use of onomatopoeia works well with children and the descriptive and repetitive language will happily guide the reader to patu-patupatu, kiriti=karati, takahi-takatakahi through the story.

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Bullying Websites for Kids

Are you being bullied or know someone who is?  We’ve put together some links to great websites all about bullying and how to get help if you need it.  There are step-by-step guides to taking action and stopping bullying, and help-lines that you can call and talk to an adult who can help.

Check out the Bullying links on the Kids Internet Gateway.

If you’ve read R.J. Palacio’s amazing book, Wonder, you’ll remember one of Mr Brown’s precepts is “When given the choice between being right or being kind, choose kind.”  I think it’s a great thing to remember every day, and to always treat others as you would like to be treated.  You can even go to the Choose Kind website and pledge to ‘choose kind’ every day.

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Check out our October Star Author – Bill Nagelkerke

We have a Star Author joining us on the Christchurch Kids blog each month during the school year.  Our Star Author will blog about their books, give writing tips, answer your questions and talk about things that interest them.

Each month we will also have a Star Author competition.  You will have to post an answer to a question about the Star Author on the blog and you’ll go into the draw to win a copy of one of their books.

Our Star Author for October is Bill Nagelkerke.  As well as being a writer, Bill has also translated books, reviewed books for magazines and newspapers, been a judge for book awards, and he used to be a Children’s Librarian at Christchurch City Libraries.  Bill has written some great books, including Old Bones and Sitting on the Fence, which are set in Christchurch.

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