Posts tagged childrens fiction

Author of the Week – Cornelia Funke

Author of the Week is a new feature on the Christchurch Kids Blog.  It’s where we’ll introduce you to some great authors whose books you’ll find in our libraries.  If you love the featured author and have read some of the books, we’d love to hear what you think.

Each of the author profiles comes from one of our really cool databases, called Novelist.  If you’re looking for some new books or authors you should really check it out.  This week’s author is Cornelia Funke.

Cornelia Funke’s books for older kids often pit brave heroes, whether dragon or human, against menacing villains and overwhelming problems in fast-moving, adventure-filled fantasies lightened with touches of humor. Her specific detailing leads to strong settings that let readers escape into intricate worlds inhabited by unique, complex characters where magic and mystery mingle. Funke’s storytelling excels, with twists and surprises, elegant turns of phrase, elaborate plots and emotion-driven, precarious situations that propel readers through lengthy fantasy novels.

Inkheart (and the sequels Inkspell and Inkdeath)

Mo, a gentle bookbinder with an extraordinary secret, and his daughter Meggie love books, yet he has not read aloud to her since her mother disappeared years ago. After a mysterious stranger visits them, Mo tells Meggie they must go into hiding. But why? – and from whom?

Ghost Knight

Eleven-year-old Jon Whitcroft and new friend Ella summon the ghost of Sir William Longspee, who may be able to protect Jon from a group of ghosts that threatens him harm from the day he arrives at Salisbury Cathedral’s boarding school. Includes historical notes.

Igraine the Brave

Igraine, who turns twelve tomorrow, dreams of becoming a famous knight. But today, like most days, life at the family castle remains . . . rather boring. Until the nefarious nephew of the baroness-next-door shows up. Greedy Osmund’s got a dastardly plan to capture Pimpernel Castle and steal the singing.

The Thief Lord

Prosper and Bo are orphans on the run from their cruel aunt and uncle. The brothers decide to hide out in Venice, where they meet a mysterious thirteen-year-old who calls himself the “Thief Lord.” Brilliant and charismatic, the Thief Lord leads a ring of street children who dabble in petty crimes. Prosper and Bo delight in being part of this colorful new family. But the Thief Lord has secrets of his own. Soon the boys are thrust into circumstances that will lead them to a fantastic, spellbinding conclusion.

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House of Secrets by Chris Columbus and Ned Vizzini

Chris Coloumbus is the writer and director of some of my favourite movies, including Gremlins, The Goonies and Home Alone.  He’s a gifted storyteller for the screen who has now delved into the world of children’s books.  His first children’s book is House of Secrets, co-written by Ned Vizzini, and I was interested to see if his books were just as good as his movies.

A secret history… A mysterious family legacy… Dark magic of untold power… And three kids who will risk everything to bring a family back together. The Pagett kids had it all: loving parents, a big house in San Francisco, all the latest video games … But everything changed when their father lost his job as a result of an inexplicable transgression. Now the family is moving into Kristoff House, a mysterious place built nearly a century earlier by a troubled fantasy writer with a penchant for the occult. Suddenly the siblings find themselves launched on an epic journey into a mash-up world born of Kristoff’s dangerous imagination, to retrieve a dark book of untold power, uncover the Pagett family’s secret history and save their parents … and maybe even the world.

House of Secrets is an action-packed blockbuster of a book about three children who are transported into the world of fiction.  There’s something in this story to appeal to all kids – adventure, mystery, magic, witches, giants, warriors, pirates, and fictional characters coming to life. Most readers have wanted to actually be in the world of a story at some stage, and this is exactly what happens to Cordelia, Brendan and Eleanor (even if it was the last thing they wanted).

Chris and Ned have said that the story was originally going to be a screenplay for a movie, but they thought it would be too expensive to make so they adapted it into a book.  I thought this came through quite clearly as the story really reads like it should be a movie.  It’s quite fast-paced and there is lots of action so it will definitely keep kids’ attention.  I can see why it would have cost so much to make this story into a movie, because it’s quite epic and there would be huge special effects involved.  The house that the children find themselves transported in is much like the Tardis (‘it’s bigger on the inside’), with lots of hidden passageways, and it gets battered about by witches, giants and pirates.  There are many different fictional worlds, filled with different creatures and characters.

The plot races along right to the end and leaves the story hanging for the next book in the series.  I’ll be looking forward to discovering what comes next for the Walker children.

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Congratulations to the 2013 Caldecott and Newbery Medal winners!

It was an exciting time earlier this morning in the US when the winners of the 2013 ALA Youth Media Awards were announced.  The Youth Media Awards include the prestigious Newbery Medal and Caldecott Medal and the Printz Award.

Congratulations to all the winners!  I think it’s the first time that I’ve read and loved the winners of the Newbery and Caldecott Medal so I’m very pleased that they won.  Here are the winners and honour books:

John Newbery Medal for the most outstanding contribution to children’s literature:

There were three Newbery Honour Books announced too:

Randolph Caldecott Medal for the most distinguished American picture book for children:

This Is Not My Hat
  
There were five Caldecott Newbery Honour Books announced too:
  • Creepy Carrots! illustrated by Peter Brown, written by Aaron Reynolds
  • Extra Yarn illustrated by Jon Klassen, written by Mac Barnett
  • Green illustrated and written by Laura Vaccaro Seeger
  • One Cool Friend illustrated by David Small, written by Toni Buzzeo
  • Sleep Like a Tiger illustrated by Pamela Zagarenski, written by Mary Logue
 

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The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate

The One and Only Ivan is a really great book.  

It’s about a gorilla called Ivan who lives in a shopping mall with an elephant called Stella, a stray dog called Bob and a man called Mack.  They are a circus.

Ivan used to be a famous attraction, but after a few years he was forgotten and only the new people in town are interested in him.

Ivan doesn’t think very much about his old life in the jungle and he has accepted he will spend the rest of his life in his cage.  But then a new elephant comes to live with the animals and helps Ivan realise that there is a better life out there.  It is up to Ivan to find a way out for all of them.

I don’t want to give too much away, the book does have some sad bits in it, but ends happily.  I’m sure you will love it just like I did!

By Amy, 10.

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Love the Olympics? Try these sporty reads

If you’re a sporty person you’re probably in heaven right now with all the Olympic Games coverage on TV.  There are heaps of different types of sport to watch, from swimming and rowing, to gymnastics and athletics. 

We have heaps of sporty books in the library for you to enjoy.  Why not try these:

We also have a great page all about the Olympics, where you can find out about Canterbury Olympic Athletes and visit some interesting websites with information about the Olympic Games.

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Skellig by David Almond

PictureAbout

Michael was looking forward to moving house. It was all going to be wonderful. But now his baby sister is ill. His parents are frantic and Doctor Death has come to call. Michael feels helpless. Then he steps into the crumbling garage…

What is this thing beneath the spiders webs and dead flies? A human being, or a strange kind of beast never seen before? The only person Michael can confinde in is Mina. Together they carry the creature out into the light, and Michael’s world changes forever…

My Review

My favourite part was when Mina took Michael into the old house she inherited from her grandfather, up to the attic to show him the family of Tawny Owls living there. I thought this part was awesome because I think it’s amazing to see such graceful and wise creatures flying. I look up at birds and I envy them. To see Tawny Owls flying over a darkened city would be amazing. My favourite character would probably be Mina. She is smart and has a real sense of the world that I think no one else has.

I liked the way David Almond writes. His style is different from other authors and that shows clearly in his books. That is what makes Skelling so good. I enjoyed it how when you started the book, it seemed pretty regluar, until the unique twist came along soon after you started, which envolves **cough, cough** Skellig.

I LOVED absolutely everything! This book is awesome. The way David Almond wrote this puts a new perspective on the world. And that’s what I love about the book – this book is for anyone who wants a new perspective of the world.

The age-level would probably be 10+, seeing as younger kids might not understand. I would give this book a 9/10. But, BEFORE you read it, read the first book, My Name Is Mina.

By Ginnie from the Queenspark School Noses in Books group

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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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